The Hospitality Trifecta! Day 4


The Day:
My hands fumble for my phone as I flip it open (that’s right flip it open – good old Samsung) to discover that it is 12pm! As the blur dissipates from my eyes I realize that once again I am the only person left in a CLEANED dorm room!! And yes, the empty bag of chips beside me reminds me of my last memory before I passed out. I drag myself (my still partially drunk self) out of bed while promising that I am definitely not drinking tonight.

A quick shower and I race downstairs hoping that by some miracle Callie is there so I can piece together the night (as there is clearly a massive blank spot in my memory); though this is in vane as I remember that she was leaving today, and considering check-out is at 10am, the chances that she decided to hang around reception waiting for my sorry face to show are very slim.

I walk in to the reception area very timidly at first; you know the feeling of having had a big night where you know that there are definite blanks (I sometimes think this is the mind’s way of protecting us from the truth that we most definitely do not want to know), so you kind of hope you are invisible and can avoid seeing anyone from the night before who will most likely confirm your suspicions, that yes, your mind was protecting you for a reason.

Side note on the first hello: you can generally tell what kind of night you had by the way people first say hello; it is either:
     1.   “hey, how are you?” OR
     2.   “hey, how are YOU feeling today?” (notice the emphasis and pause on the word ‘you’)

Definition of option 2: One should use this when first greeting someone who was by all accounts ‘drunk’ – in every definition of the word; AND, or who should feel embarrassed by some if not most of their actions.

I bump into some Welsh guys who I vaguely remember meeting and having a drink with and they have clearly just read the above description on how to greet someone… because they say “Hey, how are YOU feeling?” dam it. But I receive a high five for dancing on the bar and barely managing to stay on by the sounds of it… Classic Tash, this isn’t the worst I could have done, if that is all there is…

Side note on memory loss: As well as for protection, I sometimes think that ‘drunk Tash’, just really likes keeping secrets from sober Tash to keep things interesting, so sober Tash has fun piecing it all together the next day.

Though I’m feeling absolutely rubbish, I head back into town to a restaurant of another owner that I had a contact for. He had already told me that he didn’t personally have any work for me, but to pop in for a coffee and a chat nonetheless, and maybe he could give me some ideas.

So I arrive, and the stale smell of beer and fried food lingering in the air does not do anything to help the nausea that was just managing to stay at bay. After forcing down a cup of coffee with smiles all round, he tells me that I should go to a Goldsmith shop around the corner and gives me the names of a couple of restaurants to try – encouraging me that these are touristy places, and speaking Italian is not necessary. Feeling slightly more optimistic, and dying to get out of the small bar before my nausea gives way to the pleasant physical act that is bespoken of the typical hangover.. I depart, print off some CVs and muster the courage to walk into these establishments.

Thankfully the manager I encounter in the Goldsmith shop is a very friendly Australian woman. However within seconds it is not looking promising – as though she started with “I love having kiwis or Aussies on board” we quickly got to the fact that my Visa is about to expire, and can’t legally be working in Italy… So unfortunately she won’t even consider me – as the “Police are a lot more vigilant these days”.

I walk out feeling quite devoid of optimism, but after sitting myself down on some steps and giving myself one of those self pep-talks. I walk into the restaurant that I was recommended to go into. The manager again is very friendly but the conversation again quickly turns into the one above… but this time is first question is “do you speak Italian?” “No” is my weak response, “ah, this is a slight problem” he says, and I feel absolutely foolish. He takes my CV regardless (I think more out of pity for the poor foreign girl that speaks no Italian and expects a job) and says that he’ll “call me in a month when they  get busier…” Which I guess would be fine if I had money and could productively use that time to learn basic conversational Italian… however as my money is slowly dwindling away (even though I am having to pay for very little), this answer is not quite suffice enough to ease the panic and anxiety that have come back to visit.

So I leave and wander back through the streets of Florence, except this time minus the Cheshire grin and company. Ok so I generally live my life on a whim, and have faith that things will work out, and to be honest, they always normally do; but I start thinking that my previous so called ‘adventures’ that I had so bravely endeavoured ‘on my own’, were perhaps not the same, being that:
    a)   I have always been in an English speaking country
    b)  Though I did venture out ‘on my own’, there were always friends around, or friends of friends..    
    c)   I have never been completely broke…

Maybe I underestimated it all, and live life a little too carefree. I mean seriously did I expect to really walk straight into a job in a foreign country where I don’t speak the language…

I am for the first time in 3 days feeling quite alone. Having Callie here for the first two nights was truly like having a friend I had known for a while with me. Now walking back through the streets, for the first time in my life I feel completely and utterly alone.

Again I sit myself down on a park bench, and give myself a right talking to. Trying to give myself the best Tony Robins like speech I can think of. All the while in the background my mind is whispering plans of what to do when this all really goes tits up…
  a)   Fess up to Dad and ask him to bail me out because even though I am 27, I am broke, and stuck in Italy…
  b)   Invest the last of money in those little toys that you throw on the ground that squish (anyone who has travelled through Europe knows what I am talking about here) – as there seems to be a guy on every corner selling one, so there is clearly a huge market for it…

Regardless of the negative whisperings of the mind, the Tony Robins voice won out, and I walk into the hostel feeling a little better. Only to see Linda and my favourite bar tender (lets call him Marco); and as cheesy as it is, I realize I am not alone as already feel like part of the family here. So I am met with two smiling faces that ask “come stai” and I have to reply “tutto bene, grazie”. Not just because that is really the only response I know, but because it is now true!!

The Night:
Again I sit with Linda all night, beers, wine, laughs. We are eventually joined by most of the staff for a drink at some stage. Including the owner, who has just told me and his staff that I am not to pay for food anymore, this is just after Linda has told me that she is going away for the weekend, so I can have her room, now couple this with the fact that I have never been allowed to pay for a drink – and you have what I would like to call ‘The Ultimate Hospitality Trifecta’!

I cannot even explain in words how truly grateful, thankful, amazed I am by this incredible hospitality. I would never have imagined this in my wildest dreams. These are some of the most amazing beautiful people I have ever met. I will never forget this, and only hope that one day I can repay this kindness in some way; until then I will recommend this hostel to all of my friends and everyone I meet.

We drink all night again, but this time for every couple of drinks I have, I have 500ml of water. I drink lots, but thanks to the water intake as well, I stay a more aware and present drunk, not to mention waking up the next morning without a hangover and no memory loss (take that drunk Tash). This is a win, and I think will have to be my new form of drinking...

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