Hello from a hostel that I did not like at first but then started liking thanks to a few lovely human beings I met. (Thank God!)

The thought of moving back to a hostel was everything but tempting after ten days of staying in nice hotels and a house on the beach. When Janet and the boys left last Friday I literally had to force myself to go to Hostelworld and find somewhere to stay.

Where do I want to live? Where do I want to work? Where do I want to do yoga?

I had no idea, so with just half an hour until check-out I decided to try something new and ended up booking two nights at Billabong Gardens, one of the few hostels that I found in Newtown, a quirky suburb in Sydney’s inner west. Home to great restaurants, cafés and pubs, and a lot of students thanks to its proximity to the University of Sydney, it’s vibrant, young and easy-going.

Arriving on the hottest day in recorded history with the temperature dropping down to 28°C at lowest (!) and shooting up to 37°C (!!) as early as 1 am did not make it any better, though. Neither did the fact that the first two people I met in the six-bed dorm that I’d booked did not even say hi when I came in. Anxiety was creeping up on me and I found myself wondering where the heck to go on Sunday.

I can’t stay here!

One sweaty night later (our room has only one fan and it’s attached to the ceiling just so that it does not reach the lower bunk bed that I’d been assigned, strategically located behind the lockers) I met Isabel, a super sweet German girl who luckily happened to be staying in the same dorm and for a longer time, and things got better. Slowly but surely I started feeling more comfortable in the hostel and now that I’ve finally started applying for jobs I must say things are quite good. I’m motivated, inspired and “let’s do this!“-kind of excited.

Enough about that, though.

A few weeks ago, before meeting up with Janet and the boys, I crashed at Kees’ place in Manly for two nights. Knowing we’d fly up to Cairns/Port Douglas for a few days, I decided to leave the school bag that Dylan so kindly donated to me when I was leaving Perth and realized I have way too much stuff for my two backpacks at Kees’ place so that I wouldn’t have to carry a bunch of random (some might say highly unnecessary) stuff with me and pay for extra kilos, so I left it at his place to pick it up again when I was back in Sydney mid-January.

Pick-up day being yesterday, Kees had brought the bag to work (he works in the city) from where I was going to pick it up in the afternoon. Strategically enough, we got there at 5.30 pm when quite a few people were leaving the office. There we stood, me and my two backpacker friends, dressed in beach-rather-than-corporate-appropriate clothes, one with dirty fake-Vans and the other one with a camera around his neck. It is safe to say we did not fit in.

I texted Kees that we’re there and he replied he’d be down in a minute, only he didn’t, because apparently the bag had disappeared. He’d left it next to the entrance to his floor’s offices in the morning as he did not want to be carrying it around, let alone take it to his desk, which I completely understood (you should see the bag!). Heavy, big and box-shaped, not to mention worn out, it must’ve looked suspicious to say the least. It was nowhere to be found, though; turns out security had picked it up around noon as they’d identified it as a security threat, thinking it might be a bomb or who knows what. I don’t blame them – it did look suspicious.

So… There I am, standing in the lobby of the 30-something-floor office building, answering one of the security officer’s questions of what’s in the bag to prove that it really is mine. “Clothes, books, what else, hmm… Spaghetti, and a travel pillow! Crayons!” The guy looked at me like what the–?

I could not believe. I could not possibly believe.

Marlene thinks that sometimes my life is like a soap opera, and I must say I agree – sometimes. Luckily they didn’t have to evacuate the building or anything.

THE bag.

Note to self: get rid of some stuff and get rid of the bag.

Can you hear me laugh out loud?

xx Anna