Several years ago, I happened to have six free months to spend in my hometown in between my studies. The initial plan was to stay at my parents’ house, but it soon turned out that it was difficult for me to live with my parents as an adult every day without having any social commitment. So, I applied for a “housekeeping job” at a small local hostel.
The job was unpaid, but in exchange for three hours of daily housekeeping, I was offered a “free accommodation” at the hostel. Since the hostel was located in the old city centre, I thought staying there would give me great opportunities to rediscover my hometown as well. I took the job with delight.
On the second floor of the small house, there was a door with a sign that said, “Staff Room”. The room behind this door was where I was going to stay. It was a storage room with all the spare beddings and cleaning supplies equipped with one bunkbed and one dresser. I remembered that I had once had a dream of living in the cupboard that appeared in Harry Potter series. I couldn’t believe that my dream had just come true in this unexpected way.
The room had a window without curtains. Due to the hostel’s location in the nightlife district, many neon signs flashed outside my window in the night, making it difficult for me to fall asleep. So, I attached a large piece of cloth that I found on the floor to the window as my temporary curtains.
Every morning, my work started at 10am. I would do a stretching exercise in my storage room and head out to clean the house.
The hostel was not big, but there were about 20 bunkbeds to look after, two bathrooms to clean, and the entire house to vacuum and mop. It was quite a feat to complete all of these tasks in 3 hours. By the time I finished, my shoulders were aching, my eyes were unfocused, and my head was dizzy. And in that dizzy head, there was always only one thought: My snack time!
In my room, I kept a bag of my favourite snacks, and as soon as I finished the last task, I would run to my bunkbed and take out a bag of rice crackers. Then, without words, I ate five or six of them in one go. Once my hunger calmed down a bit, I would then take out a box of chocolates and eat a few of them. This snack time was the moment I looked forward to the most. There was something so satisfactory about cuddling up in my bunkbed and eating my favourite snacks after the physical work.
Despite the rather strange setup, I enjoyed my time at this tiny hostel, and the memory of my daily snack ritual is the jewel from that time.