Making an entrance

There’s always a small amount of fear and excitement that builds up inside you as you open the door to a new dorm, because you never know who – or what – you’re going to meet on the other side. But as I’m learning, there’s no need for this rush of adrenaline. Firstly the key to a new room never works, so you always have to go back to reception at least twice to get a new one, and secondly, when you do finally work out how to open the door, nobody wants to talk to you. I had thought that arriving at a new dorm might be a bit like Freshers Week, everyone greeting each other with sparkly eyes and smiles, trying to work out in the first five minutes if this new person is going to be a friend for life or the annoying one who slams around late at night and never does the washing up. But this is not the case. I’ve been staying at hostels for four months now and every time I enter a new dorm, there is always just one person, lying on a bed, plugged into technology. They may (or may not) grudgingly return the greeting when you say hello to them, but they definitely don’t want to talk to you. They are far too busy on social media seeing what their existing friends and fake friends are doing, they don’t even consider that this real life person standing in front of them could become a new friend. It turns out that the time for chatting and making new friends is later at night. This is when the smiley, sparkly eyed people appear. They have been out exploring all day and they want to chat to you, tell you their stories and exchange travel plans, but it all has to be done in excited hushed whispers, because the annoying person who has spent the day on social media always goes to bed early, meaning all conversations have to take place quietly, and often in the dark. Some of the best conversations I’ve had are with people who checked out early the next day, therefore I never got to see what they actually looked like.

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