Terviseks Backpackers Bed and Breakfast is entering it's 2nd Summer as my home and a place for people to stay. As I sit in my own room drinking China Jasmine Tea Pearl Mountain I find myself thinking back to the time when I sat in the living room of Hostel Terviseks wondering why I was in a hostel in Tartu, and why all these other people were also in a hostel in Tartu. Back then I slept on any bed that was available to me, and managed to get 3, maybe 4, cups from one shitty hostel teabag.
The name is the same, and so is the colour of the walls, but the two Terviseks couldn't be more different. One was a hostel, the other one is a Bed and Breakfast. They have/had different owners, were/are in different parts of Tartu and were/are owned by different companies. Fortunately one similarity that stands out above all was that they both managed to give people an affordable, friendly way to visit and stay in Tartu.
I have a few days off and thought I would write down some of the more memorable guests, nights and moments from what, at the time, was considered the best hostel in Tartu and Estonia.
Seeing as the most important thing about any hostel is the people that stay there I thought it would be nice to see if I could remember my favourite guest. I couldn't. There were so many that came to stay with us here in Tartu that it would be unkind to pick one out, and to be frank, I couldn't if I tried. Then I started to see if I could remember any guest, and one person stood out above all. I'm not going to tell you his name and the title of this post should tell you why!
What I can say is that he initially just came to Estonia and started off staying in Tallinn, then came to Tartu via Viljandi. As far as hostel guests go he seemed pretty normal ... quiet, occasionally weird, occasionally funny and seemingly very smart. His story for being here was interesting and a little obscure. His name was quite funny and when he left the hostel I forgot all about him and assumed he had moved on from Tartu forever.
Then one day he made another booking and from that day on I never forgot him again. He had been staying in Tallinn for a year and either Tallinn had got bored of him, or he had got bored of Tallinn but here he was in Hostel Terviseks once again. He stayed in Tartu for a week, then disappeared, then came back for to the hostel for another week, then disappeared, then lived with us for over a year and this is where he cemented his relationship with us and with Tartu.
When drunk, and he was always drunk, he was angry, sexist, aggressive, offensive, and lecherous. We had the great fortune of spending enough time with him to realise that he was actually an intelligent, sensitive, funny guy just looking for love. We gave him clothes, we taught him that cooking involved more than just adding ketchup, we cut his hair. We miss listening to his death, black and sludge metal. We miss telling him to stop getting upset when a girl wasn't interested in him. We miss being told that the reason why he had split lip had nothing to do with the fact that he called some a girl a cunt and that the boyfriend was our of order for hitting him. We miss telling him that if you work in a cloakroom it is not alright to take your glasses off and ask someone outside just because they ask for their coat back.
"Don't eat that pickle because I won't want to kiss you later."