It was the summer of 2009 and I was in the Water Park capital of the World, Wisconsin Dells! It was my first, and ultimately, last time going on a Work and Travel programme and I was uber excited. I would be working at the Wilderness Resort and I would be staying with a nice old Granny named Dorothy. How the heck could my summer go wrong?
Let me tell you.
First of all, I didn’t book my ticket until the day before I left, something that the programme administrators were to have done months in advance. Anyway. I flew to Chicago, spent the night and took the train to the Dells the next day. Dorothy met me at the train station, showed me around, took me to Walmart, let me sleep upstairs in the magnificent Queen bed. It was shaping up to be an awesome summer. That is, until my 3 other roommates joined me. Three Jamaican girls who would be the destruction of my 4 months.
The day after they came we were relocated to a cold, dank basement that was prepared specifically for us. It wasn’t terrible, but it wasn’t awesome. There were 2 twin beds, the majestic Queen bed, and one sofa bed that never quite transitioned to the “bed” state. Guess which one I slept on. Yep, the sofa “bed”. I didn’t mind terribly because I’m the kind of person who will literally make myself numb to surroundings that I hate. And I loathed that situation and eventually, those 3 girls. But I went to work, subsisted off of BK’s dollar men, rode my bike across the highway to Walmart, and I persevered.
I hated my job by the way. I was a Slide Attendant wearing a Life Guard swimsuit. Essentially I told people when to go down the slides. Awesome, huh? To this day I still hate the smell of chlorine in a pool. Thankfully I got a second job at Knuckleheads, an indoor Amusement Park and Bowling Alley. I was the only black person on staff and I felt right at home. I even had a crush on one of the other workers. Roman was his name. He was hot, in a very stereotypical “mean Russian” kinda way. After about a month or two, I finally mustered up the courage to speak to him. So one morning as I walked over to him to take over on the Go-Karts, I looked up at him, smiled and barely whispered “Hi”. Because I’m grandiose like that. He didn’t even look at me when he gave me a very brusque “Hello”. Damned mean Russians.
Anyway, I digress.
When we had about a month and a half left, things began going downhill very quickly. Between being threatened by the cops (because one of the girls called them to our little basement…they were also pretty hot too), being treated like crap by Dorothy, and constantly arguing with said cop-caller, I was experiencing a perpetual “Worst Day Ever”. The turning point was when one of the pipes in our basement broke and subsequently flooded our little place with water from God knows where. Dorothy’s advice was to put our stuff out to dry. Um, ya think? The following day she left to go visit family so we decided that we would also leave. Well, one of the girls decided that we should ditch the cop-caller and leave. And because I was not about to stay with the cop-caller (and partially because at 19 I still succumbed to peer pressure–peer being a very loose term here), I gathered up my stuff and went along with her and the other girl.
To a Motel down the street.
For the next five weeks my home was the Malibu Inn, owned and operated by Turkish native Joseph and his family. All three of us got a room with two King beds. Finally, I could roll around and spread out as I pleased in my own domain! I had that domain for a week. Then, I spent the next four weeks sleeping beside a red headed Russian girl, whose name I still don’t know. Because I never spoke to her. Even though we shared the tiny hot plate, tiny refrigerator, tiny shower, tiny sink, and huge bed, I never once spoke to her. My numbness was at an all time high. By then I didn’t really speak to the other two Jamaican girls either; I had to live in my own bubble for my sanity’s sake. Paying $75 a week (as opposed to the $25 at Dorothy’s), hauling my clothes to the laundromat down the street (as opposed to washing upstairs at Dorothy’s), and cooking Mac-N-Cheese daily on a hotplate (as opposed to baking chicken in a full oven at Dorothy’s), I could do nothing but dwell on the HUGE mistake I had made.
Those were arguably the worst five weeks of my life. The Dells overall is a great place, don’t get me wrong; I’d totally go back. I just had a VERY crappy time living there.
And that’s how I ended up living in a motel!