"F*cking sh*t! F*CKING SH*T NOOOO! Guys, we have a problem."
As I sat on the bottom of the bunk bed in our hostel in Auckland, New Zealand, I just so happened to glance over at Ashley's open suitcase just as a bug crawled across a reusable shopping bag situated on top. My heart dropped. I knew instantly it was a bed bug. AND I could tell it had been feeding by the size and color of it. Diana and I captured it in a coffee mug and brought it down to the front desk. Our worst fears were confirmed. The staff at the hostel handed us bug spray and told us to empty out our suitcases as well as wash or spray down absolutely everything we owned, even the clothes on our back.
For the next 7 hours, we washed every single piece of clothing in our suitcases. Load after load of laundry went into the machines. Imagine three extra large suitcases, one carry-on sized suitcase, two backpacks, and two weekend bags of clothing and items to sort through.
At one point we arranged it so that the last load we put in the machine was the clothing we were wearing. As we stripped down to nothing in the laundry room, we fished out already clean clothing from our newly washed loads. At this point, not much was done, so it was slim pickings. I ended up in a "going out" dress; Diana opted for a purple tennis skirt and a hot pink tank; and Ashley sported black workout shorts and a see-through white tank. We were definitely a sight to see.
We sprayed down our empty suitcases with a strong bug killer on the rooftop deck. As we waited for the bags to dry, we began to sort out the clean clothes and all of our non-clothing belongings. For the better half of an afternoon, we took over a large portion of the deck with our stuff. To keep calm as well as help the time move quickly, we listened to a Friday Funday CD and danced around. At one point, we started to auction off our possessions to the people out on the deck so that there was less to repack. A pair of moccasins and a Friday Funday CD were in the mix of randomness given away.
I probably should also mention that the rooftop deck was on the seventh floor and it just so happens that the elevator was broken that day. So now, imagine us lugging our stuff up and down the stairs. Mind you, each of our big luggage pieces is easily over 50 pounds.
Another curve ball of the day included a formerly white button up from J. Crew and a formerly off-white linen shirt from Lucky brand turning Easter yellow. The button up was completely destroyed, while there's still a small possibility of me being able to rock out the linen shirt, just in a different hue.
Through all of our mishaps today, each of us remained calm and kept a smile on our faces. Even if one of us had broken down, the day would have went significantly worse. As we finished up re-packing our suitcases, a guy named Cory from Canada approached us and commended us on our ability to find the positive in this situation and to do it with a smile on our faces while cracking jokes. He was thoroughly impressed with our optimistic demeanor.
We received a refund and found a condo rental around the corner from the hostel to stay in that night. The condo ended up being only $10 extra per person per night, but in addition to NOT sharing sleeping quarters with complete strangers (aka strippers from The Mermaid) we now also had two bedrooms, two bathrooms, washer and dryer in unit (too bad we just washed everything we owned!), full kitchen, pool, gym, and gorgeous views of the harbour.
There are a couple life lessons I've learned today:
-The importance of team work. Diana, Ashley, and I were able to handle the situation given to us today because we were there for each other the entire way through.
-I can't get attached to physical possessions. If a shirt or two gets ruined, so what? I'm thankful for my health and the pure fact that the three of us are alive!
-Nothing bad happens to us...because we don't let it. It's up to us to respond negatively or positively to each situation given to us. We are the only ones that can control how a situation ends up.
Screw you, bed bugs! You're not ruining our trip that easily...