I just ate about half of a chocolate cake with gooey chocolate frosting. Okay, maybe not HALF, but a large chunk. It was my going-away cake, lovingly baked by my coworker, Kris, to mark my departure from the hostel. So unnecessary and nice of him.
The cake was gorgeous; a bunch of hostel peeps stood around the reception desk with me and ate it with forks, semi-scooping it into bowls as we went. Yummm. Now I have a total sugar headache but it was worth it. It's funny to compare how nice everyone here has been -- like the fact that all of them have told me how much they'll miss me when I'm gone, etc. -- with my experience at the law firm in Brazil.
When I left the firm in Sao Paulo, no one really blinked an eyeball, which is ironic, since I had worked my tail off there for seven long months, completely underpaid and most definitely underappreciated. Here's the icing on the (non-existent) cake: once I left Brazil, not only did I not receive any word of appreciation or thanks from the company, but instead got an email demanding that I mail the office manager $20 for my last month's cell phone bill (for the phone that the office required me to have). As IF!
I realize that it's hard to compare a touchy-feely backpackers' hostel with a large, international law firm, but actually, when it comes down to it, basic respect between bosses, employees, coworkers, whatever, shouldn't drastically differ from place to place.
Sorry if I sound horribly bitter but when someone bakes you a big, chocolate goodbye cake, it really puts things into perspective. I'll miss you, hostel!