Saturday, January 20, 2018

Fare thee well, Leah!

We’re saying goodbye to another co-worker, Leah Rainer, as she goes on to bigger and better things. We thought we’d sit down with her and ask about her time here at the hostel to honor her contribution.

leah's staff pic picWhy are you moving on?

I am currently 2 years through a 4 year Master’s program in Chinese Medicine. As the program progresses, it takes up more and more of my time and attention, so I’ll be focusing most of my energy on getting through the rest of school. The program includes studies in Chinese medical theory, acupuncture, Chinese herbalism, Qi Gong and Tai Chi, Shiatsu massage, and a general understanding of Western science and medicine. With all of that on my plate and beginning my clinical practice hours, school is going to start taking up just about all of my time for the next 2 years!


What has been your favorite memory of the hostel?

It’s hard to pick just one. I was one of the last people who did the work exchange program a few years ago, and I have so many fond memories from that month when I got to really spend a lot of time here. I think one of my favorite memories as an official employee would have been one night over the winter when it was pretty rainy outside so most of the folks staying here stayed in. I found myself in a conversation with a girl from Chile, a man from Canada, a girl from the East coast, and another guy from France. We didn’t even all speak English, but somehow were having a really interesting conversation about minimum wages and standards of living in the different areas of the world we each called home. It was so interesting and really highlighted one of my favorite parts about working at the hostel, which is the opportunity to learn about so many different cultures around the world. I’ve also always really loved our open mic nights!


What will you miss about working at the hostel?

I’ll miss Blackie, the porch cat. I’ll miss all the people I’ve gotten to know while working here. I’ll miss meeting people from all over the world who are all in the middle of some kind of life adventure. It’s so exciting to talk to people who are in the middle of having pulled themselves out of their daily routines and are exploring something new.


Halloween 2013


What made you decide to work with us in the first place?

The hostel has held a special place in my heart for several years now. I grew up on the East coast, and after I graduated college, I decided on a whim to fly out here and check out this little city I’d been so curious about. I stayed at the hostel then, and really it was my first time traveling completely alone. There was something amazingly liberating about the whole thing, and I felt so alive and excited the whole time. A year later when I decided to move here, I contacted the hostel about a possible work exchange. I got to live in the backyard of the hostel in a tent for a month in exchange for a few days a week’s worth of cleaning while I got my feet on the ground. That month was probably one of the most exciting whirlwinds of my life. I met a lot of wonderful people, some of whom I’m still friends with today. A year after that, I was looking for some part time work and popped into the hostel just to say hello, only to find out they were hiring. I was excited to apply and have the opportunity to be part of the journeys of so many other travelers who were having their own experiences in Portland and here at the hostel.


Have you learned anything working here? If so, what?

I’ve learned that you really can’t make assumptions about any place in the world. I’ve met several different types of people from many different countries and you truly can’t generalize any type of person or country. There are unique people from all over, each with their own story.


And now she is on to make her story. Best of luck to you, Leah. We know it’s not goodbye. Once you walk through these doors, you’re family.