“People underestimate the value of a good bad experience.” - The Good People by Sarah Conn

I’ve always thought this way - that bad things make us what we are as much as good things. Which is why there are some bad things I’ve always wanted to experience. Some that I put on my list of 100 things, like have my heart broken. Probably inspired by my love of Savage Garden and the line from Affirmation, “I believe you can’t appreciate real love till you’ve been burned.”

I’m not asking for bad things to happen to me (in fact, I’m knocking on wood, lifting my feet and holding my breath right now to prevent it) but I truly think that to understand the enormity of human experience and human emotion, you have experience both the bad and the good. But I’ve been lucky. Nothing truly bad has ever happened to me.

This is the most unbelievable thing that has ever happened to me:

I went to Spain to visit my friend Chris, who was, in turn, visiting her parents. Though I flew into Malaga, we spent the two nights in Algeciras since it was right next to Gibraltar, our plan for Saturday. We were staying in a “hostal” which I think translates to hostel, but was more like a budget hotel. It was ridiculously cold in the room, but we were trying desperately to sleep. Until 2am when we were woken up by extremely loud screaming. At first we thought it was kids outside, drunk or high. It was Carnivale that week in Spain, so it wasn’t terribly surprising that people might be partying too hard. Then we realized that it wasn’t outside, it was only two floors down. They were SCREAMING. I’ve never actually heard someone scream like that before. We had no idea what they were saying, because we don’t speak (much) Spanish. There was a lot of crying, the sounds of someone throwing up and a bunch of different voices, one of which sounded like a child.

The screaming continued for two hours, and finally we got back to sleep around 4am. We didn’t venture out to see what was happening, because we were scared and we wouldn’t have been any help anyway, as we don’t speak the language. But when we went downstairs to the lobby the next morning, we asked the man what had happened. He didn’t speak any English, but we asked via charades what had happened. Chris held up two fingers, then four and did some screaming. He got it and started to explain, with his own charades. We gathered from this and a few key words (like “morta”) that someone had died! Apparently a woman had a heart attack. I don’t think I will ever forget that screaming. I couldn’t stop thinking about it for days after wards.


  • By Faebala, March 10, 2010 @ 4:09 am

    It’s a freaky experience. It’s like that time I witnessed that guy die in the car accident at 2am, and he went up in flames. Won’t ever forget that. *hugs*

  • By The Chris, March 10, 2010 @ 5:31 am

    Ahh yes, the Death Hostal. This is told in a very haunting way, I tend to tell the story in a more shocking-amusing type fashion. What a weird experience though. I’m so glad you were there with me, can’t imagine what that would have been like alone.

  • By Eleni, March 17, 2010 @ 3:15 am

    Pretty crazy, and rather unsettling. Experiences like that can be fascinating (if also disturbing) as long as you are not friends with the people involved.

    The closest experience I have that comes to mind is this: I watched a mother breaking the news to her teenage daughter over the phone that her father (the daughter’s father, the mother’s husband) had died. I will never forget the words she chose or the way she said them. Heartbreaking.

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