I wake up startled. Surprised, I reach for the telephone that is next to me, already ringing. What time is it? Eight o’clock. Time to get up anyway. While I’m answering, I try to sound as awake as possible. “This is Michelle.” A neighbor with another Bed and Breakfast, who’s on the other end of the line, immediately apologizes for the early hour. “I made a mistake!” she exclaims. “I told one of my guests last night that they could come a day earlier, but I didn’t see that I had also received a new reservation at the same time…” There is a moment of silence. “The problem is that I only had one room available.” She doesn’t have to finish her story. “If it’s just one day, it’s no problem,” I answer her. “But tomorrow I don’t have any rooms available either.” “That’s no problem,” she answers quickly. “Then I will contact the guests and let you know as soon as possible,” she concludes.

While I quickly check all the rooms after having a cup of coffee and before I start cleaning the common areas, we keep in touch. The Spaniards, who wanted to come a day earlier, are already on their way. “From what time can guests check in with you?” I ask nervously. It’s only nine in the morning and I don’t like the idea of ​​them arriving while I’m still cleaning the hall with soapy water, the vacuum cleaner and a mop. “Four o’clock.” I sigh with relief. That gives me enough time to finish everything. Even if they decide to come an hour or two earlier. Then the phone rings again. “It’s already solved!” The voice on the other end of the line sounds relieved as well. “The Spaniards did not agree to this solution, but fortunately the Dutch decided to come a day later. Because of the predicted rain and their plan to go cycling, it seemed like a better idea to them.” “Great!”, I answer happily. That gives me some breathing space again. “Yes, the Spaniards are bringing their dog,” she continues. “I think they saw on your website that you don’t allow pets.” I answer affirmatively. “That’s right. We don’t have pets ourselves and both our house (brand new!) and the patio (not big enough) are not suitable for pets at all.” “Good to know,” says the voice on the other end of the line. “Every now and then I have guests who do not book because we do allow them.” I completely understand that. One person doesn’t like cats. The other doesn’t like dogs. Or someone has an allergy. “Then I can send them to you.” There is a short silence. “And children? You rather not have them, right?” Again I answer in the affirmative. “Our house is not equipped for that either. Older children are no problem. But our accommodation is simply not suitable for younger children.”

After we end the conversation, I pick up the vacuum cleaner again. I now know exactly which guests I can forward to which fellow Bed & Breakfast owner. I like the fact that we can help each other out in that way. Especially when the doorbell rings, a few hours later. A girl is already standing in the hallway with her suitcase. A yoga mat hangs over her shoulder. “Claudia?”, I try carefully. The girl shakes her head and says her name. I look at her in surprise. “Are you sure you booked with us?” I ask her. Apart from Claudia, I don’t expect any more guests at all. For a moment, my heart skips a beat. Until she too starts to have doubts. “Are you not Anna? From the retreat?”, she asks therefore. I breathe with relief and I too shake my head. For a moment I was afraid that the exact same thing was happening to us. When she shows me a photo of the house where she has to be, I recognize it immediately. “Ca La Pasita!”, I tell her. “That’s in the street behind this one.” As she turns the corner with her suitcase, I take a quick look at myself. In my leggings and tank top, I look like I could indeed have given a yoga retreat. When my sister comes to check up, she nods affirmatively. “After one look at you, I would have already rolled out that mat in the hallway,” she screams, laughing. Really relieved, I start laughing too. “Another time,” I say instead. I’m done for today. Waiting for Claudia is all I’m going to do.