I have been here a little over a week, but it feels like it has been much longer. Which is probably why I have been feeling bad that I haven’t written anything about it yet. It’s not that I didn’t have the time, but just that I have not yet figured out what to tell you. I don’t know how I feel about this whole experience just yet and not everything that I could tell is suitable to discuss with the world wide web. So I decided to just give you a glimpse into my day-to-day life, and we can go from there.
It’s just been a little weird. When I went to Indonesia, there was so much to tell. Everything was new. Here… it’s ‘just’ France. And I’m at a Dutch campsite, so basically it feels like I’m still in The Netherlands (except for those wonderful but rare occasions on which I can actually practice – and hopefully improve – my French). It’s a language I want to learn to speak so badly, but to get better at it I need to do it, and so far… I haven’t had to do it a lot.
This past week and a half has been a learning experience. I have gotten to know a lot about the business that is this camping site and I have learned how to operate within their procedures and rules.
My domain here is the reception area and the shop. I keep everything organized and neat, which is a task that can easily be trusted to me. I get to print a lot of things, create program booklets and menus (the layout, not the content), I make the schedules and I gained a new hobby: laminating stuff.
Besides the kitchen I help out with a lot of other different tasks, like cleaning, working in the kitchen, doing a whole bunch of dishes, restocking the tea carousel, filling up cups with mayonaise. I get a bunch of fun tasks (that will probably only be fun the first time) and I enjoy doing it all.
So a bit about the living conditions. I’m staying in a trailer, where I have my own bedroom with a big bed. I share it with another girl, but we hardly see each other there because we work different hours (meaning, I get to go home at 17.30 – although I usually offer my help in the kitchen and hang out there for two hours) and she rolls in at 23.00 or 0.00.
The next morning, I probably wake her up at 6.30 when I get out of bed to do some yoga or go running, but every time I ask she says it’s okay and that I’m not bothering her.
It is freaking cold. I always sort of thought I was an outdoorsy type, but I guess I only am when the sun is shining. I hate the cold. And I’m cold all the time. Except when I work in the kitchen, so that’s… something.
The internet here is worse than in the secluded places in Asia that I have visited, so that’s too bad. But the upside is fresh mountain air every time I go outside, a great view to start and end my day with and living for free. Because that is basically what I’m doing. I get paid, but I also work for food and housing. The cook here makes great vegan meals for me every day and he really knows how to cook! I eat delicious french bread and I drink lots of water and tea. In the morning, I can even get fruit and make a smoothie. So that is arranged really well and that is great.
My goal was, sort of, to not spend any money while I am here. And now that I have decided that I want to see a bunch around the area, I will have to spend some money on gasoline, but other than that, I will be able to live here without any costs. So I’m going to keep track and write down all the expenses I have. But it will not be much, because I really have everything I need here.
So, even though I still have my ups and downs, my certainties and my doubts and my good moments and my bad moments, I’m liking it here more and more, and by now I feel confident that I can make this a great summer.