Lunches in the weekends are always more luxurious at our family. Where we just pack a few sandwiches with a slice of meat or nutella during the week, we actually sit down together on the weekends.
On Saturday we have fresh buns from the bakery. Every Saturday morning my Mum goes shopping and comes back with fresh bread and meat. On Sunday we put some bake-at-home baguettes on and enjoy them while they’re still hot. Sometimes there’ll be hotdogs or soup, especially in winter.
Now, I’m in Australia. On the weekend I’ll call my parents at night. When it’s evening for me, they are about to sit down at the table for lunch. I can just about smell the bread from the oven. They’ll be sharing stuff that happened during the week. I guess I’m still partly there, since that’s exactly what I do on Skype, but I miss that time with my family. Oh, nostalgia.
Five nights a week I work in a fast food shop serving fish, chicken and chips. A big part of my job there consists of cleaning. The worst task of all is the chicken machine. It starts with looking at the pile of spikes and sticky, greasy equipment that still has chicken leftovers attached. There are little corners you just can’t seem to reach.
The machine itself has some glass that needs to be taken out and scrubbed until it’s shiny. And then I stick my arms into the machine to scrub that as well. The task seems to be never ending and I always cut myself or knock my fingers on the edges. When it’s finally over I sigh… time to do the chickens.
New chickens are stuffed, another horrible job, and put onto the spikes I’d just cleaned. Ready, so my boss can put them in the machine the next morning. At night I scrub the grease off my arms and fiddle with my nails, trying to get the dark, greasy bits out from underneath it. The next day I’ll come in only to do it all over again.
Currently I live with my boyfriend and his best friend in Adelaide. We have quite a big garden and the boys decided they wanted to have some chickens. So now we have a black, a white and a brown one awkwardly walking around the garden flapping their wings.
Chickens are creatures that are out of control. They almost always stay together, so if one scoots off to the other end of the garden, the others will soon follow. They love roaming the garden, but they love food even more. No matter how much I feed them, as soon as they hear me in the kitchen I can see them huddling in front of the back door, creaming for more.
As soon I walk outside I’ve got three passionate followers that can’t control their steps and run into me frequently. Lately they’ve been staring at me like they are ready for attack. Even if it’s just the laundry I’m holding, they’re eying it and I’m afraid they’ll fly up to get it. Let’s just say I take care of them, but I am not a fan.
A few days ago I had a dream. It was in that stage where you feel like you’re half awake and yet you cannot wake up no matter how hard you try. The chickens seemed to have multiplied and there were dozens of little chicks waddling through the garden. All of them came at me and started pecking at my feet. There was no escaping them!
Since them I’m even more aware of what the chickens are up to. If you ask me, they are planning for a take over. You can see it in their eyes as you’re trying to feed them. This is war, they seem to say. We’ll see what happens next.
Check out more about dreams and nightmareshere on the daily post.
What do you really know about the world when you’re a kid? My life was carefree. The biggest problem was who to meet up with after school for a play date. Until I was about ten, my mum was at home. Me and my brother went to school in the morning, came home for lunch, went back to school for the afternoon, had play dates and sometimes sports in the evening.
My primary school was officially catholic, but other than the option to finish your religious upbringing by a confirmation, you didn’t really notice it. There were kids that had other beliefs and that was fine. No one was frowned upon. Most of the catholic kids didn’t even do their confirmation.
I guess most people can be considered working class. I grew up in a town of about 15000. There were farmer’s kids in my class as well as kids from the suburbs of town. Everyone either rode their bicycle or walked to school. We didn’t have mobile phones or computer games to think about. Instead we had snowball fights, or sand fights in summer.
There was one special thing about my friends at school. Our class had a deaf boy. He was a regular during the first years until he had to go to a special school, but he still came to our class every now and then to be with his friends. This boy had told us the special sign for play. You gently knock your fists together to ask someone if they want to play with you after school. So all our teachers saw all day was people banging their fists together and pointing at each other to decide whose house we were going to.
Sometimes I wish I could go back to such a simple life, even for a day, totally worry-free. Then again, life wasn’t spectacular either. Every day was pretty much the same, with some special holidays and outings, but even these you couldn’t fully appreciate, because life was easy anyway. As a kid everything seems almost equally exciting. Now, I’m making my own decisions and because the downs are worse, the ups are better too!
Mostly, I work to support my lifestyle and not the other way around. I’ve had one job though that was a lifestyle in itself. I’d love to do that again, because I was actually excited to go to work!
Two winters I worked for Thredbo Snow Sports in Australia. Working in a ski area feels a bit like a holiday. Most people are happy because they are on theirs and all the staff loves snow and skiing so much that they’re just happy to be around and hit the slopes as much as they can.
Even though I was miles away from home, I found a second home in Jindabyne, living in a small cottage with some awesome people. Every day we made the half an hour trip to Thredbo, always excited to see what the weather was like on that side of the mountain. In my collegues I found family and friends. There really was an we’re-all-in-it-together-mentality.
During my first year I couldn’t ski yet and my new friends taught me how. Throughout my time in Thredbo I had the support of my collegues, who gave me tips and commented on my style constantly. I still remember the surprised faces when someone I worked with saw me in one of his ski classes.
My job involved organising things for the kids ski school. I set up the meeting area in the mornings, my least favourite job. Then I welcomed the kids and put them into the right classes. Throughout the day I helped the instructors on the snow, I set out treasure hunts and race days and supervised the lunches. It was all about making things go smooth. I worked in a small team that was part of a way bigger team, but that meant we were very flexible and if there was a big dump of snow, there’d be time for a ski.
I loved my job! I hope I can get similar jobs in the future. Often I feel restless. Often I feel like I’m wasting time in my life. Not in the ski fields. I loved being there. I enjoyed every minute of it. If you haven’t found your dream job yet, try the ski fields. It doesn’t matter if you’re a novice or a die hard ski bum. You’ll become one soon enough.
Breaking news, the tv headline reads, Karma scientifically proven. Hmmm.
I reflect upon my life. Sure, I wasn’t always miss Sunshine, but so far Karma has been good to me. I’m actually happy with my life. I get to do the things I want to do. I travel and see new things. I’ve had a bunch of crazy jobs I never would have tried had I stayed home. I’m meeting people from all over the world. I’m learning. I’m becoming a better version of me every day. Isn’t that karma?
Isn’t karma in everyone? If somebody treats me like shit, is disrespectful or just mean, I won’t have anything to say to them. I live with the principle treat others how you want to be treated. I’ve added to that and if you don’t treat me right, than don’t be expected to be treated right by me. Things work both ways. Like me boss has to learn. He wants me to cover for others, but makes me feel guilty to need a day off myself. My karma tells me I might not make it next time he needs me.
Karma… I still don’t know how I feel about it. So it’s real. I guess I’ve been living with it my whole life then and can blame all the shitty bits on it. I don’t see how I deserved them though. I think I lead life the right way. I might slip every now and then, but that’s why we’re human. I think karma should let us know what the right way of living is, because we’re all different and have different views of right and wrong. If there isn’t a rule for right and wrong, who’s karma to decide what’s going to happen to me? I’m still not convinced.
Wouldn’t it be cool if there was a universal language everyone could speak?
I think speaking a language not many people know is a big advantage. I speak Dutch and can fairly safely talk about my secrets when I’m abroad without anyone understanding me. This is also what two women thought that I encountered in New York. I was browsing through the department of fancy dresses in my not so fancy backpacker clothes. Two posh old Dutch women felt like they had to discuss what a disgrace it was that people like me were in the same place as they were. They didn’t once think that I might be Dutch too and could hear every word, so when they were finished I politely wished them a good afternoon in Dutch.
I speak English well and this comes very close to a universal language. You can find your way around in many countries using English. However, if you want a deeper conversation I find I often get stuck and find myself trying to explain words or phrases to others. There are so many idioms I use that others have never heard of. I guess to them it would be like me speaking French. I know the basic grammar and can look up words in a dictionary, but sayings and idioms would be a mystery to me.
Living in Europe can give you a good base for understanding languages. Many come from Latin and Greek and are very similar. Therefore, even if I don’t speak Spanish or Swedish, I can read and recognise words because I know them from another language. This makes navigating through a city a bit easier. It becomes a lot harder when they letters change. Think about Russian, Mandarin or even modern Greek. If you can’t even recognise the letters, you can never guess what a word means.
I guess I’d like to wake up one day and speak Arabic. The language just looks so pretty and curly. I think this would open up a big part of the world for me, a world I know very little about. Having to learn it would be a big pain in the ass, but if somehow I suddenly understood Arabic, I’d go to Oman, Egypt or Jordan to practise and who knows… I might make a career out of it.
I love baking. At home I have books full of recipe’s waiting for me to try them. Unfortunately I am travelling now and those will have to wait. Yet even when I’m travelling the kitchen lures me in. There are free recipe’s in the supermarket magazines and I often see an attractive recipe on a blog. Or you see something of that other culture that you can’t wait to try.
So when I knew I was going to stay in one place for a while I hit the shops. I came home with a baking tin, some tools, measuring cups and mixing bowls. For three months I made something every week. After that I couldn’t part with my things since I was just moving to another place where I would stay for a few weeks and come back once again. So my skibag housed some baking utensils between my boots and warm layers.
Another thing I cannot resist is buying special cookie cutters abroad. I know fully well that I’ll have to carry them around the world with me, even though I have no clue for how long. I just have to have them. I cannot resist it. Instead of tacky souvenirs I am coming home with baking stuff for my collection. I guess I cannot live without it…
All beginning is hard. So is picking up exercise. I’ve done it often and I’ve done it again. After a hour-long class full of squatting, weights and jumping I felt my poor legs had trouble walking down the stairs. Mind you, I hadn’t done anything like this in the past two years. I’ve been travelling and that contains the occasionally hike or skiing trip, but nothing like a regular exercise program.
So the day after I felt like my muscles had turned into stone and today, two days after, they haven’t recovered yet. My mind wanted to join another class, but my legs disobeyed and didn’t want to bend when I wanted to get out of bed. Instead of a class, I went for a swim.
When I entered the pool, there were a few old people in it. One man was sitting on a floating, rubber spaghetti and did nothing else. Another man was standing in the corner and moved to a different corner every now and then. A woman was basically doing the same. Another man swam a lap or two and then joined the conversation in the corner.
To them the pool was more of a community hall instead of an exercise room. I tried to swim laps, but the talkative seniors kept asking me questions and including me in their conversation. Eventually I got half an hour of swimming in and then brought my stone legs home. In The Netherlands they complain about ‘hangjongeren’, kids that just hang around on squares or in the streets. In the gym I encountered the senior equivalent of this. There’s a generation gap for you.
Last week I decided I needed change. I am a hopper at heart, whether it’s for a job, a place or a hobby. I can be loyal to things and people I like, but I need new interests every few weeks to keep myself happy and entertained. I’ve been travelling, moving from place to place for a while now. Suddenly I find myself in Adelaide with my boyfriend. I want to stay here, get to know him better and see if we have a future, but can my spirit handle this?
After two months here, I am getting more than restless. An unhappy feeling overcomes me. Is this it? Is this what life is? I have a crappy job with not enough hours and my energy is being drained. I feel like I am chained to my house and a sense of loneliness overcomes me. I am not ready to settle for average. I’m in a rut and my ship is sinking.
Last week I realised I needed a change. So that’s when I became more proactive in improving my life. I need to know that I can stick it out here until April and maybe even be slightly happy with it. I started my application process for my new visa. In April this country will kick me out and I need somewhere else to go. So I applied for New Zealand and have done all the medical stuff for it. My application is in the hands of the Auckland office now. There is nothing I can change anymore.
Today I went to the gym. I signed up and can start tomorrow. Not exercising is giving me headaches and my energy levels are lower than ever. I need a kick-start for the coming weeks. Summer is here. I want to go out and do things. The beach is waiting. I’ve found some projects to keep me entertained. I am working on a TEFL course, picked up a new knitting project and have dived deeper into the world of blogging.
I hope I’ve reached my turning point. That this will be the day things change for the better. After feeling like I’ve only been in this town for a man, I’m picking up my own life again. I need a purpose. I need to learn. I need new experiences. Now’s as good a time as ever. So stand up straight, claim your energy back and be a better person. Life is waiting for you. New projects are always there, you just have to claim them.