How Janine spent her summer 2007
Left Edinburgh at the beginning of May after a week long farewell party and drove to London. This had to be the worst road trip of my life. I missioned it down the country trying to get somewhere before they closed, only to arrive 5 minutes after they all left. So I didn't get my box shipped home. Finally got into London, and managed to scratch the rental car. Not a good start. Spent the weekend in London, which was awesome cos Ants and Ems were in town so had a bit of a reunion. On Monday I flew to the Dam for two days to get my visa sorted. This involved going to the Aliens Police to register. I was really stressed out about this, but it turned out to be super easy. Spent a couple of nights at Natalie's, then flew back to London to embark on my Contiki Adventure.
THE TOUR (see separate entry)
Spent three days in London after finishing the tour, before flying back to Amsterdam. My first month living in the Netherlands was a lot of hostel hoping (6 different places) and trying to understand the Dutch government systems. Everything was hard. Trying to find work before registering for a tax number was impossible but to register for a tax number you need an address, but how do you get an address without a job to pay for the rent .... the circle of life!
But I did find a great hostel that I wanted to work at. It is a chain of three hostels - two in Amsterdam (Downtown/Uptown) and one in Noordwijk which is a beach town about 45 minutes out of Amsterdam. Originally I wanted to work at the downtown location, but they had no vacancies. I went for an interview at uptown, but did not get the job. But after spending a few days chilling out at the beach, I decided that was where I wanted to be. I had to wait as I planned to go to Denmark for a week at the beginning of July. But at least I had arranged to start work when I got back.
Denmark was awesome. I went to a camping music festival in Roskilde. Now for those of you who know me well, two of those words are not really things that go with Janine - camping and music. But as part of my "trying new things" outlook on life, I thought Id give it a go. I had friends who went last year, and spending a week in the sun sounded like fun. So off I went. Now I booked this in April (advance planning is not my strong suit usually) and by July, I was kinda low on funds, but I went anyways. I had one night in Copenhagen before meeting up with Susie, who I was sharing a tent with. I found out that Ems lived in Malmo, which is about 20mins away from Copenhagen, so I ended up heading to Sweden for the night. And I did what everyone should do when they go to Sweden ... I went to Ikea!
So we got to the festival site on the Tuesday night. We had signed up for a tent, so we were in the South section. This was about 7km away from the festival site but they had buses running back and forth around the clock. Now from all the pics I'd seen of the previous year, I felt a bit ripped off by the weather this year... it rained... and rained ... and then it rained some more. Rain plus 100,000 people causes a lot of mud. So my skirts and jandals were out, and off to the store to buy some gumboots. I managed to finally catch up with the peeps from Edinburgh on the Saturday. All of their phones had died, so it was tough making plans. It was really great to see everyone again and I had loads of fun hanging out with them.
Over the four days of music, I managed to see Arcade Fire, LCD Soundsystem, The Killers, Beastie Boys, Queens of the Stoneage, The Flaming Lips, Aronas, Holly Golightly, The Who, Red Hot Chili Peppers, The Flaming Lips, Artic Monkeys, Muse and Basement Jaxx.
I'm still not the most musically inclined person, but I did manage to get into the mosh pit for a couple of groups - I was proud of myself.
Things I learned at Roskilde
- Girls can pee anywhere too
- All toilets can be unisex
- If it's upright
you can pee on it.
- You can eat for free
the art of scavenging
- A lot of rain + a lot of people = A lot of mud
- Flipflops and mud just don't go
- It is fun to squish clean mud between your toes
- I am just not that into music
- I am physically capable to go camping
- If you change your clothes, you are just gonna be thrown in the mud for being too clean
- When taking a communal shower with 8 hot Scandinavian girls, don't wear your glasses. If you can't see them, they can't see you.
- If you forget your earplugs, just break a cigarette filter in half works a treat
So I flew back to Amsterdam and moved to Noordwijk. I started work straight away, which pretty much involves doing 6 x 5 hour shifts per week. For this, you get your accommodation and your food. If you do over the 30 hours, then you get paid. So far I have only been trained on cleaning, breakfast and night shift but I will be going on to Reception and also Shuttle driving. They do 4 runs a day into Amsterdam. I am a little nervous about driving in the Netherlands with all those cyclists coming out of nowhere - but I am sure I will cope.
Life at the hostel is very chilled. It's just kinda like being in a giant house with random people coming to stay every night. There are about 10 staff members who are travelers like me and about another 6 who are Dutchies. The travelers all live in a house together, but we have our meals and hang out at the hostel when we are not working. I have been playing a lot of cards and I am trying to teach people Bastard Gin. There are a lot of locals who hang out at the hostel too, which is cool - I actually get to meet Dutch people. I am trying to learn a little Dutch as well. I can count to 19 so far.
The town I am living in is really pretty. It's right on the coast and the beach is one block away from the hostel. (The beach even has sand on it). It is a tourist town, but mainly hotels. There is one street of shops, one supermarket and one street of bars. Oh and 2 mini golf places - although they do call it Midget Golf in the Netherlands. There are a lot of sand dunes around, so you can go out exploring these as well.
Dinner is pretty cool at the hostel. The staff each take turns at cooking, so we get quite a variety of food. We get a budget of 3 euro per person, and guest can buy in and eat with us as well. The most I have had to cook for was 18 - I made gourmet burgers with homemade chips. Everyone really enjoyed it.
Since being in the Netherlands, I have had a steady stream of visitors. I usually jump on the shuttle into the dam for the night to catch up with them. First I had Alana and Shantelle, then Rich. Danni and Jacqui were there for one day and the Fiona popped down from London for the weekend with a few friends. Mikey and Mark were also in town a couple of weeks ago. I am becoming quite the tour guide when I head into Amsterdam.
I have to say I missed Edinburgh a lot more than I expected to. I really fell in love with the place. So I emailed my venue from the Fringe last year and asked if I could come back for the last week. They said yes, so decided to go for a 2-week holiday. Last Friday I flew up to London for the weekend. I managed to catch up with Katherine and Sarah (my old workmates), Joe, Myles and Mikey (friends from NZ), Cat and Chris (my old flatmates), Fiona (old school friend), Alice and Mai (friends from the drinking group) and I even popped into work to catch up with the others who are still floating around.
I caught the overnight bus up to Edinburgh on Monday night - big mistake - when will I learn that the cheapest option is not always the best option. It was full, and just so hard to get comfortable! I arrived on Tuesday morning, and as we were heading into the city - I felt like I was home! I went to my old hostel, and as I could not check-in til 2pm, I ended up doing 2 hours cleaning to get a free night. My plans for a big night out were hindered by my exhaustion, and i fell asleep from 4 til 8. Ended up not going out at all.
Started working at C Venues on Wednesday. I think they may have forgotten I was coming, as they seemed surprised when I turned up. I am just helping out in Box Office, doing phone sales, sorting ticket stubs and counting money. I managed to get onto counter sales - but considering there are only 3 shows on at this venue during my shift, and two were sold out - I have not really had that much to do (hence the time to finally write this email (okay so I wrote this in August Im slack at sending things).
I made it to 10 shows in the five days, and went out dancing to my favourite club on Wednesday night with people from the hostel. It must be that time, as a lot of the old crew had also just rocked on up to Edinburgh. There was even a theme party at the hostel for Farkin's birthday. Under the Sea is the theme - don't think I have anything to wear, but gonna head over anyways. Should be good.
The festival was a lot of work (again) but also a lot of fun and it was great catching up with the High Street Crew. I had five days after the festival but managed to get really ill and spend about 3 days confined to bed.
I headed back to the Netherlands on the 5th of September and had my job to go back to. I really need to start making money, but can't really afford to pay for accommodation at the moment, so the hostel job will have to do for the time being. At least I don't have to spend any money while I am there.
Well that brings me up-to-date (or at least up-to-date til the beg of September). I don't think many people will have actually read all of this, but congrats if you did make it to the end.
Hope all is well in your lives. Feel free to update me on interesting little tidbits. I do like to know whats going on in the lives of my nearest and dearest!
I now have to start planning the next adventure - which will most likely have something to do with avoiding winter this year - one every three years is enough for me!