Breaking the silence

Alright, today it’s time to write again. It’s as if I was caught in a dry spell the last few months but I didn’t write much. I don’t know why, sometimes I felt uninspired and some others, that I had so much to say I didn’t know where to begin.

I experimented a bit. Join this blogging 101 thing but it wasn’t for me I guess. And I move to Copenhagen.

That’s a big change and maybe I had less time to spend on writing too. I got a job (actually two), join Danish class, taking some volunteering job as well. It has been busy but I haven’t stopped looking at my surroundings, spying on the Danes and …just existing in a foreign land.

I also decided I will go back to study. I am in the process now of applying, but something with culture. Not art …but different cultures, how it affects us and something like that. I don’t know if I will stay in Denmark, or move somewhere else, maybe…go back to France (what?!?) everything is possible.

So here it is, I broke the silence and more articles will come. I have been doing a lot of progress in Danish so…you can expect to read on that soon :)

A guide to Hitch Hiking in Denmark

“I would never do hitch hiking it’s for hippies” says a friend not such a long time ago.

After 3 days of travelling he came back to me and said “It’s so easy and amazing, I am so good at it!”

In Denmark I doubt it’s very common to hitch hike, you would most likely find foreigners or back packers doing it in the summer but that’s where it ends. However, I found it one of the best to travel (as well as car sharing). Because it’s efficient, easy, and most important a way to make your travel an experience rather than some time you are “wasting” on a train. Some like to be on train on their own, letting their mind wandering, I also like doing this but I also feel that when I hitch hike I always meet amazing people.

Hitch hiking is a way for people to meet but somehow there is a selection process going on. Why? Because not everyone will hitch hike, therefore if you put your self out there it means you have energy, time and the will to meet people (it doesn’t mean you have to be talkative but you shouldn’t feel uncomfortable being in stranger car). Plus while doing this you rely on others, you assume being dependent and in an society becoming more and more individualistic interdependance is often seen as a weakness.I see it as strengh because if I can’t do something on my own I am not scared to ask for help.

The selection process continues because not everybody stops to take hitch hikers. I like to believe that the people who stop are inherently good not matter who they are and they background because they see someone on the road and stop to help, they know they won’t get anything in return appart from a nice chat maybe. You also have creeps that stop but I haven’t met any.

That’s where the magic happens, I had the best conversation riding people’s car, it’s such an easy to meet people when you are in a foreign country and want to get into the culture. It’s a very interesting way to communicate because all of sudden the akwardness that people may feel while having to talk to strangers isn’t really there. You have at least one thing in common: going somewhere therefore it’s your starting point.

Learn how to hitch a ride!

Thanks to Emilia, Cecilie and Christoffer for this video :)

Are you ready to put in practice what you learned from our previous video? I am heading to Copenhagen this week end and I am getting ready to encounter this!

 

Featured Image -- 536

Our Europe

thefrenchiebug:

I want to share this article from Ana with you! We had a very interesting culture club yesterday about the current situation in Europe for youth

Originally posted on Daily life in Højskolen Snoghøj:

Wednesday evening  we had a very interesting Culture Club. Elena and Peter, two young Danes, spent one year travelling around 24 European countries trying to understand the current situation in Europe.

mapa

Their project “Our Europe” focuses on the young generation. They wanted to know how the young Europeans are, what are their challenges and possibilities with the current crisis. Is anything being done to improve the situation or are they a “lost generation”? Is this crisis temporary or do they have to change the system completely?

After a year of talk, life, laugh and cry with about 500 young people, they have a better picture of Europe. Sometimes you need live the things to understand them. They realized that the situation in Europe isn’t good; the economical crisis has affected a lot of countries, especially Southern Europe like Spain, Portugal, France or Greece. Young people can’t get a job after…

View original 338 more words

Your difference is your strengh, use it!

You are abroad and your plane just landed, the first person you see wears a huge cooking pot on his head like a hat. You may think “mmh that’s the custom, I should probably do that to fit in culturally”.So you go the first store, get a pot and here you are, ready to embrace this foreign culture.

What if the person was part of strange sect, or maybe lost a bet. He could also simply be crazy. He isn’t the majority, he is one of them but he isn’t all of them. The line between individual differences and cultural differences is blurred when you are abroad because you don’t know the custom, therefore you could think that if someone seem rude to you it might be cultural whereas they could simply be a jerk :), to what extend culture affect one’s behaviour, and to what extend is it his own personality? That’s a question I would love to answer someday.

Therefore if you want to integrate to what extend should you strectch your values and change? To the point when they break and you aren’t even yourself anymore, too scared to be put aside?

Well the good news are that as a foreigner :

  •  You are weird anyway for everybody else. They will pobably blame it on your culture, therefore don’t worry too much about any social faux pas, some use alcohol as an excuse (a quite bad excuse if you want my opinion) , be creative use your nationality!
  •  If you are a great person, people will like you. If they don’t want to make the extra effort to be friend with a foreigner, they may not be worth your extra effort to be friend with them (they are foreigners to you aren’t they?). It’s great to be curious and want to know different people, but friendship goes both ways. So be true to yourself, don’t try too hard to fit in because you won’t and they are tons of different individuals in a country, the one you met, that could be careless aren’t the majority, they are a part of it, a part you can put aside, to spend your time with the one that matter, the one that prefer that you don’t become danish :)

We are all different no matter where we come from still we usually want the same things: connecting with others, feeling we belong somewhere.

While trying to be culturally aware and sensitive when we travel it’s good to keep in mind that nobody likes to be seen as walking cliché. We are all individuals and especially in western society we like to emphasize how unique we are, how different we think from our neighbour therefore, therefore don’t jump into conclusion when you meet a foreign person (or background it can apply to any situation) , they might be like that because of their cultural background, or because it’s their personality…probably a mix of both but at the end what matters is how open you are to the communication between the two of you.

We had good rides together

The road less traveled or my EVS experience

Travelling is suffering?

I was visiting one of my Danish friend I met in the kibbutz and we talked about travelling one of our common passion. He had read somewhere that somehow, travelling is suffering. It’s not easy, it will change you.Maybe not a week of holiday in Hawai (but who knows?) but that’s not what we were thinking of…

Hitch hiking is the prime example, it takes time, you don’t know when you will get to your destination, you have to rely on others and you have to be patient and flexible. It’s really much like my EVS experience.

When I started it we could say I was on the side of the road ready to catch a ride to get to my destination. But I wasn’t alone I had this partner I had never met before, Helena this really awesome woman from Spain. I had just finished another hitch hiking trip in Israel so I was seeing everything behind this israeli glasses that I had forgot to remove. I was making the same sign as in Israel to stop a car but in Europe you use your thumb….We were like Jon Snow,we know nothing!

 

When we were trying to get a car I had something in mind for our direction. I had read in my description I would do something with students, like activities or workshops. However that description was outdated but I still wanted to go there. My friend Helena kept telling me I should try another way but I woudn’t listen, so it was very difficult to get a ride it’s like going to a closed road…not gonna work!

Nobody cares for hitchikers here? So what!

So people would not stop, I felt nobody cares here, why they don’t talk to me why is it so hard to socialise, what is wrong with THEM?

But finally after a month of struggle and not understanding anything on my side of the road some help came up. I had this EVS training in october and the two amazing trainers I met there, Anja and Tobias, gave us a good hand, driving us much further down our way and helping me to understand that the road down there was closed so I could try something else.

I agreed with Helena it was better to be a bit flexible but still all these people were terrible to socialise with. I wasn’t so good myself anymore. Imagine a hitch hiker sitting down on the road that can’t even stand up to get a ride, nobody will stop!

So after complaining going on strike and so one something we French really master, I stand up on my feet, I tried to smile and I also used my thumb to get a car and little by little we would get some ride down the road. When you hitch hike you have different cases, either nobody goes all the way to your place which is often therefore you will take a lot of small ride or you are lucky and someone take you almost all the way down. Our situation was more like the first one.

However we also got better, we were talking with our drivers, taking their advice about how to get further down. So we learnt. For example you don’t socialise the same way in Denmark than in France or in a kibbutz with a bunch of young volunteers. You need to adapt, to be open and really patient. It’s as if Danes are like ice cubes but they don’t melt in the sun, or very very slow. Therefore it will take you time to break the ice! Being too direct, something that could work in Israel quite well, will never do there.

I had never struggle making new relation abroad so I had to change a lot, it was good I realised all the annoying I would do (I observed how my mom was when she was mad, well I was doing the same :) ) and try to change but i wrote about that before

Then I was still unhappy about this road close down there because it’s something I really wanted to do. However talking with colleagues I realised that some other way would be nice to explore. I was there so why not take a chance right? That’s how helena and I started the blog. I am really happy about it and Ana the new volunteer is keeping it going! It’s right here and it’s lovely!

We also decided to write a sign with some direction we would like to go. This way we started to help on the shows that the school was doing, with lights, recording, editing.I tried some ways I have never been before. I really improved my editing, I discovered color grading and had the chance to develop photography, that I really love now.

Another path

Then you become more daring. With Helena we thought we could try some different ways and meet further down. I started to do some more personal projects, especially related to photography.

Finally at the end we met again, we had learnt a lot on our journey together, through a lot of nice and friendly people among the crowd that woudln’t stop. They helped us, we had great time with them and all of them gave us something that we keep for our next trip. It was indeed difficult, it took time, sometimes we would stand under the rain for an hour and another would get a long ride under the sun with very nice Danes. We also learnt the social cues, to use our thumb, learn some Danish to not get lost, be flexible, not judge hastily especially if you don’t want to be judge.

When you hitch hike you do something very different, not some many do it or approve of it so you start with this difference. Well being in a foreign country is very much the same, I was different the day I step a foot in Denmark, but I had forgotten that in Israel because i was different together with 40 different people from abroad! The trick is to keep this difference and use it as a strength, not be scared ,go for it anyway.

Now Helena is in Spain, I am still on the Danish road. I don’t know where I am going but where I am right now is very nice, with really good people that are open and take the time to show me around. Maybe they will start to hitch hike themselves somedays and then I will have given something to them in return :)

Stockholm

The end and the beginning

The last post was quite a while ago. But the past 3 months I have been quite busy. First my EVS has finished then I went to Sweden and France but now I am in Denmark.

May was the last month we had with the students, so we were quite busy with work and feeling the end approaching. The summer was starting so that was really nice, I wasn’t expecting much but it’s pretty nice, a lot of sun a bit like France but not as hot, starting and finishing earlier I would say. With the beach, the lake and the little forest the school look like paradise so that was really nice to be there!

Then in June the students left. We were alone with Helena and some people from the staff the first week. It was quite strange, the school was so empty but we were working a lot and then enjoying, meeting with the neigbours, swimming…It was odd to walk in corridors remembering this year and all the people that came, all the mess they did …

Finally I met with Hanna again! when I say the kibbutz is a life experience it’s not cheesy, I still can’t believe the friends I made there , how weird awesome they are! So I went to Stockolm it was really nice and we had such a nice time at the summer house, swimming in the lake (even my iphone enjoyed the water!) and her family was so nice to me!

The landscape is quite diffeent, a lot of forest but most of all….  it’s not flat! hehe big change from Danmark the flatest country in the world! It’s really peaceful when you go in the nature as well. Otherwise a lot of blondes and people cycling, typical scandinavian country. We spent a whole day baking amazing cinnamon bun and chocolate balls, crêpes also, it was so delicious! We also made quite a show in the modern art museum, miming the paintings, I think the other visitors liked it!

Then, I went back to Denmark and after my last week there working, I finally went back home. But that was a short trip. I had planned already to stay in Denmark, so after a week during when I did absolutely nothing it was time to move to…Samsø.

 

if you haven’t heard about it , well most people haven’t either. It’s the heart chakra of Europe :). The island is exactly at the center of it yes it’s quite funny! There are maybe 3000 inhabitants, and of course more in summertime becuase it’s really beautiful and quite preserved. I have been living the past month and a half in a little house 2 minutes away from the beach, I have an amazing view of the sunset everyday from there. Because it’s an island it’s small but if you don’t have a car it takes a while to go to places so I have cycled a lot everyday to go to work. Overall it has been a nice summer. Plus I didn’t get one but TWO jobs there!

My next plan is to move to Copenhagen. if you haven’t heard it’s quite terrible to find a place to live there, but I will figure it out :) it’s in two weeks so that’s fine!

Look at Sweden it’s so nice :)

IMG_2884

Hanna in Paris – Le Sacré Coeur

Here follow the new adventures of Hanna in Paris, entering le Sacré Coeur!!

On the road one year ago

One year ago…

Exactly one year ago I landed in Tel Aviv and I was on my way to Bar’am.

My flight was on the 6th at night and my mom called me like 3 times asking me if I was sure I wanted to go because she had heard on the radio something about Syria…But I really wanted to go even though I wouldn’t know until the following where I would live for the next 3 months.

After I left the office I had 5 hours of travel. 5 hours to wonder if I had picked a “good” kibbutz, if I would enjoy it there, if this wasn’t a big mistake after all? But as soon as I met the volunteers it was fine. Better than that actually.

So what happened since?  Where am I now ? What did I get from this?

In the kibbutz I lived surrounded by people 24hours a day, with so many different nationalities and languages spoken. My Bar’am family spreads all over the world. In June I will visit some of my closest friend from the kibbutz, in Sweden :)

After 3 amazing months there I left. That was heartbreaking. I have never cried when leaving a place or a country because I felt it was time to move on, but the kibbutz that was something. I cried in the volunteer office, while handing my keys, in the car to Tel Aviv, in the hostel, at the airport, in the plane. Almost non stop until the plane landed in Paris and when my mom asked on the phone if I was happy to be home I said “NO” I didn’t want to speak because I was too sad.

I was very excited to go to Denmark then because I hated being home but what wasn’t good is I still had in mind the kibbutz and how I missed it. So I was a sad person for some time.

Have you heard of the cultural shock ? Because in September I was right in. Basically you can’t deal with the “strangeness” of the new place you are so you close down. After being extra social 3 months, I was “extra alone” for a little while. Luckily the volunteers with me were incredibly sweet and nice.The Danes I met weren’t so terrible people, it was just..the circumstances were difficult.

The Danes are probably the most individualistic people I have ever met, (not in a bad way) comparing to other places I lived in. So imagine the transition between a place where people come to be social all the time and have fun, and a place where people have a specific goal, want to work hard on themselves, stay focused.Plus they have their life here already, with friends etc…So it’s understandable it was harder to connect at first. It was a bit like the Israeli members or the kibbutz, they have their life their and you are one more volunteer passing…

It was challenging but I adapted ok I guess, even if it took time. I became more flexible at work.

I wasn’t so convince by my volunteer work here, however I really like how people work in Denmark. You don’t have the hierarchy like in France, where the boss give you order you will follow, I feel it’s more equal, my mentor give me ideas and what he has in mind but then we are really free to try what we want. So I developed skills and tried things I didn’t think I would have the opportunity to do elsewhere.

I also had to question my self a lot. Especially because I was very negative when I came to Denmark, and it was easier to blame everyone else but myself for that.

It may seem a contradiction because everybody thinks Danish don’t express their feelings but I improved a lot with this here!

In France we like to be emotional, sometimes dramatic and we think that we communicate well this way. Well not really, we just hope everybody will guess what is on our mind just looking at our face and being angry when something is wrong will be enough for it to change. Here it doesn’t work (it didn’t work in the kibbutz either…I didn’t realize it, that’s all) so even if it might be hard for me I have to use words and not my face because I understood people aren’t psychic. I feel happier this way trust me :)

I had incredible experiences in both places (and more to come!): hitch hiking, meeting amazing people ( I am proud to prove my dear Martin, that yes there are actually nice Danes in Denmark, and some have empathy!!! ;) ), visiting beautiful places, trying new food…

Today I am happy because the friends I met one year ago in Israel are still close to me, we manage to see each other and I would have not imagine having such friendship. I wonder if in one year I will still be in touch with the friends I have here, I hope so, but I don’t even know where I will be so…for now I will just enjoy it :)

I think I am a happier person now that one year ago even if it wasn’t easy everyday and that’s nice!!!

Tu veux être mon ami?

Le plus difficile plus si difficile?

Il y a environ un mois j’avais écrit ici à quel point cela pouvait être dur socialement au Danemark.

Je ne dirais pas que tout à changer mais presque. Déjà, j’ai changé, et mon opinion à changer. Il faut dire que beaucoup de chose ce sont passées ici depuis fin mars. Si vous avez suivi ou pas bande de feignasses je suis dans une sorte d’école qui entre autre prépare une des classes à l’école de comédie musicale (ceux du fond, je vous entends rigoler, c’était ma première réaction mais ils ne sont pas cons, elles ne sont pas faites par des français c’est tout de suite mieux! Personnes ne se cachent ici, ils ne se font pas lapider quand ils disent aimer les comédies musicales! ). Cette école recrute 8 élèves par an. Ici 25 postulaient déjà…Vous êtes fort en maths, donc bien sûr une bonne claque pour la majorité et même moi qui ai un coeur de pierre parfois je me sentait triste pour eux (j’ai quand même vu une amie PRESQUE pleurer! C’était effrayant…un danois ne pleure jamais).

Mais une fois cela passé ainsi que le stress avant les auditions et bien ils étaient bien mieux lunés. Puis j’ai pris l’air à Copenhague. Je trouve cette capitale vraiment sympa, certes ça en mets pas plein la vue comme Paris ou Londres mais c’est agréable à vivre, ce n’est pas stressant et c’est jolie. Je pense que je vais rester ici en tout cas c’est ce que j’ai décidé. Sauf que du coup je panique un peu beaucoup (ouais déjà!) car il faudra trouver un taf, trouver un appart et puis surtout payer même ma nourriture (ben ouais en tant que volontaire dans une école ma vie st drôlement facilitée et pas très coûteuse..). En plus tous les danois de l’école sont aussi en recherche de taf et ils stressent, et ils ME stressent :) Oh joie!

Et donc la situation sociale, c’est améliorer en partie grâce à une dispute. Je me dis parfois que c’était un de nos modes de communication préféré en France (comparé à ici j’entends) mais au Danemark ça peut servir aussi. Un danois en colère n’est pas très différent de son lui-même normal. Il a juste le coeur qui bat plus vite mais il ne crie pas ou ne devient pas tout rouge, c’est presque drôle quand vous n’êtes pas la cible.

En fait tout a commencé avec cette amie, je n’étais pas de bonne humeur et elle parlait d’un sujet qui m’énervait (la fourrure dans la mode je crois… ouais on a des débats de dingue ici ) et ne voulait pas en changer donc je l’ai planté, je me suis juste levée et je suis partie. Apparemment ça ne se fait pas ici (ouais je sais c’est mal je suis méchante et immature mais on fait souvent ça dans ma famille…). Je suis revenue 5 minutes après et on a du mettre les choses au clair. Je reprochais souvent aux danois tous mes malheurs  d’être super gentil un jour et de m’ignorer le lendemain. Alors imaginez ma tête quand mon amie m’a dit la même chose sur MOI! En fait quand quelqu’un me fait ça perso je ne veux plus faire d’effort et je me ferme. Ouais c’est con mais réflexe de protection si on s’ouvre trop on prends le risque d’être triste :) Le résultat c’est qu’elle me percevait de la même façon et ne voulait plus faire d’effort. Du coup ça nous à forcé à changer.

Puis en changeant avec elle, j’ai changé avec les autres et ça marche tellement mieux. C’est difficile de se remettre en question. Ca blesse mais c’est un mal nécessaire. Un des volontaires que je connais, un espagnol, déteste le Danemark, il ne fait que de se plaindre il a un avis très tranché. Je l’ai vu avant ce gros changement et j’avais moi même une expérience pas très facile et finalement il m’a soûlé, parce que c’est lourd de se pencher juste sur ce qu’on aime pas et surtout je me rendais compte qu’il ne se remettait jamais en cause lui. Et je me suis dit peut être que je suis pareille…Au final, j’avais peur d’expliquer ce que je vivais ici, aussi car je pensais être incomprise et que personne n’écoutait. Ce qui est sûr c’est que ce n’est pas en gardant tout à l’intérieur que la situation allait se régler. Un ami danois (Martin mon coloc du kibboutz, et oui on se voit toujours) m’a dit la dernière fois de changer ce que je n’acceptais pas et d’acceptais ce que je ne pouvais pas changer.

Donc je ne sais pas si j’aurais des amis pour la vie ici, si je vais en revoir certain ou pas mais pour le moment je préfère m’amuser, on passe de bon moments et je verrais dans deux mois, ce sera un nouveau départ. En attendant après ce post jeracontemavie.com voilà quelques photos, on a voyagé avec ma famille (tout un programme, je pourrais en faire un film d’auteur français…) à travers le pays.

IMG_2529

Runaway to Elsewhere

This week was quite nice! We had different activities happening in the week and new projects starting, also more socializing between Danes and International students. I also think of how it was when I arrived, the work (the way I work is so different now! it’s funny to see the change), the people the place and even my self and it started to make me think…

If you have been living abroad, when making this choice you may have been told you run away from your “problems”…When are you coming back? When will you start to have a serious life and solve “your issues”. This all a lot of BS seriously.

This could not be less true.People who leave actually look for new solutions they cannot find where they are. If you are running away from your problems you dont acknowledge them. When you decide you want to go abroad because the current situation and place doesn’t bring you anything new (you don’t have to go very far to do that though, you can just change city in your own country…) you are looking for something different and hopefully better.

Why? Because you know that you are diving into something “strange”: the word “foreign” in French is the same as “strange” and it can also mean unknown. It’s scary but it brings you new things that well…you couldn’t know!

New solutions and perspectives you will never find back home.

For instance a new way to communicate. Not only learning a new language but expressing your self differently (maybe more effectively?). One example: what we call a “discussion” in France might be a confrontation for my English friends. So you may have to reconsider how you express yourself. Being with new people who don’t know you, who can’t read your mind, who can’t understand your cultural codes will force you to try other ways to understand each other  and it can benefit you when back home.

Sometimes we forget how to communicate with our own family because they know us for such a long time so we expect them to understand us completely to read our mind. And we forget that the new people we meet don’t know that. So they will base their opinion on what they see. Trust me, your mom may know how to talk to you but for them it might be as talking to a wall sometimes.

The fact that you are elsewhere also allow you to do these crazy things you wouldn’t dare to do back home. Sometimes being “home” for too long makes us lazy, we don’t see the opportunities anymore, our friends have an image of us that it might be hard to get away from (if everybody thinks you are hilarious, you feel you owe it to them and changing is hard, if you are the one always depressed it’s the same…it’s tiresome sometimes). When I was back in my hometown it was taking me forever to motivate my self to look for a job. In a new country you are like on a high being somewhere blank, where you have everything to built, so you take more risks. You have to do it because otherwise you’ll have to go back and usually you want to make it work more over there.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-15 à 20.35.52

My sister is trying new way to communicate with me. We didn’t quite figure it out yet…

Also because you are surrounded by people who mostly think quite different than you do, you’ll be challenged, you will be confronted to tons of different way of doing and thinking (remember don’t say it’s dumb, it’s just …different ;). Last Wednesday an acupuncturist came to school and gave us a demonstration.The following day we talked: a friend doesn’t believe in it, another see in it some sort of magic, someone else science, another danger, others they don’t really know… and we were all together seeing this demonstrations, yet because we have such different background and culture we comes up with completely different opinion.

While being abroad I can also feel my progression. I remember last year just before going to Israël, I was living with my parents for about 6 months. The last 3 months I was dying of boredom. I didn’t see anything new, anything changing. I was stuck there and it felt like a dead end. The place I am now in Denmark isn’t the biggest city, it’s actually a school in the middle of nowhere (but it’s very beautiful!). My kibbutz was also in the middle of nowhere. Yet so many things happened in nearly a year!

Travelling doesn’t leave you in peace. It can be exhausting. I remember going crazy sometimes not understand what was going on but now I can see the benefit. Accepting new ideas and situations and also enjoying it. It frustrates me sometimes when people ask me if I like Denmark. It’s more complex, I like it, I do now but it wasn’t an easy road, however it’s not because something is difficult you should give up. If it was that bad I would have left, trust me. I left France so I wouldn’t have hesitated one second. But something was holding me back. And I am glad for that.

 

30sg3sj

When my friends ask me to describe Denmark

I really have no idea if I’ll go back “home” one day. I miss my friends and family, yet I feel I am going backward every time I am there too long…

I explained here that a lot of the people I met in my kibbutz had some hard times back home or they needed some changes. I talked to many after leaving and, running away was the best thing that happened to them. Because they go back to their problem with fresh ideas and approach. They question themselves and what is going on instead of pretending there is no problem. So we will see in few years where it gets me. One of my friend is very curious about it, he says he has no clue about what to expect. Me neither, but I am not freaking out at all not knowing what I’ll do in three months…

That's my plan for now after...this

That’s my plan after my EVS

PS: If you want to know more about Denmark and you are too lazy to read you can shake out this marvelous tumblr made by EVS volunteers. Only true facts of course!

IMG_7755

Le plus difficile

Cela fait maintenant un peu plus de 7 mois que je suis au Danemark. L’adaptation a été plus longue que je ne l’aurais imaginé mais je pense me sentir plutôt bien ici, en tout cas suffisamment pour rester quelques mois de plus après la fin de mon projet.

Alors je dis plutôt car il y a quelques chose qui revient sans cesse et qui m’empêche un petit peu de me sentir super bien comme je l’étais en Israël ou en Angleterre.

Ne pas avoir de vrais liens avec les locaux.J’ai déjà dû en parler ici, le Danois est une espèce un peu complexe à aborder. Du coup je me suis donner du temps, de la patience

La plupart des gens que je connais, s’ils savent où se situent le Danemark et ont quelques infos sur le pays, imaginent les habitants avec des casques de vikings, gros buveurs de bière, froids et réservés mais sympas dès qu’on leur paie une tournée. Bref pas spécialement handicapé socialement.Il y a certaines choses avec lesquelles je suis d’accord d’autres moins.

Déjà personnes ne portent de casques de vikings par contre il est vrai qu’une bière rend le Danois plus chaleureux.Chaleur qui retombe lorsque celui-ci a décuvé.J’ai été très surprise lorsque le lendemain de certaines soirées au pub, les étudiants ne m’adressaient pas même un regards dans les couloirs. Pourtant ils ne s’étaient pas donnés en spectacle et je ne pense pas avoir fait quoique ce soit d’impoli ou d’embarrassant pour que l’on m’évite, et puis ils le faisaient TOUS.

Dur.

Mais je me suis dit qu’avec le temps cela allait s’améliorer. Je n’avais pas complètement tort. Quand j’ai commencé à travailler avec eux, on a pu se rapprocher un peu plus, à présent ils nous disaient bonjour dans les couloirs (après deux mois oui :). Parce qu’on leur posait des questions, sur ce qu’ils faisaient, on s’intéressait à eux.Mais cela s’arrêtait là. je pense que j’ai été très choqué. Non pas par leur timidité, mais par leur manque de curiosité. Je me rappelle avoir failli m’étouffer un jour lorsqu’une des filles m’a demandé ce que j’avais fait de ma journée. C’était la premère fois qu’on me posait la question en 6 mois.

Je parlais d’ailleurs avec un ami danois et il me disait que les français peuvent ignorer volontairement quelqu’un. C’est vrai que j’ai déjà fait comme si une personne n’existait pas car elle m’agaçait. Et je lui ai dit que les danois font pareil! Mais il m’a répondu que pour eux c’est presque inconscient tellement c’est dans leur culture. Ils seraient incapable de le faire volontairement.

Il y a très peu de différence entre un étranger et un fantôme ici. Il n’y a pas plus tard qu’aujourd’hui, je suis descendu dans la salle commune pour chercher un fruit. Un groupe de Danois discutaient. Lorsque d’autre Danois arrivaient ils les saluaient et discutaient lorsque c’était un étranger, non. Quand je suis arrivée personne n’a levé la tête. J’ai du me pousser pour laisser passer quelqu’un mais me dire bonjour ne lui ai pas venu à l’esprit. Pourtant il y a deux jours j’étais dans la chambre de cette personne en grande conversation. L’amie à qui elle parlait aujourd’hui me parle beaucoup aussi. Quand elle est seule. Du coup il est difficile de ne pas se sentir inférieur, lorsque un simple bonjour leur est impossible dès qu’ils sont plus de deux.

Et ça ça blesse. Parce qu’on se rend compte qu’on passera toujours après. Qu’on pourra avoir une conversation avec l’un d’entre eux s’il n’y a personne d’autres à qui parler.

Et pour cette raison je ne pense pas que je pourrais vivre dans ce pays. Certains pourraient me dire qu’il y a la barrière de la langue. J’ai pris des cours de danois puis arrêter devant les efforts inutiles que je faisais. Personnes ne veut se fatiguer ici à me parler en danois, trop d’effort, l’anglais c’est plus simple…

IMG_7755

tower

Looking for Hanna…in Paris

During Christmas holidays, my friend Hanna from Sweden that I met in the Kibbutz came to visit me in Paris. And we started this…journey in video!

tower

Capture d’écran 2014-03-15 à 20.41.00

The yoghurt crisis

Today we had the weekly meeting we always have in the school on fridays. It was very nice actually, first we were sitting on the floor. I don’t mind chairs but I found it more cosy and relaxed. One of the students Aki, prepared a song for us in Japanese and that was quite incredible, she had a very nice voice! And it’s so different to the songs you are used to when it’s in Japanese. So Torben was in charge of the meeting. He is one of a kind. I always wonder when I see him what can be in his mind and it always makes me laugh. He is a very funny guy and full of ideas and energy.

So he talked to us about wellness and music, and we listened to a song he composed to fix our chakra on the solar plexus. So here we were, all lying on the floor and listening to this song. I thought people around me were falling asleep, it was very relaxing.

Then he talked about the program of the week end, I like this one part “running through the woods” because I pictures a bunch of people running like mad man in the forest and I found it amusing, but actully he meant it in a more normal way like, you have running shoes and run together….well I prefer my version.

And then the serious talk came on.

yogurt_spill

Because Yoghurt is serious business here!

 You see, we have a yoghurt crisis in the school since this week. It seems to be quite a big deal. It all started when the kitchen realised that we were swallowing twice more yoghurt as usual. Literally. And it has a price, so they decided from now on it will only be at breakfast and not for snack. (yes you see in Denmark they are much healthier when it comes to snack, it’s fruit and muesli and yoghurt but well muesli on it’s own?? dry right?).

And the international students were very annoyed because on week ends it’s usually their main dish. On week ends we have brunch. It’s not bad but it’s less food so usually you get hungry earlier.

Also some of them aren’t so keen or used to Danish food so I can understand that yoghurt is safe value for them. So we started to have this debate. Why we ate so much yoghurt, and what can we have instead. In a way it’s more than interesting than it seems because it’s a good example of cultural differences here.

Many of the international students eat very different food and it’s difficult to adjust. Of course the school cannot provide their food from home but well if there is most of the things you can’t eat, both have to compromise. One of them said he found the bread too hard so he has to dip it in the water. Well I am afraid that Denmark cannot change their bread and personally I think that at least it has taste not like this awful white bread that I found in the UK.

Capture d’écran 2014-03-15 à 20.41.00

It’s not related but I felt like posting a picture of my sister. She looks in crisis

But we do have some alternative. Often the Nepalese cook for us amazing dinner on week ends and that’s terrific! so much spices and flavor yum yum!

We have a tumblr!

If you do your EVS in Denmark I guess you can relate!

http://thingsandstuffindenmark.tumblr.com/

;)

1476657_10151901985213611_1709622453_n

Hello my middle name is confusion, I am from China

It’s 2014 and I am still in Denmark, unbelievable.  So I came back to the højskole in January on the 9th.

I had training just before in Copenhagen which was very nice and I didn’t really know what to expect from the Danish when I would go back because well they have very different social skills right but it was a good surprise because they were so nice and some literally jumped on me (weird, you have to be away 3 weeks and people love you! good to know).

I also noticed that a lot of them aren’t scared anymore and talk to us ( maybe they weren’t scared of us but now they acknowledge our existence, it feels odd! but good) and the one we “knew” before are more friendly so that’s cool.

But some people were missing.

The class of International students is completely new. 18 new faces from Ghana, Nepal, China , Latvia, Hungary, Lithuania, Turkey and Japan.

Communicating is always a challenge,so imagine now! For instance we have 6 Chinese here. Some have a decent English you can have a conversation with them, some….well it’s complicated. It’s funny because we learn Danish together and sometimes they try to use it but we don’t get anything because we don’t speak Danish either.

That's how Chinese must feel here

That’s how Chinese must feel here

But what is odd is the “group effect”. All of sudden they forget everything they know of English and stare at you with a blank  face, like you are an Alien from another planet! And you do silly moves speak slower, louder, eventually they will nod but you will have given up before they really understood anyway.

So when you have crucial information you realise you talk to them like you would to simple minded people, and it makes you sound very rude! I literally said once to them “Asian!!! Go there now!” how awful!

There is this one Chinese guy I love to talk with, even though I don’t think he ever understood me. With the girl from Hungary we asked him “where were you?” and he said ” I am fine”…. but at least he answered!

This girl from Hungary is pretty cool, we realize that it’s easier to bond with Europeans because we are similar in so many ways. But something we can’t beat her at is drinking vodka! Once I saw her sipping it like water, and I had pretty good training at the kibbutz but now I suck.

So imagine this weird combination trying to mix with the Danes. My dear Danish that I still can’t figure out but at least I have one good friend now so I can ask her, she is a bit like my guide here. For instance I come to her when I have all this stupid question, like why do you guys don’t say hello all the time like we do? Why don’t you confront and argue all the time like French? Why the word please doesn’t exist in Danish?

So it was pretty funny to see how the Danish girls reacted to the guys from Ghana asking “hey , are you married?”. It reminded me of all the wedding proposal I had in Zambia, even though Ghana is pretty different. So their Danish teacher made them a Danish session about how to ask out girls in Danish. Not sure it worked but it’s just beginning.

We also have new Nepalese but they are the complete opposite of the one we new before: the first group was loud, noisy, crazy, drunk, troublemakers and the most lovely guys on earth.

This new group is much more chilled, sweet and …behaved!

It’s good to realise that you can’t generalise about a whole culture just knowing some of them, like the Nepalese, we expected to have crazy boys. They are all different. My Danish friend keep telling me that this school isn’t Denmark and I believe her, the students here are “special” (not in this way…) and that I need to get out and experience Denmark differently…

And now it’s snowing it’s awesome!!! I realised I had one talent, maybe I can’t sing or dance or act but I am pretty good at snowball fight!

1476657_10151901985213611_1709622453_n

100 ans ce n’est pas tous les jours!

Aujourd’hui un article un peu particulier. Et oui aujourd’hui on fête un anniversaire! Celui de l’école où je suis volontaire.

Mon école est spéciale (pour ne pas dire étrange mais bon ça c’est un autre débat…), c’est le genre de choses qu’on ne trouve qu’au Danemark. Ils appellent ça højskole (si tu trouves cela imprononçable et bien….moi aussi!).

Tout à commencer avec Grundtvig, un gars avec de multiples talents (écrivain, poète, pédagogue…merci wikipédia!) qui pensait que ce serait bien d’éduquer les masses plutôt que seulement les nobles, et à l’époque c’était assez révolutionnaire comme concept. Donc ces écoles sont apparues partout dans le pays. Pas d’examen d’entrée ni de sortie, le but c’est d’apprendre sur divers sujet pour soit, d’être “éclairé” (ouais l’influence des Lumières t’as vu! La France est PARTOUT).

Mon école est donc l’une de ces højskole, mais elle a bien évoluée depuis 100 ans. Je sais que pendant un moment il y a eu des gymnastes qui s’entraînaient ici mais aussi des pêcheurs, dans les années 90 des geeks, pour apprendre l’informatique. Mais depuis un moment c’est les comédies musicales.

J’en entends rigoler dans le coin. Mais les comédies musicales au Danemark c’est du sérieux, ce n’est pas les trucs minables à la Kamel Ouali qu’on a en France, où avouer qu’on aime, c’est être rejeté par sa famille et ses amis! Ici non, il y a même une école nationale de comédie musicale, oui je suis sérieuse! Et c’est dans cette école que les élèves de cette classe veulent entrer, donc ils se préparent ici.

Mais il y a aussi théâtre, internationaux et “jeunes”. Les jeunes c’est un programme un peu particulier, ce sont des jeunes (oui comme le nom l’indique) qui ne peuvent pas suivre au lycée pour diverses raisons, donc ils sont envoyés ici pour pouvoir rattraper leur retard et être plus soutenu en cours et d’un point de vue personnel.

Bien sûr le fait qu’il n’y ai pas d’exam n’est pas la seule différence, l’enseignement est très différent de tout ce que j’ai vu, c’est très relax comparé à la France. Rien que la relation prof-étudiant, le vouvoiement, les noms de famille on oublie. Je trouve que le dialogue est bien plus présent aussi. Et on est vraiment libre, que ce soit les étudiants ou les professeurs, ici prendre des initiatives c’est bienvenue même très encouragées. Du coup l’école évolue sans cesse. Après ça peut être déstabilisant parce que la méthode de travail est très différent mais je reviendrais là dessus

Bon je vais arrêter de parler et laisser parler les images (oui je fais de la pub pour mon taf, aucune honte!). Je vous encourage bien sûr vivement à regarder toutes les vidéos! Voici la chaîne et aussi notre blog!

 

 

whaaaat

Français, English….Dansk?

While traveling  I experienced a lot of things while discovering new culture and lifestyle. One of the most obvious is of course…language.

I think my interest for language grew while traveling. I always liked English and then love it when I started to learn more and moved to London. And then it became natural for me to use it, of course you can still tell I am French, but I am vok using it. And being abale to speak 2 languages is so amazing, it opens up your world. Because you will understand so much more of the culture and you have more means of expressing your self.

A nice experience I had was with this friend, half French, half English guy. He had grew up between France and the UK and could speak both perfectly . When we met (through couchsurfing) we started using…both. How nice it is to be able to switch language, that it adapts to what you want to communicate, because if you aren’t an interpret it’s not as easy to translate everything and some ideas will come more naturally in one language than the other. I really like that!

I have to say I was quite satisfied for a while just speaking 2 languages.

As you may have heard French have a bad rep when it comes to learning language and yes we suck. It might be the teaching, some say pride in our culture, I would also think that we may need English less than my Swedish friends for example, because it’s a language used worldwide. So being able to speak more than French was already good enough for me.

But this feeling changed, when I started travelling more. First I thought spanish would be great and useful. But I kind of hate the idea that you would learn a language because it has a use. Of course you can’t deny it and I think this is why so many of us learn English, but I think you need to be attracted to it.

I really liked Hebrew for example, and apart from Israel I don’t see where I could use it. Being there 3 months I only catches few words and expressions but if I have the opportunity I will learn it. I am also very interested in Portuguese.

But first, Danish is where I will start . Denmark is very good when it comes to teaching language. As a foreigner I have 3 years of free Danish lessons. Started this week. I don’t know if I will make it but it’s worth trying and I am very curious. It would be very interesting to learn something that is so different to my mother tongue (ok chinese or japanese could also be a nice challenge). From a French perspective it sounds so …odd. A lot of the sounds are impossible to reproduce for me, but when you start reading Out of Africa, you just think of a new world that will open to you once you can speak the language!

Wish me luck!

whaaaat

That’s my expression when someone try to communicate in Danish with me…for now!

IMG_1666

People are strange (or is it you?)

A view on the sea, a beautiful country, a new culture to discover how can you complain?

After all this is what we all want when we travel, new challenges, new encounters, friends, places…We need a change and we love this process of discovering everything. Still it’s not easy everyday and the new you were craving is the new you are hating sometimes.

I understand nothing, why people are so rude, why are they so mean. This habit is so stupid. Yes these thoughts could come to your mind if you are in a foreign environment and it’s …completely normal. This phase that I was going through has a name: Cultural shock.

As the name says it all it’s basically a shock, more or less long. I don’t think you have it every time you travel or maybe it’s not so strong so you don’t even realise it. I guess I had one when living in London but it wasn’t so important that it bothered me so much.

Why is the world so pink, when I am so green?

Here in Denmark it’s different. First because during all my previous travel I had the “honeymoon” phase you know when everything is pink, people are so cool, and the food, the culture is incredible. I think the best honey moon I had was in Israel. But I went to Denmark literally 5 days after leaving Israel. I left my honeymoon for a different place. Where I literally crashed.

The social life in Denmark is very different to everything I experienced before: in London it’s harder to connect on a deeper level with people, however they are very polite and nice so you can still have a social life even if you just arrived and there are plenty of foreigners in the same situation so you bond pretty quickly.

In Africa, everyone would say hello in the street so ultra social and curious, but I wasn’t staying and the cultural differences were quite important. However I still had friends and it was nice and easy to feel integrated.

In Israel it was just incredible, in no time I was feeling home and it was very quick to bond with other volunteers. Israelis are pretty blunt and straight forward but very warm and welcoming. I guess the bubble that the kibbutz is, is also a very special environment.

Danes on the other hand are very reserved comparing to those cultures. They value privacy and independence. They don’t want to bother you. The social standards are very different. I think that was the biggest shock for me. I realised the social aspect was incredibly important to be able to feel good in a new environment and here it is taking forever to make friends. However now I understand what is going on and why, so I guess it helps to get better and be more tolerant and open.

Plus now I have 17 new friends, in the same situation than me, thanks to EVS. Something I experienced everywhere I went: as foreigners you will bond in no time, whereas with locals it will always be a challenge.

grumpy-cat-jon-snow

Don’t be rude to the cat, only the Danes!

This is what Helena told me after the day we spent in Odense. We were invited to meet other EVS volunteers of the area and visit the city. This day was much more than this: we understood that everything we have been doing since here, to bond with Danes was WRONG. SOOOO WRONG.

We met two Italian volunteers that have been here for 4 months, so they know much more than us! A very nice guy from Venezuela joined us but he has been here for a month only. We were in a way reassured to see our experience have been so similar… Our guide was a Danish girl, very nice and friendly who gave us a lesson about what to NOT do with Danes.

  • BE POLITE, no please no
  • Don’t say hello once a week is the maximum, we aren’t in Spain don’t say hello every time you see someone, you are invading their personal space.
  • don’t kiss or hug this is very important, don’t touch too much Danes they like distance, the personal bubble of Danes is way bigger than most Latin European ( I don’t know if French fit in this category but I would say we are more similar to Spanish and Italian than Danes so for me yes) , about 10 meters should always separate you from them, you are not dating them are you?
  • Don’t compliment please don’t do that it’s super rude to say someone has a nice t-shirt, I am not sure why but I assume it’s related to this privacy thing…
  • If you had a nice chat with someone don’t acknowledge their existence the next day they need privacy ok, don’t even think of saying hello or even..
  • SMILING, don’t smile to people you recognize no non no, if you see your co workers in the streets act like they are invisible outside of the office.
  • If you meet one friend in a place and another one happens to be around ignore them because you had an appointment with the first one so it’s rude to share your self between people. Danish are possessive ( and they like privacy)
  • Don’t say sorry all the time

To sum up be rude: remember in danish there is no equivalent of the word please…there is a reason for that…

So all the good manners your parents teach them, forget about it and you are halfway to de Danish!

We also had a language session:

  • øl  (pronounce euuuul) you will need it to survive but if you don’t like beer, cider or wine will do. Helena is on Tequila now…
  • skål (pronounce SKOOOL  you have to scream it too) if there is one time you can be polite it’s when Danish are trying to break your glass with theirs. Works well when there is an awkward silence as well. Some even do it with water.
  • hvad (Vèl I will never get how they pronounce the d here…never) Danes use this word all the time. You know why? Because even themselves can’t understand each other! A Dane told me language is only 6% of the communication! I understand him because if you rely on the mumbles that Danes qualify as words you won’t go so far… Also even if their country is so small that you don’t even realise you are already in Germany, people from Seeland can’t understand people from Jylland…AND THEY ARE 5 MILLION!!

This is why foreigners who settle down in Copenhagen shouldn’t leave Copenhagen NEVER or this happens:

  • …sighting backward…apparently this is a way of agreeing in Danish…very interesting, but some Danes told me they find this habit very ridiculous….I think it’s funny, now I want to laugh every time I see someone doing it, I wonder if that’s considered rude in the Danish code of conduct…

Now I know all of this, it all make sense, why students ignored us for two weeks at first…it’s not because we are invisible (I alsmost start to think I developed a super power really!) they were just respecting our privacy.

PS: Here an amazing tumblr helping you to understand life in Copenhagen 

stop

How I hitch-hiked your mother

sun

Few weeks ago, I had a little surprise: Some students had an assignement: travel in Denmark for 2 days, with 200kr each, the goal being to meet people.

One of a the team had a free spot so I could join them and here we are, dropped in the middle of nowhere, the rain starting…The first people that stopped for us were a brother and his sister. He was driving her to the hospital because apparently she had trouble breathing, however they still turned back to pick us up! How nice :)

The things I learnt during those two days and a half of traveling:

  • Raincoat can really save your life, thanks to the one someone lend me 5 minutes before I left!
  • You will look weird if you dry your socks with the blowdryer in public toilets…this should be done in private
  • How to ask a spoon in Danish. You never know when you need one! So go back to your lesson.
  • Most Danes can speak very good English. It doesn’t mean they will speak it :) get over it
  • Italian wine is very good. Especially when offered by a lovely Danish family that just open their door to you. And provide dinner. And a bed. And give you a ride to Graasten the next day after you sang a song with the children at the school!wine
  • You can shoot a short film with a phone and random people in a park. Just ask nicely.
  • Writing a sign when you hitchike is super effective (in 5 minutes we were on the way)
  • If you can hitch hike instead or walk, hitch hike. My leg will thank you.
  • Bread with ham and beans is a pretty good lunch. Cold the beans, of course…
  • You can sleep in a strain station, in your sleeping bag no one will wake you up, because Danes are so in love with privacy.
  • Not everyone knows where they are going even if they are the one driving.

stop

Miracles with Connie Pilgaard Nielsen

Connie Pilgaard NielsenYesterday at the school was Culture Club. Every Wednesday we have some kind of show. It has been mainly musician coming.

This time it was different, the musician who came Connie Pilgaard Nielsen is also a story teller but more important: a traveller! I didn’t know what it was all about but as volunteers we always come to see and record if the musician is ok with it. So I was taking pictures but not so many because I was really enjoying the show, while Helena was recording.

Connie’s story is pretty interesting. She is from Denmark and apparently as always been “weird” well, according to her family standard: making music, traveling…. After going to the “Burning Man” in the U.S (If you have not heard about it check it out, it is something I would had to my bucket list if I had one but I don’t believe in it…) she decided she needed to do something kind of…extreme, challenge her self. So She went back to the U.S for 3 months but the plan was to survive without money, just her, her guitar and creativity!

And it seems to be a pretty good experience, as now she share it with us through her music!

What was nice is she would talk to us about her trip between two songs. And tell us amazing stories!

Something that was recurring through her trip was this notion of miracles. And I think a lot of travelers that like to not plan and go with the flow can probably understand what she is talking about. You are in a situation, not necessarily desperate but you are in need of something and suddenly it appears, like your prayers have been heard!

This reminds me of something that happened with two friends when we decided to hitch hike from Amsterdam to Berlin. To be honest I would not recommend to do that because it seems that Germans don’t take hitch hikers! We didn’t know that…So we were stranded in a city we didn’t know (that most German don’t know either…) at night, without a clue to what to do and where to go. Going to Berlin wasn’t an option: too expensive for us and too late to get cheaper (and longer) trip.

So we walk out from the station a bit freaking out and my friend went to ask this guy if he knew a place where we could go to drop our bags et think about our situation like a youth hostel or a cafe. I don’t know exactly how it worked but basically we met up with his friends and they offered us a couch for the night! It was my friend’s birthday and she had an amazing night with these German students! They also helped us to find the cheapest way to go to Berlin!

I would have never expected that! It does make you feel like someone is “protecting” you and realise how many people are actually kind and ready to help you.

So that was a nice reminder, in any situation there is always something good that can happen you never know! Even if this kind of trip are scary, challenging, stressful, it really makes you appreciate what you get from strangers just being kind to you.

Plus Connie’s trip seemed incredibly amazing, inspiring me to do that as well! Maybe not in the U.S. but Scandinavia could be a good start…who knows…

So if you are in denmark I would definitely advise you to see her show if you have the opportunity! And if you, can go to Burning Man !!

Feel free to share any miracle you experienced while traveling!

No expectation!

This is my new motto since we had our first Danish lesson with my team mate Helena.

So because we currently are illegal immigrant (tomorrow this will be sorted because we will get our resident permit yeah! ) we don’t have a CPR number: without this your life in denmark is HELL: something as simple as getting the youth card for the train reduction you can’t do it here without this magical CPR number… I wouldn’t be surprised if they ask me next time I go to a restaurant…

In the meantime we started Danish lesson with the Global students. Helena asked me what I expect from this class, I answered nothing but she said “ahhh common don’t react like this (being so French negative!) at least we will learn Danish!”

So now you can imagine the look I gave her when the teacher said

Today in Danish Class we aren’t going to learn danish…

Helena NO EXPECTATION!

I also kind of gave up my idea of working with students however it seems that as soon as I gave up on something they come to me!

Things I gave up last week:

  • I will have no more expectation about having Danish friends
  • I will have no more expectation about having a CPR number
  • I will have no more expectation anymore about doing something I like instead of editing

Don't expect the sunAs you can tell I also don’t expect to see the sun for the next 10 months….

was also quite depressed you know, the project being everything but what is described, not understand why I have been selected…I don’t know if I will like it still but I came to a point giving it a chance anyway. I have my arrival training (training that is common to all EVS volunteers of the country) in October, so I can share my experience and compare with others and then see what to do.

To go back on my expectations, sorry absence of expectation, some crazy things happened:

  • The papers we thought lost to get this CPR number, arrived!
  • While having a beer with a teacher, he told me about this show they will have with the musical and oh who could help with costume and set design, really who could do that? Yes me I guess you can picture me jumping of excitment! Yes well nothing is set in stone but I have hope again in the Danish Human kind!
  • The most unexpected of my non expectations! Friday night we had like “Pub night” started at 8pm (so everyone passed out way before midnight). A Danish student came talk to us! No you are no dreaming: they are social! I was amazed! And so it opened the door of socialness in me again! Because the past week I had been kind of an ermite…not nice!
  • And the most incredible thing is now when we meet each other we still talk! Yes because you may not know but chatting with someone not sober at a party isn’t the best way to meet a Dane. First they will forget you and then it doesn’t mean they will acknowledge your existence in the future, so this is a huge step when you past the “will this person remember we talked before?” stage!

You have to understand one thing when you do an EVS: it will not be as it is suppose to be, but you should know if you travel or if you have a normal life because I still live in a dream that everything should be fine :) Silly me!

2zyzj21

WTF am I doing here

French version

So It’s nearly two weeks I am in Denmark, and I don’t know how to explain but it’s WEIRD. Not the people or the culture, I knew it would be different but I think it was maybe not the best to go just after Israel.

It was good because I didn’t had to stay in France living at my parents (sorry but no…) However it’s hard to not compare and both situations are so different which make me miss the kibbutz life and my friends there even more!

For example, the fact that I have no friends yet. There are about 60 students here…. But I may go too fast so here what I am doing in Denmark: (even if I don’t really know my self): I am doing the European volunteer service in Denmark for 10 months. I live in a Folk High School and there are 4 Base camps for students: Musical, Acting, Youth with difficulties and Global. Some are only 5 months courses :Global and Acting and the rest until June.

On the paper I was suppose to come here to do activities with students and “document” the life of the school. Share my Frenchness and other stuff. I was very interested because I wanted to get involved more in Theatre so working with the Musical would have been great. Also they had mentionned a Film Base Camp so perfect to do Short Film and other cool projects. The down side is a lot of the things on the paper are not real! No Film Base Camp, no activities with students, no host family during the week end. So of course I am a bit disappointed. I didn’t had high expectations before coming though but I will do a job I didn’t expect and I hate editing so….

But the fact I miss the kibbutz so much and it’s so different here make it hard. I didn’t expect that the Danish students would be so apart from the foreign students! I understand in a way that it might be naive to expect everyone to come to you and converse in English, after all they are from here, they don’t ask for us to come so I have to make the first step but I can tell you it’s not easy when you have a big group of people only speaking Danish…So we’ll see what happens..

I take this as an opportunity to learn Danish even though Danes are the first to tell you, you won’t succeed :)…

In the meantime I can appreciate the amazing view from my window, summer won’t last!

IMG_1407

Group

Why did you decide to come here?

That’s it, I am not in the kibbutz anymore. Well at least not physically but in my head I am still there.

This experience was really incredible, and I understand now why most of the people I know that have been there said that.

One of my biggest question when I arrived was, why people come here? What kind of people do you find volunteering in a kibbutz, especially in 2013? And why? When I told my parents I was going, they wondered why was I doing this to them? It was cool in the 70’s but you can do fruit picking in France right?

It’s not the 70’s anymore

The volunteer movement changed a lot because the reason for volunteering changed. The movement started because of the war, kibbutzim needed help to keep working so people who would go there, were more politically engaged and wanted to support the kibbutz, they would also be older sometimes leaving university or taking a break from work.

And some stayed in Israel, they are now married or have children! I have seen a lot of ex volunteers in my kibbutz!

But let’s go back to the one I met, during these 3 incredible monthes. I can’t really say they are politically engaged some don’t really know much about the situation. My self I don’t really have an opinion, its’ very complicated.

However even if we come from all around the world and have big cultural differences, I could see some similarities.

I was also very surprised to see big group from one country. For example they are so many Korean! I didn’t expect that! Same goes for South American and South African. Of course there were some of my fellow Europeans! But mostly Scandinavian, I don’t really know why it’s a bigger thing in some countries but it is not even related with being jewish because not many volunteer were jewish.

Need to leave

The reason for volunteering are often very similar: You are in a situation, you have to make choices. You just finished high school, or quit a job, finished university or had a bad break up, kill your self at work or realize actually you hate it so much. So they need a change, a big one. Travels are literally a way to distance yourself from your problems.

In my case, I was feeling I was going nowhere in France, I had no career started, my friends where living far away, nothing much to look forward, feeling I don’t belong there. I didn’t feel I was ready to work, the situation in France make you feel quite miserable when it comes to work. It is quite depressing especially in my field. I wanted to do something different where I don’t have to worry and I can meet people, learn about another culture. Two friends I met in England did it and the experience they described me seemed so amazing, I started to look for information. Sometimes it can be your parents that have been there and encourage you to do the same, or maybe you find out about it randomly while looking for what  to do during a gap year. It seemed to be a great opportunity for me I had the time to do it.

Don’t worry…

I think it is indeed a break, all the everyday worries you have back home are not there: worry about cooking, doing your laundry, transportation, paying your bills.. Yes sometimes work can be tiresome, you can have a hard day, but you  know that you won’t stay there forever, that cutting carrot isn’t your life, that it’s ok if you put an apple B in a a box of apple C (well maybe you won’t work in apple anymore ) it’s very unlikely you will wake up in the middle of the night worrying about your job (maybe just wondering if tomorrow is your day off…).

Therefore you can focus on one thing: enjoying the moment!

Group

My home away from home

I didn’t expect to feel like home that quickly, to feel so good in a foreign country so easily! I think everything is different in the kibbutz: It’s more intense, but also relaxed and more spontaneous. The first week, even if I was new I would never feel alone because you will always find someone to talk to or hang out with. You build friendship and trust people faster than back home,and I think it’s because people feel that here no one knows them, we are equal. It’s always surprising when you here a volunteer saying “Oh back home I was a lawyer “or a journalist or some other “serious job” because here this one packs apples or works in dinning.

It really becomes a family, a feeling I have even more now I left. I was really amazed that with all these different nationalities and of course cultural differences everyone is so open and welcoming. You can’t be good friend with each volunteers but overall there is a sense of community and being together that is very strong. I think you feel free to be your self as cheesy as it sounds but  it’s the truth for me. There are no expectations from people so you can feel more free.

Safe Bubble

This environment makes you feel safe, like you are in a bubble.

People may not think of this feeling of safety before going, especially because going abroad is in a way putting your self in danger, in a “strange” environment. But unconsciously we want to feel safe and it makes even more sense knowing that a lot of us when we arrive, are trying to escape our problems. We hope that when we go home everything will be better even if often  the problems are still there waiting for us but we grew up in the meantime. No matter how long you stay, the kibbutz changes you.

ein gueiv

Images d’Israel

It’s really hard for me to keep the pace and write regularly. First of all I doubt you would be interested to know every details of my every day life, like how do I cut the carrots when I am working in kitchen or how long did I stay at the pool the other day… I want to focus on topic that everyone can find interesting even if not living in a kibbutz and it takes time! One coming soon about volunteers, who volunteers in a kibbutz nowadays is a big question and one of the first people ask you when you are here!

And once you get to know more Israeli thousand of questions pop up in your head and there are so many subjects to write about!

In the meantime I want to share some pictures I took while here.

First This one is one of the first place I visited. We went on a hike to the Mount Meron which is the highest in the official borders of Israel. It was cloudy that day but the view was incredible!

Second and Third Our First day trip was to the Sea of Galilee. For lunch we went to another kibbutz that is right on the sea, Ein Gev. We also realised that we are lucky being in Bar’Am, spoiled kids really! However this is what the Ein Gev volunteers can enjoy everyday

Yes that’s us on the platform (well not me I was taking the picture…)

Fourth Here some volunteers trying to look as fierce as pirates, while we were sailing on the Sea of Galilee. Liora our coordinator made us a very nice surprise renting a boat with music and we sailed for an hour.

Last The view is terrific!

That’s all for now but I promise to be back as soon! In the meantime if you wish to read about any specific subject related to Israel feel free to post in the comment or contact me :)

Yalla bye!

1010014_385853874857937_1510575655_n

Volunteer in Bar’am

So it has been three weeks since I arrived in the kibbutz. It’s in the North near Lebanon, I can actually see Lebanon from there (It’s crazy to think that I can’t cross the border though…border made by an English and a …French yes!).

During my journey in the bus I was amazed by the view because this country is incredible, it’s so beautiful!

What’s a kibbutz? 

A kibbutz is a community, a village if you prefer, that put everything in common, people work and live together (not exactly but at first it was like this) and receive what they need.

So my kibbutz is quite unique (but each kibbutz is different anyway). First it’s a “big” one there are about 290 adults members and around 40 volunteers, plus the children, so about 500 people I guess. It’s also as a friend said, a “stubborn” kibbutz as they want to keep the original concept intact and not privatise as it has been the case in other kibbutzim, they are quite conservative.

The kibbutz is wealthy. They earn a lot of money from the plastic factory but also from fruit production.

You have access to anything you need and even more. My roommate has to give me a complete tour of the kibbutz but it’s really big, it’s like a village. The places that volunteers know the most are the shop named Kolbo (you can’t pay with money, they give you a card and you add money on it, so when I say you don’t use money here you really don’t!), the pub but it’s being renovated and the swimming pool that opened maybe two weeks after I arrived! Several nights per week a cafe called members club opens for the evening, where you can enjoy drinks etc…There are several sports ground and many bomb shelters! Ours has been flooded, so we can’t use it anymore, it was a temporary solution for us to party while the pub was being renovated…

What do you do there?

Here as a volunteer I work about 8 hours a day. First I was in the apple factory and orchards, so picking fruits and packing them. After a week I was moved to kitchen and I enjoy much more! We help preparing the food for the people eating at the dinning room, the entire kibbutz don’t eat there of course, but enough people coming everyday to keep the dinning room open. As volunteers we don’t pay the food. Actually we don’t pay for anything, apart if we want to smoke or drink everything else, is free! It’s something interesting, because you don’t have to worry about money here, everything you need is provided. And the job you are doing isn’t the same because you are not paid, it’s like a direct transaction, against your work you receive what you need and actually even more.

The group of volunteers here is awesome. The night I arrived was pub night so I had a really warm welcome and partied with others! I felt integrated in no time. I share a room with a Danish guy named Martin, people call him Crazy Martin but I learnt that after moving in with him (If I had knew…. no Martin you know I am joking ;) ). He is crazy about hikes and think Danish lack of empathy. He is obsessed with croissant.

People comes from everywhere, we have a big group of Korean, Scandinavian, and South American. I am the only French now ,but people keep coming and going, since I arrived I think about 12 people left and as much arrived. The one staying are our two coordinators ,Liora she is a member from the kibbutz I don’t know how long she has been here but a very long time, and Lena who came here about 10 years ago .

Talking about people living here permanently, they are called members.

It takes about a year and a half to become one and then you have access to all the facilities and have also all the rights (and responsibilities)  such as participating in the general assembly and a lot more…They don’t receive a salary but a certain amount of money according their needs, so it depends the size of the family, age of the people etc…and a lot of complicated calculation that I don’t know.Basically it’s not about the work you are doing, everyone is equal. This is why the money you get isn’t technically a salary . However a lot of kibbutzim changed and now some of them actually pay their members. Members also own their house, whereas here in Bar’am you don’t, the kibbutz is owned by everyone. You live in a house but it’s not “yours”.

I have still a lot to write about so I will tell you more in another article but I hope this help you to understand what is a kibbutz, but share if you have questions or information as well if you have been to a kibbutz or are currently living in one!

Yalla bye :)

Kibbutz website (check the photos gallery!)

Balagan

Je suis arrivée mardi à 5h à Tel Aviv. Mes premières impressions alors que je devais me rendre au bureau de KPC pour savoir où j’allais:

-Le coté bâtis à la va vite, les câbles pendent d’un peu partout, c’est assez étrange, il y a aussi un drôle mix d’architecture des truc laid comme magnifique.

-Un mix de gens assez spécial aussi, il y a de tout! Des gens de toutes les origines, de tous les styles c’est assez troublant.

-Peut être pas autant que le nombre impressionnant de jeunes en uniformes. Et oui les Israéliens ont leur services militaires dès 18 ans, 3 ans pour les garçons et 2 pour les filles. Donc on voit des jeunes assez décontractés en uniformes partout. Mais vraiment PARTOUT même dans le kibboutz c’est assez drôle car ils n’ont pas du tout l’air de militaire, ils ont l’attitude de n’importe quel jeune vraiment.

-Aussi, un couchsurfer m’avait conseillé de connaître quelques mots avant d’arriver dont balagan. Et bien c’est exactement ça balagan, c’est ce coté chaotique, un grand bordel mais qui marche quand même pas si mal!

-Durant mon attente pour le bus une femme à côté de moi qui ne parlait pas un mot d’anglais me donnait régulièrement des oranges confites c’était très bon!

Bien sûr durant la journée je me suis souvent demandé mais qu’est ce que je fous là! Mais ça c’était avant d’arriver dans mon kibboutz et là tous les doutes ont disparu. Une amie qui a été dans un kibboutz m’avais conseillé de demander, un kibboutz avec beaucoup de monde. Donc j’avais le choix entre un kibboutz dans le nord près de la frontière libanaise et un dans le sud vers Eilat. Le désert ne me tentait pas et j’avais un peu peur d’être aussi près de la frontière libanaise mais finalement j’ai choisi Bar’am.

Donc une heure après me voilà dans le bus qui m’emmène au train qui m’emmène à Haifa ou je prendrais un bus qui va jusqu’à Baram.

Donc 4-5h de trajet en comptant les attentes etc…

J’étais un peu en stress dans le bus j’avais peur de rater l’arrêt, finalement le chauffeur était très sympa donc je n’ai eu aucun soucis et on ne peut pas rater le kibbutz, c’est plutôt une sorte de village , c’est le genre de lieu unique en son genre qui n’existe qu’en Israël, c’est fou, c’est surréaliste, mais c’est juste génial.

Mais ça j’en parlerais plus tard ;)

 

6th May 2013

IsraelEn français ici

Monday I am leaving for Israel.

My visa has been approved, my tickets are booked and I hope that I don’t forget anything while packing! I’ll do my best to post about my stay there. I’ll be working in a kibbutz, if you don’t know what it is, look it up to have an idea of the origin and history as it’s quite different nowadays.

Here the definition from KPC (the organisation you go with to volunteer in kibbutz)

WHAT IS KIBBUTZ?

Kibbutz means group in Hebrew. It is a modest name for something unique: a voluntary democratic community where people live and work together on a non-competitive basis. Its aim is to generate an economically and socially independent society founded on principles of communal ownership of property, social justice, and equality.

The first kibbutzim (plural of kibbutz) were organized by idealistic young Zionists who came to Palestine in the beginning of the 20th Century. Their dream was not just to settle the land it, but to build a whole new kind of society. Despite many hardships, they succeeded in creating a social system and a way of life which has played a crucial role in the development of the State of Israel both culturally and politically.

You can find more info on their website.

I don’t know yet where I’ll be this is the surprise. I arrive at Tel Aviv early morning on Tuesday and then go to the office, there according the places available I’ll know where I go. You don’t necessarily pick the kibbutz, I guess if several have places you can maybe decide…I’ll see by my self!

What I found funny is Israel is about the size of Brittany in France! So I hope to travel around when I am there to see as much as I can and discover the culture. I will try to make some videos of my trip, eventually post them here!

If you have been to Israel or plan to go there, or even live there, let me know I would love to hear your thoughts about this country!

Ready to Go!

Finally! Yes, finally, I am going again…MAYBE!

While I was in Zambia, I met many volunteers, two of my friends from the group went volunteering in a kibbutz in Israël, so you guess where I am heading next!

If everything is fine, in one month I’ll be in the plane to Tel Aviv! So how this works? Well both of my friends went there through KPC the organisation that do volunteer program in Kibbutz. IYou have to be fit to be able to work outside (for example agricultural work) and it takes about a month to do the paperwork. Then it depends availability of course!

So I sent my application this week end so very soon I’ll know if I can go and when, which is very exciting! I’ll be there for 3 months, so I will tell you about my experience there.

sac

Another good news is we are approaching the next EVS deadline. Do you remember when I told you I was looking for a European Volunteer Service? Well, there is 3 deadlines to apply every year. Basically when you find an organisation, she will send the application for the 1st February/1st May/1st October. I sent some in February but wasn’t selected.

This time I applied for more projects (about 7 but I only applied to projects I can see my self doing, not to have more chances to go)So around May just before leaving to Israël, I will know if I have been selected!

Also, I started a group on Facebook posting about vacancies when people know them because if you are looking for an EVS, you know how the website is helpful regarding deadlines etc…it’s a shame because organisation receives tons of emails of people who just want to know when to apply and the people don’t necessarily get the answer! It would be nice if they can clear this point on the database at least! I think one website for application should be made but I guess it’s quite complicated to do?

So sometimes I receive questions about EVS, I thought I could answer them here:

  • Who should I contact first?  Well ideally it’s better to get in touch with a sending organisation first, they will give advices and they may know about vacancies you didn’t heard about. Plus it is mandatory to have a sending organisation, a volunteer can’t go on their own! So sooner or later you will need one. I found mine at the beginning, they support you, and they can also contact organisation for you (some can’t respond to each volunteer asking questions, but they will respond to their colleagues for example!). However, nothing stops you to look for interesting project on the database while you are waiting to meet your sending organisation.

 

  • I found a project but I have no idea how to apply! This happens, every time almost! It’s not really how, I guess it’s WHEN. What I did at first was sending emails, but i wouldn’t have any answers, or too late so the best is to call. It may be scary if you don’t speak their language or even english, but you have to try seriously it’s so really effective you have your answer in 5 secondes and they can give you advice about the application process. About the process it self, usually you send a cover letter and your CV before the deadline. Some organisation have very specific application deadline, for example for May, a lot of them are accepting application until the 1st of April and now they are selecting. A good thing to do is to check their website. There are also websites posting vacancies, check the list below.

 

  • I got a positive answer but I applied for several project, can I change my mind? Yes and No. I would say no. Once you are committed to a project you can’t keep looking hoping to find something better. So you can’t change your mind. However if something unexpected happened: a job offer, someone dies, you have an injury etc… if you didn’t fill any paper, it’s fine you call your sending organisation and explain you aren’t available anymore. However I don’t know how it works if it happens just before going, I guess it depends the reason.The sending organisation is the first to call in this situation anyway!

If you have any questions feel free to ask in the comments.

You can check this links as well:

Write your Cv at EU format: https://europass.cedefop.europa.eu/en/home

Vacancies: http://www.sve.pt/vagas/abertas http://www.youthnetworks.eu/

10 flats in about a year

My guide of all the weirdos you might meet at some point while looking for a flat.

April

The normal one (I wish you to get this one)

This was my first flatshare in London. I think I was really lucky regarding the price and the location, the flat was quite new, so really comfy! I had to leave though because I found a job in North London and I was living a the opposite, South, so I had a 1 hour journey to commute to work. It could be more when I was finishing work past midnight or having a drink with coworkers so imagine…

June

The very cheap one but there is a reason for that 

So after I got my job I looked for something nearby. I was incredibly lucky to get the cheapest flat I ever had in London: 60£ a week between Highbury& Islington and Angel. I could walk to go to work! WALK!But this was temporary and something so cheap as its down side: my room was closet, the landlord not really serious. But the rest of the flat was great and the flatmates as well.

September

The friend’s couch

After loosing my job I stayed 2 more months in my cheap flat but I wanted to move out. My flatmates found a student to replace me before I had a room so some friends hosted me for almost a month! I was lucky enough they had a spare room and I didn’t pay anything. It was much further away but hey I was with friends and a roof on my head so what could I ask more?

October

The Camden flat 

I bet you all know Camden: the punks, the market, this special ambiance. Well I lived for a month in a flat with three Camden specimens: one was a punk that was working in a shop and a tattoo salon if I remember, the other one was gothic but can’t remember what she was doing. The last one was a young boy a punk goth transvestite. It was really nice atmosphere even though I barely met them. I had a huge room and living in Camden is really cool but this was a short term let sadly.

November

The worst plan ever flat 

Before moving out (again) I was going to France for a week. So I was trying to secure a room before going to move my stuff there and move in the day I would come back.

I had been looking for a while but nothing came up and I was leaving soon which was stressing me a lot. Finally I got in touch with this guy on gumtree he convinced me to visit the flat but already through the phone I found him a bit off. The flat was huge it was for one person and the price was really cheap for the space. I would stay for a month. The day before leaving London we arrange to meet so he gives me the key and I pay him the deposit. When I arrive he tell me he has to ask 50£ more for the rent when I told him my price limit already. I had no back up plan so I said yes. We didn’t sign any paper and I gave him the deposit in cash which was a huge mistake! Seriously DON’T do that ever.

What was strange is I was renting the room but he would come back sometimes and sleep in the flat. I didn’t felt comfortable with that at all. So after 2 weeks I said listen give me my money back and I’ll go. The thing is he wouldn’t let me invite any friends and he was really strange.

He insisted for me to stay. Finally when he understood I would go anyway, he gave me my money back. This ass hole stole 100£ from me. First he lied about the deposit I gave him. Then he said the flat was dirty when I spent two fucking days cleaning it so he had to hire someone. Then when I came to get the other half of my money he said he missed 30£ because he couldn’t get more from the ATM.

The worst part is I had a bad intuition since the beginning but I was so scared to not have a roof on my head I took what I could get and this is so wrong!

Flat

February

The one that lead to a friendship

Anyway after this I was going home for Christmas and stayed there a month or two. I decided to go back when I got an offer for some temping. I had to start somewhere right? So I found on a couchsurfing a let for a week. The flatmates were amazing so this actually lead to a strong friendship!

The week in a squat 

After that another couchsurfer hosted me. She was living in a squat which was quite interesting. I was doing a work experience on a shoot at this time so I didn’t mind it, spending 15 hours on set.About 10 people where living there and you meet some really special ones but overall I found them so friendly sharing everything, hanging out together, very welcoming.

The second worst plan ever but at least you learned something from the first one 

After this I found what I thought the best plan. I was renting a room to a guy and every week. I would say if I needed it for another week and we would extend our deal. This guy was weird like… Golum weird. Very strange. However, I didn’t pay a deposit and I was paying every week so I didn’t lose my money at least. But this guy decided one day he needed his room again so he gave me 2 hours to pack and go! The worst part is he knew that for a week but he had no balls so he couldn’t tell me through the phone, he preferred to wait to see me and kick me out the same day. I was lucky because the guy I befriended while in the other flat, came to help me carry my stuff and hosted me for a while!

April

The friend’s couch

After that I went back to France for a little while. I knew I was leaving for Africa so I had some stuff to prepare but I had to be in London most of the time. I thought I had a flat but finally just after I booked my ticket to go the landord said he made a mistake about the price so I had nothing.

But a girl I met on a shoot offer to host me. She was truly adorable and I stayed there 3 weeks before leaving.

August

Looking after an adorable cat

When I came back another friend who was working quite often outside London asked me if I could watch his cat while away. to be honest this is the best plan ever! The cat was adorable the place amazing! It’s a warehouse with the living area on the top floor. A bit far from Central London but so comfy and the neighbourhood very nice as well!

the working and living together This same friend needed an assistant on a shoot so this is how we ended up working and living together which I really enjoyed!

September

Back home

After that I went back to France and this is where I still am, trying to find another volunteer program to leave ASAP!

What about you? Any luck finding one good place?

Bon voyage!

alexis2

Alexis part aujourd’hui. Eh oui il quitte notre cher pays pour un voyage qui commence par être matelot sur un bateau qui l’emmène en Amérique!

Voilà un deuxième article de son cru, il m’a promis de m’écrire des lettres que je publierais ici!

Bon voyage, Alexis :)

J’imagine que vous avez rangé vos photos de la Tour Eiffel? Je suis fier de vous. Même si au fond, je suis un peu des votre. Bah oui moi aussi j’ai emmené mon ex à Venise et moi aussi j’ai grimpé la Tour Eiffel (effet romantique approuvé). C’est sur ça fait classe et puis au moins elle se souviendra de toi celle là. Le tout c’est de savoir doser. On a tous nos moments un peu cliché et un peu niant-niant c’est normal et puis il faut optimiser le peu de temps libre qu’on a. Alors forcément on pense pas tout de suite à aller s’enterrer au fin fond de l’Ex-Yougoslavie. Vous êtes tout excusés. Mais voilà même si ça peut faire flipper aussi, un mec qui les emmène en stop jusqu’à Berlin ça les fait rêver aussi ne l’oublier pas. On a tous entendu parler du fantasme Indiana Jones pas vrai? Alors n’hésitez pas, on est en 2013 et le style baroudeur ça plait, et si en plus ça peut faire chier les bobos hipster alors tant mieux. Bah ouais c’est des connards sans identités qui se fondent dans la masse en pensant être uniques et décalés. Et la barbe n’y changera rien. Alors faites ce dont vous avez envie mais affirmez-le. Ne soyez pas un mouton. 

 Mais revenons à nos affaires. 

 Quand Camille m’a demandé de parler de mes voyages, j’avoue avoir été de suite emballé, mais force de dire que je ne sais pas trop par où commencer. J’ai beaucoup aimé son article sur ça première expédition à l’étranger. Mais à vrai dire, je considère en avoir eu plusieurs. Tout d’abord le séjour à Londres à 18 ans en coloc pendant plusieurs mois, le premier trajet en stop Paris – Barcelone à 18 ans toujours. Mais s’il y a bien une journée qui m’a marquée c’est mon premier jour de backpacker.

 Pour faire court, j’avais pris un train en direction de Bruxelles, sans hôtel ni rien juste avec l’idée d’aller à un festival Rock le lendemain. (Rock Werchter précisément) . Je comptais passer la nuit à la gare et prendre le premier train le matin. Une mauvaise idée évidemment mais j’étais jeune et naïf  Il se trouve que je me suis fait hébergé dans un luxueux hôtel de Bruxelles par John, un américain travaillant à l’ONU. Il fallait avoir confiance bien sûr, mais ça on l’apprend en voyageant. Et ouais les suites d’hôtel c’est cool, le lit King size pour toi tout seul c’est sympa, mais ça l’est encore plus quand c’est offert par quelqu’un comme ça sans rien demander. Il m’a tout simplement dit qu’il voulait me rendre service aujourd’hui pour que je puisse à mon tour rendre la pareil à quelqu’un dans quelques années.  C’est exactement l’idée du voyage que je me fais. On rencontre plein de gens et on ne peut pas forcement tout rendre à la personne qui nous donne. Souvent elle s’y refuse d’ailleurs. Mais c’est un échange permanent. Ne l’oubliez jamais. Pendant vos vacances de touristes ça vous ne le vivrez jamais. Vous ne ferez jamais de rencontres, en tout cas pas d’aussi spontanées et honnêtes. Vous avez de l’argent mais vous être pauvre. Horriblement pauvre. Et moi je dors dans vos hôtels.

 Et puis aller petit moment culturel on fini avec mon bon vieux Buk:

 

Some people never go crazy. What truly horrible lives they must lead. 

- Charles Bukowski

69100012

Bosser sur des tournages à Londres, c’est possible!

Après 3 mois j’en étais au point où je savais ce que je ne voulais pas faire et donc je me suis finalement bougée en me disant  pas besoin d’enchaîner les tafs pourris lance toi dans ta branche tant que tu as des économies.

Ma branche c’est le cinéma.

Donc en gros bosser dans le cinéma à Londres sachant que je n’y connaissais rien. Enfin au cinéma un peu c’est ce que j’ai étudié mais le comment ça marche, se créer un réseaux, trouver un taf c’était une autre affaire bien plus compliqué.

 

J’ai galéré? Non mais absolument pas! finalement j’y suis allée pas à pas j’ai vraiment commencé au plus bas avec des job non rémunérés à aider des étudiants anglais pour leur film d’études, puis des jobs toujours non payés sur des trucs de plus en plus pros.

D’un coté c’est bien car j’ai appris beaucoup de choses et graduellement. Après ca a été très dur financièrement. Si j’avais su comment être prise sur un tournage dès le départ est ce que je l’aurais fait? je ne sais pas si j’aurais été prête finalement donc je ne le regrette pas, par contre je regrette un peu de m’etre plus laissé porté que d’avoir activement chercher, je trouvais les solutions un peu par hasard.

J’ai aussi constaté que mon anglais c’est nettement améliorer. Je pense que dans une branche plus spécifique il y  baucoup moins d’étrangers, donc on est plus en contact avec de vrais british.

Cela m’a valu quelques petites incompréhension d’un point de vu culturelle mais j’ai appris beaucoup sur les codes culturels quand j’étais en Afrique avec une anglaise! Mais ça c’est autre chose encore!

Et vous? Avez vous réussi à travailler dans votre branche à l’étranger et pas juste à Macdo (c’est une voie respectable aussi!)?

A need to go!

on the road

It’s been a week I didn’t post and actually the last one was an interview. however I had a lot of things I wanted to write but I want to take the time for some of them, like volunteering that need informations etc…

Anyway there is something I can share today and I think it would be nice if anyone who read this share their thoughts in the comments: I really want to go!

Where? I have no idea, but I feel the need to move. I have been staying in the same place since the 3rd of December, and I am back hom in France since september so I don’t really like this actually, I need to see something different!

I have been thinking then, where to go? so here the list of places I really want to see and stay for a bit:

Italy: well I have a friend there so that’s probably the next project on my list! No excuse

Berlin: i don’t write Germany because I want to go more specifically to Berlin, i have been there once but I think I have more to see there

Denmark: I can’t really explain it but my interest for Denmark is growing bigger and bigger everyday,( thanks to their amazing show Borgen maybe? I didn’t start the Killing yet because I know I wouldn’t have a social life until I finish the serie…)

India: I really really want to go to India and I have never been to Asia, but that would be a bigger trip to organise…

Thailand: All the friends I have, that have been there told me I had to go.

Israel: I heard about kibbutz and I hope having the opportunity to do it very soon!

and there are so much more….

So what is your list? I really consider working for a month (I would be so grateful to the universe to please give me a job! ahah) and then start with Italy for an indefinite period and who knows where it would bring me!

Let me know if you have any travelling project in the future!

Alexis

Alexis, c’est l’ami je ne sais jamais où le trouver, mais on arrive à se croiser. Parce qu’il est tout le temps à droite, à gauche, un coup à Berlin ou à Bruxelles ou au fin fond de la Pologne.

Du coup quand j’ai pensé à faire intervenir des gens que je connais pour qu’ils partagent leur expérience c’était un choix évident! Cette fois c’est par email qu’on en a discuté donc ce ne sera pas de l’audio (je travaille aussi sur une transcription de l’interview de Luis).

Bref je vous laisse découvrir. Je luis ai dit voyage et voilà ce qu’il a commencé à m’écrire (ah bon ce n’est qu’un début?)

;)

alexis

Je me demande encore si cela a eu une influence quelques pars mais je suis né à Paris un jour de printemps au début des années 90.Des millions de personnes rêves de venir ici et moi j’y suis déjà, j’y suis même né. Votre origine a évidemment une influence sur la façon dont les gens vous perçoivent pendant vos voyages mais cela a-t-il une influence sur votre façon de voyager?

Toujours est il que je n’ai pas toujours eu envie de quitter paris. Des changement de villes et donc d’école réguliers ont finis de me raccrocher à ma ville. Je l’ai abandonne malgré moi je ne me sentais plus parisien, j’avais vécu trop longtemps ailleurs. Mais pas des endroits suffisamment intéressant pour l’oublier.

Cela a crée une sorte de complexe, je ne suis pas provincial mais je ne suis plus parisien, à l’image d’un immigré qui se demande s’il doit supporter l’équipe de France ou bien celle d’Algérie. Le voyageur est sensé ne pas avoir de point d’attache ou de s’en défaire facilement.

Je pense que l’on tiens un début d’explication. A moins d’être en constante recherche de ce point d’attache. Moi-même je l’ignore encore. Donc voilà, une jeunesse entre Paris, province et banlieue, des études avortées une famille inexistante, fin prêt pour prendre la route.
Je suis rentré à Paris à 17 ans et je n’ai jamais vraiment eu de chez moi, soit chez mon père, chez mes copines et des amis. Je vis avec mon sac. Je suis toujours prêt a partir. 

Je pense que les vrais voyageurs voyagent par plaisir mais surtout par nécessité. Il n’y a cependant aucun profil type de voyageur , les gens sans problème et même les gros cons voyagent. Mais il y a une énorme différence entre le gros con de touriste et le gros con de voyageur.

Le voyageur est prétentieux parce qu’il vit plus que toi, le touriste parce qu’il en a vu plus. En gros le touriste en a une plus grosse mais toi tu sais mieux t’en servir. Ce n’est pas une question de nombres de pays ou du nombres de photos mais une question de mise en danger, de risques. C’est pour ça que l’on doit voyager, se sortir de son cocon. Et ne venez pas me dire que vous êtes allés à La Baule le weekend dernier ça c’est pas un voyage, c’est juste beauf. Sans parler de votre visite à Center Parc ou de votre visite des putes à Amsterdam.

Donc pour être clair les adeptes du Club Med, weekend à Disney ou des 2 semaines à la plage en Espagne, au mieux vous me faites vomir. Et ta photo en face de la Tour Eiffel tu sais ce que j’en pense pas vrai?

C’est définitivement ca le leitmotiv, la peur. On se sent vivant, on se sent libre. Les expériences que je raconte sont toujours celles les moins joyeuses à vivre. Les nuits dans la rue, à la gare, seul ou pas, les heures d’autostop dans le froid, sous 45 degrés, la station service au fin fond du Kosovo…

Mais ce n’est pas que ça. Le deuxième est la mise en situation. C’est pour ça que je décommande toujours l’hôtel et le train. Exception faites pour le transsibérien ou les trains pourrit d’Europe de l’est où il est aisé de rencontrer des gens! Stopper et Couchsurfer ce n’est même pas recommandé, c’est la base.

Bannir mcdo et ibis et vous aurez déjà fait un grand pas. Il faut aller à la rencontre des gens mais en se coupant de son confort de bourgeois. Si vous n’avez pas beaucoup de temps par contre prenez l’avion et le train on ne vous en voudra pas mais évitez Bénidorm par pitié. Les plus belles plages d’Europe ne sont pas en Espagne bordel. Et en plus c’est cher pour s’entasser dans un bloc de béton et voir des mecs avec du gel à longueur de journée.

Il faut donc bien réfléchir sur vos motivations, si elles ne sont pas clair c’est que vous êtes sur le bon chemin. Ne penser même pas à vous relaxer [au sens premier] ni même à en mettre pleins la vue puisque tout le monde s’en fout que vous ayez pique niqué au bord d’une rivière en Bulgarie (pas moi!). Et le stop n’est pas vraiment de tout repos. Seulement contradictoirement, cela vous fera un bien fou croyez moi.

Comme je l’expliquais avant, il y a évidemment quelques chose de profond dans l’envie de voyager et encore une fois vous pouvez remballer votre séjour chez mamie. Mais cela prendrait beaucoup trop de temps et on est pas en cours de philo.

Le seul but du voyage est de faire des choses que les autres n’ont pas fait, parce que oui après tout on voyage aussi en se comparant, c’est humain. Mais contrairement au gros con de touriste cité précédemment ce n’est pas pour en mettre plein la vue. Mais pour acquérir une expérience et un vécu différent de vos petits camarades . Quand quelqu’un me raconte une expérience de voyage je sens qu’il a vécu quelque chose et je veux aussi le vivre à ma manière. On se nourrit de ça. Plus tu voyages plus tu rencontres de gens qui ont voyagé et donc plus tu as envie de continuer. C’est un cycle vertueux. Une fois que vous avez commencé c’en est fini de votre vie Ikea. Alors si vous ne sentez aucun manque, soit vous êtes amoureux soit vous un touriste. Dans les deux cas ,désolé pour vous.

Il faut évidement un déclic pour tenter où même avoir l’idée de voyager, Le mieux est donc de les provoquer. Vous inscrire sur BeWelcome et CouchSurfing sera déjà un bon début. Vous y trouverez hébergement et compagnon de voyage, Crée un blog ou tenez un journal ça vous donnera envie de les remplir. Pour le stop vous pouvez vous aidez de «Hitchwiki » vous y trouverez tout les informations nécessaire au stop (faites attention tout de même, ne lisez pas ça comme une bible non plus).

Et souvenez vous, j’en ai rien à foutre que vos parents vous ai emmené en Safari. 
La suite arrive bientôt, avec de vraies histoires et de vrais conseils, restez calme les enfants.

En attendant je vous conseille le blog de Ghislain, un sacré psychopathe! http://ghislainvoyage.over-blog.com/archive-06-2012.html

Out of Africa

I did a volunteer program about 6 months ago while I was living in the UK.

It hapened a bit randomly. I was doing a work experience on a film and I was talking to my collegue about my idea of doing the EVS. He had worked with a british NGO so he told me to take a look on their website that they were doing a lot of project in Africa.

I remembered it few days later and it was the quite funny because it was 8pm and when I was browsing their page when I saw they were recruiting for a new scheme called ICS funded by DFID and the application deadline was the same day at midnight so I decided to give it a go, thinking nothing would come out from this but a couple of weeks later, I received an email saying they wanted to meet for an interview!

So I went. The selection process was basically doing group activities to see how you interact with other and then an individual interview.I didn’t find it difficult I understood fairly quickly what they were looking for. A couple of days later I got a positive email saying I had been selected! But I had no idea here I would go.

Out of africa

I remember saying I prefer to go in Africa ( you can also go to Asia) but that’s it.

Then I had a weekend of training with loads of other volunteers, some from different NGO. Because there are 6 agencies that are part of the scheme. It was really nice, it was actually crazy to talk to people saying “oh so where are you from? sweet, which country are you going? oh Africa me too!”

Just before the training I had an email saying I was going to Zambia.To be honest, I had never heard of this country before but I was really happy!

The whole process between applying to actually be in the plane took maybe 2 months so that was VERY fast comparing to other project. For example I am looking for EVS for about a year now and I applied for 4 project but it’s a completely different program anyway.Some Peace Corps volunteers I met while in Zambia told me the process take about a year or more.

You can find information about the scheme here.

What is ICS

Have you heard about ICS before? Have you done volunteering before? If yes how was the process to find a project?

Africa

A man cycling on the road near my house

A man cycling on the road near my house

I took this picture while I was in Africa, it’s one of my favorite even if the quality isn’t the best. I took it with a Diana so it explains it all!

Don’t compare to others, you aren’t them

En français c’est ici

For my first travel abroad I went to England.

5 years later, I moved to London.

I had no plans, I was convincing my self and my parents I had one. The first month was hectic.

I found a flat in 3 days! This was the easiest part. It was a really good one, in Clapham very nice location and nice flatmates. The first of a very long list ( I had 10 flats in like a year but that’s another story)

I was so scared at the beginning because I read everywhere that it took ages to find a proper flat for other foreigners who came just like that.

On the other hand they said it was very easy to get a job.

foodHowever, that wasn’t exactly my case! Maybe because I met a lot of friendly people and I was more into going out and waking up late than looking for jobs. Also I was absolutely terrified of talking on the phone in English, I think mine wasn’t so bad but I couldn’t understand everything that what people were saying. It was quite ridiculous, I would rather not pick up a call from a friend and text him than answer the call. But after 3 months this horrid feeling vanished and now you can’t stop me.

After some trials and phone interview (yes!) I managed to find a job, just before I ran out of money. The interview went really well I was really relaxed maybe I was at the point I don’t care anymore and they called me  I got a job! IIt was quite cool actually. The team was nice to me. I was a sales assistant in a restaurant.

The issue was working in a restaurant has never been something I enjoyed. I find it actually difficult and almost humiliating. I just can’t handle customers, I find them easily irritating and I am not the kind of person that can pop up a fake smiling happy face in 30sec so it ended pretty quickly.

But then it forced me to think twice before I took another job as a waitress. After all I just graduated in cinema studies so I decided to get a job in my field and not go home without a penny. I don’t regret it! Plus now I know what I am not good at: serving food to Londoners!

And you? Have you ever tried to get a job abroad? Did you manage to talk on the phone? How did it work out?

EVS or the chaotic process of finding a project

EVS, is the European Volunteer Service, and it’s an amazing concept.

When I discover about it I was excited and thinking “This is so for me!”

What is it? Basically, everyone between 18 up to 30 (you can do it at 16 as well but in specific criteria apply) living in the EU or in partners countries or Euromed countries can volunteer for a duration of 3 months to a year. There are many different projects, such as volunteering in Czec Republic in one of the biggest Yoga center in a castle or saving turtles in Greece, or working with disabled children.

During the project you will be provided an accommodation, trainings and seminars, language class, insurance, and allowance for food, transport etc…

And it’s free.

I think this is a fantastic opportunity for young people to volunteer and live abroad.

Travelling isn’t necessarily expensive, however you still need money. Same goes for volunteering as in a lot of projects you are the one covering all your expenses. I am not saying you shouldn’t pay anything if you are a volunteer because it depends every projects.

How does it work?  It’s a big mess to find a project!

There is a database, with all the accredited organisation, sending, coordinating and hosting, apart from the Euromed countries and other countries that aren’t from the EU or partners (even if it’s the European volunteer service you can still manage to go to Guatemala, go figure!)

This database is helpful but the way it’s done, gives you headache the second you start looking for a project. First of all I think it would be so helpful to do more specific categories or something like tags! You will find project about theatre listed in “environment” so the categories don’t really mean anything sometimes … Also, it’s up to the organisation to mention when they are recruiting and when the project usually starts.

You have to contact the ones that interests you, which is normal. After all if you are so interested you should send an email or give them a call to see what it’s all about, but some of the organisation I called don’t even host volunteers anymore, or they will recruit in November for the February deadline ( there is 3 deadline in the year for organisation to apply for the project with a volunteer).

In reality some will look for a volunteer 3 months before the deadline, whereas some will wait to have the confirmation the project is approved and recruit afterwards. So for February you can have deadline starting mid November closing Mid March…

So what do you do? Well you keep looking in this chaos  and call everyone (some answer to email, but most don’t so you will rather spend some money on phone credit to get an quick answer than waiting weeks for an email that may never arrive) and you make your list.

it doesn’t sound so complicated, not it’s really not but it take such a long time, here an example of the description of a project:

http://ec.europa.eu/youth/evs/aod/hei_form_en.cfm?EID=6002415488

Actually it’s a good one because some organisation, well you have no clue what they are doing exactly and what you will be doing…

When I was doing this, I was thinking it was so stupid to keep the list just for yourself, and I actually find a useful tools that is Facebook! You have tons of groups posting deadlines, information about organisation and I actually found really good ones to contact this way!

Here groups you may have a look at if interested by EVS:

Youth Partners Network, EVS application deadline, EVS Exchange Network

To be continued…

information: EU database, EVS

 

Le SVE c’est l’abréviation pour Service volontaire Européen et c’est un concept génial.

Quand j’en ai entendu parlé, je sautais partout en me disant c’est ce qu’il me faut!

Qu’est ce que c’est? En résumé, n’importe qui entre 18 et 30 (à 16 ans aussi c’est possible mais les critères sont différents) qui vit dans l’Union Européenne ou dans les pays partenaires peut partir en volontariat de 3 mois à un an.

Il y a plein de projets différents par exemple être volontaire dans le plus gros centre de Yoga d’Europe en République Tchèque ou sauver des tortues en Grèce , ou encore travailler avec des enfants handicapés.

Pour toute la durée du projet le volontaire est logé, nourri, blanchi mais il reçoit aussi des cours de langue et participe à divers séminaires.

Et tout cela est gratuit.

Je pense que c’est vraiment une opportunité génial pour les jeunes de faire du volontariat et vire une expérience à l’étranger et sachant que les qualifications et le niveau d’études ne sont pas des critères de sélection!

Voyager n’est pas forcément très cher mais il faut quand même un budget au départ. Pareil pour le volontariat beaucoup de projets sont payants du coup cela ferme pas mal de portes pour ceux qui ne peuvent pas se le permettrent sans compter la langue à maîtriser ou au moins l’anglais. Je ne dis pas qu’il ne faut pas payer bien sûr cela dépend du projet.

Comment ça marche? C’est ça le truc: C’est un peu le chaos pour trouver un projet.

En fait toutes les organisations accréditées, d’envoi, coordinatrice ou d’accueil ( en dehors des Euromed et des pays en dehors de l’Europe, parce que oui c’est un volontariat Européen mais tu peux quand même partir au Guatemala…) sont répertoriées sur une base de données.

Cette base de données est super mais comment dire, c’est très laid et ça donne mal au crâne de lire deux minutes là dessus!

Déjà il serait bien de faire des catégories plus appropriées parce que celles présentent ne servent pas à grand chose. On se retrouve avec des projets de théâtre listés dans environnement. Et ensuite c’est aux organisations de mentionner ou plutôt de ne pas mentionner quand elles recrutent et si elles recrutent et là c’est une galère sans nom!

Il faut les contacter une par une, bon normal si tu es intéressé il faut bien faire un effort et se renseigner tout de même, mais quand tu en appelles certaines elles te raccrochent limite au nez car ça fait des années qu’elles n’accueillent plus personnes. Ou alors elles veulent que tu rappelles plus tard car elle recrutent en Novembre pour Février ( Il y a 3 date limites de candidature dans l’année pour les volontaires).

Donc certaines vont rechercher des volontaires 3 mois avant la date de candidature, d’autres après la date, certaines recrutent une fois dans l’année. Donc pour Février par exemple tu as une marge qui va de Novembre à Mars…faut être au courant quand même….

Donc que faire? Et bien tu t’obstines à toutes les appeler, même si certaines ne te comprennent pas (je peux parler anglais mais je n’imagine pas les volontaires qui ne parlent pas anglais….) et tu claques tout ton argent en crédit lebara en rayant les noms de tes préférées, qui avaient des projets prometteurs, sur ta liste.

Ca à l’air compliquer, en fait pas tellement mais c’est tellement mal fait comme site, ça prends beaucoup de temps. Sachant que toutes ces organisations font parties d’un même programme il serait judicieux de faire un système de candidature centralisé, où le volontaire postule 3 fois dans l’année sur un seul site pour toutes les projets qui le tentent un peu comme le site Post Bac que j’avais après le lycée, c’était quand même pas mal fichu!

Voilà une description par exemple:

http://ec.europa.eu/youth/evs/aod/hei_form_en.cfm?EID=6002415488

Ca donne envie hein? Et encore celle là est pas mal. Du coup j’ai trouvé débile de garder ma liste pour moi même, donc je me suis servie de Facebook: il y a plein de groupes créés qui postent des annonces d’assos qui recherchent des volontaires ou autres donc voici quelques liens:

Youth Partners Network, EVS application deadlineEVS Exchange Network

information: EU databaseEVS

 

First

houses

The first time I “travelled” somewhere. Apart from family holidays, I think it was when I went to England for 10 days.

It was a gift for my 15th birthday, I was staying in a host family. They were so English, I was young and another French girl was with me. It was just the best holidays I ever had in my life, i loved it!

I fell in love with the country, the little houses that all look the same but with different colors, the English people I met.

It was my first time discovering a foreign culture and it’s how I got the bug. Now I can’t stop.

 

 

Mon premier voyage. A part les vacances familiales mon premier vrai voyage c’était en Angleterre pour 10 jours.

Un cadeau de mes parents pour mes 15 ans un peu à la dernière minute en fait. Je n’y pensais pas trop avant de partir. J’étais dans une famille d’accueil avec une autre française. C’était des Anglais typiques (surtout la nourriture oh lala…). C’était les meilleures vacances de ma vie, j’ai adoré, d’ailleurs le retour a été dur.

Je suis tombée amoureuse de ce pays, des maisons qui sont toutes les mêmes mais avec des couleurs vives, différentes, les Anglais que j’ai rencontré.

La première fois que j’ai découvert une autre culture pas si différente mais quand même étrange and c’est comme ça que j’ai chopé ce virus. depuis je ne peux plus me poser.