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 :)

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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!!!

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!)

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!)?

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?