Tuesday, 27 May 2014

Twenty five I

1988/1989: Ehm, yeah...
After having written my post about graduation the other day, I realised it is 25 years ago that I did so. Graduate that is. Twenty five years in which I changed from a fairly shy Marja (pronounce the j as a y in yellow) to an outspoken Mara. That didn't just happen overnight. It took some time you know. I mean, the basis was always there, because at home I could chat until the cows we didn't have would come home. But that was at home, where I knew the people and they knew me. With strangers however, it was a completely different matter altogether. 

1990: Oh, that figure...
My first job was as a children's entertainer in sunny Yugoslavia. Well, apart from Tuesdays, when it rained. I changed my name upon arrival (easier for all you abroady types you know) and set about to make a fantastic version of myself. Ahem. I had some run-ins with some of the other employees (mainly the Yugoslav ones), but in general I think I was well-liked. However, as soon as it was October, my contract was fullfilled and I headed home. 

1991: Camille, me and Jean
Three months later I moved to Brussels. A nice (read wealthy) neighbourhood, where I would be the au-pair to a little boy called Jean. And the first time I actively set out to meet people by joining a badminton club. But, since it only lasted three months, the people I met were soon forgotten and replaced by new colleagues from my new job. Children's entertainer for Club Med on Sicily, Italy. 

I grew up here. I finally came out of my shell and all because of my boss. He was a nice man, very French and after only two months had given me deputy status to himself for the youngest age group (4-5 year olds). This was much to the dislike of some of the French who although getting a similar job for other age groups, didn't think it a good idea that a Dutch woman with not much French knowledge at all should get that job. But I did and I think I did a good job. Right up to the moment where I had to think of a dance that would fit to a number out of 'Les Misérables'. A musical I had never seen or heard of, with songs in French that I didn't understand. Add to that the fact that my age group that week was sorely underpopulated and I was facing a major problem. 

In front of nearly 200 children and about 30 of my co-workers, my boss started yelling at me. And something snapped. I yelled back that there was no need to yell, it wasn't ready and yelling wouldn't make it ready either. I didn't understand, I didn't have the children and on and on I went. I think my boss (and my colleagues) were quite shocked, since I had never answered back in my life. Then again, I was shocked. What had I done? WHAT HAD I DONE? But, fortunately it didn't turn into a dismissal. I got help, I got more children and after that my boss never yelled at me in front of everybody. Which was a plus in itself!

1992: My partner in giggling crime (and yes, that is me on the right)
After nearly seven months on a sunny Sicily, I moved to a snowy Tignes in the French Alpes. New people again, new friends to make. My boss was intent on giving me a stupid nick-name which I cured him of pretty fast (I called him (albeit silently) something not so nice in front of a guest, he was furious, I stood my ground). I learned to ski, was told I would be great in a wet t-shirt contest, saw some of the Olympics and was told off by the big boss for chatting with my colleague too much during a staff meeting. Which led to the both of us having a fit of the giggles and being told off even sterner that if we didn't stop now, we would both be asked to leave. 

To be continued tomorrow...


  1. Hari OM
    Releasing your inner wyld-chylde. That's what youth is for! YAM xx

  2. All this yelling at people, wow! I'm impressed. I didn't start doing that until I was much older, because my crying-when-yelled-at stage lasted much longer than it should have.

  3. I love the name you were born with, although I can imagine it would be tiring to tell us English speakers how to pronounce it! People call me the wrong name all the time...Kristin or Christina or Chris, which, as you know, are wrong!

  4. You were so adventurous, I love that about you!

  5. That's why you have been in Brussels ! you look very handsome and so slim !! At 25 I was working in an American company and was responsible for the European sales department. I was in charge of Germany, France and Italy. I loved my work !

  6. I'm usually pretty quiet but when I get mad enough I will let everyone know too. Much to the surprise to everyone around.


Any weighty (and not so weighty) comments are welcome!