|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...