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why i'm leaving europe [Jul. 6th, 2009|07:04 am]
#1 I'm running out of money.
#2 I am not one of those people who handles change well. Therefore, when my WWOOF situation fell apart, I was unable to shrug it off find a way to book sold out trains, sleep on people's couches, and travel with no plan, and no money.

The WWOOF thing fell apart partly because I romanticized it and didn't ask the right questions, like specifically how many hours I would be expected to work. Instead, I relied on what was written on the WWOOF website and hearsay from friends who had done it. If I had known I was to work 50 hours a week, I obviously wouldn't have done it. I also blame my host family for completely misleading volunteers. Their description of themselves on WWOOF and their website lead one to believe that there is waaaay more free time than there actually was. The website never mentioned that I wouldn't be living where I was working, that my home was 45 minutes away by bike to my work, or that my day off would be non-consecutive. Or that I wouldn't have a place to put my clothes, or a closing door. Etc.
What makes me most mad is how they are exploiting the Bulgarians. The Bulgarians are three immigrants who want to live in the Netherlands permanently. Two are a couple. They are not volunteers, yet they get paid 600/month between the three of them, and are therefore forced to live in the house (and subjected to after-hours toilet scrubbing/dish washing) because they obviously can't get the money together for a security deposit on an apartment in Amsterdam. This - is bullshit. But, I guess they have six more months of this crap before they get legal status and are able to work somewhere else. Poor peeps.

Thank god for Caroline. She's a fellow volunteer from CA who got swept up like I did, and immediately regretted her decision. She ended up leaving a few days earlier than I did, and went to Wimbledon. Luckily, I escaped and stayed in Amsterdam for a while, that plus Paris in the beginning of my trip are the best memories I will have.
Holland is quite beautiful though. It's fuckin flat, seeing as it's below sea level. I've never seen so much flatness in my life, because I've never been to Kansas or anywhere. And it's GREEN. And there's so many COWS. Car dealership on the left, 10 lazy cows on the right. But I think what I loved best about you, Holland, is your woods. I haven't seen untouched woods like yours since Russia. And I biked through them, though I was all kinds of surly because at 7am the last thing you want to do is bike 4 miles.
I was also really appreciative of the biking culture. It didn't matter how old you were or how fancy you looked; you rode a bike, and you got right of way in all of Holland. Train stations are a veritable forest of parked bikes...from far away they look like thousands of glittering insect exoskeletons, quite eery. I may have been the only person who walked anywhere.
I must say, the women in Holland are beautiful. I don't mean Los Angeles beautiful, all made up and fashionable and tan. They are my kind of beautiful, and I don't know how to describe it to you. They weren't Dutch milkmaids, who I'm not that into, they were European paintings. Not to be outdone, French women have their own brand of beauty, but I think I fell in love every day in Holland. There goes my wife....oh, she's with someone else.

I want to come home, because my current situation is a lot of waiting around. My mom's former friend (I mean former because my mom's dead, not because they had a falling out) lives about 30 minutes outside of Nantes, like Topanga to us, but this is the French countryside, baybee! It's unbelievably beautiful. Unfortunately, I can't go into the city by myself because there are no buses out here, and I don't drive stickshift (no automatics in France), not that they even have a car to lend me. So...I'm kinda dependent on her, and they happen to be remodeling her son's room, so when I first got here, I spent 48 hours in the house. Their backyard is pretty heavenly but it rains a lot here, so there's that.
However, I got to see Nantes this weekend. Mignon.
Tomorrow, I'm going to try to make it out to Mont Saint-Michel, though it's a bit far. I think it's worth it!
Thursday, I am coming home, and no, I'm not even thinking about how I don't have an apartment or a job or money, no I'm not thinking about it.
See you when I see you!

[User Picture]From: rydot
2009-07-07 02:02 am (UTC)
I'm sorry to hear things turned crap-for-crap. I wish I knew more about the European rail network, because I'm totally good at that sort of thing when it comes to trains that run just about anywhere in the US.

I seem to recall that Mont St. Michel is a beautiful place, even though I was like 8 at the time I visited, and the tide was way WAY out. Still, an amazing place. There's some famous-FAMOUS omelette joint there, too, if I recall correctly. Something about whipping the eggs 100 times in a big brass pot...or..something. I confess, I was not big on omelettes when I was 8, but somehow the story stuck with me.

Anyway, I do hope that the remainder of your journey finds pleasant ways of getting into your soul.

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[User Picture]From: lolagoo
2009-07-07 05:32 am (UTC)
it so totally WILL get into my soul.
no, it has. and thanks for the good things you have to say :)
i'm looking up that omelette parlor. i'm sure it's still around. and i'm relaying your story.

european rail is great bc it's super fast, of course, and notorious for leaving on time to the second (i almost missed trains that way), but what can i say....it's almost bastille day in france. everyone is on 'oliday.

wave back! i hope i get to see you soon.
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