So recently I have been on the hunt for a summer job. Over the course of a week my spirits have gone from: must get an amazing job with great discounts; to: must find anyone willing to hire me. Yeah it has been a great experience for many reasons: lowered self esteem, stress headaches, having to do laundry to dress in something other than sweatpants. (should I add that to my resume??) Anyways I figured I would share my fool-proof ways to land a job.
1. As previously stated, wear something other than sweatpants to apply for jobs.
2. Have AT LEAST 3 years of experience in every field of work because apparently 3 years is the point when you are hirable (not a word, making it a word)
3. Smile through the pain of the store manager saying that they will call you if you fit. And they never call.
4. Think of back up plans to having a job. For instance: Could I make it as a stripper? (The answer is a hard no.)
5. Question how much longer you can live off the money your parents gave you.
6. Desperately hand out your resume to passer-bys. Who knows, maybe one will be a manager with a position to fill.
7. Debate going back to the summer job you had last year.
And yes. The solution to all of my problems is nap. Sue me.
*all of this information is irrelevant because I still haven’t been able to get a job.
So over the last month I have posted about the daily activities of my journey from Mikolow, Poland to Markelo, the Netherland’s and all the adventures that happened in between. I have now been home for a week and yes I know my posts were a little off but that isn’t important. I feel as though I need closure for the trip, one last post that defines all that was learned and experienced over those 19 days in one place.
This trip has been a trip of a life time that has given me lasting memories and new friends, nothing that I will soon forget. The Frank Graham Cycle Liberation Tour, this is the tour I am a part of, and I am honoured to have had the chance to take part in something so crucial to my understanding of history. I was able to see both sides of WW2 and mourn those lost and build a new compassion for those who are on the battlefield. I know my role is small, because it is not about me, but rather the people who I will talk about. Frank Graham, Bert Reynolds, Brent Graham and Erik Paskcamp are all living examples of the sacrifices made to keep peace, and those are examples to live by.
It was an intense experience where I got to face my worst fears and gain new understanding and compassion as well as a passion for what we are doing and why, as we made our way across Europe I will remember the different experiences that people faced, the lack of choice and freedom. There were a lot of times on this trip where I thought to myself “this. this is why were are doing this” and it took those realizations to push forward and tell the stories that were learned on the trip as more than stories but lessons. It makes me appreciate my freedom and want to share my voice on these things and show others
It is a hard job but someone has to do it and after meeting Frank Graham I have been inspired and honoured to go under his name around Europe and share both his stories, as well as other veterans and survivors. Their stories won’t end with them, they will spread and gain voice as we return home we will spread them and make sure the atrocities of war will not occur again. I am no longer scared of these things because through understanding comes knowledge and with knowledge we have power. Power to be free and power to create change. And that’s what I plan to do.
I also feel the need to speak directly about the trip as a whole, the experience of doing this with 49 other kids. I have been so lucky to meet the people on this trip, they are some of the nicest people that I was lucky to spend time with.
Being in a group of 50 people for 3 weeks really screws with you, you share rooms, meals, clothing and stories and after those three weeks are up you are expected to return home. But I am not like that. I can’t just leave what I have just found, who would have known I would have made such amazing friends here?
(yes thats a snapchat)
I guess it expected after being in such close quarters and seeing all of these things together would bring us closer. No words can describe my experience here, it has only been one week since my trip and I can’t help but talk about these people like I seen them yesterday.
Perhaps eventually these memories will fade and new ones will replace the old and friends will become strangers. But I am hoping that I have created a lasting impression on these people that won’t fade, that will last until we can meet again. But I know one thing for sure, I will go back.
I don’t know if any of you will ever read this but if you do, you are people who have become dear to me and despite my sarcastic attitude I care about all of you. Until we meet again.
Woke up at 9, I think still drunk, starting packing my bags to find out that I am 3kg over 😒😒 so I started rearranging and ended up settling that I had to remove a few things. I mean worst comes to worst I have to hip stuff home, which isn’t great but I can manage. Went down and had coffee with my host family one last time, using bed their guest book and left a Canadian flag pin on the pin board, I have honestly never met a more generous people these people took me in fed me and brought me around for 10 days, I hope they can come to Canada so I can return the generosity. After that we left with all of my bags to the Havercamp where the bus was loaded and a teary eyed goodbye was said, I already miss everyone and it has only be minutes since I seen them.
The group of cyclists and pipers traveled to the airport together, which wasn’t uninteresting, it mostly consisted of talking about all the good things that happened over the last couple weeks. Dealt with check-in and having to check a second bag, which normally wouldn’t stress me out, but we didn’t have a lot of time so I was panicking a bit at having to go to a separate line to pay for my luggage and wait in the long-ass line to check-in. Walked to our terminal dropped out carry-ons with barley and went for McD’s, there I had my last stroopwafel mcflurry in the Netherlands :'(. We walked back to the terminal sat with our stuff and waited to go through security which is at the plane (weird). Once we got through security we found a seat and watched summer heights high. I cannot begin to explain this show so your going to have to google it, but it is amazing and all of the girls like it so I know I am with good people.
After that we boarded the plane and waited for takeoff.
This plane ride was a lot different then the way there for one we weren’t going somewhere exciting, just home. Two, it was daylight the entire time which made it really hard to sleep. I slept for the first half hour which meant that I missed the first snack and drink coming around. We had a really good meal on the plane with butter chicken. Then I woke up and watched bits and pieces of like 4 different movies. With about 1 1/2 to go Ally and I got chatting about the trip and ended up talking until we landed. Eventually Hannah joined in and we had a sort of debrief about the trip. My ear popped on the planed and didn’t actually un-pop until I wen to sleep that night. After that was a series of boring things like customs, bleh. Then I seen Coleman, who had now driven twice to the airport to pick me up and the trip was over, although I missed him a lot and have so much to tell him, I also can’t begin to understand that this meant that my trip was over officially and I was going to have to return to the everyday and start work. I could go on from there and talk about seeing my roommates but at this point I have covered everything that is of interest to anyone that wouldn’t just be repeating everything I have told you for the last 19 blog posts. It has been an amazing journey and prepare yourselves for the grand finale which will get posted as soon as I write it!
until next time.
Today was our last day in Markelo. (crying) Got up at 9 am this morning and starting packing, I packed my checked luggage and headed into Markelo, this was after the stress of not knowing how to make everything fit and realizing I hadn’t bought anything for anyone. Went to meet Tanja, Kristin, Ellen and Keon at Tanja’s and head out for some shopping, this ended with just Kristin and I when Ellen found out she had left here phone with the bus driver.
My bike ride there: in the first photo shows how until the tree at the upper right side, the ride is all uphill, then once you pass that it is all downhill to Markelo which you can see in the second photo.
Went shopping in the town to pick up some last minute things: basically grocery shopping (stroopwafel, candy, mints, alcohol) and some souvenirs. We then met up with Tanja and Justin (who was sitting alone at Eppie’s, which was closed) and after trying Eppies and the Havercamp and both being closed we had patat and krokets at a snack bar. After that we went to Mirjam’s and went shopping for my mom, where I spent the afternoon with Brenda, Connie, Mirjam Laura and Dottie, picking out nice things for my mom and sending her pictures. It is funny because when my mom was in Markelo this is where she stayed so it was like being with this weird family of people from the tour and pipers and Dutch people to find things for mom. The afternoon was spent with these ladies and a few of their husbands who joined for a drink or two. I was invited to stay for supper which made everything more convenient since I was going to have to bike back to Touw’s and then back to Markelo. So sat with Mirjam for the afternoon and wrote my postcards home (oops).
After cleaning up went back to Tanya’s to get ready for Havercamp, when I looked good we went and got coins
The emotions sent in when I got there, I couldn’t even look at my new friends with out remembering that I won’t be seeing them everyday through all the speeches I just couldn’t stop thinking about how much I would
miss everyone. After that it got bad, I kept crying which made others cry and it was a mess, especially when it got so bad that I removed myself and it became a weird group hug with me Tom, Ally, and Justin Ellery, I was really drunk and clearly they were too, but I just couldn’t handle the emotion.
Overall feelings about the farewell party- many tears, lots of hugs from Tom, lipstick on everyone, Janice grabbing the mic Kayne style, the rowing song, tequila shots and dancing. Also staying at the Havercamp for an hour after getting kicked out after being left by Suus, saying goodbye to Frank and Bert and Richard. Dottie calling Keon “coin” after spending 20 days with him.
Today we got to spend the entire day at a gigantic festival in a town called Wageningen. In the morning we got up, had breakfast with the family which was short and sweet because we had to be at the Havercamp for 9. We loaded the bus and left at like 9:15 for our hour long drive to Wageningen. Once we got there we unloaded our bikes in a random parking lot and had a beer. As a group we biked from there to our meeting point with the pipe band just outside the festival. From there we waited for everyone to arrive. This consisted of Kristen, Allison and I decided to merge all the Canada stuff that we had brought to the Netherlands specifically for this day. You know cheap dollar store stuff you can buy for Canada day? Of course you do, well we had the most random selection of that stuff from hats and earrings to baby frisbees. Jarno even got festive:
We then assembled in our Madeline-esque two by two pairs for the parade, which morphed to four by four. The parade started and we moved to the center with the help of the pipers. It started raining when we got there, naturally. We reluctantly put on the ugly hats we had been carrying around all day, poor Tom didn’t have one and wanted in the club so he was given a Canada hat which he wore all day.
From there we moved into the crowd and parked our bikes just as the video of our trip was playing on a giant screen for everyone. And as that happened Frank Graham came in by jeep to go up and light the Eternal Flame. It was kind of emotional, first, everyone was seeing what the camera crew had been working so hard on since day one, but also seeing what we had done as well. But most importantly everyone was there to celebrate freedom and nothing was better then the moment Frank lit the flame and everyone went crazy, it felt amazing to see someone who worked so hard for others to get something back. It was an amazing end to the trip that’s for sure.
As a massive group we wandered around the festival looking for our lunch which was literally the mostly frustrating situation because everyone was hungry from standing and the lunch was nowhere to be found. We did eventually find lunch which was our usual ham and cheese sandwiches, nothing exciting.
After that we were given the rest of the day to attend the festival activities, I am almost 100% sure we were supposed to be in a parade but my group didn’t make it there. I spent the afternoon with Kristen, Ally, Jenny, Tom, Demi, Calvin, and Ellen. It was pretty fun, we wandered through the festival, got patat ( which was nothing special, granted it came from a shawarma place). Demi and I ended up spending our last hour attempting to get drinks which made her extremely frustrated with people who butt, push and tell her to get out. After that we were going to try and get to the front of the party when Demi and I got separated from the group, so instead of trying to find them we returned back to the group who didn’t want to go and told them we were leaving. We then went on a hot pursuit to find her car which was parked off in the middle of nowhere, “it only took Tom and I a minute or so to bus in” is what she told me, well it took like 30 minutes to get back to it. Which was actually really nice because it gave us time to just catch up and talk. From her car she drove us back to the bus (one of the scariest rides I have ever taken but would never have the heart to tell her). When we got back to the bus it cost both of us a small panic attack trying to find Tom who had my ID and money and who was getting a ride home with her, who was on the bus the whole time. they left and I loaded onto the bus, just in time to watch Dottie and our bus driver Richard stand and wait impatiently for Justin, Justin, Caleb and Adam who had gotten into a fight and were late. The funny thing about this is that they told us to start towards the bus at 7 so we could leave at 8, well these guys showed up at 8:15. So after that excitement we left Wageningen and returned to the Havercamp where Ellen, Jenny and I got Schnitzel and fries but only stayed for a bit because the bagpipes were on repeat there. I don’t think I will ever want to hear them after this trip. After a short chat with Bert the three of us went over to Eppie’s where the rest of the cyclists were going to meet up. It ended up being a short night, we only stayed for a beer and then went home.
Today is set to be a huge day, we are going to Holten where the Prime Minister will be attending and giving a speech in front of some 2000 people and multiple TV outlets. Naturally this is the day I wake up sick.
We were to be up and downstairs by 7:45 eat and leave. We were to be at the Havercamp at 8:30 so we could be at the cemetery by 8:45 and get our seats. So from there we literally just sat there until 11, which included being rained on. I slept on and off for the entire waiting period, hoping to sleep off the sickness. Then we had a good 2 1/2 hour long ceremony that was read in 3 different languages (Dutch, English and French) which included speeches from Stephan Harper, school children, and Gert-Jan (who is the coordinator of our trip).
(not sure what I was taking this of, but shows the scale of the event)
(I couldn’t go this whole blogging thing without a picture of the “lamp crew” who made sure that it was always burning)
After which we waited outside for a good hour for the bus to come pick us up, traffic was crazy here with tour buses so our bus took a while. Once getting on the bus I immediately passed out, which turned out to be the best thing to do, seeing as it took us 1 1/2 to go from Holten to Markelo which takes 10 minutes. We then got back to the Havercamp for lunch which was Dutch pancakes, the only difference from the ones I’m used to were that they are a lot thinner and the texture of crepes (kind of slimy) and these pancakes had bacon in them so they were amazing. After that I found a nice place out of the way to lay down and have a nap. We then moved from the Havercamp to a cemetery in town where we held a ceremony for the 17 pilots who crash landed in Markelo during WW2, one of which was a relative of one man present. After this Suus and I called her mom to have her come pick us up for down time. When we got back I went right up to my bed and slept for the next 2 hours or so. Despite my hosts family asking me to just stay home I joined the rest for the 2&3 ceremonies of the day. The first was in Markelo which included the towns mayor and our cyclists laying wreaths at a monument in town. The third was after a silent walk from that monument to a monument at the top of the hill outside Markelo. this ceremony was much larger and included 18 wreathes to be placed at this monument, the pipe bands, a local choir and a local band.
We had another moment of silence for Remembrance Day and the bells chimed till exactly 8pm then another moment of silence after. We then returned for a drink on the patio at Eppie’s which turned into a funny girls night with Ally, Ellen, Jenny, and Hannah. Overall a pretty solid day of sleeping, I went to 3 ceremonies and was only conscious for 1 1/2 of them.
Today we were up at 8:30 to go to church when I got there I was greeted by my best friend Tom who sat with me in the church service and told me how much I smelt like cigarettes from the night before. Between him and Maaike church became less of a snooze fest, it was mostly Dutch so I was lost but the two of them would make it entertaining. Especially when the two of them would sing the hymns in Dutch really exaggerated or out of tune. Oh Luke was also quite entertaining, he was half asleep the entire service in the praying position which was hilarious. I don’t normally go to church which is why this wasn’t a serious thing for me. After we watched people fall asleep through the entire service we went for coffee and cake across the street where the Allison’s who had skipped church for Dieka reasons joined us. Once tea time was over we were asked to go to the Havercamp and prepare for roadbowling. Kristen and I tried to ride a bike together which went horribly wrong (see action shots below).
At the Havercamp we sat and drank a couple beers through the afternoon since it literally taking this group hours to get organized, and it did. It was raining but still we set out for road bowling. Roadbowling is a game of who can throw the ball the farthest in the least amount of turns. You play in teams so there was my team “Vaginas +1” which consisted of Allison, Allison, Kristen, Ellen, Catelyn, Justin and I who played against a team of older people from the pipeband. Each of your team members takes a turn throwing the ball down the road and sabotaging the other team by standing in their balls way). We ended our game at a forest where we visited an underground hide out for a Jewish family during WW2 that they stayed in for 2 years, it was a small square that held 6 people and a baby.
After a ceremony in the rain there we continued on through the rain, had a shot to keep us going and moved to our BBQ which was at an outdoor park in the country, there we met with the pipe band, our host families and held our last ceremony where the speed skater Moniek Kleinsman gave us metals of honour and a certificate for being an ambassador of freedom.
After that we drank and talked and celebrated our accomplishments which are mostly that we survived all the way from Poland through Germany and back to the Netherlands with only minor bumps and bruises. We went through the darkest places together as strangers and came out as best friends, I honestly don’t know how to go back home now and not feel like a piece of me was left in Markelo. And not just in Markelo but with each and every one of the cyclists. I truly hope the same way because I won’t return the same person I left as. So while having this realization, most of the cyclists dispersed and I was left with my host family and some of the pipe band members. It turned into a party for old people with Tijn on the turntables (honestly the weirdest thing to watch). Around 11 Suus, her mom and I left for home, and just like the other nights went straight to bed.