summer résumé #1: ups and downs

By followingcaminho

September 6, 2011

Category: Uncategorized

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I came back home two days ago and it feels so good to be here again. I’m backing a banana bread at the moment, while sipping Earl Grey from a funny mug Ania and Ángeles got me when I was leaving Monte do Gozo in May. It’s a lazy Tuesday afternoon and I’m seeing a dentist in a little bit more than an hour. I’m back to the reality and the summer seems now like a dream I dreamt for the last 3 months, a blurry memory…

The summer was tough. We worked a lot and often under big pressure. We – the receptionists – three Polish and one Catalan girl (plus two other collegues who work on the campsite the whole year). We never knew what to expect at work because our superior was changing her mind every day. Some of us were constantly bullied and offended… they say there had to be
a scapegoat – and in this case at least two.
There were sad, angry faces, there were tears and powerlessness. There were also bothering thoughts – why? what do we do wrong? shall we quit? or should we wait until they fire us eventually? Well, they didn’t and nor did we quit. We clenched our theeth and moved on. We never gave our superior that kind of weird satisfaction.

The life on the campsite wasn’t the biggest fun either. The were bunch of rules and norms. We couldn’t visit each other in our mobiles, we couldn’t go to the restaurant, we couldn’t have
a terrace in front of the mobiles and we were constantly watched by the guards… I still wonder how some of the workers can live here for years… it’s  totally inconceivable to me. The lack of normal social life is killing…

I had pretty a few dull moments there. I was seriously considering going back home or just leaving this place and going somewhere else. Being shouted at and treated with disrespect has never happened to me before in any of my jobs. It’s always been otherwise, I got praised. But even though the atmosphere wasn’t perfect, the work itself was really fine. I enjoyed a lot practising so many languages at one place and I learned a lot.
I think this was one of those experiences that’d be quite important to me later on, when I decide to slow down or even settle down. I’ve never stopped dreaming of having a chalet in Picos de Europa maybe I could open a shelter or an alternative hostel over there sometime…?
Who knows, who knows…

There was one more thing that made me happy about this work – guests’ appreciation and gratitude. It often happened to me that people nodded with respect seing my badge with all the languages I spoke. Sometimes I had friendly chats with them, telling about my upcoming plans. And
I was very happy each time people thought I was Belgian (quite often!) or if they asked me if I was Dutch. It’s the best compliment you can get from a native speaker. And these kind of compliments made my days and helped me moving on.

The final (bittersweet) conclusion:
What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.

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