Saturday, October 4, 2008

Wilt u een tasje?

Thanks Bower for giving me that extra kick in the ol' arse to get me writing on this thing again! I need some good kicks every so often.  I realize the last post was in July and it is October, but things are settling (a bit) for me and I know have somewhat steady internet access...
So, what to say?  I started school again!  There are times that I wonder what the hell I got myself into and times that really inspire me.  All the time I ask myself is there anywhere else I would rather be right now and so far every answer is "Nope."  I miss Portland dearly.  I miss river floats in August with my buds, I miss going to pick apples and pumpkins with Dad and Pam, I miss election debate drinking games with Carmen and company, I miss 2$ microbrews at The Vern, and the Portland breakfast culture, I miss Ultimate!!, bike ganging it to a show/event, I had craving for tootsie rolls recently, but that could be from hanging at too many coffeeshops... But the thing is, I want to grow both in knowledge of the world and myself and this program, I am finding, is a good place for that.
Well, you probably don't want to hear about what I miss about Portland, but more what the hell am I doing and why I don't want to be anywhere else.  I wish I could explain everything that has been going on in this post, but that just ain't possible, so again, I'll give a little summup.
The basic philosophy of the program is "action learning."  We of course learn concepts, but in a practical how-can-I-use-this-in-the-real-world-way.  There are 13 of us in Team 2 (second year of the school) and we come from 6 different countries.  We have a team leader who has much experience in both teaching and practical business.  She is not our teacher, she is more like a coach in that we run our classroom differently from day to day.  We as a team make the decisions about our learning.  We decide our agenda for each day as it comes.  We decide about creating our room environment, decide when we want our vacations to be, how to spend our budget, etc. It has been a challenge to get 13 people to agree, but that is also part of the learning process and I can see we are already getting better at it.  So, where do the real world projects come in you ask?  Well, there are several opportunities.  KP has 5 business partners who made an agreement to support the school financially because they believe in what we are.  There is potential to do projects with them, there is potential to bring in other businesses to do projects and we can create our own projects of course as well.  I will talk more about specific projects later.  
As to personal things, I am still living in my apartment, but am planning to move in with some other students hopefully soon.  I broke up with the guy I was dating when I first moved here in July.  This weekend, I am going to a farm outside of Utrecht because I just need to be in the coutryside for a time.  Things are moving along and I can see many great things on the horizon.  I will post more often so you can come along with me.  What good is having all this if you can't share it right? It has been a month now in the program and already I feel I have learned so much!  Well, this is getting too long I think, but just know that I love you all.

Monday, July 28, 2008

Slugs, Raw Herring, and Bicycles

I am in Rotterdam now and staying put for a while. I have found an apartment and a job (though it is small right now) and most importantly a bicycle! Well, some call it a bicycle I call it the gazelle.
A bit of a summup is in order I suppose. I left off last time heading to Stavanger. Well, ended up staying there just under two weeks. The man Oyvind (typical norwegien name) lived there with his checkens and a French guy named Florent (Flo-raun) who was couchsurfing/trying to make a little extra money. Helped out for a time, but I think two weeks was a bit long, so I headed out, making my way down to Kristiansand where I was to take the ferry back to Denmark. It was a long, interesting journey accross the 250km. I hitchhiked the whole way with 7 different people. Everyone I met was just great and one time even stayed in the car a bit longer before getting out just talking with a guy. So interesting. People said it would be difficult to hitch in Norway, but I dont think I waited more than 15 minutes for a ride. I also camped along the way at night. There is so much nature it is amazing. I mean the country is huge with only 4 million people!! It was extremely easy to find places to camp. The bad part: it rains. a lot. and all I had was a coupole of plastic bags and a rain poncho. I devised a nice little canopy though with my homemade walking sticks and was relatively dry both nights it rained. The last night was brilliant though and I enjoyed myself despite the mosquitos. The second night was the best shelter I build as I was more experienced in the matter, but I woke up to find tons of slugs all over the place. On my bag, in my shoes. That is how I found out slug slime is not water soluble. It is disgusting yes, but didnt kill me and I washed most of it out later. Uh oh, 5 more mins of internet left.
Well, ok so I made it to the ferry at Kristiansand and was trying to figure out how I was going to get back to Holland cheaply. It was then that I met the Germans. A group of German church groupers were on their way back to Dusseldorf. I thoght it couldnt hurt to ask, so I did and they said, "sure, come along" So that is how I rode 10hours on a tour bus with 43 christian german kids. Nice people. Ended up taking a train from Dusseldorf to Rotterdam for 30 euros because I was just too tired and wanted to just get there.
So now I am here. Enjoying the raw herring and coffeeshops ;) Looking forward to settling in a place for a while and having an address!! Ah, gotta go, but will post more about my Rotterdam adventures...Doei, Doei

Sunday, June 29, 2008


The pictures are kind of a jumble...starts out with my camp area at Extreme sports week, then the couple I am hanging with in Haugesund right now. Some extreme events. Pictures of Bergen. The organic farm in Belgium and my vegetable peeling accident. Then more shots of Bergen with one from the airplane coming in. Last, the team I played with in Amsterdam. Such great ladies!!!
Right, so when I said I would post again in the week I really meant a month later. So much has happened in the last month! Went to Belgium to work on a farm which actually turned out to be a center for people who are into macrobiotic food and healing workshops, went to Paris for a couple days to hang with the rents, then went to Rotterdam for a couple days. Went to Amsterdam to play ultimate frisbee with a bunch of Dutch chicks. Went back to Rotterdam for a application workshop for a school I found. Then took the night train to Copenhagen. Got there at 10am, left my backpack at a hostel and walked around the city all day. Around 10pm headed to the airport to sleep (I put out my sleeping bag and had a pretty decent sleep actually). Left on a plane to Bergen, Norway at 6:55 and landed around 8 something. I was feeling pretty tired at this point, but the people at the information booth were very nice and told me about a hostel just outside the city that was very nice and relatively cheap. This describes Norway very well infact. Lots of nice things outside the city, very nice people and expensive as hell. Ive managed to get around a lot of expenses, but more on that later.
Ok, so to continue with the summup...went to the hostel which was 5km from town but just for one night took a very nice hike around there. Explored Bergen, especially the fresh fish market, ate some caviar, smoked salmon and fresh crab caught that morning. Trying to decide what to do next. Thought about hitch hiking south towards Stavanger, went into an outdoorstore to look at sleeping pads and the man there told me about extremem sports week in Voss (East of Bergen). Thought it sounded interesting and Voss is supposed to be one of the most Beautiful places in Norway, so caught the next train there. The weather was beautiful and the area amazing. Stashed my stuff and walked around town all afternoon. Around 10pm decided to find a camping place (the sun never really goes down here, it just stays twilight until it gets brighter again around 3am). Ended up finding a nice little spot under some kayakers shelter (see pic below and you will understand). Was just going to stay for a night, but ended up staying 3. Saw some cool paragliding, kayaking, long boarding, skydiving and great concerts at night too. Ok, so during the couple days I met a really great couple (Rebekka and Stieg) who let me hang with them to watch some of the sports then offered to let me ride with them because they live on the way to stavanger. THEN they offered to let me crash at their place, which is where I am right now. They are honestly some of the nicest people Ive met. Breathe
So, thats what Ive been up to. Off to Stavanger tomorrow to hook up with the guy with the organic farm, who coincidentally is on couchsurfing as well. Then there is a lot more after that but the details are being worked at the moment. Long term plans have changed and I am planning to go to school in the fall in Rotterdam. Just figuring out logistics now...

Monday, May 26, 2008

Just like Romeo and Juliette

Made my way from Geneva to Verona alternating renegade camping and staying in hostels. The weather and the scenery was absolutely beautiful! My route took me to Martigny the first day, then over to Brig. Into Italy for an hour then back to Suisse. I spend a lovely night next to lake maggiore and walked across the boarder into Italy for good the next morning. I took the train to Milan from Luino and spent a rainy day in the city. The next day I made my way to Verona where I spent two nights in hostels before hooking up with the volunteer group.

The group is awsome! There are 10 of us staying in the house that Legambiente owns(the orgainization that I am volunteering for). I am building solar ovens along with a french man, a mexican man, three korean girls, a russian woman and two finish girls. I am having a great time and will be sad to leave i think. The work is pretty easy and we all share cooking-cleaning responsibilities every day. There is not too much choice for food though i.e. pasta, risoto, salad, pasta with oil, risoto with sauce, pasta with garlic, salad...

I will post pictures when I remember to bring my memory stick to the internet place. Alas, my time is running out again, so I will write more later in the week.

Monday, May 12, 2008

Everybody Let's Groove La La La!

So, time to move on again! The family took off on a two week tour of Switzerland and my friend Amanda has been hanging out here since last Tuesday. I've loved having her here. I've been showing her around town and having little adventures. There is a small river that flows through the hiking trails close to Versoix and I've been thinking a float down it would be a good idea. Well the conditions were perfect Saturday and I had a partner in crime, so we set off to conquer the rapids. We came back with a few bruises on our knees from arguments with rocks, but other that that we were totally happy.

Today is my last day here though and I have mixed feelings of course. I've really enjoyed working for the Lary's. Yeah it really sucked when it rained and I couldn't be my normal running everywhere self all the time. But they are extremely generous and I really felt a part of the family. The two little ones have such funny personalities. Kellen is very independent and Devan can't sleep without something on his feet. I love the way he runs and dances (kind of a wobble/rocking back and forth) and he always has to have his sleeves rolled up. I've also really enjoyed meeting John and Maureen (the grandparents). They are all just good people and I will miss them. I am leaving a few things here (ski boots, winter clothes, etc.) so I will for sure see them again before I leave Europe. Right, so I'm off to wander for a couple days then off to Verona on Saturday. More about that next post. A bientot!

Tuesday, April 29, 2008

It's Springing!

It constantly amazes me how efficiently destructive kids can be. I mean I will have picked up after them after breakfast, go do the dishes for maybe 10 minutes and come back to what looks like an explosion of toys. Ugh. And they always want to play tickle monster or run around the house. I wish there was some sort of giant hamster wheel that they can just run on for a while. Imagine the alternative energy possibilities! I mean all that untapped energy...

Today is the 5th and last day that I will have the kids to myself. As far as kids go, these two are pretty easy to take care of, but man, I am not ready for all this domestic stuff. Sometimes I just want to do things on the internet or read, but I can't because they want to do puzzles or play talent show (I'll explain some other time) or whatever else. The look Kellen gives me when he wants me to do something and I say no or say I'll be there in a second is really great. He tilts his head and scrunches up his face and says, "That's not a good choice." They can be such little nuts sometimes.

Luckily for me the weather has been brilliant and we've been able to play outside a lot. Saturday I took them to a frisbee tournament. They didn't really watch any frisbee, but they liked dancing to the music being played over the speakers and running around in the grass. I enjoyed it too because I did get to watch a little frisbee (even though it was very low level) and walking on the little beach next to the lake.

A bit more about Switzerland: I've sucumbed to the iced tea pressure. The Swiss have a strange relationship to iced tea and other alternative sweet drinks, which can be deduced by the walls and walls of them at the grocery store. They have this one drink called Rivella which is made from milk byproducts (i.e. lactose). It sounds disgusting, but is surprisingly refreshing. Also, I went away last weekend to Annecy and came back to spring! Everything is starting to bloom and blossom and it makes my little heart really happy. Though it didn't do much for allergies ;o( I returned my skis last week and am ready for a bit warmer weather! This week Dave's parents are coming and next week my good friend Amanda is coming. There is a lot of good stuff on the horizon and I'm looking forward to it.

More about speeding tickets and upcoming travels later...

Friday, April 18, 2008

More Plans...

So I got my instructions for Italy! I have to be at the train station in Verona at 5:30 on the 18th. The organization is called CADIP (Canadian Alliance for Development Initiatives and Projects). The Description of the actual project is below...

"During the work camp, volunteers, will build solar oven, using recycled materials to be used by Legambiente for its future national work camps. Furthermore, olunteers will participate in a project related to can recycle and reuse and will work with disabled local volunteers. Specific and professional experience is not required, but volunteers must be strongly motivated to work with other people and be willing to meet new cultures. Volunteers will also attend evironmental education work shop about eco washing powder making or waste recycling, in order to improve environmental education and to learn values compatible with a sustainable way of living."

As for happenings in Geneva, the weather sucks. I can't even tell you how much I'm looking forward to warm weather. I stopped taking French classes because the term was over and I can't afford to pay for more. I enjoyed it a lot and miss the people and my instructor, though I did meet up with her a couple times for coffee outside of the course. This weekend I may go to Annecy to couchsurf with some guys that I met here or I may take the car and just check out more of Switzerland. I dunno. I have to work all next weekend because Dave and Kimberly are going to Portugal for 4 days. Yup, I'll have the little ones all to myself. I'm not worried though, I think we'll have a good time. I'm still in the midst of planning my after Italy adventures, but I talked to a guy whom I went to school with at OSU (who is Spanish and lives 30km outside of Madrid). He said he'll be there in June, so that'll probably be my next stop. That's it for now...