That´s actually the first dutch phrase that I remembered and which was the reason for my first laugther in the Netherlands. It was at my first stop ever in the Netherlands - a McDonalds ca. 1 hour before I arrived at my project (where I btw got excited by the diffferent burger choices for vegetarians) for the first time .
As a german I honestly never really heared dutch people talking (except in the series how to sell drugs online) and so I was pretty suprised by the language the women in the entrance used and which sounded like german but I couldn´t understand. When I then saw the words "Eet smakelijk" on the screen I realised that this experienced is gonna be something completely new and Dutch may be a little bit more than just german with some issues (yep, that´s what I may had thought before).
The first days on "Hamster Mieden", the farm I am working at, went by like a dream with many many new impressions.
I met the farmer and his family, got to know the farm and some of my collegues and of course my roommate which is a girl from Aruba (that´s a small island in the carribean that is also dutch).
I get along with all the people very well and especially with my roommate I am really lucky: I never new how well you could match with someone who is from a complete different culture and also 7 years older than you and I am just super happy and grateful about that.
Since I arrived I have already lernt a lot and developed as well. In the beginning everything was really overwhelming and new.
In the past two months I have started to get a clue of how the different days work and which of them are more busy than the others. I catched chicken, goats, deers and a male sheep as well and I cleaned stables of different kinds of animals, I saw and helped at the birth of a baby cow and saw baby rabbits and guinea pigs. All of that for the first time in my life. Some of the tasks and experiences really catch me, some drive me crazy and some of them are just cute af. I am also learning a lot about children with autism and ADHD and how to handle different characters, for example why sometimes some kids need their space and others need to be ignored a little bit in order to learn and develop in a positive way.
Both of those big topics, the animalcare and farming and the pedagogic part, get combined on the farm and it is just beautiful and amazing to see the children being enthusiastic about cows, guinea pigs and all the other animals as well as about the farm itself and opening up to the co-workers, other children but also to me. The farmwork was something completely new for me (did you know how big a cow actually is?? I didn´t before my ESC project!).
I have done projects and guiding for children before, so that was not something really differentt for me but I am realising how much I have to learn and I am just really happy about the opportunity to do so!
Ah and I almost forgot about two other aspects, one of them:
Living on my own! I don't know how it is for you but for me this is the first time in my life living on my own and being responsible about doing all my stuff on my own. Cooking, washing dishes (I miss my dishwasher...), doing the laundry, cleaning - all of that are things that I did before but now I HAVE to do them because there is no one else doing them for me. That is sometimes annoying but all in all I am really enjoying to be free and able to organise my life on my own - and luckily I can also share the tasks with my roommate.
The other one is the one I started with: tha language. Especially in the beginning, while being in a whole new surrounding, there were many situations where it put me under a lot of pressure and made me uncomfortable to not be able to be a part of a casual conversation (normally I can easily communicate in english with my colleagues and also some of the kids).
Even though I am able to understand some words and sentences because they are really similar to german, it is of course another language and it was and also still is hard for me to always follow the content. But by now I am way more relaxed and also started to actually learn the language thanks to my boss who provided us with a dutch teacher that comes by two times a week:
So for the last two weeks I have actually been starting to use more dutch words and sentences - pretty simple ones but still!
So all in all I´d say it is going pretty well - I am really happy about this opportunity and excited what´s going to follow - there are still 9 months left for me!
But first I wish you all a Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year - crazy how fast 2021 went by, isn't it?