By the time I started this post my stay in the Netherlands has already been more than 6 months long and it was not clear yet when it’s going to end. That’s why the article’s original name was “The first 6 months” and it already has its first part.
As often happens in my life journey, when the moment comes, I make the decisions quite fast. Just about a week latter I was certain. So, I just updated the existing article instead a writing a new one. And here we go! 😉
My stay in the Netherlands and the challenge of the massage practice
The first challenge of my stay in the Netherlands was starting a job, of course.
My training took almost two months as Chin, my Boss, was so busy doing thousand of things, she did hardly manage to come to the massage salon. It was a bit of a problem, as made me feel guilty and dependent on Alex for a while, but looking backwards, it had to be that way.
The Thai massage is invented from and for Thai people – they are slim, light and unbelievable flexible.
My Boss is literally dancing around the clients. I’m not joking! Having to watch her tens of times working, I had the impression she was doing some kind of a strange bale. From a distance it looked so beautiful and easy.
Yeah, the keyword here is “distance“. As a 3 times heavier big Bulgarian woman, who, the last 20 years, was working mostly sitting in front of a computer, I had really hard time in the beginning of my Thai massage career.
My right wrist was the first to give up – always a weak spot, it couldn’t handle the heavy duty. I had to eat with my left hand for a while, as I wasn’t able to lift the fork with the right one. It took months to get strong enough so I can use it with almost no pain, although I still work (8 months latter) with a wrist band every time.
After the wrist lots of my body’s parts wanted to surrender. Luckily enough, they still obey me and kept working despite the pain, getting just a little bit stronger with every massage I do. Here again Alex has a huge role, as he was taking really good care of me, helping every possible way to get over the pain.
Eight month latter it is still painful and difficult, but I love the job and I am damn good in it! So, keep going, that will just make my body much more stronger! 😉
Shortly after I started working, we had a staff party, which went pretty good and was really fun. Everyone was making effort to speak English so I could participate in the conversations – something I really did appreciate!
I was just starting to get used to the work and we had to close for almost a month because of the lock down. Really worried that too long resting will do more bad than good, I had no choice but stay home and do nothing.
At the end of the day, it turned out that I did need exactly that rest at exactly that moment, as when we get back to work, I felt much better and completely different!
So I have survived my 9 months in the Netherlands as a Thai masseuse, a very good one, I should say! 😜
Alex – the fairy-tail maker
Yeah, as Alex has a huge impact on that part of my life journey, he is included in all the recent posts and I also had the whole story in a separate post. So here I will just remind you that Alex has saved my pretty ass, when took me all the way from Austria to the Netherlands, gave me accommodation (and way more!) for the first 6 months in the Netherlands and helped me find the perfect job at the very beginning.
I had his support in every possible way you can think of! That was the more important thing to me – someone to have my back and give me a steady base to fight from.
Chintana Sukphon – my Boss
Somehow I felt immediately connected to the Thai lady I met on my first day in the Netherlands. After I started working for her and got to know her, I find out the reason why.
She is a strong woman with a big heart. A tireless fighter! One just amazing person.
Got to a foreign country with no help at all, she managed to open a Massage salon and a Thai restaurant. Had taken her years of damn heavy work. All by her own! But here she is – still fighting and succeeding. With a great optimism and smile!
The connection has something to do with the fact that we actually are very alike. Same story – similar injury, disabled for months, rejected the surgery and got back on her feet by her own!
She is actually the one who managed to keep me in shape. She already have been where I am now (although she is a couple of years younger) and knows all the struggle and pain.
Therefore she always made the effort to steal some time from her unbelievably overloaded schedule to help. Fixing me piece by piece…
With her medical-care practice she is more a therapist than just a masseuse. And she does really love what she is doing. We all do massages there. She does a magic!
I am really fortunate to “accidentally” meet her and have exactly her as my Boss and Friend. Thank you for everything, Chin!! 🤗🙏
The life outside the work during my stay in the Netherlands
For the first 6 months I was living and working in 100 m distance, so didn’t need to walk too much, which was as good as bad. I did try to force myself to get out for walks despite all the tiredness. Well, had some success, but not a lot… 😆
One day I had a brief visit for lunch (relay nice one) from a friend traveller, which made me realise how much I miss a good conversation! And my English was getting worse and worse, because I spoke too little and only with people knowing almost no English.
I did definitely need to do something. As Alex was all week away, I was practically living alone. At work had no time for talking and Steph, my only friend, was living far form Bergen op Zoom, so she was always in a hurry.
Yeah, I had to take some actions…
Well, at least I could keep walking around and making short trips. My first distant trip was to Baarle-Nasau – not far away and at the same time, quite interesting site. And I felt great moving again. Yet something was missing – the communication.
After meeting bunches of people every day on the road, now I was all by myself. I had no problem with that, but I did need to keep the right mindset and also practice my English, before I start to speak like a Bulgarian gypsy (sorry, only Bulgarians will get that..).
Guess what – I did register in a dating app! 😆
Yeah, it didn’t really work. When someone started texting, my first response was that I am looking for a friendship and a buddy to hang around. In most of the cases, a second message wasn’t needed… 😜
Well, I met three of them anyway. The first one was in Goes. Although I could tell he was disappointed of my position, we had a good day, some walk, nice chat and a glass of wine. Yet, that was all.
Whit the second one we had really good time, went to Antwerp, walking, chatting. He was a nice person to talk with. I was sure I met a buddy for a future short trips and talks. Yeah, we stayed in touch for a couple of weeks and again – that was all…
The same happened with the third attempt as well and I just gave up the idea. It was clearly not working! 🤷♀️ Oh, there were another three (dunno why they are all threesomes, LOL) who did try to scam me.
Brian was the first one. He didn’t actually have an eye for the detail and I sensed something wrong in the very beginning.
Although it took me a bit to figure out the exact scheme. I just couldn’t believe it is real. Have heard lots of stories about scammers, but this now was happening to me! Damn! It was as funny as irritating. Yet I was entertaining myself wile trying to get the logic of it.
The next two were doomed, once I cleared this out. I just got bored and cut them off. One did even thank me, LOL. 😈
So, I was left with the only option to make short travels by my own. So I did continue doing it! 🤷♀️ And decided to try Couchsurfing again – the first (and only) successful attempt was with Anna in Dordrecht – an amazing welcoming and smiling traveller girl!
We stayed in touch and latter on we went together to Breda as well.
We also went with Alex to Willemstad, Vlissingen and Middelburg and with another traveller, friend of mine since before, made quite a tour around The Hague, Rotterdam, Keukenhof gardens, etc.
The rest of the time I was trying to give my body some rest, as it was over exhausted and sore. Went even to a Chinese massage! 😁 Nice experience. It was really good and definitely helpful. (Yet I still prefer “our” way).
I went three times actually and every time she gave me more than 2 hours massage at the price of one!“We work the same, I know your pain, you need this and I want to give it to you!” Something I didn’t hear from my colleagues ever…
Thank you so much, Fu!!! 🙏🤗 I did really need this so bad…
Got to catch up with my blog and photos. Unfortunately got convinced (by myself of course) that I want to make videos and I need a GoPro camera… 🤦♀️😆
Things like that…
My stay in the Netherlands finished earlier
Something was happening under the surface for weeks and I could feel it, although I had no idea what and in what area in my life it’s going to manifest.
Then it did…
I have promised my Boss to work for her one year, which means by September, but in the beginning I was thinking it’s even better to stay until next March. Then something occurred at work. Long time ago I have stopped forcing myself to work in an atmosphere of intrigues, so at that moment I knew I am leaving in September – the moment my promise is done.
Nah, it didn’t go that way either.
To my surprise something else happened afterwards as well. It was “almost innocent” attempt to be tricked to stay by the end of the year…
I have zero tolerance to any attempt of extortion. Although I do understand the motive behind this, it was a very bad move and definitely not the way to deal with me. Therefore I felt freed of my given word and just wrote my resignation letter.
Hear you say – But you said your Boss is a nice person? Yes, she is!!! When one is under lots of pressure and stress, he often makes mistakes and wrong decisions. It doesn’t make him a bad person. It makes him/her a human…
Again Alex was firmly staying behind my back! As I don’t know the language and can’t deal with the documents. Neither know the low and the rules around to be able to fight for my rights.
He knows all of those and he never give up on me! Even after I moved out and he finally had his life back, I always had his support! Thank you a million, Alex!!! 🤗🙏🤗
As the last days pass by, some clients took their “Goodbye” in quite sweet ways. 😎
My body was literally at the edge, threatening to stop obeying and take its own break. So I was fighting with a constant pain and kept pushing and pushing. Just a few more days, please…!
One day couldn’t finish my work and had to ask my boss to take over my last client. Yeah, that bad! Actually it was even worse, but I’m not getting into details here. The idea of writing this is a bit different.
The next day I hardly managed to do my work, most of the time with one hand. Finally it was time for the last client! Almost done! We had duo massage (two people together at the same room) at the end, so the colleague guided our clients to the room and when they were ready, we went to them. It was quite dark inside though, but I knew they were two girls – I did hear them speaking. First thing I notice were the crutches lined at the corner. Then the girl on my bed – really graceful young girl, slim and gentle. Yet there was something different – under the blanket something was missing… Yep. One leg… The whole leg.
At the first moment I got confused (now I was happy it’s dark), but pulled myself together in just a moment. The whole hour during the massage I was looking at that beautiful young creature and my eyes were watering. I felt ashamed of myself complaining about my body and all the hard time it gave me. That girl under my hands would consider herself the luckiest in the world if she could have a chance to switch with me. I am sure she would not care about the years or the look – she would grab my body and start running trough laughter and tears enjoying all the pain I am complaining about…
Sometimes we need some awakening to remember that what we have isn't actually granted...