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Arriving at the Netherlands
It was on 22nd of September when Alex took me to the Netherlands. We arrived in Bergen op Zoom, Noord Brabant, late in the evening after all day driving (started in the morning at Klagenfurt, Austria).
On the way we talked a lot (12 hours on the road are quite enough for a discente talk, LOL) for many things and various subjects.
As it was unexpected to reach the Netherlands so soon, I had no idea where I am going to go, so I did ask him if I can stay for a few days, while I found a place and some job. He said “Yes, of course. You can stay till Sunday, because I have a certain clause on my rental contract.“
Damn, it would be almost Thursday when we arrive! What’s possible to find for just 2 days (nothing in the weekend, for sure)?! 🤦♀️ Well, it is what it is. I decided to cross that bridge when it comes to it. Let’s first reach the destination, then will see… 🤷♀️
And we did it pretty soon – arrived at his place tired after 12 hours and more than 1000 km driving.
On the way I have mentioned I have a diploma for masseuse, but zero experience. So I have it in mind, but I don’t really feel confident to look for such kind of job. Maybe something in a factory or cleaning – all the usual jobs emigrants do.
Yeah, nobody will give me to do prepress, neither I would want to!
Right on the next day Alex brought me to the massage salon he was regularly going to and spoke with the owner on behalf of me. The owner was a thai lady, extremely warm, polite and welcoming. We were extremely lucky to catch her there, as she was always in the move. It turned out she was actually hiring (An accident again, you say?!) and agreed to test me the next day.
Alex has guaranteed that I am a serious person and not going to disappear after a week. How did he know that, knowing me for just a day, is still a mystery for me… Yet without him having my back, I had no chance to even being asked for a test.
I was so scared, already forgotten all I learned in the classes and with not even a single day of experience! Well, I had nothing to lose, hadn’t I?! And also had the feeling (despite the one that I live in the Wonderland) that non of this was accidental, so… 🤷♀️
After that we went to the restaurant of the same lady and for the first time I tasted Thai food.
On our way back, unexpectedly (Another accident, I hear you say?!) we met his landlord. He talked to him, explained who am I and that I might need to stay a bit longer, so we will discus the additional rent, if I do. Surprisingly (Or not actually, as Alex “accidentally” broth the money subject...) the owner said: “Yes, sure, no problem”.
So, the first day I have already kinda promise of having a job (One that I haven't even dream of!) and a place to stay not only till Sunday! Yes, I was literally living in the Wonderland!!! Couldn't stop smiling! Is there a way to thank this man enough?!? Thank you from the bottom of my heart, Alex!!! 🙏🤗🙏
Starting my Thai masseuse training
I went to the arranged interview on the next day. Had to do a massage to the lady-boss.
As kind and smiling she was, more stressed and nervous I was! She had to ask me to breath… 😆🤦♀️
At the end, after I failed (in my oun eyes) and have apologised tens of times that I have no experience at all, she said: Yes! I can feel your touch, you have the base of the massage too, so I can train you. But, first – you have to be sure you WANT and CAN do it, because it’s VERY heavy and will be really painful in the beginning (Well, 6 months latter, it’s still damn painful! 😆🤫). And second – how long you are going to stay here, because if I teach you, it’s not good for me if you work just 3-4 months.
Yes!!! I was sure I can handle it (Didn’t expect THAT much pain though, but yes, I do handle it!). After she did just a few minutes of her massage to me, I was absolutely sure that I want to do exactly this kind of massage! Have no second thoughts here for even a second.
Well, about the second condition I did think… maybe about 10 seconds! 😆 The initial plan was to stay in the Netherlands 5-6 months, save some money and go ahead. Yet, I did not hesitate making it double! It was investment in myself and in my future travel and life!
I gave my word to Chintana Sukphon, my new Boss! And she gave me her word! More than 6 months latter non of us has ever regret it! 😊
The training part took quite long time (almost two months). Something unexpected, which took me in a tricky position with Alex. He was paying for everything and although I was making a strict list what I owe him, I felt really uneasy. I did strongly rely on the promise that I should start working in about three weeks.
Yet, Chin was too busy (her usual state, as I found out later) and had no time to teach me faster.
Nevertheless, it turned out to be more as a favor to me. The work was so damn heavy, that in the beginning I had to eat with my left hand – I was not able to lift the fork with the right one…
The documents for work
In the meanwhile I had to take care of the necessary papers for legally working in the Netherlands. As Bergen op Zoom is a smaller town, I had to go to the nearest big one – Breda.
It was crazy – there were just one single option for appointment with the authorities and it was a month later! 🤦♀️
The other problem was that I don’t know the language.
It is true that almost everyone here speaks English more or less. The officials though, don’t care. I couldn’t make an appointment by phone, as the automatic menu is in Dutch only. The official web site has no translation either. Viva Google! With automatic Google translation, I finally managed to make the appointment exactly one month after my arrival.
A week or two before the date in question (21st of October), I decided to walk to the station and ask there about the tickets, prices, etc.
Yeah, good luck asking a vending ticket machine! In Dutch only, of course!
Once again it was Alex who helped me buy tickets online and make a test trip. I needed to find how the system works and how exactly to reach the “Geemente Breda“, as the appointment was early in the morning and I did not want to take the risk of missing it and have to wait maybe another month!
So I went with the train, Alex (along with his kids) with the car came to pick me up and bring me back.
Yeah, sounds all done. That would be too easy, don’t you think?! 😈
After all night storm, wild wind with rain welcomed me when I open the door to go for my insurance number. So, big deal, I have my waterproofs! Well, won’t risk taking the camera in that weather, but apart from that, I am fine.
Yeah, at least I thought so…
I have booked the appointment more than 3 weeks ago and that was the only available option. Even at the morning, when I did check again, there was no other choice.
What a weather, damnit!
Am I a traveller (on vacation, haha) or not?! A simple storm couldn’t frighten me! Yeah, can’t scary me, but the trains obviously have been quite frightened. Not a single train was running in the next 2-3 hours (I had only less before the appointment).😬
Now what?! I just CAN NOT miss this appointment!!!
Busses! There should be busses as well. Where from? Where to? I don’t know the system, don’t know the language, don’t have cash with me (bought my train ticket in advance) and running out of time with every second.
Thanks to the few people around (at 6:30 am) for the priceless help!
No, I didn’t make it in time. I was 20 minutes late. But all the staff was friendly and helpful. Thank you!
And yes, I did make it after all!! 🥳
Just to see, a few hours latter, that there are lots of new options for appointments on the website. Even for the same day!!
For a whole month it was the only availability, and now – tadaaaaaaaa, a several!
The life never gets tired playing with me, huh?! 😆🤪
Basically after a month stay, I had the necessary documents and my training for work was already half done. Everything was going with a good timing, as my body was way more exhausted than I thought. If I had started working right at my arrival, as was planned, I wouldn’t manage it. Especially that heavy job…
There is nothing accidental, remember?! Everything is going the best possible way, even though it might not look exactly like it at a certain point… 😉