A 7 month French adventure

Yes it's true, I am back home, in the Netherlands after a 7 month adventure in my favourite country. I will tell you.. It has been a rollercoaster, I had ups and downs, which is totally normal in life. I learned a lot and I had great times. I did not only learn a lot about the world/France but also about myself. These experiences changed me for the better, they made me the person that I am today.

It all started in February, I packed up my Fiat 500c, I said

goodbye to family and friends and together with my mom I made the journey from Rotterdam to approximately Avignon. Although I was stubborn at first that I was able to do it alone I am happy that my mom was there to accompany me, to share this experience with. I was lucky to be able to stay a couple of months at the Lusitano farm where I come since I did my internship there in 2016, a place that is home for me. I had some nice days with my mother and started my internship at Europe's biggest travel agency called Voyage Privé. In that same month I got a little car 'accident', which made me realise how important it is to keep your attention while driving and how fast life could be over. It freaked me out, it learned me how to change a side mirror, it scared me out for quite some time but now that I look back it only made me stronger.

In March I was able to help deliver some beautiful Lusitano foals. A beautiful experience again.. To me this is one of the most beautiful jobs that exist on this planet. Seeing the love between the mother and her just born foal is incredible, it is really like you are in a sort of aura for a couple of hours. Your mind is completely empty except for the fact that this little new being will be welcomed to our world and how wonderful and caring these animals are.

In March I also found a nice room in Aix-en-Provence, which was close to my internship. With this move I also started discovering the area, with of course ... You can probably guess it already.. The Gorges du Verdon! Yes I went end of March to the Gorges.. No I'm not crazy, or maybe a little. haha! I got the idea to go from photography, I am one of the few people in this world that love to go to 'abandoned' mountain regions where it is still a sort of winter, but also to drive the mountain roads before all the tourists, after my nearly accident where my mirror was driven off I had a fear of these kind of roads and a fear of someone from the other side touching my mirror. It of course was a lot better than in February but it was still a bit there, so a nice practice! I went together with my friend Vanille, who I hadn't seen since 7 months and had a great time!

In April I reached 20 years old(which we celebrated so nicely at the office and with friends), did more and more travels of which the Calanques of Marseille with the 'camping family', I hit the half of my internship and I went back to the Netherlands for a week.

In May I went back to the farm for some days, did my mom come to visit me in Aix, did 2 Dutch friends came to visit the farm to learn about the Lusitano horse and to look at a few, did I visit the beautiful Presqu'ils de Giens and region and did we celebrate the move of Sandra to Canada.

I started June with going on a Monday evening after work to the camping, where I arrived at 9 o'clock in the evening to surprise Sandra that I was at the camping goodbye dinner for her. With the teams from many years we made a video for her, all representing a memory with her. Of course I had to be back in Aix-en-Provence the next morning at 9.30am. So after a great evening I left the next morning at 6.30am from the camping to drive 2,5/nearly 3 hours back to Aix. During this drive during a cold spring morning I saw the most wonderful views that I had seen there in my life. There were clouds in the mountains which they call 'Brume' in French (dew in English). The river was a bright emerald green which popped out of this mystery landscape. The rest of this month I took easy, I worked hard on finishing my internship report, I packed my stuff for the camping season and I spend some weekends on the camping where I moved to on the 29th of June and which I started with a great team night at a local concert in La palud-sur-Verdon.

The season hadn't started yet for us animators, but of course we started the summer with going out, drinking a glass of wine in the evening in the village, getting to know new people, learning new things and lifestyles. This is what I love about this place, everything is still so 'easy', not that digital, not yet this influence of society. Everyone dresses the way they like, does the things they like, living a summer of their imagination. Do you want to wear hippie clothes? Then you wear hippie clothes. You don't want to wear a bra? No worries, being natural is beautiful. Life is a lot less digital, a lot like life your life and enjoy it, take your time to destress, to enjoy. We(Me and Lou) also tried out the Adventure Forest, of which a video is coming online very soon, which was amazing, we laughed a lot and of course I couldn't stop myself of making a mistake and hanging in the middle of 2 obstacles 20m above the ground. Haha! The 9th of July we started our jobs, we were more ready than ever, we made a cute spot between our caravans with lights, a table and seats (Thanks Clem for the inspiration!). We started with a lot of kids, got to know more than ever how happy you can be with a good co-worker and had a milestone of 65 children on one miniclub. We had great evenings with friends. My father reached 50 years old, for who I arranged some surprises (more about that later). Oh and yes! Of course we went to my most favourite party of the year, La Fête de Village Rougon where we partied till so hard that we had muscle pain the next morning (Thanks Canacapoustic!).

In August we organised our biggest event of the season, miss and Mister Camping. I went to visit the beautiful region of Allos, the higher part of the Verdon (1425m) and we went to visit La Fête Medieval in Colmars-les-Alpes with friends, a beautiful old fortress village with the highest point at more than 2600m We had a great evening and I was fully loaded for a new week at work. We had a very exciting day Thursday with make up and the circus in the animation program.. and before work going up the

mountain to see a wolf.. When the next thing happened.. I got an accident with my eye.. I woke up Lou before 7am screaming, in shock.. The next moment the pompiers brought me to the hospital, where I was sent to Cannes, were they sewed me up with 7 points and gave me 2 drains.. I am so grateful for my chef and her husband who were there with me, to my colleagues who where waiting for me when I came back, to Lou who took so good care of me for the next days. This accident showed me who were really there for me and it made me a lot stronger. I finished my adventure after removing my points in Cannes with a few great days with

friends in the region of Cannes and a last 1,5 day in the Gorges where we went with the remaining of the team to the end of the season concert at the Snack-du-Lac in St-André and the next day with an activity adventure forest with some colleagues.

Saturday I drove back to the Netherlands in 14 hours to start a 5 month study in Amsterdam. These 7 months changed me as a person for the better. They made me stronger and wiser.

"So much of who we are is where we have been"

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