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How your life can change from being a garbage person to being a Queen… by Agnieszka, mei 2nd, 2017

Once the time comes that you are the garbage person (the person that has to bring the garbage out), your life turns into a nightmare, you feel the garbage is starting to talk to you.

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Everything that’s been going on in the past few weeks by Maren, maart 22nd, 2017

Hey everybody!

It’s time for another blog! Sorry, there was no blog in quite some time; a lot of stuff has been going on in the Mission House. Here’s a little summary for you to catch up with everything that has happened:

As Elisa already told you in the last blog, in February we spent a wonderful mid-term weekend together with the volunteers from Oudezijds 100 and the World House. We went bowling and to play laser tag and even though not everybody was necessarily very good at it, we all had a lot of fun! Of course we also did some reflection on the months that we already spent here and Hanske made a lot of really amazing food for us. We had a really cool time there!

Also, the first weekend of March we went to Edinburgh while our two mum’s stayed at home. Besides me having the longest birthday of my life because of the one hour time difference between Amsterdam and Edinburgh we also had a really fun time exploring the city. On the first day we visited Edinburgh castle which turned out to be quite different than expected. Firstly, because we had to carry our suitcases and all of our stuff up there because we couldn’t pick up the keys for our apartment before 4p.m. and secondly, because normally you have a view over the entire city from the castle and it’s one of the nice things about it but of course on this day, it was so foggy that you could only see a white wall and nothing else. We couldn’t even tell there was something down there. So, after a rather quick walk through the rest of the castle we finally went to pick up our keys. The rest of the day we spent in our apartment that turned out to be quite nice. For dinner we found just enough motivation to go downstairs and get something at the kebab shop where a few hours earlier we picked up our keys. It was still a really nice day with a lot of funny moments and bus rides. It was really gezellig and I really liked it!

Luckily the next two days the weather was nicer and we walked up a hill from where we had quite a good overview over the city of Edinburgh and we also visited the Hollyrood Palace and the Scottish Parliament which was both very interesting. Of course we also tried Scottish beer and gave our pence to a singer in the bar but decided to leave after the bartender told us to order another beer (at least we think that’s what he said) and spit in our faces while talking because he probably had a few beers too much.

After a night in the apartment without water, washing our faces while someone else was pouring water from a bottle over our hands and flushing the toilet with half of our five liter containers of drinking water, we left the next day for the airport. And because we have the best Mission Mum’s you could ever wish for we were greeted by a lot of pancakes and nutella when we came home (unfortunately also by Freddy but that’s a story for another blog).

All in all we had a really nice and fun time in Edinburgh and I think all of us really enjoyed our little holiday!

Also the past few days, the weather has been a lot nicer here (although as I’m writing this it’s raining). We went to play cards in Wertheimpark, finally tried the Hoftuin (the café in our garden), which was really nice by the way, walked around without jackets and got really in spring mood. Everybody in the house was so much happier because of the sun. Also the city is starting to be more colorful because of all the flowers that are starting to bloom.

I could tell you a whole lot more but I guess these were the most important things that happened in the past few weeks in our lovely home. I will leave you with a few pictures from things we got up to and probably the next person is going to tell you about the return of Mission Mouse and how some heroic Mission Houser’s got rid of Freddy 3.0.

But for now doei and tot de volgende keer!

 

 

 

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Winter in Amsterdam by Elisa, februari 16th, 2017

 

 

Hi everybody,

Some cold news from the « Mission House ». Indeed, winter is definitely here. It has been snowing this last two days and Amsterdam is now covered with snow. Sadly, the air is cold and dry but it’s really pretty to see. We saw a lot of frozen lakes and some kids built snowmen in the Hoftuin (our garden) and wherever it’s possible. Everybody outside wore their winter clothes and children their ski pants. I enjoyed the atmosphere!
We are very lucky and enjoy this wonderful weather as much as possible. So, no bikes this weekend but just a walk around the streets to admire the city changing under the seasons.

Speaking of changing, something does not: our flatmate Freddy the mouse.
If you have been following his adventures, you surely know that he was very quiet lately… Let me update you: Freddy is back! …Or probably his little sister or brother. We tried again and again to catch him but I think he is cleverer than we are and not ready to leave our friendly house so far. He’ll guarantee us stories for the future …

Let’s talk about the life in the Mission House and my lovely flatmates: This week was a little bit busy because some people visited the EVS-training, others went home and we had guests. But we, plus the volunteers from Oudezijds 100 and from The World House, are going to a “midterm weekend” upcoming weekend, so there we can all spend time together. I’m sure it’ll be really nice and a lot of fun! Probably the next person that writes the blog will tell you all about it.

 

Tot ziens!

 

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What we’ve been up to by Joost van Dijk, februari 6th, 2017

Hey guys!

It is high time we wrote a blog again! It’s like three birthday parties, one New Year’s Eve party, one New Year’s morning, three stolen bikes, several visits at the doctor and a whole bunch of happy moments ago, since we last wrote on this page. We are terribly sorry for that!

So, to catch you up: the mouse has been caught by Aga, but apparently, “the mouse” was “the mice” and they’re still around. I have the feeling they’re less active, though, so that is positive. Furthermore, the Mission Housers have learned the Dutch language quite well already! I often translate something from Dutch, to immediately hear an annoyed: “Yeah, we know that word already, come on!” We still should talk way more Dutch in the house, though, but for some reason making the switch is feels a little awkward.

Mirjam and Aga had their birthday parties together and we had a great time and I celebrated my birthday last week. I got a delicious cake and great presents!
I think it is finally a bit better now, but the past couple of weeks a lot of us have been catching colds and flus and other sicknesses and diseases. The house was filled with coughing and sniffing and sneezing… yum!
And yes, as I said earlier, three bikes have been stolen. Yay Amsterdam! Sometimes I wish mine got stolen, but nooow… they, of course, take the really nice ones with gears and a bell and all that fancy stuff.
Oh yes, the New Year’s Eve party! Almost forgot to mention that one! It was great. We were allowed to use the basement, which was perfect for the party. We invited quite some friends and decorated the place real nice. At twelve we stood on the bridge, where we could see all the fireworks light up our beautiful city.
Talking about lighting up the city, not long ago the Amsterdam Light Festival ended. I’m not that crazy about art, but most of the things they make for this festival are fantastic. One of the most awesome things, in my opinion, was right next to our house in a tunnel. Some people installed a system there with a bunch of lights, which lit up every time it caught noise. So all the people who came by started clapping their hands, shouting and whistling on their fingers. It was fun to watch and to hear!

Well, I think I could tell a whole lot more, but I guess this is enough for now. In general, we all are enjoying our time in Amsterdam. It’s strange how quick you become good friends with people you didn’t know before when you live with them. Fortunately, we still have a couple of months to go, so loads of parties, hopefully, no stolen bikes and doctor visits and for sure tons of happy moments!

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With a little help from Amsterdam by Mirjam Verbaan, december 12th, 2016

The content of the following text will be a bit different from the ones published until now. I hope you won’t mind this change of style. Greetings to you all! Nicole

 

When I first came to Amsterdam I felt this place was full of hope and promises for me. I decided that this place would have been the right choice to forget my past and learn to live again.

Some simple ideas motivated me: changing country can help you to start from zero; helping the others you also help yourself.

Then I came here in September. After some bright days, Autumn came, with its wonderful warm colours. And it also brought me the discover that I was totally wrong: my past is still with me, even more than the present, in the space of my room, in the hours of my sleepless nights… Helping the others I feel just exhausted, empty, with no energy and light to give to other people, nor for myself.

I guess the problem comes from my years of reclusion, which characterized all my childhood and part of my youth. Raised in a strict conservative catholic family, I had to spend most of my time at home, school and church, because going out with friends, having fun, was not allowed to a good catholic maid. Being often alone, and closed between four walls, I had to find my tactic to survive, to steel to life at least some of its colours. And I found this way. It was my secret, my way to breathe and to find sense in a sad existence. I just found out how to intensify every single experience I had the chance to live. I had to be satisfied with the crumbles that life could give me and I really did.

The colours of the trees, the nuances of the daylight, the flavours of spices, the perfume of flowers, were something so strong for me that I could live of these sensations feeling that I had a full and complete life.

This made me incredibly sensitive, too much sensitive and reactive to every new input I get from the world that surrounds me. I never considered this as a problem, until the day I left home. Then I realized I was different from other people: the sensations and emotions to which the others were completely used, were thousands times stronger than the ones that for me were striking. I was fragile and weird, unable to face life and its facts as normal people do. My vocabulary was not the vocabulary of other people, I didn’t put the same meaning in the same words.

Luckily, during the years of my university I had good friends around me, who helped me a lot to live without feeling too much isolated.

But now Amsterdam has made me face my weakness, my being different. Amsterdam had the power to make me feel completely alone, stabbed a knife in my heart, breaking my knees and throwing me down to the floor. Now in my life everything seems to have exploded.

I came to this city feeling exactly as a small fox would feel in a wild jungle. This jungle made me discover that weed is not always a pure and innocent thing, as I used to think; it destroyed all my faith in humankind making me discover that in this city freedom is so much important that they expose persons behind windows, as animals in cages. It made me know people who have no house, look into their eyes, touch their hands and link their sorrow to my own.

My pain became something extreme. I lost control of myself and of my tears or smiles. In the past I used to cry sometimes, when something seemed very beautiful to me. The beauty of life will always be something incredibly touching for me. But now every single image this city brings to me is full of meaning and pain, fills my eyes with cry.

Amsterdam for me is the face of all the visitors of our drop in centres. Amsterdam is also the beauty of its canals, sailed by ducks and swans, in which the sun shines as in mirrors. Amsterdam is the colour of the Asian eyes of a wise and beautiful twin, this city has made me find. Amsterdam sounds in all the clear and pure voices of the guys I met praying at the Taizé evenings. Amsterdam is the face of a person I desired to know, and that I have lost because of my present lack of balance, putting a river of senseless words between us.

Amsterdam broke me, with its mixture of beauty and cruelty, destroying me in many small pieces. Can we make of these pieces a person again? Now that I have touched the bottom, I have the chance to rise up and start again. It is a challenge, it is not going to be easy. I have to learn completely again how to live. But I can’t learn this alone. I need her to be with me, the city of Amsterdam, with all the things she represents to me. She broke me and destroyed me. She can rebuild me and make me complete again. If I will face this mirror of pain that Amsterdam has been for me until now. If I will resist the permanent temptation to run away. Will we manage to build me again? Who shall stay will see. Inshallah.

 

Nicole

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Freddy: an introduction by Joost van Dijk, november 27th, 2016

Hey everyone!

I’m Freddy and it is my privilege to write a blog here!
As the newest member of the Mission House, I must say it takes time to get used to living here, but I like it better and better. The people here are really nice and I like them a lot, but sometimes I get the feeling they like me less. Maybe it’s just because I am new here, or maybe because I’m not… you know… human.
On the one hand, I think: they have to love me because they leave all kinds of food for me on places where I can easily get it. There are almost always fresh bread crumbles on the floor and when I don’t feel like eating bread again, they leave me some crisps or cookies. Also every time I meet one of my housemates they give me a yell of excitement, so at first I felt really welcome! They even clean my toilets occasionally. And I like each and every one of the people that live here… Well, except for the lady they call “Donna”… She scares the mouse poop out of me. But for the rest: I enjoy their conversation when they’re having dinner and a couple of them play the piano really well!
But I also hear them talking about me a lot and I am not sure if it is positive all the time. They gave me a cool nickname though: the Mission Mouse. I like that a lot, although sometimes I get a strange feeling. For example, I heard them say they wanted to take a… to take a… c…c…cat! I’m not even sure what that is, but just the word gives me a feeling that is a mixture of extreme fear, disgust and horrid. They also placed machines on the ground with food in it. At first, I just thought they were being nice again, but then I found out that the thing could easily kill me if I would try to eat the food! Maybe it’s some kind of strange hazing ritual, but I’d consider that to be rather cruel, don’t you?

Donna

Donna

The cruel hazing ritual

The cruel hazing ritual

 

 

 

 

 

 

One night I was really confused about their attitude towards me. I had just found a new room, but I didn’t really like it. I think this tall guy that sings all the time lives there. When I finally was out of the room I tried to go back to the places where they always keep food for me, but they (the people of the Mission House) were in my way! They totally blocked the road. It seemed like they had fun, so I wanted to join them, but every time they saw me they got a bucket and I felt that they wanted to hurt me. I’m not sure… maybe I’m just confused because of the differences in our cultures, but to me, it looks like they regret that they invited me in here. BUT… why do they leave food everywhere then?
Never the less, for now, I think I’ll stay here. What I totally love about this place, that it is huge. I keep discovering new rooms and also new ways to move through the house. As long as they take care of me by throwing food on the ground, I’ll be just fine :)

Thanks for reading my blog and hopefully see you soon!

Freddy A.K.A The Mission Mouse

 

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Blog October by Mirjam Verbaan, november 20th, 2016

Hi everyone,

Last week was a quite busy week for everyone because all the projects have really started now.
It’s a lot of fun to work at the project and we experience and learn new stuff everyday.
On Wednesday it was Max his birthday, which we ofcourse celebrated.
On the Saturday before Max his birthday we all went out, except for Max, to buy him a present. Because Max once talked about penguins in a story we all figured that the penguin must be his favorite animal, so we bought a really nice stuffed penguin and a postcard with penguins on it. Then on Monday we were talking about our favorite animals and we found out that penguins are not Max favorite animals at all: ‘Yeah, I like them but they are not my favorite animals or anything’. As you all understand we already bought the penguin for Max his birthday on Wednesday so it was too late to buy something else.. But even though penguins are not Max his favorite animals he still liked the present a lot and I think with this present we kind of forced him to make the penguin his favorite animal. We had a very nice apple pie and Max got to blow out the candles.
The plan was to also go bowling for his birthday but everyone was very tired so we decided to do the bowling another time ;).
Another nice story of this week took place on Friday.
Aga and I were supposed to help cooking for some people from the Diaconie, in total we had to cook for twelve people, which included everyone from the Mission House. Aga and I were done with work pretty late so when we came back we immediately went to the Albert Heijn to do the groceries. Maren and Elisa were very kind and decided to join us while doing the groceries. We decided to make something German named Kartoffelauflauf and something Polish which ended up being a Schnitzel.
On the way back from the Albert Heijn, we came across Rina and she also decided to help us cooking so we arrived with five people to cook at the Diaconie. While we were cutting all the vegetables for the very nice meal, Jeroen (the person who asked us to cook for the diaconie) came to ask how long it would take before the meal was ready. We told him that it would take like two more hours. He told us that there was a problem; the people we had to cook for couldn’t wait another two hours. Then we decided to take all the food we had bought for twelve people back tot the Mission House and to go on cooking for just ourselves. It ended up being a not so very nice meal because we didn’t cook the Kartoffels long enough ;). But after all we had a very nice evening with eachother.

Thanks for reading the blog!

Xx Mirjam

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De Sociale Kruidenier by Kete-Rina, november 19th, 2016

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Hi everybody! Kete-Rina from the Mission House here :)

This is my first time writiung a post for Facebook however maybe some of you have read my bio on the Mission House website :)
This week was really hectic but really nice because Mirjam and I went to Antwerp with one of our projects (De Sociale Kruidenier) to learn more about this amazing project. In this post I thus want to talk about this project.

What is “De Sociale Kruidenier”?
“De Sociale Kruidenier” is a project by the Protestantse Diaconie in Amsterdam in the Nieuwe Herengracht 18 sous. It is a store where people, that live below the poverty line, can come to buy non-food goods, like laundry detergents, shampoos, shower gels or cleaning supplies, and also foods, like flour, pasta or pindakaas (it’s like the Dutch version of peanut butter ;)).image

Who can come to “De Sociale Kruidenier”?
In order to be a costumer of the Sociale Kruidenier you have to have a pass at the “Voedselbank” (the Dutch food bank) in Amsterdam. Clients can buy goods for 30% of the original retail price and up to 15€ a month, if you are single without kids.

Why does “De Sociale Kruidenier” exist?
Well, this is a fact maybe unknown to some but buying something at a store is often connected with ones pride. At a store you can chose what to buy and what not to buy. You have a choice and having this choice is really important.

When was “De Sociale Kruidenier” founded?The Sociale Kruidenier started in May 2016 here in Amsterdam. It was first founded, however, in France as the “épicerie sociale” and expanded later to the Flemish speaking part of Belgium in 2004.

I hope this short information about the Sociale Kruidenier gave you a look into this project and its history and philosophy. If you’d like to learn more about this project go to http://www.socialekruidenier.nl/over-ons for more information (Dutch).

At the moment I am at the airport to fly back to Munich to visit my family, so as the Dutch say: “Tot zo!”

 

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A big old blog by Georgia Whelan, juni 8th, 2016

 

Why hello there Georgia here!

Firstly I’d like to apologise for the lack of blogs recently but as your about to read we have been extremely busy these past few months. So in no particular order..

The month of May was a really nice and also very busy month. The main event being our group trip to Italy. We went to Naples Pompeii and Rome. My personal favourite being Naples.

We did tours and visited many places. On the first day we went to the beach and although it was quite a travel away we still had fun with such clear blue water and sunny weather we made the most of it! (We also discovered the knife and fork tax.)
The rest of the days we walked a lot visiting the cities Seeing castle’s with beautiful views, touring and just in general seeing what Italy had to offer. Naples had the best food of all the places we visited and I can honestly say we ate the best pizza ever there! We also stayed in such a nice hostel which I would highly recommend (i was not bribed tp make an  advertisement I promise.)  We spent our last night in the airport which was an experience to say the least but I nor any of the others will be doing it again in a hurry. it was nice to be back in my own bed again.

We like to put lots of effort into people’s birthdays here in the mission house and when there’s no birthday to celebrate we make one up. Melanie celebrated her mission house birthday last week {as she will not be here on her real birthday.}  It began with a lovely bike trip to the beach. Me and Linus travelling by tandem. After the trip we came home had carrot cake made by Mirjam and gave her present.
Later in the evening we hosted a cocktail party which looked rather professional even if I do say so myself and was a very nice evening.
As your probably aware our lovely house leader is from the other side of Holland called Steenwijk. Well earlier in May we spent the weekend there with him his girlfriend Gera and her lovely family. We did lots exciting things and enjoyed our time away from the busy city to take in some fresh country air. We discovered a really nice village, went to their church, we went on walks, a boat ride, enjoyed picnics and BBQ’S and met their lovely friends. It was such a nice weekend and the weather was perfect. However nothing is perfect and so three of us {Jhoswa, Linus and myseelf} came home injured  but hey we still had fun even if we did have to hobble home.

This month is our final month in the mission house. Although it is sad we are determined to make the most of our time here and enjoy it together before we leave to live the rest of our lives. for this i wish all of my flatmates the best of luck.

This weekend we had the pleasure to spend the weekend with the new generation of mission house volunteers who will be replacing us in September. We spent this weekend getting to know them and they are a lovely group and I’m sure they will have lots of fun and you will be hearing all about their adventures soon. We had plenty of fun playing games and having a BBQ, doing a green light tour (positive things) in the red light district and a boat ride which didn’t go according to plan after a boat malfunction and ended with the us travelling side by side with the new generation holding the boats together.

For sure we did many more things however i think i could go on forever if i write them all. i hopw you enjoyed this blog and the pictures from the fun things we have been doing.

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Mission House life lately by Joost van Dijk, maart 26th, 2016

Hey, everyone! Here is Joost again :D

So… where do I start.? Lately, we have a loooot of guests in the house, haha. I don’t even register anymore who is who and from who every guest is, but it’s nice. For example, a friend of Jhoswa came with his parents and they were so friendly! The dad had amazing stories and they even left two recipes for us for delicious food!
Right now Bence is really happy because his cool friends came over to the Mission House and a while ago Melanie had a bunch of friends here.
That’s one of the fun things about the Mission House: most of the time it’s full of awesome people :D

12805975_10206071823263138_3240569835056764700_nAnother thing I would like to share is a very nice breakfast we had some time ago. That Friday we had a nice party in another voluntary house. There was amazing food (mostly made by our group, so it had to be amazing) and cool people who also come over to the Mission House once in a while. We al943974_10209045519714243_7726558568579706471_nready agreed on going to the HEMA for a nice breakfast the next morning and for that, we had to leave early. It was a challenge to wake some people up, but in the end, we went with a nice group (as some stayed in their bed XD). Arriving at the HEMA, there was no “normal” HEMA-breakfast, so we all choose something and went outside. Me and my girlfriend Gera remembered a nice spot to chill, so we went there. It was really nice to share this moment with lovely people!

This week we went to a bar near the Mission House and had a good time there. The conversation went from one weird topic to the other, as it supposed to be with friends20160323_204442.
Now it’s Saturday and while I’m writing this I hear voices and laughter and I smell the delicious smell of cake being baked. Yep, the Mission House life is amazing!

It’s hard to face but the end is coming near now. People start to think about study or work for next year, people start to miss home, their friends and their   family and sometimes people feel like their doing a routine. All normal things, if you ask me. But, as we already facing the end, I really look forward to the next couple of months. The better weather is coming and already arriving and I believe that’s going to do a lot of good for a lot of people! Hopefully, you’ll see the pictures and hear the stories of us going outside; chilling in the park or going to water and doing activities in the sunny weather very soon!

Ok well, hope you enjoyed reading and see you later!!