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Happy New Year by Melanie Dzambazov, januari 4th, 2016

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Hey everyone!

First I want to wish you all a Happy New Year and a lots of joy and love! I can’t believe that it’s already 2016…I mean 4 months of the Mission House life have already passed and 6 more to go. I think every Mission House generation goes through several phases during the year: the adaption to the new surrounding, getting to know eachother and finding your place in the house and in work. So with other words the first challenge is to make Amsterdam and the Mission House your home. Being very happy I can say we reached this point before we left to our countries for Christmas.

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For me it was something completely new to live together with 8 people from different countries in one house and I have to admit I had doubts about how good we are going to get along with eachother or which conflicts would arise…but I got taught differently: Somehow we are all so different and various characters, but exactly this kind of makes us so special and so loveable. We really get along very well with eachother and I personally feel so welcomed and comfortable and.. I don’t know, it’s just great! I mean I don’t want to lie to you, sometimes we have arguments but that’s what family life looks like, isn’t it?
Anyway, so before the actual Christmas holidays we decided to have a Christmas dinner together. Roxane and Jhoswa cooked AMAZINGLY – we all didn’t want to stop eating, especially the meat Roxane prepared and the Nacho-bean mix of Jhoswa were my personal favourites! After this delicious meal we also ate a South African cake I made “Melktert” and ja, the atmosphere was really cosy, awesome and peaceful – exactly how Christmas should be! :)

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However, this Christmas feeling didn’t last so long because suddenly everyone got sick. First Linus and Jhoswa, then Bence and Georgia and then Roxane and me. It was horrible. Just imagine family time with 4 people coughing, 3 people going to sleep because they felt that miserable and two people being ok. Well, I cannot really remember other things of that week, just that everyone still tried to care for everyone – Linus, for example, went to buy me medicine and tea when he felt better. Really nice!
We went home for Christmas (some half sick), enjoyed our family of course and I think we all relaxed and valued the time there. I personally was really happy to get home also, but it felt more like I was going on vacation for 10 days and afterwards I would return to my actual home in Amsterdam! Also on my way back I visited Mirjam (the other Austrian girl ;) ) and we came back together. Fascinating how you bond with people you know for 4 months and how much you think of them when you don’t see them for 2 weeks!

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Back home, we had a New Year’s Eve party where several friends came to visit us – it was GREAT! We sat together, played games, DANCED A LOT (!) .. IMG-20160103-WA0006 - kopie

and went to the Centraal Station to watch the fireworks. It was really great to see the big crowds outside and standing somewhere together, counting the last seconds of 2015! What a great year passed and an even greater one started! I feel really priviledged to have 6 more months with these great people, who I already share so nice memories with. Let’s see what 2016 is going to look like.. I am curious :)

Lots of love,IMG-20160102-WA0000 IMG-20160104-WA0008
Melanie

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Some news! by Roxane Courthial, december 14th, 2015

Hey everybody !

It has been a long time we did not give you news of the Mission House. We were so enjoying the “Amsterdam life” that we left the blog on the side. But we will try to be more regular now!

The month of November was quite busy: Five of the Mission Housers went on training and it was an almost empty house that they left behind them ( being only four in the house was first really sad but then, we had lots of fun!)

When everybody came back home, Jhoswa had the amazing idea to do Thanksgiving all together, so we decided to make this idea become real. We cooked the traditionnal big turkey and invited lots of people. It was really “gezellig”!  We had a great time, a good dinner, and now good memories…

Actually it was the last time the majority of us was eating meat. Some of us decided to litteraly stop, others are just reducing  and others… like it too much to stop ! The most surprising is that Jhoswa, who was used to eat meat everyday stopped sudenly and it is a success ! (He has been  traumatized by a video he saw during his training and since this, he resists really well to the call of the meat).

The following weekend was a little bit more tensed, but to give  everybody the smile back, Georgia and Bence prepared for each of us hot chocolate with cream and “Tony choco lonely” at home. It was so nice from them! The Amsterdam Light Festival was also starting on this weekend  but it was raining a lot and we lost our motivation…

 

Now we are in December and we discovered the Sinter Klaas tradition, respecting the rules really well. We all picked up one name and organized an evening when we gave to one and another their gifts with Christmas songs in the background, cookies and “pepernoten” on the table. The presents were meaningfull for everybody and we put a lot of love and effort in them.

We also all received (several) chocolate letters and we are enjoying it as we should do. The diaconie also offered us something and we were really happy to discover that it was a frier ! We already tried it and the dinner was obviously (fat and) delicious…

Some of us had a trip to Den Helder and Texel last week end, and the beach was beautiful, we had lunch there and a lot of fun but we were also happy to go back to the Mission House and see our garden full of lights (Yes, the Amsterdam light festival is in our garden, we are so lucky !)

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All our projects are also going really well and we are a little bit improving our Dutch. This experience is amazing and we are really enjoying each day, but we are also looking forward to go back in our proper countries to celebrate Christmas with our family and friends. Nervertheless, we are starting to plan a big party for the new year event in Amsterdam ! No one wants to miss it.

 

Roxane

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black birthday cake and golden appeltaart by Linus Neumann, november 10th, 2015

Hi people!

 

Welcome to blog entry number TWO…

It is pretty cool that you now know a little bit more about every single MissionHouseHero

so that you have a little idea about the people I am going to mention from now on.

We all had a very cool week because it was Roxane’s BIG birthday – the 18th!

We celebrated it twice, once on the day itself and we had a cool party on the weekend as well…

Mirjam and me were busily involved in the preparations for the culinary delights. We cooked

special Korean food, did French mousse au chocolat and of course a birthday cake – quite a lot

as you can guess.

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That is why in almost every corner of the kitchen something was frying or cooking

and we tried very hard to keep everything under control. I was only focused on the meat and

vegetables so that I did not even noticed that Mirjam already put her really really fabolous cake in

our quite notorious oven ( you have to know that the little markings are missing and that it is

quite difficult to find the adequate settings out of that reason ).

After a short time Mirjam just said “ What about the cake? “ and opened the oven door.

I just looked inside and saw nothing so I thought “ Yeah, you can put it in now … “, but suddenly

a very disgusting smell appeared and Mirjam screamed “ Noooooooo! “.

That was the moment when I noticed that the cake was already sooo black that I could not even see

it in the dark oven…

Joost entered the kitchen and was just worried that the fire alarm would turn on ( we have already

been in this situation once ) and started to open every door very quickly.

We were so angry because it had been so much work so that we continued shouting bad words.

Unfortunately our neighbour came down and asked kindly whether we could close the doors (

because of the smell?!… because of the crazy shouting people?! )… That was quite embarassing.

But finally we rescued the cake with Melanie’s creative help and Roxane liked it so far.

That was maybe the little more stressful part of the last week – but on this Sunday Mirjam, Bence

and me went for a really cool bike trip to a very very lovely nature reserve. We already did two other

really exciting tours, but this one was the first on which you could really feel the autumn!

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We had a wondeful break at a “ paviljoen “ which was directly located at a big lake and we had

absolutely fantastic “ appeltaart “ – it was really awesome!

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Our Mission House garden also becomes more and more autumnal as you can see in these pictures:

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That is it so far from me,

Tot de volgende keer,

 

Linus

 

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Hello everyone! :) by Pedro Fragata, november 7th, 2015

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Hello everyone! :)

We (Mirjam and Pedro) have the privilege to be the first ones to write on the MH blog this year! :)

So we were wondering how to do it but eventually we figured it out… we will tell you some of the funniest stories that happened in the mission house until now!

But first… we arrived on 1st September which means that we are here for more than two months now… time goes by really fast!

We are an excellent team of eight volunteers coming from six countries (Austria, England, France, Germany, Hungary, Portugal and Spain) plus our amazing Dutch house leader.

On the first month we had the chance to get to know each other better and to visit all the projects that we could choose to participate in the remaining nine months. Now each one of us has already his own schedule and we are helping out in more than twenty projects!

And now some stories about us!

Melanie is Austrian and… she can sometimes speak a little bit loudly! To be honest we had noticed it before! :D But there was a day she got home and told us that she was in the church, already sitting, waiting for the service to start and suddenly a woman sits in the seat in front of her. She commented to Georgia: “Now I can’t see anything!” and obviously, the woman easily understood her! She was really gentle and asked Melanie to change seats with her so that she could see better.

And once in the first week Melanie was cooking with so much enthusiasm and swing that she (by accident) put almost the whole package of salt in the cheese sauce (but now she really proved that we can trust her cooking skills, she really knows how to cook!).

Jhoswa, born in Columbia and now living in Mallorca, has sometimes a quite funny name pronounciation. He calls Hanske “Hanssskaaa” and says Gloria to Georgia! In the first week when we lost our lovely Georgia in the Sloterdijk train station, he was going around looking for her and screaming “Gloria, Gloria…!”. He also tried to be a vegetarian but after 10 minutes he was already missing his “little little chicken”!

And Jhoswa also got caught on the toilet, kind of…! Once in a while we forget to lock it and… once in a while someone thinks it’s free and trys to get in…!!!

Relaxed Roxane is our french girl and she loves hot chocolate! Just when it rains (happens sometimes in Holland) and her bike seat is wet she isn’t so relaxed anymore. But the funniest… she got her bike stolen… by us!

She locked her bike only to itself and we stole it!

But she did it inside our parking so it was kind of a “safe” place to do it. And now she does it properly so it’s alright! :)

Joost is our big great house leader. He is always singing, whistling and humming around. If you suddenly hear a loud scream followed by some more shouts from another room it’s probably Joost singing along what’s right now on his mind. We also really love Joost’s kind girlfriend Gera and we’re already used to have her around in the mission house. We even include her on our cooking and doing the dishes schedule! It’s always nice to have her around! :)

Strong Hungarian survivor Bence got already quite close with the dangerous Amsterdam tram! They met in a “Wall-tram-wall-tram” approach! It wasn’t a fair handshake for Bence (and for his bike) but luckily Bence didn’t got hurt at all (only his bike got to be in a really bad shape…!). He is really talkative, polite and very well informed about a lot of subjects and when he starts to speak about one of his favourite topics (sports, politics) it’s almost impossible to stop him ( Waaad! ~~~ [arm wave] just kidding ;D) – private joke :)

“This is a message for Georgia Wheelan from England. Your friends are waiting for you at the information desk” – Georgia got her moment of fame and she’s now well known in the whole Sloterdijk train station while the info desk was calling her on the microphone, at least on that particular day she was! :D Our panda girl (she loves pandas!) found some amazing new high technological tools in the Mission House like the electronic juicer or the cheese cutter…! :D Georgia is also often surprised by strange German food preparing habits and she sneezes louder than you can ever imagine! ;)

Linus is from the tram-flying-city-Wuppertal and our private house pianist, especially Jhoswa loves his wonderful various plays (unfortunaltely one very important piano key got destroyed by someone’s ass, but we will fix it soon…)! He is a huge Citroën 2CV and Amy Winehouse fan and the funniest story teller of the world. Once he told us the story how Roxane got stuck in the tram line in front of a restaurant and he started to sing “stay’n alive, stay’n ali-” but then he got stuck in the tram line by himself and all the people who watched it started to laugh! :D (if you had seen Linus telling the story you would have been rolling on the floor and laughing right now… Hehe)

Marillenknoedel-and-chocolate-lover-Mirjam is from Austria and she’s known as our zen girl in the house because she always finds the right balance between calm and pro-active! :) except this one time when she experienced to walk out of the living room only wearing her socks so she slipped on the floor (totally unbalanced), and she found herself just totally slidiiiing like if she was ice skiing and trying not to fall and at the same time she just commented to Joost who was also in the living room “oh Joooooost – you cleaned the floor very well today! ” :D so you all know how muuuch effort we put in cleaning! ;)

About Pedro, he’s from Portugal and he always uses funny sounds when he’s talking to explain himself better. “We have to buy such a pffffffffffff to clean the wooden furniture” (and while he does the pffffffffff sound it really sounds like a spray! Pedro also learnt in the meanwhile the dutch way of fixing a flat tire on his bike: without removing the wheel from the frame (it was the first time he did it like that but it makes sense and it’s really practical and fast way to do it).

Ah… he was also trying to do a wheelie in his bike buuuuuut… he wasn’t able to measure the rear brake to keep the front wheel in the air so he had to jump back… he managed to land on his feet but still everyone around was laughing really hard (including some guys that were passing by on a motorcycle!!!).

And the funniest thing was when he was caught in the toilet by Melanie while she was making a skype video call with her boyfriend and was showing him the (whole) house, including the toilets…! We all laughed for 5 or 10 minutes, seriously…! :D

To finish this first blog entry we wanted to say that we are really grateful for this opportunity of being part of the Mission House team for these 10 months! We are really honored to be here and in each other’s company and we are appreciating every moment of this challenging and amazing opportunity that we were given while we can actually make the difference helping people! :)

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Koningsdag, Dodenherdenking, Bevrijdingsdag and more..! by Hanske Mulder, mei 12th, 2015

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Hello everyone!

It’s me, Lilli, and today I would like to share some “Mission House moments” with you:

Last Monday everybody was celebrating the Kings Day. Seemed to me like every inhabitant of Amsterdam was in the street plus many visitors because there were so many people! It was amazing: in almost every street a party, a “vrijmarkt” or some other great activities. Also the parks were really “gezellig” because a lot of people did for little money some playings with the visitors where they were able to win something. And if you are exhausted by so much party and so many people just sit in the gras and enjoy the sun! In the whole town you had always background music – either from a boat on which groups and families were celebrating the 48th birthday of the King Willem-Alexander with great music or from a stage near your current location or from a private balcony etc.

Of course we also wanted to have a slice of the pie and so we tried to sell cake and lemonade in front of the hermitage – we didn’t really succeed but sitting in the sun on one of our couches, enjoying the nice weather (and having a beer) – THIS was worth for one try!

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On Thursday we had a really sociable evening while playing volleyball in our garden and watching Harry Potter at the television. Ik hou van Family Time! (I really like family times ;) )

At the weekend there were a lot of guests in the Mission House and Ola was absent, so we didn’t have so many shared actions.

This Monday and Tuesday there are two special days in the Netherlands: Nationale Dodenherdenking (Remembrance of the Dead at the 4th of May) and Bevrijdingsdag (Liberation Day at the 5th of May). So the King of the Netherlands Willem-Alexander was in Amsterdam to take part at the ceremony for remembering all civilians and members of the armed forces of the Kingdom of the Netherlands who died in wars or peacekeeping missions since the outbreak of World War II. And some members of the Mission House even saw him! At 8 pm there were two minutes silent in the whole Netherlands, all cars stopped even tram paused and all people thought about the victims – in silence of course. It was a really special moment.

At the Bevrijdingsdag the Dutch people celebrate the liberation of their nation after the German occupation. There will be a lot of festivals, concerts and “vrijheidsmaaltijden” where neighbours, organisations, hotels etc. cook for a little money a tasty dinner for everybody who would like to join. So gezellig!

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OH I talked so much about national holidays in the Netherlands – maybe you are a lot more interested in what we actually really work?

So I decided trying to describe for you my work as exactly as possible :)

On Monday mornings I work at the „re-play“ project. Here parents come with their very little children (0-4 years) for playing with them. The special thing is that many families in Amsterdam Oost have a migration background and so the Dutch is not their first language. At “re-play“ they can exchange views about their children, other news and at the same time improve their Dutch language. I am helping with arranging a little meal (buying and cutting fruits), preparing a craft action and of course, we can play with the children and talk to their parents!

In the afternoon I am helping at a „buurtmaaltijd“ (neighbourhood meal). People who normally don’t find the way to restaurants can enjoy a meal for only 5€. That’s big fun to serve the food for them and nothing has to be perfect like in a ‘normal’ restaurant! ;-)

Tuesdays I help feeding multiple disabled children and young adults. We pick them up from the bus which brings them from school to ‘Amsta’, the location where they live in little groups and at 5 pm they have dinner. After the meal we often go out to the Vondelpark if the weather is nice.

On Wednesday I work at the “De Tweede Mijl”. It is a shelter where drug/alcohol addicted or homeless people but also very poor ones or refugees can have coffee, tea, lemonade, sandwiches, a hot soup or a footbath – for free. It’s really warmhearted there and after few months you know many visitors and you see them every week…

Every Thursday I go to the “Hospice Kuria” for a few hours. It’s so familiar there! We volunteers do everything what has to be done in the background like doing the groceries, go to the pharmacy or to the bakery but also wash the laundry, iron, controll the cupboards etc. while the nurses take care of the patients. However when Dutch is improving with the time the volunteers can also go to their rooms for offering some tea, having a talk..

Last but not least: On Fridays I have another great project. I work at the “Huygens’dok” tog10931521_996225690406368_2243078628107882504_nether with deaf people but also normal hearing ones. The customers can decide to order either in sign language or in Dutch. Young deaf people can do a apprenticeship (waiter/cook) there for free and people who have also problems at the “first employment market” are also here for helping. We are baking cake together, cut the vegetables, prepare the sandwiches, take the orders, make coffee, serve the food and drinks and so on. It is sooo much fun and feels absolutely not like work!

Now I hope you got a little view into our work and also an impression about what it means to live and work here in the Mission House. However if it sounds like a lot of work, many tasks, etc. don’t be afraid! We have also enough free time to discover the town, to do sports or other things we like. And at work we are never alone, we always have somebody who is helping (or introduced us in the first weeks). In my first 8 months I always knew who I can ask if I had a problem, so it’s really enjoyable – and I’m sure we all enjoy our time here!

You got it – I’m finished! Have a nice spring time! Now I will go for a ride with my bike through beautiful Amsterdam.

Vriendelijke groetjes uit Amsterdam en tot ziens!

 

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It’s Spring! by Hanske Mulder, maart 30th, 2015

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Hello World :)

It has been a while since any of us from the house updated the blog!

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Last week before christmas by Hanske Mulder, december 16th, 2014

Hello everybody, I want to tell you about last week. On Monday we had a really nice Zinmoment prepared by Erwin. We talked about what „Living together“ means for everybody and discussed about that. It was very interesting because everybody get a new view how the others want to share life in community.

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A Little Update… by Hanske Mulder, november 29th, 2014

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Hello!

Our blog has been rejected for the past few weeks – Erwin, Julius, Lilli, Helene, Ola, Salome I’m looking at you ;) – but I’m going to provide a little update now! read more

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Anyone there? by Hanske Mulder, oktober 12th, 2014

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Hi! It’s A’kos.

Let me tell you about what we did in the house the last week!

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