Friday, September 3, 2010

Pioneer Centre: Living in the Ultimate Bubble

Hey there,

The end of another workweek in England. Quite a hectic week here at the centre. We had two large groups in and there were many sessions to observe and assist on.
Right now I am lying out on the grass in the sunshine in front of High Ropes, as we have just finished up for the day.

I thought I would take this opportunity to talk a little bit about the people that I am working with here. Pioneer is truly living in a small bubble. I thought I knew what that was like when I was in college but this is like a totally different level. Because not only do you work with the same people all day long (sometimes 10 hour days). You also hang out with those same people on your breaks and after work, and on top of that.... you live together. You share meal times, you share bathrooms you share pretty much everything. Oh an also... we are stuck out her middle of rural Shropshire without cars. So you can imagine we don't really get out that much.
In our training they tried to kind of let us in on the fact that those people that are givers. Who are happy to do that little bit extra even if others aren't pulling their own weight, thrive here. If you expect things to be done for you, or everything to be fare all of the time, you will eventually just end up bitter and hate it. I am pretty sure its 50/50 with people here by the time they leave. I hope I develop better serving/giving personality traits because I am not going to claim to be naturally talented at it ha-ha. And unlike the apprentices, I am here as a volunteer. C
ompletely by choice. They are really not doing much for me except allowing me to live in England, as I have always wanted to. I could tequnically leave at any time. So I hope that realization that I can get out of this experience what I choose to put into it will help me this year when things get tricky.

So anyway back to the people.
There are some very annoying people here that I find personally very challenging to be polite to. The thing about being annoyed all of the time (or whenever those certain people are around) is that it is totally exhausting. And it makes you feel pretty horrible. But for some reason that doesn't serve to make those people any less annoying. It is something I am really struggling with.
Of course I don't appeal to everyone either. Shocking I know... ok not really. I can come on a bit strong and as a bit of a know it all. It’s not my fault I am ridiculously clever right?! (jokes). But for serious I know of a few people who aren’t particularly keen on me. But they mostly consist of emo young boys I really would have nothing to talk about even if they did like me so it’s all well and good.

The centre is a very international place. In fact I don’t believe I have ever been around such a wide variety of people from different nations. When I lived in Rome I mostly hung out with.... you guessed it. Americans!
There are two main groups that work here at the Centre. The "house team" who take care of everything from the food, to the rooms, bed changing, washing etc. (I don't know how they do it every day its such hard work). And the "Activities Team", which I am a member of, we run all of the "activities" the guests participate in while they are here.

The house team is largely comprised of young people from different countries. While the activities team is made up of "apprentices" who are all English/ Scottish/ or Welsh, and "volunteers" (me) who are from different countries but speak English relatively well.
The other internationals on the activities besides me are, one Danish girl (Anne, my former roommate), Martin (German), Monja (girl) (German), Wanja (German), a
nd Soren (German). You can see there are a lot of Germans here. The guy Germans are referred to as... you guessed it... "The Germans", nicknames here are intensely creative as you can tell :).

The house team has several Hungarians, on it supposedly there were so many at one time the Activities team referred to them as the Hungarian Mafia. Most of them look and sound exactly as you would think Hungarians would. They are big, tall, dark, and slightly ominous sounding.

There are two or three from South Korea, one from Kazakhstan, a couple from Slovakia, and a few from Brazil. It’s funny because they seem to come in clumps. There are a few from each country but rarely is there just one.

Interesting fact, the Germans that are here had to pay on organization back home to find them a year of service in order to avoid joining the army for a year. Because in Germany (if you are a guy) you have to either serve for a year in the army, or do a year of service. (Funny, I didn't Germany was aloud to have an army anymore)? Jokes, jokes! But yeah, I wish Americans had to do that. Maybe we would all be a little less self/wealth centered. Probably not, but it couldn't hurt.

I Mexican food with Ed and Lucy the other night. It was fantastic, and they loved it. We went to Tescos to get the food and I found attempting to make proper Mexican in England very frustrating. They don't sell regular sour cream, only sour cream and chive. Which is way more like something you dip carrots in than for Mexican. And when I asked for cilantro, they guy who worked there said "Is that a type of shampoo?" Uhm no. So yeah no cilantro. Also the avocados they sold there were like tiny green bricks. So sad. But we managed to make some chicken burritos and they were quite wonderful.

I also watched "Remember the Titans" with a bunch of people that don’t understand how American football works. They kept asking questions like " Do your really have cheerleaders?!" And "What does a jock mean?" and "Why are all of the white people mad?" It was pretty hilarious. It made me miss high school a little. And it made me very sad that I am going to miss out on Huskie football season this year so sad :(. Jake Locker's last year!

Anyway I would keep typing but I am pretty tired so I am going to stop now.

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