Tag Archives: volunteers

They return voluntarily

“I think portuguese sounds so good,” says Tim cheerfully as I try to avoid a few dogs scurrying along the road, “I don’t understand a word of it, but it sounds good, and that gives me a great holiday feeling.”

He continues: “I first heard it from my aunt’s friend, she met them in Brazil – her husband had died and then after a while she started to travel a bit – and then she met that man. He didn’t speak a word of English and neither did she … ”

“But how did they communicate?” I ask in amazement

“Oh, pretty much with hands and feet … he came to stay regularly, and then they talked a bit past each other – but she did have a friend who spoke Portuguese, so she could occasionally translating … funny is it not? ”

We are at the hardware store, I have to get out and do business. Arrange tiles. Before the lunch break. Otherwise, the store closes, and there is nothing to arrange for half past three.

Too bad, because Tim is a pleasant talker. I remembered that from 12 years ago

They were volunteers, Tim and Jessica. In September, not a bad time at all to volunteer here in Portugal.

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I remember that it was warm. Start a little earlier in the morning because otherwise some things can’t be done anymore. In September, it is better not to plant poles into the ground in the full afternoon sun, for example. Or weeding weeds in the vegetable garden.

“I remember very well that I was annoyed that I stumbled over that one little stone”, laughs Jessica at dinner, “I am also such a klutz in that respect. You have that wide staircase, and the whole village square, and then you stumble over that one little stupid stone.”

Her whole face is laughing. The positive attitude to life radiates from it

“And that André … what happened to that?” Tim asks, “that was a different story!”

Oh yeah, they were here together with André. And Bernadette, the Hungarian volunteer, always modest and smiling. I never know exactly, who knows who, that is almost impossible to remember. There have been so many volunteers in the meantime!

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Young Bart” has been here for almost a year and a half, and once counted how many volunteers there were at that time. He came to 87. I was surprised about that number. That’s a lot! I didn’t have that feeling at all.

I still have contact with many of the volunteers. With “young Bart”, with Tim & Jessica, and so on. You get a bond – it’s not only special  just for them, for me as well.

A number of them become part of the extended family

Sometimes it goes like this: first as a volunteer stay here, and then come back as a guest. Sometimes it’s the other way around. And sometimes people become addicted. Whether as a volunteer, or as a guest.

You may become addicted – I think that’s a good idea!

In fact, we do everything to promote that. Watch out before you book! Before you know it, you come back to weed the garden or to paint the wall …

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We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas-da-Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugals cultural heirlooms: Termas-da-Azenha, an old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and campsites, with a lots of fun things to do: swimming pool, indoor and outdoor games like pingpong, petanque and mini golf, a FancyDressingRoom and a small café. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere.

The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed. Since 2018 we call ourselves the first B&B&B in the world – Bed & Breakfast & Bathrobes. You can buy a home-made unique bathrobe/housecoat with us.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on monday on LinkedIn.

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Multi-talented volunteers

Statistically we’ve had a lot of (multi-)talented volunteers and guests.

They’re probably attracted by all the eye-candy that has been created over the years.

The first time Bruno came, it was an exciting event, since I already had a group of four young girls around. They came from all over, Germany, Canada, France and Hungary. Bruno came with his childhood sweetheart Tooske, and in his first elaborate email he wrote about how surprised he was that he recently became 65.

From all over the world in perfect harmony

We started the Termas-da-Azenha, believing it could be a place to bring together people who would probably never meet otherwise. And that has certainly happened, over the years several unexpected combinations of people got along famously.

Just like last autumn. It really improves the atmosphere if people get along.  In case of volunteers it also gets things done better and faster.

So I thought it was great that Bruno came back

multi-talented-volunteers

This time he came with his son. You know his son already, dear readers, it’s Coco from the “portuguese poo sandwich” blog, from a few weeks ago.

“I hope he’ll like it here” Bruno says when he arrives, “I expect he will, otherwise I would never have asked. But we’ll have to wait and see … father and son together for two weeks … it’s been a while!” Coco is 30, so he’s been independent for quite some time.

I had reserved a house for them. Since it’s quiet at the moment and we have 8 houses, so usually it’s only full in high season.

A few days later my family arrived, 5 of them, sisters, a brother and a brother-in-law. I’m used to the bustle of having a large family. However, most people don’t, like Coco who had to get used to it. It can be crowded but it’s also cosy.

Our bikes were due for maintenance

Coco is a bicycle repairman. Great. You can’t imagine what can break on a bike if it’s used by different people all the time! I expected it to take a while, but no. At the end of his first day most of it was done. Impressive.  

“Great” I shouted, completely red and sweaty, from the work – we were trying to salvage a fig tree from brambles, “buttt … not so clever, if you were a little slower you would be nicely sitting in the shade fixing a tire, quietly by yourself!”

It was warm, around 30º C.

Which is fine if you’re on holiday, hanging around and enjoying the sun and the breeze from the sea, but if your cutting brambles it gets quite warm.

It wasn’t a problem for Coco, without saying much he came to help the team. We continued till noon. Then, when it became really hot, we went to do something else.

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Bruno painted “the Angel”, in the corridor of room Two. He stood there comfortably in the shade painting with a pastel chalk. “The little Dog” was lying at his feet.

“The little Dog” the stray –  a skinny blonde darling. You already know her as well, I tried to promote her adoption a while ago. I don’t want anymore dogs, but nobody agrees, the dog most of all. She enjoyed herself, she felt safe and grew more comfortable around others every day. Everyone adored her and I knew I was beaten, it was useless to resist. 

It’s all Hunky-dory

Till she had the accident. Our dog, Donkeydog, is very good with cars, but “the little dog” was too young and inexperienced. Donkeydog likes to chase the neighbor’s tractor however the little one couldn’t do that yet. She thought it was a very big dog she could play with – and if you fall over one another, it’s no problema, just fun. But this was no fun.

It was a tragic end.

It’s also a tragic end to a light verse blog. Sorry dear readers, I would also have preferred a different ending. Life is usually very pleasant here, but sometimes  nasty things happen here as well.

The Municipality is however already busy trying to change the road. And that is good news.

And Bruno was inspired to write a beautiful song. That is what I mean: multi-talented.

We moved here in 2000 from Rotterdam, Holland to the Termas da Azenha, Portugal. A big step, especially with two small children. We are busy to rebuild one of portugal’s cultural heirlooms. Termas da Azenha, a old spa which has been turned into several holiday homes, rooms and camping ground, there’s also a swimming pool. You’ll find mosaics and paintings everywhere. The old bathhouse is a museum, where you can see how things have changed.

Each week a little blog about what is happening around us. An easy read. A few minutes in another world. A little about what it going on in Portugal. If you plan your holiday to Portugal, it might be a nice preparation. We have some nice special offers on our site.

You can subscribe to this blog:

 

You’ll get it every weekend in your mailbox.

On Sunday morning we publish it on our Facebook Page, on Google+, on Pinterest, and on tuesday on LinkedIn.

 

You like? Please like! And sharing is not forbidden ....