A Summer Season Summary

For the last few years, I’ve tried to live and learn by the mantra ‘everything happens for a reason’. I’m the first to admit there are some things which seem to have no positive outcome, no matter what perspective you look at it from (the life trauma of half your biscuit crumbling into your cup of tea). But for the most part, I’ve tried to live the last couple of years under the impression that there is some greater plan of the universe, and we’re all just rolling along with it.

Which is why, back in March when I found out I couldn’t afford to go on year abroad to Washington DC, I thought I’d channel the lost cause into spending the summer doing something different. I’ve come to learn in the last 3 and a half months, scrubbing mobile homes on your hands and knees probably doesn’t compete with recreating scenes of Homeland and Scandal in the capital of the US- but, everything happens for a reason. And I’m pretty sure my reason has come in the form of the humans I shared my season with. 

One of the most distinct thoughts I remember having, when arriving in France over 3 and a half months ago, was 'Shit. This is it. I'm here until September'. And I think, even back then, a small part of me wasn't sure I'd be able to do it. Working 6 days a week all around the clock, not being able to return home and leave your work at work, the fear of meeting people you might clash with and not be able to escape from. Yet here I am, the night before I leave, and all I want to do is email my university to say I’m leaving forever, pack up my belongings and set up house out here. And I am fully aware this feeling of belonging definitely doesn’t come from 16 weeks of cleaning toilets. 

I don't want to write too much about this summer as a whole because I feel like everything I've experienced has been with a set group of people, and it's a bit like when you're telling a story and halfway through, you know the listener had to be there to truly get it. But in true 'me' style, I wanted to share a couple of things I've learned about season work, working abroad, and myself.

1. Whatever people say about becoming acclimatised, 36 degree heat is still 36 degree heat- and it's awful to work in.

2. Working a season job is a bit like starting university again, you're thrown in with a group of people and within a week you've found your new bridesmaids and lifelong best friends. 

3. You'll never remember the day cleaning toilets became mechanical, but one day you realise you've stopped gagging and it's both a tragic and magical moment. 

4. Despite the above, you'll never cease to be amazed by what people will leave lying around after their holiday. Used condom on top of a wardrobe? Yes. Dirty sanitary towel under a pillow? Thanks.

5. It doesn't matter how tanned you are, burning is still possible.

6. It's impossible to get bored of a beautiful sunset, however many times you see it.

7. The novelty of cheap yet delicious cheese and wine may never wear off- it's also what I'm making room for in my suitcase on my way home.

8. Living 3 months with wifi so slow it's pretty much going backwards, has proven to me, despite being a true internet human, the internet is a luxury not a necessity.

9. Being a good cleaner/good at maintenance is not gender bias. Whatever your gender, if you're doing a summer season you have no choice but to get under mobiles as much as you also sweep and mop.

10. It's probably the best fitness plan you'll ever have without actually creating a fitness plan.

11. Even when you're not in Britain, tea solves problems. As does gin.

12. Working with a hangover is something you never get immune to, but definitely get used to.

13. The 'customer is always right' rule is even more infuriating when you have to see them every day for a week, a fortnight or even three weeks.

14. Mosquito repellent does not work. Neither do the repellent candles. Grin and bare it.

15. You are reminded weekly, if not daily, by adult customers about how lucky you are to have this job... 'I wish I'd done this when I was young...' And the smug feeling never subsides, because you know they're right to be jealous.

I feel like 15 bullet points isn't enough to encapsulate what I've done, who I've met, and what I've been through since the start of June. But we'll call it a condensed version. I thought I'd include a few photos to summarise my time here too because as the saying goes, a picture's worth a thousand words.

I'm pretty sure a couple of the people I spent my season with will be reading this, I feel like I acquired a second family with the highs and lows and everything in between. So thank you to everyone I was working with for putting up with me, and if you're an external reader, thank you for sticking with Alice's Antics when I've been the worst blogger in the history of blogging. It's been dreamy.

Ciao for Now!

1 comment

  1. I'm so happy you've had a great summer. It reminds me a bit of the three weeks I've spent as a summer camp counselor this summer. I've learned so much and it's something that will stay with you forever I think. X eline