Melle and I bought our first house about a year and a half ago. We spent the previous five years together working and travelling around the world. Now that we are here and have our own space, we'd like to welcome people to come to our little patch of paradise.
Here's a little introduction:
Melle is Dutch, so he is pretty good with languages (German, Spanish, English and a little of French and Italian). When he is not working he is often found playing the guitar, reading or helping me in the garden.
I (Rebecca) am English and I'm trying very hard to learn a different language: currently studying Dutch and I can understand some German.
When I'm not working or studying, 9 times out of 10 I'll be working away in the garden.
We don't have a television, but do have good internet connection. We like to play board games, watch documentaries and spend plenty of time outside (walking or relaxing in the sun). We try our best to live life creating as little waste as possible, but we are far from perfect and still learning.
The latest addition to the family is a little cute puppy called Luna. Just as the moon, she has an enormous impact on our life :) It's a 6 month old Bearded Collie. She is always happy, energetic and very social!
We dreamt of a patch of land and house that was completely overgrown and needed a lot of love and attention. Our garden was/is just that. For a while we called it the jungle, we've managed to tame it a little since then but there's still plenty of work to do. It's an allotment garden (less than 10 mins bike from our house) that was left for years. We are slowly turning it in to a vegetable garden, using ideas taken from permaculture.
Our house is a completely normal terrace house, on the edge of a completely normal neighbourhood. From our living room we look out to the dunes and see wild cattle grazing. Within two minutes on a bicycle we are at the beach. It's a great spot for going on walks either through the dunes, where you can see more wild cattle and horses, along the beach or through the woods.
We inherited a pond in the back garden which, at the moment, holds a handful of frogs and a dozen fish; we now consider them our first pets :) Hopefully many more to come, such as dogs and chickens.
Living in Den Helder means the Island of Texel is only a 20 minute boat ride away. Den Helder is a small town but has everything you could possibly need (train stations, markets, supermarkets, cinema, sports centres, libraries, hospital, chemists, shops, pubs and coffee shops). We have bikes for you to use during your stay with us, we don't own a car- we really don't need one here.
Here’s a little more information about the way we like to live, what is important to us and what we expect of volunteers.
The main thing we are looking for with all volunteers is to reach balance and harmony. For us that comes in two main forms.
The first: Balance between work and free time and harmony between all people in the house.
Being fair, honest and respectful to each other. We are inviting you in to our home, where you will have your own bedroom, use of a bike, plenty of food and free time. We expect in return that you can help us out for about 4 hours a day, 5 days a week. Sometimes we are very busy, so you will have to regulate that yourself. For this reason, we are looking for mature and independent volunteers that can handle the responsibility.
We have had volunteers that gave more than they took and others that took more than they gave. We would prefer that it feels fair from both sides and that by the end of the stay there is a good feeling for everyone 😊
The second: Aiming for balance and harmony with nature.
We are working towards creating as little waste as possible. Water, food, energy (especially gas); we are reusing and recycling as much as we can. Here are some of examples: We don’t use any chemicals for our laundry, so we harvest the water to water our plants :) Once a week we collect food that would otherwise be thrown away.
We all have different habits but during your stay we would like you to work with us on low waste goals. Here are some things that came up in previous stays that we feel don’t fit: long hot showers every day, electronics left plugged in, lights left on. What we don’t want is volunteers to feel uncomfortable about using the resources in the house, but we would like it that volunteers are conscious about what they are using to try avoid wasteful behaviours.
We are still learning and developing our ideas. If you see other solutions during your stay, we are happy to hear them.
DIY and building projects
Creating/ Cooking family meals
Help around the house
If you are interested in trying to learn a little of the language while you are here, you can come along to Dutch language lessons with Rebecca. There's a great one at the library that is totally free.
You can try a variety of Dutch meals as well as international dishes. We enjoy food from many different places where we have lived. In some places we learned how to prepare food in a special way and we are happy to share that with you!
Here we have a really wide range of help required.
We think it is nicest if you have some choice in what you do during your stay with us. We would like to see independence, combined with a responsible and proactive mindset from volunteers.
At times it can happen that we are both working at the same time and therefore leave you for a couple of hours to run the show :)
Currently our to-do lists: we'd love your help.
House to-do list:
Cut wood to size for wood burner
Painting walls and woodwork
General jobs around the house:
Dehydrating/preserving fruits and vegetables
Preparing food for meals (we love to try different things)
Doing the dishes
Making paper pulp plant pots
Walking and grooming the dog
Cleaning the house
Go to the woods or beach to collect pine cones, pine needles or seashells for paths in the garden.
Garden to-do list:
Mowing the lawn
Turning over compost
Digging foundation trenches for greenhouse
As you can see we have some big and small projects. There's plenty of jobs for if you are planning just a short stay. We hope that if you start a project, you have the intention of finishing it.
You will have your own bedroom in our house, with a comfortable bed and a wardrobe to put your things in. The bathroom and bedrooms are all upstairs. We like to think that we're considerate about usage of energy (water/gas/electricity) and would ask you to do the same.
The WC, kitchen and living room are downstairs and are all shared. With shared spaces we ask that if you have used it to leave it how you found it.
We have a washing machine, which you are welcome to use.
Food: We have plenty, in fact most weeks too much. Help with preparing and conserving food is always welcome!
Assume that breakfast and lunch you will have to serve yourself (but you are welcome to take from the cupboards and fridge), for dinner we'd like to eat together (if you would like to cook, we'd like that too, but if you don't enjoy cooking there's no obligation). Normally, dinner is prepared for 6-6:30pm.
Limited internet access
We have pets
We are smokers
Can host families
Maximum 4-5 hours a day, 5 days a week
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