JeroenI have to admit that it feels kind of weird writing this. Not necessarily the writing itself, as I’ve grown accustomed to putting my thoughts onto paper by now, but the knowledge that this is meant as a summary of the great number of experiences I’ve had over the last ten weeks. But let’s start at the start, shall we?

 

I will be the first to admit that I felt somewhat uneasy when I first arrived here at Minsteracres for no other reason than the humongous change in scenery. I’ve been a city boy all my life (and I will go back to being one in the foreseeable future), so arriving at a house that’s completely isolated and, to me, closed off from the outside world was quite scary at first. Luckily for me I felt comfortable enough to complain about my isolation very quickly, which should say enough I suppose. The reception I received from the community here was marvellous. I remember just arriving and, lamenting the fact that I was not able to bring Mara along (my acoustic guitar, it’s a long story), seeing father Mark jump up and find me another guitar. I love and am in love with music, so having an instrument to play on meant and means a whole lot to me.

 

So then came the living part. I’m an English student back in Holland and I went this way as part of my course. The basic idea is that I’d spend ten weeks here so that I could practice speaking English with real native speakers for an extended period of time and that I’d take the opportunity to study cultural differences between the UK and Holland. I’ve never been away from home for this long, so it’s safe to say that it was quite a change. I’ve also never been the youngest by quite this margin as well, but it didn’t really matter in the end. Like I said before, I felt incredibly welcome and, while it’s safe to say that I was quite a bit different than the other people there, I was given the space to be me, and I think that that is the most important thing (to me at least) that I experienced during my stay at Minsteracres.

 

Because in the end, it’s easy to give a guy a bed and food, but it’s not easy to make someone feel at home and at peace. I read somewhere that one of the community members describes Minsteracres as a place where you can just be, and that’s exactly how I experienced it. Minsteracres is a place that is filled to the brim with peace and love, and anyone who tells you different is lying.