My Week with Jamie Gane - Ben Sijmons Guest Blog
Hello my name is Ben Sijmons. I’m 16 and from the Netherlands and I had to do an international internship in an English speaking environment because I do a bilingual study . I choose to do my internship in England. I got to know Jamie during a Judo training in the Netherlands and I found out that he was an amputee and an accountant. This was really interesting for me because I want to do something with economics and I was interested to see what his day to day life is like being an amputee. I asked Jamie if I could do my internship with him and he agreed. In this blog I will tell about my experience during this week with Jamie.
The first day of my internship started with Jamie going to work in the Lush shop. While Jamie was at work, I had to search for contact information of schools where Jamie could give a speech or workshops. After Jamie finished working, we went to a prosthetic clinic. This was the first time I had ever visited such a clinic. It was really interesting to see, because Jamie is the only person I know who has a prosthetic leg. During this day I was very nervous at first because I had to talk English all the time but this got less as the day went on.
During the second day Jamie and I went to a PHD study. This was the first time I have ever been to an PHD study. The study was very interesting as it was a good study to get to know a little more about someone who is an amputee. I also learned about how such kinds of study’s are performed and how data is collected. After lunch we went to Richmond park. It was a really beautiful park, it was unlike any others that I had seen before. Jamie went for a run around the park while I followed him by bike. I was cycling, because I can’t run really long distances like Jamie. We took a couple of photo’s for his social media accounts. I liked the fact that Jamie does a lot of stuff during a day and never has some kind of rest, this was something I never knew about Jamie. I liked the wildlife that could be found, I mainly saw a lot of deer. At last we went to an obstacle play park which was a unique experience, because I had never done something like that before. I was really excited to be able to go through an obstacle park. The only sad thing was that it was raining which caused a lot of obstacles to be unusable, because they got wet and slippery. Even though it rained I met some really nice people and I got a look at how Jamie does things like rope climbing with only one leg, which was impressive to see. After the obstacle play park we drove a few hours to a hotel in Kent. Jamie had been invited to give a speech about the LGBT community. At the end of the day was really tired because of all the traveling and exercises that we had done.
The third day was the day of the speech. This was something I was really looking forward to. I was very interested to get to know more about the subject of LGBT people. The day started with breakfast where I got to meet the three other people who were together with Jamie going to give the speech. They were very lovely people to meet and after breakfast we went to the location of where the speech was held. Until a little after we had arrived at the destination I found out what the speech was about. It was a speech given to school and hospital nurses about what it is like being a LGBT person to show the nurses what process they go through, how society sees them and a lot more. The speech was very interesting but also made me feel pretty sad because of all the moments that where talked about. I found out a lot that I previously hadn’t known. That speech made me realise about how much pain, pressure and torture lesbians, gays, bisexual and trans people go through during transitioning or when they come out to their parents/ friends or relatives. There were some really sad stories about how some people had killed themselves. Most of the speech was about how you can help those people, which is a really great message. After the speech we went back home and had a very relaxing evening, which was very welcome because it gave me time to process everything. In these couple of days I have become more and more confident in my speaking abilities seeing as it got easier to talk with everyone without having to think a lot.
During the fourth day Jamie went to his work again while I stayed in his apartment to search names for cat cafes because Jamie is trying to set up one. The morning and afternoon were pretty calm and relaxed. After Jason (Jamie’s partner) got back the three of us went to a new sushi place that just opened. I was going to buy diner for them as a kind of thank you, for the fact that I was able to stay with them. The food was great and the people that ran it were very lovely, I really loved it . After our nice meal we went back to the apartment. The rest of the night was very relaxing.
On the fifth day Jamie and I went to his accounting job where we worked very hard. The lady that runs the place is very lovely, although she is a bit chaotic at times. I had a lot of work to do and helped her wherever I could. I had a really great and fun time working there with helping to get everything sorted. At four o’clock we went back home and got stuck in traffic, because there was very heavy snowfall. It took us two hours to get back home. This was really stressful, because Jamie and Jason were going away for the weekend for Jamie’s birthday so they had to stick to a quite strict schedule. After Jamie and I got to the apartment, we walked to the Mc Donalds which was next door due to speed. After we got our dinner to go, Jamie and Jason walked to the train station and I went back to the apartment. During the evening I was getting a little nervous about the flight back home that I the next morning.
The next morning my nerves got less and less because I had gotten excited about being home after a really great week with Jamie. During this day I was mostly traveling home, but because of frozen train lines I missed my flight back home. This was really frustrating because I wanted to go back home but because I missed my flight I had to wait for the next one. While I was waiting for my flight I had something to drink and eat. After the plane had taken off I saw a very beautiful view of the British countryside with the fields being covered in snow. After I landed at the airport, my mother was waiting for me. After a hug we walked to the train station to get back home. After the long train ride back home, I finally arrived home after twelve hours of traveling.
I learned a lot during this internship with Jamie:
I learned that Jamie is a very hard working man, who has been through a lot in his life. He is very friendly, a great person to have as company and overall a really inspiring person. He does a lot of things to teach people more about the LGBT community or about sport, even if you have a disability. I had a lot of fun and would love to do it again. For myself I learned much about what life is like for LGBT people. I also learned about what you have to take into consideration, if you want to set up a café.
I learned how to do things like traveling all by myself. Before I started with the internship I was really looking up to the fact that I had to speak a lot of English all the time. This turned out to be not that difficult at all because some people told me that my English was quite good. Due to this I became more social and now I’m more comfortable in speaking English.
A big thanks to Jamie Gane for this amazing internship and the opportunity for me to write a guest blog for his site.
Love Ben Sijmons