My circus time in 1997 was the BEST!May 24, 2023
“Just lay everything on the ground which could fall off the shelves during the move!” I could lock the door of my tiny room which was as long and wide as my bed. I loved the fact that I didn’t have to pack a bag. A few hours later when we arrived at the new show destination, the mess was still the same when I opened this door again : ).
First we had to take care of the animals (they don’t have animals with them anymore) and put up the water- and electricity-system. Dinner was sometimes at 11pm, sometimes at 2am. Wake up call at 6:30. Starting work at 7am. Building all the tents and infrastructure for the show at 3pm. Preparing popcorn, crêpes-batter, filling up the sweets. Setting up the gift-shop. Cooking lunch for the whole team. Taking care of all the wooden wagons, the tractors and trucks. Driving to the show locations where the circus will stay in 2-3 weeks and putting up posters and banners.
I did all of the work. Not at once : ) but day by day. I was an intern. The proudest, most happy, most motivated, eager intern they've ever got. I was in HEAVEN. My circus dream came true! After graduating high school in January 1997 I was sure to become a primary school teacher. To enter this education I had to work for 18 weeks in total to gain at least a little work experience outside of school until I’m in school myself and teach in school after that.
As the director of the circus (one of the most impressive, gentle, wonderful people I’ve ever met in my life) thought I had to camp in a tent while working for them and he was concerned that longer than 4 weeks would be hideous if the weather would be bad, I got 4 weeks. Four weeks of childhood-dream.
Every day I get informed on which team I’ll have to do my duty the next morning. The team was already on tour for several months so they already knew which job they disliked. When I wanted to prepare popcorn every time I was in the buffet-wagon-team they were delighted. I soon realized why : ) I smelled like a gigantic popcorn myself after standing in front of that fatty dampy machine for an hour.
The shower? In the kitchen wagon was a map with the information in which gym of a nearby school house we could use the shower. With the branded oldschool circus bicycle I could cruise there and I looved that I had the shower room all to myself.
My least favorite job was the marketing team. Driving through half of Switzerland to go into every store to ask if we could tape a poster into the shop-window and ringing doorbells asking if we could put up a banner on their garden fence in exchange with some free tickets to the show was no problem to me. The point was: I wasn’t IN the circus atmosphere and we were stuck in traffic every evening and late for dinner. Of course they put away our food with great care.
The wagon with the big table where the whole team got breakfast, lunch and dinner in two shifts, was my favorite. The kitchen wagon too. I loved it to help the kitchen team with food preparation for the crew. A lot of food! And creative and treasured. Good food, good mood.
On top of all the different work divided in teams, the assemble and disassemble of all the big tents was done by everyone including the kids of the founders family. “What heavy thing can I carry next?” Little four year old Tobi asked us relentlessly. He was all IN the family business and still is 26 years later.
I noticed how I grew stronger. Muscle building internship : ). The massive tent poles of the buffet-tent which I couldn’t lift alone into the truck all of a sudden were “light enough” to do so.
These 4 weeks were way too short and also seemed like a lifetime to me. I met so many wonderful humans. The team, the founding family AND the artists. I made friends. I kept contact with many of them over all these years as I love to do that. Keeping in touch. Treasuring the connection.
What dreams came true for you? What dreams are you still dreaming and hoping that they will come true? What is the next tiny step that you could take toward bringing that dream into reality?
Your dreams are precious. Treasure them and don’t let anyone hold you back. 💖
Let’s make this world a more colorful, playful and joyful place!
PS: My most beautiful and most treasured “certificate of employment” is handwritten from Guido, the founder of the circus and chief clown, into the circus book I got as a present.
“We thank you very much for all the work you did during your four-week internship with us at the Circus Monti. You did well; in a sympathetic, skilful manner you lent a hand everywhere and made many friends.
We wish you all the best, with best regards, Circus Monti, family Hildegard & Guido Muntwyler”
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