A circle that never ends

I’ve found myself in a place that looks and feels familiar, and yet still takes me by surprise. I’ve remembered the existence of this blog and re-reading some of the content, I am invigorated by the memories it returns to me. The mind is an amazing thing. We are capable of storing so much information, but like computers, we cannot access this all at once. So reading back my documented memories sheds some fresh light on experiences that have been watered down by time and persistent analyzing of what was said by whom and for which reasons, which brings me to question what conclusions have been reached in order for my memories to have been re-shaped in the way that they have been.

For example – reading back my Essex adventures (or at least, the ones I have chosen to share) shows me that I did live there quite happily. I was only a couple of years into this foreign adventure, surrounded by a small group of close friends and an adopted family, making sense of this new world and trying to leave my mark on it. When I left Essex to return to London, that view of the world had shifted and my fight-or-flight response was triggered – a natural reaction. When the dust had settled, my determination to to rise from the ashes was stronger than ever and with that in mind in carried on. Now over five years have passed since my last blog post and it’s so interesting to be able to look at the person I was all that time ago. I’ve grown, developed, blossomed. In my mind, up until today, most of my memories of Essex are gray, without a lot of detail and a murkiness that I associated with a stomach ache – something that had to be experienced but would rather be avoided. Perhaps not wanting to risk recreating the disappointment I felt when departing from the place that had been my home for a couple of years played a large part in that. It did work, as despite the ups and downs I’ve experienced since the Big Move Back to the Big Smoke, the overall experience has been positive. So that may explain why my active memories of that time in my life don’t tally up with the recorded memories that I personally left for my older self.

The place that I am finding myself in again is one that I am used to, but not yet entirely comfortable in, but not terrified of anymore. It feels like I’m on the edge of a diving board. I’ve made the big climb up, past the children’s diving board and further up to the next – the one where the big kids are egging each other on to jump whilst they try to put off their own jump for as long as they can. The floor is slippery and my stomach sinks but I’ve done this a few times before and I know what’s coming. I know that I’m afraid now, but once I’ve jumped, in my own time, in my own way, I’ll hit the water as planned and I’ll feel better for it. I can lie in the water for a bit, watching the other kids jump, shouting words of encouragement whilst enjoying the warm temperature of the pool, before climbing out and making my way back up the slippery stairs. Every time I prepare a big jump (moving to the UK, venturing out on my own after a break up, deciding to go back to University), there are things holding me back, yet having persevered I feel better for having done so, and the next time one comes up, my hands and legs get steadier, my chin goes up a little higher.

It’s the end of a chapter but not the end of the book. It’s a circle that never ends. Growth, mostly. Learning about life, and living life, and love, and all types of challenges. Discovering myself. And it’s probably about a ton of other things that I haven’t yet identified because I’m not at the right time and the right place yet. But as I have been able to reflect on the Essex chapter, I may one day be able to reflect on the uni chapter, or the London chapter. Time will tell.

The beautiful thing about the deja-vu that I experienced when returning to this blog is that it’s reignited a passion that I had forgotten was there. In line with my past actions, it would seem suitable to close down this blog and end this chapter, and start a new one, for the next phase in my life. Thoughts?

Thank you for reading.

Chrisje x


A walk through Witham

Today, I went for a little walk through and around Witham to enjoy the sun and explore the surroundings, and subsequently got lost. It turns out you can’t stay lost in Witham for a very long period of time! I also noticed that, for a beautiful warm day in April, there weren’t very many people outside! Maybe because it’s Easter..

Anyway, a tiny selection of today’s walk below. More to follow soon.

Chrisje x

Lillies of the Sky

I realize I haven’t really been consistent with posts and stories, and I apologize for that. I’ve been enjoying the good weather, the blue skies and all the extended social curricular activities that come with that. On my way home a few weeks ago I saw these beautiful blossoms:

I walk past this tree almost every day, and unfortunately these flowers only lasted about a week, maybe a week and a half. The tree is now bare and only flimsy remains of the petals are strewn across the floor. What a waste!

Knowing the British weather, I thought it best to enjoy of the sun while it’s still out, which is why this is only a short post. I will try to post some new things soon!

Chrisje x

I find myself near a field of swans

I’ve not had much time to take pictures, or write about my days here in the outback that is rural Brabant. I’m having too much of a good time relaxing and spending time with my family to actually think about things like this. There are things that I think I should be remembering to write about but in this state I forget to take these things down.

Wednesday I spent my day travelling from the port to my family’s house, from there to Oss to see what has changed since I was last there, and to Eindhoven to see my friend Frans and to attend the Ill Nino gig in the Effenaar. After that, we went to The Rambler for some after-gig drinks and chats with old and new friends till about 4 o’clock in the morning.

The new county council building in Oss

We didn’t get back to Frans’ place until quite a bit later, had a ham and cheese tosti to quench our hunger and finally went to bed around 4.45 or 5.00. My alarm went off 3 hours later, as I had to haste to Oss to get a lift back to my family’s place. Needless to say, I spent the rest of that day taking it easy..

Yesterday was another relaxed day of spending time with the family, a Burger King brunch, and a night of Hertog Jan beer with Vera in Oss. Even though it seems that this time, I am here for a reasonable enough amount of time to see my friends and family, I still feel like I could do with a few extra days!

Friday afternoon

This morning I watched my little cousin pass his swimming exams. On our way back to the house for some celebratory cake and coffee, we drove past a huge green field, covered in white swans. I’ve never seen anything remotely like that and I wonder why there were all there. Unfortunately I didn’t think to take any pictures, but the sight was amazing.

In a few moments, we’ll be off to Eindhoven for our family ‘day’ which will be a BBQ and a surprise activity which will take place in the dark.. I’m excited to find out what it is!

Chrisje x

After a night at sea

The sea as seen from the sun deck on 23 March 2011 @ 7.30 am local time.

Due to a split second decision which resulted in last minute alterations to my trip to Holland, I found myself at Hook of Holland port yesterday morning, in stead of this evening. The sea had been perfectly calm, unfortunately not preventing my sea sickness, but most certainly keeping it under control. A good start of my holiday, to say the least!

Chrisje x

A meet & greet with Suffolk

Last week Wednesday I had a day off (they are rare!) and I was invited by the lovely Natz and Steve to join them and their friend Richard on a trip to Southwold, Suffolk, for some sea views and fish & chips.

Southwold, I think, is the furthest north in the country I’ve been so far. In Colchester, the day started out to be mild in temperature and quite sunny, but in Southwold, the sky was grey, the wind was freezing cold and the streets almost deserted. Apart from a few people who dared to brave the wind, there was no one on the beach. We resorted to a stroll around town, where I saw the sign below (interestingly, Southwold’s ‘seal’ bears Dutch flagged ships, referencing to the 1672 Battle of Sole Bay in which the English and the French fought versus the Dutch).

We then had lunch at Munchies before strolling back past the beach to the car. I’m still amazed we survived that trip, I can’t remember ever having been so cold! Having been in Southwold for only a short amount of time, Natz decided we should go to Aldeburgh for fish and chips, which apparently is “possibly the finest on the east coast” according to The Times (as quoted on it’s Wikipedia page).

On our way to Aldeburgh, we passed the ruins of the Leiston Abbey, so we stopped off there for some cultural education and some pictures. The sun was more present there, and there was barely any wind, and on one side, the sky was stark blue and crisp. The ruins seemed so permanent; they seemed enveloped in the stillness of the area and as far as you could see there would just be nature. Except for a few birds, and our cackling, it was quiet, and we were the only visitors.

Then finally off to Aldeburgh, which was also full of brightly colored cute houses and has a pebbled beach. As seemed custom, the wind was unbearable and the streets were deserted. Apparently, it is a traditional custom in Suffolk to close the shops early on a Wednesday, as they are also open on a Saturday, but some places, like the fish & chips shop, then re-open around 5 o’clock. Another thing we noticed in Southwold as well, is that almost every shop seems to leave out a bowl of water for any dogs? Aldeburgh had a plaque that offered an explanation for this.

Unfortunately my phone started playing up at this point, so I couldn’t take many pictures here. Natz  luckily was up for the task of being my replacement photographer. We ended the trip with a visit to their famous fish & chip shop (when it re-opened), before we commenced the 2 hour drive back.

What I found so interesting was that the architecture seemed so different. The houses seemed more cheerful, more colorful and more stacked upwards rather than sidewards. The high streets seemed cheerful places to be; the sort of towns that have a population that is largely holiday folk with a second house by the sea, with people that rather go to butchers, fish mongers, greengrocers and bakeries rather than a quick stop at Tesco’s (which is not a bad thing at all!) – which, again, seems such a different way of life compared to what most people seem to do in Essex.

Except for Felixstowe, I don’t think I’ve been to any other seaside towns in the UK. It’s been a welcome change from the normal urban environment I’m in, and it’s been great getting to know England a bit better. After all, I know a tiny bit of London, a tiny bit of Essex, and a bit of Kent from what I’ve seen from inside the Eurostar. Hopefully we get to do something like this again soon!

Chrisje x

The shape of the things yet to come

It’s a Tuesday morning, 9.20 am and I am in bed with my laptop. What is wrong in this picture?

My hours at work have been cut to a meager 20 for this week. If it is only for this week, I should be happy, as I am running behind on my course work and I could really use some extra time to get back on track. Last weekend was spent in Colchester again, and I took my laptop with me hoping I get could some work done, but of course it never works out that way.

Last weekend was fun though! Steve and I watched a few films that I wouldn’t have dared watch on my own (Terminator: Salvation and Aliens), we had Nando’s and I made my spareribs for these unsuspecting sweethearts. Unfortunately we couldn’t go to Colchester Zoo because of the rain, but Natz and I went out into town for some shopping instead which was just as amazing.

Colchester Zoo last year February

And luckily there’s a lot to look forward to as well! I’ve got a day off on Friday, got day school in Cambridge on Saturday (a 2,5 hour train journey, cannot wait..) and in March we’ve got two birthdays, my 2,5 year in the UK “half-a-versary” which needs to be celebrated, the Ill Nino gig in London, the family day at the end of the month which will garantuee me a trip to Holland, and I’m taking back with me my dear friend Claud!

Anyway, I digress – I should really be going back to my course work now. I will try to update soon!

Chrisje xx