Archive for the ‘ Other ’ Category

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

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

Ketjap Manis and Skittle Bombs

This weekend has been the proverbial sunshine after a heavy storm for me. Last weekend, my partner of 2,5 years and I decided to go our separate ways, and even though it was a joint decision, I’ve felt pretty terrible throughout the week.

Luckily, I was invited over by my good friend Natz  and her boyfriend Steve to spend the weekend over there. I thought having fun and going out were the last things I was interested in, but the contrary seemed true, and I’ve had a fantastic weekend.

The Friday evening was spent on the sofa, watching a bad Valentine’s Day themed film with Cookie Dough ice cream, and talking about my past, present and future. Luckily Natz is a great listener so I had the chance to pour my heart out.

On Saturday, Natz and I went into town to check out some shops, after which Steve joined us and we went for lunch at Sloppy Joe’s, which is an American-styled diner type place, including the stereotypical menu you’d expect in a place like that. The food was great though, and the whole look and feel of the place made me feel like I was in one of those themed restaurants that you find in Disneyland.

After a quick stop home, we decided on a trip to Waitrose to pick up some shopping for dinner, and because it was such a beautiful afternoon, we took the route through Castle Park, earning me a few stunning pictures on the side.

The Castle in Castle Park

I’d never been to a Waitrose before, but I was told that they sell Ketjap Manis, which is an Indonesian Soy Sauce. Indonesia had been part of the Dutch Colonial Empire, and their food is almost as important to us today as curry is in the UK. I was so very pleased to find a connection to my native culture – this is certainly making my life in the UK a bit more like home!

Steve made us a lovely home made pizza and unfortunately after that the fun was over for me – my homework had to be done this weekend. After trying for a few hours, I realized I couldn’t even bring up the urge to type a word, let alone an essay, so down to the pub we went for the legendary ‘one drink only’. ‘One drink only’ turned into ‘I’ve never had ale before, and I don’t really like it, so this doesn’t count as one drink. I need a new one, and that one can be number 1.’ Which turned into three drinks because the previous drink was so good. Then all these people came to introduce themselves and you start chatting and before I knew it it was 1 o’clock in the morning and we were making plans to go to the next pub.

To cut a long story short (it did turn out to be a very interesting evening), I didn’t wind up in bed until about 10 to 5. Needless to say, I didn’t touch the essay anymore that evening.. To my surprise I also found myself wide awake at 9 o’clock the next (well, the same) morning. The rest of today has been spent trying to get rid of the aftertaste of my last drink of the morning (Skittle Bomb) and finding a hundred excuses at once not to finish my essay. So far, with the help of Frasier, breakfast, Facebook, travelling, blogging and watching a film, I’ve managed to lay it off for quite some time.

Tomorrow will be dreaded start of a new week and also Valentine’s Day, which I will try to avoid having to acknowledge at all costs. I’ve never really been a fan before, but being ‘freshly’ single on a day that everyone else is using to emphasize that they’re not, really doesn’t ease the heartache there. Hope I will survive!

Chrisje x

Hup Holland Hup!

Last Friday I went into our local 99p shop to buy some planting pots and garden feed for my strawberry plants. For some reason they are the only shop in Witham I know (except for the garden centre of course)  that have started selling these products so early on in the year. When I finally took my place in the queue, something caught my eye. To my surprise, I saw this:


Not only was I so surprised to see orange Pringles tubes in the 99p shop; they’re also DUTCH Pringles, to cheer on the DUTCH team during the last World Cup. How would they end up in Witham, of all places? And can you even still eat them? And also; Paprika is not considered a flavour in the UK, last time I checked. I’m slightly confused.

Suffice to say, it needed to have its picture taken, but I was somewhat hesitant about actually purchasing a tube or two. Maybe next time I drop in I might be convinced..

Chrisje x

A fresh start

Hi guys,

I’m back! Sorry for the long period of white noise, so much has happened that the blog just got put further and further down the list. I am hoping to get a reasonable output of posts out from now 🙂

Actually, I’ve been back for a couple of weeks now but I wasn’t sure about my first post in the New Year. I’ve decided not to bore you with the formalities and negativity of what has kept me away from here, and to start off on a more positive note.

I’ve decided to take up a degree course this year. Next month I will start a BA/BSc in Design and Innovation at the Open University, so that I can keep working. In the mean time I’ve also changed jobs and I’m now working closer to home (10 minutes on the train to be exact) so I’ve got shed loads of extra time. Yay!

With all this extra time, I’ve had more time for hobbies, and one of the things I’ve picked up is genealogy. I’ve been working on the family tree on my mum’s side for a few months now, and have managed to grow it to 340+ members. When my nan passed away last Christmas, this gave me the opportunity to speak with family about our family and it’s members, and I’ve managed to obtain a lot of documentation, stories and pictures in a space of just a few days.

Me & my sister at our grandparents 40th wedding anniversary

One of those pictures is the one above. I never knew pictures were taken at this event; I could only vaguely remember it from memory. Don’t we look cute? 🙂 I know the family tree building sounds really boring, but it’s really quite addictive!

Working on the family tree and seeing these beautiful, delicate, and well preserved little tokens from the past have given me so much inspiration to start anew this year. Hopefully I get to start a little vegetable garden on my window sill as well this spring! I’m so excited!

Soon enough I will be able to show you some snippets of the results that this new found inspiration has brought me. Until then I will leave you with this lovely cover of Crazy, performed by Ray LaMontagne.

Good night!

Chrisje x

Que Sera, Sera

Since my last post, I have had a near-endless To Do list to follow up that has miraculously appeared with my re-awakened inspiration. My days are now filled with a new enthusiasm to excersize and be healthier, my work life has had an adrenaline injection, my evenings home are always too short now that I have new hobbies and things to pass time with.

For hours I have browsed for online shops for running gear (one of these new ventures), entertaining tips and recipes (the new season begs for casual dinner parties), and the most influential change: Sex and the City season 6 was dusted off and watched again. Tears have spilled, smiles have cracked, fists have punched the air, the boyfriend has been forced into stand-by mode to hug me back happy.

And it doesn’t stop there: next week, the 12th of June, I will also celebrate my 21st birthday. My little sister is coming over from Holland to celebrate this with me, my boyfriend has planned me a surprise birthday party, and I will have five heavenly days off work to enjoy the (hopefully, great) summer weather.

The things I would like to do over the next few weeks would be: 1. go home and see my family, 2. make a family tree, 3. gather old pictures of me and family (to show my boyfriend and friends here), 4. bring new fire into old friendships.

That’s one of the things I dislike about this whole moving-to-a-different-country thing. I’ve not only given up a fabulous life, but I’ve also lost contact with a lot of great people. I feel like I’ve lost really good friends and an array of experiences that bear no relevance in this new life, because there seem to be very little people that can relate to the lifestyle I led.

My life was drenched with pleasure, in a way that some people might consider it to be far from grown up, but hey, I considered myself a student, and ‘we’ do not do ‘grown up’ – yet. I worked a job I loved, for very little money, I lived in a fantastic room in a house close to the city centre, I studied art and I studied International Business and Management. In my free time you could find me at gigs or in the pub, or I would be promoting bands and venues, practising photography, web design or writing free reviews or articles to create a name for myself. My holidays to Belgium and London were far from extravagant, but always fun and definitely something to look forward to.

Now, these things seem to have passed, and I seem left with fractions of memories, pictures and videos, emotions and quotes, that I share with no one but my laptop. The people in the picture are now leading their own lives, geographically closer than they’ve ever been, but ever so far away.

The upside to this story is, obviously, the new experiences, the new friends, the new family I gained. I’ve grown up so much in the last year and 9 months – I’m in a full time job, live in a beautiful apartment with my beautiful, successful and smart boyfriend, my first attempt to get a driving license is coming up and for the first time since my move, I feel confident enough within myself, and also proud, that I have made the right decision moving here.

Luckily, we are blessed with the Internet, the medium that enables me to have most of the things I had when I was still in my old house. Via Facebook, Hyves and MySpace I can still chat with the people I used to chat with 2 years ago, via Skype I can call my sister and speak with and see my family. It’s not as great as the real thing, but it has shown me how important it is to have a firm home base. Something to fall back to.

My mum used to sing Doris Day’s Que Sera, Sera to me and my sister.. Hearing that song reminds me of seeing her sat down in our living room, in the corner near the heating, reading one of her 800+ page books with a cup of coffee. It’s one of the best memories I have from being young. Knowing I have made the right decision has given me the freedom to reminisce without feeling guilty. Good times 🙂

xx Chrisje

It’s always quiet in the eye of the storm

It’s been very quiet on my end lately, as you can see by the lack of posts. I’ve got quite a few drafts lined up that I was so eager to work out to proper posts, but I’ve either forgotten my line of thoughts, or the event happened too long ago.

One of these drafts was about my Easter Weekend, yes, very dated, but also about the macarons I had received that weekend, that had been brought to me all the way from the Rousier Yvan patisserie  in Versailles. I haven’t had the chance to upload the few pictures I took then to accompany this post, but I hope to do this soon.

The small selection of macarons I had received, namely 8 small ones and 1 large one, did not see much of the world. The array of flavours was dazzling, however all known to me: almond, chocolate, pistachio, passion fruit, raspberry for the small ones, Turkish delight with a marzipan filling for the large macaron. The small ones were delightful. I tried to make them last longer but the temptation to suck them, bite them and devour them was too big for me to fight. The large one was less of a treat, in my opinion. I’m not a big fan of Turkish delight, and this macaron was very sugary, much more ‘there’ than the other ones.

I’ve shared my experience with a friend whom I had told about my small obsession. She then went to Paris, tried some, and was blown away by how good such a tiny little thing can taste. She also told me that Gordon Ramsey has a recipe for macarons in his dessert cookbook. Have not been able to take a peek, but I will do soon enough and will give that baby a go! Another ‘expert’ on this subject might be Hisako Ogita, author of I love Macarons:

Weirdly enough, things have changed in a revolutionary way. In my life, I mean. I had more time to think about what I’d like to do with my life (and that at my age!), and more importantly, what I don’t want to do. As you might know, I’ve been thinking about going back into education by starting a degree from home, next to my full time job. After long consideration, this might be something to put on hold. I’d like to enjoy the summer and spend more time with my boyfriend and with my friends, and also I need to spend more time reconnecting with old friends and family, as I’ve not been able to do this properly for almost a year now.

If I’m going to do this degree, I want to do it properly. I want to do it to the best of my abilities and perfect it, and for that I need to be in a more relaxed state of mind, in a better environment for my physical and mental health, in a less demanding atmosphere. This is something I can’t get deeper into right now, but might come up a bit more later as well.

I’ve also thought about writing an article about female breadwinners. It appears that there is still some sort of taboo attached to it. As a female breadwinner myself, I have to admit at first I was uneasy about my ‘role’, and I still am when telling people about my home situation, but it also feels like something I should not be afraid to admit.

I could go deeper into my reasons for being OK with being the main breadwinner in my relationship, but then that would defeat the object of writing the actual article. For those having a problem with this, I would obviously be interested in your opinions and motivations, so please do not hesitate to voice them.

The next few weeks are going to be pretty cushty for me; I’ve got a new project coming up at work, have a day off planned next Friday, and a nice set of Dutch bank holidays are coming up for me. On the down side I won’t be allowed to have the English bank holidays off, but that is fine seeing as there’s plenty of days I do get off.

The last week has been A-OK as well. I’ve had some more time to see friends and to spend time with my boyfriend. I’ve been out a bit more than I’ve lately been able to, and I’ve been clothes shopping! That always cheers me up. I saw this great top at New Look on their website, but they didn’t have it in store unfortunately.

Not to mention my birthday is coming up! June is still far away but speaking in weeks; it’s closer than I thought. I will be having a nice long weekend off to celebrate my 21st, and my sister is coming over from Holland. If the weather would be close to what it’s been recently, I’ve got nothing to complain about 🙂

xx Chrisje