Posts Tagged ‘ Travel ’

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

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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

Last day of holiday

I hoped it would never come, but unfortunately, there she is: the last day of my annual leave. I was so sure this holiday would keep going forever, these magical 2 weeks, or in work terms ’70 hours’, my long awaited rest, my treasure chest. I think you understand by now that I really needed this holiday.

The self pitying part in me says I haven’t had two weeks off. I’ve been ill since last Saturday, so in a way this could be regarded as partially true, although it’s better to be ill in my own time to avoid any hassle. So today is the last day before I have to return to work, to long hours, little sleep and lots of stress. I’ve tried to make this final day ‘the’ day of all holidays. Obviously I failed.

As I’m a list person, see here the list of my plans for today:

  • Plan 1: go to London, to Mayfair, to get myself a nice box of macarons, to stroll over the South Bank, to take some pictures and really enjoy myself.
  • Plan 2: go to Chelmsford, to go out shopping for clothes and Lush things and sweets.
  • Plan 3: be all home-y and make tonight’s dinner in advance, make bread, bake a cake and enjoy the smells of the house.
  • Plan 4: go out to town to get ingredients for a smashing ‘final’ lunch with the boyfriend.

At this point I’m not too fond of my lists any more because none of these plans were actioned. On the bright side, I planned a trip to Paris with my little sister Carmen, whom I’ve finally managed to convince to come with me and rent out an apartment for a week. This might bright up my sombre days until the summer’s arrived!

A picture of the apartment we've picked

It’s only a simple studio flat, but it’s not too expensive in off-peak season and it provides us with endless possibilities of what to do and where to go in the week we’re there. It’s also one Eurostar train away from London, so it’s a fast holiday option with maximum impact 🙂 I’m already so excited, and that’s only because of the apartment! Who knows what might overcome me when we start thinking about the shopping and the macarons! I can’t wait!

xx Chrisje

My Paris

“Une femme sans amour, c’est comme une fleur sans soleil, ça dépérit.” -from Amelie

I was 15 years old when I took this picture. My first time in Paris, I was scared of the metro, scared of the people, scared of the smells. I had had 2 years of French classes at that point, and I could make myself clear when the need would arise, but this was different. I had seen other sight-seeing attractions, but they seemed to not make an impact whatsoever.

Then, when I walked through this little dark alley, taking in the merchant’s stands, the Jewish shops, the chitter chatter, this massive white shape arose, and seemed to push away the darkness. I was astounded. I couldn’t believe that everyone shrugged at this, for lack of words, beast of a building, this beauty, taking it for granted!

I took this picture, hoping it would capture a piece of myself. That, when I would look at it later in life, I would remember what it felt like to first lay eyes on the Sacre Coeur. Even though I have never been back to see it, after that one time, it is still my favourite building, my favourite place in the world.

Many more pictures I took that day. I have pictures where she stands out between the green grass, the flowers in bloom, a blue spotless sky. I bought drawings, postcards, photographs, anything I could lay my hands on. But this picture has captured the essence of that first visit for me. This is what made me fall in love with Paris, with life.

I hope to return soon, something I’ve been saying for years, just to take some pictures, to stroll around carelessly. Until then, I’ll just have to make do with Amelie 🙂

xx Chrisje