December 31, 2007
When I would tell people about it at first, they'd look at me weirdly. By now, I just got a shrug and a 'oh right, again huh'. Teehee.
Happy new year everyone, hope you're as excited about the year ahead as I am!
December 30, 2007
Everytime I see the cover and this title I have to think of something that happened over 12 years ago. Strangely enough, it's one of the memories that stand out most of my year in Hobart - my hostbrother talking to his food and saying: "you just sit there, little broccoli".
(Honestly, he was quite normal the rest of the time! Well, as normal as teenage boys can be.)
December 29, 2007
If I would have to summarize the year: rollercoaster ride.
The first two-thirds of the year were overall pretty crap, with the occasional good thing thrown in. The last one-third of the year has been the complete opposite, with me bouncing around all over the place.
* jobhunting, on and on and on and on..... seemingly never ending and having it take over my life;
* too much uncertainty about where the hell I was going;
* seeing too much of certain medical people, ugh;
* being spooked too often by those people above;
* seeing every new idea turn to nothing again and again;
* dating bad men;
* the fab new job, wheeee! I can't begin to tell you how happy I am that this is working out. The long wait has been so worth it.
* St. Petersburg, London, Bulgaria, Belgium - anything that required a plane or a longish trainride!
* being excited about new plans, new ideas, new inspiration.
* having my friends stick with me.
December 28, 2007
December 22, 2007
It started out as a not very serious comment (or so I thought....) on a second date: 'hey, maybe I should convince you to come to Morocco with me!'. I laughed it off then.
And now look what I've gotten myself into. I still can't quite believe that I am really going. Next time I see the person who made that comment is middle of next week, in Madrid, after just seeing him off at the airport to Athens.
December 21, 2007
3) Where did you live? Leiden
4.) Where did you hang out? would go back to my parents regularly, and was only slowly getting to know people.
7.) How many tattoos did you have? 0
8.) How many piercings did you have? 4 (two holes in each ear)
9) What car did you drive? very occasionally my parents'
10.) Had you been to a real party? yes. Are there non-real parties?
11.) Had You had your heart broken? no.
———–5 years ago———–
7.) How many tattoos did you have? 0
8.) What car did you drive? none
—————-2 years ago——————-
1.) How old were you? 27
2.) Where did you work? ESA
3.) Where did you live? Leiden, had just returned from six months in Tokyo
4.) Where did you hang out? around Leiden (the Burcht, van Engelen); spending more time in Amsterdam.
5.) Did you wear glasses? yes, always
6.) Who was your best friend? different people - T/M/H/J
7.) How many tattoos did you have?: 0
8.) How many piercings did you have? 5
9.) What car did you drive? none
10.) Had your heart broken? nope
11.) Were you Single/Taken/Married/Divorce? single
3.) Where do you live? Leiden, still
4.) Do you wear glasses? yes, lenses don't work.
5.) Where do you hang out? spending a lot of time in Amsterdam, at good restaurants, at friends' houses etc.
8.) How many tattoos?: 0
December 18, 2007
Despite all that, it's probably almost inevitable that it'll pop back in my career at some point. And that's fine - in five years or so I wouldn't be surprised if I would love to do something Japan-related again.
I was pretty much offered the Japan-job today. I was pretty sure it would happen at one point in this job (it's just silly to have a Japan-job, but not have it worked by the only Japanese speaker in your department) but not within three months!
I said I'd think about it, but that my initial reaction was not to take it as I'm so happy doing something quite different right now.
December 12, 2007
So, it was time to change that.
I guess I liked it so much that I went back last month.
Weirdly enough, I am going again on Sunday (for the essential Christmas shopping) ....
How does that happen? Not go to a close-by very fun city for 28 years, and then go three times within six months?
December 03, 2007
November 26, 2007
* after the disaster of involuntarily having our flight from Madrid to Amsterdam rescheduled about 12 hours earlier last week, we managed to cancel that flight, get our money back, and book a much better flight late that evening. Yay.
* I am most likely going to be involved in a very cool project at work as off January. Fingers crossed it all goes like I want it to!
* am also busy at work with setting up what could be a very interesting meeting. So hoping that this will work!
November 23, 2007
Bwahahaha! I cannot stop laughing about this - too weird.
November 22, 2007
- last week was lunch at the Zijlstroom, a newly renovated restaurant on the outskirts of the city. Would love to try out the dinner menu there once too....
- dinner this weekend at Scheltema, another new place which doubles as a theatre complex. Much more posh than expected but good!
- today was an unexpectedly good lunch at Shirasagi, what was supposed to be a casual lunch with Koreans turned into a visit to a place where I've wanted to go for ages - great sushi and sashimi followed with nabeyaki udon. Yumm!
In other (bad) news, the airline switched our flights which means that instead of flying home from Madrid at 7pm in January, we now have to get up ridiculously early to leave with the rescheduled flight at 7am. Argh! Guess I'll have to wait a bit more to see Madrid....
November 20, 2007
* last week a documentary about child soldiers, political dilemma's and the very fine line between truth and fabrication at the Cinema & Justice month in Den Haag
* tickets booked for IDFA! By heart, I think I'm going to a movie on women in the Congo, on dictators in Chad, on something about Sudan and - just to be different - on elections and politics in contemporary Russia.
You'd almost think I am moving away from Asia.... Not quite so, just returned from a pretty interesting discussion night about whether to stay or go in Uruzgan, Afghanistan. Pretty good. And actually useful for work!
November 12, 2007
November 04, 2007
1) seeing and hearing a trio breathtakingly play a piece by Novak on piano, cello and violin at the Pianola museum. Absolutely stunning.
2) frustratingly watch a group of friends try to find eachother in different parts of the city by frantically calling and texting. Sigh.
3) playing with all the cool kiddie science gadgets at NEMO. Whee!
4) cheering for the architects competing Idols-style to win a prestigious building project at ARCAM.
5) loving the chocolate letters at El Hema.
6) being bored while lounging between the Rembrandts at the Rijksmuseum (although I did love the chocolate fountain!).
Yep, I think those were the highlights of the night.
Where I still want to go to? The Museum of Bags and Purses!
October 30, 2007
October 29, 2007
In the back of my mind there have always been two careerpaths that I've wanted to pursue, that seemed like the best careers I could want, doing challenging, different and interesting work.
With the new job I'm now at the beginning of one of those two. Yay!
The second one of those is something I've always dreamt about but I have never seen a way of making it happen. It would demand a lot of discipline, a lot of guts, and I suppose I've been lazy or not confident enough in my capabilities - and have decided to pursue the first career actively. For the moment. With (belated) success. It's still in the back of my mind, and I have vague plans of returning to it at some point in the future when life is more settled down. The only way I would be able to start in this before is if a vacancy would come up, a position that would launch me in this career but would also give me an advantage as it would ask for some very specific skills that I definitely have. But clearly this would never happen.
THAT very job has just been advertised.
October 28, 2007
What do they say? It's better to regret something you did, than something you didn't do?
Looks like we're back to writing a job application letter.... :-/
October 22, 2007
And even though you probably don't HAVE to have a set goal, I do think it would give you a bit more direction in whatever you're doing.
I think I finally have one. I'm quite amazed. And I think I have an idea of what I have to do to get there.
That doesn't mean that I'm throwing myself in a new thing that I HAVE to accomplish (like previously - when jobhunting turned into quite a disaster). Luckily. But I'm looking forward to all the fun stuff that is going to come along with it!
It's been in the magazine for about two weeks now and slowly people are starting to react on it.
I've had comments from co-workers, a random email from someone unknown who's in a closely-related organization, my old boss, friends, a client I have spoken to on the phone a few times, etc.
See, I'm slowly becoming famous!
October 21, 2007
Anyway, the weekend was fab - as always:
- a repeat of the Japanology careerthing - again, a successful night but very stressful!
- Amsterdam Dance Event right after that - fun eventhough the main act Miss Kittin' was disappointing...
- champagne and oysters for MetOp
- lovely lunch with visiting foreigners
I've been emailing with Julia about her upcoming move to the Netherlands... it's made me realize I wouldn't have a clue how to go about something huge like that myself. I haven't even been able to help much with her questions as moving here from abroad seems to require very different information than what I know of this country... or so it seems to me.
Another friend of mine has just done the same - but then moving from Tokyo to New York. Eek again!
I know I've lived abroad a fair bit myself, but then everything was perfectly arranged - whole organisations (in the case of Australia and the first time in Japan) or an instant social network (in the case of the last time in Japan) were there for me to set me up and keep me going. I'm not sure how I would handle something different if the opportunity came up... which is not totally unlikely in the future.
October 17, 2007
(I'm cheating, as this is not really 'our' Soyuz, but it's close enough. Can't find the proper pictures)
Friday, a year. That's how long MetOp has been in orbit, after finally finally a successful launch in October 2006. And it's being celebrated of course.
I am really looking forward to seeing my ex-colleagues again, and it is one of the few places of work that I've stayed in touch with after leaving.
October 14, 2007
I just watched back an interview I did in May. A simulated job interview for a national career magazine - for them it's to fill up pages in their magazine, for me it was purely to get feedback on how I interview and to use that to improve my interview skills.
So weird. Although, it didn't feel as weird seeing it now as I had expected, but still... not sure what to think at all!
On the good side, this was one of the meetings in late spring that finally pushed me into trying out new things and realizing more what I needed to do. And I have the job I want now. So it definitely wasn't bad.
And now it's up on the web and in print for the whole country to see. Yikes.
October 13, 2007
Can't wait for the other live music things that I have planned.... Finally some drum'n'bass again in two weeks time, possibly Miss Kittin the week after, and finally the Arcade Fire in November. Yeah.
It's two weeks later, but have more to add to the above list:
Aphrodite was great (but short)
Miss Kittin is a definite by now
Seeing Flip Kowlier and Tom Pintens in Antwerp (am currently listening to Flip's music to find out what I'll be seeing)
And I should maybe also be seeing a musical or something similar in Brussels next month...
Good stuff (*^-^*)
October 08, 2007
No mention so far about my performance (I suppose I should take that as a good thing) except to say that I need to be less quiet. *sigh* When will people ever stop saying that?
But, best part of the plan for the next few months: "You really should be looking at and planning of future visits to your countries." Teehee.
So, when's the best time to visit Malaysia? I think I'll hold off on South (and North?) Korea until after spring...
October 07, 2007
It's been sitting in my house for months though, without having anything to do. Saturday, though, was spent shopping for ingredients for the following dish. It turned out quite well luckily!
Now.... off to Morocco to buy one for myself?
Moroccan fish tagine with coriander couscous
1 red onion, finely chopped
2 garlic cloves, finely chopped
2 tbsp ground nut oil
1 tsp whole cumin seeds
1 tsp ginger
1 cinnamon stick
1 preserved lemon or normal lemon, chopped
12 green olives, stoned and roughly chopped
1 tbsp home-made harrissa (see below)
125ml/4fl oz white wine
200ml/7fl oz fish stock
1 pinch of saffron
500g/1lb 2oz mixed firm fish, such as monkfish, gurnard, mackerel
100g/3½oz cherry tomatoes
couscous and coriander to serve
For the home-made harrissa
3 fresh red chillies, roughly chopped
3 garlic cloves, finely chopped
1-2 lemons, juice only
4 tbsp olive oil
freshly ground black pepper
1. Heat the ground nut oil in a tagine and gently cook the onion and garlic until soft.
2. Add the cumin, ginger, cinnamon stick, preserved lemon and green olives and cook for two minutes.
3. To make the harrissa put the chillies, garlic, lemon juice and olive oil into a food processor and blend into a rough paste.
4. Stir in the harrissa and cook for one minute.
5. Add the wine and fish stock and the saffron and bring to a gentle simmer.
6. Add the fish and cook for a couple of minutes, then add the mussels and cherry tomatoes, season with salt and pepper and cover. Cook gently for 6-7 minutes.
7. Serve on a bed of steamed couscous and sprinkle with freshly chopped coriander.
October 04, 2007
Which is generally a good thing. Except for the fact that because of the above, I've now also had to tell an audience of unknown people what I would do with x-ray vision superpower (anyone, what would YOU do with it?!). This in addition to having had to discuss pregnancy yoga only a few weeks before.....
September 27, 2007
September 19, 2007
September 12, 2007
For now though, I'm being overwhelmed with lots of information and trainings and so on, but it's all good. Getting to know lots of new people but they seem fun.
But, there's good stuff ahead:
tomorrow - an event on Indonesian human rights
friday - great night out in Amsterdam. yay.
saturday - a taiko-gig! so cool, I'm going to be so homesick for Japan after that.
sunday - the homesickness will continue after meeting one of my friends from Osaka (if she'll confirm....!).
September 10, 2007
The last two weeks have been really good, not having to worry about hardly anything anymore. And I can't believe that as of tomorrow I'm yet again in a new office but this time it should more or less be for real.
I'm trying to stop myself from looking at it as the start of a new life. It really isn't. It's possibly an improvement of one part of life. But there's so much going on all of a sudden that it does feel as if I'm starting something completely new and different right now because it's all happening at the same time.
Very strange. But very good. Can't wait for whatever else is around the corner!
September 09, 2007
Originally, the plan was a pretty decadent night out. Well, okay. It still kind of was. We just had dinner at a restaurant with only one Michelin-star instead of three.
We walked into Koriander at 7:30pm. We walked out again at 1am. Great evening of amazing food (we had a surprise-menu: the best parts for me were the white bean soup with sole (I think?), the main course of duck breast (sp?), lots of cheese, and so on....), good conversation, lovely atmosphere - good stuff.
So, now we'll have to start thinking of what restaurant to try out next year....
September 06, 2007
My old one was dying and this new one is fast and spiffy. Great stuff. Except that I am already stuck with stuff that I need to install on here. Argh. Why can't things like these ever work the easy way, and the way I expect it too.
At least my old one is still working for now which means I can do all the fast internet stuff on here for now, and am not completely out of the loop with everything else that I still have on my old one. Am too impatient thought. I want everything to work NOW.
September 04, 2007
Bad Machi. I have a whole shelf of Japanese books, half of which still need to be read, including this very cool sounding book by the other Murakami: Ryu.
The Time-magazine hints that Murakami's next title would be about Japanese nationalism... could be very interesting. I'd love to read his take on it.
I should really let go of that rule huh...
August 28, 2007
Unfortunately our guidebook was pretty vague on the options. A lot of areas are said to be excellent for hiking. But without giving the details that we wanted.
On Sunday, we decided to head to the first spot on our newly made itinerary: Veliko Tarnovo; the town with the view as described below. We were met by very enthusiastic hostel workers, one of whom excitedly started telling us about an Ecotrail (3, actually) which leads to a nearby monastery. Perfect for our hiking requirements. "You cannot miss it" were the reassuring words of our Bulgarian.
We set off with a pack filled with food, camera´s, extra clothes and so on. We returned looking like two drowned muddy cats..... In between disappearing marks, an unfindable trail and a heavy rainshower we had ended up only across in the other part of town, without having even spotted the monastery.
Ah well. Tomorrow is attempt nr. 1 (again involving a monastery) but hopefully we can laugh about it as much as the first one! Weirdly enough, it really was a very fun day.
August 27, 2007
A quick glimpse of life during my holiday. Gorgeous country, really friendly people, good food - what more could I want?
August 22, 2007
I'm not very sure what's gotten into me.... cycling home today, in the sun, just being overwhelmed with this feeling of complete happiness. It's definitely been a very long time.
I'm most likely getting way ahead of myself, but have so many things to look forward to. Giddiness when thinking about tomorrow night. Then, Friday is my last day of my current job. Excitement about the flight on the following week on Saturday. And in two weeks time there's the mystery weekend. And I still have to even start my new job yet.
Too good to be true? Dunno, but I'll enjoy this as long as it lasts.
August 19, 2007
Today was supposed to be the first proper barbeque of the year (after the other 'first' was rained upon heavily so that doesn't count).
The picture above is what the weather looked like this afternoon. So far for good bbq's this summer.... I cannot wait for some sun next week.
August 18, 2007
But, before that I did manage to take a few pictures across the water at this outdoor cinema. The light was amazing but I don't think the pictures capture it well enough. I love all the new development on the IJ in Amsterdam, and this shows a little bit of what they're doing (the eastside of the station is much more 'ready' though, this side is mostly a lot of construction and cranes still).
I've wanted to see them live for ages but keep missing the concert announcements (or decided not to go to the festival where they are playing today). Not this time. Bigger venue than I want, but can't have it all. Now I just have to wait until November.
Short preview is in an earlier post of mine.
August 15, 2007
My shopping of this afternoon included a guidebook to Bulgaria, where I'm off to in only 10 days with a friend for a week - if nothing goes wrong with booking our tickets tonight, that is.
I love these last minute ideas. We got talking about it last week because she knows someone there (and I need to check if my Bulgarian acquaintance is still/again there). Besides that we have no idea what to expect which is - in my opinion - one of the best reasons to go.
Expect pictures and stories in September!
Everything seems to be fixed for my new job: woohoo!!
And details for those who are interested, I'll be going back to the type of work I was partly doing for a while in Tokyo. In a way very much the sort of thing I've been looking for.
To be more precise, I'll be working on facilitating international trade from the Netherlands to a few countries in Asia (South Korea, Malaysia & Afghanistan - yes, a very odd combination). I start in a few weeks and am very excited.
But first, I'm off to book a (well-deserved?) holiday.
Oh, and thanks for sticking with the blog despite all the venting here at times!
August 13, 2007
Which is not a bad thing in itself. Except that I feel that I’m slowly becoming brainwashed by all these horror stories on American-style dating (rules? huh?) and whatever other styles are out there. Clearly I’m still quite firmly set in Dutch reality (Groningse nuchterheid?) which is very very good. It all seems to be a hell of a lot more confusing than how it used to be in university though. At that time you just sort of end up hooking up with a friend of a friend at a friend’s party or something like that.
Maybe I’m getting too old for that, but somehow it doesn’t seem to be how it works anymore. Which is leading to some interesting evenings and new people… Fun, but sometimes a bit too complicated for my liking.
(and yes, this is the drawback of a non-anonymous blog – am not sharing any more, you’ll have to live with the crypticness)
August 09, 2007
So, I've just signed up for an evening class on theater! It doesn't start until another 1,5 months but I'm already really looking forward to it. Something completely new, that I've never done before. Can't wait!
[update - actually, 'acting' is not completely new. I was telling someone this evening about the movie a bunch of us made a few years ago. SO much fun! But of course, it doesn't really count as proper 'acting'.]
But, I have told lots of people including my current place of work. And as always, it's not until you leave that you find people are suddenly different. My boss seems to have been in shock for the past few days. Oops. And other colleagues who I hardly ever speak to are also coming up to congratulate me and to say how sorry they are that I'm leaving. Okay, that is the thing you do but considering the short time I've been here and that this isn't even official yet it's still a bit surprising. Oh well.
I hope to be out of there in 2 weeks and can't wait!
August 06, 2007
* I got a job offer!!! Final negotiations are still to be held but fingers crossed that it all works out the way it should. Champagne to follow after I've signed the contract.
* A huge night out on Friday at 11.
* Books, books, books and more books at the Deventer book market - apparently the biggest in Europe!
Pictures of everything else are here.
These are some of my favourites:
August 01, 2007
I'm at the airport three times in four days this week. But only one of them is for a fun occassion: picking up a friend who I haven't seen for a long time (actually, when I explain to friends who's coming over - a Russian friend who lives in Japan and is transitting through AMS - the next question is usually: Oh, I suppose you haven't seen her for a very long time then, right? Uhm, not quite - three months. That's actually less than some of my real life friends at home!)
Unfortunately the other two occassions are not so fun: seeing off the friend above, and today waving off a good friend at home who's off to the jungle of Uganda for six months. Sigh.
July 28, 2007
Although I'm planning some serious stuff, it started with a wonderfully relaxing day at Elysium. We spent the whole afternoon wandering from sauna to steamroom to deckchairs in the sun to the restaurant and back to a sauna. I feel almost completely zen, ready for a good week.
But first, a semi-serious meeting to take care of tonight, before saying goodbye to a close friend who's heading to Uganda! Why do almost all my friends always take off travelling to the strangest places? So not fun (for me of course, it's great for them).
July 24, 2007
- come home and feed Nemo-1, -2 & -3 (yes, they are back, but I've been told these are actually not their official names);
- feed Machi;
- take a walk through town and feed Garfield-1 & -2.
It's all good though. By the time I have my own pets, I know where to call in some favours.
July 23, 2007
Last year, my mum and I decided we should start doing yearly hiking trips. The first one took us to Nijmegen and surroundings, in two weeks time we're going to an area around the IJssel river, just a bit further north. We booked hotels today and I'm really looking forward to it!
See, good travel doesn't necessarily have to be far away.
July 21, 2007
So, today, stuck at the airport/station for a bit I innocently wandered into the bookshop. And am now immersed in Harry Potter Part 7. Wheee!
(I'm truly not that addicted to the series, but yes, I do wanna know how it finishes before all the spoilers start appearing!)
July 20, 2007
True sign of addiction I suppose, with rebooting and so on, et cetera, while I should really get some sleep and I'll have proper access again in a couple of hours in the morning anyway. And I've resorted to IE because Firefox won't load. Grr.
So, addicted. It must be that. Alternatively, it's time for a new 'puter.
July 18, 2007
My 'department' (all three of us) decided we needed to have some fun so we spent the afternoon at the Kröller-Müller Museum. One of my favourite museums in the Netherlands in a stunning part of the country. Then, nice food and wine while loving the sun. Bliss.
The below are pictures from the museum's huge sculpture garden
July 17, 2007
* when the cool guy behind the counter actually shows the other cool guys what you're buying and they're all nodding in approval.
The kind of stuff that makes a normal day just that much nicer!
(an old draft I forgot to post)
July 16, 2007
And now, 2009 is going to be another celebratory year: 400 years of Japan-Netherlands trade relations. The first time I heard about it, and when I told friends, the reaction was: "But haven't we done that already?".
As you can probably tell, I'm a tad sceptical about the whole thing. I don't see the point in another stream of standard activities if it isn't done well, with good thinking behind it: tea ceremony, kendo demonstration, kabuki play, etc. - it just doesn't appeal enough. Japan has so much more to offer but I always get the feeling that not much is done with the rest. Luckily, it seems I might have an opportunity to have some influence on this. I'm considering getting involved in some of the organisation behind all this.... Could be potentially fun. Not to mention good for my networking skills.
Although in general these meetings concerned similar issues, looking back I find that I've taken a very clear single idea away from all of them. This has actually been very good.
One meeting that impressed a lot brought home again, and quite urgently, that much of getting jobs, meeting new people, creating new opportunities is about presentation and first impressions. Something I've actually written about much more often on here already.
In any case, it's time to start doing something about it - because the more I see the way people around me act, the more I have come to realize that there is a huge gap between who I am and how people see me. And it is now actually interfering with how I want my life to be. After discussing this with a couple of friends, the standard reaction was that I definitely shouldn't change me. But that's absolutely not what I want either. I just want people to see who I am much much quicker.
So, the make-over has started. And surprisingly, it seems to be working. Just little things for now (it's amazing how different you can feel with new hair) but I'm completely confident that I can pull this off. Even if it will take a bit of time.
P.S. Over the last few months it seems this blog is turning more and more personal - almost a personal diary. Scary, especially because it's all not so anonymous anymore.... :-/ Anyway, bear with me, there've been some posts lately that worried people I think but it is usually a spur of the moment thing, not to be taken too seriously (I think).
July 15, 2007
* dinner with best friends, drinking wine and chatting the night away on a summery night
* good beer and company in my favourite cafe where I hadn't been for ages
* of course something cultural: Japanese calligraphy
* a picknick in the park, unfortunately with a sun that disappeared much too often
* music, dancing and beer and much unexpectedness at a party organized for charity (although am not sure what charity exactly)
* a Sunday-afternoon with wine, sunshine, fun company
What more could I want?
Good stuff. And no thinking about jobhunting crap. Even better! I'll start worrying about that again tomorrow.
July 08, 2007
And as I started this blog off thinking of making it fairly intelligent, without the random touristy and weekend stories, I was looking to find more details on what I had done for them - my memory already seems to be worsening!
That lead to two observations:
* the attempt of
making it fairly intelligent, without the random touristy and weekend stories,hasn't worked. So, I didn't find anything useful.
* I think I actually write much better now than I did back then. Some of the posts are just painful to read. Ouch.
July 06, 2007
For my friends' sake, I hope I'm better with fish than I am with plants.
As of today I'm in charge of three Nemo's while my friends are of holidaying in St. Petersburg. So fun!
I think I get overexcited about silly stuff - a while ago I could just barely restrain myself from posting a picture of my plants which were blossoming (which is quite a major happening in my world)!
July 05, 2007
But... the consequence of all these meetings over the past few months is that I'm already freaking out about it. And mostly about: What To Wear.
I seem to have lost all objectiveness on my own wardrobe (if that were possible to have) and am completely confused about what looks good on me, what an appropriate outfit is to interview in, what colours I should wear to give off the impression that I want etc etc.
Gah!! This is gonna be a loooong five days until the interview. I'm calling in some people to help out I think.
July 02, 2007
Feeling ultimately sorry for myself after this morning's appointment with the dental surgeon.
At least this was the last time, and I have another full day to sulk around the house.
Of course, I had planned to do much usefulness, but so far: nada. I think I'll just get on my couch with a book and/or dvd.
June 29, 2007
Lots of fun, great show - almost 2,5 hours of loads of favourite songs. I'm getting all excited about going to many more concerts again. There's this for example, which is becoming increasingly tempting....
More fun stuff yesterday: I had lunch at my old place of employment. Such a good ego boost! Have to do that some time soon again ;-)
I'm also loving the book that I'm reading at the moment: In search of Kazakhstan, the country that disappeared. A travelogue-type book describing life in Kazakhstan, with a combination of current affairs and history (oh, and no mention of Borat). Very interesting, but the places he describes are so different from what I've seen. I think he also goes to Baikonur so that should be a good test to find out how to really judge the book.
June 27, 2007
1. I have to post these rules before I give you the facts.
2. Each player starts with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged need to write their own blog about their eight things and post these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. (I'll uhm, ignore this one....)
5. Don't forget to leave them a comment telling them they're tagged, and to read your blog.
My random factoids (can't promise they'll be unknown to all of you):
- Most decadent traveling experience ever so far has been Moscow: picked up by diplomatic car from the airport, flying in a private jet with four others. Aaaaah, bliss.
- Two of my creative accomplishments during university: I starred in a movie and I am on a CD!
- I want sunglasses!
- I am really bad with my finances and fear I'll get into big trouble once I need to be responsible :-/
- My most favourite career/dreamjob would probably be something in journalism-type work.
- Worst type of men to (almost) fall for: the married type.
- I'm really having difficulty being involved in the campaign for reparations for comfort women. I'm pretty sure more is expected of me at my volunteer place, but really... it won't help!
- I hate it that I don't have any foreign travelplans booked :-(
June 26, 2007
But, the thing that made me mad today was on the front of tonight's newspaper: one of the three coalition parties in the Netherlands (and many of the opposition parties) still thinks we should go ahead with a second referendum on the newly agreed European treaty.
Although it'll be months before an official decision is made I'm sure this'll be in the news for a while coming. It was a bad idea in the first place when they tried it two years ago. You cannot have the public decide on such a complex and huge issue by just answering Yes or No in a referendum.
Although I can understand that the policitians need to show the public that they did take the concerns at that time seriously. But they should also have the confidence that they did listen well (if the debate would have continued in a constructive way like it should have) and that the current treaty is the result of those concerns two years ago. Why does it warrant another referendum? Because I'm not confident that we'll get a Yes-vote out of it this time...
The European Union strikes me as inevitable and the Netherlands has a lot to gain from it.
Okay, maybe I'm overreacting. I hope they'll decide against it after all.
But still, is it bad that I sometimes think too much democracy is a bad thing?
Things are good though, I think:
- of the bbq's I mentioned below, one was rained upon heavily, the second was wisely cancelled, the third one is expected to be sunless and wet as well.
- more fun stuff this week: seeing Pearl Jam! I saw them over 10 years ago, as the first major live gig for me to see. So, this will be one big nostalgia trip I think :-D
- just home from a totally bizarre movie: Inland Empire by David Lynch. I think I need to sleep on it for a night before deciding what I actually think of it other than BIZARRE.
- no more guy-stuff to complicate things for a while - which is very good actually (sorry, no more juicy details to share for this story...).
- I'm busy trying to find ways to pull off a 'new & improved' machi. I think I finally got kicked into action last week although now I just need to figure out how to make it work.
- although I'm very confident that this jobhunting crap WILL finish someday, I can't quite imagine anymore what it's like to not have to constantly be on the look-out for interesting vacancies, to not feel guilty anymore about not writing new application letters etc etc.
- one week to go until dental surgery :-/ I was completely freaking out about this last year, this time around I've hardly given it any thought so far which is very good.
- I cannot believe that I've been writing this blog for over 2,5 years already and it's still up and running....
June 21, 2007
Considering the fact that there have been a few semi-heatwaves already, I'm making up for lost time: I actually have three bbq's planned within the next week.
Unfortunately it looks like it might just probably be raining for at least the first two of those. Definitely bad planning!
June 19, 2007
My head hurts from the meeting this afternoon. Very confronting but very good. Still, new ideas, new inspiration. But also a desperate need to get out of here on the next flight out.
So, I've been looking at tickets to the US in two weeks time. And then I started googling night classes in writing and journalism (don't laugh).
If I am seriously going to consider the latter than there's no way I can get to the US any time soon. Or any other place for that matter. *sigh*
I know it's nothing we can control, the country that you're born into, but it makes so much difference. I have now had to declare that she is under my care for the whole three days that she's here, and hopefully that will be enough evidence for the Dutch consulate to grant her the visa....
Very fun that she's coming of course, but sheesh, the bureaucracy surrounding these things is incredible.
June 17, 2007
Originally uploaded by macchi.
I spent part of today discovering a part of my own country unknown to me: the Betuwe. Despite me flying off to various parts of the world over the last few years, I'm determined to also see more of my own country at the same time. Today was kind of accidental, but turned out to be very nice.
During the next two/three months I have at least a hiking weekend planned in Overijssel, a barbecue weekend in Zeeland and a reunion weekend in Friesland. All in parts of the country that I've never really visited so am quite looking forward to those weekends (even if the main aim is not exactly sightseeing)!
This picture is one of my favourites of the afternoon - a stork watching over its nest. I really like the combination with the dark, threatening sky in the background.
June 14, 2007
- am waiting excitedly for the sequel of the exchange which resulted in this book a little over a year ago. My book is waiting to be sent out (not telling what it is yet, in case the recipient is reading) but apparently some books have already arrived at their destinations.... very excited!
- my boss gave me his copy of De Joodse Messias yesterday (literally translated as The Jewish Messiah). I've read some of the books by the author, Arnon Grunberg, but this is quite a controversial book. My boss is now describing Grunberg as 'sick and perverted'. Very curious ...
- amongst the stack of books waiting to be read are books on Ruanda, Kazakhstan, Europe and the world in general. I think it'll be non-fiction for a while....
June 13, 2007
One thing that I'm still happy about though, is not taking (all of) the initial professional advice that I got. The happy pills are still in my house somewhere, in a box unopened, and in a way are a reminder that I don't need them, don't want them and can be fine without them.
But sometimes it would probably just be easier. Either that, or allowing myself to escape.
Or I should just go to bed and sleep.....
June 08, 2007
I think the universe, or something, is telling me that I should too: a letter and fancy certificate from the colleague I shared my office with, bumping into an old colleague on the train home tonight, a missed call from yet another colleague, and meeting even another one in the city. This is getting scary.
June 07, 2007
They are definitely stunning! Unfortunately I only had a few minutes to walk past on my way to a meeting but definitely worth having a look when you're in the area.
June 06, 2007
Tomorrow will be a true Princess Day though. Finally!
- sleeping in
- talking about me
- soaking in the sun
- and I might just add in a facial or something else nice
All very girly, but I can't wait. Absolute bliss. These past three/four weeks have felt so chaotic, but at least now it's time to spend some of that hard-earned money. Yay!
And then followed by a weekend of few plans (so far, at least) - even better.
June 05, 2007
Him: "I wasn't here [shiatsu massage seminar] yesterday as I was at a workshop on Tibetan Buddhism. But well, it's pretty much in the same league, isn't it?"
Him: "Well, Shinto is the Japanese version of Buddhism, right? So it's pretty much the same thing."
Right. Sure. Bye.
The above pictures are the view from my hotel last night. They're not as good as I was hoping they would be, but still, a pretty good view if you ask me.
But anyway, Rotterdam. I've been going there more regularly lately but it's still a city I don't understand. I'm only ever there to see a movie, or a concert, or whatever but never really in the city. Everytime I go, I get a stronger feeling that the place has potential. It is starting to feel like the kind of city that has some really cool places to go out at, to eat at, etc. if you only would know how to find them. Which clearly I don't. Yet.
Passing across the Erasmus bridge yesterday though, and seeing the architecture and so on in that area, the city has definitely done a great job on putting on a new image. It's definitely on my list of places to get to know better!
Speaking of Rotterdam, for more and regular shots of the city, check out this photoblog.
June 02, 2007
I was thinking of getting certified, but unless my Japanese dramatically improves (and I see no reason whatsoever why it should) I really don't want to do this anymore.
The money is nice, but it's just not worth the stress, the anguish, the insomnia, the insecurity and so on in the week preceding and on the days of the job itself.
On the plus side, I do meet interesting and different people but it's just not good enough.
Luckily, tomorrow they will be talking about how to reduce stress so I'll definitely be paying attention! For now, I'm heading to my tv to watch the second part of the video that they sprung on me this morning... Argh.
May 30, 2007
Each person tagged gives seven random facts about themselves. Those tagged need to write on their blog seven facts, as well as the rules of the game. You need to tag seven others and list their names on your blog. You have to leave those you plan on tagging a note in their comments so they know that they have been tagged and need to read your blog.
1) My head is almost spinning... When does July start again?
2) Newest favourite quote as seen on the London tube: "One cannot think well, love well, sleep well, if one has not dined well." - by Virginia Woolf
3) I'm thoroughly frustrated that I have NO travel planned from now on. And no, weekends in Gelderland and Friesland don't count. Grrrr.
4) You sometimes hear that you could probably make a personality sketch of the books people read or what they have in their house. So, riddle me this, my latest reads and purchases: Platform - Houellebecq, Strange Days - Murakami (Ryu), Cosmopolitanism - Appiah, Small Gods - Pratchett, In search of Kazakhstan - Robbins. Hmm.
5) Have taken on a two-day freelance gig. If the guy on the phone was right, I should definitely be changing careers! Actually, come to think of it, it could solve #3 ;-)
6) Am recently discovering that I'm very clueless and naive about some stuff (oh, and cryptic, but too many people are reading this I'm afraid...). It's weird how things are always so out of balance....
7) And another recent discovery - Lauryn Hill's unplugged cd. Excellent music for coming home late at night needing to clear my head (see #1).
Unfortunately it seems that almost everyone else in the blog-posse has been tagged already so am leaving this up here for who ever feels like continuing on to their own blog - it's yours!
May 29, 2007
But, had a great few days - despite some accomodation issues, the weather, and a big delay on the flight back.
It confirmed my idea that I'd really enjoy this city to live in for a while. Met some old friends again which was great and definitely added to making this a good weekend :-D
Am superbusy so if you see pictures appearing here or on flickr anytime before the weekend that is not actually a good sign since I should be doing other stuff! so, more later.
May 24, 2007
- I can't make up my mind. I was walking around the Ministry of Economic Affairs this morning and thinking: 'this is the type of work I want to do. International, challenging, etc etc. I should stop bothering with all the rest of it'. Then tonight I was at a civic forum (is that the word?) - participative (is that English?) democracy at a very local level. And thinking 'I want to know more about this, this is fascinating stuff'. Gah. Although admittedly, I suspect the first thought might be recurring more often....
- am looking for information about legislation in Japan. Can anyone help? I don't know where to look... apparently there's a legal revision entering into force on June 7 (or being confirmed then?) and it should be about day-to-day living conditions of inmates (specifically on death row?). I don't really know where to find out more - this is all I have. Anyone?
- Two more sleeps until London! Wheeee!
- Lots of jobhunting stuff to work on - don't know when though...
- The more I read Japanese over the last few days the more I'm freaking out about the interpreting job. I can't back out anymore, can I? :-/
- Oh and, my resolutions from the beginning of the week (pc off by 10pm, in bed by 11pm, breakfast!) are failing miserably.... *sigh*
May 22, 2007
Lately I've been doing much better though. As in: my lists are long....! And the good thing about the current lists is that I'm really paying attention to them and that there's a fair bit of crossing off to be done as well. Excellent. I feel I'm actually making progress.
Unfortunately the length of these lists is not diminishing as new stuff is added even quicker than I can work to get rid of the old stuff.
As always this is again proof that I need to be busy to actually get myself into gear and working. Gah. And currently I'm not even getting around to the more important (but more difficult and time-consuming) things. Like tomorrow's meetings.... I know I'll hate myself for this in the morning.
May 20, 2007
Semi-continuing on from yesterday's post, of course I enjoy most of the stuff I do related to Japan. Such as this afternoon, when we had organized a sake tasting session. Ten different types of sake with explanations about what makes sake different etc. And of course sushi! Very good afternoon.
As a result I now have half a bottle of bishonen sake at home which should be drunk in the next few days. Does anyone want to come and help?
I was chatting to a very good friend of mine earlier this afternoon which made me realize again how much I miss some people. We hardly ever properly talk, but really, I should just make more time to stay in touch with these friends!
It also made me realize that my travels over the past half year have all been connected by one thing: Osaka.
I guess by now I can honestly say that I made some close friends when living there in '01/'02. I can't believe it's already been five years!
The trip to Krakow was together with a friend I met in Osaka. St. Petersburg was partly to see a friend I met in Osaka. Antwerp and most of all Leuven was to attend a wedding of friends from Osaka. And the upcoming trip to London is together with the Krakow-friend and we'll be meeting up with a friend who we met in - you guessed it - Osaka.
Seriously, travelling to see friends is one of the most ideal ways of travelling. It is so good to find out how people are doing, and to have them show you their life and their city.
Maybe it's the wine from tonight, but I can't help feeling really lucky to have these people as my friends. Not surprisingly, the friend I openend this post with is also an Osaka-contact. Can't wait to see him again - hopefully this year too as a trip to Spain with many of these people is supposedly on the calendar....
May 19, 2007
Yet, I keep being pulled back into the Japan-field.
Of course, I ultimately chose to take these opportunities because I think/hope I can use them to my advantage in other ways. And not least because I enjoy them.
But still, it is turning out to be tough to completely step away from Japan.
So, the next two weeks will be spent frantically brushing up my Japanese knowledge on anatomy and the like. *sigh* At least it is a big compliment that the person I will be interpreting for specifically asked for me, right?
May 18, 2007
But, I also do see that it is so much more effective. In my last job almost everything would be communicated through email. I tend to do this as well in my current job but my boss picks up the phone, or even better, gets up and walks over to the other office even if he's busy doing other stuff. And he gets things done immediately.
Not surprising of course. And I don't really know why I don't like phones but I'm definitely going to change my ways with this.
Am I the only one like this? I can't be alone in my dislike of phones, right?
On a similar note, someone said the other day that texting should be illegal in romantic relationships. Absolutely. So why aren't we picking up the phone to actually talk to eachother? Gah.
May 16, 2007
I should probably write this in Dutch, but let's not confuse too many people.
Just stumbled onto Zezunja's post on the Dutch de-lurking week*. A fairly hilarious idea I thought, and I know there are plenty of people reading this but not making themselves known, i.e. lurkers.
Now is the time. From 14th May until the 20th May.
I look forward to finding out who else unexpected is reading!
* There should also be an international/English week, but haven't been able yet to find out when. January, I think?
May 15, 2007
- M-Flo! A big piece on one of the members, DJ Verbal. Plus a single to listen to on-line. Yay.
- there should (can't find it online) also be an article in there on what is supposedly the world's most bicycle-friendly city: Groningen! My furusato, in a way, so quite surprising to see it in this magazine.
Maybe I should start buying it but at E10 per issue...
May 14, 2007
My evening tonight:
* in the train home studying about local government and the politics behind it all;
* sending out some emails for an ex-student club thing I'm involved in;
* making some phone calls to prepare a meeting that I have on the weekend for a Japanese alumni association;
* continuing on to my inbox from my volunteer work to write some emails and prepare tomorrow's PM meeting;
* finally getting around to having a look at tomorrow's AM meeting and focusing on that for a bit - actually the most important of the list!
* and finishing off with a few jobhunting ideas...
And I wonder why I'm tired. Luckily tomorrow is a day off (well, after my two meetings that is...)
[disclaimer - despite evenings like this, I love the stuff I do. If I wouldn't have things like this to keep me occupied, thinking and challenged I'd turn into one huge couch potato! Yuck.]
May 08, 2007
* One of the things that is suddenly very different since leaving my last job: I don't speak English anymore! My life used to be bilingual. English in the office, a little bit of Dutch/German/French in between; Dutch outside of the office with English mixed in with certain friends and so on. Right now it's all English. Except for the occasional phone call or meeting with non-Dutch friends. Quite bizarre.
May 06, 2007
1. PICK OUT A SCAR YOU HAVE, AND EXPLAIN HOW YOU GOT IT.
I have a small dent in my shin when I fell onto the corner of the back part of a furniture truck which was unloading my parents' new living room furniture when I was about 10 or so.
2. WHAT IS ON THE WALLS IN YOUR ROOM?
In my kitchen: a 1960's Mao poster. In my living room: a hand-written Japanese kanji scroll and a blue African print-type cloth.
3. WHAT DOES YOUR PHONE LOOK LIKE.
A very standard Sony Ericsson model. I would LOVE to use my hot pink Japanese phone here though!
4. WHAT MUSIC DO YOU LISTEN TO?
All kinds. Lately, a lot of Zita Swoon, Arcade Fire, starting to listen to some more drum'n'bass again, etc. And online stuff through 3voor12 and Pandora of course.
5. WHAT IS YOUR CURRENT DESKTOP PICTURE?
The same as it has been for two years or so (too lazy to change): a view across a gorgeous Mexican lake.
6. WHAT DO YOU WANT MORE THAN ANYTHING RIGHT NOW?
To sleep (in 15 minutes!). And a proper job, what else?
7. DO YOU BELIEVE IN GAY MARRIAGE?
Well, yes, just as much as I believe in any other marriage I s'pose. Although I mostly see it as a great reason for a fantastic party!
8. WHAT TIME WERE YOU BORN?
9. ARE YOUR PARENTS STILL TOGETHER?
Yes. 30 years and counting.
10. WHAT ARE YOU LISTENING TO?
Just turned on a drum'n'bass collection cd.
11. DO YOU GET SCARED OF THE DARK?
Nope, not really.
12. THE LAST PERSON TO MAKE YOU CRY?
Probably my GP.
13. WHAT IS YOUR FAVOURITE COLOGNE / PERFUME?
Don't have many but I like the Naomi Campbell scents.
14. WHAT KIND OF HAIR/EYE COLOUR DO YOU LIKE ON THE OPPOSITE SEX?
Dark hair, blue/greyish eyes I think.
15. DO YOU LIKE PAIN KILLERS?
Nope, but hardly ever have a reason to take them.
16. ARE YOU TOO SHY TO ASK SOMEONE OUT?
Probably yes. Although it hardly happens that I'm interested enough in someone to want to ask him out. And I'm getting better at it :-D
17. FAVE PIZZA TOPPING?
Mozzarella, tomato, basil. Yumm.
18. IF YOU COULD EAT ANYTHING RIGHT NOW, WHAT WOULD IT BE?
Nothing. Too tired!
19. WHO WAS THE LAST PERSON YOU MADE MAD?
No idea, I hope no one!
20. IS ANYONE IN LOVE WITH YOU?
Not quite yet, getting closer maybe/hopefully....
May 04, 2007
# a three-day-a-week job is great! Unfortunately my bankaccount is not so great :-/
# even though the job itself is supposed to be quite administrative, my boss almost immediately started to put me onto some of his other projects. It feels so good actually to be taken seriously again, to have someone respect and value your opinion, and to be thinking again!
# I share the office of my boss and am going to learn so much from him. Very good.
# it's also quite the social experiment. I've never been particularly good at just talking to random people but at the moment I don't really have a choice unless I want to have lunch by myself every single day.
# working in Amsterdam is fun! I really should move there.
# have a couple of quite exciting (scary?) informational interviews scheduled...
# have been invited to test my interviewing skills for a column in a national magazine. Still trying to figure out how I can make that meeting next week, but I really should go.
All in all, although unemployment was fun and it would have been good to have it last longer than just one measly week, resigning and then taking this temp gig was a pretty good decision.
Alas, this is what you will see again when clicking on to the Flickr-shots (not in a seperate set unfortunately, I need to upgrade *sigh*). I just feel weird and embarrased when focusing on people in my pictures. I try to, but these are not out there on Flickr, because it just doesn't really capture what I want to do. I'll keep experimenting I guess.