March 31, 2007

Finally - some more things to look at

St. Petersburg/Kazan Cathedral
Originally uploaded by macchi.

I've finally managed to upload the rest of my Saint Petersburg pictures (have combined them with the other Russian pics on flickr though). Weirdly enough, it's a bigger set than my China trip.... Hmm.

Enjoy, stories are (still) to follow!

March 30, 2007

As expected..

... I kind of knew that just earning money wouldn't be too much of a problem, and as it turns out, I guess it really won't be.

I have an interview for a new temp gig on Monday already! Gah!

I'm not sure if I'm happy about this though. I've told them that I definitely don't want to start working at anything before mid-April, and this is actually for more hours than I'd like but the organisation could be pretty interesting, the work sounds okay, and it could be a way to get into a bigger organisation. But still, this is much sooner than I want to think about this!

But first, time for the weekend. Wheee.

March 29, 2007

In more good news

A few cool things that I'm looking forward to in the next few weeks:

* in two weeks time I'm again going to Motel Mozaique with a friend, partly to see Zita Swoon again but also to have a good night out with more new bands. Wheee!

* spring! It's pretty much here already and it's making me feel so much better. I've resolved to take advantage of the weather and more free day time to start experimenting with my camera more. So hopefully this will result in a more visual blog aswell.

* more theater... one of my resolutions for this year was to see more live music. Luckily that has worked (yay) but it has also meant not seeing so many plays on stage anymore, something that I love as well (not to mention the fact that I haven't seen a dance performance for years. grrrr). Wednesday I'm seeing a new play by a local (but by now, famous) author Ilja Leonard Pfeiffer De eeuw van mijn dochter. It's supposed to be a critique on contemporary Dutch politics so am quite curious!

A whole new world

Even though I am going back to the office tomorrow - and next week for one afternoon - my work there is pretty much done. All that is left is two more documents to file, clean up my computer, and attend a big party from a couple of colleagues.

So, for all intents and purposes I'm finished working. Walking out of the site to the bus stop today felt so good. Relief of being away from there, excitement about whatever is next, some regret about not doing this sooner, and so much more.

I still have no idea what is waiting for me after the weekend. Every once in a while I almost panic thinking of a big black hole. Most of the time I cannot wait to find out, the world is at my feet. I've taken back control of what I'm going to be doing from now on and it feels sooooo good.

*disclaimer: don't be surprised if there will be despairing posts of what next to do appearing here by the end of next week ;-)

March 28, 2007


Strangely enough, although late '20s would be about the time that people start having kids, my social circle has been very empty of kids so far. Buying houses and talk of mortgages - yes. Weddings and hen nights - yes. Kids or pregnancy stories - no.

So, Sunday's toy shopping for tonight's dinner was quite out of the ordinary. But in a sense also perfectly rationalize-able - after all, the couple that I visited are in their late '30s.

It was still weird being in a toyshop though - trying to pick out a cool toy for a new(-ish; with all the hecticness of the past year we've been out of touch for a while) baby boy. Luckily, he loved it. His parents will have to live with the constant rattling of it I fear... And an evening of wearing the boy out so he'd sleep and trying not to wake him up again after he finally did sleep.

It'll be a different world when this starts happening to friends closer to me....

March 27, 2007

Question of the week:

"So, what are you going to do on Monday?"

March 24, 2007

In pictures

A quick preview of the rest still to come...

No, it wasn't really as cold as the pictures let on.
Yes, it was a week of many colourful cathedrals and extravagant palaces. Oh, and of long chats with a friend; of relaxing; of wandering a new city. More stories to follow!

March 19, 2007

Saint Petersburg - or: escape from Real Life

Now that I'm on a plane again, I've resorted back to my tiny notebook from China & Baikonur to write down my impressions. It strikes me again how I should do this in real life as well.

Because sitting in an airplane flying off to a new place doesn't feel like real life. At all. And yet it's the only thing I feel like doing over these past few weeks.

Sitting here I almost get a 'flash-forward' to the time that I still have left until April. That flight is more extreme though - a mystery trip, of sorts. I'm on my way somewhere, but I don't know when this plane is landing, or where that landing place will be. And that's just until April.

More in general, life over the past 1,5 years has felt like a rollercoaster. A very long and windy one, with high ascents immediately followed by deep plunges.

I love rollercoasters. I love the thrill of being on one, the adrenaline screaming through your body. Not anymore though. Can we stop the ride? This one is going on for too long, I can't see the finish and whatever is in between is too fogged over to see. I'm tired of this, I want to jump off.

The comparison doesn't completely match of course. With a rollercoaster you finish at the same place as you started. And that's not the case for me. I'm heading to a better place and knowing that, I'll hang on to the ride for now instead of jumping out of the carriage. Those things never work out well.


For now, I'm descending towards Pulkovo-2 airport, where I'll be met by a friend who I haven't seen for 1,5 years. Bring on the vodka!

March 18, 2007


... all over again. Guess I still haven't learnt!

Okay, am moving away from the computer and towards my unpacked backpack ;)

March 17, 2007

New favourite

After discovering Pandora a few months ago, I've recently (re-) discovered another online music source: 3voor12 Luisterpaal which lists new (and usually quite cool) albums for a few days to discover.

Excellent entertainment!

March 14, 2007

The Bus People

I've been working at the same office for over 1,5 years - commuting there every day by bus, mostly with the same people. I say 'mostly' - when I get to the bus stop in the mornings and there is no one there who I recognize I panick and assume I've missed my bus.

However, recently I started to realize that I don't actually know any of these people. We all work at the same office. We all travel on the same bus. But, except for a friendly nod in the mornings hardly anyone talks to each other and the few people that I know I only got to know because we completely accidently got to work together on a project.

After an evening of discussion, chatting and inspiration with cheruchan I've now decided to do this differently. Why don't I know these people?

I have six working days = 12 bus rides left to organize a drink in a pub in town somewhere for these Bus People. It'll be quite a challenge, and I think I'll need a night to figure out an effective way of making this after-work-drink seem like a good plan to the others on the bus. Scary too. But, if it works, it'd be very very cool.

The aim is to get people talking to each other, instead of staring out of the window not caring about others. Of course, even if people show up to whatever I organize, I still won't be able to tell if that will actually be the result as I'm not on that bus anymore... Still, looking forward to trying to organize this challenge.

Expect an update!

March 12, 2007

On the way to spring & summer

I think this is probably one of my favourite times of the year - the sun is starting to come out, people are out of their houses again, and everyone is happy because the weather is turning to summer again.

Just walking around and seeing people outside having coffee, chatting and laughing is the best. Also one of the major advantages of being a student - actually being able to join in the fun on days like this and not being stuck at the office.

[additionally on 13/3 - I now officially want this weather to continue in the first three weeks of April too. Just managed to arrange that I'll be paid while being at home - wheee! (Well, officially this will hopefully give me some un-chaos to figure out where to go next...) Wanna take bets at how quickly I'll go crazy being stuck in my own house? ;-)]

March 07, 2007


The most exciting thing so far that I had to translate? "How can we get internet access?". Well, so far for my exciting satellite building crash course, I guess...

[original @ 2/3]
So, I'm heading into my last month at current place of work. Or to be exact, only 2 working weeks and a few days left (me? counting?).

Surprisingly, the next two weeks might be the most challenging yet:
On top of the translation shuttle, the so called P70AE Azimuth over Elevation configuration will be used. The positioner is controlled by ACxxx controller in combination with ACyyy Power Control Units

Can someone translate that into English? Oh wait, that'll be my job... from Japanese to be exact.

I can only say that my department is SO lucky to have a secretary who just happens to speak Japanese.

A preview of stories to come: Russian bureaucracy

In reality, I suppose I really am quite a spoiled traveller - I've hardly ever been to countries with difficult visas; if I do go there than for whatever reason the visas are easy; have never really had to travel ultra-budget or in a very poor developing country.

The five days in St. Petersburg could therefore provide a whole new experience:

- I'm travelling on a business visa, but going for tourism. Hmm... how honest should I be about what upon arrival?

- I'm staying at a Russian family which means I need to register at the local authorities because I'm a foreigner... Luckily I will have Russians to accompany me to do these, and it being St. Petersburg and not some forgotten hole in Siberia should make things much easier too. It could still potentially be quite interesting of course!

Stay tuned :-D

March 05, 2007

Japanese lifesaver

My trusty Japanese wordtank is no more.

It feels like the end of an era.
I bought this word tank (for those who don't know, I'm talking about a digital Japanese <-> English dictionary and more) within a few months of living in Japan for the first time 8 years ago and it immediately proved to be indispensable. Not just for studying, but also for daily life while trying to find my way around Japan.

I've used it ever since for any moment that I needed it when living in Japan, studying in the Netherlands, writing emails, doing interpreting jobs etc etc. The thought of relying only on big heavy dictionaries again is quite impossible.

However, over the past year I've hardly used it and as I was replacing the batteries last night - an error message flashed up saying that the memory of the machine had expired! I had no idea such a thing could happen!

I am still kind of in shock - I can't believe I need to get a new wordtank! Especially since I haven't seen many newer ones that seem so easy to use as this one :-( Maybe it really is a sign that I finally need to let go of Japan and everything involved with it?

March 04, 2007

Salutti Tutti

Watching this video makes me even more annoyed that the Arcade Fire gig in the Netherlands was sold out way before I even found out about it.

I've also discovered why my not-so-legal cd of them has French narration: I think it's this concert instead of their proper cd. Ah well. I'm sponsoring them now in any case as I just ordered their new album Neon Bible. Wheee!

Sushi - but different

Midnight/noise (whose work I love btw, if you are ever wondering what kind of present you should get me...) links to Koo-ki Sushi

Gorgeous looking chocolate sushi for those people who don't like raw fish. Or for those who do, but love chocolate too (that'd be me).

March 02, 2007


I haven't even left for St. Petersburg yet... but I can't stop thinking of new travels.

Especially now that my life after 1 April is suddenly wide open I have been thinking quite a bit about what I will do then.

Travel is one of the options. This idea isn't helped much (well, it is actually) by reading Jules' Rome-stories who is currently well and truly living up to her blogname, by being excited for Cookie's upcoming America-trip, by seeing amazing photo's of a friend's trip to Sri Lanka, and by virtually travelling the Trans-Siberian express...


At least I'm excited to be in St. Petersburg in less than three weeks, especially after watching Russian Ark a few nights ago. A movie set in the Hermitage, shot in one single shot and covering several centuries of Russian history... Quite extraordinary in an amazing location.

[oh, the current travel-plan would take me to NY, Washington DC and then Mexico to wander around Central America for a bit and to catch up with friends ... solid plan, no?]