Great minds think alike – friendship

Schermafbeelding 2013-12-24 om 14.29.10You have met my friend Willem during one of his guest posts earlier this year. But as he is one of my closest friends and we share practically all our stories together. We decided to share some of them with you, after all it is Christmas and at Christmas you tell the truth.

To be clear: This is Willem and this is Me. 

Ok so here it goes. 2013 was not our best year. The least to say. So to get all the drama out of the way let’s start with the rock bottom moment. After this there clearly is only one way; up. Rock bottom happened on the other side of the ocean, whilst looking for happiness with my girlfriend at Aruba. I actually found myself in a place I didn’t expect myself to be at all. After many years – eight something to be more specific – it turned out that our love wasn’t working anymore. We tried everything, but in the end we decided both to go our own ways. I spent one year in the Caribbean, one year at the most beautiful spot in the world, but I needed to go where I wanted and needed to be the most at that time; family. So east, west, home bound best.  Your rock-bottom was actually one of my high lights! Because you coming back to the Netherlands after we have been separated for two years  – I spent the year in Barcelona before Willem moved to Aruba – actually meant a real-life drinking buddy 😉 and a close-by friend. I mean whatsapp is nice and all, but there goes nothing about a good old fashioned hug. But I cannot count the numerous of parties we got drunk at this year. We had a blast and not only because we were drunk. But also because we have this funny thing  in common. We both tend to take of our clothes when we get drunk. Where it is my t-shirt it is your jeans that come off. 

Hohoho (yes, feel the Christmas spirit) you are going way too fast. Don’t pretend that you haven’t hit rock-bottom this year. True, but as my loves tend to last 8 minutes instead of 8 years my “low” was more career related. When my organization made me redundant this summer I felt like such a loser. I mean I studied for five years and always believed that I would have a booming career. So spending an entire summer at home – even though weather wise it was the best summer in years- not knowing what I  was going to do with my life made me feel useless. From always being busy to being a suntanned unemployed 20 something girl was definitely the worst about 2013. But as every down has it up I got plenty of time to enjoy summer. Remember all the fun things we have done?? Amsterdam, festivals, festivals in Amsterdam, living in the now and certainly no plans for tomorrow. But summer ended and like an unwanted rain storm fall appeared. 

Fall. Surrounded by friends and family I felt at ease, it took me quite a while. And I am still not there – but I am getting there. I am making plans, got ideas and I feel like I am back on track. I know your family is one of the reasons why you wanted to be home again. How did you feel when you were reunited? It was right on time. The support of my mom, dad, grandma (yes the lovely lady of the first post) brothers & sisters, little cousins and my friends is what I am appreciating most right now. I believe that since I have been away our relationship has been much stronger than it was before. We bonded and the distance actually made us closer. We are a real family again and we do fun stuff together; dinners, cinema’s, festivals, holidays. We are making life worth living. So I am not saying that I would never leave again, but it would be with a different mind set than the last time. 

summer2013So when I would ask you to move to Africa tomorrow you would say no?! Yes. Ok, this is something I would like to get of my chest. I know and you know. Our love is unconditional, but we are just very close friends. Yes, we have kissed…once…in 1995 at the playground, by accident. Practically all my girl friends asked me, told me or insinuated that we would be a very cute couple. True, you are my type; tall, dark, handsome and the occasional tattoo. But your friendship is way too much appreciated to risk it for romance. Great, happy that this rumor is killed. But back to business. Any highlights you would like to share? Highlights, besides all the fun I had with my friends and family there are 3 things that made me grow as a person, and thus count as personal highlight. First, moving in with Will (my brother) and Grace (Jordy) at the pearl of Amsterdam (yes the official name of our apartment). This is the first place that feels like home after moving out my parents place over 10 years ago. Second, meeting my coach that supported me during my rock bottom period. She helped me find my core values that are keeping me motivated right now. Third, my trip to Rwanda. I spent six weeks in an amazing country, with amazing people and broadened my horizon in so many ways.

Oh wait I am forgetting something; our quest for eternal love. Shaped in the form of Tinder and the Inner Circle. Haha no I am just kidding. But you are the one I turn to when I am dealing with boy “trouble”, so I do want to thank you for all the valuable feedback. And yes for all my 8 minute crushes (all 2 of them) if I screwed up it is because Willem told me to do so. Or as we would like to call it Sukkel voor de liefde, koning in de discotheek. One of my favorite songs of this year. I am living for my music, but this song is very recognizable; it sums up the majority of this years emotions in 3.01 minutes. The list of my favorites songs tells you more about me than I will ever do so myself. My favorite artist at the moment is the one you introduced to me; Sam Smith. Very recognizable as well, Especially “Money on my mind” check it out below. He sings: I don’t have money on my mind I do it for the love. Is this your 2014 motto? It certainly is. Yours? I always have money on my mind. So I beg to differ. No just kidding, love is all I got for next year! 

To wrap it up – yes, I think we have shared enough of our little world for now – do you have anything you would like to share for 2014? Or give a shout out to a special someone? A special shout out to my grandmother, sowieso! 2014: Ik zie het leven door de vingers. Laat het zo nu en dan vieren en ga verder. Also my new job, falling in love (yes yes Iceberg right ahead) and lots  of music, festivals and music festivals ;). My shout out goes to my favorite DJ of this year; De Sluwe Vos. He made me feel like a queen on the dance floor. Just like Cyusa did in Africa. And for 2014 I am predicting unicorns, golden flowers and rainbows. For the holidays I am wishing you joy, lots of hugs from your family and even more presents. Merry Christmas and a happy 2014!


List of The lists

With the holidays approaching rapidly and 2014 in sight we are being overloaded by lists to conclude this years successes and failures. Fact is you only need a few of those lists to be prepared for the new year. So here is my selection to survive: 

1.BBC Sound of 2014. 15 promising artists long listed by the BBC. Expected to be next year musicale heroes.  Most of the artists are already on Spotify so start listening and make sure you can sing along by the time that the artists hit the top of the charts. As the BBC boys have been right 6 out of 10 times over the past 10 years you better keep any eye open for Sam Smith; predicted to be elected the winner in January.

2. Forbes 30 under 30. The lists that selects the thirtieth most important innovators and influencers under 30. Which will give me less than 2 years on January 1st to make this list. My favourite person on this short list so far; Brandon Stanton.  The street photographer behind Humans of New York. You can still vote for your favorite. The final 30 will be announced in January 2014. All of them are a great inspirtation for me; I might be able to make it!


3. Lonely Planet’s best value travel destinations for 2014. To broaden your horizon this list is important. It will give you bright new ideas for holiday destinations that are not only affordable but that will give you the ultimate holiday feeling. My wish list for next year includes a trip to San Francisco, a family trip to Marbella and potentially a next trip to the beautiful continent of Africa.

Schermafbeelding 2013-12-18 om 17.05.13

4. Vogue’s spring|summer ready-to-wear overview per designer. Get inspired for sunnier seasons! As soon as you don’t have to be covered in hoodies, scarfs, gloves and big winter coats you need to be ready for shirts, shorts and flip flops. Because while you picked your Lonely Planet holiday destination  I am sure you cannot wait to update your summer wardrobe. My trend for 2014; blue.

5. Top 20 Tech Products of 2013.  Probably outdated by the time January ends, but good to know for now that if you have at least one of the gadgets on this list you can consider yourself to be either a high tech nerd or hipster. Either way I can’t wait to see what next year will bring us for cool new gadgets and apps.

So now you have your music, your idols, your holiday destination, your fashion style and your gadgets. The only thing missing are you New Years’ Resolutions and  I’d say you are ready to prepare for 2014.

Living in the dark.

This the season to be jolly

Amsterdam, the 2nd of the December 05h55 Amsterdam Airport. My plane lands after a 9 hour flight from sunny Kigali. It is still pitch dark! The purser on my flight happily tells us that the local temperature is 3 degrees. If that doesn’t wake you up after 6 weeks of tropical weather I don’t know what will. So with my first reality check in the pocket I entered the airport; Home sweet home! Schiphol fully decorated in holiday season style eased my pain a little bit. After a jolly picture and some tax free shopping with my Kigali room mate and travelling buddy George Pericles I went to pick up my suitcases and passed through Customs.

A warm welcome from my brother, room mate and my mother as the big surprise act made me forgot about the horrible winter ahead of me. The Hello/Goodbye moments at the airport always make me think of the priceless commercial made by T-Mobile a few years ago.

I tell you this was almost as good as the movie. So the change from tropical, warm and smiling kigali to cold, grey and grumpy Amsterdam will obviously take some adaption time. But with great events ahead such as Sint Nicholas dinners with my girlfriends, concerts with my homeboys, dance festivals with my brother and Christmas with the family I am pretty sure I will survive until 2014. But then there is the three remaining months that I will be living in the dark. January until April are painfully long, the nights longer than the days, the degrees lower than zero and the winter depression guaranteed. Luckily there is no place like home and no better place to come up with new adventures for the year ahead! Let the holidays begin!