Thursday, December 23, 2010

Wherever I may roam

Believe it or not, I am spending the entire holiday season in the Netherlands, where I currently live. That is not to say I will stay in Utrecht all the time...'Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home..'
Can I say it better? :) No. Let Metallica sing it then...



And the road becomes my bride
I have stripped of all but pride
So in her I do confide
And she keeps me satisfied
Gives me all I need

And with dust in throat I crave
Only knowledge will I save
To the game you stay a slave

Rover, wanderer
Nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will

But I'll take my time anywhere
Free to speak my mind anywhere
And I'll redefine anywhere

Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home

And the earth becomes my throne
I adapt to the unknown
Under wandering stars I've grown
By myself but not alone
I ask no one

And my ties are severed clean
Less I have the more I gain
Off the beaten path I reign

Rover, wanderer
Nomad, vagabond
Call me what you will
Yeah, you will

But I'll take my time anywhere
I'm free to speak my mind anywhere
and I'll take my time anywhere

Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home

Tuesday, November 30, 2010

A promise to keep



What do you see on the photo? Shattered glass and spilled oranges? Correct!
Now try to see just the oranges, but on the ground, in this orange courtyard, fallen from ripeness...


I spent some time in this courtyard in Cordoba, back in September, and I felt the magic of life, love and passion returning to my life! I promised to return in the season when the oranges are ripe ... but with the man who made me feel alive again. The sound of the fruit bowl smashing into the floor reminded me to keep my promise...and so I will!

Argentina kind of night

There are many things to appreciate in life, but good friends and good food are amongst my favorites. Put the two together and..a cold November night becomes a virtual trip to Argentina...and so enjoyable!
We chose to indulge our senses in Gauchos - a classy restaurant on the Oudegracht, specializing in Argentinian steaks.
But first some Malbec wine...full-bodied, but soft, it's the perfect conversation catalyst! Before we know it, we are laughing out loud (probably terrorizing a bit the couple on the next table).
A foreplay might be important for a sexual intercourse, but when it comes to steak, I am going straight for it, no need to dull my taste buds. For the sake of variety we order Bife De Chorizo and Bife De Lomo, with corn, fries, and house sauce.
Let me give you a piece of advice...once you taste a bite of Bife De Lomo, nothing else on the menu compares in tenderness, juiciness and flavor! I am not a big meat
eater in general, but I could definitely tell the difference. So...don't sweat the 5 euro extra...just order the best!
The knife literary cuts through as if it's butter...Yum!
We take Ice-cream and mini-fondue for desert. Not sure that's very Argentinian...but it's on the menu, so...
To wrap-up the night in style, we stop by Zussen . Every Tuesday, they hold a Tango night...we pick our drinks and enjoy the dancing couples...conversation and laughter ongoing...completely forgetting the cold, the snow, and reality...it's an Argentina kind of night... :)


Tuesday, November 16, 2010

Both shoes on - a short and sweet update

On October 3rd, I broke a bone in my foot - the fifth metatarsal (sounds like a movie title, no?)
A month later (but it felt like ages!), my cast was off, and I started walking again...slowly but progressing steadily.
I didn't know how much muscle mass one can lose in such a short time - 30-40%!
A coupe of days later the physiotherapist examined my foot and said all looks ok, and all I need to do is keep on walking every day. Easier said than done, but I followed the advice.
The most amazing thing about healing is the magic of the night hours...I could never say I was getting better during the day, in fact, I was worried that I was tampering with the healing process because at the end of each day I felt exhausted and the pain was returning in small dozes. But every morning I would wake up with more and more strength and confidence in my walking ability...until Saturday - two weeks cast free and I managed to step into a hole in the pavement in Amsterdam, my foot in the same twisted position as when I broke it! Before I even felt the strong pain, I was so angry with myself for letting it happen!
I made it home ok, limping, with pulsing pain in the exact same spots as in the night of the accident.
Oh, well, I thought, no matter how long it would take to heal I am NOT getting a cast again!
And then on Sunday I proceeded (pretending that nothing happened) with yet another trip to Amsterdam. It was a misty and rainy day, but warm, so I opted for walking across town, with frequent breaks for coffee or food. The walk made me go to bed early, and I slept for almost 11 hours. Same thing last night - another 11 hours of sleep...
And guess what?!!! This morning I woke up , got up, and walked!!! Like I have always done - with confidence, no limping, good balance. I felt solid standing on one foot, and albeit I can still feel where the pain was...I could also feel the itching of a healing wound! So great! So happy time! Both shoes are on! :-)

Monday, November 15, 2010

Christmas is near


To think about Christmas in July is probably a bit too early, but once September is over...there comes this time, and it is different every year, there is this special moment when I know it with all my senses that Christmas is near. It could be a song on the radio, it could be someone on the street wrapped in a soft scarf, it could be a cup of hot chocolate, or the scent of freshly baked cookies... something very clearly will draw my attention and it will make me smile...cause Christmas is around the corner! And Christmas is the time when everything is wonderful!
This year it happened on October 22, in the attic apartment of a special friend of mine.
I went for an overnight visit, we walked a bit through town, got some groceries, cooked dinner, ate, chatted, laughed, browsed the Internet together, listened to some music and went to bed.
The morning came seemingly like any other morning...shower, light breakfast, quickly going over out daily plans, sipping Tazo tea...and that's when it hit me...the feeling of Christmas - while the rain was getting stronger outside, and some wind was picking up too...inside the four walls of this apartment, I felt the overwhelming comfort of a daily routine, the joy of simply being myself with a close friend, the warm air coming from the radiators felt like a fluffy soft blanket I wanted to hide into, it felt so cozy, so peaceful...I didn't want this moment to end! It was magical, it felt like Christmas!

The smile is still lingering on my face...I'm making Christmas plans, I'm looking for Christmas cards, and a few presents too!
I am looking forward to a very happy holiday season, and sharing it with some of you!

babies - Part 2



Baby-girl Luisa (NL) arrived on 12 November 2010. Congratulations to Nathalie and Wilco!!!



Baby-girl Natasha (UK) was born on 9 September 2010. Congratulations to Carole and Robin!!!

Chicago - underrated destination



Have a glance at Chicago's charm... CLICK HERE

In my humble opinion, Chicago is one of few quite underrated American destinations. Travelers go to New York, San Francisco, Miami, Las Vegas, Los Angeles...the National parks...and very often miss the gem of the mid-west ... The Windy City.

I've been in love with Chicago ever since I first set foot there on 25th December 1999. Well, the story started much earlier, when I was 6 y.o. and my teacher was telling us about this amazing city far across the ocean, where the buildings are so tall that if you look up to the top, your hat will fall...

I take my hat off to you, Chicago!

Sunday, November 14, 2010

My first trip to Japan (Part 2)

Day 1, 22 March 2001, The Departure

The night before my early morning flight, I didn't go to bed. It's my way of fighting jet-lag. A colleague took me to the Tucson airport before the first signs of dawn. To depart when everybody is still sleeping, and the Sun is still below the horizon, is a magical experience. I'm calm and I smile...the morning is full of hope! I feel like a tiger who lies low right before attacking the prey. I feel strong!
I'm changing flights in Los Angeles and Portland before I head to Nagoya. Portland makes me homesick...it's been a year of daily encounters with palm trees and cacti, I am missing having normal trees around me. I'm missing the birches I planted with my Dad in front of our home in Bulgaria, the walnut threes on the street, the maples in the park... But I'm in good spirits! Flight was smooth and uneventful. What more can you ask for! Next to me was a 15-16 y.o. girl on her way to visit her sister in Osaka. That was the first flight abroad, ever, and she was obviously nervous...if not terrified. I tried to calm her a bit and felt good about myself. After a couple of trans-Atlantic flights under my belt, crossing the Pacific didn't seem to impress me.
At last, we are landing. I'm going through passport control in no time. The customs officer decides to inspect my rather large suitcase and finds the 'rain prayer stick' - a Native American souvenir. He was obviously not please to see it...after all, in Japan people use dehumidifiers, thus how is a 'rain prayer stick' a good thing...
In the last minute of packing, I threw my underwear on top of everything else in the suitcase, and that turned out to be a good thing (for me)...because out of embarrassment at the sight of my lace undies and bras, the officer didn't dig deep enough to find the tin with Bulgarian feta cheese - purchased in the US and brought as a 'special' gift to my friend who has not had any Bulgarian food in over two years.
At the end I am through and ... here is Diana, smiling in disbelieve that I'm in front of her, after 4 years of separation, a Bulgarian friend arriving from America. Nevertheless, she is holding a camera and ready to photo-document my first steps on Japanese land. Moving! She has also brought me a box of candies, a traditional Japanese 'Welcome!' present. The box is tiny, dark blue color, with two white and light blue roses on top. So pretty!
The unbelievable is now a fact - I am in Japan!!!
And then the action starts - is that the right bus to Okazaki? did we buy the right ticket from the vending machine? are we waiting at the right platform?...the Japanese writing is so...confusing!!! And there is barely any English signs at the bus station. Luckily, we made it ok to Okazaki, the small provincial town where Diana has lived in the last couple of years, and which I had heard so much about...and not much flattering things. From the main bus station we are taking a smaller bus to get to Diana's apartment. The bus is very narrow, but the streets seem even narrower - a bus and a car can not just pass each other like that...one has to pull over! And then continue on. Despite the need of the described maneuver, each road has two lanes and they are well marked with blue reflectors on the road.
Finally we arrive at the small apartment where Diana's husband Rado, and Kliment - her son, are patiently waiting! Sigh!
First thing first, we all have green tea - full of antioxidants (trying to live forever? ha!).Then it's time to unpack the suitcase. An abundance of presents is putting smiles on everyone's face. Rado is overwhelmed to get the book on airplanes he so much wanted to have, but didn't dare buy because it was ridiculously overpriced in Japan. Kliment is happy with the toys and the candy! Diana doesn't even want to look at hers, I am her present for today, the others will be unwrapped tomorrow. OK, fine!
Before we know it, it's time to sleep.
So it is true - we all would be sleeping on the floor. We unfold and place the thin sleeping mats on top of the 'tatami' - traditional rice straw flooring providing some extra softness. At the morning the mats will be folded again and tucked in the closet...and so on every day! The legless chairs and 30cm tall table are moved into the corner to free some space for the mats. Everything is so tiny...like an Asian Lego world...incredible! I start feeling like a giant!
We soon doze off...we need the rest...tomorrow is Kliment's Birthday and there is gonna be a party! My first party in Japan!

...to be continued...

Thursday, November 11, 2010

Ajax:Veendam 3:0



The first time I went to a live soccer game (excuse my American way of addressing football!) must have been back in the late '70s - early '80 when Dad took me to a game of Trakia, my home town's team. It was at about the same time Dad took me fishing with him for the first time... He must have been really disappointed that his second child (me!) was again a girl if he was trying so hard to instill in me some manly hobbies...anyway!
I remember I was bored, very bored, especially after I finished the two packs of sunflower seeds. I fell asleep. Then I was awaken by the crowd's shouts and screaming...we won! And then I was happy to go home.

Thirty-something years later I went again to a live soccer game - tonight!, free ticket! (Thanks Carlos!), Biljna Arena Amsterdam!, watched Ajax : Veendam!
The weather could have definitely been more merciful! We didn't really need the thunders and lightnings, and pouring rain, and gusty winds flipping umbrellas left and right...but, hey, at least I wasn't freezing cold :-)

Observations and random thoughts:
1) The stadium seemed smaller than when seen on TV.
2) The lights were nice and bright!
3) Ajax was definitely the better team!
4) The players seemed younger than I expected...perhaps because I'm used to watching Marco van Basten and Ruud Gullit, when I was a teenager... Trivia of the day: Did you know that Ruud Gullit and I have the same Birthday?...only I am 10 years younger? ;-)
5) The hotdog and the beer were good! I just wished it was a bit warmer so I can have another beer...
6) I should have bought an Ajax scraf...at the least!

Long story short - it was great fun!
I've been passing by the Arena many times now, on the train, and every time I think 'I should take a photo for my Dad'...Now I think, perhaps I should get him a ticket to see Ajax...live! Hoping he would enjoy the game more than me...thirty-something years ago... :)

Monday, November 08, 2010

My first trip to Japan (Part 1)

A multitude of reasons sent me on my first trip to Japan. Many people and events intertwined making it impossible to pinpoint what actually started it all. Was it out of curiosity what I would see? Was I hoping to gain some wisdom along the way? Or was I just tired...and seeking an escape from reality? Regardless of the tipping point...my story goes like that...

A few years earlier I became a Reiki practitioner - a Japanese technique for stress reduction and relaxation that also promotes healing. Mikao Usui, a japanese buddhist started it, and I wanted to go to his land, to submerge in his culture, the culture of Asia - so much spoken of, yet, perceived differently by each of us.
Shiatsu is another Japanese alternative medicine approach I'm very fond of - one that treats the reasons for an illness, not the subsequences...How wise!
My love for nature and beauty lead me to Ikebana- the Japanese art of flower arrangements...
Further on, Origami - the Japanese art of paper folding, which is as much fun as creating beauty...

The people involved in this trip are a few...
Diana - best of friend without which my first months in Tucson, AZ would have been unbearable, but with some kindness and a few jokes, she made it all much easier.
Keita - my Japanese boyfriend at the time, who taught me to accept our cultural differences and to love him despite not always understanding him.
Saori - a quite Japanese girl, who was always willing to hear my problems, yet never shared hers. And I'm sure she had some too.

With an on-going divorce at the time too, I went to the beginning of the day, to the land of the Rising Sun, hoping I'll find what was missing... tiny pebbles to fill the mosaic of my days, in a more harmonious way, with more light and hope in the future...

...to be continued...

Friday, November 05, 2010

Globe-Twitter



It must be totally random who and how ends up reading my blogs... outside of my circle of friends, that is.
But it is always such a great feeling to find out that someone you don't know - next door or perhaps across thousands for miles, has read a story you wrote and enjoyed it! Because I like to share the good times...

In an attempt to reach more travel lovers and share amazing travel experiences ... I joined Twitter.
So now I'm not only a Globe-Trotter, but a Globe-Twitter too :)
www.twitter.com/OliveTravel

Photo: Bataviawerf Twitter, 28 September 2010 (www.bataviawerf.nl)

ps. Roel, thanks for spotting the typo! :)

Tuesday, November 02, 2010

I Love Travel




There are many things that I find fun to do and intriguing to learn about.

However, the one thing that I have grand passion for is travel.

To me, travel could be as multifaceted and vibrant as you would want it to be.

I truly enjoy traveling in any of its many variations.

This blog is about sharing my passion...

Enjoy!

Sunday, October 31, 2010

Beer tasting party



The Facts:

55 beers were emptied
24 beers are still in my fridge
15 attendees (13 tasting-experts, 1 pregnant lady, 1 dog)
4.2 bottles average beer intake
2 severe hangovers

The Story:

It was back in July, warm summer evening, I went for dinner and drinks with Bart and Erik. One thing led to another and I learned that it was not only my Dad experimenting with home made spirits. Erik and his Dad were trying to brew their own beer. Attaboys! Of course, I had to twist Erik's arm to promise that when the beer is ready we will try it.
Fast forward a couple of months...Erik reported that the beer is ready, it was time to taste it! So we threw a beer tasting party!
(But not before I secretly tasted the home-brewed-liquid gold...and gave it two thumbs up ;-) ... )

To be honest, I did not expect who knows what from the party. I recently hosted a Wine tasting party too and I was wondering if people won't just think of me as an AA...lol May be I am not far off on that last statement, but I was wrong on my expectation...
I was so happy to see with how much enthusiasm everybody embraced the idea. Each of us was supposed to bring 5 unusual beers. Most of the beer came from Belgium (God Bless Belgium!), but we also had beer from Japan, Tanzania, Mexico, The Netherlands - including some local Utrecht beer!, Switzerland, USA, Scotland, Australia...and the most unusual one was the Coconut beer from Germany/Gana!!! Aside from Coconut and hop, we also tasted berry, cherry and banana beers. Strength-wise, we went from 4.6% (Corona) to 10% (Maredsous). Bottle sizes varied from 330ml to 750ml. Amazing variety, any way you slice it!!!
The Pragt's beer was a total success too...judging by the fact that even my hidden reserve bottle of it was open and gone... :-)
Good job, Erik!

To wrap it up, I'll simply say...I had an awesome time! With friends like that life is festive, fun, fabulous!!! With or w.out the beer... :-) Thank you for coming and I hope you enjoyed it too!

The Photos:

The evening in photos...CLICK HERE

Tuesday, October 26, 2010

babies



It's been a while since the last time a friend had a baby. But this year 5 friends are buying dippers, strollers, pacifiers and all that jazz. One in US, one in UK, one in Spain, and two in the Netherlands! Amazing!

Today I was very happy to hear that my friends Diana and Don had their Joshua on the 16th of October! Congratulations! :)
Diana is my best friend from the time we started playing with science. We've had so much fun times in Sofia, Japan, Alaska, Vegas and Washington...Andi, shall we go again to Thomas' land? :-)

I'm looking forward to adding four more photos to this blog ... :-)

Sunday, October 17, 2010

let's play

I promise to explain this post soon, but for right now...let's play :-)
Would you spear just a moment of your time and particilate in the pole to the right -

Will I move yet again to another country, and this time...to Australia?

Thanks for your vote!
:)

Thursday, October 14, 2010

For whom the sirens go off

The other day a friend twitted: 'De sirenes van de ambulance zijn geweldig om te horen, zelfs 's nachts. Elke keer denk ik: weer potentieel een leven gered!' / 'The sirens of the ambulance are great to hear, even at night. Every time I think, again potentially a life is saved!'
The moment I read it I experienced an overwhelming realization and a flashback...
A realization why exactly I've always liked the sound of ambulance sirens, and a flashback from my childhood.
I must have been 5-6 years old, we were in the city with my Mom, and an ambulance with the siren on drove by.
I'd never seen ambulance before, so my Mom explained that ambulances take sick people or pregnant women who are about to deliver to the hospital. Perhaps in my childish mind, 'sick' was already scary word, so I said 'I hope this ambulance was taking a lady to the hospital to have a baby'. And then I clung to my Mom's arm.
And only the other night I realized that every time I hear an ambulance, I hear hope...
Thanks Erik, for putting it so simple, yet so moving...

Fun fact - Did you know that the ambulance siren sound in UK and US is different from the one in continental Europe? :-)
For the US/UK click here and for Europe click here.

Monday, October 11, 2010

Autumn morning

I love today's October morning.
Spotless blue sky, Sun is out, air is cool and fresh, but not yet chilly.
I have wrapped myself in a blanket of calmness, and I sit in the the garden with my morning coffee, and a cookie.
My face is one big smile, my eyes are smiling too...my hearth beat is steady and strong.
The street is quite, but from the distance comes the ocean-like sound of the cars on the highway. Life out there continues.
I hear the doorbell, my ride to Diakonessenhuis is here.
...
Two hours later I'm back home - the heavy white 'knee-to-toe' cast is left behind in the hospital. Pfew!
What a relief!!!
I have a new cast now - but much smaller one, as small as I could negotiate with the cast-maker. Good job, Iliana!
It's blue and it almost looks stylish compared to the big chunky old one.
And I can actually walk on my own - short distances, but still, a BIG step forward!!! For longer distances I'll still need the crutches.
I am not allowed to drive, but I am allowed to bike. OK, I won't try it right away, because the foot muscles need to warm up for a day or two, but I'm on the way to healing...3 more weeks!
But let me tell you how GREAT it feels that I can walk again, I am not prisoned at home anymore, I can go on the street and see people, I can slowly go to the park and look at the beautiful Autumn colors...I can even go to work (but tomorrow!)...
Ah, the sweetness of freedom! The promise of the Autumn morning...

Sunday, October 10, 2010

choices



It's been 7 days with crutches. All along my friend Mette is telling me it's time for me to learn to enjoy just sitting on the sofa and do nothing. But can I? While I started to get used to the fact that I will be slow physically in the next three weeks...I could not slow down my mind, so I thought of the choices we make and how they shape us...because if I had not chosen to wear high heels for my date on Sunday, I would have (probably) not broken my feet and so on...
So, here are the choices I thought of...feel free to add yours...

Go on a date with the guy YOU LIKE, or with the guy who LIKES YOU
On a sunny day, sit on the COUCH with your cast, or sit in the GARDEN with your cast
On a rainy day, sit on the couch and munch on CHIPS, or sit on the couch and eat an APPLE
Have a COFFEE, or have a TEA
Wait for your friend to COOK FOR YOU, or JOIN YOUR FRIEND in the cooking process (as much as you could)
Read a BOOK, or watch TV
Expect your friends to CALL YOU, or CALL A FRIEND far away who would be happy to hear you on the phone
Have your friends ASK YOU how your feet is feeling, or ASK YOUR FRIENDS how their days go
Have SEX, or MAKE LOVE
See a DRAMA movie, or see a COMEDY movie
TRUST your friend to drive your odd car and take you to a party, or STAY HOME in the safe zone
BE DISAPPOINTED with the people who didn't check on you, or RESPECT THEIR CHOICE not to call you every single day
ASK questions, or ASSUME answers
Focus on the POSITIVE, or let the NEGATIVE take over

Choices, choices, choices... :)
This week I learned to ask for help, I learned to accept to be helped, I learned to be patient (somewhat!)...
What I also learned is...I have chosen the best friends! Again! :-)

ps. I even chose to keep my Saturday flowers promise! Thanks, P.!

Thursday, October 07, 2010

life with crutches - Part 2

Day 4. Cabin fever is taking over. I must escape! Determined to keep my dental cleaning appointment I call a cab to take me to the dentist office...which by foot is merely 650m away, but the one way streets and the park in between makes for a fun 2km ride.
Before I know it my teeth are clean and I can go home. The light fog, the mellow weather, the smell of the Autumn captivate me and I decide to go home by foot, and by crutches. I mean, c'mon, it's only 650 meters, I can see the park from the office's front door, and my house is just on the other side of the park...It can't be that difficult!
Well, surprisingly...it can! It took me about ten stops to rest, and 30 minutes to get home. My face dripping with sweat, my t-shit soaked too!

On the positive side - I saw a couple of picture perfect spider webs (and their habitants), sprinkled with morning dew; a few golden leaves danced for me before landing on the wet green grass; I filled my lungs with fresh Autumn air. I love Autumn!

Curious observation - five people offered sympathy to my slow motion movements. All five of them were 60 and above years old. I guess, they are the ones that can relate, they know we are not invincible, their life is more in sync with the pace of my walking...
Harmony at its best! :-)

Wednesday, October 06, 2010

life with crutches

Have you ever wondered what it is to be in a wheel chair? Or to have a mobility disability?
I have! And these days I am getting some answers...
On Sunday, after a wonderful afternoon in Amsterdam, I picked my bike from Utrecht Central Station and...fell off of it, ending with a broken foot bone and a cast. That last sentence actually summarizes a few hours of running to the doctor, radiology, first-aid, etc. etc....and the same friend who recently saved my broken spirit (see blog I had it) now helped with my broken foot. Will I ever manage to say a proper thank you? :)
Anyway, aside from a very sincere thank you to all my friends who are helping me these days with the grocery, with the food, and entertaining me, driving me to places, being 'there for me' in person, of via the internet...I also want to share - life with a cast and crutches is a pain in the neck! (not only in the foot!)
Every simple chore you do on a daily basis becomes a big effort, many extra muscles get involved, your healthy leg get exhausted from taking all the weight, showering is tricky, you can't even bring a glass with water to you table...because you have to hop...and before you know it, the water is spilled on the floor...Just try it and you'll see...
But, nothing I can do about it, 3 1/2 more weeks in the cast...and all the fun that comes with it! :-)
I can't wait to be back on my feet - literary! And appreciating it in a very new way!

i want to know his story





Do you know this man? I want to know his story...

His shoe polishing stand is on the South exit of the Amsterdam Central Station and one could easily not notice him amongst the crowds of people getting in and out. I actually never seen him with clients, but he is there every time I go to Amsterdam...
The first time I spotted him, a few months ago, he seemed to have just arrived. I would guess he came from Turkey.
He was wearing a simple suit and a light shirt, buttoned up to the neck. He was standing by his shoe stand, tall and proud, hands together on the front, patiently waiting for clients. He looked clean, close shaved, well combed hair, nicely trimmed mustache. He was observing with curiosity, but also with modesty the passing by people, which made me believe he is new to town.
In the following months, he seemed more and more relaxed, and at ease, and finally, this last weekend, he was sitting on a stool and rolling a cigarette. Routine must have settled. Yet, he kept his professional look - looking clean and well groomed, the shoe stand well organized, ready for the next client...
What caught my eye the first and every other time though, was this man's face and presence - I saw confidence, self-respect, and determination. I saw a strong personality. I saw a professional shoe-polisher - proud of his line of work. I was captivated by someone at peace. And I want to know his story...

The picture below is from Istanbul - a few shoe-polish stands by the Spice Market. They had more business than the man in Amsterdam. But I wonder, would any of them dare to go on their own, step outside of the comfort zone and try to make it in a new world? Would they have the strength? Would they have a story?

Friday, October 01, 2010

today I had it

It's not the first time in my life I've felt weak, but today I had it. I normally deal bravely with living in a new country, using a new language on a daily basis, money shortage, emotional turbulence, work boredom, but these last couple of days mixed a strong cocktail of all listed ingredient and escalated the pressure in to the point of waking up this morning ... short on breath, heart beat as if I've ran for dear life, and a paralyzing terror - can I handle it all?!
After a shower, coffee and a grapefruit juice, fully awake, I realized that the terrifying feeling that I'm losing grip is still with me.
So it wasn't just a result of a nightmare. I was really on the verge of losing it...

I needed a solid stone to step on, a safe place where to catch my breath, a trusted friend to look me in the eyes and without words to reassure me that I will be o'right. Given the day and time, almost everybody was not available. Expect for one, who coincidentally was coming back from a business meeting, and on his way to take his 8 month pregnant girlfriend to the doctor.
It took 5 minutes altogether, to sit with a cup of espresso, to look me in the eyes and smile. I took his hand for just a moment, and a wave of peace came over me. The power of the human touch! No words necessary. And then I smiled too, pressure was gone, I gained clarity...

I needed a tiny alignment to gain strength, and I've found it...a mental switch from a very bitter 'today I had it', to a blissful 'today I had it all!'

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

A promise to myself



Do you like my Saturday flowers blogs? Yes, they only consist of a single photo ;-)
Because that's what they are all about... and here is why...
Once upon a time, I lived miserably in the UK. And I desperately wanted to return to the United States - my home. However Life threw a wrench in the works, and I had to look for a new job elsewhere. I applied for a job in the Netherlands, and I made a promise to myself - if I get the job I want, I will buy fresh flowers every Saturday! No matter what!
Well, in the Netherlands such promise is easy to keep, it doesn't even cost a lot...
But what's more important is to keep the promise, and I am! It's great to wake up on Saturday morning, have your morning coffee in town, and then pick some fresh flowers to brighten your days during the week to come! If I have visitors, I let them choose the flowers for me. It's lovely to have the flowers remind you of your friends after they leave. Even the rainy days are not so gloomy with some bright colored flowers!
I think I'm lucky with my decision to come to the Netherlands, and I'm happy to keep my promise!

ps. At the time of writing this blog I have cast on my leg, so...I will have to ask a friend to get the flowers for me this Saturday, but the promise must be kept! ;-)

old poetry

WHERE WE STAND

We crossed the line too many times
Both, with kindness and with selfishness
It isn’t clear where we stand
I need to redefines my boundaries
You want me as a trusted friend
I want you as a friend and lover
And while I’m keen on ‘open-end’
Doubt in your heart is hovering
Not the we are any perfect
Match selected by the stars
But I felt our hearts were pumping
stronger closely, than apart...
(June 2010)

REALIZATION

...I have to trust
when nothing else is option ...
My strengths and weaknesses adjust -
part of an unstoppable comotion
called life, and lust
for it - the magic potion,
,I have to trust,
will take me through the motions...
(June 2010)


'AS IS'

I felt an urge to tell you all -
answer the questions I ignored
As time is passing, my shield gets torn -
I trust you with my soul

You say I’m deep and fun, at once -
could I be otherwise? I wonder…
Like butterfly performing dance
around a flame, without burning…I’m syncing our sins
(May 2010)

UNSPOKEN

...the food is always so delicious,
the wine is smooth, the bread is fresh,
pretend we not to be judicious,
and easily succumb to flesh...

you see by now two tangled bodies,
refuse I firmly such decoy
you feel like God, i feel like Goddess,
let's take it slow and just enjoy...
(April 2010)

CONTRADICTIONS

We live through UPs and DOWNs...
What is an UP, what is a DOWN?
Is it 'Give UP' the right direction?
Is it 'Calm DOWN' a wrong sugestoin?
My happiness might make one sad...
My sunrise is someone's sunset...
My only choice is ... move along,
I have to be and I am STRONG!
(July 2001)

REINCARNATION

Again...
I put all the pieces together
and glue them into a whole Me -
laughing, loving, happy...whatever
I've been always meant to be...
(June 2001)

World Beach Project



Summer days are over!
But one memory is here to stay - a memory of a summer weekend, when Bart and I went to the beach. The plan was to stretch on the warm sandy beach and forget about the world...instead we became part of the world...entering the World Beach Project .
We did try to sunbath for a bit, but the wind made the sand feel like sandpaper against your skin, so instead we played with the rocks.
You could see our modest art piece on the map (it loads slow!) - choose Europe, then zoom in on the Netherlands and you will see one of the markers is 'Hoek van Holland'
That's us :)

Hope you like it, and if you ever go to a rocky beach...play and join the project! It's fun! :-)

Saturday, September 18, 2010

Saturday flowers: The Remake

Friday, August 27, 2010

Why Intelligent People Fail - Part 2

A few weeks ago a friend told me he'd found my blog and in his opinion my own entries are more interesting than the ones I quote from other sources. Could I get any better compliment? ;) Of course, the point was that my blog should carry my own thoughts...or else you will simpy buy a newspaper. Thus, I felt like I owe you my personal view on the article 'Why Intelligent People Fail'... so here it goes...my confession.
First, I think the list of reasons well applies to both personal and professional side of life. And interestingly, both my personal and professional 'hick ups' could be attributed to the same weaknesess. At least I'm consistent!
Lack of impulse control, spreading myself too thin and inability to delay gratification are my Achilles' heel. The common thread?...Lack of patience, hence the need for more and new activities to loose myself in...and I do!
Too much adrenaline in my blood, I guess! But at the end of the day I often feel exhausted :(
Now that I identified the problem (they say that's the first step towards resolving it), would I be able to do something about it? Let's see...and may be Part 3 of this post will follow. Until then, I'm open to hear your comments!

Sunday, August 01, 2010

Saturday flowers

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Why Intelligent People Fail

Content from Sternberg, R. (1994). In search of the human mind. New York: Harcourt Brace.

1. Lack of motivation. A talent is irrelevant if a person is not motivated to use it. Motivation may be external (for example, social approval) or internal (satisfaction from a job well-done, for instance). External sources tend to be transient, while internal sources tend to produce more consistent performance.

2. Lack of impulse control. Habitual impulsiveness gets in the way of optimal performance. Some people do not bring their full intellectual resources to bear on a problem but go with the first solution that pops into their heads.

3. Lack of perserverance and perseveration. Some people give up too easily, while others are unable to stop even when the quest will clearly be fruitless.

4. Using the wrong abilities. People may not be using the right abilities for the tasks in which they are engaged.

5. Inability to translate thought into action. Some people seem buried in thought. They have good ideas but rarely seem able to do anything about them.

6. Lack of product orientation. Some people seem more concerned about the process than the result of activity.

7. Inability to complete tasks. For some people nothing ever draws to a close. Perhaps it’s fear of what they would do next or fear of becoming hopelessly enmeshed in detail.

8. Failure to initiate. Still others are unwilling or unable to initiate a project. It may be indecision or fear of commitment.

9. Fear of failure. People may not reach peak performance because they avoid the really important challenges in life.

10. Procrastination. Some people are unable to act without pressure. They may also look for little things to do in order to put off the big ones.

11. Misattribution of blame. Some people always blame themselves for even the slightest mishap. Some always blame others.

12. Excessive self-pity. Some people spend more time feeling sorry for themselves than expending the effort necessary to overcome the problem.

13. Excessive dependency. Some people expect others to do for them what they ought to be doing themselves.

14. Wallowing in personal difficulties. Some people let their personal difficulties interfere grossly with their work. During the course of life, one can expect some real joys and some real sorrows. Maintaining a proper perspective is often difficult.

15. Distractibility and lack of concentration. Even some very intelligent people have very short attention spans.

16. Spreading oneself too think or too thick. Undertaking too many activities may result in none being completed on time. Undertaking too few can also result in missed opportunities and reduced levels of accomplishment.

17. Inability to delay gratification. Some people reward themselves and are rewarded by others for finishing small tasks, while avoiding bigger tasks that would earn them larger rewards.

18. Inability to see the forest for the trees. Some people become obsessed with details and are either unwilling or unable to see or deal with the larger picture in the projects they undertake.

19. Lack of balance between critical, analytical thinking and creative, synthetic thinking. It is important for people to learn what kind of thinking is expected of them in each situation.

20. Too little or too much self-confidence. Lack of self-confidence can gnaw away at a person’s ability to get things done and become a self-fulfilling prophecy. Conversely, individuals with too much self-confidence may not know when to admit they are wrong or in need of self-improvement.

PS: I found this article interesting... And you?

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

St.Ilia's Day



On July 20, Bulgarian Orthodox Church celebrates St. Ilia Day. According to the Christian religion St. Ilia is a Judaic prophet, a follower of Jehovah. In the Old Testament St. Ilia is known as an ascetic wanderer. In Bulgaria he is honored as sky patron. Ilinden is celebrated to prevent hail and thunderstorms. Whenever St. Ilia gets angry he either locks the rains into his cave or causes hailstorms. It is believed that St. Ilia crosses the sky in a golden chariot trying to kill the dragon that feeds on the wheat. When he shoots the dragon with arrows, on the sky appear thunder and lightening. St. Ilia's Day is celebrated by leather workers, fur dressers, tile makers and bakers. It is also a name day for everyone called Ilia, Ilian or Iliana.

ps: I did not write this blog entry, I found it in the webcashe of a non-exising page, so I don't even know who to thank about it, but I'm sharing it.

down memory lane with the roar of a military airplane

Hot summer day, middle of July...
In the outskirts of Utrecht, my office has no air-conditioning, so the open window and door provide the life maintaining air draft in the near 30 deg C temperatures...
I'm working quitely, and the humming of the cars on the nearby highway is substituting for the sound of the crickets I used to listen to during the summers back in Bulgaria...many years ago...
And then, out of the blue, the roaring sound of a military airplane! Splitting the air in two and shattering the sky in pieces...
Not so usual to hear these days! I feel a tasty adrenalin rush!
I don't know where the plane came from and went to, but by the sound of it...it surely can't be too far, and it wasn't too high...the hair on my skin rises...for no other reason, but because this sound took me instantly down memory lane...and brought back sweet memories.
Having grown up in a communist time Bulgaria, airforce was always alert and flying regularly in preparation for who knows what, or just to pretend we are ready to fight. The village I lived in was near by two military bases, and it was part of the summer fun with my Dad to listen to and watch the overflying MIGs or TUs airplanes and guess which way they are going, sometimes we'd see them, sometimes we would only hear the roar above the clouds, but we knew what the direction is, we also knew if they just took off of have been circling around. Ocasionally we would see formations of two or three planes, and being oblivious to the potential damaging power they had I would only see beauty in it. How easy it was to be a child...

Friday, July 09, 2010

Ashtanga Yoga



The first time I heard of Yoga was back in school when I was a 12 years old teenager, frustrated with not being able to perform a split in my Physical Education class. My Dad told me that Yoga practitioners are the most flexible people, so perhaps I can learn from them. Luckily, my uncle had a book on Yoga, so I dived in it , but all I found was photos of what seemed to be impossible postures, description of breathing techniques which I failed at, and cleansing exercises. It was not too exciting at first, but I tried some simpler postures and with time I discovered that I was gaining flexibility, to the point that I could do a right split after some serious warm up. Success!
Back then I didn’t care that Yoga means ‘to unite’ and that just the stretching is not the real thing. What’s more, I was probably not even doing the postures quite properly, but nevertheless I kept practicing through the years and I’ve noticed that after a Yoga practice I feel calmer.
Years later, having just moved to the States, stress level in my life was getting unbearable. I tried some meditation techniques I was taught , but it was hard to apply them – my brain was like a busy beehive. So I thought of trying yoga, but this time in a more consistent manner. Every Saturday morning, Sunday evening, and once during the week, I would go to various Yoga centrrs in Tucson, Arizona, and that is how I found Ashtanga Yoga.
It was just what I needed – series of strength and stamina demanding postures, a lot of flexing and balancing, synchronized breathing, and as a result - a light and strong body, and a calm mind. In only a couple of months I had (at last!) discovered the true meaning of Yoga – to unite the body and the mind, and to put them in harmonious peace. It felt so uplifting! Daily life became more positive and energetic, yet more relaxed.
Years came and went, yoga being part of them, sometimes more regularly practiced, sometimes not so. I lived in many cities, but I never found as good teachers as the ones I had in Arizona (with exception to one, but I had to relocate). Also I could not find the Ashtanga style I was looking for.
This Monday I went to my first yoga class in Utrecht – Ashtanga Vinyasa Yoga!
Bingo! Perfect click with the place, with the teacher, with the style, with the class pace! My old Yoga skills kicked in after just a couple of Sun Salutations! I felt so hungry for more that I went again on Tuesday! I realized that while going through my daily ToDo lists, going to work, settling in my new place, paying the bills, etc. etc …some of the balance between mind and body was lost, there was a bit of a disconnect. And just a couple of classes brought back the feeling of being United. You go into a posture with an open mind and determination to do it at the best you can, you breath in, the whole world disappears, you are into the posture, you let go off everything on your mind, and you feel the balance, the posture become easier, you enjoy it, you exhale…sublime!

Ashtanga teacher Anne Nuotio says: “It is close to an experience of beauty. As you balance you are not thinking, the feeling is so totalizing. It’s like experiencing a beautiful sight in nature. Those are the rare moments in yoga when you are in ecstasy. I don’t know how it looks, but feels divine.”

Not all asanas come always easy to me – then the teacher would have to come and straighten me out. And often, only a slight alignment, just a millimeter in the right direction and ‘click’ , it gets much easier to hold the pose.
I wonder … is it the same in life … is it a minute alignment that could make everything easier and so much more enjoyable…with the right teacher…? And while I’m waiting for the answer of this and many other questions…I will diligently practice Ashtanga.

Namaste!

Tuesday, July 06, 2010

the aftermath of a 4th of July

I have not been American Citizen for long, yet 4th of July is a very special day for me, captivating the spirit of independency, the uniting of a nation, and the warm friendliness the festivities come with. Friends and families gather to fire a BBQ and have some good time, crowds fill the stadiums for rock concerts including inevitably a 'The Star-Spangled Banner' performance, fireworks light the evening sky for a glorious ending of Independence Day.
I had a very different 4th of July this year...partly because I chose so, and partly because it happened so...and like always, life's surprises push my mind to wander and discover...
I live in the Netherlands now, 3 months already. I like it a lot! Well, I like it so far... ;) Moving to a new country engages all these forgotten survival skills, that go lethargic after you've lived long enough in the same place. It forces you to look at life from a new perspective, to open up for new experiences. That makes me feel young in spirit, alive! I was lucky to meet quite a lot of people in the very first weeks, and make a few good friends right away. So, when 4th of July approached it was a no-brainer that a party was in order! Let the fun begin!
I've always been social and when flamboyant mood strikes me, a party for 20 or more is not unusual, I like to bring people together, I like to mix various personalities, with the one goal - let's have a good time and enjoy life! Space has never been a problem, spending money on drinks and food either, so...you get the idea.
Very surprisingly, this year I felt strongly that a big party is not going to work well... Something had changed. Somehow a shift has happened, and for the first time I didn't need to invite many, I didn't crave the crowd. There was the urge to change the scale of events. I wanted only the people I care about, only the people I have meaningful relationships with. I realized I was exhausted from spreading thin in terms of people. It's funny! As a child I always wanted to have many many friends...and now I do, but I don't have the time for them...Life always finds a way to frustrate us 
The party was small - six people in total. But not short of anything - mai-tai drinks with real orchid flowers, chicken, steak and fish on the BBQ, corn and potatoes, fresh guacamole and chips, plenty of wine, music, dancing, singing ... we even had a Birthday Boy, what else could you ask for! I thought of Terry Pratchet's book 'The Carpet people' - 'All you need to be happy is soft toilet paper, warm soup, and a few kind words'. Well...I think we had it all. I loved the simplicity of the evening, the sincerity and the intimacy. It felt like never before, and it made me feel complete...

Sunday, July 04, 2010

The Netherlands:Brazil 2:0

Being an expat during a World Cup Championship is tricky. Which country to cheer for, what if your favorite team is playing the team of your friends, but it is a fun time nevertheless. I can't tell you what moves me most - is it that something as simple as a game with a ball is uniting nations? is it to see the glowing happy faces of the winning team? is it the ocasional player breaking in tears after a loss? It is a strongly emotional time - determinatin to win, years of hard work on the line, pride, determination, loyalty...Football is like no other sport! Watching the World Cup in the Netherlands is an experience like never I seen before. Streets all in orange, and the national flag, everybody wearing orange on a game day...the atmosphere is fantastic! I watched Netherlands wining over Slovakia in a pub with a colleague. The place was packed, and with one common want in mind, it was great to be part of the crowd. Screams, shouts, cheers, the vibe was unbelievable! I thought I had seen it - the Dutch way of enjoing a game! But then a week later, another great game and the Netherlands won over Brazil! The the oranje madness hit the city! It was like Queen's day is happening again...an orange sea was flooding the center of Utrecht and everyone was so excited, so deliriously happy, drunk from the pleasure of winning! And I was in the middle of it...unbelievably easy to forget about all else, and celebrate, and be happy to be in the right place at the right time! Go Holland!!!

Friday, July 02, 2010

Cabaret



In the Netherlands 'Cabaret' is something that we in the States would call a stand-up comedy show, plus some more music. But the devil is in the details, so let's move on past the definition... :)
After only three months of exposure to Dutch language and culture, I bravely went to my first cabaret show - we watched the Olaf and Jasper's Meuk . With the help of a couple of beers, and Bart translating a couple of words for me (oplossing
= solution, being the key one!), I managed to grasp about half of the jokes, and laughed out loud. Not bad! Despite the akwardness of being the only one at times that has no idea what has been said, and why the audience is explauding with laughter, I had a lot of fun!
It turned out that after 12 years, this was one of Olaf and Jasper's last shows. Jammer! By the time I speak Dutch they will be off the waggon...oh, well!
It was moving to see someone from the crowd offering presents to the cabaret-performers at the end of the show. They also received (from what I understood!) life-long pass to come and have a drink in this perticular Utrecht's venue - the Schiller Theater 'Place Royale'. Althought small in size, the Schiller Theater is a lovely place. Dating back to 1906, the building has always been a stage for performing arts.
Impressive!

Well, for those of you that speak Dutch, here is something from Olaf and Jasper!
And for those you don't - you would have to trust me - it WAS fun!
Laghing out loud is one of my most favorite things to do :)

Wednesday, June 30, 2010

summer bliss


Munching pretzels, sipping ice-cold coke and listening to music.
Wearing a simple dress, loose flip-flops...and letting the air tickle my skin.
Soon I'll hop on the bike and let the wind mess my hair.
All awhile the air smells so sweetly of linden tree blossoms.
Summer is here...and I love it :)

Tuesday, June 29, 2010

how

how do I remember pain?
how do I foresee it's coming,
so I avoid it...

how do I remember lie?
how do I detect the patterns,
so that I break them...

how do I remember loss?
how do I predict the outcome,
so I advance...

how do I remember hope?
how do I backtrack the path to it,
so I don't lose it...

how do I remember strenth?
how do I prepare myself,
so I move on...

how do I remember smile?
how do I engaged the muscles,
so I can laugh again...

how do I remember love?
how do I foreknow it's happening,
so I submit to it...

Monday, June 28, 2010

two random men in my life



Have you ever known someone who you would get into an argument with, and tension will escalate to the point of no return, and not only that, but you'd never want to speak to that person again, never ever, even years later....never...Have you?
I think I have.
We met on the internet, then in person, then we had it great for about 8 months, love was in the air, and then in just 2 days together it all collapsed in the ugliest way. According to him I was a very negative person, pretentious, self-centered, looking down on people, rude and emotionless. He wondered how I could possibly have friends.
Well, I know I am not perfect, and I probably did a few things wrong during these two days. Nevertheless, to hear such judgment is harsh. But they say everyone is entitled to their opinion, so I faced the fact that I have no place in this man's life and moved on.
After a while I overcame the pain, but I could not stop wondering...how was it possible - we got along so well for eight months, and then in just two days something so radically off the charts took place?!
I let time do its healing magic for about two years, and then I decided to call this man again, for the good time's sake...to try to bridge the gap filled with questions, hoping I could learn something about people in general, or something about me, or just out of curiosity for human kind.
Well, within the first minute of our phone call I realized some gaps can't be bridged, some gaps will never be closed, and perhaps...they should stay that way. Let them be the lessons from which we learn and grow...and move on!
And so I did, deleting his name and number from my phone.

On the other hand, another man...a random man I see every Saturday on the flower market. He sells flowers. His flowers are just as good as everyone else's are, his prices are just as good as everyone else's are, but he always have less buyers around. And I don't feel the urge to buy from him either...not sure why.
Last Saturday I just stood at the market and watched...he would stand behind his flowers and shout 'Fresh flowers! 3 bunches for 5, 3 bunches for 5!' But as soon as a client gets closer, he would stop shouting, and just stand there still. Not saying a word, not encouraging the people to buy, not offering a suggestion, or just the casual small talk...it felt like he didn't have the communication bit going.
I decided to buy from him that day, I tried my handicapped-Dutch, I smiled a lot, I looked into his eyes, I tried to make a connection - a simple connection with another human being. And it worked! At least it seemed to me that his face got a bit brighter , even for that short time, he smiled and it felt good.
I don't think I will always buy my flowers from him, but on that day I decided to do it, for the sake of approching the ones that are probably most troubled and distant from the crowd. And as my Dutch gets better, I will try to chat him up and hear his story...

On that day I bought red peonies - I once read that according to Feng Shui, peony flowers bring love to one's life...and I hope they do, because once loved, we then easily spread love around...and everything falls into place.

Thursday, June 24, 2010

Sounds and scents in Utrecht


If memory still serves me right, I have moved 28 times in my almost 38 year long life. At times with more excitement, at times just because I had to. Moving a floor or two higher, or thousand of miles away, a move is a move.
As soon as all my boxes are in the new abode, I intuitively tune in to the sounds and the scents it comes with. For some reason (very probably a basic animalistic instinct!) getting familiar with them is my way to bond with the place and start feeling safe, at home. It doesn't matter if it is the humming noise of the fridge, or the smell of a new laminate floor...they simply add some coziness and give the place a unique character.
The sounds of Utrecht are magical!
I don't even know where to begin...
I wake up to the sound of bycicles rushing in the morning, high heels walking the pavement, kids chattering lively on the way to school...or if later in the morning on the weekend - church bells and chimes. I simply loooove the sounds of church bells! Occasionally, I'll hear a rooster...have no idea who has it and where they keep it, but there you go - there are roosters in Utrecht. Even the noisy garbage truck on Friday morning sounds friendly. And if you happen to be in the garden around 7pm, dinner time in the Netherlands, you will hear the familiar sound of silverware and plates through the open windows of the neighbor's apartment above...so cozy!
I moved to Utrecht at the end of March, and they say it's best to move to a new place in Spring time, so you see it at its best. I think I did it right! Spring was in the air - fresh and crispy, filled with the gentle scent of green grass, blooming trees and first flowers, so full of optimism! Then for a week it was the season of white, blue and purple acacia flowers climbing up outside walls and fences. Their light sweet smell is the perfect companion for a late night walk. A week later - lilac bushes were in their prime! Intoxicating scent that makes me close my eye every time I smell a lilac bloom. Haven't you?
Another week of warm weather, and the Queen of all flowers took over the stage. Roses were everywhere and their scent filled the air, much lighter than the lilacs, but so much more refined, as if asking for special attention, as if holding back and playing a game...ok, a rose is a rose! :)
And this week...another magic happens - the Linden trees ("Tilia cordata",http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Tilia) started blooming! They really fill the air with such calming sweet scent, so familiar from my childhood, that I can't help it but to smile every time I inhale it. One can also make a delicious tea from the linden tree flowers...but that goes beyond sounds and scents :)
At work, I enjoy listening to the wind going through the crowns of the birch, maple and oak trees under my window. And the occasional ambulance in the distance...:)
At home, I love the company of the birds' songs...not for nothing I live in the Vogelenbuurt ('The Birds' neighborhood')
1. And when for a walk in Griftpark, the most sublime pleasure is to hear the clock tower bells, inhale deeply the cool afternoon air filled with the wisdom of the day, and while looking at the grand Dom tower silhouette, to let the last Sun rays for the day kiss my face with warmth...

Friday, June 18, 2010

Simple pleasures


If wanting to have a British car on the Continent, one inevitably has to change the headlights - it's the law! After numerous phone calls to Toyota, three drives there and five times getting lost in the highway spider web in midst of which Utrecht is placed...I managed to leave my car in the shop, hoping that I did communicate clearly what needs to be done.
And then came the reward for all that hassle - one day rental Toyota Prius!

You know I love my "grand cherry" Toyota Aygo, but ... once you push the start button of the Prius, you know we are talking a whole different game!!!
I had almost forgotten how a real automatic gearbox feels, how fast the acceleration is, how smooth the ride...It's such a feeling!
Very, VERY tempting to take the day off and just drive around the NL highways, and indulge the speed! Who cares that I just attended an OMI Science Meeting talking about air pollution, climate change and such...
The masculine power, the full control, the pleasure of driving a good car...So simple, yet so fun! Even for a day!
And tomorrow ... I'll hop again on the bicycle and pretend to be Dutch :)

Thursday, June 17, 2010

my relationship with music

Words are extremely powerful...
and a picture might be worth a thousand words...
but a melody...
it takes you places only you (secretly in your mind) know about...
it brings up feelings (you keep only to yourself) to the surface...
it heals your spirit (that no one knew was broken) like magic...
makes you dream again...
brings life in your veins...
it let you JUST BE...
:)

Tuesday, May 25, 2010

so what

...the coat hanger is still laying on top of the shoe cabinet, the lader is still serving as a coat hager - now in the common entry it could well annoy my neghbour...the clock, the 'short cirquit', my portrait are still waiting to be hung on the walls, patio chairs missing, wind constantly blowing away the cherry pattern table cloth, a pile of cables remain unmanaged in the corner...and a few other things not yet tended to ... so what, this chaos is only begging for time.
in my head though, things are amazingly calm - no big plans, no promisses, no stress...things are just going well and I love it...when a smile is the first thing I see when I wake up, and a kiss is next...I feel on top of the world...

Saturday, April 10, 2010

excerpt

These last few days I let myself wake up whenever my body feels like it...the time or the day matter only so much...I'm in the middle of my month off between jobs, between countries, between lives...
My brain is awake, my body rested, eyes half open... blue sky...from the comfort zone of my Hastens bed I am so positive :)
It's Saturday - Flower Market Day. But before heading out and taking my Dunlop bike for a ride, I'll set the routine for Saturday mornings...
Opened the window for some fresh air, 'Sex and the City' DVD in the player,
coffee maker on, while I'm squeezing two oranges into a glass, cube of ice to cool it, and a glass of water - because it's good for me :)
Quick and simple breakfast - piece of baguette with a couple of slices young Gouda cheese.
The Sun is peeking in already, a few rays reflect in the glass of orange juice as if trying to steal it...I smile.
A second later, in an armchair, I am enjoying a perfect weekend morning in Utrecht ...Good morning, everyone! :)