Wednesday, January 26, 2011

What do you miss most about home?

Travel Through Food Destination: Bulgaria

When I ventured into the thrill of being an ex-pat, the one thing I was very sober of was the fact that I won't be able to speak fluently. Despite months of learning English diligently, I KNEW I will have to relearn it once I land on American land. At home I took pride with my ability to play with my language and I knew I was going to miss this fun. Aside from that I was head over heels about what my new life would be like...I was 100% curiosity.
So it came a bit as a surprise when a few months down the road new colleagues and friends asked me 'What do you miss most about home?'... Was I supposed to miss something? I almost felt guilty, but I didn't really miss much, at least not yet. Back home I had family and friends, but I also had half of my family and friends already living abroad, so...I was not really getting it...If I wanted to see someone, I could just fly and visit. If I wanted some Bulgarian food I could go to the international food shop and buy the few unique things. I really didn't feel at loss. I was actually enjoying the expanding of my world.
Many years passed by. I still find it exciting and enriching being an expat. I added a couple of countries to the list of places where I've lived...and I may easily add another one or two, if the winds change...
What do I miss most about home?
I'm not sure... but in an attempt not to sound too full of myself, I'll admit that I miss a couple of fruits we used to have in my parent's garden - quince and medlar. They are not widely popular, at least not in the States, UK and the Netherlands.
Their taste is very specific - not too juicy, not too sweet, a bit tart even. Quince and medlar are both originating from mixing apple and pear trees, but they look so different.
Quinces are large and yellow, more pear shaped. Medlars are walnut-size brown balls. Both are usually not eaten when first picked, although they are edible - the quince is too dry and tart (but I like it!) and the medlars are left to rotten - and that's when you eat them (be aware of the pits!)
Normally, they are used for jelly...the MOST flavorful and delicate jelly I could imagine! And it carries the flavor of home on a fresh authumn day, with a crispy air and generous portion of sun...and that I miss...sometimes...

(Photo from

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

My first trip to Japan (Part 3)

Day 2, 24 March 2001, The Birthday

Early wake up. A long day is ahead of us. Diana asks me if I prefer tea or coffee. Coffee, I answer. With milk and sugar, or black, she asks. And now I have to smile. It's been more than 8 months since the last time someone asked me in the morning how I like my drink. Feels nice!
Somehow I don't feel any jet-lag. That's great, we won't be wasting time with it, so we head to the market - with the bicycles. To an American that may sound a bit odd, but to a Bulgarian that's fine. It's a good idea to take the bikes, because we can see more of Okazaki. Everything around me is so interesting - tiny houses, narrow streets, even the cars are miniature versions of what's driven in Europe and America. The tree crowns are chopped oddly, very short branches. It's so that they don't get blown by the winds and not to tear any electric wires. And all wires are above ground - because of the earthquakes.
We first go to the Grand Market, where most stores are American chains. Feels like back home, but wait...the grocery store is also a miniature version. Very small shopping cards, small packages. Coka-cola is nowhere to be found in a 2 liter bottle, the max is only 1 liter. The largest milk carton is also maxing at 1 liter - not like in America, by the gallon (3.78 liter). There is an abundance of food that looks unfamiliar and I can't stop asking about this and that, and the thing over there... Diana still has the patience to answer my questions, but very soon she will switch to a 'Well, I'm not entirely sure.' because even after a couple of years in Japan, she is still as lost as me at times.
After we added a cake and a box of birthday candles to the shopping card, we can call it success! We have everything needed and we are ready for the party!
Back at Diana's apartment and before the guests arrive we sit down to plan the following two days. We will go to Tokyo and visit the graveyard where Mikao Usui was buried after his last years of work with Reiki. And then we will head to the foothills of Fuji, where Diana's son could play in his favorite Tomas's land park, while we enjoy the snow covered mountain. In order to plan it all, since there is no internet in the apartment, we open a number of travel guides, maps, train schedule tables...and Diana starts reading, looking for connections, hotel to stay at, checking the distances...and I feel like an idiot, because I don't know a word in Japanese!!! My PhD is worth nothing, but at least it's fun to watch Diana figuring it out!
Next comes the party. But I'll save you the details ... the important thing is that Kliment managed to blow all 4 candles in 3 attempts...attaboy! and had tons of presents to unwrap!!!
And the adults had all kind of rice cookies and snacks, and some sushi too. You gotta love rice!
The company consisted of 4 Bulgarians, 1 Russian, 1 German and 1 Thailand lady. The last two compeated in a speedy-getting-drunk Tequila contest...The German lost! Still...a good show! :) The festivities ended around 2am ... quietly watching a Russian movie. be continued...

Sunday, January 23, 2011

Making the most of Almere - a 24 hour adventure

Most times I plan my travels, weeks in advance.
Other times... I just hop in the car and drive off. That's what happened this last Friday...
I needed to escape! I needed a destination that is simple, yet not too bland; offering some quietness, yet something for my curiosity too. With the engine already on, I contemplated Rotterdam, the Delta works, Texel and finally decided to go to Almere.
Why Almere? It's not too far, it is on the IJsselmeer, a nice day-spa is in the vicinity of the city, and because it is a new city ... it's full of contemporary architecture, which I am so fond of. Enough for a day trip!
The most intriguing fact about Almere, in my opinion, is its location. Almere is on the Flevopolder which was claimed from the IJsselmeer only in 1968. IJsselmeer itself was once a part of Zuiderzee, but turned into a lake after the building of the Afsluitdijk in 1932. In a nutshell, Almere sits on a man-made island, in a man-made lake. Isn't that amazing?
I find my way to the city center easy and I pick Hotel Finn for my one night stay. After a short stroll down the street I end at the massive City Mall Almere featuring 120 shops, movie theater, restaurants, etc. Fun! But with all my respect, it looks just like any newer mall in a bigger American city. Only the people speak Dutch :)
Next stop, Thermen la Mer. Easier said than done, because my GPS failed to find it. While driving left and right, with no clear direction, I accidentally end up on the Fontanapad, a small park with excellent view of Almere's skyline. What a luck! Amazing! I snap a shot and continue.

After another thirty minutes of driving and the GPS telling me to turn where there is no road (Arg!!!!)...I call a friend for directions and finally get to the spa.
I spent four blissful hours in between a Finnish and a Meditative saunas, a Turkish bath, a swimming pool and also enjoyed delicious dinner and a drink. All my daily troubles melted away... at 90-95 dec C.
Back in the hotel a comfy bed was awaiting to offer a nearly ten hour sleep.
On the next morning I set the GPS to take me to Eilandenbuurt and Tahitistraat. There I saw some of the Gewild Wonen Expo 2001 Flexible Housing homes and also the pretty cool Exhibition Houses. To tell the truth, most of the residential areas are joy for a contemporary architecture fan like me. I snap a few shots from the car, because it feels a bit awkward taking a photo of someone's house... Imagine someone is doing it to me. Would I be thrilled? Perhaps not :-) If they only knew how excited I was to see their homes. I start wondering how they look on the inside...but I doubt I would ever find the answer to this question.

From there I took another wild shot at driving randomly and ended on the Gooimeerdijk, near by the city beach where I went for a walk. After that drove to the Muiderzand Marina - an old friend of mine. I visited the marina back in December, but the water was frozen, the boats were out of the water - they looked a bit sad on their stands, reminded me of trees without roots. Now life was back, watter glittering under the sun, wind almost pleasantly warm, boats making clinking sounds, ready to sail.

Now I take the Oostvaarderstdijk. It is not a big dike, but it's the first time I could see clearly how the land to the right is really laying lower than the water on the left. Unbelievable, but true! Windmills to the right are turning ... typical Dutch landscape.
Last stop before I head home - the Polderland Garden of Love and Fire. This place must be many times prettier when the trees are green and the sun in shining, but even now, it was very pleasant and had a very calming effect with the three canals, the minimalistic sculpture, and different trees in perfect straight rows and lines. The architect was inspired by a poem to create this project, The living flame of love, and the lines in the garden represent the connection between people in different places and times. So pretty!

With this my 24 hour adventure making the most of Almere was complete.
It was not the most exciting trip of my life, yet, it was very pleasant and relaxing. Interesting and adventurous too!

More photos? Click here :)
More info on Flevoland? Click here :)

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Yoga marathon - part 2

On Day 3 I decided to introduce some diversity ... I didn't go to the Yoga Club. I did some stretching at home, and I meditated. I also practiced Reiki. Reiki is an ancient Japanese healing technique working with the energy of the Universe. I needed to calm on a deeper level and Reiki is the only way to reach that ultimate calm and peace within. Then I felt the need to be silent.
How? Hit the road, Jack!
I picked a boring destination with a spa center, and for 24 hours I almost did not speak (aside from ordering food, checking into the hotel and the spa).
I did not even listen to music in the car - the monotonic sound of the car engine was enough.
On the way to the sauna I got lost - well, my GPS got me lost. There was an extra opportunity to try to detach from the turbulence of the world around me. I think I managed.
In the spa I spent two hours in the sauna, had dinner and a nice swim.
Back in the hotel I watched a movie - 'Alles is liefde' Dutch. And since my Dutch is extremely limited, the movie was more or less like a cartoon to me. With the effect of making my brain relax and accept its limitation. Remember Yin Yoga? Yes, something like it...
I slept really well for eight hours. Had a coffee and left the hotel. Destination - unknown, but sticking to the same area in Flevoland. After some Brownian motion driving, I ended at a marina, where I was soothed by the view of the water, the sound of the waves, the sun on my skin, and the pure bliss of doing NOTHING!!! I just enjoyed my lunch and stared out the window.
After driving for a while on two different dikes and enjoying the view of water and windmills it was time to head home.
The ultimate ending was a visit to the Polderland Garden of Love and Fire - a 'meditative labyrinth' of trees, water, grass and art. A very relaxing, yet inspirational place.
I'm home now and it's time to get on the mat again...silence and yoga are all I need tonight.
Tomorrow, I'd have to segway back to reality...
After a last yoga practice I am meeting a friend and visiting an exhibit. Exhibitions are nice...they don't require talking. Not talking is wisdom. Even while typing this I want to stop and be silent. But you would wonder why the abrupt ending... :)
Talking often means going over events that had happened in the past, or planing future activities...and right now, all I want is the presence of the presence...

Thursday, January 20, 2011

My FaceBook 2010

Wondered what my FaceBook wall looked like in 2010? Here it is. Enjoy!

@ Not sure if I am happier because 2009 is over, or because a brand new 2010 is just 20 hours away... Happy New Year and Cheers to all! :)
@ I am experiencing difficulties focussing at work today... Is it just me?
@ Snowed in car and a mojito kind of day
@ Bull's-eye ... ps: We can't be far behind Wisconsin...only the measure units are 'cm' ;-)
@ Mother Nature added an extra thrill - we woke up to no running water. And no still water in the corner shop . Since I didn't feel like washing face, etc. with bubbly water I melted some snow (Andi, don't laugh!) As if riding the car with a shovel /dust pan/ as a companion, and the 'clear your own parking spot in the snow’ drill on the ECMWF parking lot was not enough!What more Engand? Bring it on!
@ My best friend had to outdo she is the proud owner of 3.3 houses (WI, VA, MD), while I only had two (WA, WI)... :)
@ I conclude with sadness that it's time to sell home No 2 ... snif, snif...
@ I am reading her first red-tape letter in odd!

@ I love this song’s new version … Everybody hurts…
@ The snow is back (although not as bad as in DC...for now) and my Toyota is amongst the 'lucky' ones to be recalled.
@ Two days of walking, 30km biking at -3C, one falling off the bike...but I found a studio in Utrecht! Hurrayyy!
@ Coincidentally, I tend to travel to Asia when on a major life crossroad. So far, Asian wisdom has done the magic. Will it this time?...Off to Tokyo...
@ Oh, life…so full of surprises…
@ Bright morning, Sunshine through the window Pours in, fills up my hearth with joy Endless cycle going Silent wisdom passing by... Grab it and enjoy!
@ If you can't quite remember a night, does it mean it's been memorable? Eagle's Tequila sunrise got us the top score of 90 in the Tokyo's Cats karaoke bar. Kampai! ...Singing classes paid off...finaly :)

@ Chestita Baba Marta! Veseli, zasmeni, s martenichki ukraseni! :-) ... to v Tokyo martenichki niama, no moje da se 'ukrasim' s po edno bialo i edno cherveno vino! ;-)
@ Island hopping (Great Britain-Honshu-Great Britain) is over. Heading to the Low Lands in 27 days.
@ I had an amazingly sunny w/end...and fun too :-) The news of the day: Got tickets to DJ Tiesto's show on Thursday, London O2 Arena. So cool!
@ Why do hairstylists and I never find a common language?!!!
@ I found peace within despite the very extrovert w/end! happy happy happy ! :) Happy wedding, Maria!
@ I knew it! ... that my two Kyoto yellow tea cups will find their matching blue tea-pot...when the time is right! S&F, thanks for the lovely time!
@ I find the sound of ice cubes in a glass of coke to be the perfect sound of Spring!
@ I was not granted even a second to enjoy the fact she secured the keys to her new NL flat. Thanks Andreas! The moment I was off the phone with a huge smile on my face, my cell rang: 'Er, it's the removal company, we changed the pick up date/time'. 53 minutes, and 7 phone calls later, I sorted out the issue. I truly deserve a drink tonight! Of course, after karaoke-ing ‘Tequla sunrise’ at the ECMWF party tonight ☺
@ Range, microwave, toaster, cupboards, kitchen - clean! Bathroom - 80% cleaned. Fridge/freezer - 50%. Tomorrow the windows...and a bit more packing...Two more work days writing reports. And that's it... 2 nights of going away parties and I'm done with the UK page of my life! ... sigh...
@ It's 1:10am and I wonder exactly how many people constitute an orgy…
@ I am off to a going-away party number two
@ O'right, now that the last going away party is over(and a total success!)...I can go to tomorrow's happy hour at work ... and catch a later ferry to the continent :-)
@ It's 26 March, 20:44 , I am on the move…
@ It's 28 March. I made it - 564km in total, 36 hours, one ferry ride, 10 hours of sleep, some serious amounts of coffee, 2 cocktails, 4 friends and....wait, what's that shitty smell - ah, the mover guy didn't flush his 'piece of art' (due to missing flushing handle on the toilet) Oh, well...Good morning from Utrecht ! :-)
@ Gisteren avond gingen wij naar O'Leary Pub! Leuk eerste dag in Utrecht! :) Vanavond - nog een fijne vestiging vestiging.
@ Day three - resident and work permits obtained! Getting Social-Fiscal number tomorrow...and with that I become kind of normal resident of I'll stop boring you with the daily grind details :) ...thanks for tunning in and the support!!!
@ Absolutely gorgeous sunny day in Utrecht! Beer at a terrace anyone? ;-)

@ Who would have thought that the 3rd thing I'd buy in NL after a bike (50 Euro) and a lock (17 Euro) would be a 5.3m (max) telescopic ladder (159 Euro)! Time for another Leffe ...
@ I was in the dark for an hour due to an incorrectly wired outlet, which blew the main fuse. In NL, the main fuse could be reset only by an electrician, for the modest amount of 67 euro. On the bright side - I met one of the neighbors, Mark, who called the electrician for me. So nice to have a friendly neighbor who speaks English :)
@ I love evenings that end after 4 am...
@ I am tired of being the one-man orchestra...Grrrr! May be a night of good sleep will calm me down...
@ I am enjoying a cup of red tea... and the pile of boxes just delivered by IKEA!
@ I know magic - 10 boxes turned into a sofa, two bookshelves, two coffee tables, TV stand, wardrobe and a dresser. However I suck at interior design - the two attempts to place things around are still not making me happy...hence, I'm going out for a drink! "With a sky full of sun, the medicine goes down..."
@ I and FB's photo-uploading tool have an unhealthy relationship. Shutterfly is still my photo-space. Recent photos from NL have just been uploaded :)
@ I am introducing Saturday's morning routine: shower, flower market, coffee... G'Morning! :)
@ Scott, it seems Saturday night routine will be: beer in bar#1, beer in bar#2, EKKO - the neighborhood's dance club which also turned out to be the city's most indie music venue, so...I think Saturday is well taken care of ;-) Agree?
@ Nothing turns me on (intellectually!) like a language course! 5 day intensive course in Dutch started. Call me kinky, but ...I LOVE IT! :)
@ I think it's time for a housewarming get-together: Friday, 23 April, 7pm, Jan Van Der Heijdenstraat 27, Utrecht, 3514XD ;-)
@ I am happy!
@ After a week of intellectual kinkiness, a lovely housewarming party and a blissful Saturday, it's time to finish some long-overdue ECMWF reports and nicely end the UK stage of peace with myself.
@ I am looking forward to a fun and friends filled week ☺
@ My gypsy gene awoke - on the road tomorrow! Yeee!
@ I ran out of prepaid internet :( Too $$$ to get another prepaid SIM. Back to the mercy of the neighbour's wireless and the library's 30 min free internet allowance per work day! How is that 2010???!!! Hopefuly in 2 weeks the real thing is up and running! I'll miss you all...
@ De loonse en drunense duinen
@ Last week off work ... started a new Dutch class, Sushi dinner and cocktails, awesome road trip to De Loonse en Drunense Duinen, got my dinning table from IKEA A'dam, met with Rachel and Stela, got a ticket for my sister to visit, now ready for the Queen's day festivities to start ... I'm on cloud 9! :)
@ When it rains, it pours...literary, with thunders and lightning ... yet, so fun to meet with friends and chat the night away... :)
@ The day starts with a great news... but it's not for me to tell you what it is ;)
@ And then came the rain ... well, the drizzle... Heading out for a walk, coffee and flowers :)
@ I considered for a minute the thought of buying 1000 tulips. 130 turned out to be enough :) Quite night tonight - reminiscing the great times from the last few days...and thankful for all the good friends I have...

@ Learning a language with the wrong teacher is like dancing with a clumsy partner stepping on your fun at all :( ... but at least the first day at work was fun! Go TROPOMI!
@ Got my work computer if I knew what to do with it...aside from FB-ing... ;-) How about some work...
@ Sushi at home with Bart
@ I bought a pair of shoes, a new SAMSUNG cell phone, checked 3 yoga places, and after trying making sushi last night, today I made 'eertesoup' soup (very Dutch!). Next on the menu is Thai food :) But tonight I settled for three beers and free concert in Transwijk's a Liberation day today in NL. After only 35 day...s in NL, I manage to see a familiar face in a crowd of thousands...isn't that odd!
@ What is more powerful - the power of a lie or the power of fear?
@ When was the last time you received no e-mails in a work day...for me that's today! Note to self: bring iPod and headphones to work in order to reduced amount of coffee during work hours. And how much coffee did YOU have today?
@ A guaranteed way to entertain (or embarrass) yourself: go out on town, have a good time and then rush home to comment on as many FB posts as possible under the influence of alcohol. It makes for a good read in the morning :) Make sure you have your security setting rights, so that only your friends are exposed to your... charm (or ignorance). Have a nice w.end everyone :-)
@ Last night's movie was portraying the power of a good BJ, tonight's - the power of human's brain. I'd like to be good at both!
@ The day's highlights: crepes for breakfast, gardening, Giro Italia 2010, ice-cream, Thai for dinner
@ Enjoying first cup of Nespresso on my first work-from-home day! :)
@ OK, winter is back...I biked with gloves and hat. That much for my scanty outfit for tomorrow's outing. But perhaps it will warm up...a little... :)
@ How did it happen that my May, June and 2/3 of July's w.ends are already filled with activities?!! I need to slow down and take it easy....
@ I just acquired some serious (and classy!) ammunition - Nikon N90, Polaroid 125 and a Brownie Target SIX-20. Steve, you are way cool! Thanks so much! :)
@ Boboti
@ I stole Kings of Leon from a friend, he caught me, I blushed & smiled, he laughed. Now I listen to the album and feel a bit sad, a lot tired, and somewhat out of my element...but I know all will be ok, because that's just the way it is...Music volume on max...
@ Two minor things on my's Friday after all... 1) why on some days my FB wall looks fine, and some days the layout looks messed up? 2) if this is a wall, are we all grafity masters?
@ Gorgeous sunny day! Utrecht looks so lovely from the tour boat! May be try a canoe next time...or learn to swim first...
@ My first Polaroid photo! (the second one was a
@ I am getting anxious for RockingPark
@ I am in a mood for pineapple up-side down cake!
@ Cooking Bulgarian food tonight...will it turn out o'right? The post is open for bets, the winners will get a shot of my Dad's home made Eau-de-vie'2009 :-)
@ I am is doing chores today...discovering the charm of simple things like planting geranium plants, changing the flowers in the vase, taking the garbage to the dump station, mounting a hanger on wall... :)
@ ‎...the recap of a great w/end = lovely dinner + beautiful night walk ( + Saturday morning routine (remember?...flower market + coffee) + Birthday Party with friends + more friends and fun exploring Utrecht   (bart, stuart, markus Bday)
@ Today's matra: Don't let the Scorpion wake up!
@ On the last day of May I did some Spring cleaning and my 142 Friends list was reduced to 36 True Friends list. After the movie tonight, I'm going to Zuses and having a drink for you! Cheers!

@ If I was a meal, I would probably be a sweet and sour soup!
@ Here is the dilema - I'm either single and witty, or I fall in love (always head over heels) and loose my edge ... sooo annoying ! Ag! (and by the tone of this post...guess where I
@ Don't you think FB is rather opinionated when it comes to its Settings...I wonder what's FB's gender :)
@ First sunbathing for the season! ... and a wonderful weekend in progress... :)
@ A friend just pointed me in the right direction : "Truth is, everybody is going to hurt you; you just gotta find the ones worth suffering for." (Bob Marley)
@ Another w/end full of life
@ I didn't bike to work today (it rained) , but if I had, I would have enjoyed yellow irises and watter lilies in the canal along the bikepath...begging for a photo...
@ OK, I biked!!!...I got TOTALLY soaked :)The rain was warm and playful...the rainbow was stunning, and sky is golden now... heading out for a beer :)
@ ‎...and when there is nothing else left, there is always music...
@ KNMI outing
@ ‎...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...
@ Two days of good times in purple shades...what's the color of today, I wonder :)
@ When you wake up too early on a Sunday morning, you step into the garden for inspiration...
A lesson I learned: Rain water in your candleholders is the easiest way to clean old wax glued to the glass
A promise I made: To apologize to my Mom for humoring her fresh mint tea
@ ...Enjoy the album, while I sip some fresh mint tea… and read a couple pages from a book...have a nice Sunday... :)l
@ Today's tipping point : Invictus ... (Bart,Scott,Leslie, Nadia, and my favorite grandma are such an inspiration!)
...It matters not how strait the gate,
How charged with punishments the scroll,
I am the master of my fate
I am the captain of my soul...
@ What do you think of trust?
@ ... simple pleasure (rental car)
@ Off to germany!
@ Putting continental style headlights on a UK car - 645Euros, spending a special day in Germany - Priceless! Tonight - out dancing and celebrating NL's win over Japan!
@  I'm slowly falling in love...
@ PANN party
@ Will 30 love letters help me steal the heart of the one I love?
@ I wonder what post exactly will make you ALL laughing out loud :)
@ Feeling miserable - sick with cold, cough, allergy :-( Low energy level.
Finished the bowl with candy. Should I get a beer too? It could barely get much worse...
@ Going to a Dutch spa/sauna tomorrow! Stay tuned!
@ Viva Hollandia :)
@ The spa day was awesome, but why did I have to smack my head in the car door frame, get a 1.5cm split in my eyelid, and color it blue? I"m priceless :)
@ Saturday morning routine - check! Feeling content with the state of the world - check!
Utrecht a great city to live in - check! Pocket in camera to snap a few Kodak moments while cruising the city...DOH!
@ A long w/end of delight and 'fun and tears' :-)
@ in the vogelenbuurt
@ Just received my NL licence plate number in the mail. And now I have to order the license plate itself. Odd! Anyway...if you see a red 51-LTR-6 Toyota Aygo in Utrecht, that would be me :)

@ ..subscribed for National Geographic Traveler magazine Dutch :)
@ Vuvuzelas :) What a day! Go NL! And the 30+ temperatures...I love this real summer spell!
@ I feel festive! :)
@ Happy 4t fo July, everyone! I am so happy...for so many reasons!
@ Viva Hollandia!!!!!!!!!!
@ Strange feeling, when your colleagues are discussing your project future, right in front of you, bt it goes in Dutch, so I understand only a little, yet it's so distracting and frustrating…
@ OMG! Netherlands - Spain on the final!!! With me in the NL and my sister in Spain, my parents will have some serious choices to make cheering for the right team ;-)
@ What a w.end … and it's just starting… :-)
Friday night - dinner, drinks and fun with friends, celebrating a couple of very special events!
Saturday day - sister from Spain arrived, strolled the streets of Utrecht
Saturday evening - awesome summer storm and played in the rain
...stay tuned...
Sunday day - bike ride and a picnic in the Utrecht surrounding, got soaked by the rain!
Sunday aft - dinner (Bulgarian food) and enjoying some jazz in the back yard....absolutel bliss!
Sunday evening - Spain won the World Cup - not the happiest moment, but at least I got a few support emails/texts, so now I know who cared about NL winning...
Off to bed now...but...almost perfect w.end and Holland is the best! :)
@ Today the world is quiet/and now arrived the rain/to wash away the sadness/and ease the pain/we lost the final battle/perhaps in it there's gain,/but blind we are to see it/, for now we strive in vain…
@ Now that I did the math…50% of my EasyJet flights have been canceled! I will NEVER buy a EJ ticket again!
@ Thanks SA!…and note Shakira's orange top ;-)
@ It's been a while since I've been so impatient about the w.end…
@ Have you ever realized that's equally impossible to force one to love you, but also to be your friend…
@ The joy of starting my day with a Brandmeester's coffee and the view of the Dom tower…priceless!!!
@ Dear Reading friends, did you know that Mike Oldfield was born in reading? I'm impressed. :)
@ My first Ozone sone launch! Fun! :) Next time I'm allowed to attach a poem to the sonde and see if anyone will find it and read it :)
@ I cleaned my garden really well, so proud of my green thumb! If only the little tomatoes grow bigger and turn red… :)
@ Tidying up the apartment and moving around with dance moves while listening to the soundtrack of 'Once upon in Mexico'..another one of these sweet w/ends I can't get enough of…
@ There is so much more purpose to life with two airplane tickets in my pocket :)
@ Tiesto and Ibiza anyone?
@ Caution:WET PAINT

@ Did I tell you that I had another great w.end?…and buying tickets fro BRMC twice…cause of memory loss…is making me laugh :)
@ Note to self: ' Live your questions… ' Rainer Maria Rilke
@ Is 1/2 bottle of wine a valid reason not to have a mojito…while fixing a fridge door?..and this is just a hypothetical question… ;)
@ I may not know how to fly a kite, but I"m trying to fly a satellite…
@ On my way to the airport…and going home! :)
@ Brainerd, bacon, best of friends…enough said :)
@ Love books and apples ;-)
@ Loved every single day of my Summer Vacation in USA and Bulgaria, thanks to my awesome friends and family! Feel happy and positive! Yet, glad to be home and yes,…it starts to feel like home when your first bike in NL gets stolen…LOL
@ I did not complete my 'To Do' list for the w.end , but enjoyed life to the fullest!
@ Rainy, rainy, rainy day! At least it's not cold yet :)
@ Day 1 of 15 days in a row with various visitors from abroad - my flat is now officially a B&B :) Any suggestions as to what to name it?
@ Poker night - I won two euros! :)
@ Day 2 of 15 - abundance of good food, a trip to Lelystad, an amazing tour of Batavia and The Seven Provinces, great time with Nasi,Dominik and Bart, and my 1st BDat present! Awesome!!!
@ Day 3 of 15 - a rainy day in A'dam and Ed Kowalczyk's concert in Utrecht.So good!
@ Day 5 - a very special dinner and drinks…

@ Thank you all, so very much, for the BDay wishes and presents!
@ Day 11 - Monday at work seems the perfect rest after a shopping frenzy w.end with my Bulgarian guests…and I overdid it with the perfume..sorry officemate ;-)
@ …memories within temptation..
@ I think some classic music would go well with the gloomy weather. Luckily the Conservatory season opens tonight :)
@ Iliana has a new bike…again! :-)
@ Lovely lazy stroll in Amsterdam, enjoying a sunny and warm September day! BDay party in the evening - I love it that my new friends like clubbing and dancing…till 3 am!
@ 4 cities in one w.end - thanks you :)
@ Some days pass by so slow that you forget you exist…
@ What's better than biking? Biking and eating ice-cream :)
@ Enjoying 30deg warmth in Cordoba…and plenty of beer, wine and tappas! Ole!
@ Up at 6 am (has not happened in a while) and looking forward to a day in Malaga, with a very good friend!!!
@ Discovering after a long day with three boys that 'no matter how long you suck it, the flavor doesn't change'…
@ Sun - out! Adrenaline - high! Gas tank - full! Direction - North! hear the engine, babe?

@ I had enough, and I had it all!
@ It is NOT a good idea to fall off your bike when wearing high heels and putting all of your body weight on your right foot. It may result in broken foot bone, as it is in my case…Heads up: cast removal party in a about a month!
@ I am totally spoiled by my friends :-)
@ Wine tasting party for 22 at home…but what's with the anxiety attach?!
@ 40% of all statistics are made up
@ I had the perfect company to enjoy a Cosmo and a Grand Passion!
@ I traded dream for money…or perhaps quality?
@ Case to cast your vote?…Will I move yet again to another country, and this time to Australia?
@ Music…loud music…very loud music is on my mind!!! Trentemoller concert on Thursday! I will dance, I swear!
@ Can't wait for the tonight's concert…I hope it will be loud enough to not let me hear my own thoughts…at least for a while!
@ Did you know that some HP cartridges are region coded…that much for market globalization! Globe-trothing could be so frustrating at times! But I ain't stoping!!!
@ What a difference a few Sun rays could do to my mood!!! I love you, Sun!!! :)

@ I joined Twitter!
@ The Cast is gone! Learning to walk again…feels so good!
@ A graffiti I once saw in Bulgaria, but I bet it's true world-wide…'If elections were to change anything, they would not be allowed'…
@ Spotting an American car with Massachusetts licence plate made my day! Note: I live in the Netherlands :)
@ Brand new savings account and lack of appetite…quite unusual for me!
@ Maceo Parker and Candy Dulfer…last night, live in Den Haag…Awesome!
@ …Howard Stern
@ Great party on Saturday, aweson dinner on Sunday! Ready for the new week!
@ I just returned from Amsterdam Bijlmer Arena: Ajax-Veendam:3:0 Hurray!
@ Internet at home is down…feels like 1994 :-( C'mon KPN! Fix it!!!
@ …and interesting day is in progress…
@ Buy a banana, read the sticker 'Peel sticker and put on your forehead. Smile!', Just do it…and don't forget to eat the banana….it's good for you :)
@ Will I ever go to bed before midnight?!!!
@ Really nice time at the MeetUp sushi dinner! My life in Utrecht would have been soooo different w.out the MeetUp! To all my @MeetUp friends , a toast! :)
@ Playing a 'big girl' today - talking with banks in US about refinancing/selling my home. While decisions are difficult, hearing various American accents is heartwarming… :)
@ I feel like chewing gum and blowing bubbles!
@ Just woke up (11:55am) ! The Sun is out and it's not even cold! Church bells are ringing, bikes are singing, I'm heading out for my Saturday coffee and flowers routine! Two pumpking pies for breakfast - thanks, Patty :) What a decadence!
@ Getting ready for a Brown Cafe and Deep Thoughts evenings…where beer is the keyword :)
@ My brain is overloading with questions.Why can't I live simply and not try to think so much?…and that's only one of them…
@ I'm not the only one away from home for the holiday :-) Happy Thanksgiving!!! (NASA)
@ Food from Turkey instead of turkey dinner! And Le Guess Who festival night!!
@ Another amazing w.end…Damme, Brugge, Snow, Francis, Egyptian surrise, Feuerzangenbowlw, Andreas…Sunday yet to start…Fun!!!
@ 0 degrees in Utrecht, almost Noon, blue sky, lovely sun…Nespresso is on, orange juice is in the making, but where has my lover-boy gone… ;-)
@ Does it thrill you when people change plans on you in the last minute? Not at all? Same here! (…and if I have ever done it to you…apologies!) Heading to Utrecht Central Museum. Working with NASA has thought me to always have 'Plan B' ;-)
@ Utrecht's albedo is approaching 1. It's snowing ;-)
@ White Utrecht, white wine, white sheets are calling my name…Good night!
@ 1.Don't you think FB is turning each of us into the main character of the Truman Show? 2. Condensing dryers refuse to work at low temperatures…thus moving it from the garage into the apartment. Sigh!

@ 'Argentina' night on town! So good! :-)
@ At last December is here! Sing x-mas songs, deck red and green, meet best of friends, play in the snow, smile at the world, enjoy the x-mas cheer!!! :)
@ -6degC in Utrecht and -6decG in Madison…feeling home :-)
@ Weekend plan: Christmas shopping in London! Will the weather let me have my pie and eat it too?
@ First x-mas present arrived by mail…but still in the Post Office. Thanks, Leslie! :-)
@ Some relationships are never to be mended…like the one between me and UK's severe weather…after a day in a limbo I had to reschedule my flight for two weeks later. Will things work out better then?
@ Wandered through snowy Utrecht for six hours, enjoyed a drink with a friend saw Sinter Klaas and Zwarte Piet, caught a number of snowflakes with my tongue… :-) Now heading to Den Bosch for a spirited night on town with Roel :)
@ I am enjoying my Coco-themed xmas presents. Thanks, Roel!
@ Why do people tend to change their profile picture every once in a while?
@ …and some evenings just have life on their own… :-)
@ Any James Blung fans out there?
@ Am I the Goddess? Andrew Bailey, you made my day :)
@ I am practicing for my stunt career…yep, another "slip,Shit! fall and Ouch!".That would be my 6th one this year…and the year is not over yet :-)
@ What if this is as good as it gets? … Amazing weekend! Really!!!
@ X-mas spirit: check, x-mas tree (sort of):check, x-mas cookies: check, x-mas presents and cards…err, hmm, well…
@ Listening to Green Day's "American Idiot' and coding in IDL…fascinating start of the week!
@ How is it that music could trifle through all my cells - body, brain, thoughts, emotions, reaching the darkest dusty corners of my soul and purify me, get me dancing, smiling, shake off the troubles, and gently push me to go on, reminding me to be myself…Incredible!!!
@ Packed and ready to go…extended w/end in UK! Full social full that I don'ty know how I will fit in my 'treasure hunt'…but I will!!! :)
@ Job opening: low-altitide air-traffic -control expert needed in De Built area. (I can't quite drive while ducks are flying across the road! Nevertheless, fun seeing them almost landing on my car hood! :) )
@ First 10 hours in UK proved to be…hmmm, enlightening? :)
@ …never never never will I and UK be on the same page…
@ 2.5 amazing days with friends in UK, 1/2 day strategizing how to solve the canceled flight issue, 1 day at St.Pancra, and finally home at 4:01 on Monday morning…after a friends picked us up from Brussels.To quote E.Pragt 'thanks #eurostar for bringing us home!!! I"ll forget the 172 minutes delay!' So good to be home…and BA is right next to EJ on the list of no-no airlines to use!
@ All I want for Christmas is you!!!
@ It makes me smile ... so positive! There is always room for magic!!! "Just when the caterpillar thought the world was over, it became a butterfly"
Believe it or not, I am spending the entire holiday season in NL...that is not to say I will stay in Utrecht all the time...'Anywhere I roam
Where I lay my head is home..'
@ Merry Christmas! Happy Holidays!!!
@ 2010 was by far much better than the previous few...Still, Happy New 2011!!! May I ask for even better one? Sure I do :-) HAPPY NEW YEAR!!! :-)

Wednesday, January 19, 2011

Yoga marathon

It's been a while since the last time I nurtured my body and soul. I had fun - with friends and with parties, I had action - traveling, biking and dancing, I indulged on food and drinks, I sinned, I even had some quite time reading and sleeping. But when 2010 said good bye ... my body was out of balance.

This week I shifted gears. I sleep 8-9 hours every night. I take 15 min power nap after work. I skip coffee and I even substitute black tea with herbal one. I resumed taking vitamin supplements.

And I started a Yoga marathon - 5 days long.

Yesterday I had Slow Flow Yoga with Hilary. That's right, a slow start is good. Hilary is American and her voice is so calming. Her smile is so genuine. Her classes are always full yet cozy. Although in a slow flow, we focused on doing the postures properly and that's quite some work!

Today I discovered Yin Yoga with the Aussie Rosemary. Yin Yoga's asanas are passive - you hold each for several minutes and the focus is not on engaging your muscles, but on stretching the connective tissue. While you stay in the asanas you start feeling the limits of your body, 'comfortable' is not part of Yin. It's about accepting your limitations, and breading into them, making peace with them, releasing the tension which is often nothing more, but your ego standing in the way of harmony. It's about let go.

I added a body massage at this ease my way into the next three days, when the plan is to take two yoga classes each day. I hope I find the discipline to finish the marathon!
Because Yoga feels great!
Because through Yoga I find peace!

(to be continued...)

Why it's worth checking your bank account :-)

Checking your bank account balance once a month or so is a good idea not only if you are on a tight budget. But with so many things queueing for my attention lately, I had forgotten to do so in a while. It was the intent of splurging on an iPhone that lead me to checking my bank account today and here is what I found. In the Netherlands, when you transfer money to someone, you can leave a message along with the transaction instructions.
This is the note my Babe had left for me...

Ik zit hier voor het vensterraam
mij ontzettend te vervelen
Ik wou dat ik twee hondjes was
Dan konden we samen spelen

I'm sitting at the window
I am very bored
I wish I had two dogs
Then we could play together
(translated with Google)

Thank you, M.! It took me ONLY 19 days to find it :) The ball is now in my court...

And for the record, my bank account looks good. An iPhone is in my future :)

Wednesday, January 05, 2011

2011 already? :-)

It's hard to belive that a month went by without me posting a new blog entry! Because I had a great time and there are so many stories waiting to be shared. If you'd feel better, I haven't been very up to date on FaceBook either... I just decided for once to enjoy myself w/out going on record :) But the sweetness of December still lingers, and January is starting, I'll be writing soon!
Enough excuses, yet, please be understanding of my choice :)

I hope you all had a lovely holiday season and you welcomed the new year with proper festivities. And even if's long as you promise to have a festive 2011 ;-)
I wish you all very very happy new year!!!