maandag 1 januari 2018

New Year, New Me?

Dear all,

It has been a very long time since I took the time to write a blog post. I see the last time I wrote here was after my tonsillectomy. Dear lord, I have much to tell... I honestly don't know where to begin... I'm writing to you now with a huge hangover from the night before, New Year's Eve in Amsterdam.. Which was great, but I've seen better days.. Okay, so, here goes, my life of the past year:

Alright, so... Pretty soon after my last post, I got back together with my ex. This went on until he had to go to New Zealand for 3 months in February 2017. He broke up with me again, because, in short, he didn't think we were in a stable relationship and he wouldn't be able to maintain the relationship in a healthy way while in New Zealand. This hurt me a lot. This was a guy I loved more than I have ever loved any man.

But on the bright side: I got an internship at the International Court of Justice in the Hague for 3 months starting at the end of April! My first internship ever! I was over the moon about this. I remember how nervous I was on my first day. But everyone at the ICJ made me feel at home straightaway. My time there has been very enjoyable and interesting.

Time passed and my ex boyfriend came back from New Zealand at the end of May. He wrote me an email saying he missed me. I needed a lot of time to think... In this period I was also applying for a Master's program in Groningen, where he lives. So I figured, I would see him anyway when I would come to live there. I decided to tell him that I couldn't see him, but maybe in the future, when I would be settled down in Groningen and have my own friends there.

As fate would have it, things went a little different than I had imagined. I had applied for a traineeship at the European Parliament but I never expected to get selected. In July however, I got an email saying I was on the shortlist for a traineeship at the European Parliament. I had to send my documents to them, and within 3 days after sending them my documents I got an email saying I was selected for a traineeship at the EP in Brussels!! I was so unbelievably happy and excited! Living in Brussels and working for the EU had always been my dream since I studied European Studies. At that moment though... I had already been in contact with my ex again because I really wanted to see him. I missed him terribly every day. And now I had to tell him I wouldn't be moving to Groningen anytime soon..

A lot of things needed to be decided. I had to cancel the room I had found in Groningen, I had to sort things out with the coordinator of the Master I had been selected for in Groningen. It was the Master Clinical Forensic Psychology and Victimology at the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen which I really really wanted to do. I didn't want to risk losing my place in the Master, as it was a selective Master. So I talked to the coordinator and study advisors of the Master and we decided I would stay signed up for the Master and wouldn't lose my place, but that I would only follow courses from March 2018 on, so the Master would take me 1,5 years. Furthermore, I needed to find a room in Brussels. Fortunately, this didn't take much time and I'm very happy with my landlady who offered me the room and whom I live with in Brussels. I also got a temporary job as an administrative assistant at the ICJ in August to earn some money, before I would leave for Belgium. And oh, did I mention, I told my ex face to face that I would be leaving for Brussels in October and we got back together, as we just couldn't stay away from each other. Until he left me again in September, mostly because of Brussels.

For privacy reasons, I will leave out most of my feelings about this last thing. I know what a lot of people are thinking and I know a lot of people think I was naive and stupid to get back with him. To these people I'd like to say: What do you know about me or my life? What do you know about the relationship we had? What do you know about our 5 years on and off together? What do you know about real love? You have no right to judge me. People look at the facts they know of and judge, without knowing anything about the moments we were together, the things we said and did, our memories together. People assume we were miserable together or a really bad match, just because we have broken up a couple of times. That's not the case. We've been super happy together at times. No relationship has ever made me as happy as this one has. We often had so much fun together. Sometimes I felt like I was in paradise. I had nowhere else I'd rather be and no one else I'd rather be with. Love is a drug. It's beautiful, passionate and horrible, but at least it makes you feel like you're alive. And only real love like this can hurt as bad as it does and make you take unwise decisions. Only real love can break your heart. Saying 'no' to someone I love is the hardest thing I've ever had to do.

This was a dark rainy cloud that hung over my time in Brussels. After breaking up, I had to move to Brussels within a few weeks. There wasn't a lot of time for mourning my failed relationship. This in combination with the long days full of work and social activities at the European Parliament plus the thesis on Srebrenica that I'm writing, gave me a lot of stress. Brussels is wonderful, inspiring, international and exciting. Unfortunately, I didn't have a lot of time to make friends, because I was writing my thesis in the evenings and on the weekends, or at least, attempting to. And friends were just what I needed in this period of my life.

But at least my work in the Parliament was very interesting and exciting. I am a trainee at DG Communication and I work for the Dutch sector of the Visits and Seminars Unit. This means that I give presentations/briefings to Dutch and Flemish visitors about the EU and the Parliament. I also help out with administrative work. I email and call people who want to come visit and I book the visits sometimes. I also help out with organizing seminars. In my free time at work, I go to conferences, lectures, parliamentary committee meetings, workshops, plenary sessions sometimes and meetings with other trainees. I also give Dutch lessons to other trainees and I am in the Language Cafe committee, the Meet & Greet Subcommittee of the Career Committee and the Euroball Committee. I know, it is a lot and there aren't a lot of free moments in my day. When I get home from work, I usually already go to bed at 10 PM. The stress can be so exhausting, that I sometimes don't have the energy to go out in the weekends. And don't get me started on the Place Lux evenings on Thursdays. Every Thursday evening lots of people who work at the EU institutions come to have a drink at Place du Luxembourg and I drag myself to these cafes at some Thursdays after work..

Fortunately, I did meet some very nice people in Brussels as time passed on, not thanks to my thesis. In December, I had to defend the first version of my Master's thesis in Amsterdam, and miraculously, I passed for my defense!! Later on in December, we went to Strasbourg for 4 days for the Parliament's monthly plenary session in Strasbourg. I had been excited for this trip for months. But of course, knowing me, I became ill the very moment we left for Strasbourg. The first 2 days I felt bad but I was able to work, so I kept going to work, walking a lot in those huge buildings and participating in all social activities. But on Tuesday evening I went to a dinner that lasted just too long, and late in the evening I felt feverish. I decided to stay in bed the next day and sleep.. a lot. So I missed the Sakharov seminar and the Sakharov prize ceremony, the human rights award I was so much looking forward to. On Thursday we drove back to Brussels, and I'm sorry Strasbourg, but I didn't see a lot of you.. Next time I will.

Christmas holidays came and it was really time. Although I need to write the last version of my thesis, it is just an amazing feeling to finally have no work obligations other than my thesis and to be able to sleep in if I want and to see all my friends in the Netherlands again. I celebrated Christmas with my parents and sister and New Year's in Amsterdam with friends.

It is time for New Year's resolutions now.

Well, I'm gonna be realistic. I know I'm not perfect. I know I'm not gonna stick to resolutions when I make them. So I'll try to be as realistic as I can be:

- I want to speak my mind more and stand up for myself, without being afraid of losing people as my friends or lovers.

- I want to be myself more in front of friends, but also acquaintances.

- I want to spend more time on physical exercise and sports.

- I want to spend more time on some of my hobbies, like this one :)

- I want to study and read more.

- I want to eat more healthily.

- I'd like to meditate more.

- I want to only be with the people who make me feel happy and confident.

- I want to be less afraid of what people might think of me.

- I want to only be in a relationship with someone who loves the real me, with all my flaws.

- I want to do the best I can for my traineeship the remaining two months. My traineeship ends at the end of February.

- I want to try and keep a good balance between studying, seeing friends and work.

- I want to minimise my stress by avoiding stress factors and by beginning my work on time.

- I'd like to not freak out about becoming 27 in May!!

So, what's the plan for this year?

Well, my traineeship ends at the end of February. In March I will hopefully move to Groningen and follow some courses there. Maybe, just maybe, I will return to Brussels in May for an internship at a law firm, but that's not at all certain yet. Furthermore, maybe, just maybe, I will return to work at the ICJ in the Hague for a few days per week starting in March. I was asked for my availability. After the summer, I will stay studying in Groningen and I will at some point write my thesis for my second master (Clinical Forensic Psychology and Victimology) and do another internship. I really can't wait for this master!! Also.. I hope to save enough money for a trip to the US this summer, but we have to wait and see... That would be so awesome!

The only thing really sad is that I won't live in Amsterdam the coming years. I love Amsterdam. It's one of my favorite cities and I've been living there since I was 18. It's the city I know and where most of my friends live. In Groningen I'll be further away from my parents and friends, which is also an adventure of course.

I don't know how to finish this long post. My plan for the coming days is to write a good final version of my thesis and keep exercising and working out. Then, on Sunday my holidays will end unfortunately and I'll be travelling back to Brussels.

I wish you all a very happy new year, a year full of great adventures, wisdom, health, love and happiness!!



dinsdag 1 november 2016

Surviving the month of October

The flowers my sweet sister gave me after my surgery <3

Hey everyone,

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger, right?

I've been very quiet these past few weeks because a lot has happened. A lot of sh*t.

My month of october began with me being dumped by my boyfriend. We were supposed to be going to the Efteling (Dutch Disneyland) the next day, but... nope, I was dumped. I did not expect it. We had been together, on and off, for 4 years. I would never be with someone for 4 years, unless he was the love of my life. I had been fighting like a lioness for this relationship for 4 years, because I knew we had something good, something real and passionate, something that made us both happy. He's a difficult guy, scared of commitment. But I accept and love him, just the way he is. I love everything about him. I cannot make someone stay who is too afraid of relationships, no matter how hard I try.. When the threat of committing disappears, I am sure he will miss me and realize what he had.

There's nothing to do about it, but it hurts me every day that I cannot be with the one I am in love with. The only thing left to do is to let him go, because holding onto someone who wants to run away from you never helped anyway. But I'm a good, strong, loyal, smart, kind and loving woman, and I deserve better than that.

Still, it was very hard to face the challenges of october alone. When you are rejected by someone you love, your ego takes a big hit and all your insecurities come to the surface. Am I not good enough? Who are my best friends? Who am I without him in my life? Do I not deserve happiness and love? But on the other hand, just like Mariah Carey sung in her song "Hero": a hero comes along, with the strength to carry on. No matter how cliché it may sound, this is really true. You find your own inner strength and your own sense of self esteem. I'm now doing what I do, for me, and not for anyone else. I am still Charlotte and I will not let this ruin my life and my life goals.

I had to go on. I had to show up to work and to study. A big audition and a big exam and a big surgery were coming. Winter was coming, haha.

I was going to audition for Idols, a tv show. That day was very long.. Me and my mother had to stand in a cue for hours.. Due to my claustrophobia I almost escaped the cue when we were almost inside the building. I get panic attacks when I'm in a crowd and people are getting too close to me.. When we were finally inside I had to wait in another cue for half an hour, and after that, things went pretty fast. I got a number and had to wait in the lounge until my number would be called. I saw a few Dutch tv stars, but I was too nervous to enjoy. Finally, my number was called. I waited in a row with a few other nervous girls. When I went in, my heart was racing. I sang the song, but I was so nervous that it didn't sound as good as it could have. The gentleman told me it wasn't good enough to go through. Strangely, I wasn't really sad.. I was just very relieved it was over and I could go home. And a lot of people didn't go through that day, people who could sing well, so I wasn't surprised. But believe me, I will work on my voice this coming year and I'll get better! Especially now that my tonsils are removed, but we'll get to that part!

The very next day I had my exam on "The Principles and Foundations of International Law". I failed that exam, I think. But I forgive myself, looking at the amount of stress I was under. I will do well on my other tests and it will be fine.

The day after my exam was the day of my surgery. My tonsils were going to be removed. I was very nervous for the general anesthesia and the pain afterwards. I kept telling my parents to wake me up when they would visit me after surgery, because I'm very afraid of being unconscious. My heart was pounding in my chest. In the hospital, I had to wait, with an empty stomach, for two hours before my actual surgery. Finally, I could put my lovely blue hospital dress on and I was given two paracetamol and some kind of valium. After taking this I was in a weird state. I was feeling kind of relaxed, but still with a nervous racing heart.

As I said goodbye to my mother, the nurses took me away in my hospital bed. Totally relaxed, I was smiling at the nurses and the people in the hallway. After that they put a needle in my hand and I got an intravenous drip feed (infuus). Ouch! They say it doesn't hurt, but it does! After waiting for another patient to be done with surgery, I was driven into the surgery room. They asked me to climb on top of the operation table. After a few moments, the anesthesia came through the drip feed. They told me "see you soon!" My head and body became very heavy and numb.. They asked me "do you feel it?" I said "mmhm"! And that's all I, luckily, remember. I had some weird dreams and suddenly woke up, with a few nurses around my bed. Ouch, my throat was feeling sore! Unaware of the time that had passed, I said "My throat is hurting, why is that?" They said "Your surgery is already done". "What?? Really??" I asked incredulous.


My uvula (huig) felt huge and everything hurt like hell. I had trouble swallowing and breathing. I started crying, because I was confused and in pain. The nurse asked me: "Why are you crying? Are you in a lot of pain?" I said yes, and she injected something in my drip feed, which I'm sure was morfine or something close. After 45 minutes of really needing to go to the bathroom, I was finally brought from the recovery room to my hospital room. I was in a hospital room with 3 older men with much more severe problems than me. They were nice people, but in a lot of pain.

That day and night in the hospital was kind of okay. I had very sweet nurses and I was high on the anesthesia and morfine. I just ate ice creams and sipped water all day. I thought that I would soon be able to eat more. How wrong I was.

The next days were pure hell. I was crying from the pain all the time and was in too much pain to eat or drink water. I would eat a little bit of food that went through the blender and I would stop because the pain became unbearable. I took tiny sips of water all day. I lived on paracetamol but it just wasn't enough. I just couldn't eat and was becoming very thin and weak. I lost a lot of weight. I didn't have the energy to walk around the house. I just lay down on the couch or in my bed. My body was in starvation mode and I eventually became too nausious to actually eat. I felt like I would eventually die of hunger if I would go on like that.. That's how weak I felt. I begged my father to ask the doctor for more or different painkillers. The doctor prescribed diclofenac and oh my god, this is such a wonderful medicine. It's like a drug and maybe a little dangerous too. I could only take it for six days. As soon as I took diclofenac, I could finally eat something real. I got some strength back every day. I'm now in the seventh day after surgery. I can have breakfast, lunch and dinner now, when I take my painkillers. But I cannot eat any hard food, like chips and chocolate or toasted bread. Some pasta I can have though.

I didn't expect my recovery to take this long, but it's really going one babystep at a time. Every day I have slightly less pain, but as of now, I still really need my painkillers. I still cannot go to work or talk a lot. It's a very slow process but I hope I will feel a lot better when I'm fully recovered.

I never knew I could long for pizza, fries with mayonnaise, lasagne, spaghetti bolognese, hamburgers, chips and toasted bread this much!!

A weird thing that happened after my surgery is that my sense of taste has changed. I hoped this is only temporarily, because I really hate it. When I eat a little pasta, I only taste the pepper and spices that went into the sauce, and I don't taste the actual tomato sauce and the cheese! I used to love pasta, but now it's a little less tasty. Other things are just to sweet for my throat right now. My throat reacts very strongly to sweet and sour food so I cannot eat much chocolate or cake or fruit. Eggs and cheese have also become less tasty, because the taste is less strong. This sucks and I hope it goes away, because everyone who knows me knows that pasta and cheese are my favorites!

It has been necessary to take rest after the operation and my parents have been very good nurses, but it's kind of boring to watch movies and tv all day and see no friends. I can't wait to get back out there and eat whatever I want with my friends and just socialize.

I have a lot of exciting things to look forward to though. I booked a holiday to Paris on the 11th of November to celebrate my friend's birthday (she lives in Paris) and to also commemorate the 13th of November 2015, the day of the terrorist attacks. I hope I will feel better when I go to Paris. I can't wait to see my beautiful city again and to go out with my friend. I'll probably also be celebrating New Year's in Paris, which I wanted to do last year, but couldn't do due to illness. And in January or February I'm hoping to visit my friend in Australia or New Zealand. I really can't wait! It's going to take a lot of hard work literally but it'll be worth it!

All in all, I'm confident that I will feel a lot better in a couple of weeks and will be doing my best in every way to get back on my feet and do the things I wanna do.

What doesn't kill you makes you stronger!


- C.




donderdag 25 augustus 2016

So alone and so happy in Greece!

Hello from Greece! Kalimera!

A few days ago I arrived in Pythagorion on the Island Samos in Greece. I am here on my own. Many people thought that was 'courageous' or 'lonely'. Yes, it has been lonely sometimes, but I really love the privacy I have here and the freedom to do what I like whenever I feel like it. There are a lot of families and couples on holidays here. I observe them with interest and they observe me, pitying me or wondering why I am out dining alone. Sometimes they seem to admire me. Men look at me, probably wondering why a women is on her own or thinking I'm 'courageous'. I could be wrong, but they seem to admire me. They aren't judging me or looking down on me. They don't see me as a frightened little girl, but as an independent woman. I really like being on my own here. It feels very empowering.

The funny thing is.. I don't even feel that much on my own. There are so many people here enjoying Pythagorion that it feels like I'm always with people when I'm outside. When I go outside, I have breakfast and chat with the hotel staff. When I go to the beach, I take a chair next to someone else on his/her own and we maybe have a short conversation. When I go out for dinner I sit alone, but I'm surrounded by people and their conversations. I hear laughter, but also quarrels. I see people pretending to be someone else or fully in character with their spouses or friends or families.

And me? I don't have to be someone else. I don't have to pretend. I can just be ME, because I am on my own. This feels so great. I actually experience much less stress than at home. I feel relaxed and healthy here. My insecurities and anxieties are almost gone here. I have to do everything myself and I actually like doing everything myself. I chat with people on the streets, in the shops, on the beach, in the restaurant and in the hotel. I have to chat with people to get anything done. I cannot rely on anyone but myself, and that feels really good! It feels great to experience that I can do things on my own and it feels great to have so much time for myself.

What is great about Pythagorion? The great weather, all day all night. The relaxed atmosphere. The bars at night by the harbour. The beauty of the town, the mountains surrounding it, the harbour and the sea. The delicious Greek food for low prices. The people, who are very kind and friendly and who love to party themselves. The shops, with great buys for little money. The bars at the harbour, so 'gezellig' in the evening. The bars have music and give you a real 'holiday' party feeling. The boats, inviting you for a cruise around the Island with a nice Greek dinner. And cats, cats, cats! There are so many cats here! They are wild cats. Dangerous and skinny and often missing an ear or bruised. They aren't tame, sweet kitties. You can feed them, but you need to watch out, because I've been scratched a lot by cats demanding food and jumping on top of me to get it. These are wild animals. I've been coming here since I was a child and it has never disappointed me.

What did I do here? Tuesday morning I arrived. My hotel has the best location as it is situated at the harbour, so I can walk out of the hotel and be where I want to be. The staff is also very friendly. I was still feeling a little sick and was very tired so I slept during the afternoon. In the evening I unpacked my suitcase and I had a shower. After that I went to restaurant Elia at the harbour, where I learned that I will never order a tagliatelle with mushrooms in a non-Italian restaurant again. After that I went back to my hotel and had a lovely banana split in their bar.

The next day I had breakfast at my hotel and took a stroll along the harbour. I checked out a modern museum at the harbour, which had an exposition on the refugee crisis in Samos. It was heartbreaking to see the pictures and hear the stories of people drowning or losing their families before reaching the Island, fearing ISIS but getting refused in Europe because of the fear of ISIS. Later I walked all the way up to a church, but was unsure whether I could come in, because Greek people want you to be covered up when you enter a church. I walked further and further, until I reached the beach. There I had lunch and sunbathed and had a swim. In the evening I wanted to have lunch at restaurant Aphrodite, but by mistake I sat down at taverna Maritsa. It turned out to be a good mistake, because the food was delicious and the people were friendly. I even fed a cat some steak. Late in the evening I visited some shops and bought myself a necklace.

Today it's Thursday. I'm planning on visiting the Archeological museum and planning some tours, so I can meet people. Maybe I'll visit the castle and the church today as well. I'm going to the beach to read and swim and in the evening I'll finally go to restaurant Aphrodite and I'll visit some more shops. I don't feel alone at all and it's actually great to walk around with no wifi. I can just enjoy myself here without worrying.

I was rather nervous about going to Pythagorion alone, but I realised here that you are alone for most of your life and that I am my own best friend.

woensdag 17 augustus 2016

Surviving Adulthood: Roaring Twenties & Dancing Shoes

It takes a lot of courage for me to write this post but I'm doing it anyway. This article:   pretty much sums up my feelings during my mid-twenties.

I'll begin with my teenage years. During my late teenage years I was rather carefree. I had tons of energy and I didn't have a lot of trouble with school. It was rather easy for me to get good grades. I lived in the safety of my parents'  home, so I didn't need a lot of money for food or other things like transportation costs. I had a bike, so I could cycle to wherever I wanted to go. Life was simple. School was 5 days a week. Ballroom dancing lessons were once a week. I went out once or twice a week. I saw my friends during and after school. If I had time, I would go dancing or take acting lessons or write. I had no relationship and a part-time job for a maximum of 12 hours a week. I didn't have to worry about my career or my life goals or serious relationships or relationship issues. I was very young and I only had to focus on school and friends and parties, while dreaming about all the great things I would do once I would become an adult. Furthermore, I was very slender and I could eat and drink whatever I wanted. I never gained any weight. Life was good!

Then adulthood came. I became 18 years old and I was going to enter university and student life in Amsterdam. This was a very exciting time! The first week of getting to know everyone was amazing! I decided I should join a sorority. So I did and I got to know a lot of people. Life was great. I even got a great, sweet, loving boyfriend. We were inseparable. He was my closest friend. I never had to feel alone, because I was almost never alone. But soon, life became very busy with all these new developments. Studying took more time than before and my relationship took a lot of time. On top of that, I had commitments to my job and to my sorority. It was very stressful and I started to feel trapped in all of these commitments. I would take out these feelings on my boyfriend. Looking back at it, we should have been more time apart so we could do the things we wanted to do, but when you just started studying in a big city, it's easy to cling to each other. You still miss your parents after all. You have to make a lot of new friends, so it feels easy and safe to stay together and do everything together.

Years passed and after that relationship ended I had to try to live on my own and make my own friends. When I was finally over my ex boyfriend I fell in love again. The road has not been easy these last couple of years but we're still together. It has been so difficult for us to manage the time we spent studying, seeing friends, on our jobs, hobbies, interests and together. On top of that, I have a lot more worries now in my mid-twenties than I had as a teenager (of course). It became even more this year, because after this August I will have to pay for my studies, my apartment and everything in my life all by myself. The government won't finance me any longer, so I will have to work for my money. This means I am trapped in a situation of having to study and work at the same time, while trying to maintain relationships and finding time for my interests.

Furthermore, because of all these worries and stress in my roaring twenties, my weight started to increase. I used to feel very confident about my body and the way I looked, but these last two years I haven't felt good about my body at all. I used to be able to eat whatever I wanted, but now my body is fed up with it. All this stress has made food, sleep and inactivity so much more attractive. I know some people who, in their twenties, still have the metabolism of a teenager and I don't know how they do it. It takes courage to say this in my blog, but I hope I will overcome this.

I've decided that enough is enough now. I cannot feel confident about myself or achieve any goal in the field of modeling if I don't do anything about this. I have to exercise more and do sports that I like. Less coca cola, red bull, cake and chips. More salads, vegetables and fruits. That's not that easy for someone like me, who looooves food. But I know I can't be the only person in their twenties facing these struggles.

To achieve this goal of losing weight and being healthy, I have to do sports that I like to do. So I thought about the sports I could do this year and would love to do/learn. During my teenage years I was a ballroom dancer. I love dancing and I was pretty good at it. I think it's time for me to finally put on my dancing shoes again. Additionally I love doing ballet because it makes your body fit and strong and it's very elegant. I would love to learn ice skating as well. Just because I have always dreamt about doing this one day. Why not try and do it?

In addition to doing more sports, I would also like to spend more time with my hobbies. I would like to start writing more and putting much more effort into it. I would like to spend more time into acting and singing as well. Take lessons and do auditions.

Deciding to finally do all these things feels like a breath of fresh air. I was beginning to feel more and more ' trapped'  and ' stuck'  in my life. Stuck in a 9 to 5 job, stuck in learning and studying. Stuck in paying bills and working to pay those bills. I felt so trapped and unhappy, because I wasn't doing the things that I love to do. Knowing I will do the things I like to do again makes me feel very happy. It makes me feel like I can be Charlotte again!

And even though I now have to work for my money instead of receiving a loan, it seems like I actually now earn more money by myself than I would get from the government. I've actually become much more used to working 3/4 days a week, that it has actually become easier to work a lot than it was in the past. I am now used to working a lot, whereas in the past I wasn't used to working at all. I've realized I actually don't mind working a lot. I just need some time for my interests, my studies and friends and then I'm fine. Life can be strange.

Time-management is a recurring issue in my life and in my blog. Now that I'm 25 (I still don't understand how that happened) I have a lot of goals I want to achieve but I also want to enjoy my twenties. Time is slipping away so time and time-management is incredibly important to me. I don't know how other people do it and I would love to share tips & advice with other people struggling with this. I want to focus more on time-management in my blog.

Your twenties can be a terrible, stressful and lonely time. Becoming an adult is a big challenge. It means finding your own strength, standing your ground and learning to be independent. It means taking care of yourself and being able to be alone successfully. I also want to focus more on this recurring theme in my blog. I want to break the taboo of feeling unhappy and insecure during your twenties. You still have to found out who you are and that's okay ;)

- C.

vrijdag 12 augustus 2016

Too short, too busy, too ambitious!

Hi there!

I have so much to tell you all. I don't even know where to start. I got a new house, a couple of new jobs and I got accepted into a Master's program in International and European Law: Public International Law at the University of Amsterdam!

These last couple of weeks I have been working a lot, trying to make some money before I go on holidays. I do all kinds of jobs. I sometimes work as an evening receptionist at a small hotel in Amsterdam, in the Old South (Oud Zuid), checking people in and setting everything up for breakfast. I check people in at airbnb apartments in Amsterdam, driving around on a scooter from one place to another (which is kind of scary sometimes), I do promotional work for different kinds of brands, I do hostess jobs and during the week I work as a receptionist at Clifford Chance in Amsterdam. The truth is, it's not easy to make a lot of money in a short amount of time, unless you don't want any free time at all for yourself and your friends.

But I had to take some breaks, because I was moving to a different apartment. I found a studio for myself in the north of Amsterdam, at the NDSM. Moving takes a lot of time and effort and I am very grateful for my family, who helped me so much. I finally have my own bathroom and my own kitchen. Unfortunately, the very first time I was using my cooker, it broke! With a loud bang and with flames. Fixing my wifi was also a lot of hassle. I have tv now, but the channels are all mixed and not in a logical order. For the computer I still needed a router and so on. But the internet is finally fixed now! For my apartment I still need a wardrobe, a couch and a dining table with chairs. I had my own couch, which I really loved, but I couldn't get it out of my flat. Later on, we discovered the solution to getting it out of the flat, but by that time we already left. Now I'm still a bit sad and grouchy about my lovely couch, which I had to sell.. Lovely black couch, I will always love you. Unfortunately, my couch has found a new owner and a new home. So now, I'm on the market looking for furniture! I love antics and I love colors like "wood" and white. I also love buying useless pretty stuff at flea markets. The hunt for nice things for the apartment will continue for some weeks. And good god, I already have problems with the electricity for cooking and my sink is leaking. It's not easy to move, but I'll take care of it all, because I love my new spot. I have a lovely view of the harbor and the NDSM werf. I live next to the festivals, the flea market and lots of cool restaurants. There isn't any noise from neighbors, my room is completely dark at night and I can go to the bathroom anytime I want! Also, the only mess in my apartment is my own mess!

Other great news is that I finally got accepted into the master's program of International and European law in Amsterdam! I'm so glad about this, because it was really frustrating to have to prove all the time to my university that I actually obtained my bachelor's degree and successfully did a pre-master in Law. I also had to do an IELTS test to actually prove that I could speak and write English. I protested against this, because I was raised bilingually. Unfortunately, I still had to do this time-consuming test, whilst also studying for exams. I got an 8.5 and that's great, but the whole thing felt very unnecessary to me. If you've studied Psychology and European Studies, you should be able to speak and write in English. Let alone, if you have a parent who speaks English to you all the time.

Another thing that bothered me was that while I was applying for jobs at different modeling agencies and hostess agencies, I learned that some people think I am too short to be a good hostess, or to be a good promotional model. I get so upset about this, because it's complete nonsense! Who says you're not pretty or a good hostess when you're 1,63 instead of 1,70? Did you know Kourtney Kardashian is only 1,52? That Emilia Clarke is 1,57? Are they not beautiful and capable women? It's complete nonsense. I have actually really thought about starting a hostess/promotional modeling agency. I would like to give shorter women a chance.

The problem is I have so many great ideas and too little time. Whilst working to make money, doing grocery shopping and errands, keeping your house clean and tidy and maintaining my relationships with people, there is almost no time left for sports, business ideas and other interests like acting, singing and writing, let alone time for castings, auditions and fotoshoots. My days are completely full and I don't give myself time to just relax and be on my own. When I'm on my own and I have some time left I feel like I should be doing something, even if it's just organizing my room or reading a book.

My friends say I'm a perfectionist and I want too much in life. They say I should focus on just one or two things. While that would give me a lot of peace of mind and would help me concentrate and excel, I wouldn't be content with that. I am 25 years old now and a lot of things have to happen right now or in the near future, if I ever want them to be done. I only have one life and that's a lot of pressure. I'm trying my best right now to organize everything the best way I can and not too stress. How do some people do it? How do they see their friends, have a great career, keep up with their hobbies and interests, do lots of extracurricular activities and have a love life all at the same time? Please people, tell me your secrets! I even have trouble telling my multiple jobs about my availability for the coming weeks, because I have priorities, but at the same time, I do want to work! It's hard, because my friends are my priority but I also need to work enough to pay for my studies. I work at Clifford Chance, the law firm, and I see young people everyday doing an internship here and I just don't know how they found the time to study hard, have a good social network and take care of their career at the same time.

I maybe have too many goals at the same time, but I'm a person who loves a challenge and who wouldn't want to waste any of my talent to have a quiet life.

So, if anybody has any time management tips or advice, please let me know!

That's all for now!

Bye bye!

- C.


donderdag 9 juni 2016

Vingt-cinq ans


It's been a long time since I've written anything on my blog. This is a great time to reflect on my life. Last month I turned 25. Life is going much too fast! I don't feel at all like a 25 year old. I still feel 22-24 years old. I'm almost becoming too old for some things I really want to do in life. Because of this, I decided that no one will stand in my way this year. There are so many things I want to do!!! And there's never enough time or enough money to do everything! My dear friend Jasmine saved a lot of money and just packed her things and went to Australia with her boyfriend. I envy her! I would love to make some changes and charge into unknown territory. It's time to dare to try new things and to be honest with people. It's time to stand up for who I am and what I want in life.

These last months have been very busy. I have begun working as a hostess/receptionist at the well-known law firm Clifford Chance in Amsterdam. I work there every Monday, Tuesday and Wednesday. I finished three courses at the Faculty of Law: Philosophy of Law, Criminal Law and European History of Law, of which Philosophy of Law is my favorite. I had all the exams in one week so it was a lot of studying and hard work. I think I passed them, but I wish I had studied harder. Furthermore, I applied for some modelling and hostess agencies, but they turned me down. I think it was because of my age or my height. When I was younger I got turned down for an acting or modelling job a lot less. It's sad that 25 is considered " not young enough"  in this world. I have to accept that I couldn't try hard enough in my younger years because I had a lot of studying to do and that my dreams in acting and modelling will become harder to achieve. And oh well, I am still registered at some agencies. I also got turned down for a very special kind of master I wanted to do. I wanted to do a master in Clinical Forensic Psychology in Amsterdam or Groningen. This master is very selective, because they don't need a lot of forensic psychologists and they need only the best. I got through the first round at the University of Amsterdam, but didn't make it through the second round. At the Rijksuniversiteit Groningen I didn't get through because of a random drawing of lots. On the other hand, I celebrated my birthday at the Eye Museum, the weather was great, I visited my uncle in Brussels, I'll be visiting Paris in a month time and I'll be moving to a room in the center of Amsterdam, probably very soon. Plus, I'll be studying the master "European and International Law" in Amsterdam starting in September.

First off, I am scared of a lot of things in life. I am terribly scared of failure. I'm scared of people leaving me. I'm scared of people not liking to spend time with me. I am a very social person and I love to be around people. The one thing I have a hard time dealing with is criticism and rejection. I'm just starting to realize that if I don't try to pull people to me, they sometimes will come closer by themselves. I don't always have to make all the effort myself. People will also make an effort for me. I also tend to view myself and my needs as less important than other people's needs. I'm trying to stand up more for my own needs now.

I still have dreams and dreams and more dreams!! I wonder if and how I will manage to realize them! If I really want to realize them I really have to make some changes. The following will be 25 things I really want to realize in some way now that I am 25.

1. I want to backpack through a big part of America, period. I just have to save enough money and I'll be on my way!

2. I want to walk through Europe, at least where it's safe. I want to do this for a few weeks in the summer. In order to do this, I have to be very fit so I have to train.

3. I want to find love, marry and have kids. No, I want to make a career for myself. Although the Khaleesi loves Khal Drogo very, very much. She is more than just the widow/wife of Khal Drogo. :) She is Daenerys Stormborn, heir to the Iron Throne. :D She has a good sense of who she is and what she wants. I want to do well in my master's and do great internships (The Hague, Luxembourg, Strasbourg, Brussels, Paris?), before finding a good, enjoyable job.

4. I want to do some voluntary work in Asia. This would be a great opportunity to get to know a country and myself better.

5. I want to travel in Asia and see countries like Nepal, Cambodia and Thailand.
6. I want to surf more, in countries like France, Portugal and Morocco. I want to improve on my surfing.

7. I want to sing more and produce more songs. I would like to perform with a band or solo in front of an audience. It would be great to find a record company. A girl can dream :)

8. I want to act a lot more. The dream is to act in movies. But first, I will have to do a lot of auditions and more courses in musical acting and film acting.

9. I want to do ballroom dancing again. I used to be great at the Jive and the Tango. I have to start again and compete in competitions.

10. I would love to start ice skating lessons. This has been a dream of mine for a long time.

11. I want to write a travel journal. I can write this while backpacking through America or Asia.

12. I want to write a fictional, fantasy story. I love fantasy. I am obsessed with Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings and Game of Thrones. I wrote a whole fantasy story while in my teens. I just need to rewrite and polish it and let someone read it, maybe find a small publishing company.

13. I would love to have my own column or a well-read, well-known blog. But what should it be about? If I would have more money I would certainly love to make pictures of my outfits and write about fashion, but I also want to write about the other things I'm passionate about, like philosophy, politics, society, but also travelling. Why can't I just write a blog about life in general?

14. I want to start a movie club. Those who are interested, please let me know!! I want to have a movie club with whom I can go to the cinema with on a regular basis or watch movies with in my own house/room or at somebody else's place. We can also sometimes visit Arthouse cinema's. Those who are interested, please let me know!!! My email-address is    You know, I used to write scripts when I was younger and I would always watch all the bonus features on dvd's. I love to know more about how a film is made. I wanted to go to the film school in Amsterdam, but I decided to do a bachelor at a university instead.

15. I want to do more modelling. I have to find photographers and time to make a good portfolio for myself. As a amateur model/model you always need recent photos to show to people who are possibly interested in you.

16. I want to learn Portuguese and improve my French, German and Spanish. I would also love to be able to speak Hindi ^^

17. I want a part-time job that has to do with law, so I can improve myself and achieve experience in this field.

18. I would love to learn how to cook various recipes and how to bake different kinds of desserts and cakes.

19. I want to go on a spiritual journey to Britain.

20. I want to go on a spiritual journey to India.

21. I want to get my driver's license, both for cars and motorcycles!

22.  I want to have my own scooter, and later perhaps my own car.

23. I really want to spend some time in Los Angeles and in Nevada. My dream was to do auditions there and see where it would lead me, but we'll see what happens.

24. I want to be more active at the student organisations I am a member of and at my political party.

25. I want to do something for one of my student organisations or for my university. I want to work as a student-assistant or be a part of a committee.

There you have it. I probably forgot some things.

I just want to learn and experience!!!

All in all, it seems like I want to do too much and I don't have any time for it at all, haha.

But a girl can always dream :)

I really wrote this blog so that you all can know me better and for you to get an insight in what kind of person I am and which ambitions I have.

My favorite color? Light blue! But if I could choose two it would be light blue and pink!

What are your dreams and how do you want to realize them?

After all, you only live once!


- C.

woensdag 23 maart 2016

La Peur, l'ennemie déclarée.


After the attacks in Brussels yesterday, I decided I should write something. Again, the hashtags on Social Media: #prayforbelgium. Again, the Belgian flag on people's profile pictures. Again, the minutes of silence. Again, people on the streets of Brussels. Again, the fear, la peur. I've seen this all before. I'm even starting to get used to this. Just when you start feeling safe, they strike again. I hear people saying "It's starting to come really close now!" And I feel like I want to shout to them: "It was already close for me!!! Now, do you know how it feels???" But you, dear Dutch people, do not yet know what it really feels like. You will probably soon know, but I hope not.. But what/who is our worst enemy?

I started thinking about fear... How fear ruins a lot of things for us in life: our joy in life, our feeling of safety and security, our motivation, our work, our studies, our relationships. Fear of failure, loss, separation, commitment, change, others, the world. Fear seems to me to be almost never a good thing. We have two expressions in Dutch which express it well: "Een mens lijdt het meest onder het lijden wat hij vreest ("a man suffers the most from the suffering that he fears")" and "Angst is een slechte raadgever ("Fear is an ill advisor"). A lot of negative emotions and negative outcomes are the direct result of fear; anger, hatred, failure, sadness, despair, broken relationships, arguments. A lot of people never realise their lives and the negative events in their lives are the results of their own fears and the fears of others.

Xenophobia, discrimination and racism are a perfect example of the terrible results of fear. We are afraid of others in our lives. We are even more afraid of strangers who look different from us. This may have served us a biological purpose in the past, when tribes were fighting other tribes. Our fear makes us think we are very different from these strangers. We try to accentuate the differences between us and these strangers, so that we can feel better about ourselves. Accepting strangers is a dangerous risk to take. This used to be the case maybe, long ago. But right now, accepting strangers can lead to more understanding and many positive things. We can work together and live in peace. Our fear of strangers serves no purpose anymore, accept for accentuating differences and creating hatred. We are not at war with strange tribes anymore. I was thinking about this while watching the video of the Dutch supporters in Madrid making fun of the gypsies. It was disgusting, but it was human nature. This was an example of one of our most primitive emotions: fear. The fear of the unknown, of poverty, of gypsies. These people tried to show their dominance over these gypsies and to separate themselves from poor gypsies by embarassing them.

Fear is a negative emotion, which nowadays hardly ever serves us well. Fear is an emotion which comes in handy in life-or-death situations. It gives us adrenaline and makes us act fast and flee or fight the enemy. Life-or-death situations used to be more abundant than they are now. It is good to be a little bit scared, but fear in excess leads to a lot of unnecessary misery.

Have you ever realised how many decisions in this world are based on fear? Fear of the future, fear of the unknown, fear of losing our freedom, fear of losing someone or being separated from someone, fear of failure. We perceive danger in a lot of situations, where in fact, there isn't any real danger.
We want to be in control of our lives all the time and to give somebody else a little control of our lives seems terrifying. Sometimes even when giving somebody else a little control of our lives can mean many good things for us: in a relationship: love, in a job interview: a chance at a good career, we still would rather pass on this opportunity, because the fear of a bad outcome is too big! We think we can plan our entire lives and when life turns out to go in a different direction, we think we are in danger, because we don't know what to expect. But you never know what you can expect from the future! The future isn't known to anyone.

To live in fear of the future and of making choices seems to be a terrible idea, because you can never know what the future holds!!

Many people in love make decisions based on fear. They seem to think they have control over their love lives. You cannot control who loves you and who won't love you or who will stop loving you. The only thing you have control over is the choices you make in this moment at this time. So, to base your actions in love on fear is again a terrible idea. You don't know what is going to happen. You think somebody will always stay by your side, no matter how you treat them? Think again. You think marrying someone will make them stay by your side? Think again. You think everybody will always leave you, no matter what you do? Think again. You think becoming intimate with someone will put your freedom in danger? Think again. Fear of these things makes us say things and do things that ultimately lead to the feared outcome. Fear of commitment is nothing more than a fear of letting someone become so close to you that they can hurt you. They will be more likely to hurt you when you keep trying to distance yourself from them and keep treating them as less important than they really are to you. A fear of separation will lead to a person desparately trying to keep another person close. This other person can come to resent you for that and will maybe try to leave you. In psychology you call this the "self-fulfilling prophecy". The bottomline is: a relationship is based on love for each other. Another person cannot chain you or imprison you and if he/she loves you, he/she won't try to. You are free to leave whenever you want. A person would be less likely to leave you if you respect their freedom. People are so incredibly afraid of heartbreak and the hurt of losing someone, that they are too afraid to take a chance on what could have been a beautiful relationship, a chance on love.

Think about it. We all have our phobias. If you listen to your phobia, you will never be able to test if your fears are really true. If you are afraid of going outside and therefore, you never go outside, you will never know if it's dangerous outside. If you are afraid of spiders, you will never touch a spider and you will never know if touching some spiders is okay to do. If you are afraid of losing your freedom and therefore, you don't commit yourself to anyone, you will never know if you would really lose your freedom in a committed relationship and if a committed relationship could perhaps even bring you joy.

What I want to say is: Live your life!! Go out and have fun. Do not base your decisions on fear and fear will no longer be able to ruin your life. You cannot control the future either way, but you can stop yourself from making bad decisions. Take a chance on love. Take a chance on life. Take chances!!!!!!!!! And visit Brussels and Paris ^^