My 2016

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Fascism is closer than we think

Hi guys, please allow me to indulge in a bit of politics. I need to get this off my chest.

According to this article fascism is frighteningly close, and I can’t say Mr Van Ranst is entirely wrong. I don’t think google translate will do the article justice, hence the shortened version below:

Apparently…
– Refugees and Islam are bad news
– Freedom should be sacrificed for the sake of security
– Strikes and demonstrations are dangerous
– There are those who are productive and there are scroungers – no grey area
– A lot of people in Germany don’t seem to object to the suggestion of shooting refugees when they try to cross their closed border.
– it’s seems to be ok to steal valuables from refugees so the government can “afford” to care for said refugees (Denmark and Switzerland).
– It’s ok for the Geneva Convention to be openly questioned.

Quite a few of these could just be conservative policies, I understand that. But taken to the extreme these can create incredibly explosive situations. I’m afraid we’re not that far off…

A look back at 2015

If I had to describe 2015 in a few words, I would say it was a mixed bag. I had some very happy days and very excited days, but I had very somber days, and more recently incredibly sad days too.

The first months were the ones I blogged most, but it was also the period I found it hardest mentally. I barely left the house – and if I did, never on my own. It got better when I started challenging myself with the help of internet resources about dealing with anxiety. I managed to accomplish my most important goal for the year – to get a job. It was the only one I did manage, but I’m still really proud and happy about it. I got happier and healthier after that and I have to say that over all, the year wasn’t all that bad. It was however also sadly, and most notably for me, the year that we did not only celebrate our cat’s first birthday, but also the year we had to say goodbye to her.

It was near the end of November that she got killed by a car. Even though she had crossed the road we live by fine for a few months already, that one day was her very unlucky day. My neighbour came and told me the bad news, telling me she so wished it wasn’t ours. But I knew the moment she said white cat it was unlikely to be someone else’s. We owned the only white cat in the area. Her little body was still warm when I found her, but looking at her and feeling her she had very clearly passed away already. I lay her by her favourite tree before burying her together with my husband later that day. We barely got over the first shock of her not being there anymore when three weeks after we buried her she got dug up by foxes or badgers. We had to find another place for her little body and that hurt an awful lot – not having her with us anymore a second time over. I am very glad we have a lot of pictures and a few videos of her though. We miss her still and I think we always will. She truly was our little sweetheart.

Here’s to a happier 2016 x

When motivation isn’t there

Hi guys, it’s been a few weeks again despite my good intentions of making weekly posts. My mum always told me that the way to hell is paved with good intentions. That’s a literal translation from Dutch, but I’m sure there’s a similar expression in English.

My motivation to frankly do anything just wasn’t there this month. At first it was complacency, which then developed into worry and then panic. I got overwhelmed by how “horribly behind” I was on everything. Mind you, this was my highly tensed mind speaking. It’s not that bad, really. So instead of this getting me into action in my week off, it did exactly the opposite. I did exactly nothing all week. I’m almost glad I’m back at work come Tuesday so I can get into my routines. Hopefully I can pick up where I left off almost three weeks ago now. A household of two doesn’t accumulate too much in that time. so even without pushing myself I should be ok for my friend coming over for a long weekend in four days time.

With a bit of luck I’ll be able to squeeze in a few blogpost in November in addition to my third attempt at Nanowrimo.

A few things I learned in September

I started working on the 2nd of September as a part time play worker. It’s daily work, so I have managed to create a bit of a routine. I notice having “less time” has actually resulted in me doing more things than I did before. I’m more tired (physically), but on the other hand it feels like I have more energy. It’s weird (but good). I have regular panic attacks still, but I have managed well so far. There was only one day this month that it was an absolute miracle I managed to get to work. In my journal I recorded my anxiety level that morning at an 8. It was horrible. Despite the regular uncomfortable feelings, I feel like I’m doing relatively well. I’ve also spoken to a few friends I hadn’t talked to in a while. That gave an extra boost 🙂 Now it’s October already. The month really flew by. Fingers crossed I can keep it up. Wish me luck! Oh, and one more thing, I have joined the ENCON team (European Nerfighter Con). If anyone is interested in an awesome nerdy con in Amsterdam, stay tuned. It’s going to be so good!!

Travel TAG (part 2)

12. Best item purchased abroad?

This is a difficult one. I’m awful at remembering things too. The only thing that comes to mind is this: we were returning from a choir trip and were traveling by bus from Spain to Belgium. After a nearly sleepless night we stopped very early in the morning at one of the service stations in France. The croissants were only just being put on display. They were still warm and I can tell you, they were the best croissants I have ever had in my life.

13. Top 3 Travel items?

Phone (& charger – come on, that’s one item), jacket (you never know what the weather is going to do and it’s good to protect you from the sun and from the cold), house keys (seriously, you should take your house keys). Oh and money is pretty essential, but you can scarcely call that “an item”.

14. Are you a repeat visitor or do you explore new places?

I used to be a repeat visitor as a comfort kind of thing, but now I do like to regularly visit new places (if diaries and funds permit it)

15. Do you read up on your destination for culture, history or safety or do you wing it?

I tend to read up as I go at the destination itself.

16. You’re leaving tomorrow, money is no issue, where are you going?

New York. Big city lights whoop whoop!

17. Favourite landmark you have visited?

The Guggenheim museum in Bilbao.

18. Beach holiday, exploring or adventure?

Exploring. I’m not the fittest of people, but I’m not one to bake in the sun all day either. Unless that beach holiday would include a lot of windsurfing. I’m all up for that! Tasting new cultures is my favourite.

19. Where have you travelled to that you would love to travel again?

Kronach, if nothing else, just to stay in the youth hostel in the castle again. That was amazing.

20. Where would you travel to just eat the food?

My favourite is French kitchen and that’s easy enough to find. I would like to travel to the US to see what the fuss is all about here in Europe about American food. So many bad things are being said about it and I can’t believe it’s that bad. I heard bad things about the English kitchen too, and they where wrong about that.

21. Is there a place you would never go again?

Maybe, but not a specific place. Not because of not liking it, but more because of time constraints. There is so much to see in the world.

22. To travel is to…

Experience! I love exploring and learning new things. I know, I’m nerdy like that.

Anyone who wants to use these questions (which I collated from all over) are welcome to them. See you next time!

Travel TAG (part 1)

1. Where are you from and where do you live now?

I’m from Belgium and I have been living in the UK for almost 4 years.

2. What’s the furthest you’ve ever been?

Egypt (Sharm El-Sheikh). It was in my early teens when we went. I remember that I really liked the hotel and windsurfing on the hotel beach. I also remember how I did snorkelling for the first time and the views in the sea where amazing. And lastly, I remember a story of how my parents and sisters woke up an entire corridor of sleeping guests one night because I had apparently locked the door (I couldn’t even remember doing that) and nobody could get in or wake me up. So in the end they broke in via a door between our room and the one from one of our neighbours.

3. Do you prefer summer or winter?

It’s very hard to decide. I love swimming outdoors as much as I love skiing. But if it’s at home, I think summer would be my favourite. In England winter tends to be pretty wet.

4. Where would you love to travel to?

Japan. It really appeals to me to see how you can be creative with very little space.

5. Are you currently saving up for a trip?

Sort of; We want to visit a friend in Hungary and the budget is going to be pretty tight the next couple of years. My hubby wants to start a doctorate in September and should go part time in his job for that (all going well).

6. Name a place in the world you would love to shop.

Paris (if money is no issue), otherwise Brighton. It’s an awesome city for all sorts of things.

7. How many countries have you visited?

17 (including the ones I live(d) in).

They are: Belgium, France, The Netherlands, Luxembourg, Germany, Monaco, Spain, Switzerland, Austria, Hungary, Italy, the United Kingdom, Ireland, Vatican City, Turkey, Egypt and Sweden.

8. Where was your first plane to?

Egypt. I’m pretty sure of that. It’s the first one I definitely remember anyway.

9. Why do you travel?

Me and my hubby travel a lot to visit family. Our families live in the Midlands and in Belgium. A 3 hour and 6 hour drive one way respectively. Though I do love the discovery aspect of travel. That’s my favourite reason.

10. Favourite city?

Budapest. I have only been there once, so maybe that will change. I had the same feeling the first time I went to Paris that it would be my favourite city. It still is really high up there too.

11. Most memorable experience abroad?

The most memorable thing was looking up in the desert in Egypt in the middle of the night. We were on our way to a classic spot to watch the sun rise with lots of other tourists and guides. The amount of stars I saw that night in one go hasn’t been rivalled since, or even come close to that.

To be continued…