Thursday, 31 December 2009

The dinner

The right answer is: M1, M2, J1, J2, R2, L and me – 7 people. Two hours before the dinner J2 said he wouldn’t be coming. It was a nice surprise when he showed up. I’ve made this for dinner, although it didn’t look quite as nice. My house smells like pancakes. And I am totally confused... Oh, not again!!!

So who is going to Riga with me? Maybe I should invite one of my guests. ;)

Tuesday, 29 December 2009

Wednesday dinner

Tomorrow it’s Wednesday again - time for our traditional Wednesday dinner. It’s my turn to cook. It’s also the last Wednesday of the year – good reason to organise something special. My idea was – let’s invite more friends to join. Afterwards we’ll all go dancing together. That sounds like fun. And that’s when it started!!!

I assumed we'd start with the three of us, usual suspects: C, M1 and myself. I called C to ask him whether he doesn’t mind a little extension. He didn’t answer my call, but he sure wouldn’t mind. Invite R1: “I’ll think about it, I’ll let you know.” Then invite R2. Then invite A. Then invite J1. M1 came up with the idea to invite P. R2 and A confirmed. Try to call C again, no answer. J1 declined: “I have to work the next day” – lame excuse, who doesn’t! I called R1 to check: “I think I’ll skip this time. I want to start dancing in January.” M1 called to tell me P isn’t coming either. I started negotiations with J1: “Come for the dinner, dancing is optional.” After three hours of negotiations J1 agreed to come. In the meanwhile I texted L: “Going dancing Wednesday? Wanna join us for dinner?” Yes to all – good. When I came home I discovered a message from A – she thinks her day will be too busy and she prefers to spend the evening at home. I’ll call her tomorrow and try to convince her to come to the dinner, dancing optional. Text C to inform him about the extended version of the Wednesday dinner. The answer: “You’ll have enough fun without me. I’ll stay at home a sleep before dancing. I’ll probably see you later at the dancing place.” What?!!! M1 is going to call him tomorrow. Tonight M1 has invited J2 while we had dinner together. He’ll be there, 99% sure. I’ve just texted M2, let’s hope she comes.

Now you may guess (or calculate) which people will be sitting around my table tomorrow. If you guess right I’ll take you with me on my trip to Riga! Submit your answers in comments. Good luck!

Love pain

For the past seven days I’ve been acting as a psychological support hotline for a friend suffering from love pain. It’s a serious and time consuming task. I love him, I have the time, I’ll make the time. He was very helpful when I needed support earlier this year. But while I’m fulfilling this honourable task I can’t help but observe our interaction. Very interesting!

What happens when someone in love pain seeks your support? You listen and try to say something comforting. What do you come up with:

“The pain will go with time.” – does it help the person you’re trying to comfort? Not a bit! How much time?!

“What you feel and think is perfectly normal.” – So what?! How is that supposed to help?

“You have to go through this, it’s a part of the game.” – What kind of crap is that?!!!!

“Look for some distraction. Try to be among people as much as possible.” – People?! You mean all those happy assholes with partners and families?

I remember getting all this some months ago. I even remember getting angry at a friend because he said all these things that didn’t help at all. Why do I say all this to my friend now? I know it doesn’t help. Who knows? Maybe because there’s nothing better I can think of. Maybe because I know all of this is true. And maybe because I know that hearing a voice of a person (no matter what that voice is saying) is always better than listening to the silence of the great emptiness of your house...

Another friend called tonight. “I feel fine, but deep inside I miss something...” - she said. “You miss a man, don’t you?” “Yes... I miss J, G, N, P, even V and all the men I haven’t even met yet!” I didn’t know what to say to that.

Monday, 28 December 2009

I just haven’t met you yet

I had a brunch with a friend today. She said: “I asked a CD of Michael Bublé for Christmas.” The name didn’t say me anything. I asked her to post a link to one of his songs on my wall. When she did, I though: “Hey, I know this guy!” He is in charts with his song ‘I Just Haven’t Met You Yet’. I think this song is very appropriate for my situation at the moment.

Saturday, 26 December 2009

Planning

Dutch plan. They plan all their business and free time weeks in advance. Sometimes you’ll have to wait weeks before you can spend an afternoon with a couple of friends. This way of life is quite annoying, because your diary is constantly filled with all kinds of obligations and you never have free time. Free time vanishes if it’s planned week in advance. I feel imprisoned if my diary is filled with appointments like this.

Ukrainians don’t plan. They plan neither business nor free time. Get up in the morning, decide what’s important and do it. That makes it impossible to make long term strategies, or to rely on anything. Time becomes fluid. I can’t be in such environment – I’m not a good swimmer.


Is there a way in between? I’m trying. These Christmas days are the result. Thursday evening: dinner with four instead of two. Friday: an unexpected West Side Story treat. Saturday: unexpected plan to visit the Winterparade in Amsterdam and an unexpected decision not to go to Amsterdam after all. Tomorrow: I’ll be meeting a friend for a coffee at 11:00 and for the rest – we shall see.

America


It was a fabulous Christmas with presents, brunch, lazy afternoon, visit to my friend’s family, more presents and the biggest present: an unplanned visit to the West Side Story at the Circustheater – fantastic!
Santa brought these -->


Friday, 25 December 2009

Flexible

Our plan for the Christmas eve was simple: just the two of us, cook, eat, make a necklace or watch a DVD. My friend got a text: “P asks whether we are going to dance tonight.” We’ve been through this some five times in the past week. “Tell him we are not going. I’ll finish with the Christmas tree and then we’ll start cooking.” I had J1 on the phone and my friend suggested he could join us. “Is J2 also coming?” – J1 asked. I called J2: “Are you coming for dinner?” So there we were, the four of us. Dinner (the meat of wild boar tastes delicious!), milkshakes and ice-cream and lots of fun with Jenga. I wonder how our plans for tomorrow will work out.

Thanks for voting again! My Richard lives in Amsterdam. Amsterdam is good, not too far. Brussels was leading for some time and I almost regretted putting it on the list. Distance in a relationship scares the hell out of me. Traumas from the past. I hope to be able to introduce a more or less complete Richard somewhere in the course of next week.

Merry Christmas everyone, enjoy whatever activities you’ve planned for these days. Have fun! (Can’t wait till I may open the presents!)

Thursday, 24 December 2009

Answer to Life, Universe and Everything

The snow in The Hague is melting, but Utrecht is still covered by a thick layer of real snow. In the morning the fields along the railway from The Hague to Utrecht are very often covered with mist. Mist in combination with snow changes the landscape so much, you might believe you are in a different time or at least in a different country. Snow has this ability to change things, to cover details be it dirt or insane order. That leaves you with the essence and lets you see what’s important. The farms along the railway looked very familiar this morning. It’s not because I’ve seen them out of the train window so many times. But they remind me of my childhood, a train journey from Kiev to Moscow or from Moscow to Saratov, even though the sterile order of Dutch farms has nothing to do with the reckless chaos of Russian rural landscapes. The snow makes them equal somehow. I’ve been complaining about the snow in the past few days, but I must admit I miss real snow a lot.

Thanks to all the voters (slightly less than yesterday) for helping me define the age of Richard. I was a little worried this afternoon because all ages had an even amount of votes. Fortunately someone has showed up tonight and made the decisive vote – Richard is 41. The answer to Life, Universe and Everything. Ok, not. But very close. Let’s hope his midlife crisis is (almost) over. I think voting on every detail about my imaginary boyfriend will become annoying very soon. Besides, it’s my man after all so I will decide for myself. But there is one more thing I would like you to vote on: the city Richard lives in. After you’ve done that I will complete the portrait. Thank you for your help! I mean it.




I received a Christmas present at work today – a €50 Douglas gift card. I’m going to buy myself a new perfume. Suggestions?

Wednesday, 23 December 2009

How old is Richard?

Can anyone explain this phenomenon to me?






Ok, thanks to everyone for voting and helping me to choose a name for my imaginary boyfriend. The name is Richard (6 votes, as opposed to 4 for Jeroen, 2 for Vincent and 2 for Alex). I like it! The next step is defining his age. Another day of voting if you wish. I actually think it’s fun to make up a man by letting you vote. I hope you enjoy it too. :) Vote on the right. Thanks!

Tuesday, 22 December 2009

Self-defence

And we are back to luxury problems (as some consider them). My friend couldn’t get to work because public transportation didn’t work and even the taxis refused to come. Snow is not something this country is meant for. So instead of working we had a serious conversation. We had to discuss our plan for the next year.

Hell, we need a plan! We need to prevent men who dance with us from hitting on us. There isn’t a day I dance that I don’t get ‘hit’. It varies from “You have very beautiful eyes. Did you know I’m a salsa teacher?” to too much physical contact. There are several exceptions but for the rest the men around us divide into two camps: mine and hers. Last Friday was most unpleasant because we were brought home by a man whom we dared to trust and who appeared to be hitting on both of us! She felt very insecure in his car when I stepped out. We have to defend ourselves. We are not looking for a relationship (or occasional sex) in this small dance scene. We just like to dance!

So here’s the plan: in 2010 we’ll make up imaginary boyfriends for ourselves, and tell everyone we are not available. I’ve even thought of using my wedding ring again, but that might be a little overdone for the moment. Anyway, it’s time to brush up what I’d learned in my acting classes. To make your acting credible you need to have as much information about your character as possible. I remember writing several pages with character description for a five-minute dialogue where each of us had to say only four sentences.

Now I have to think up a man and our relationship in as much detail as possible: what’s his name, how he looks like, how old he is, what he does, what he likes and dislikes and more details. I think of using a man I know as a basis to build on. It’s much easier to believe in a relationship with a man who actually exists. I might share the description here if it doesn’t make the “basis man” clearly recognisable.

Of course I’d greatly appreciate your help in this matter. Let’s start with the name. You have one day to vote for the name in the poll on the right side of this blog. Thanks!!!! :)

This song has nothing to do with the subject. I just like it. :)

Monday, 21 December 2009

Snow

It’s been snowing the whole day long. For the first time in twelve years I see a lot of snow in the Netherlands. Real snow. Just like “at home”. I had to fight my way into the shed where I have my washing machine. And I was attacked by my little neighbours when I opened the front door. :)

When I woke up this morning and saw the snow falling I thought of a poem by Boris Pasternak. Unfortunately I didn’t manage to find an English translation online. Here’s a song version of this poem (music and performance by Sergey Nikitin):

Sunday, 20 December 2009

The Ball


Friday, 18 December 2009

Christmas cards

I love the internet. We met in 1995 and we’ve been together ever since. It was love at first sight. I love what we have together: support, trust, challenge. It’s a very demanding relationship too. Sometimes I have to be strong and resist. It’s not always easy. And I am giving in bit by bit. I love music on CDs but I download it nowadays. I love using dictionaries in print, but I end up with Google translate more and more often. There are some things I still keep for myself, though. Christmas cards is one of those things. Whatever happens – my Christmas cards reach their recipients by snail mail in a paper envelope.

I just wanted to say that I’m traditional in this respect (just like in dating), but I’m not sure about it. I started sending Christmas cards to family and friends twelve years ago, when I came to the Netherlands. I just go along with this Christmas greetings fever every year. Address lists, post stamps, envelopes. What I just don’t remember doing, is going to a shop and buying a box (or several boxes) of postcards to send to all the people on my list. No matter how beautiful, shiny or cheap the cards in the shops are, I’m never tempted to buy any of them.

Instead of going an easy way, buying postcards, signing them, putting stamps and address stickers, and sending the bunch away (which would take a couple of hours already), I tend to make a project out of it. I tend to enjoy the whole happening only if I can make my own Christmas cards. It always involves cutting, gluing or stencilling. Maybe do something with a photo. It takes me days to think up a design, buy the necessary materials and make the cards. It brings stress too. Like today. When I couldn’t buy what I needed.

This is the first time I’ll be sending Christmas cards signed by only one person – me. It feels a little weird. It’s a new experience. I thought I’ve built my life here already, but it in many aspects it seems I’m only starting...

I have a very nice idea for my cards this year. I hope everyone likes them!

Disaster

It was 20:00 when I came home from work. I’ve worked six hours today. And I’ve spent another six hours travelling from The Hague to Houten and back.

“Attention! Due to the weather conditions* there are less trains** available in all directions.”
* Snow in the middle of December.
** About 90% less trains.

I’ve spent about forty minutes waiting for the bus. That’s instead of the usual two minutes.

People at work were comparing how much time they’d spent getting to work this morning. It looked like a competition. I won. Not only I spent almost three hours getting to work. I also fell off my bike three (!) times because the road was covered with melted snow. It was very stupid to go by bike anyway, but what upsets me most is that I was the only one falling. Other people didn’t seem to have this problem. You can clearly see I ‘m not Dutch. I have come a long way when it comes to mastering a bike, but there are things I’ll never be able to do. Biking over melted snow is definitely one of them.


Snowy landscape outside the train window

Thursday, 17 December 2009

Value meal

My dinner consisted of a Burger King “value meal” which I ate on the train. I don’t come to Burger King often, but every time I do I get a confirmation that Burger King has very strict selection criteria for their personnel. The most important quality of a BK staff member is the ability to be slow. Very slow. I mean – really slow. Without that quality – don’t bother to apply. Additional criteria are: not being able to count (or let the cash register count for you), not being able to remember anything that’s not on the receipt (things like extra tissues or a take-away bag), ability to forget things that are on the receipt and absolute inability think straight. The personnel department of the BK must be working overtime to enable such a thorough selection process.

I am stitch free now! Yay!!! I haven’t seen my scar yet – too exhausted after a busy day and four hours of dancing.

My hair looks fine. The only one who noticed that my hair changed, was Remie. (Yes. And no.)

Tuesday, 15 December 2009

Accent

Here we go: the poll on whether or not I should get rid of my accent is closed now. Remarcably enough more people voted in my hair poll than in my accent poll. Apparently hair is more fun to vote on. But unlike in the case of my hair this time I’m actually going to follow your advice. So if you haven’t voted you missed the chance to directly influence my life! That’ll teach you!

Great thank you to the 18 voters! 14 of them said I should keep my accent. I think nearly half of them are Russian speaking friends who have the same accent. ;) But that’s ok. Following advice of the people with similar experience is not such a crazy idea. 4 people think I should get rid of my accent. And I am very curious of their reasons. Do they agree with me or do they have different reasons. Please, if you have voted “Yes” leave an (anonimous) explanatory comment under this post. Please!? If I see some good reasons in the comments I might reconsider, but for now I decided to keep my accent.

Tomorrow will be a busy and exciting day. I will have the stitches removed off my back. I will go to the hairdresser. I will have another speed dating event. And I will have a dance lesson and some more dancing in the evening. I’ll keep you posted.

Monday, 14 December 2009

Circle

At the end of the day it appears that all you have to do to be happy is be happy. The circle is round. Or not?

Anastasia - The Circle Is Not Round (Before the Rain)

Conversation

“Will you take care of the tickets next week?”
“I did already. I reserved two tickets for us.”
“Is your smoking ready?”
“Yes, the trousers are taken in and I have bought a new shirt and a new tie. I just didn’t feel like buying a new pair of lacquered shoes, is that ok?”
“Yes, I can live with that. As long as your shoes are black.”
“Of course!!! I will bring my photo camera along so we can make a photo to show to your mother.”
“Good idea! I have arranged for a pair of long gloves, a necklace, a pair of earrings and a new clutch. I will wear stockings.”
“Oh, please, leave the dress at home!”

Christmas ball is not about dancing. It’s about dressing up and shining!

Sunday, 13 December 2009

The dream

I keep on listening to this poem by Andrey Makarevich. That’s my mood today. I'm so tired of hurting and pain, I want it to be over. How long is it still that I have to wait?



I have translated the poem into English, so non-Russian reading visitors have an idea of what the poem is about:

I see the same dream again:
The sea is breathing rhythmically in front of my house,
And the house is shaking from the blows of the waves,
There are spatters of sea water on my window,
And the wall of water merges with the sky,
And the water is cold and there is no bottom,
And the ship has already arrived, and I hear the command,
And they put the gangplank to my window.
And again I shout: “Wait! Wait!
I’m not ready yet, give my one day to get ready!
Give me just one day without phone calls,
Without the rain outside, without yesterday's truths.
Give me just one day!” But they don’t hear me...
They put away the gangplank and take off,
The steering wheel is squeaking, and I hear the command.
(Spatters of sea water are left on my window.)
And for a moment the sky is hidden behind the sails,
And the water is boiling, and the ship departs...
I stand by the window and swallow my tears,
Because there will be no ship anymore...
I am left with the slush of the Moscow streets,
Fragments of lanterns as if at the river bottom,
And faces of the passing by strangers,
And a cold tea. And an autumn evening

I have removed the bondage off my back today and saw the stitches. It’s very weird to see thread sticking out of my back like this.

And by the way, my accent is more important than my hair! Today is the last day to vote - so do it!

Saturday, 12 December 2009

Life experience

Tonight I went to a restaurant with a group of former colleagues. One of the men went to the toilet and when he came back he confessed to my neighbour: “It’s a very strange toilet they have here.” Later I asked my neighbour whether he’d checked out the toilet and what was special about it. “Just a regular toilet, nothing strange or special. The man probably doesn’t go out very often. But I’ve just realised how many different toilets I’ve seen in my life!” I think our life experience can be measured by the amount of different toilets we’ve visited.

Friday, 11 December 2009

The Manipulated Man

Did you know there’s an article on ‘first date’ in Wikipedia? Wikipedia is a great resource of information, but that’s not what this post is about.

My friend called an hour before the time to wish me luck. “I’ll call you as soon as I get home”, - I promised her. I wasn’t nervous. Not a bit. I didn’t spend hours in front of the mirror. In fact I was ready in twenty minutes. My hair didn’t look anything near to what I would like it to look like, but that didn’t bother me. Nothing was awkward from the moment he rang the doorbell till the moment I stepped out of the car in front of my house some hours later.

He embraced me and gave me a kiss on my cheek: “I hope you are hungry.” Yes, I am. ‘What food do you like?” I wondered what he planned. “Do you like Japanese?” Oooh, determined to impress! Yes, I love Japanese! I am very predictable, I know. “Let’s go to my favourite place, it’s very cosy and the food is very good.” I thought I’d seen all Japanese restaurants in The Hague but this place was new to me. It’s small and cosy and the food is good.

According to researchers of the universities of Missouri and Pittsburgh a first date, or any date that follows, the man is typically and traditionally portrayed as initiating the date, planning the date activities, picking the girl up, driving, paying for the date, performing courteous acts for the date- such as opening doors for her and possibly making any affectionate moves and then returning the date home. On the other hand, the woman’s role tends to be more of a passive one. That’s exactly what happened. I’m not very emancipated in this respect.

Esther Vilar writes in The Manipulated Man (1971) that women try and condition men to conform to a set of rules that caters exclusively to their needs, and reward men with praise (i.e. "you're such a gentleman", "it's so nice to meet a man who knows how to treat a woman", "you're so well-mannered") when men comply with these set of rules, while scolding and vilifying them if they don't. Well, I have to tell you, the women before me did their job really well! I didn’t have to do any scolding.

We’ve had a “date” before. I took the initiative, it was late, most places were closed. We ended up at a café with a disco, loud music, talking was difficult and the conversation wasn’t very exciting. When he dropped me off at my place I told him I’d appreciate him taking more initiative (yes, I am very direct, deal with it!). I haven’t heard from him for nearly two weeks. I wasn’t all too worried about it. If it’s not meant to be, it’s not meant to be. And I was very surprised to see his name when my phone rang this afternoon. My heart didn’t jump in joy, but the frustrations from yesterday and this morning went away and I ended up feeling nice and peaceful for the rest of the day.

Tomorrow night... weekend... dancing... movie... modern dance... jazz... theatre... music... I said I’d like to try Argentine tango. “Don’t do this, baby. You already have such a busy schedule.” Baby! Baby...

Another kiss on my cheek and I am at my doorstep. “What?! Are you home ALREADY?!” – I had to convince her I really enjoyed the evening.

I feel like good music: Radio Citizen - The Hop (Feat. Bajka)

Thursday, 10 December 2009

Up and running again

I mean my bicycle. It’s got completely new breaks, two new handles, two electric lights (front AND back) and a new support leg! It almost looks like new, it was difficult to resist the temptation to clean it and make it shine with some oil. I didn’t clean it, because I don’t want to make it look new – it will increase the chance of theft.

I went to the doctor today to remove a birthmark on my back. If you look good, you can see the birthmark on my back. The doctor asked me when I have to dance again. “Tonight!” – I said. “Oh, I wouldn’t advise that. You move your back more than you think. If you dance the scar won’t look neat.” I called a friend in panic. “Calm down”, - she said. “You can take your lesson and afterwards you will just dance bachata and easy merengue or zouk and no salsa.” I thought it was a good idea, but standing still when salsa music is on is absolutely unbearable. I left early. Frustrated.

Some new good music - Bonobo - Nightlite (Featuring Bajka):

Wednesday, 9 December 2009

Embassy

Tonight there was a nice party at the Ukrainian Embassy in The Hague. It was a surprise farewell party for the Cultural Attaché. Everybody brought presents, food and drinks, there was live Ukrainian music and people were singing – really nice! The ambassador himself wasn’t there, he had to attend some official event. His wife was there for a while, then she left too. The embassy was entrusted into hands of the “friends of the house”. I didn’t expect such a relaxed attitude from our Embassy and was very pleased to experience that!



A brief salsa lesson              A splash of Ukrainian patriotism    


                                 










Farewell photo

Tuesday, 8 December 2009

Speed dating and airBaltic

According to Wikipedia, speed dating is a formalized matchmaking process or dating system whose purpose is to encourage people to meet a large number of new people. Today I have attended an event (organised by NCH and COETC) with exactly the same purpose – encourage people to meet a large amount of new people. They call it networking event. For me it had some very unexpected results.

It’s a room full of people, today – 70% male, with a stack of business cards in their hand (or their pocket). The aim is to exchange as many of your own business cards for the business cards of other people. Exchange rate – one to one. You tell your own story as many times as many people you talk to. Approaching complete strangers feels a little awkward at first, but you get used to it very quickly.

Networking at such events is a little like hunting, see it as a sport. The group consisted of people (interested in) doing business in Russia, Baltic states, Ukraine and Kazakhstan. My challenge was to identify people dealing with Ukraine. “How am I going to do it?” – I thought after scanning the list of more than hundred participants. “Hi, I am from the Chamber of Commerce BeNeLux-Ukraine...” - I talked to two people and just started a conversation with a third person when we all were requested to pay attention to an announcement. AirBaltic was collecting business cards to draw a prize – two roundtrip tickets Amsterdam-Riga-Amsterdam. “Please, if you haven’t put in your business card yet, do it now, it’s your last chance!” I took out my business card and put it in a box. “It’s very Dutch.” – said the man I was talking to. Well, I don’t look Dutch and I talk with an accent, but at least I act Dutch!

Two minutes later our conversation was interrupted again – the winner was about to be announced. The woman from airBaltic put her hand in the box and took a card out. I couldn’t believe it, but she was reading my name!!! I am the lucky owner of two tickets to Riga!!! Applause, photo, receiving the certificate and discussing sponsoring possibilities with airBaltic. After that networking was really easy. Relevant people have approached me: “Shall we go together?” “Are you married?” “Yes, I am.” “No, you are not going with me.” “And if I weren’t married?” “Then you would have had a good chance.” “Oh, but that’s very flattering!” More serious conversations followed as well.

At the end of the event I was talking to a colleague and someone with whom we work already. My colleague: “Shall we make another prize draw? Let people submit their cards for a chance to join you on your trip to Riga? That will be excellent promotion for our Chamber!”
Our contact: “Oh, I’m sure she has a man up her sleeve already!”
Me: “???”
Our contact: “Oh, come on! I read your blog every once in a while!”
Oh my God, I have a name! Maybe I should be less openhearted on this blog...

Anyway, I am still thinking of an original way to fill that chair next to me on my way to Riga. Suggestions are welcome!

Monday, 7 December 2009

Sinterklaas


Yesterday I finally had a chance to talk to the real Sinterklaas! He was very sweet. We were brought to him by a real Zwarte Piet!






The poem I published yesterday accompanied the first aid kit for a broken heart that contains elastic gauze bandage, dressing strip, tape, glue, hearing protection (against all those seducing words that finally lead to a broken heart), loads of Kleenex and a bag of tea lights. No love control pills. :-|

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Sinterklaas

Lieve Sasja

Je bent een succesvolle jonge vrouw in een grote stad.
Je bent jong en wild aantrekkelijk, een echte schat.

Je danst als een godin en met een energie die niemand ontgaat.
De mannen rennen achter je aan en zie wat een onrust er ontstaat.

De Boterwaag als jij er bent, staat hij in vuur en vlam.
Dansen, dansen, dansen, iets drinken het komt er niet van.

En komt er even niemand met je dansen.
Dan ga je zelf wel op pad om te sjansen.

Al die mannen, het wordt je nooit te veel.
Je lacht als zij je sms'en, of schrijven per mail.

“Weet je wat hij zij: Als ik zo ben zoals ik dans
dan ben ik de meest geweldige vrouw en wil hij een kans”

En dan hijgt hij lieve Franse woordjes in jouw oor.
En jij Sasja verliest jouw hart daarvoor.

Je valt voor zijn charme en de gouden bergen die hij belooft.
Zijn ogen, zijn lichaam, de lust, je hersenen raken verdoofd.

Je wilt hem en besluit hem je onvoorwaardelijke liefde te geven.
Maar dan blijkt, hij is al bezet, kortom er is een andere vrouw in zijn leven.

Je gooit nog wat extra charme in de strijd.
Maar zijn oude liefde wil hij niet kwijt.

Daar sta je dan met je gebroken hart.
En heus Sinterklaas weet alles van smart.

Want 1700 jaar geleden (ik ben 1736) jaar geworden dit jaar
Trouwens we schelen maar 1700 jaar dus een prima paar.

Maar toen zo heel erg lang terug
Werd ik ook wel eens verliefd en dat was ook heel errug.

Slapen kon ik er niet van vele dagen.
En toen moesten de pieten mijn hangende hoofd dragen.

Heus mijn lieve kind ik weet er alles van, maar kan nu chillen.
Nu slik ik in plaats van viagra 'love controle' pillen.

Dit werkt echt heel fantastisch.
Doe ik nooit meer verliefd of spastisch.

Daarmee blijf ik behoed voor het grote leed.
De ondraaglijke pijn die liefdesverdriet heet.

Want Sasja een gebroken hart is voor jou nauwelijks te dragen.
En wie moet je nu weer om troost gaan vragen.

Je vrienden zeggen alweer:
Dat gebeurd jou nu elke keer.

Verdriet went echter nooit.
En telkens voel jij je berooid.

Om jou hierbij te helpen maakt de sint hier een dubbele surprise van.
Hij spreekt hier in beeldtaal en hoopt dat je er wat mee kan.

Hetzelfde geldt voor de cadeaus zij zijn er om je te koesteren en te verzorgen.
Totdat de prins op het witte paard komt wie weet al morgen.

Ik hoop dat je vindt de man die je verdient mijn kind.
En dat hij je de rest van je leven hartstochtelijk bemint.

Dan hoef ik jou niet meer te troosten,
Maar kom ik op je huwelijk proosten.

Een vraag heb ik nog aan jou:
Waarom koos je voor Holland en de kou?

Waarom kom je niet lekker bij mij in Spanje wonen?
Altijd mooi weer en je vrienden kunnen ook langskomen.

Ik hoor het wel als je dat wilt mijn liefste.
Weet de sint is oud, maar nog altijd de fiefste.

Trouwens er is hier in Spanje een enorme vraag naar fotokralen vooral dure.
Kun je er misschien aan mij om te beginnen 100.000 sturen.

Geld speelt geen rol die Spaanse vrouwen worden helemaal gek,
Als zij kunnen showen met mijn foto op kralen rond hun nek.

Stinkend rijk zul je worden van die dingen.
Niet aan te slepen die kralen en misschien ook wel ringen.

Big business ik hoor de kassa al rinkelen.
Kun je fijn iedere dag met M gaan winkelen

Afijn mijn schimmel staat al voor ik moet nu gaan.
Maar volgend jaar kom ik er weer aan.

Sasja het gaat je goed.
En hierbij een hele vriendelijk groet.


Sint en Piet

Saturday, 5 December 2009

Sinterklaas


Sinterklaas took over the country! I went downtown today and all people there were buying Sinterklaas presents and chocolate letters and discussing their poems. I had to get a present too. Tomorrow, a couple of hours before the absolute deadline I will have to make a surprise and write a poem or two. Wish me luck!

While I was searching for the right present I popped in a shoe shop and bought a pair of boots. I wore them tonight for dancing. One of my friends didn’t come dancing because he was playing Sinterklaas tonight. The shoes are good. My feet died two hours ago.

Some Boomerang Sinterklaas fun:

Friday, 4 December 2009

Passion

Today I received a very openhearted e-mail from a friend of mine. He is the man from whom I’d least expect such an e-mail. He was talking about the game of seduction and passion. He loves playing with feelings and the greatest challenge for him is not to yield to his desire. I guess his ability to resist his desires (and desires of his partner) makes him very attractive.

I told him feelings were a dangerous toy, especially feelings of another person. He has to watch out. I guess he’s old and wise enough to know this. But his words made me think of my own approach to this love game. And I guess I do yield to my desires too soon. There is this thin border between passion and lust and I might have crossed it a couple of times too often. I need to challenge myself, need to learn to resist.

I think I can learn a lot from him.

Talking about passion and seduction:

Thursday, 3 December 2009

Double shift

My dance partner called today.
He: “I’m not going dancing tonight.”
Me: “Again? What kind of lame excuse do you have this time?”
He: “I have a double shift today.”
Me: “How come? Scheduling mistake?”
He: “No, this morning I had to be at work because of the management meeting. And tonight I’m going to my girlfriend.”

I have to say, that’s a very original definition of a double shift.

Sinterklaas came by today and left a chocolate letter for me next to my friend’s chimney. :)

I’ve been listening to Gotan Project a lot lately.

Wednesday, 2 December 2009

Jammer

‘Welkom bij de cursus “Doormodderen voor gevorderden”.’

‘Guur is een duidelijk woord, maar onguur is er gek genoeg niet het omgekeerde van.’

‘Universiteit is niet tegenovergestelde van diversiteit. Waarom is dat?’

‘Nee, het werd niks. Het was zo’n jongen die cola light drinkt. Dus.’

‘Mensen die niet dogmatisch zijn over eten, zijn nu eenmaal veel leuker. Ik heb een vriendin die alles lekker vindt. Ze roept vrolijk over zichzelf: ‘Ik ben een vuilnisbak! Je kunt alles in mij gooien!’ En inderdaad, wat je ook in haar gooit, ze eet het allemaal gretig op, en zegt dan ook nog: ‘Jezus! Wat lekker!’ Dat is nou een vrouw naar mijn hart.’

Wat een fantastisch boek is dat. Lezen! Jammer dat ik het al uit heb. En waarom heb ik Paulien Cornelisse niet ontmoet toen ik Nederlands aan het leren was?!

Monday, 30 November 2009

Vlaams

Het is net Nederlands maar dan anders. Neem bijvoorbeeld het woord ‘gans’. Ze bedoelen daar niet een inheemse zwemvogel mee, en ook niet een dom, onnozel meisje. ‘Gans’ zeggen ze als ze 'heel' bedoelen.

“Meneer, waar zijn hier de toiletten?” “Op de eerste verdiep.” Ik heb nog nooit iemand met zoveel respect over een verdieping horen praten!

“Wanneer ben je gedaan?” “Gedaan? Wat gedaan? Oh, je bedoelt hoe laat ik klaar ben!”

Webstek. Webstek. Webstek. Ik kan er maar niet aan wennen dat webstek gewoon een website betekent in hypercorrect Nederlands. En Vlaams.

Vlaams ben ik dus nog aan het leren. Ik kom er wel.

Nog een zoukje voor het slapengaan:

FarmVille

For those who don’t have (or don’t use) a Facebook account – FarmVille is a real-time farm simulation game, available as an application on Facebook. Several of my friends were playing it and I was curious what’s so fun about it. Now I’m at level 25. I have no idea how many levels there are, but I don’t know anyone who survived level 32.

In Farmville you get a piece of land that you can plow and plant seeds on, then collect the fruits or vegetables and earn money. You can spend your money on the market to buy seeds, trees, animals, buildings or machines. When you plow your land, plant seeds or build buildings you get experience points. Those points help you to move up the level ladder. You can also earn experience points by visiting your neighbours’ farms and giving them a helping hand. When you help your neighbours, you get to see their farms too. It’s fun to see how people run their farms.

There are people who don’t take it all too seriously which seems rather appropriate in case of FarmVille. A cow here, an apple tree there, a daffodil, a potato, then a daffodil again.

There are people who care about quality of life and don’t care about money and prizes all that much. Those use plenty of space for the house, and their animals are allowed to walk around freely.

Then there are those very successful farmers: they manage to combine high quality of life with the maximum efficiency when it comes to using their resources.

And this is my farm. I use all the space and have my storage full of items too. My farm is a continuous production process, no hedonic or aesthetic pleasures. I adopt animals not because I feel sorry for them or because I like them, but because adopted animals earn me points. My animals are not allowed to walk. There was no place to walk anyway up until this morning when I received a reindeer as a present. I have cleared up a strip of land so I could put it there. Then I felt guilty for treating my animals like this and let this one reindeer walk around. This guilt feeling is hunting me and I think I’m going to give in and reorganise my farm to make it a nicer place. I just need one more neighbour so I can expand my farm. Please sign in for the FarmVille and add me as your neighbour! (After you’ve done that you can forget all about FarmVille again.)

Sunday, 29 November 2009

From Grunberg to cellulite

I had a Russian speaking girls evening yesterday. Three of my girlfriends came for a dinner. It was so much fun, I will organise this on a regular basis!

At the dinner table we started with discussing the books we read lately and then gradually we moved to other topics like applying for a new passport in Russia or Ukraine, work, people we know, diets (!). The latter topic really sounded weird around that table because the highest body mass index in the group is 21,5 which is very normal and is closer to underweight than to overweight.

It was a nice mix around the table: one Ukrainian from Ukraine, one Russian from Ukraine, one Russian from Russia and one Ukrainian from Russia. So discussing language issues was fun too. And then my accent issue came up. They all looked at me as if I were talking absolute nonsense.
N: “I’ve been to a logopedist twice, but it only helps for a month. After that your accent gradually comes back.”
L: “Next time you feel like going to a logopedist, go shopping straight away! That helps much better.”

The girls left at 22:30 and I went to dance ignoring the post-war state of my kitchen and dinner table. After two hours of salsa I checked out a night club (pretty empty, sticky floors and bad music) and a disco bar. In bed by 4:20 – won’t do it often!

Dancing youth at the disco bar in the ray of light from a disco ball.

Friday, 27 November 2009

Accent

In twelve years in the Netherlands I’ve been asked questions about my accent (questions like: Where does your accent come from? You speak with an accent, where are you from?) so often I lost count years ago. I even learned to overcome my irritation and be friendly, answer the question and forget about it right away. If I don’t visit some kind of event where I meet a lot of new people I get reminded about my accent twice of three times a week. But last Wednesday was outrageous: I got a question or a remark about my accent three times within four hours! “I maybe a little rude, but I love accents and wonder where yours come from.” “Oh, now I talk to you a little longer, I hear your funny accent. Where are you from?” And how do you like this: “You speak Dutch with a heavy Russian accent – so exotic, you have to use it to earn money!”

There was a period in my life I wanted to get rid of the accent somehow. I was seriously thinking of going to a logopedist for that. Friends talked me out of it. I tried my best to accept it and let it be a part of me. But now the wish to get rid of my accent is back. And it’s stronger than several years ago. I can’t believe my attempts to accept it failed completely, but it seems they really did. I’ve already looked up a logopedist not far from my place. But I’m still struggling with myself. Shall I do it, or shall I not?

What do you think: to be or not to be for my “heavy Russian accent”? Please fill in the poll on the right side of this blog. At this moment I can use some encouragement or discouragement as long as it helps me to get of this struggle. Either way!

Yesterday's AEGEE Alumni after work borrel. At last you can see my hair, thanks to Thijs! AEGEE - the only environment where I don't mind the question "Where are you from?" The answer is: "AEGEE-Kyiv!"

Dependence


Yesterday I was just finished writing the text for my blog and was going to look for the music to illustrate zouk when I discovered my internet connection was gone. I tried to revive it for forty minutes then gave up and went to bed. This morning the connection was out up until the moment I had to run to work. It seems I’m rather dependent on the internet connection for my daily writing exercise – grrrr – absolutely unacceptable for an independent woman like me!

Choices, choices...

Last night I realised that I will face an enormous choices crisis in January.  I already know: no matter what choice I make – I will lose. That’s tough! Really tough... I try to avoid the thought of it, but instead I just think about it all the time. Well, I think I have to get to it, make a choice and get over it. I’m just not ready yet.

Ok, here’s the problem: I have to make a choice of which dance lessons I’m going to take next season. Here are the choices:
Ballroom – I have the perfect partner now, we just have to figure out which dance school we choose.
Salsa – I have to go on with it, can't stop now. I’ll be dancing Intermediate 1 level.
Salsa lady styling – I am in desperate need of lady styling, and now they don’t seem to have it in my salsa school anymore. I’ll have to look for another course and hope the schedule works out.
Bachata – I more or less have the basics now, but I want to be able to really dance. Bachata is such a beautiful and romantic dance – it makes my heart cry and fly!
Argentine tango – the dance of passion! Although I know I probably will have no space for a tango course, I am going to have a look at one of tango lessons to get an idea of it. Most probably tango will be very difficult to resist after this visit.
Zouk – romantic, spectacular and much easier to learn than tango. Here's how zouk music sounds like:


Life's tough...

Tuesday, 24 November 2009

Resolutions

It’s still November, but New Year is winking at me from around the corner. I still have to make the Sinterklaas present and dance at the Christmas ball. I still have to arrange (or plan) something for Christmas and organise the New Year celebration. I still have to finish loads of things this year and I still have tomorrow to take care of. But I already tend to look into January and think about my goals for the next year. I don’t like resolutions, I set goals. I write them down in a notebook and have a look at them every two or three months to make sure I don’t forget anything. And I actually achieve them. That’s the most satisfying part of the whole exercise.

Usually I wake up into a morning of a new year, freed of December dinners and parties, sit down, concentrate and write down my goals. The whole thing takes no more than a couple of hours, including the planning for the first steps to achieve the goals. I don’t remember being so excited about it so far in advance, though. Why am I so excited now? There is a good reason for that. 2009 was a true mess. The year was messy not because my true love had left me and I was desperately trying to glue thousands of pieces of my heart back together using the non-lasting glue of hasty new relationships and love affairs. The mess was not because my business had failed throwing me back to the core question: what do I want and how do I get it? And it’s not even the permanent (and very tiring) lack of money that created this year’s mess. It’s the lack of goals, that left me in ruins for the whole year. And that’s why I am so keen on setting up my goals for the next year. In 2010 there will be no mess in my life, I will achieve what I want to achieve and that will give me strength and motivation!

But that’s January. And now I have to take care of tomorrow: work, order books for my mother, work, write two job application letters, work, clean up a little, work, grocery shopping, work, cook, dance. Wish me luck!



P.S. I am going to the hairdresser on 16 of December to get my hair in shape (with a minimum hair loss) and that’s when I’ll post my new hairdo picture. It’s just a couple of weeks more that you have to wait – patience!

Monday, 23 November 2009

Sinterklaas

Last week at our Wednesday dinner table:
C: “I have an idea: let’s celebrate Sinterklaas together.”
Me: “Yes, with surprises and verses! Very good idea!”
M: “I never celebrated Sinterklaas. What are surprises? I can’t write verses...”
Me and C: “Well, it’s about time you find out what Sinterklaas is all about!”

Vorontsov met Sinterklaas downtown.

Today I called C: “How are we going to raffle the names with only three of us?”
C: “I am going to give you two phone numbers now. One of them is my neighbour’s. He knows what to do. If you call him, you’ll get a name. But be careful, the man is a charmer!”
Me: “What about the second number?”
C: “It’s the local veterinarian. You have to figure out which number belongs to whom.”

Sinterklaas is going to be fun, I’m looking forward to it!

P.S. I had a bad hair day today, so no update pictures.

Refreshing

I know many immigrants in the Netherlands. Maybe because I am an immigrant myself I attract (and I am attracted to) other immigrants. People have many different reasons for which they choose to come and live here: family, work, study, asylum - you name it. But it’s when I talk to Dutch people I always have to answer the question on why and how I came to the Netherlands. This is quite annoying not only because I get this question way too often, but also because it feels like I don’t belong here, although I really wish I did. Often I also have to answer the question: “Do you like it here?” Somehow it reminds me of a question I often were asked when I was little: “Whom do you love more – mommy or daddy?” There is no simple answer to this, but how do you explain that?

Last Tuesday in Kiev I had a very refreshing conversation and surprisingly enough it was built on approximately the same questions. And this time I (of all people!) was the one asking them! I met a Dutchman who lives and works in Ukraine. I asked him why on Earth he swapped Netherlands for Ukraine. I don’t know how often he has to answer this question, but I really appreciated his energetic reaction. “Do you like people in the Netherlands? Are they nice? Are they cordial? Do you feel welcome in their homes? Do you like your life to be regulated by your agenda? Do you like the fact that there are rules for every little thing? There are so many rules, most of them are nonsense and irrelevant to the real life! They just won’t let you exist without regulating your life completely. In Ukraine you are free from that.” We didn’t have enough time to continue, but I really hope we can carry on next time I’m in Kiev. He gave me a view on life in Ukraine from a very different perspective helping me to fit yet another piece in my enormous life questions puzzle.

Tomorrow I will try to give you a visual update on my hair.

Sunday, 22 November 2009

Little black dress

My phone rings, I pick up and hear my friend’s voice trembling with excitement: “I’ve just spotted a perfect little black dress for you!” She sounds like she’s going to faint. “Calm down, calm down, try to relax! Tomorrow we’ll go downtown and check it out.” So today we went to check out the dress. It’s Christmas season and shops are loaded with black dresses. The dress she had in mind looked very beautiful in the shop window. Before we got to the dressing rooms I picked up two more black dresses, a black skirt and a black cat suit. I ended up buying the dress she had in mind – it looked fabulous on me! I’d
spent my budget already and it was already near to closing time, but we decided to pay a visit to the shop next door. There they had black dresses too. Many black dresses. After five minutes intensive browsing through the shop we both headed for the dressing rooms. I tried six dresses on of which only one didn’t look spectacular. Hmmm... Tough choice. I can’t afford five dresses. I don’t need five dresses!!! I bought two. So now I have a “Marylyn Monroe” pleated dress for style dancing balls, a “cha-cha-cha” dress with lots of fringe for special salsa parties and a cocktail dress with frills for other occasions. I’m in urgent need of balls, exclusive salsa parties and other special occasions now. Please do invite me!

Friday, 20 November 2009

Sci-Fi

A couple of days ago there was this huge Vodafone network failure in the Netherlands. Huge amounts of communication have gone wrong. Dutch municipalities use Vodafone for their business – I guess most municipality services were (partly) paralysed.

My imagination took this even further. Imagine you wake up one morning and the whole concept of mobile networks and cell phones is gone. All the rest stays the same, but without cell phones. I was trying to imagine how my day would go if this happened: I have to rush to work, but cannot find my cell anywhere. I try calling my number from Skype with no success. Finally I leave the house without my phone trying to convince myself I can survive one day without my phone. I manage to get to work without noticing anything strange on the way. But at work it appears EVERYBODY misses their cell phone. Calling friends and relatives becomes rather tricky, because we don’t know numbers by heart anymore. But every mobile number we try to dial seems to be ‘out of use’ or non-existing...

Hmm, this is a very nice topic for a Sci-Fi story. Is anyone interested to explore it any further?

Kiev cuisine

If you walk into a restaurant in Kiev you will most likely find yourself in either a “traditional Ukrainian” or a “fusion” kind of place. Fusion doesn’t mean food from traditional cuisines with a modern twist to it like pelmeni filled with duck and apples. No, fusion in Kiev terms means there will be dishes from different countries on the same menu: sushi, pizza, canard a l’orange, tapas and pelmeni - no co-ordination whatsoever. Have fun making the most weird combinations. Traditional Ukrainian restaurants serve traditional Ukrainian food. The food is good. The challenge lies in surviving the environment. When it comes to interior design it seems that Ukrainian “traditional” restaurants compete with each other on expanding the borders of pathetic absurdity. The term for this style is yet to be invented, kitsch doesn’t even come close.

This all is inside the restaurant. Waiters in traditional outfits and masks against the swine flu make the joy complete. It takes three people and ten minutes to bring the change and another ten minutes to bring back the bill.


Is You Is or Is you Ain't My Baby by Dinah Washington - I've listened to this song a couple of times in the car from Cologne to Eindhoven - Love it!

Thursday, 19 November 2009

Back

I'm very tired, my feet hurt and so does my heart.

Monday, 16 November 2009

Swine flu

Passport control and customs officers at the Kiev International Airport in Boryspil were wearing masks (protection from the swine flu) this morning.

"So, how's the flu in Ukraine?" "Ah, that's a political illness."

50% of billboards are dedicated to the election campaigns of different presidential candidates. Elections pop up as a topic of any conversation at least once every fifteen minutes. The country is literally paralysed by the coming presidential elections.

Someone (a business partner of the Chamber of Commerce Benelux-Ukraine) told me that when she met me in Utrecht during Ukraine Day, she thought I was Dutch who speaks Russian very well. Afterwards she couldn't believe I come from Kiev because apparently I speak Russian with a very strong accent. I wasn't pleased to hear this…

I'm total loss, off to bed now.

Sunday, 15 November 2009

Busy

I’m leaving to Kiev (via Antwerp) tomorrow and there’s still a long list of things I should do before leaving. I will fall off the grid for a couple of days because the programme in Kiev is stuffed with meetings. I spoke to my mother tonight and we decided that she will join my father and me on our way to the airport on Wednesday (four o’clock in the morning!) so we can talk in the car. There is no other opportunity to talk for us!

So if there are no posts here till Wednesday, don’t worry – I’m probably not dead, just busy. Hopefully Kiev will bring some new inspiration. It always does. That’s one of the reasons I’ve started this blog in the first place.

Saturday, 14 November 2009

Groceries

I don’t mind long queues at the supermarket. I love watching what set of products people have in their shopping carts. I look at the person and their shopping cart and then try to imagine more details about their life.

A young woman in a green coat and a purple scarf: one cucumber, one package of Old Amsterdam cheese (in slices), one carton of Dubbel Fris, a bag of tea lights. She is not living together with a man!

A man in his early forties, jeans, sweater, jacket: two cans of beer, a bag of crisps, a ready made meal for one. He is a chronic single and will stay single for the rest of his life, unless he meets a woman (it will probably have to happen at this very supermarket) who is desperate enough to take on this hopeless project.

A Muslim woman with a twelve-years-old boy: ten cartons of ice tea, forty mini cartons of apple and orange juice, two large bottles of cola, six small bottles of sparkling water, two cartons of milk, four different sorts of cookies (two packs each), 1kg minced beef, one bottle of liquid soap, 2kg of sugar, 5 kg of flour, one loaf of white bread, a package of something that resembles candy. I wonder how many people the family consists of and how long it will take them to drink all this liquid up. I also hope the husband/father is waiting outside!

Two neatly dressed men in their early forties: twenty mini cans of tomato puree, one package (three rolls) of paper kitchen towel, one package (six pieces) of pre-baked croissants, one package of cleaning cloth, three apples, one jar of white beans in tomato sauce. Ehm...

A woman in her mid thirties, short hair, jeans, short suede jacket: a loaf of brown bread, a jar of peanut butter, a jar of pure chocolate bread spread. She... Oh, wait, it’s me and my breakfast! I take my time while putting my breakfast in a plastic bag I brought from home, so I can watch one last shopping cart reveal it’s owner’s secrets. It’s a man in his late twenties in a brown suit, white shirt, no tie, stylish grey trench coat: turkey filet, a bag of small potatoes, lettuce, tomatoes, olives, spices, feta cheese, an assortment of French cheese, ice-cream, strawberries, a bottle of chocolate sauce, a bottle of white wine, a bottle of red wine, a package of green tea, candles. I hope she’s worth the effort...

Friday, 13 November 2009

Second love

In today’s newspaper I saw an ad that had made quite an impression. It was very small – 4,5cm by 10cm and had only some text in black with a black line around it. For some seconds I was staring at it in disbelief. When the first shock passed, I was very amused, though. Here’s the text (I tried to keep the style and grammar of my English translation as similar to the original as possible):
“(Advertorial)
Is cheating on your partner acceptable or not?
From October 2008 Second love is brought on the market and already a big success. The gross of the visitors is very satisfied with the service which shows from the many reactions we receive.

Chat, e-mail as well as meeting in reality or an affair appear to have a positive effect on their feeling of happiness and/or home life. Naturally, the visitors decide for themselves how far they want to go. The website only helps to find those similarly minded who miss excitement in their current relationship.

secondlove.nl
Life is short, have a Second love.”

I wonder: if accepting and regulating prostitution leads to less casualties among prostitutes, and accepting and regulating drugs leads to a lesser drug use, would accepting and regulating of cheating lead to less cheating? I think we need some legal basis for cheating – might be a good solution for this problem.

Thursday, 12 November 2009

Dancing queen

Wednesday is a dancing day and next Monday I'm going to Kiev for two days.

Wednesday, 11 November 2009

Love control pills

“You shouldn’t fall in love with him now.” “Make sure you don’t fall in love with him.” Hey, as if I can control that! “I need to know whether a woman is available before I fall in love with her” – how do you do that? Teach me! Isn’t it like you fall in love and you cannot do anything about it, but hope you will get love in response? I don’t think I’m in love with him now, but how do I prevent that feeling from happening in the future? They should work on love control pills. I’m sure there will be high demand for those. I’d certainly get some, insurance or no insurance. If my doctor read my blog she would prescribe me a triple dose.

Monday, 9 November 2009

Soup

It’s time to share some food thoughts (as opposed to usual food for thought). Here’s one of the quick fix recipes I use when I don’t have time or inspiration to cook. This soup takes about 25 minutes to prepare. The original recipe is here (in Dutch) and this is my version.

For four people you will need:

3 celery stalks
1 large carrot
2 tbs olive oil
1 can of chopped tomatoes
1 chicken bouillon tablet
1 jar of white beans in tomato sauce
1 small can of corn

1. Slice celery and carrot. Heat olive oil in pan and fry celery and carrot for about 2 minutes.
Celery root and fry about 2 minutes.
2. Add chopped tomatoes, beans, corn and crumbled bouillon tablet. Diced tomatoes, broth tablets, beans with sauce and add 6 oz water.
3. Bring soup to boil and cook on low heat for about 5 minutes.

Voilà!

Rumba – very beautiful and very difficult!

Sunday, 8 November 2009

Wie is er niet groot mee geworden?

I first ‘met’ peanut butter in 1991, during my trip to USA. I loved it! At that time there was nothing like Nutella in Kiev shops. (There was hardly anything in shops, we even had to line up for bread.) Peanut butter was a true discovery. I had to wait for another five years before I could try the Dutch version of peanut butter – pindakaas. It was even better than the American version, because it wasn’t sweet. Once John and I attended a conference in The Hague. We stayed at a friend’s place and I remember eating up a 600g jar of pindakaas with a spoon. John was angry: “You can’t eat up somebody’s food just like that!” but I just couldn’t stay away from it! :)

Once during a dinner at John’s student house the six of us were watching TV. An old Calvé pindakaas commercial appeared during the commercial break. At the end of it there is a (rhetorical) question: “Calvé Pindakaas, who didn’t grow up with it?” Five people pointed fingers at me and said: ”She didn’t!” :D



When I moved to the Netherlands I tried different brands of pindakaas. I compared them and made my choice once and forever. There are several reasons for which I love this country and this is one of them: Calvé pindakaas met stukjes noot!


P.S. My father calls it пиндюкас. :D

Saturday, 7 November 2009

Wondering

What makes people enjoy each other’s company? We grew up in different countries, had totally different education (that concerns subject as well as level) and absolutely different career paths. We look very different and have an almost non compatible circle of friends. Common interests? We share a great interest in fashion and style. Is this enough to spend a highly enjoyable day together or is there something else? We both dance a lot, but we didn’t talk about it at all. Except when trying shoes on: “Can you spin? You won’t be able to dance in these shoes, they’re just for walking.” We like men, but didn’t talk much about them either. What did we talk about?! Everything and nothing in particular. About her job and my blog, about how often we clean up our houses, about how filthy men can be, about the weather, about clothes and shoes, about cooking, about money, about rich men. We didn’t have any deep conversations and it felt very good. We have totally different body types but look well in exactly the same clothes. It’s good we’re both broke, otherwise we’d end up with bags full of same dresses and skirts. That would ask for a lot co-ordination every time we go somewhere together.

After some hours of shopping - trying many similar things on and deciding to wait for the (real) sales season - we decided we need two men to accompany us next time. We’ve even identified the men already, let’s hope they agree. ;)

I’m going to take a relaxing bath now and then catch up on sleep as next week doesn’t promise much sleep either.

Christmas

I went downtown today and checked out some shops. Sales have started already! In Dutch shops sales are all year round nowadays. Just like Christmas. Black and glittery dresses and tops have been around for at least one month now. How much of that black glittery stuff can we consume? You only wear that once, maybe twice a year. Who buys a new Christmas eve outfit every year? Well, apparently everybody does. Not that I mind black or glitters, but shops have hardly any other clothes now. One advantage is that all of a sudden different types of bras are available: strapless, convertible, demi cup. Buy them now, before Christmas is over. Choose any type you want, any colour you want. Oh, no. The colour is black. You were not going to wear anything colourful any time soon, were you? You are not going to party out before Christmas, are you? You want to have a white strapless bra to wear under your white top? Nooooooo! It’s Christmas time! Grrrrrrrr!

This will be my first year in the Netherlands without anyone to spend Christmas with. I wonder how that will feel.

Tonight, after we’ve settled in a BMW convertible: “It’s so nice of you to bring us home! What’s your name?”

Friday, 6 November 2009

Immigration

A friend has posted this link on her Facebook wall today. It’s about millions of people worldwide who would like to permanently move to another country. It appears that every tenth person wants to immigrate. I wonder why there are so many restrictions on migration imposed by the governments. With such a significant number one would expect that the process of immigration would be actively supported and facilitated by the governments.

If people want to leave your country – help them. Who needs unhappy citizens anyway? When they leave there’s  space for new people who want to move in. If you have less space than applicants you will even have a choice: high educated women, IT-specialists, blonde tall guys, vegetarians, people who own a voodoo doll, you name it.

One might argue that there are too many people willing to move and countries (especially the most popular ones) will never be able to accommodate everyone. Let me dismiss this argument right away. Many  people who say they would like to switch countries will never do it even if supported by the government. The fact that you cannot make everyone happy doesn’t mean you should prevent people from getting happy or not try to make at least some people happy.

What we need to do is stop being afraid of foreigners and stop trying to give everyone an equal chance. The latter only leads to more restrictions.

Would world be a better place if everyone could freely choose in what country they want to live?

Wednesday, 4 November 2009

What men feel

I met her at my ballroom dance school. Her face looked very familiar but I couldn’t place it. I was with a man, a dance partner for the night. She sat by the bar. Alone. “Hi! Where do I know you from?” – what a bad opening! I can’t believe I’ve just used it! This is so embarrassing! I bet my partner was happy he wasn’t in my place.

“I don’t know!” – she looked a bit surprised. “Do you dance salsa at Universalsa?” “Yes! You too?” – the joy of relief! I now have something to build a conversation upon and she knows my question wasn’t just meant to start a conversation with her. After all being approached by a woman if you are female does feel a bit weird. We started talking and she was chatting in a very cute way. She was fast, I couldn’t keep up and just kept looking at her in amazement.

The three of us talked, danced and when the school closed we decided to have a drink in a café next door. The café was not open to the general public that night – some wealthy kid was celebrating his or her 25th birthday. The security let us in without further questions. It was warm and crowded. We joined the dancing youth on the ground floor. That’s when I noticed how small she was. I’m not tall at all (163cm), but I felt really big and bearish comparing to her. There was very little space – a perfect excuse to dance very close to her. She didn’t mind.

A safety pin that was holding the belt around her waist bent and opened. She threw it away, took the belt off and next... her tiger print blouse was off too. Wow! She was wearing a thin white singlet. I couldn’t take my eyes off the skin on her shoulders. I kept on wondering how her bra looked like. We danced and danced. It was really warm and I was covered with a thin layer of sweat. I ran my hand over her breasts. Kept it there longer than necessary to feel how wet her singlet was. She didn’t look intimidated, surprised or uncomfortable. Not a bit. “You’re soaking wet!” “It’s his sweat!” – she said enthusiastically pointing at “our” man.

He dropped me off at my place and drove on to bring her home. It was two o’clock and everything that happened felt rather unusual to me. I wonder: this whole night – is this how a man feels when he meets an attractive girl?

I don’t understand this but like the sound:
What happened last night

Tuesday, 3 November 2009

Islam

I was waiting for the train at Den Haag HS when two Muslim girls appeared on the platform. Their heads were covered with black scarves the way most Muslim women do it in the Netherlands. That’s how I knew they were Muslim. But the rest just didn’t fit in the picture. They were wearing mini skirts and high boots and one of them had a can of Red Bull in her hand. They seem to have their own very original interpretation of Islam. I took a picture with my phone, but it didn’t turn out very sharp. I hope you can still see enough.

“When are you finally going to copy the music for me?” He means this:

Monday, 2 November 2009

Shoes

My friend asked me yesterday how many pairs of shoes I had. “About twenty” – I said. “Good” – she answered. I think it’s possible to measure wealth of a country by the amount of shoes an average woman owns.

“You look very nice today. Don’t forget to mention on your blog that I made a compliment!” :D

We danced to this song today:


I like this one a lot too :)

Sunday, 1 November 2009

Banen

(ben op zoek naar werk)

Klaar voor de stad?
Wij zijn nummer 1!
Word je onze nieuwe collega?
Weet je uit ervaring hoe de zorg beter kan?
Je nieuwe werkgever is nogal veeleisend.
De wereld van morgen begint vandaag.
Mooi werk maak je niet alleen!

Wij zoeken:
Areaalbeheerder wegen, kunstwerken en openbare verlichting
Professor of Synthetic Systems Biology
Functioneel beheerder Relatiebeheersysteem Selligent
Gynaecoloog
Die ene Manager die de klant voorop stelt

pfff

Ik had een vriendin op bezoek vandaag. Op weg naar huis belde ze om te vertellen dat ze een Roodkapje heeft ontmoet bij de tramhalte.

Saturday, 31 October 2009

Affordable Art Fair


Today a friend of mine and I have spent a couple of hours in the labyrinths of the Affordable Art Fair in Amsterdam. Most art was not affordable and I didn’t like pieces I could afford. I do have a ton of postcards which I will use to redecorate my wall.
 


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