Monday, 31 August 2009

James Ensor in Paris

Today I got engaged in a discussion with Arnon Grunberg on whether or not sex is revealing. It’s funny we had a discussion as I have agreed with him to start with. Anyway, I believe sex is revealing if you chose it to be revealing. It has to do with trust and sometimes courage. You don’t need sex to be open to someone and very often we chose not to reveal ourselves when we are having sex. Just think of it: how many times have you lied in bed? I don’t mean lying about the size and that kind of stuff. I mean lying about yourself and your feelings towards your partner? And how many times you have chosen not to tell or show something about yourself?

In October 2009 – February 2010 there will be an exhibition of James Ensor in Musée d'Orsay. It would be very nice to go there. I don’t feel like going alone, does anyone want to join? I am sure Paris has much more to offer around that time, so we could combine some exhibitions, festivals, a theatre play perhaps? Let me know.

Timeline: 1990 - we get to see MTV top 20 every week on TV. Top 20 (sponsored by Brown) came very late in the evening, my parents were sleeping, but I watched every week. We didn’t have our own ‘tops’ so the concept seemed very fresh and somewhat strange. I liked the music.

Sunday, 30 August 2009

Saying ‘no’ to a dinner is one of the most difficult ‘noes’ there are. No, I have no problems with refusing a free meal, no matter how exquisite. It’s saying ‘no’ to a man that is difficult. (Hmm, this sounds a bit dubious…) Especially to ‘no’ a man I like. I am very direct, but when I have to say ‘no’ I tend to hide behind hints, implicit answers and all kinds of signs. And we all know – implicit doesn’t work with men…

Anyway, I know why it’s so difficult – by saying ‘no’ I will disappoint, upset or even hurt someone. I don’t want to do that. So, naturally I try to escape, make it as painless as possible, risking to make it even worse.

What I wonder is: why does it have to be like that? Why is there a need to do that in the first place? Sometimes I doubt, but in many cases I am sure I didn’t do anything to suggest I am open to dating. But before I know, I either find myself being in a middle of a date (doesn’t happen very often, I’m quite alert) or having to say ‘no’. And then, why does saying ‘no’ in such situation have to be so difficult? I am being honest, careful, fair and all other right things. I don’t even have a choice! And while I do the very right thing I experience all these negative emotions: fear, guilt (!), doubt, shame (!), awkwardness, disappointment and even pain.

Is it just me? Or is this a downside of being a woman? Do men have the same problem?

I like this song a lot:

Anxious to go dancing on my own again…

Timeline: October 1990 – the first show “Pole chudes” is on TV. This is the very first Western style show on Soviet TV. It took a while to get used to.

Spoetnik and Chagall

Bbq at Spoetnik was a very good idea after all. I met many friends and other people I know at once without having to contact them all one by one. I had food – no cooking tonight, yay! There was live music – we sang and danced (sort of). I did 50km by bike today. I hope I can dance tomorrow. And afterwards I even had an hour of art (mainly Chagall) and old books.

A bridge in Vlaardingen:

Timeline: 15 August 1990 – Viktor Tsoi died in a car accident. I still clearly remember where I stood when I heard the news on the radio. I’ve written about this some time ago.

Saturday, 29 August 2009

Forums and wild sheep

Help… man… off my mind… My experience… worse… Ten years… Write… burn… Fantasies… Don't be hard on yourself… Imagine… a fart… a belch…snores… What IF we could be together… Tough situation… just human… lust… … Nothing has happened… The fantasy is ALWAYS better than reality… Keep it a fantasy… enjoy… nice trash romance novel… two-and-a-half years... Palpable sentiment… in a room together… enjoy each other’s company… It'll burn out… It takes a while sometimes… …

I am in the middle of A Wild Sheep Chase now and the characters start having nonsense conversations. They are the same kind of conversations as the ones I always have with Aad. Now I understand why people run away when we start talking like that. It’s very difficult to read on. Today’s find: “All young women, no matter how different, look alike when they are naked; I’ve always found this very confusing.”

I have handbags spread all over the house. I need to establish some sort of routine to empty my handbag immediately when I get home and put it where it belongs. Now bags are everywhere and I have no idea which bag contains what.

Trivia: I have 20 handbags! :-o

Thursday, 27 August 2009


Sasja: “If he carries on like this I will start hating him. I will plant a bomb under his car.”
Friend: “Oh, come on! The car is brand new!”
Sasja: “Once he is gone, I will cry for a couple of months and then I will move on and everything will be fine.”
Friend: “We will both have to serve a sentence, lose a lot of time and all our money if you do that. Besides, you will have that guilt feeling for the rest of your life.”
Sasja: “You are right, I didn’t think of that. Hate is complicated.”
Friend: “Hate is no more complicated than love.”
Sasja: “… Why doesn’t he want to talk to me?..”

Facebook is great. If you feel down, take a couple of tests. They will cheer you up for sure. I took the ‘How Sexy is your Zodiac Sign?’ test today. I am – the Lion in bed: “Great talker. Sexy and passionate. Laid back. Knows how to have fun. Is really good at. Great kisser. Unpredictable. Outgoing. Down to earth. Addictive. Attractive.... Loud. Loves being in long relationships. Talkative. Not one to mess with. Rare to find. Good when found.” I just wonder: how did they know I’m loud? :D

At a bijoux company people hardly ever notice what bijoux others wear. This is what you have to wear to get noticed:

The rest of the outfit has a “high Sasja grade” as Kim would put it.

Timeline: January 1990 – the very first McDonalds in Soviet Union opens its doors in Moscow. We see long queues on TV. Everybody talks about it.

Wednesday, 26 August 2009

Married men

Jeroen has sent me this link some time ago (why would he do that? probably inspired by this post of mine). According to two American social psychologists Melissa Burkley and Jessica Parker from the Oklahoma State University single women prefer to “hunt” men who are already “taken”.

My mother always said: don’t date married men. It seems she was right. Today I’ve received a newsletter from Julia Schedrova (she is the president of the women’s club “I want to get married” (!!!) and the author of the “How to get married within two months” book). Julia has asked women to submit their stories about their relationships with married men. She received 254 stories. Only 7 of them ended “happily” where the man had chosen for his lover and not for his wife. The conclusion: girls, never date married men – it’s a waste of your precious time! I’m not even sure you should make an exception for Arnon Grunberg who blogged on the same topic today from a slightly different perspective. ;)

A peace of very good music - Сурганова и Оркестр - Не тобой болеет сердце:

Timeline: 7 December 1988 (a step back, I know) – the earthquake in Spitak. It was such a tragedy! My parents asked me whether I would mind if they adopted an Armenian child. Of course I wouldn’t! Armenians have decided to adopt all the Armenian children themselves, so the plan didn’t work at the end. I was very disappointed.

Tuesday, 25 August 2009


“What if you don’t have any inspiration?” “I just start writing and it comes.” “Wow!..” So here I am. Writing. And no inspiration comes. Not that the three-and-a-half-hour conversation over dinner was boring or uninspiring. On the opposite – I’ve got an energy boost from talking to someone who actually understands me all the way. (Too bad she is not a man.) But somehow I don’t feel like sharing any of it here. Funny, that the couple at the table next to us was speaking Russian too.

I’m still in love with a fairytale, but like this version too:

Timeline: 1989 – At school we learn to read Soviet history books and distinguish between facts and propaganda.

Monday, 24 August 2009


According to Friendship stats I have 90 friends, 30 less than average. 61% are male, 39% are female. 4 are single, 38 are dating or married. If I contracted a deadly variant of flu, I would likely infect 9 people, 1 of whom would die. When I share something on Facebook, it is typically viewed by 14 people. If I died today, an estimated 345 people would try to attend my funeral. Based on my Facebook profile, I have a 89% probability of getting married. I am likely to earn US$1.8 million and have 2.1 children over my lifetime.

Well these are very comforting results. Especially the funeral part. One of the 90 friends, female, single, went to Greece and all I got was this postcard -->

Dear Sasha, let this year bring you lots of juicy fruits, cool wind and many small pleasures.” Thank you! :)

Timeline: 1989 - I finished the compulsory eight years of secondary school and went to another school for the last two years (compulsory for university). The new school was experimenting. We had different specialisations (I had history), alternative school programme, experimental ways of teaching and no uniform. For the first time in many years going to school became fun.


¿Hablas español? Haha, nice opening! ;) I was a little anxious about going to Havana on my own tonight. But it worked out just fine: I danced, talked, and had fun.

Some days ago someone in my LinkedIn network has joined the Around2Seas group. Something, I don’t really know what, made me go and check out the group. Around2Seas is a project of two men who decided to visit countries around two seas: Black and Caspian. And if they are going anyway, they thought, they might as well make it a charity project to help fight cancer. I joined the group. It’s not the good cause that made me join. Every year there is at least one person driving, biking, walking or crawling to Ukraine, Russia, Belarus, Kazakhstan to help, support, cure, well you get the point. I don’t really believe in this kind of projects (that’s a whole different topic, some other time maybe). What made me join is the fact that if the guys want to ride around these two seas, they are going through Russia and Ukraine. And most probably they are going through Saratov as well as through Kiev. Which appeared to be the plan indeed (it’s on their website). Ok. I don’t know the guys. I just know someone who knows one of them and I can’t call the guy I know a close friend either. There are many people going to Ukraine and Russia all the time. I don’t really support the cause. Why the hell did I join the group? It took me two days to figure it all out. I think I know the answer. Those two guys and their journey is a connection. A very weak connection, but still. One of the connections I need to keep me whole. To keep my present connected to my past. To keep my three homes together. To make myself fit into the crowd around me and make the crowd suit me better. And it seems I desperately need to be whole at the moment. So even a weak connection like this will do… I need to figure out where these guys post their pictures.

Timeline: 1989 – don’t laugh!
For the first time in my life my hair is so long that I can make a pony. I remember having a headache at the end of that day because my scalp was not used to hair being held together so tightly.

Sunday, 23 August 2009

Settlers of Catan

It’s been a while since we played for the last time. Around seven in the evening we spontaneously decided we’d spend the evening playing. We played Settlers of Catan with a large board meant to be build with two basic games where one would need 18 points to win. Because I only have one basic game and one extension we’ve modified the board (skipping some small islands) and went for 14 points (although I still think it should have been 16).

I am not so good at placing my first two villages. I end up missing one or two resources and cannot build villages or cities, which leads to missing even more resources. I get my points by buying a lot of development cards and earning the two achievement cards. I place the robber on a field of someone who has the most cards to pick from. Yesterday I was able to build some villages, but missed the development points. I ended up making up a very short term strategy each time I had a turn. 10 points.

Jeroen is very good at placing the first villages. He takes the game very seriously and never misses a chance to spoil the plans of anyone else in the game. That becomes real fun if there is someone willing to fight back. They are fighting each other and I win. Jeroen never (or hardly ever) buys development cards. He is an aggressive trader and builder. However, yesterday he had no luck at all. Even though he had gold. No one was fighting back, spoiling plans didn’t work somehow, and lack of development cards didn’t help either. I am not sure, but I think he ended up with 8 points. When Jeroen looses so heavily he usually wants to play another round.

Kim chooses a strategy depending on the board in front of her. She buys development cards if there is a chance to do so. She places the robber on the field of someone whose plans she wants to spoil or someone she wants to pick a card from. And she always explains why she put the robber on that field which always sounds somewhat apologetically. She takes the game seriously, takes her time to think over her next move, thinks three steps ahead and constantly counts the points of everyone in the game. She is the one to argue with Jeroen about the rules. She has won yesterday (14 points that is).

Bas takes it all very easy, has fun, doesn’t play hard and even if he spoils someone’s plans it always looks like it’s no big deal. He buys development cards occasionally. But don’t underestimate his winning ability! Yesterday he started with no luck with resources. Just like me he went for the short term strategies each turn and somewhere in the middle of the game he managed to get gold and solve his liquidity problems. I lost my longest street card to him (2 points!) and he ended up second with 13 points.

I’ve just found this website where you can play Settlers of Catan online. Didn’t try it yet.

We (everyone, except Jeroen) were too tired for another round of Settlers and decided to play Around the World in 80 Days. No one knew the rules anymore so we tried to figure them out along the way. Which resulted in me loosing significantly, Kim getting angry, Jeroen getting a little upset because Kim wanted to stop and I didn’t care and Bas winning (probably out of pure luck, because he seemed to care less than anyone else).

I still have some Polish beer in my fridge. I don’t drink beer, so I am looking for beer drinking visitors willing to have a bbq in my garden or play board games (dinner included). Apply in the comments!

Timeline: January 1989 – the last Soviet census. I remember a woman coming to our home one evening and asking all kinds of questions about how many people live in our family and stuff like that. Apparently only 6% of households where one-person households in Soviet Union in 1989. That’s quite different from the predicted 50% in the Netherlands by 2050. Don’t you think?

Saturday, 22 August 2009


It was a good idea to go watch the fireworks. I have sand in my pockets. I loved the show. I am still cold from night freshness, cold wind and Ben&Jerry’s.

Scheveningen pier

Making photo’s of the fireworks requires good equipment, fast reaction and a lot of patience. I don't have any of that.

“I don’t want to sit here, there are too many kids.” “The older you get, the more kids you see around. You can’t avoid that.” And we are old. We see young girls in bikinis going to swim and instead of thinking of the fun they have we think of all the possible painful consequences (cold water + cold wind + female body = not a good combination). We (the three of us) only need eight beers and one fresh mint tea (guess who was drinking that) for the whole evening. We are heading home at 23:30.

Timeline: 1988

Friday, 21 August 2009

Green dress

I have this apple green dress from SkunkFunk. I bought it four years ago in Spain and I love it! It’s funky, stylish, fresh, different, you name it. But the last time I wore it was three years ago. Why don’t I wear a dress I love? Several reasons:
1. The weather: some summers simply don’t have enough warm days to wear all my summer outfits. And I mostly wear trousers, because that’s more practical.
2. Believe it or not - it didn’t fit. I was a little too “fat” and it didn’t look nice on the hips.
3. It reminded me of someone I couldn’t be with. So I was avoiding wearing the dress.
Today the weather was perfect for a bright summer dress. And I lost some weight in February, so my SkunkFunk dress fits perfectly again. It still reminds me of that someone with whom I still cannot be. Oh well… I wore it! I had my SkunkFunk dress on today! (I am a big fan of SkunkFunk) And it was good: it matches the colour of my i-pod perfectly and my i-pod fits very well in the front pocket, I had compliments at work and I felt great in general. And memories? Well, they are not that unpleasant…
I danced today for the first time in more than two weeks. It took some time to warm up and I noticed my condition was not on the same level as three weeks ago. But it was very nice. You know, there are men who know what they’re doing. All you have to do is relax and enjoy. Mmmm… I will try to make it to Havana on Sunday – got to keep on dancing.

Timeline: I will skip it for today. No one will notice.

Thursday, 20 August 2009

Penne al formaggio di capra

This is one of the most delicious pasta dishes I know. If you have all the ingredients you can have it ready in 25 minutes. I did today. Mmmmm! I have this recipe from AH, here’s the original version (in Dutch).

For 2 portions you will need:
150g penne rigate
40g pine nuts
100g soft goat cheese
100ml white wine
1 little onion
125ml cream
10g fresh mint leaves

1. Cook the penne according to the instructions on the package.
2. Roast the pine nuts (until they become light brown) in a dry frying pan and let them cool down on a plate. Crumb the goat cheese. Chop or tear mint leaves.
3. Chop the onion and put it in a wide deep frying pan together with wine. Let the wine boil down to half.
4. Add cream and cook for another 2-3 minutes.
5. Take the pan off the heat, add half of the goat cheese and half of the mint to the sauce.
6. Add penne to the pan with the sauce and mix. Put the penne on deep plates.
7. Mix the rest of the cheese and mint with pine nuts and scatter the mix on top of the pasta.

Eet smakelijk!

Listening to Aquarium whole day long makes your head spin. Bodyguard, where is your body?...

Aquarium – 25 to 10

Timeline: 1988 – things happen very fast - Nagorno-Karabakh, demonstrations in Estonia, but also in Slovakia and Poland. I remember my mother saying something like: “Half of Europe changes just because Soviet Union wanted a change.”

Wednesday, 19 August 2009


Ladies and gentlemen, due to a technical problem no train traffic is possible in and around Utrecht…

CHAOS at Utrecht Central Station. Long queues to fancy places like Ola (Swirl’s) and Starbucks Coffee. I bet they paid someone to sabotage the train traffic. No internet connection. No calling or texting to foreign numbers. One mms to a Dutch number takes five minutes to send (I gave up after one), one sms – two minutes (I’ll take that).

<--Actual train schedule at Utrecht Centraal - tabula rasa.

Attention, ladies and gentlemen, for your safety please refrain from sitting on the edge of a platform.
NOBODY moves away from the edges. People start picnics on the platforms.

Network busy. Sms sending attempt failed. Send again?

“Is there a bus to Gouda?” “I don’t know. It’s not on my list. There is a bus to Woerden, but there are no trains in and around Woerden either.” No wonder: Woerden is so close to Utrecht, one can WALK there!

Ladies and gentlemen, as an apology for the inconvenience NS offers you a free tea or coffee at the Kiosk. All of a sudden Kiosk becomes fancy too – a long queue. A woman in a red hat gives away small bottles of water.

Network busy.

“Is there a bus to Hilversum?” “I think so, but the train traffic will recover within half-an-hour.” “Are you sure?” “No.”

Ladies and gentlemen, due to a technical problem no train traffic is possible in and around Utrecht. It is still unknown when the train traffic will recover. What else is new?

People are going down to the platforms to get some suntan. Others are coming up. Red.
Reading in the sun.

Sms sending attempt failed. Send again?

‘Would you tell me, please, which way I ought to go from here?’ ‘That depends a good deal on where you want to get to,‘ said the Cat. ‘I don’t much care where…’ said Alice. ‘Then it doesn’t matter which way you go,‘ said the Cat.

Attention, passengers on the platform 19, please move away from the edges of the platform – there will be a train passing shortly. WOOHOO!!!!! There will be A TRAIN actually MOVING along the platform 19! Everybody heads to platform 19. It doesn’t matter where the train goes, as long as it GOES!

Sms sending attempt failed. Send again?

Two trains on platform 19 don’t show any signs of life. All of a sudden a train on platform 18 starts moving. The crowd walks along. The train stops. The crowd stops. The train starts moving in the opposite direction. The crowd follows.

Ladies and gentlemen, due to a technical problem… NO WAY! You can’t fool us. The train is MOVING!

The train stops and opens the doors. “Where does this train go?” “Usually it goes to The Hague from this platform.” “It says Nijmegen on the train, that’s the opposite direction.” “Well, let’s hope it will not go THERE.”

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the stop train to Amsterdam. We will depart to Amsterdam Central Station and stop at ALL the stations along the way. People get up, leave the train and enter the train on platform 19.

Sms sending attempt failed. Send again?

Ladies and gentlemen, this is the stop train to The Hague. We will head for The Hague Central Station and stop at ALL stations along the way. Please accept our apologies for the inconvenience. We would like to thank you for your patience… Blah, blah, blah. PLEASE, can we just GO?!

Battery low.

Ladies and gentlemen, in a few moments we will arrive at The Hague Central Station… Thank God! I LOVE my bike!

Timeline: 1988 - I don’t remember much except for skipping school. In fact, I can’t recall being at school at all.

Monday, 17 August 2009

Audio orgasm

Russian internet is the most wild place on the Earth. I’m pretty sure. I was looking for a Russian song. I actually gave up looking and decided to do some work after all, but first clean up all the windows that popped out in the process (yes, I do have a pop-up blocker!). One of the windows had something weird about it, so I started reading… It’s about the so called audio drugs (also called digital drugs, music drugs and I-Doser as I learnt later). What you have to do is download an audio track, listen to it using headphones and enjoy the results. You can download alcohol, cocaine, xtc, the voice of God (!!!!!), orgasm and several more. There is also one called ‘Reset’. You have to use it to get rid of the effects of other audio drugs. For example if you get nauseous of the “Happiness”. Orgasm is the most popular ‘drug’ (at least on that site) and has the most comments. “Cool, it really works!” “Jee, who needs porno!” “Does it also work for women?” (Lazy bastard!!!!) “I understood that I only saw my wife as a sex machine. Now I left her. Thanks to this music! Otherwise I would have been bound to this bitch (and our five kids) for years to come!” Here is one of the websites (there are many more) where you can get your audio orgasm.

And this guy is trying “Alcohol” and comments the process:

Timeline: 2 January 1988 – my little sister Lena dies after a week of pneumonia. I have no picture of her. I have to ask my mother (or see whether I can just steal one).

How many shoes?

Yuri Vorontsov claims to be a good friend of Imelda Marcos (in his previous life). I asked him how many pairs of shoes he had. He only learned to count till ten and only using his fingers. Apparently this is enough to be able to pilot a plane. So here’s the conversation we had:
Sasja: “How many times 10 is it?”
Yura: “10 means two hands. Right?”
Sasja: “Yes. So, how many hands would you need to count all your shoes?”
Yura: “Do you want me to count the left ones, the right ones or both?”
Sasja: “Both.”
Yura: “Do you mean "Count both and than divide the result by 2?"”
Sasja: “Yes.”
Yura: “42.”
So, how many pairs of shoes does Yuri have? Post your answers in the comments and maybe I can seduce him into sending you one of his fabulous photographs. ;)

These are my paletas. I need to work on the shape, but the taste is great! Here’s how to make orange juice paletas. You will need:
3 oranges
1 lime
2 table spoons of sugar

1. Get the juice from the fruits.
2. Take half of the pulp, some juice and two tablespoons of sugar and mince this all in a blender.
3. Add the pulp from the blender to the juice and mix well.
4. Pour the juice in the pop form and put it in a freezer for a night.

Is this the answer to my questions?

Gloria Gaynor - I am What I am

Timeline: 1987 - find me!

Sunday, 16 August 2009

Burnt by the sun

I finally have “white” bikini signs on my skin. Up until now I was getting my suntan in a solarium. Today I’ve spent several hours on the regular beach with two girlfriends of mine. We really took the time to discuss everything from our future plans to Brazilian wax. I've had a little too much wine and my back is a little too red, but I had a fantastic day!

Not dancing does not do me any good. I can’t wait till the new dancing courses season starts in September. I want to do ballroom, salsa and pole dancing. But there is no way I can do all three of them at the same time. It’s not my intention to fill up all of my free time with dancing. Choices, choices…

Timeline: 28 May 1987 Mathias Rust has illegally landed his airplane on the Red Square. I don’t remember this at all. I don’t think there was much publicity in the Soviet media.

Friday, 14 August 2009

Internet dating and LinkedIn

Leen (director of Sasja and Natasha) has called today. We’ve spent two hours on the phone. We talk once every six months or so, but then we discuss EVERYTHING. Every time we speak one (or both) of us is in a some sort of a relational crisis or adventure. That usually takes a lot of time to discuss. There are some people we both know - need to discuss that too. Today we dedicated at least one hour to two topics: LinkedIn and internet dating. Leen is new to LinkedIn, so I was explaining to him how he can change and update his profile, how to use the current status option, etc. So if you were wondering what our status messages are about: Leen was on the phone with a beautiful woman (=me) and I was giving him a speed course on how to use LinkedIn.

Another topic of today’s conversation was internet dating. Or actually – why I don’t use any dating websites. A pro argument: “Research shows that most chances to meet a serious partner and get a stable relationship in these times are if you use internet dating.” Another pro argument: “Why would you limit your chances to meet a nice man?” One more: “Listen to this profile of a woman I just found. Does she sound like a loser to you?” My contra-arguments were so weak, they are not even worth mentioning here. I had to admit I’m full of prejudices about internet dating. I did have one good argument though. When you meet a person live, you have a lot of room to feel around whether or not you really would like to date this person and whether or not the person you fancy is open to dating. It’s a game where you can use different strategies, be creative and can use your own tricks to make sure you don’t get hurt by a refusal. I love this game! And there is no room for it on a dating website… I think I’ll keep it live for now.

I’m trying to make orange juice paletas. They are in the freezer now, can’t wait till they are frozen!

I have a new bicycle bell. It was about time – with no lights (yeah, still) and no bell biking was getting a little uncomfortable not to say dangerous.

Timeline: beginning of 1987 – Perestroika is moving the country to the next level – small private enterprises start appearing.

Ilona Cootz

Nice dinner with friends, late train, headache, these trousers are not suitable for bilking… Have you ever heard of Ilona Cootz?

I am going to bed…

Wednesday, 12 August 2009

Out of synch, aimless

My heart and my mind are out of synch. They are never quite in synch, but now it’s beyond any reason. I am so sick of it! They need tuning. My heart needs tuning, my mind is perfectly fine. My mind knows something for sure and my heart is fooling around feeling something else. Basic things like: he did it once, he’ll do it again. I know! Why miss him? Why ignore all the things I know (that are not in his favour) and miss him? Why miss him after we talked and miss him even more if we didn’t? And YOU! Undo your existence, will you please?! No, please, don’t just disappear! That’ll hurt too much. Been there… My heart is in synch with the weather today.

I have to drink more water. I have to eat! I am not saying I’m jealous of people who eat when they are stressed, but not eating is not a good solution either.

I’ve just realised I haven’t set any goals for this year. I don’t believe in resolutions, I set goals in the beginning of each ear. I write down all things I want to achieve or arrange. Usually there are six to ten things on the list. Then I think how to realise that. And I look on the list couple of times during the year to see how I’m doing. Usually I achieve everything I aimed for unless a goal becomes obsolete one way or another. This year I haven’t set any goals. I feel this lack of direction in everything I do.

Aquarium – All I Want

Timeline: 1986 – some great Soviet movies: Kin-Dza-Dza, Kurjer, Million v brachnoj korzine.


It’s funny how there is this doublethink about money in our society. On every corner you are told that money is not important for your happiness, that you should not live for money and so on. At the same time everyone is working their ass off to get as much money as possible. Or they buy lottery tickets hoping to get a lot of money. It’s all about money. Which is funny, because in fact what everybody really wants is to be happy. And they say money can’t buy you that. Which is not true, because you can buy a lot of freedom with money. And freedom is what makes me happy. And I’m not the only one. So money can make you happy. Besides, how else would you measure your success? I mean MEASURE. You can always say you gained a lot of experience, learned a lot, had a lot of fun. But that doesn’t say much. In many cases those are just words used when people are trying to justify their useless lives. When money is the M in SMART. It’s a good way to compare yourself to others using a commonly accepted measurement. “I am more experienced than you” – is easy to object and in fact everyone will object. “My salary is higher than yours. My house is more expensive than yours. I have more money on my savings account.” – no room for objection.

Here’s a good song about money:

Timeline: 11 May 1986 – My mother, my sister and I fly to Saratov trying to escape radiation. There is a radiation control when we arrive to Saratov. They measured an acceptable level in all three of us, but we had to report to the city hospital the next day for more thorough control.

Tuesday, 11 August 2009


I took some time to sort out the photos from Odessa. My heart beats faster when I look at them. I want to go back! Would the coin left in a drawer at the apartment help? I just realised this was the most expensive birthday present I’ve ever got.

A long stop (20 or 30 minutes) on the way to Odessa. We bought warm pelmeni and vareniki from women on the platform.

Great photos! It's a pity I didn't make them. :)

A beach club in Arcadia. Love the disco ball. :)

<-- Doing it all wrong: short hair, long dress, flat sandals.

There are a couple of portraits I would love to share. Well, privacy first…

Timeline: 26 April 1986 – Chernobyl disaster. I was playing outside with a couple of other girls from our house. We were eating dandelion pollen (after we’d discovered it was sweet) and cherry flowers honey.

Monday, 10 August 2009

Back on the track

Sort of. Back in The Hague in any case. What a strange day! I cannot remember experiencing such a wide range of emotions in one day ever before. I was leaving with a feeling I was pushed towards a guillotine. Have you ever had this feeling when you don’t want to go where you’re going, but understand that running away doesn’t make sense? Pressure in my heart, this strange heavy feeling in my stomach, crying at the airport – the whole package. I’ve gathered a whole bunch of questions I need to answer. Otherwise I can’t fulfil my needs and get rid of this heaviness in my heart and in my stomach. At least so I thought.

But something happened during the flight from Kiev to Dortmund. I don’t know what. I sat on a bench on this Holzwiekede station in the middle of nowhere. Somehow I couldn’t make any phone calls, but had an internet connection. I was chatting with Jeroen, complaining about how bad I feel when all of a sudden I realised: I don’t feel bad anymore! I felt tired, sleepy (damn pill), hungry (middle of nowhere + Sunday = no food), but not sad! And I felt so free! I’m not sure how to interpret that, but it was such a good feeling. And you know what the most peculiar thing is? The questions are still there. Still the same…

P.S. I like myself the way I am. I don’t want to change my looks because someone (even if there are many of them) likes it that way.

Timeline: 7April 1986 – my little sister Lena was born.

Saturday, 8 August 2009

Super beauty

I've spent four days watching women in Odessa: open tops, short skirts, very high heels, long hair, nail polish and nice make up. Battalions of beautiful women. I shamelessly turned my head around all the time to follow another extremely short skirt or outrageously high heels. Competition is high. I gave up the second day of our stay in Odessa. I don't have heels that high. I don't wear skirts that short. My hair is short and I seem to have lost my ability to be a woman in the local sense of the word. After thinking a little I realised that I never had this ability in the first place. Cold comfort. When I look at those girls I can't resist a thought that they spend literally ALL their time and (somebody's) money on clothes, shoes, bags and make up. Do they have any brains? It would be a comfortable thought: they are so extremely beautiful, but very stupid. I don't have to compete with them because I am not ugly at all and rather smart and well educated. But that doesn't figure right. There are TOO many of those beauties around. They can't possibly ALL be brainless. At least some must be smart.

I found this picture on the internet. -->
This is an example of an average girl. At least that's my impression.

I am jealous. And confused. Do I want to be like them? Is that even possible? I know I will look silly in all this extremely short and open outfits in the Netherlands. But I'm sure I could make a beauty queen impression with less open clothes too. Why can't I switch to the super beauty mode when I come to Ukraine. I can tell you why: I would have to wear stiletto heels every day to look natural in them. I would need to have a separate wardrobe – a rather expensive hobby. And – most importantly – would that help? I am simply not a super beauty.

Is it about my looks at all?

Timeline: 21 March - 4 April 1986 – Katya Lycheva goes USA. All the newspapers are full of it. She is as old as I am and her visit to America makes a great impression on all children my age. Every Tuesday school started 15 minutes earlier with "politinformatsija" where we had to share news from newspapers. Anyone could be called randomly to report what piece of news he/she selected to share in class. When Katya went to America, ALL of us had prepared that piece. Our teacher was angry. Which was stupid because I think this was the only piece of politics that truly did interest us for once.

Thursday, 6 August 2009

How to spend four days celebrating your birthday

1. Get a feeling your birthday is special enough to spend several days for its celebration.
2. Take a luxury coach on a night train to Odessa.
3. Explore the city centre.
4. Make photos.
5. Shop.
6. Visit Privoz,the City Zoo, the Dolphinarium (very nice show!).
7. Eat out: fun place to have a cup of tea - Kompot, place to be seen at and have coctails and sushi - Fankoni.
8. Rest.
9. Go to the beach.
10. Take a a luxury coach on a night train back.

It's funny that two weeks of vacation in Kiev passed very fast and didn't feel like a vacation at all. This is the third day in Odessa, I'm relaxed and it feels like ages.


Absolutely EVERYTHING is taken care of! I feel like a queen. I wonder whether I can take any more pampering. ;)
He: carrying two loaded grocery bags
She: "Why didn't you take a third bag?"
He: "Because I only have two hands."
She: "I have two hands too."
He: "Those are for decoration only."
(The dinner was delicious!!!!)

Tuesday, 4 August 2009


At six the streets are full of people and cars already. "They didn't go to bed yet" - I'm not sure that explains it.

We have an appartment in the centre of Odessa with airconditioning, TV, CD/DVD player, Internet and hot water! There is no hot water at my parents'.

She: "I am tired, I want to sit down."
He: "There is no bench, just wait a couple of minutes."
She: settles on the ground.
He: "Oh, no!!! Your trouthers will get dirty! The tiles are cold!"
She: "I'm fine."
He: "Please!!!!!!"

Odessa reminds me of Saratov causing flashbacks of my childhood...

Monday, 3 August 2009


The bus leaves when there are enough people inside. On the next stop the driver leaves to buy a bottle of water and a pack of cigarettes. When I notice I've missed my stop I ask the driver to open the door when the bus stops at a traffic light. He does.

He: ”I will try to arrange the driver to pick you up.„
She: „Oh, don't worry, I will take the bus.”
He: silent for a moment, then „I will see you at the station. Please, try not to let the driver wait too long.”

Sunday, 2 August 2009


Train. Rain. Two days and seventeen hours of music on my phone, mostly Russian songs. I will spend another seven hours on the road today. Two days and ten hours will remain unlistened. How did people live before music became portable? Just a few years ago I didn't have this luxury but I can hardly imagine my life without it now. My bag is loaded with all kinds of electronic equipment and corresponding caables: photo camera + usb cable, i-pod + usb cable + usb-electricity adapter, epilator + electricity cable, my old cell phone + electricity cable, little speakers (to play music from i-pod on the train to Odessa and back), my new cell phone + electricity cable + headphones. This is insane! I have an impression all this equipment weighs more than my clothes.

I am travelling from 17 to 27 degrees. Hopefully sun and warmth will help me to get rid of the bad mood from the past days and the melancholy fed by the cold train, raindrops on the window and Russian songs...

Dancing disaster

Last nigt dancing was a disaster. I wore my new shoes and it appeared to be nearly impossible to turn on them. No salsa without turning. Here's a clear illustration of the necessity and importance of thorough testing! Well these things happen, no big deal. It's just that Remie got so upset... Which in turn made me upset. And that after I've spent the whole day to get my mood up. Remie was so upset - I think we're at war now. :(

I am on my way to Dortmund now. Plenty of time on the train, so I'm planning to entertain myself with stuff like blogging, polishing my nails and listening to music.

Saturday, 1 August 2009


Last night – dancing as usual. As usual, except someone made a remark about my dancing. The remark was not mean, rude or anything, but it certainly wasn’t a compliment. I got rather upset about it. Afterwards I couldn’t dance quite as well as I usually would. And that got me upset even more. I got the feeling people weren’t asking me to dance because they could see I cannot dance well. Then I was upset even more. And when I got home I got really upset because of being so upset. I was so upset – I didn’t feel like blogging at all! So I’m writing now instead. How can one honest remark get me down like that? Do I get upset every time I hear a non-compliment? Does it matter who makes such a remark? Why am I so dependant on what other people say or think about me? And what does it take to recover? I wanted to go dancing tonight, but somehow I’m not looking forward to it at all! Help!!!!

Timeline: 1985 (25 August) – Samantha Smith died in a plane crash. It was shocking and somehow very surreal.

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