Sunday, 31 January 2010

Sherlock Holmes

Last night we went to see Sherlock Holmes. We = a group of 12 people. My friend and I have gathered the crowd. It took some co-ordination and buying the tickets was a chaos (my friend was really upset by that). But the film was nice - excellent actors, beautiful shots, very good music. It is not quite as funny as I have expected, but still very entertaining. It was a nice group of people we know from work, study or ballroom and salsa dancing. But most important - and that made the whole evening super enjoyable for me - Richard was there! He came all the way from Amsterdam to spend an evening with me and my friends. It looks like we keep all the options open and he will become a friend before we go further. I love it! He went back home at 2:30 when we almost got kicked out of the cafe.

I was home around 3:00 and was planning to give my blog readers an elaborate review of the film when my cell phone rang. After that call the night turned out much longer than planned. I loved feeling the soft warm skin against my body in bed and making pancakes in the morning (jam and honey for him, sour cream for me).

I was confused by the question: "What did you feel?". I usually can describe how I feel in my heart or my head. But I couldn't give an answer to this question because it referred to a physical sensation. I have a lot to learn from the Girl with a one-track mind.

I felt weird being connected to someone on the other side of the 'barricades'.

I need to have a serious conversation tonight. Wish me luck...

Saturday, 30 January 2010

Nine minutes

Did you know that nine minutes is enough to get from the bus station at Utrecht Centraal to the Utrecht Centraal train station, buy a swirl (including waiting in a line, I was third), get a cup of tea (including waiting in line, four people before me) and hop on the train?

Tonight a very nice guy have asked me to go out with him. I was so surprised (didn't see that coming at all) that I didn't manage to say a decent 'no'. This made me realise that I completely forgot about Richard. I wonder how he feels about it...

Here's one of my favourits: DJ Disse - Taxi to War

Friday, 29 January 2010

Crossing borders

My friend called me: "Oh, my God! He is gone!""Who?"
"I've hurt him!" "Ah, him."
"I feel so bad! He says he's OK, but I know he's hurt." "Well, you knew there was a fair chance that this would happen."
"But I told him I had a boyfriend!" (She has her own 'Richard') "Yes, but you visited him at his place and you invited him to your place."
"So what? Friends do it." "But he wanted more."
"I didn't want him." "You let him kiss your lips."
"It was not a French kiss!" "You let him touch you."
"I went too far, I know. I crossed some borders. I feel so bad..." "He is a big boy too, you know. Part of this is his responsibility."
"I've never hurt someone like this before! He said he'd be still dancing with me, though." "We shall see. Let it be a lesson for the next time."
"Don't act so wise! You of all people!!!!"

Thursday, 28 January 2010


It's official now. Have you ever had this experience, when you find out you had something after you actually don't have it anymore? When I was about 6 years old, they discovered I'd had a pneumonia after it'd healed. I was ill for a month or even longer and the doctors were giving different diagnosis and prescribing a different treatment every week. And after I was healed they came up with: "Oh, she'd had a pneumonia!" Now I can say I'd had a pneumonia once. This kind of things adds up nicely to my life experience 'CV'. The illness hasn't left any permanent marks in my life, it hadn't led to any complications. I am happy to find out I don't have it anymore. It just sounds heavy and important. Nice deal. I wish it were like that with all the things I lose without realising I had them in the first place.

So it's official. Definite. Clear. I am not in a relationship anymore. I am single. When I realised that, I realised I actually had a relationship. A serious one. It was so serious, I didn't even dare to see it as a relationship. I saw it as series of dates (some of them described on this blog), meetings, being together. But this all did form a relationship. I didn't end it. But it's over now. I'm free. It feels weird... I feel relieved. It feels good!!!

Wednesday, 27 January 2010

Cut off

Last night my internet connection suddenly disappeared cutting me off from the rest of the world. At first I tried to restore the connection, but gave up after half-an-hour. No internet meant I had enough time to think about life (and death), the Universe and everything. I had a very good rest last night. Haven't found the answer to life, though...

Tuesday, 26 January 2010

The Burden of Virginity

Umida Akhmedova a photographer and photojournalist from
Uzbekistan is facing criminal charges (8 years of imprisonment) of insulting the Uzbek people. The charges stem in part from a 2007 album of photography depicting life in Uzbekistan’s villages and in part from her documentary - The Burden of Virginity - that she made together with her husband, filmmaker Oleg Karpov in 2009. The documentary was made with the support of the Embassy of Switzerland in Uzbekistan.

I was reading the summary of the "expert opinion" that is the (main?) document supporting the charges. This document is partly written in Uzbek (so I was reading a translation into Russian) and partly in Russian. The fact that life in Uzbekistan is ruled by propaganda and the freedom of speech is nowhere to be found, is no news to me. What struck me most is how little effort the "experts" made to produce a high quality document to support the trial.

The document is so poor in its style, structure and supporting arguments - it makes one wonder why it has been produced in the first place. If you just want to imprison a journalist who said something you didn't like, why bother to set up a trial with expert opinions. Just throw her into jail and get it over with. If you do want to show to the world (or mainly to your own people) that there is a fair trial, why not demand quality from the experts. I know very little about the background of the issue, but even after reading the summary I had dozens of suggestions on how to improve the document and make it more convincing. Set a clear structure, explain why the photos and the film are insulting, describe how the film can be damaging if young people watch it, describe the image of modern Uzbekistan you think is right so it's clear how the film violates that image. State that the role of 'yanga' is traditionally very important and can be compared to the basic sexual education provided in schools in other countries. I felt an itch to take the document, edit it and send it to the Uzbek authorities. Of course I didn't do it. I don't have the time for the proper research and editing. Besides, Uzbek authorities are obviously not interested in quality. And before you come over here and lynch me: of course I am strongly opposed to the whole process in the first place.

I still think the Uzbek "experts" have missed their chance to make a fair deal with their conscience. Later, when Uzbekistan hopefully wakes up from this bad dream, they will not be able to say: "Maybe I backed the wrong horse, but at least I did my best."

The interviewed woman tells how her daughter was brought back by her mother in law after the first night after the wedding. They claimed she was not a virgin. The fact that people can speak the same language as I and still live such a totally different life is somehow shocking...

Sunday, 24 January 2010


You meet, you talk, you like each other and then you talk more to get to know each other better. "Do you have brothers or sisters?" "How many languages do you speak?" "What kind of music do you like?"
Me: Trentemöller, Gotan Project, Röyksopp, Club des Belugas, Tosca, Yonderboi, BG, VV, DDT, Didiulia, Feist, Rouge Rouge, Goran Bregovic, Dead Can Dance and Fatboy Slim.
He: Bach, Beethoven, De Dijk, De Scene, U2, Cold Play, Kings of Leon, early soul of Ray Charles, James Brown, Aretha Franklin, Chemical Brothers, U2, REM, Ozark Henry and Bruce Springsteen.

Hmm.. I think we can stop talking right now.

I did it again

I had to do it again. I have ´no´-ed a man I like. This time I was direct, didn't try to escape, hide or pretend I don't understand what's going on. But doing it sucked. Now I am worried. I might have been too hard. I possibly lost a friend(ship). I might have misunderstood. Maybe I should have given it a chance! This drives me crazy. I'm almost through my stock of chocolate, ice-cream and Hungarian salami. I should have seen this coming, shouldn't I? I should have prevented this from happening. Could I? I should have listened when they told me... But I did! I just keep on driving circles in my head. There should be some kind of mechanism that can make me stop. Maybe I should get drunk.

I was searching YouTube for "say no" music and came across this little film on how to say 'no' and still keep your friends:

Let's see how useful it is in my situation. So the advice is:
1. Try to avoid difficult situations. - Mmm... Hmmm... How?
2. Distraction, change the subject. - Ehm...
3. Know exactly when you want to say 'no' and be definite. - Well, that's not a problem in this case, is it?
4. Say 'no', as friendly as possible, but still 'no'. - Oh, I think I forgot the friendly part. :(

Friday, 22 January 2010

Almond and Peach

Peach or almond? I kept on smelling the two body butter testers. Almond or peach? I would like to use  body butter on my skininstead of perfume when I go dancing. Peach or almond? Peach might be too sweet. Almond might be perceived as too aggressive. I decided to ask some men. "Almond, peach is too sweet." "I'd prefer peach ." "Almond." I texted my dance partner. He called back: "Peach is too sweet and almond is too heavy. Take the Dove body lotion or the Nivea body milk. Apply right after the shower and wait a couple of minutes before putting your clothes on so the lotion doesn't leave any marks. Your skin will smell nice when you sweat during dancing." He knows what he's talking about - he is the best smelling man I've ever met. Hmm... So, what is it going to be: almond or peach? Peach or almond?

"What are your plans for tomorrow morning?" "Why? What would you like to do tomorrow morning?" "Wake up in your bed."

Thursday, 21 January 2010


Today I've learnt that employees of IBM (at least in the Netherlands) have to participate in writing blog posts and tweets. I wonder what their guidelines for the blog and Twitter say. I checked out both the blog and the Twitter. Both didn't make me ask for more. I wonder whether it's possible to make a corporate blog that would make me stop and read on even if I'm not working in that field. If you know any corporate blog that is interesting to read even for the outsiders, please do let me know! Maybe I should offer myself as a ghost writer and take on a challenge.

St. Michael Cathedral in Genk

Did you know that I've written 302 blog posts so far?!


A layer of white dust. Dust is everywhere. It will register your presence and make sure you take some forensic evidence home with you. You cannot visit this place unnoticed.  The dust on the floor will capture your echoing steps and irreversibly change its landscape after you stumble over a mysterious dark object on the floor of the gloomy room on the first floor. Move faster and the dust will snow down through the slits in the wooden floor. The walls are trying to hide numerous wounds under a thick layer of dust and are silently shouting at you: "Remember, you have seen us, we have seen you!" Even upstairs, on the second floor, where the lights are bright and everything is freshly painted, the dust finds its way. It lays a thin transparent foil on every surface so it can record your every move. You can almost hear voices asking: "Who has sat on my chair?", "Who has leant against my wall?", "Who has touched my toys?"

Back home I realised how good it feels to live in a house that is not being renovated!

Tuesday, 19 January 2010


I haven't managed to see Genk today - was too busy with meetings and discussions. We've spent half-a-day at the St. Michael Cathedral (our meetings were held in a meeting room of the Cathedral).  I made some pictures of it, will post them on Thursday.  Father Vitaliy was showing me the church and I was struggling trying to speak Ukrainian, or rather trying to hide the fact that I can´t really speak Ukrainian. I wonder whether I can manage to hide my Russian origins trough 8th of May. That´ll definitely be a great challenge. Anyway, it´s good to freshen up my Ukrainian.

Traffic lights switch on at 6:30. I discovered that while I was waiting for my colleague to pick me up this morning, so we could go to Genk together.

Richard is an architect. I'm positive.

Can someone please help me to get rid of the tango fever?! Tanghetto - Next Chapter

Monday, 18 January 2010


Almost all votes are counted.  The result hasn't changed indeeed. I was wrong about Ukrainian expats voting for nobody - only 1,83% as opposed to 2,2% voters in Ukraine. Nearly 25 million people have voted yesterday. It's about 70% of the electorate - not bad at all. I am very curious to see the results of the second round.

I have to be in Genk (Belgium) by 9 o'clock in the morning tomorrow. How am I going to do that? A colleague will pick me up at 6:30 near the Cerntral Station. Guess what? I am going to bed NOW!

Can't get my head off tango and look (or rather listen!) what I've found: Tanghetto - Sweet dreams


Ukrainians have casted their votes for the new President today. The country has been paralysed by the coming elections for months now, it's time to move on. But this paralysis is not over yet. We'll have to wait until the second round on February 7. According to the preliminary results in the next round Ukrainians will have a non-choice between Viktor Yanukovych and Yulia Timoshenko. 19% of the votes have been processed so far. Three-and-a-half million people is a big enough sample to assume this result will still be valid in the morning.

What's interesting to see is that the amount of people who voted for nobody is higher among the voters abroad than in Ukraine. Inside the country it's 2,17% of the voters who couldn't (or didn't want to) choose. Abroad it's 4,43%. Ukrainians abroad have less information; observe the situation from a distance and realise there is no choice; and feel less pressure to make a choice. Poltavska oblast is the fastest one to precess the results - 34,15% already. Ivano-Frankivska oblast is the most lazy one - 8,94%. Yanukovych is most popular in Donetsk oblast (surprise!!!), Timoshenko occupies Volynska oblast.

I'm going to bed now hoping the world will not turn upside down while I'm not watching.

Sunday, 17 January 2010


I believe things got a little out of hand tonight...

Friday, 15 January 2010


This will be a very trivial post because I lack inspiration for anything exciting. Did you know I am a notorious tea drinker? I drink tea, lots of tea. In the morning I prefer black tea. It helps me to wake up. The rest of the day is for green tea or, when possible, mint tea. Because fresh mint is very difficult to keep fresh I have these to keep me company:

Lipton Intense Mint - new for me and indeed very intense.

Lipton Alps Mint and Eucalypt - a new discovery, very subtle - just the way I like it.

Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time - it doesn't make me sleepy, but I do enjoy drinking it later in the evening.

Celestial Seasonings Sleepy Time Extra - very similar to the regular Sleepy time, but with a little more subtle taste.

And the winner of the winners: Celestial Seasonings Magic Mint - it has spearmint, peppermint and orange peel in it - delicious! Unfortunately it has disappeared from most Dutch shops some years ago. Please anyone if you come across Mint Magic in the Netherlands or in Kiev - do let me know! I'd be soooo grateful!

Busy day

"He is an asshole, I can´t believe he did this!"
"He doesn't even have a good reason, just a lame excuse!"
"He is absolutely unreliable."
"How can I build a relationship with a guy like him?"
"I don´t think we have a future together".
"If I don´t hear anything from him today, I´ll text him tomorrow to let him know it´s over."
"I will have a serious talk with him and explain why I cannot be with him."
"I feel much better now I've decided to break up with him."
"Oh, he's calling."
"Shall I invite him for a cup of tea?"
"I was upset you weren't there yesterday."
"Yes, of course I understand!"
"I know you had a good reason, it's just a matter of communication."
"When will I see you again?"

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Happy New Year!

2010 is here. I cannot deny it anymore. Now it's time to think about my goals for the year and go get them!

Wednesday, 13 January 2010

One more day

Five hours of travelling with free tea again. At work the project is in its testing phase - bleh! Test cases just keep on coming, the deadline has moved another four weeks ahead. There's a lack of communication, hardware is not delivered, people are not trained, everyone is just looking at one another hoping things will fix themselves - business as usual.

I was going to spend the evening on my own, but instead I had three phone conversations and a short visit for a cup of tea - very nice! And I've discovered that my living room is big enough to practice tango!

Federico Aubele - Pena

Monday, 11 January 2010


Dutch railways are struggling with the weather for a couple of weeks now. The weather conditions are not extreme at all, but the effect they have on the Dutch Railways (NS) is disastrous. And since the NS is unable to solve the problem, they try to make it up
to their customers by offering free warm drinks. Usually I get a cup of tea before getting on the train. Today I didn't have to pay. On the way back I saw them offering free soup at the Utrecht Central Station! NS customers seem like a bunch of homeless who get free drinks and soup because it's cold outside.

"I speak Dutch, English, a little German and the body language." Why don't they teach the body language at schools? It's the most used language on Earth and so many people are illiterate!

Survival skills

It was snowing today and that meant going to the supermarket by foot. On my way to the supermarket I realised that I'm complaining about two millimetres snow. I don't remember having troubles living through the snow in the winter. It seems like my survival skills have diminished during the time that I live in the Netherlands. On the way back I was making a balance of all lost and acquired survival skills.

I  learnt Dutch and forgot how to speak proper Russian. I can now bike very well, but complain if I have to travel two hours to get somewhere. I got used to rain, but forgot how to deal with low temperatures. I have learnt a lot about Western art and culture, but missed almost all new developments in Russian and Ukrainian art and culture. I have learnt how to cook, but... By the time I thought of cooking, I was standing in front of my door. "I have learnt more than I've forgotten!" - I concluded and opened the front door with a sense of relief. :)

My new music discovery: Rouge Rouge - L'Amour

Sunday, 10 January 2010


There we sat, finally face to face after weeks of emails with hints, hidden and implicit signs of mutual attraction.

I meet so many men at work. Business networking events consist mainly of men. I do what everyone does: shake hands, introduce myself, tell my story, listen to theirs, hand over my business card, make sure to get theirs. I meet very different people this way. Some have a nice way of presenting their company, some are funny, some have an interesting business and some simply appear to be very useful contacts. This man was memorable not because of his business (which IS interesting) or the way he presented it. It was the chemistry between us. We talked about his studies and work and business around us, but we both felt the connection and enjoyed the conversation. We could have talked about the weather for forty minutes and probably would have enjoyed the conversation just as much.

I've read each of his messages several times looking for hints and enjoying hidden signs. The more we wrote to each other, the more openhearted the questions and the answers became. Business moved to the bottom of the message becoming a weak excuse for writing until it disappeared at last.

Maybe it was the wrong place: too much light, tables too big creating too much distance, a group of old men playing cards. Maybe the time was wrong, maybe we decided to meet too soon. The tension and the excitement that we have built in our e-mail 'conversations' were nowhere near. I hoped we would pick it up on the way moving slowly to more intimate subjects. But that didn't happen. We've spent hours talking, but IT just wasn't there...

Finally I rushed to catch my train. Three kisses, next time you're around, maybe, who knows...

Strange thing, this chemistry...

I was walking home from the station when my phone rang. Another man. He: "Hi, I missed you!" Me:"Good!"

Saturday, 9 January 2010


It’s amazing, but this little country does actually has space. Space for something big. A big project. On a big piece of land. With big plans and ambitions. And with big money going around. I was born in the biggest country of the world, in a very big city situated on the largest river in Europe. I like big things. I had a very good day today!

Friday, 8 January 2010

Blue and excited

I was feeling so blue the whole day today. Blue because I long for somebody. Blue because I can’t seem to get myself together. Blue because I have to be strong while I’m so tired. Blue like this:

I am very excited because I am going to visit the Floriade tomorrow. Floriade is a huge and a very impressive project and I’m very curious to see it from inside. We are going to see whether we can get some Ukrainian participation for 2012.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

С Рождеством Христовым!

Shall I dismantle my Christmas tree on Saturday or wait till 13th of January – the Old New Year?

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


“I’m cold, do you have some tea for me?” “Oh, all these paintings – very nice!” “Do you feel like going to the movies? Ok, then we’ll go to the movies.” “Nice music! I’ll copy the whole collection of Putumayo for you if you copy this for me.” “By the way, I am officially single now!” You’d better be!!!

Tosca – Oysters in May

We were a little late. A group of boys was buying tickets and snacks. They were trying to be funny and cool (none of which was successful). One of the boys was making remarks about us not realising I actually speak and understand Dutch (my companion speaks English and of course both of us look foreign enough). When my companion took out his credit card to pay, the boy said: “Madam, do you have a daughter with such a credit card?” And I though: “Hey, the kid has estimated my age just about right, how nice!” :)

Precious is not a life changing experience, but it is a very nice film. It made me laugh, shudder, cry and wonder. It’s not too light and not too heavy – a nice evening out. Besides, it has Mariah Carey and Lenny Kravitz in it. ;)

By the way, I decided: Richard is bald!

Monday, 4 January 2010


I’m trying to build a very simple website and my CSS-sheet is driving me absolutely mad! Grrrrrrr! Everything seems to work in IE, but the website looks completely messed up in Firefox and Opera. Firebug doesn’t seem to help. I guess I’ll have to spend another day trying to fix this. Good bye Wednesday! Usually I enjoy doing some HTML and CSS. It still amazes me how typing some lines of code can result in a beautiful website. But my experience in building websites is very limited, I’ve learned HTML and CSS by following online tutorials, reading related forums and studying source pages of the websites I liked. For the past three days this knowledge has clearly been proven insufficient. Aaaaarrrghh!

I was cleaning up the trays on my desk and found a pack of photographs taken in Kiev in October 2006 when we were shooting the Sasja and Natasha documentary. I am looking at the TV screen.


I’ve noticed that other men ask too much of my attention thus preventing me from developing a healthy relationship with Richard. I have to be fast and restore the balance. Here we go.

The guy is called Richard, he is 41 years old and he lives in Amsterdam. He doesn’t have asthma and he almost never changes his mind. He is 185cm tall and is slightly (just a tiny bit) overweight. He has strong arms – I really like that. He has blue eyes. I think he is blond, but I’m not sure yet. Dark hair is just as good and no hair at all is fine too. I know I have to decide if I want to make him real. Working on it. Another thing I'm not sure about is his profession. I can’t decide between a high level civil servant, business consultant (or something IT related) or a mortgage consultant. He is on good speaking terms with the modern technology, but isn’t a gadget freak. He uses Twitter and I want to learn that from him. He looks good in a suit. He also looks good in jeans.

Ok, that’s enough for today. I feel safer now.

Sunday, 3 January 2010


NY resolution: stick to my budget.
Goal for this year: increase the budget by at least 100%.

Saturday, 2 January 2010

The Beginning

In the beginning there was a sunny day. And two tickets for the Nutcracker at the Grote Kerk (by the Dutch Don’t Dance Division). Then there was an invitation for dinner. Then there was the ballet and the dinner at a very good Chinese restaurant. I tried a fried pigeon and a mango muss. And then there was an invitation to go for a beer (I had a glass of white wine and a fresh mint tea). The beginning of 2010 is good. Really good. I suppose the rest of the year will stay like this.

My friends now use the names I gave them in my blog posts from the past two days: “Hey, M1, how r u doing?” “I’m fine J1. What’s up?”

A man, who says “yes” right away and doesn’t change his mind – that’s what I like! Richard definitely has this characteristic. ;) I was so busy with dinners and celebrations that I completely forgot to ‘work’ on his further description! At the moment there is only one extra thing I ‘know’ about him: he doesn’t have asthma.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Happy 2010!!!

I spent the New Year’s eve in a great company of friends. J1, J2 and M2 were at my dinner yesterday. I missed M1 and wished L could have been there too. M1 went to a party at a friend’s place. Around nine o’clock I received a text message from her: “It’s a little boring here :( Please text me every once in while. “ The seven of us have just started playing the Bohnanza card game and enjoyed it a  lot. But hey, M1 needed help and that’s what friends are for. “Let’s all text her every once in a while, so she doesn’t feel bored over there” – I suggested. Four cell phones ready: “What’s her number?”

J1: “I’ve heard you don’t want to talk to me because I didn’t join you at the dancing last night. Would you like to text instead? :P”
M1: “J1, thanks, texting is fine ;)”
M2: “Keep the spirits up!”
M1: “Who r u?”
M2: “I sit next to J1 ;)”
M1: “R2?”
J2: “Is it still boring there?”
M1: “R u M2?”
K (never met M1): “I hope your evening is nicer now!”
M1: “J2?”
M2: “R2 isn’t here. I have long hair.”
M1:  “Who’s sitting between you and J2?”
K: “I have long hair too.”
M1: “What’s the seating arrangement tonight?”
K: “K, J3, a person with short hair, M2, and three more people with short hair”
Me: “Are they annoying you with their texts?”
M1: “No, they make it interesting!”
M2: “I sit between J1 and J2”
M1: “M2!”
Me: “K is sitting in my chair now.”

After two hours of texting M1 collected and saved all our numbers and her friends have drunk enough so it was fun there too. We did it! We saved M1 from boredom on NY eve by texting!

Back home an hour ago. My front yard is clean (kids didn’t play with fireworks!) and I hear my neighbour growl and his girlfriend trying to calm him down. Apparently their celebration was successful too.

By the way, my yesterday’s creation didn’t look that different from the picture :)

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