Thursday, 30 September 2010


Ok, I can see you are not in the mood for guessing. So I’ll tell you the answer and won’t ask questions anymore.

The immigration and Naturalisation Service took the time to look through the 7 documents I’ve submitted with my application. They spent one year staring at my papers. And then it downed on them that a successfully passed state exam on Dutch language (the one meant for Dutch) is not sufficient proof of my command of Dutch language. So they suggested I pass the exam for foreigners.

Boy, I was pissed! Boy, the foreigners’ exam was boring and slow! But I did it. And now I am free of permits, applications and all the other formalities that chase and annoy every foreigner.

I am Dutch now. Saturday I’ll celebrate the fifth anniversary of my Dutchiness. This will be the first and the last time I celebrate this. Because, I mean, do you know many Dutch who celebrate their being Dutch every five years?

A new discovery: Maria Solheim - Lady of My Life

Wednesday, 29 September 2010


Five years ago Her Majesty has signed a paper with 99 names on it. By doing so she was granting the Dutch nationality to all those people at once. My name was among the 99 lucky ones. It probably took her just a couple of seconds and voilà! But of course the signature of the Queen was just a decorative formality. The preceding procedure was long and frustrating though.

I’d collected all required documents and submitted them to the Immigration and Naturalisation Service. The lady behind the glass has examined the pile of papers I’d brought with me, checked something with a couple of colleagues and finally said my file was complete and I should go home and wait for my nationality. “Usually it take about nine months” she said.

I went home and waited. For months. Then one day I finally received a letter from the Immigration and Naturalisation Service stating that I still need to submit one more document. Apparently the lady behind the glass was wrong.

How long did it take the immigration office to count the papers and conclude one was missing? Cast your vote at the right side of this blog!

Tuesday, 28 September 2010


I went to Ikea to get a new dishwasher. Sigh. I wonder why a trip to Ikea always takes hours even if there’s no traffic jam in front of it and I need only one thing of which I know exactly where to get it. Sigh. I was checking the availability of the dishwasher on the Ikea website and discovered they have an iPhone application with an Ikea catalogue. Sigh. I also discovered that nobody works on Monday afternoon. Everybody goes to Ikea – there was no parking space. Sigh.

While waiting for my dishwasher I saw a big stand in the middle of the hall with lots of cute stuffed animals. “For every soft toy you buy Ikea donates €1 to help educate a child.” I assume Ikea made sure no children labour is involved in making of those very cheap soft toys. Otherwise such an action would be very-very ironic.

Monday, 27 September 2010

Sea buckthorn

A very good friend of mine is ill. He has a sore throat and a very high fever. Yesterday I brought him some groceries and a small bottle of the sea buckthorn oil. He used it, but complained about the taste. And then he complained again. Tomorrow he is going to see his doctor because he doesn’t want to apply the sea buckthorn oil to his throat anymore. I hope we are still friends. ;)

This is absolutely irrelevant, but today I spoke with a man who actually knows what sea buckthorn is!

Saturday, 25 September 2010

My first

I’ve got my first speeding ticket – yay! Ehm... Hmmmm.... I know it costs money, but still this first experience feels like an achievement rather than a disappointment. I have recalled some other first times trying to see whether I had a similar contradicting experience.

The first time I’ve visited the Household Fair felt like an achievement, but I think it doesn’t count because most visitors do not realise it’s very wrong to be there.

My first letter from the screening programme for cervical cancer felt like a sentence. “You’re officially not young anymore”.  Besides, I didn’t do anything for that, except for getting older.

At last I found an appropriate event to compare with my speeding ticket. I thought about my first hangover. I was nineteen and wanted to get drunk total loss just to experience that. I managed. I do remember being terribly sick and I do remember the horrible headache. I don’t remember feeling like a winner, though.

I think this speeding ticket is my first positive negative experience. I’ll hold on to it. :)

I think I shared this before, but now it seems appropriate: Tosca – My First

Thursday, 23 September 2010

My darling?

Honestly, I was writing a post for today and got quite far with it. And then I found this little animation film. This is so brilliant! I will post today’s post tomorrow. (Yeah, what's on my mind?)


The boy from the logistics department walked into my room: “I am here to pick up some boxes. They said I had to be in the dark room.”

They call my office ‘the dark room’ because I refuse to switch on the lights. I sit in the corner of the room surrounded by windows and enjoy the natural light as long as there’s a bit of sunshine outside. I always thought this was because I liked the sunlight so much. But recently I realised: it’s because I hate bright artificial light.

I remember a room where we had our math lessons at school when I was about ten years old. The room was on the first floor. It was the first lesson on Tuesdays, starting at 8:30. In the winter, when it was still dark outside, the room was filled with the bright yellow light from the lamps on the ceiling. It was the coldest room in the whole building. Our mathematics teacher was not mentoring any class, so there were no parents to fill the slits in the windows with foam rubber and seal them with long stripes of paper. You could hear the freezing wind whispering through the windows. I liked math, but somehow I always felt lonely and abandoned during those lessons. I didn’t enjoy the school in general, but in the winter I simply hated it. For the cold rooms. And for the yellow lights.

The lights in my office are white, but somehow when they are switched on I feel a tiny bit abandoned like many years ago during my math lessons in the cold room on the first floor. I prefer to stay in ‘the dark room’.

Philip Glass - Metamorphosis 1

Tuesday, 21 September 2010


My dishwasher stopped washing. I sighed. I did the dishes by hand. I complained to a friend. “Shall I come around and have a look?” - he offered. “Do you have any previous experience fixing dishwashers?” “No, but I’m an engineer. I fixed other appliances before.” “No, thank you. I believe in my girl power.” - I declined.

I have tried all possible programmes. Not that there are many: ‘70 degrees’, ‘50 degrees eco’ and ‘40 degrees 30 minutes’. I have switched it on and off. I read the manual. I have checked the tap. I read the bloody manual again. I took the whole damn thing apart! I checked the pipe inside. I put everything back on its place and ran another programme. The result? I noted the strange noise it makes and I figured out there must be not enough pressure for the water to go up the pipe. I saw my girl power failing, gathered the last bits of it and called a repair company.

The man came within an hour after I called him. He headed straight to the kitchen, switched the machine on and sat in front of it silently for a couple of minutes. When the machine started making that strange noise he switched it off and stood up with a sad expression on his face. “I am very sorry, miss. The motor is broken.” – he sad with a soft voice. He had an appearance of a doctor telling you that your child’s heart is inevitably failing. I almost went into a grief mode, but shook it off realising it wasn’t my child, but a cheap dishwasher from Ikea. The cheapest you can get, actually. “I am very sorry…” – the man repeated. I fought the grief. He took the money and left in silence.

No girl power can beat a broken motor. But hey, let’s face it: neither can an engineer. So viva la girl power! (I still have to repair the lamp in the bathroom. Or shall I call the engineer for help?)

Monday, 20 September 2010

Saturday night

What makes a good Saturday night? Good company? A walk on the beach? A drink or two? Some good food? Dancing? Bumping into more people you know? Random chatter and jokes? Getting some exorbitant yet flattering compliments? Dancing? Sex? Watching people (and myself) knowingly and willingly take the wrong turn, not caring about tomorrow? Any random combination of those things?

Last night was such a night - a good Saturday night.

Saturday, 18 September 2010

U very beautiful

It appears a dating website can show you life from a slightly different perspective. Today I received a message from a 27-year-old student from Denmark (not Danish, judging by his English):

Subject: wow,u very beautiful
Sep. 18, 2010 – 4:55am

Hi beautiful
how are you ?
you so so very beautiful woman , very much beautiful ,
you look much younger than your age , and wonderful
how come beautiful woman like you single ?????
are the guys where you living blinds or crazy ? LOL
I bet the guys standing in line for you ,
nice wonderful photo's
I hope i didnt bothred you , I know you reciving thousand of lettes in day , LOL Bcz every single and non single find you beautiful and wanting you
kiss and very big hug for you
keep in touch
ciao angel ,

I found this on some other profile (the same website): Frida Hyvonen - The Modern

Friday, 17 September 2010


Me: “So you’ve been in the Netherlands only for three months now?  That’s a very short time!”
He: “For an American that’s very long. Americans never spend more than eight days away from their country.”
Someone behind us: “Speak for yourself!”
Another voice behind: “Yeah, speak for yourself!”

What followed is a conversation about who came from where (Florida, Texas) and who’s been where and so on. The conversation didn’t have any depth or any added value, but they seemed to enjoy it. They didn’t have any problems discussing their being American in the full tram. Suddenly it struck me that their behavior is more or less the opposite of what I’m used to from Russian speaking community.

Russian speakers are much more reserved. We usually do not address each other just like that, very often we find it annoying if some stupid tourist happens to jump on us: “Are you also from Russia?”. We try to pretend we don’t see or hear each other and if we start a conversation, we do not hit right away with ‘where are you from’.

What is the reason for such a difference?

Here’s a nice short animation, one of those I saw at KLIK! in Amsterdam:
Prettige vakantie!!! – Nicolien Opdam

Tuesday, 14 September 2010

Blonde in the traffic

Traffic lights. Need to be in the middle lane to turn left some fifty metres further. One car waiting for the traffic light to turn green. Lined up. Green. The car in front of me is not moving. Signal. No effect. Change lanes. Green. The car in the middle lane is still not moving. No emergency lights on. Someone signals from behind. No effect. I can’t help peeking in the car as I pass. The driver is a fairly young nice looking lady. Ignores the signals and the traffic light. Yes, blonde. For real. Chill? Forgot how to drive? Waiting for a pink light?

I am not blonde and such actions are not my style. But I am still a female AND inexperienced driver. Very lousy combination. On my list:
- making a U-turn where it’s physically impossible to turn and block the traffic in a very busy street;
- trying to change lanes on the highway (yes, very fast) and forgetting to look out for the car next to me;
- driving off with the handbrake on;
- driving at night without lights;
- stopping in a traffic jam and trying to move again with the reverse gear turned on (LOL).

More to come!

Monday, 13 September 2010

Flowchart to my heart

I did it. I’ve registered at a dating website. Yes. Seriously. ’ I do things, so you don’t have to’ (a nice blog, by the way).  Because I am a bit anxious to be found on a dating website, refuse to pay money for it and have some nerdiness hiding deep under the cover of cuteness I have found a site that is free and is made by nerds for nerds.

And yes, the site is nerdy enough, just as I like it. There are hundreds of questions you can answer. The answers help to compare you to the potential dates. The answers to questions that you marked as very important are also used to make a flowchart to your heart. A flowchart!!! Needless to say – I love the site.

So here it is: the flowchart to my heart. Besides the fact that I love the sight of it, it also reveals some interesting things about me. Apparently, if you are happy with your life you stand almost no chance to go on a date with me. Unless you brush your teeth twice or more a day. I have no desire whatsoever to have children with someone who brushes their teeth less often (according to the chart and is absolutely true).

I will eventually reveal the name of the website here, but first I’d like to play around undisturbed, please.


Did I say I can live without a dishwasher? I take it back!

The Divorce Day

15 September is the Divorce Day. Not a bad idea. I figured (dûh) divorced people do not have any wedding anniversaries to celebrate. And celebrating an anniversary of your divorce might be emotionally tricky. The Divorce Day is not connected to your divorce (unless you have bad luck and 15 September is the day when you actually got your divorce), but does offer an opportunity to mark your state somehow. Just like the Father’s or the Mother’s day.

You might argue that people who’ve never been married also have no wedding anniversaries to celebrate. So why should divorced people be compensated and not those who’d never been married? The answer is easy: divorced people had their wedding anniversaries, but lost that reason for a party after the divorce. You don’t need to get compensated for something you’ve never had.

This year the Divorce Day will be held for the first time and I see loads of commercial opportunities in the years to come: greeting cards, flowers, restaurant arrangements and special city tours. I’ve already started writing the business plan. In the meanwhile I consider gathering some of my divorced friends for a drink next Wednesday.

I haven´t posted any photos of myself for quite some time. Somehow that feels wrong. So here we go:

Sunday, 12 September 2010


I either have too many exes or spend too much time with them. Or both.

'Discovered' today: Ben Folds - You Don't Know Me

Saturday, 11 September 2010

Driving vs. dancing

Things keep on going wrong this dancing season. First I got a rejection from my salsa school: too many ladies for the lesson I want to attend. Well, I guess that means no lessons for me then. I could go to another school, maybe I’ll do that.

I tried to arrange for extra ballroom lessons, but there the problem with males is even greater. Because of the broken computer/car stress last week I forgot to show up at the dancing evening to meet my potential dance partner. Tonight he didn’t show up at the lesson. I dressed up and put make-up on for nothing. I hate that.

I did have a nice drive through the city, though. After that PT Cruiser accident I feel really happy every time I manage to drive somewhere and back without hitting anything. I also enjoy parking because I actually manage to park my car properly and it doesn´t take me twenty minutes. So when I came home from my unsuccessful attempt to score a dance partner I didn’t feel any irritation or disappointment.

Driving seems to be a nice substitute for dancing. And the good thing is: I don’t need a man for it!

Friday, 10 September 2010

Things I could do without

Let’s get is straight once and forever: except for the obvious stuff like air, water, food and sleep there are loads of things I can easily live without. At least for the short term.

No gas? Order a pizza. Or get a ready-prepared meal at the supermarket around the corner and heat it up in the microwave. I’ve lived in houses where there was no gas at all. Electrical stoves work for me.

Warm water? Just heat up a couple of large pans of water if you want to wash yourself. All the rest can be done with cold water. Been there. For most Ukrainians absence of warm running water is a reality for at least a couple of weeks each year.

No running water at all either cold or warm? Ah, that never lasts and if it does you will find a source of water soon enough. Fill up large plastic bottles, buckets and pans. And order pizza to save water on washing-up.

Electricity? Candles make playing cards, chatting or reading way more exciting. And if you have a laptop with a battery that you can load at work or at a friend’s place – life is perfect!

In fact, inhabitants of Sevastopol have proved it’s possible to survive even if there is no gas, water and electricity all at the same time!

Car? Public transport! Bicycle? Walk! Dishwasher? Washing machine? You have two hands, use them!
Even the phone is not something I couldn’t miss for a couple of days (did it last April – worked out fine).

One thing I really CAN’T do without is a computer with internet. There’s just no life without a computer! No working, banking and making invoices. No e-mailing, facebooking or blogging. No music, porn or computer games. No information. No nothing. You can take away almost everything, just please, don’t deprive me of my computer!

Jehro - Everything

Thursday, 9 September 2010


My computer is up and running again, but I am total loss and sooo behind the schedule. I'm happy though. :)

Monday, 6 September 2010


It's not only my CD player. Today my computer was taken over by malware = dead. When I wanted to go to a friend to download a recovery CD (which didn't help anyway) my car wouldn't start. I was so upset by that all that I completely forgot about the ballrom dance evening where I was supposed to meet a new dance partner. What a mess!!!

Sunday, 5 September 2010


My CD player doesn't want to play CDs anymore. I remember buying it. I'd bought a different CD player that had great sound and looked great as well. But in a couple of days I discovered it wouldn't play the CDs I brought from Kiev. Because most of my CDs come from Kiev, having a player that cannot play them equals to having no player at all. I brought the player back to the shop together with a CD it couldn't play. We were trying the CD on different players for half-an-hour until I'd finally made a choice and took a new CD player home with me.

It was faithfully playing all my CDs for years. Last year it started refusing some of the home-made CDs. Then some of the Kiev CDs. Then more of the Kiev CDs, even the legal ones. Although, the terms "legal" and "CD from Kiev" do seem to contradict. It now refuses to play the very same CD I used in the shop. I've just realised the thing is ten years old! Another anniversary? Time for a new CD player...

Didiulia - Magic Music

Friday, 3 September 2010

Эх, прокачу!

He: Have you ever received a car as a gift for your birthday?
Me: I have received half-a-car once.
He: Well, you're making progress.

Wow! A car for my birthday! It took us a few weeks to get all the formalities done and finally: today is the day! I am a car owner! It's the greenish blue Opel Corsa from 1994. You met before. :)

Today I've got a car insurance and a parking permit. Tomorrow I'm going to clean my baby inside out. Then I'll get a nice key ring for the keys. I'll compile a couple of CDs to listen in the car. I'll probably replace the windscreen in a couple of weeks (after I've carefully read the terms and conditions of my insurance). And next Tuesday I'll hit the road.

I am in need of driving experience, so I am determined to go by car EVERYWHERE. I'll travel to work starting from Tuesday. I'll do my groceries every second Friday. I'll pick up all my friends for dancing and bring them back home three times a week. I'll go visit friends all over the country and beyond. I'll be stuck in my car as long as it takes to get as comfortable driving it as it is riding a bike.

A free ride anyone?

Thursday, 2 September 2010

The door

The door is in its place now! We have replaced the fittings and put the door on all the three hinges this time. The whole operation took us a little more than an hour.

We'll have to shave a few millimetres off the side of the door to make it close. That's scheduled for the next Wednesday. We can do it! Viva la girl power!

Here's more music: Gabriel Rios - The Boy Outside

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