Happy birthday to… ME!

Happy birthday to… ME!

Today just a short and quick note as today is my birthday! YAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAAY!

I was born on 6 July 1984, which makes me a whooping 30 years old. Yikes, I’m getting old! Or like a good friend of mine decided to put it when she turned 30: I’m 29.95 including shipping & handling. Luckily for me, most people think I’m a lot younger so I can still get away with doing silly things. Because when push comes to shove, I’m still young at heart.

And to celebrate the fact that I’ve been on this planet for 30 years, here’s 30 random fact about me. One for each year of my life. Enjoy your day!

  1. I spent the first year of my life bald and unable to walk. I was late with almost everything haha. I did move house when I was 9 months old, but obviously I don’t remember that.
  2. My brother was born!
  3. Earliest memory: believing I could run, jump into the air and fly. Kids have such wild imagination.
  4. First song I remember liking was Jackie Wilson’s Reet Petite. Oh and I was afraid of the Young Ones.
  5. Nothing too specific pops up, apart from the fact that my mom cut my hair short just before my 5th birthday.
  6. My love for dresses started at an early age. I wore a tulip printed dress on my 6th birthday. My mom made it for me and I remember loving every minute of it, as long as I got to twirl around in circles.
  7. I spent my childhood summers going mostly on day trips with my family. One summer entailed going to the zoo, an amusement part and a visit to the beach. Best memories ever.
  8. The year I became a ‘dansmarieke’ (type of cheerleader) for the local Carnaval society.
  9. When I was 9, my parents bought a house on the other side of town. I changed schools and still remember painting parts of the house and picking out what wallpaper would go onto my wall.
  10. The first time I attended a wedding which I actually remember. Oh and I had a major performance with my dance school where everyone was taught the same Rock N Roll themed routine.
  11. Thinking I was super hip and cool while sporting black shorts, a black gilet with a colored shirt and wearing my hair in pony tails off the side of my head. Fashion has always been a thing.
  12. Start of high school and my love for all things Backstreet Boys. I also distinctly remember going to see Michael Jackson with my mom and liking to paint my nails in all colors of the rainbow.
  13. Because I changed schools when I was 9, I also ended up changing dance schools when I went to high school. It was part of the gymnastics club and they had a yearly summer camp. I went for years on a row and have especially fond memories of the times I went in my early teens.
  14. Getting braces. I was born with a huge overbite due to a small, narrow jaw. I ended up needing surgery 2x and 5 different braces to fix my teeth. And I cut my hair short.
  15. Seeing Backstreet Boys live for the second time in the Amsterdam Arena. 50,000 screaming girls and I was one of them. Nuff said.
  16. Meeting my best friend in Biology class.
  17. The start of my clubbing days and my first forays into make up. I still have a Bourjois eyeshadow from those days. Ah the memories.
  18. Moving to Leiden, 2 hours away from everything and everyone I had ever known to start university. The first couple of days were rough, but I quickly met some people, joined a student society and had the time of my life.
  19. Going on vacation for the first time by myself. I went to London with my mom the year before, but I found another lull in my student schedule, saved up and got on a plane to New York in January 2004.
  20. A year later I would spend one semester at College of William & Mary in Williamsburg, Virginia as an exchange student. I lived my life in US college dorms, ate at cafeterias, made tons of new friends and visited Chicago, Monticello (Thomas Jefferson’s house), Norfolk, Washington DC, other places closer to where I stayed and ended up going to New York again.
  21. I got my first teaching job teaching NT2 at Direct Dutch in The Hague and wrote articles for the university paper. By now I’ve been a teacher for 8.5 years.
  22. Having made tons of friends through the online Backstreet Boys community, I spent some time visiting Paris, Munich and other random places to see them. Plenty of people also came over to stay at my place.
  23. I took courses in journalism, did an internship at a Dutch TV station, graduated for my Master’s degree in English language & culture, started my teaching degree and took on a teaching job at a secondary school.
  24. Graduated for my teaching degree, fell in and out of love, went on a round trip of the US and had my first burn out. Started immunotherapy to help with my allergies.
  25. Landed a job in higher education and took my time reading books and taking it easy. Enjoying my working life.
  26. Got bored and so I started a Research Master’s degree in Communication & Information sciences. Started this blog!
  27. Focused on combining my studies with my job while still maintaining a social life. I became more serious about working out and sticking to a healthy diet.
  28. I got let go at my job and found a job as a teacher trainer education in Amsterdam. Found out I’m wheat intolerant.
  29. Graduated for the Communication & Information sciences degree. Enter burn out no. 2.
  30. I’m starting my 30th year of living with an uncertain job situation (my contract is not being renewed and I may have something lined up yet when my contract ends later this month, but nothing is set in stone yet.), but with a tremendously rich experience in my pocket (as we speak I’m on a 3 week solo train trip across Europe).
Update on me – May 2012

Update on me – May 2012

The month of May is nearly over! At the beginning of the month I gave you an overview of what I was going to do and now I’d like to reflect on the things I’ve done this month and also my general well-being. This month promised to be busy and it was. So busy that I even had to make sure to step on the brakes just a little. Just a bit of a heads up before you start reading: it’s a long post!

At the end of April I wasn’t doing very good. The combination of my busy job, uni classes, a uni resit AND the job application process ended up being a bit too much. However, the first week of May was a vacation, which left me with plenty of time to rest up and get back into the swing of things. Unfortunately, due to my being tired and feeling out of it, I didn’t attend the Band of Skulls concert. I simply wasn’t up to traveling to Amsterdam to see them. The rest of the vacation was thus spent quietly with sleeping, shopping, a visit to the hairdresser and some visits to my physiotherapist as my back muscles decided to jam up again.

The rest of the month was great. I had a bit of a relapse during the Ascencion Day  weekend, but now everything is just fine again. I had friends over for dinner, where I made pancakes and the most delicious cheescake. I went to Antwerp for the first time in my life and my parents came over to visit me and I now have an amazing new desk chair. It’s all executive looking and super comfy. Apart from that I have been enjoying the nice weather we had over the weekend, I went to a 1920s party, had a BBQ with some friends, went to a birthday, read a book for the first time in months and I did go to three other concerts.

The first one was by Perfume Genius. They make dreamy melancholic music that you should just sit down for and listen to. The location of this concert was amazing. It was in De Duif an old renovated church in Amsterdam. It wasn’t a long concert. After about an hour I was outside again, but despite the short length it was amazing. The location definitely added to the atmosphere and made the music really come to life.

Another concert I went to was Tim Christensen and the Damn Crystals (TC/DC). I already wrote about TC/DC before as I have been raving about their album quite a bit. The concert was quite long, nearly 2 hours, but that’s because this band has been around for quite a long time. They played plenty of songs from their latest album, but mixed it up with some older songs. I really liked an older song which was called Time is the Space Between Us. Earlier in the day, the lead singer played a few songs in an acoustic set in my local record store so I also checked that out. Overall it was great music: fairly polished rock songs with a raw edge to them.

Tim Christensen & The Damn Crystals @ Paard van Troje

I had another concert last night: White Denim. This is a concert by a band of which I only know one song. I have one of their albums and I liked that but I haven’t listened to it enough to really know the music. I was therefore curious what they would do. As I am writing this before the concert took place, I cannot say anything on whether I liked it or not.

Lastly, work has been kind of crazy lately. Students are begining to feel the end is near and so some have started to panic. So my schedule has been filled to the brim with students wanting feedback or extra tries for final presentations. Luckily there are only a few classes left and then it’s time for exams which means grading. But I won’t have a tight schedule which I have to stick to, so that will make life easier.

University is also coming to an end for this year. In fact, I will have my very very last class this afternoon. Scary idea when you think about it. All I have to do is write two papers and then I can work on my presentation for the symposium in Berlin in August. And then I hope that I will have already worked enough hours on that paper to have finished my research training, which would mean that I only have my thesis left for next year. A whole year for writing a thesis should be enough don’t you think?

In a way I’m glad May is over, but I am also a bit sad as June will mark the end of a lot of things for me. But I have plenty of fun stuff coming up with more concerts, friends, work and school. All I know is that I will be keeping busy. How about you: what have you been up to?

The choices we make in life

The choices we make in life

The other day I came across a post on a Dutch beauty blog where readers were asked whether they’d rather be married to a professional soccer player or be a career woman. The contrast was presented quite black and white: married to a soccer player means you’re not financially independent, you always stand behind THE man and you are best known for your good looks and spending money like water. The career woman on the other hand was presented as never being home, with no time to spend the money she makes, but she is the sole provider for the family, though she never sees her kids.

Most comments I read favored being married to a soccer player over being a career woman. To me, a financially independent young woman with ambitions so high it could burn a hole in the sky, that was quite shocking and made me wonder: Am I the only female on this planet who could care less about raising a family and getting married in the first place and is more focused on building a career for herself than anything else?

First of all, I’m pretty sure I’m not the only female on the planet, but I definitely seem to be a rare specimen of the female species. I haven’t met many girls who feel the way I do or who live their lives the way I do. I actually think I have yet to meet someone like me. I like doing things by myself, for myself and with myself. I like being alone. It’s when I’m at my best. This goes for a lot of things: from vacations, to work, to concerts, to dance classes. I don’t like doing EVERYTHING with EVERYBODY. To top things off, I don’t like building deeper social connections with people except for a few select individuals who I have known for a long time.

I like love my independence and could never imagine having to depend on anyone else. In fact I hate being dependent on others. I have been financially independent since I moved out for college, which was nearly 10 years ago. Ten years of paying my own bills, sorting out my own problems and taking care of myself. The only time I allowed anyone to take care of me was when I crashed back in 2008. At that time it was absolutely necessary as I couldn’t do anything anymore, and unless I’m rendered completely useless again I don’t think I’ll depend on anyone any time soon.

Add to this my slightly obsessive nature and you have the right concoction for someone who cannot even begin to IMAGINE living on someone else’s money, let alone actually wanting to do so. I like being in control and having the know how to get things done. It is something I pride myself in and to become a soccer player’s wife who follows hubby dearest wherever he goes, living off his money and only being known for being the pretty wife-of is a downright horror story to me.

I hate being called pretty to begin with. Call me smart and I’ll except that as a compliment.  I like being known for being professional, organized and intelligent. I don’t want to be on a man’s arm just so he can show me off to the world. It’s just not something I appreciate or enjoy doing. The funny thing is that I have met guys who CLAIM that they are after independent girls, but I have YET to meet one who actually acts like it too. It’s the main reason why I’m single and until I find a guy who can go beyond shallow statements because he thinks it will make me feel good, I think that situation won’t stop any time soon.

My choice is obvious: I would definitely opt for being a career woman. The only alteration to the situation I would make is that there won’t be a family to provide for unless you count the family as consisting of me, myself and I. That’s right: I’m not looking to start a family. Right now, even a relationship isn’t something I’m looking for. I simply don’t feel the need to, never have. I’m not saying I never will, but right now the focus lies with my career and if I eventually happen to meet someone worth my time I’m sure things will change. Until then, I have other goals to reach.

What would you pick: soccer wife or career woman? Let me know in a comment below.