Personal: getting back on track

Personal: getting back on track

The first week of teaching has finished and as you read this I’m gearing up for another one. After weeks, no months, of not being in front of a classroom, the first weeks of a school year are always the toughest. Add to that that I’m committing again to making better and healthier food choices, trying to pick up my old work out schedule and am about to graduate in a few weeks and life is just a little crazy right now. Crazy, but good crazy.

Source: weheartit.com

The first week of teaching went great. It was tiring though. I am currently teaching 22,5 hours a week and they’ve somehow managed to cram all but one 50 minute session into 3 days. So that takes some getting used to, as I’m making 2 days filled with teaching from 8.30 till 17.00 with just a lunch break to catch my breath almost halfway through the afternoon. Also, the first semester is always the toughest: class sizes are through the roof with 30 – 35 students in each class and I somehow have to try and learn all their names in the next few weeks. A few of the courses I’m teaching are also brand new for me so I’m still figuring things out as I go along. With all that said though, it’s great to be  in front of a classroom again. It beats grading by a mile.

Another thing that started again this week is dance class. They announced the new schedule in early August and I saw that one of my old dance teachers would come back to teach a new jazz class right before the one I have been taking for years. So I’ve decided to add that to my work out list. For now, I will have to skip Tuesday night at the gym as I will need my energy for my Wednesday dance night from now on: 2.5 hours of dancing is great, but also tiring. On Thursday my entire body ached as I hadn’t danced in almost 2 months.

Food wise I’ve been cheating a bit. I wanted to start a no sugar unless it’s a fruit or vegetable routine as of September but that simply turned out to not be feasible. I think I will first have to get used to my work and work out routine before I can start dabbling with my diet. I’m hoping to be used to it all by the end of September though, so I’ve now decided to simply start when I feel ready. Not at a specific date, but just when I feel good and not so tired all the time.

Last but not least, I now have a date for my graduation ceremony. As of September 20th I will officially have obtained a Research Master (or MPhil) in Language and Communication. Before that though, I still have to prepare a 15 – 20 minute presentation and then it will all be over. Three years of blood, sweat and tears will hopefully bear its fruit. I am not yet sure what I want to do next though. I started the program wanting to use it to give myself opportunities besides teaching and education. So once I’ve got my head wrapped around this semester and all my regular goings on, I will take some time to rethink my life and where I’m heading to.

But for now, I’m just going to focus on the here and now. First getting back into a routine, then my graduation, and then, hopefully come fall break, treat myself with a trip to London. I’ll see what life throws at me next.

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50 random facts about me

50 random facts about me

Tag time! I thought it would be fun to tell you 50 random facts about myself. These come in no particular order (that’s why they’re random ;-)).

  1. I spill my food and drinks all the time
  2. I started biting my nails when I was 8 and stopped out of the blue when I was 24.
  3. I can sit on a train and listen to people speak for hours. I won’t listen to what they are saying, but to HOW they are saying things.
  4. I work out at least 4 times a week, but I aim for 6.
  5. I have one crooked toe. It’s the 4th toe on my right foot. Just like my dad. 😉
  6. My mom and I are the same height.
  7. I am 5″ tall.
  8. I have one tattoo and 6 piercings.
  9. I actually have blonde hair and brown eyes, dark eyebrows and dark eyelashes.
  10. I used to catch grasshoppers and lady bugs when I was a kid and kept them in a plastic cookie jar with holes. I actually attempted to keep them alive but never succeeded.
  11. I’m obsessed with polka dot prints on clothes.
  12. My favorite bag is a knock off Louis Vuitton which I bought of a street vendor in New York almost 7 years ago. I hope to one day buy the real thing.
  13. My go to jewelry used to be my grandma’s.
  14. I still have the stuffed sheep that was in my crib when I was a baby.
  15. I am my parents’ oldest child and oldest grandchild to both my grandparents.
  16. I was the first person in my family to go to university.
  17. I signed my housing contract a week after I turned 18 and have been living in the same spot ever since.
  18. I’ve been teaching for 7.5 years.
  19. I don’t watch television.
  20. I’m a thinker and a do-er: I like getting things done, but need my time to dream and ‘be in my head’.
  21. I’m more productive than I am creative.
  22. I like clarity and logic.
  23. Currently I’m obsessed with bright lipstick (still), dresses (still) and button down shirts (again).
  24. My main motivation for being a teacher is so I can help people.
  25. I love meeting new people.
  26. I own almost all Disney Classics.
  27. Lately, I’ve become quite good at throwing things out.
  28. I used to take singing lessons when I was a student. I haven’t sung in years though. I am a much better dancer than singer.
  29. Once the song ‘All I wanna do’ by Sheryl Crow was stuck in my head for 3 months straight. Not a single song ever lasted that long and whenever I hear it I’m still sick of it.
  30. I used to be torn between becoming a teacher or a journalist. I tried both and found out I don’t make a good journalist, but when it comes to teaching I’m a natural.
  31. I am a self made woman. 🙂 I have paid my way through life ever since I moved out when I was 18. I did get some help from my parents when I was student, but I had to pay for my own rent and all other things pretty much from the start. And I’ve always managed to make ends meet and then some.
  32. My favorite gym class is Body Combat. The moves, the music and the energy just make this class very uplifting and very helpful in trying to steer clear from stress.
  33. I’ve been collecting nail polish since I was 12 years old. I still have some of my old bottles.
  34. I have different outfits for different work out purposes. I will wear something different to dance class than I do to my classes at the gym and even there I have certain pants and shirts that simply work better.
  35. I get bruises in the most random places without knowing how I got them.
  36. I love sour candy. Sour Patch Kids are my favorite, but I don’t know where I can buy them in the Netherlands.
  37. My first concert was Michael Jackson’s History tour when I was 12. I don’t remember much, but I do remember being amazed by the spectacle of the show.
  38. Dancing is my biggest hobby and I’ve been doing it since I was 6 years old. When I was 14 I looked into going into dance academies, but decided against it, because I knew my chances would be slim due to my height.
  39. I have a thing for 50s and 60s Doowop music, Motown, Funk, 70s stadium Rock and 90s R&B.
  40. I have always been experimental with what I wear and how I look. I had a favorite sweater when I was 2, spent my teens in a short spikey hair cut and dungarees, and have dyed my hair many different colors. I like the unpredictable element.
  41. When I graduate this September I will gain my 3rd Master’s degree. I already have a Master’s in Arts (English language & Culture) and a Master’s in Education (including a degree for teaching CLIL and MYP/ IB programmes). This year I will add a Master’s of Philosophy to the mix. I hope to still gain my PhD some time in the future.
  42. My biggest wish is still to live in the USA for an extended period of time. I’ve been wanting that since I was 14.
  43. I am not very good at arts & crafts, but I do know how to crochet and can get creative in the kitchen.
  44. I love experimenting with foods and am bound to try any recipe that sounds interesting. I keep a self-made notebook with recipes which is what I actually use more for cooking than any of my store bought cook books.
  45. People always think I’m younger than I am. I’m sure it’s because I’m so small. Usually they change their minds once they start talking to me. Then they usually think I’m older than I am.
  46. Music is the key to fixing all of my problems. Hearing that one song, discovering that cool new band, or listening to an old favorite can change my mood, help me through things and just generally makes me happy.
  47. In 2008 I traveled through the USA for 30 days all by myself. I went to NYC, DC, LA, Las Vegas and San Fran. I also stopped by Columbus Ohio and Atlantic City New Jersey to meet up with friends.
  48. Sleeping is my favorite thing in the world. I love lazy Sundays where I can sleep in till noon and sit in my PJs all day while munching on big breakfasts and plenty cups of tea.
  49. I’ve known my best friend for more than 12.5 years. We met in high school during Biology class over our mutual love for Backstreet Boys. We don’t see each other that often (once every 2 – 3 months), but when we do, it’s like we saw each other just yesterday. We can talk for hours and still not be done.
  50. I believe that you can do anything, as long as you set your mind to it. As long as you believe in yourself anything is possible. Because really, if you can’t dream it, no one else will do it for you.

That’s it, my 50 random facts. Which one is your favorite? And for those who know me in real life: which ones didn’t you know yet?

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?