Personal update #2

Personal update #2

So I thought I’d use this space to not only keep track of my fave beauty products, but also to write a bit about myself from time to time. As you may know, I decided to call in sick from work in January. I have been home ever since. This is what I wrote in January, here’s how I’m doing right now.

My first message was quite cryptic: I was busy at work = stressed out = I need some time. So to clarify things: I am not just sick. I am burned up and I guess I have been for a few months now. For the past 6 weeks I’ve been at home trying to wrap my head around things and getting my life back on track. Unfortunately for me, it’s not going as quickly as I’d liked or hoped when I decided to stay at home. Also, unfortunately, this isn’t my first time going through something like this, so I also know that that shouldn’t come as a surprise to me. The fact that it does, is frustrating to say the least.

For those of you that don’t know: I went through something similar 5 years ago. At that time, years of pushing myself too hard (on all fronts, not just one) and not listening to what I needed added up to this penultimate battle which I lost. I caught mono (Pfeiffer) and that caused me to crash completely. It was so bad that I had to move back in with my parents for almost 2 months because I was too exhausted to take care of myself. I worked on getting better and I did after roughly 6 months of soul searching and doctor’s appointments. I thought I’d done everything to prevent anything like that from happening again.

Enter last September. I had handed in my thesis just before summer which rounded off 3 years of doing a full time education alongside a 32 hour teaching job. To say I was happy with my 5 week summer break (teacher’s perk) would be an understatement. I took that time to recharge: met up with friends of family, but also spent plenty of time on my couch with a big stack of movies. By the time I got back to work in August I felt refreshed and ready to go. Then the semester started and 2 weeks after I had started teaching again I just knew I couldn’t take it anymore. I was teaching 3 days in a row from 9 to 5, pretty much back to back. I had too many (new) courses to teach and no time to prep them. I felt stuck and when I came home crying, I decided to notify my manager and call in sick for the rest of the week. I knew I wouldn’t last long if I’d continue like that and that’s what I told tried to make clear. Unfortunately, there were no replacements available so I was informed that I would have to sit it out until fall break 5 weeks later.

I was happy when fall break happened: I went to London and was all about getting my life back on track. For 7 weeks I spent all my time teaching, prepping or sleeping. I didn’t have the time or energy to do anything else. The only thing I held on to was dance class (but only after an hour long nap right after work). And come November I was trying to get my life back on track: I had started to work out again and have something that resembled a social life. Then I got the flu, the worst one I had had in years. After that I kept feeling tired and just as out of it as early September when I first stayed home. I went to see my doctor from work and we agreed I would work 50%. The thing is: Christmas break came about 2 weeks too late. I crashed after Christmas. And all I could think was: who am I kidding??? That’s what made me decide that I should stay at home.

Fast forward to now: I am still tired. I get headaches and feel dizzy when I do too much in a day. It takes a lot of time for me to get my day started. If I go too far on one day, it pretty much means I cannot do much of anything the next. And that’s just the beginning. I don’t want to bore you with what is ‘wrong’ with me. I want to focus on getting, doing and feeling better, because I know that I am far from reaching ultimate rock bottom. That was last time. This is now. So I try to keep going as best as I can. It’s why I keep this blog running. It gives my day some sort of purpose: to do something that requires some thinking but not so much that it stresses me out. I am also going to try to pick up some work things again, depending on what I can do. In the mean time, I am going to keep on working on trying to get better. I just have to figure out how.

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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.

Update on me (May 2013) + poll outcomes

Update on me (May 2013) + poll outcomes

Woohoo, a week without posts again. Sorry about the wait, but unfortunately the past two weeks were just too busy. Who am I kidding: the past 2 months were insanely busy for me. Here’s what I’ve been up to and I’ll also say a thing or two on posts to come.

It’s been roughly two months since I last posted an update, in early March, after finally being able to pick up regular blogging again. These past two weeks I failed posting much for some very important reasons: I wrote my thesis and I was on a study trip. The trip was fun, but let me tell you: spending 5 days with students and colleagues is quite exhausting and when your hayfever hits you like a sledgehammer, it does take its toll on you. The last week of April I spent in the UK, in Liverpool, Birmingham and Manchester to be exact. It wasn’t a vacation as it was a work thing, but I did get to do some shopping, see a friend and we visited Old Trafford (The Manchester United football club) as part of the program. So there was a lot of fun to be had as well.

When I got back, I went to the Beautygloss party with Karin from Meerbeauty.nl and Sunday I finally had time to relax. I say finally, because every weekend in March & April I had social gatherings to attend and work and school was busy in between as well. Especially half way through April I felt like I didn’t have a single minute to myself. I went to visit my parents for both their birthdays and Easter. I visited friends to see their newborn daughter, went out to dinner and/ or lunch a few times, saw more friends, attended more birthdays, had drinks with colleagues and somehow in between I managed to grade over 150 exams and essays and prepped my thesis work so I could finally start writing that up.

Like I said, work was insanely busy and that was mainly because I was going on the trip. The two weeks after Easter were exam weeks with each week having a day which was completely filled up with day long meetings. This meant I had to give up my day off on which I could have worked on my studies, two weeks in a row. On top of that, as I already mentioned, there was a bunch of grading to be done again and I had to finish that all, because the week after classes would start back up and the week after that was the trip. It was like a race against the clock and having all of my weekends filled up, didn’t exactly help.

Last week was another busy week, despite the fact that I had a vacation. I only had Queen’s Day off, as I new I wouldn’t be able to get much work done and I did want to join the party. So I did :-). The rest of the week, I worked on my thesis. The day before Queen’s Day I gathered all my materials into a cohesive 27 page document that would serve as an outline for everything that had to go into my thesis. May 1st till May 3rd I embarked on what I would call a thesis writing marathon. I wrote up 15000 words in three days. I am giving the text one more look today and then I’m going to sent it off to my supervisor. She will then give me feedback and I will be able to work on a new version based off of that. I’m hoping it’s good enough so it won’t need too much work.

And then on Friday afternoon, I fell into this huge gap: now what?! Because finished that thesis, means finishing up something I’ve been working towards for almost 3 years. And so I felt a bit lost. I got a headache, became really tired and didn’t feel too good. Now though I can only say how happy I am that it’s all coming to an end. Plus I have hardly any plans yet for May. I’m hoping I use this month to recharge, rework my thesis a bit more and hopefully have that done before exams start again in June. Because I only have 2.5 months left of work before summer vacation and there are many fun things coming up then and before that!

I bought tickets to Rock Werchter and Pukkelpop so my summer will be filled with music and I’ll be able to make up for the lack of concerts in the first half of the year. I’ve only been to one concert so far (EEK!!). In contrast I have been buying more CDs so I still get my music intake. My friend Ali is coming over from England (she booked the flight!) and other than that I’m just going to chill. I have no plans for traveling. Instead, I’m thinking of keeping it closer to home. I’m planning on going hiking in and around my city, go to the beach and explore places that are near to me but that I simply never took the time to discover. I’m looking forward to that.

I also wanted to give a quick heads up on the poll I put up a little over a week ago. Thanks to everyone who provided their input. The two items that came up on top are makeup & beauty and personal things, followed by shopping hauls and food, fitness & health. Fashion came in on the third spot, followed by music. For most of these topics I will have no problems providing posts and I have plenty of material to work with, but I’m a bit surprised that so many of you want to read more about my personal life. That, to me, was unexpected.

Unfortunately, much more than what I’m giving you right now, on the personal front, is not feasible. I already put quite a bit of my life online (mainly through Twitter and Facebook) but I can’t expose more of myself.  The reason for that is my job: I’m a teacher. It’s simply not so very smart to post your entire life on the web if you’re a teacher. Plus writing about my job, also comes with ethical issues. So if you were hoping that I could do a ‘week in pictures’, ‘throwback Thursdays’, talk about relationships, or show you what it is I do exactly: that is not going to happen. I will still give you a somewhat regular update on what I’ve been doing and what I’ll be up to, and I can make a few posts about topics such as work and studies, but especially the latter, I can only do from a distant and professional stand point. Moreover, I am not willing to post pictures of my friends and family on here, because I feel I cannot include people simply because they are my friends. This is my blog and it is my choice to write these posts, but that doesn’t mean that everyone who is part of my life, suddenly becomes part of my blog as well.

I hope you understand and I will see what I can do and if you have any ideas on how I can balance a more personal approach on this blog without losing my moral integrity than please leave a comment below. For now though, I’m going to enjoy my well-deserved free time and hopefully write some daily posts again.

Quick update on me (January 2013)

Quick update on me (January 2013)

Right now my life sucks. I’ve been on the verge of getting sick for weeks and now I finally have. Of course right in the weeks where I would be busiest all of January.

To top it all off, I’m also battling a bad case of insomnia (I am writing this at 4.30 AM – go figure). For some reason I can’t sleep. I sleep an hour tops and that’s it. And I have no real clue why. I used to be a very sound sleeper. It would take me a while to get to sleep but once I did you could blare your music right next to my head and I wouldn’t wake up. These past couple of weeks have been agony. For nights on end I sleep but not as deep or sound as I would like or should to be able to function to my full ability and then there is the odd night or two where I simply don’t sleep at all.

So add a throat infection, slowly stir in some insomnia and you have: Maaike who is rendered completely useless and if it’s something I dislike it’s being or feeling useless.

Oh well, I’m sure it will pass. I saw my doctor yesterday and he told me to just wait out my throat infection (oh joy, if there is something I’m not good at…) and he gave me something to help me sleep. Nothing too major though, but so far it doesn’t really seem to be working. It tends to do that for some people. But I’ve decided to give it a shot for about a week and then just go back to see my doctor and get things sorted out.

For now, I’ll just try to catch some sleep and hopefully I will feel better soon and I sincerely hope that all of you are doing a whole lot better than me.

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?

Get to know me tag!

Get to know me tag!

I found this tag on youtube on this channel. It’s been a while since I did any of these, as I didn’t find any I like. I thought this one was kind of cool though, so here is a bit about me.

Source: weheartit.com

(I was looking for a pic to go with this post then came across this. How cute is that?)

Vital Stats:
Name – Maaike
Nicknames – mika, mai, mike, maaik, indiequeen84
Birthday – 6 July 1984
Place of Birth – Eindhoven
Star Sign – Cancer
Occupation – English teacher

Appearance:
Hair colour – I’d call it dirty blonde as it has all different kinds of blonde in different lighting. It sometimes even shows up with a reddish hue.
Hair length – longish. I’m letting it grow out as we speak. Want to have my hair another 10 – 15 centimeters longer than it is now.
Eye colour – dark hazel / brown. Depending on the lighting I have a hint of green in my eyes.
Best feature – my eyes and my legs. I have long legs for a short person!
Braces – yup, had them for nearly 5 years (from 12 – 17) and still have something stuck behind my teeth to keep everything in place.
Piercings – just my ears, but I wear 3 earrings in each ear. Used to be 4 though, but those got infected so I had to take them out.
Tattoos – no. But I still want one though. Am heavily contemplating on getting one done some time this year.
Righty of Lefty – I’m as right-handed as can be.

Firsts:
Best friend – Jannes! She’s been my best friend since high school. This year I will have known her for 12 years.
Award – a lip synching competition/ talent show when I was 7. I came in third place.
Sport – dance. It’s been my first love and it will be my last.
Real Holiday – by myself? New York City in 2004 when I was 19.
Concert – Michael Jackson in October 1996. I was only 12 years old, but it left an impression as I can still remember where we were sitting and I still have some snapshots in my head.

Favourites
Film – Pfff Layer Cake and Into the Wild I guess. I’m not much of a movie buff.
TV Show – CSI (all three series), True Blood, Sherlock, Mad Men
Colour – Red (it always has been)
Song – several as it changes per week, but Marvin Gaye – Ain’t That Peculiar and Deep Purple’s Child in Time have been favorites for a long time.
Restaurant – favorite food is sushi so any sushi restaurant will do.
Store – H&M, Vero Moda, Only, Vila, Forever 21, Urban Outfitters, ZARA, Monki, TopShop, Primark, Old Navy
Book – AM Homes – This Book Will Save Your Life, Steve Tolz – A Fraction of the Whole
Magazine – Glamour
Shoes – whatever suits my mood. Right now I’m into flats and sneakers.

Currently…
Feeling – wired! I just got home from dance class and we had to do a disco routine. High energy! Still have to come down.
Single or Taken – notoriously single over here!
Eating – nothing, it’s past 11 PM
Listening to – the whirring noise of my laptop and noises coming in from the street.
Thinking about – how I have to get to bed in 5 minutes if I want to get up in time tomorrow.
Watching – my computer screen
Wearing – dance gear: baggy shirt, comfy pants

Future:
Want Children – not necessarily, only if I meet the right person
Want to be married – same as above.
Careers in mind – a PhD on social media and a job at the university and hopefully one day become a professor. Right now I’m just focusing on my next step to get to that goal.
Where do you want to live – UK, US (preferably SoCal or in the North East), possibly Australia, and good old Holland.

Do you believe in:
God – no
Miracles – maybe
Love at first sight – only because I’ve seen it happen to other people 😉
Ghosts – nope
Aliens – maybe
Soul Mates – yes
Heaven – I believe in an afterlife but I don’t know whether that is heaven
Hell – same as for heaven
Kissing on the first date – sure
Yourself – lolz yes I do. If you don’t believe in yourself, who will?

I invite anyone who wants to do this tag to do it, either as a blog post or as a vlog. I look forward to reading your input.

Back to work & update on me

Back to work & update on me

So today is a break from all the travel logs and my life will be back to it’s boring normal self as work is starting again. Since this vacation is now over, it’s time to get back on track and since I have quite a few things coming up, I thought it’d be fun to write a post about it.

As I mentioned work starts back up today and this week will be the first full week of teaching classes, going to classes at uni as well as a bunch of meetings and course work that I still have to do. In other words: it will be busy and the same goes for next week. In fact, next week will even be busier as on March 10th the school I work for has another open day and since I help organize that these next two weeks will be mayhem if it’s anything like in November.

Uni work is also starting to become more intense now as our assignment is well under way. Today I will have to transcribe a one-hour interview and hand it in as soon as I can. I just hope I have enough time to do it else I might have to continue working on it on the train AND tomorrow morning. See the thing is: I don’t only have to write down what is being said word by word, but I also have to code the entire thing. And this is also something I’ve never done before so I’m praying that I can get it done on time.

I also have plenty of social engagements coming up: birthdays, visiting friends, my mom will drop in a few week time and my mom and I will be going to the ballet. Swam Lake to be exact. It’s the Dutch National Ballet’s anniversary and to celebrate it they are putting on a number of classic ballet performances. Swan Lake is one of them and my mom has always told me how much she would like to one day see Swan Lake and she decided to ask me to come along. Now, I’ve been to the ballet before, but I’ve never been to a famous one like Swan Lake. So I’m totally excited about that.

On another, more personal, note, I am actually doing really well. Since this time uni isn’t overly busy as I’m not taking too many classes, I want to get out more and be more social. I find I have more time to just chill and watch some TV without my mind working on overdrive. I have met up with friends who I hadn’t seen in ages and I have more plans in the weeks to come. It feels good to be hanging out with people again and I can now tell how much of a toll it has taken to combine work and my studies. Luckily for me this is the final semester where I’m actually taking classes so after summer I am hoping it will be less time consuming.

Health wise I’m also doing great. I found out a few weeks ago I do not have a gluten intolerance. Yet, after eating carbs for one week straight as it was vacay and I didn’t want to spend walking around all of London to find a suitable food place, I can feel the effect it has when I do eat them. Needless to say: I feel much better without them. So today I’m back to being a good girl and will be more careful about what I eat. My hayfever is not acting up as much yet, but I’m curious to see what the next few weeks will bring. Spring is almost here so now is the big test to finding out whether all those shots have actually helped.

All in all, I’m in a good place: the weather will soon turn nicer (hopefully). I had a great time in London. I have plenty of good things to look forward to and some of my applications for jobs have granulated into actual invitations for interviews. Next week I’m having my appraisal interview so then I hope to find out whether I can stay at my current job yes or no. All in all, the next couple of weeks will be busy, but good.

What are your plans for the next couple of weeks?