My three-week break is coming up. Before that I felt like I needed to finish all my course work. I printed three photo books with the title: ‘The gift that keeps on giving’. This project enabled me to try out working with ink and pressing leaves and flowers.
Tomorrow I will see the footage we have shot last week for our documentary. I am very excited about that! I hope it will turn out good. It was at least a really good day and we had good conversations.
Sometimes working together can be hard but you take what you get. And who knows the end result of our photography project might turn out well. At least I got to go to Kew Gardens. I am curious about the photos.
It was nice to escape London this weekend. Saturday was sunny and I got to go with a friend to Oxford. I love old historical buildings. I got to eat lemon cheesecake and me liking it is a big deal, haha! I’ve only had one other good cheesecake in my life. Haha, maybe I just don’t like cheesecake that much. I got to buy a dress. I never prioritise shopping. It was really nice to get the chance to buy a dress. It was great to spend a weekend with a friend who is really funny. Talking about funny; we got to go to a comedy show. We both loved it. The secret comedy club. I’d recommend it.
Another week has passed. Time flies when you are having fun. I know I can complain sometimes about too long weekends and sometimes feeling lonely here but actually every student that is abroad goes through it in the beginning. Getting to know people, getting used to the big city noises. Now I have realized that I am nearly half way on my journey I am starting to appreciate everything more. Being able to meet so many new people. Diverse people from different countries with different backgrounds. I know once I am home I am going to miss being able to dance salsa for a whole night. The sun is shining so much here in London. Sometimes it’s grey but I keep a little journal where I write three things of the day I appreciate and the sun is mentioned frequently. I will also miss the language. Being able to express myself in English and listening to others speaking English. I love language so much. I love to teach others and I love to learn new words. I am thinking of a language course in Italy this summer. Or maybe teaching in Italy. I mean who doesn’t love Italy?
I love the river Thames and the spectacular views, the Tower Bridge. I actually do like that there are so many options and there is so much to discover and see. You just can take a different street and see more. I think I have seen most streets of my hometown where I have lived for ten years. I must say I love the historical buildings and all the parks in my city back home. But back to London. What more to see? Maybe Kew Gardens, maybe Richmond.
I am going to miss the people here when I leave. It is interesting how quick bonds are made. I am going to miss being able to make a documentary. We filmed just yesterday at the river. I loved the conversations we had, how open women were and what they had to say. It felt like just in that day the whole course was worth it. I am so curious to see this documentary. We gave women a voice that day.
I also appreciate friends coming over and discovering the city together. I mean you miss the people back home sometimes. So much sometimes you don’t even realize it until you make plans to go back to the Netherlands. I am so grateful for friends coming over and feeling connected to them and enjoying each other’s company. Lucky to live so close to the Netherlands. I am only a train away. Or a flight.
I am going to miss being able to connect with my parents and the nostalgic feeling I got whilst walking through Hyde Park. There it was. The memory of walking there for one of the first times with my dad. One of the first pictures he took of me. I never thought I would find the place and suddenly I just stumbled upon it. I searched for it around the London Eye only for it to be at Hyde Park when I wasn’t looking. I am grateful my dad once came to the Netherlands and so I do have memories with him there. Him watching me ice skate. Going to see ice sculptures together. Going to a restaurant with my moms and dad. How nervous I was and hadn’t had much sleep. Of course, my mom had a banana ready. Good memories.
I also have a lot of nostalgia in the west of the Netherlands and that makes me feel happy. Places to visit when I get back home and at the same time a consolation is that I can always come back to England. Revisit parks filled with memories and visit friends. Old ones and new ones. And I can always go to Scotland where I can visit family. I am so lucky to be there upcoming April. Let’s see if I can connect with my roots there and make new memories.
Hope you are enjoying the sun, wherever you are. Until next time x
There once was a woman who lived with three incredible housemates. They were all different but worked really well together. One had dark long hair. Well, long for a man. Everyone would compliment him on his hair. He played guitar and wore mostly black. He was a social and content person who did his best at his job and enjoyed trying out new cooking skills.
Another had short curly hair which she always wore in a little bun on top of her head. She cared about the cat they had and always had the most incredible stories about him. Full with enthusiasm and energy: ‘He opened the door and fell down’, and she would laugh hysterically. She tried the best she could to steer her life in the direction she wanted it to go. She loved her friends and her housemates of course. She had parents nearby who were very supportive.
Another member had shaved her hair recently. She had thought about it for a few months and one day bought a razor and just did it. Well, her girlfriend did it. She was small with a big smile and enjoyed being in this house with others who also liked to join her in adventures. She was creative as the whole household was and as coming of age she was, she was navigating through life with all the challenges it brought her.
The last member had wavy hair which she mostly wore down. She learned to put a little cream in it to make it less fussy. She was a person that was very interested in others and always made plans to do something or something new. She truly appreciated her housemates and even carried them with her everywhere she went on her phone. Whilst putting the phone on, the first thing you would see was a photo of the four housemates.
I’ve noticed that I had some focus on what goes on in my mind and how my surroundings look. It can be challenging. At the same time, I am finding a way how to deal with both, which is a good thing. But I have decided to dedicate this blog to things that make me happy over here. Look at the positive side. Have your eggs the sunny side up. That makes no sense but I like it, haha!
I have met a few really nice people here and had some really good experiences. I have met Theo, an exchange student from America. He is 21 and very friendly, easy going and will laugh a lot. He likes karaoke, lip syncing, going to Borough Market and we’ve been to the Graham Norton Show together. I must say this was one of the highlights of being here. I’ve always watched that show and it makes me laugh. I even considered going in the red chair and telling an embarrassing story but unfortunately (penutbutter for the dutchies) I didn’t. We saw Benedict Cumberbatch from up close and it felt very unreal. Graham was really funny as was the guy who was the fluffer. It was all natural though, they didn’t force us to laugh. Maybe I should watch the show more frequently again. I enjoy it so much!
I have also met a madam called Irene. She is three years older than me and beautiful, friendly and energetic. She is very open about what she is going through and talks a lot with her hands. This makes sense, since she is Italian. She has already invited me to come over to Italy and told me her mother will cook for me. I am looking forward to that! Irene and I did a photo shoot together surrounded by flowers. It was one of the most relaxing and feminine things I did. It was nice to be surrounded by her presence.
I have also met a lot of other international students. We have been out together, which was so much fun. People brought other international friends and we danced the night away. Luckily it wasn’t at a place where you necessarily have to wear heels. One girl was unfortunately not with us that night but she is very lovely too. Her name is Sarah. I remember the first time meeting her and she encouraged me in my dreams. If I wanted to write a book, I should go for it. She even brainstormed with me for a bit. She is a creative person herself who sells her artwork online. Another highlight of this experience abroad is going to Brighton. Sarah and I loved escaping London for a bit and enjoying the sea and cute shops.
And last but for sure not least is my friends who come to visit me. Charlotte has been here and so has Freddy. I have also visited a childhood friend last weekend. This was also very emotional since we talked about the people we lost in our lives but I felt like it was a good experience. A way to connect with my roots and a place where I am always welcome. This is Watford, my birthplace. Another highlight of this trip. Very special to me to go to Cassiobury park and remember the times I played in the water as a kid and remembering the photos I took with my mom and dad. The lovely walks we had there. The water reflecting on the trees. As if the sun, water and reflection were dancing on the trees. I remember being fascinated. It was nice to make new memories with Timesh as well. Making funny photos as if I was diving into the water and we went to play golf. I never knew I would have so much fun playing golf. His parents also cooked wonderfully and it was nice and peaceful at their place in Watford.
This weekend I have my housemates back from the Netherlands, who are my friends and to me have become family members, over here in London. They arrived on Thursday and I waited for them to arrive by train at St. Pancreas station. I felt a bit emotional seeing them. It is so nice to have them around. I can totally be myself. We are like a little family; a great friend group and I always love including others to our group as well. I am looking forward going back to the Netherlands and having a party at our place and inviting others. So far, I think my housemates and I are enjoying our time here in London. It is busy and noisy but we managed to escape the noise by going on a wonderful walk along the Thames making our way to cross the Thames via an airway. It was as if being in a ski lift. Something totally random that feels very fitting to us. I am curious what the rest of this weekend will have in store for us.
I am not trying to cover anything up with humour no more. You shouldn’t underestimate humour though. It is good to have humour in life, relativeren we would say in Dutch.
But I am not running away any longer. I guess I never really was. I just didn’t know all I needed to do was to forgive. Forgive me. Forgive others. Love. Love. Love myself unconditionally. Love others unconditionally and also let those go who I can’t be with. Let go and still love. Make peace with my decisions. Sometimes decisions are hard. But needed to be made.
Don’t get too attached a friend told me. Be free from desire. You can want things but you also need to be able to live without it. He is right. I wanted to run away from this. Keep my feelings, my desires, whatever I thought I deserved, what I am working hard for, but that isn’t good for me, is it? I need to be okay with life and every turn it takes me. Accept.
I have this other friend who believes in goals and dreams. Maybe he is right too. I mean you can’t leave everything to chance. You have influence and my other friend sees this too. ‘Make a choice, otherwise others will do it for you’. I am learning to say no. Choosing.
I am happy to have choices. And I am happy to keep a little journal and write down three things of the day I appreciate. Those journals; I love reading those.
All I have is now. Not yesterday, not tomorrow. I have now. This is something mindfulness will tell me. I am not my feelings, not my thoughts. Now is what is there is.
And in the end I will die. I don’t know where I will go or what I will have learned or if I find my journals filled with thoughts and feelings important. I don’t read them now, so I won’t probably then. How about life without photography? Will I look at my photo books? I barely do now. Just the idea of them being there calms me in a way. Does it? I like that I can take the photos out. Look at them. As if the people in the photograph are with me. I guess they aren’t but in a way they are. You love them. So they are with you. You love and you let go. And if you get the chance to meet again; you do. Reconnect. Remember together. And live in the now. Nothing beats now. Buildings will fall and the nostalgia you feel and the connection to the building will be gone. But you have now and the love you feel towards a person doesn’t leave. Love doesn’t leave. It is always present. You only need to see it. See love.
We always learn negative emotions. I once learnt that the basic emotions were fear, anger, happiness, shame and sadness. Something in me doesn’t want to agree with this. Maybe I want my eggs the sunny side up; I love that expression. Well I mean see the positive side. I feel that appreciation and gratitude can be so strong and ever so present. That there are so many more positive emotions. That there are so many more subtleties amongst emotions. That is isn’t one thing or the other. Ambigious or neutral or all the colours of the rainbow, not black and white. Whatever you want to call it.
I guess it doesn’t even matter if there are more negative or positive emotions. They are here and they will come and go. There were times I didn’t want to live anymore. Filled with regret, shame and hopelessness. I know for me that those emotions don’t stay. And I wish I could tell others they don’t stay. I wish they would live. I wish they weren’t scared. Scared of themselves. Scared of their emotions. But I guess maybe I can’t. I am not sure. I experienced it and so maybe others can too.
I wish everyone love, hope, appreciation, the gift of forgiveness, acceptance. I wish others growth. Whatever that means. And I wish it to myself.
Once there was a man who lived by himself. He worked on being the best version of himself and steering his life in a way he wanted it to go. He was very content the way his life was and proud that he lived the way he did. He dreamed of inspiring others.
Then a woman came along and with her came all her experiences. She was a lot younger than the man and she could learn a lot from him. From his calm manner, his kindness, his patience and his time management.
She also felt she was quite similar to him. Not that tidy, enjoying older furniture, having a lot of hobbies and sports, educating themselves, learning and trying new things.
The difference was that she still wanted to learn how to cook new things and took care of plants, owned a cat, played her records on her recordplayer while he owned a lot of books which he all read and already finished two bachelors and had been in the army.
They found each other in their hobbies; writing, making music and dancing. They also found each other in their conversations. How to go about life, how to learn, how to grow. How to steer your life in the direction you want it going.
They trusted each other to be there and wanted to spend time with each other. They knew they loved each other deeply.
The woman wondered what she could learn the man. She might be able to bring more playfulness and silliness into his life.
But she didn’t feel he needed much more from life. He might meet a lovely woman one day that he may or may not live with. But somehow it didn’t seem to matter. He was content. Happy learning, exploring, taking his life in the direction he wanted it to go. He was also very dedicated but not too dedicated. He still made time for loved ones, sport and hobbies. He was living a rich life.
What could this woman offer him? Friendship. Simply being there. Listening. Enjoying each other’s company. She could try to be as encouraging as she could be and as interested as she could be.
She could take him dancing and to places with live music. Maybe that was enough. The only thing she wanted to add was a little bit more playfulness.
I’ve been here nearly two months now and still have three months to go. I feel like I have already seen a lot. Luckily I have realized there is more to see such as Kew Gardens, Greenwich and Prim Rose. I do like to escape London. I am a smaller city girl. Such as Brighton or Bristol. I enjoy the sea and the peace.
Bristol was a trip down memory lane. I have visited Education First, a school I went to for six weeks. Six weeks isn’t much but made such a difference in my life. I felt inspired to become a teacher myself. I remember a teacher named James telling us about free will and it got my brain going. I remember learning reading skills. I remember writing about the homeless, printing it out and sticking it to the front door of the school. I was bold I guess. I remember the director taking an interest in me and the homeless and made a whole class available on volunteers work. I also remember writing a blog, printing it out and leaving it in the teacher’s room. Unasked. Just did it. It was read and it made me want to keep writing.
It was great to be able to share those memories with the director. I think she truly appreciated it. I also visited the market and the Suspension Bridge. I might go back to see the parks I visited back then once again. I actually got the opportunity to take the train past the bridge which I was always longing to see. It was so remote. Just a beach. It was beautiful but I am not a small town girl either. After that I felt lonely and wanted to share my experience. Luckily my friend back home was available to listen and encourage me in my dreams. I could tell him how Bristol was such an anchor point in my life. He told me I was stacking dreams.
Classes are 75% of the time pretty enjoyable. I guess that is a good score. I prefer the Wednesdays. I like the people. Some are also around my age and I think I might be making friends with the printer room. Progress is being made.
Things used to scare me off. I guess I’d rather now stick with it. I must say I was really happy there was the printer guy named Ollie to help me. That printer room is filled with emotion for me. Frustration, feeling overwhelmed and pure joy.
But for now, this is the result, hell yeah
The documentary I will be making will be about women, their lives, their careers, their hardships and how they overcome them and it’s supposed to be uplifting. I am really happy with this subject. It reminds me of books I read. Goodnight stories for Rebel Girls. They also have podcasts.
For the other class we’ll see what happens when men and women are surrounded by flowers. I envision a woman in a pond surrounded by yellow flowers, maybe sunflowers and beautiful natural light. Maybe golden hour. I have tried to google this image and I feel like I have seen it before but maybe it is my imagination. But It might become a more fashion with make-up shoot inside which is more out of my comfort zone but could also be really nice and interesting. But still believing in my dream: where to find this pond?!
I have had friends over for the past two weekends and it has been fun. At the end I’ll include some photos. I have crossed Tower Bridge but this time high up which you had to pay for. It used to be a red-light district for politicians. Now the floor is made out of glass and you can look at the Thames. Scary and fun at the same time.
The real reason I am here is to connect with my roots. With my mom and dad, with the language I grew up with, the place I spent the first six years of my life. I won’t find my mom and dad here but maybe memories. I guess that’s why reconnecting with a childhood friend is so important to me. A way of reliving the life I had and I guess desperately wanted back. But that friend doesn’t bring you that life. It brings you now. But I guess going to Cheslyn Gardens on my own a few years ago was such a good move. I felt so brave, so empowered. I remembered the pond and the story of falling into it. Getting dry clothes from a friend. I remember Cassiobury park. Playing in the water. I remember walking there with my dad. The reflection of the sun and water playing on the trees and him walking in front of me. Photographing him on the same spot my mom has photographed me and I her. Nobody likes Watford I think but to me it means memories. I am going there next week.
I didn’t really know I was here for the memories. I thought I was here for childhood friends and family but I guess connecting with your roots is connecting with your history and what was once there and what still remains. I am so happy that the playground in Cassiobury park didn’t change and the waterfall and locks are still there. It just brings me back immediately. I guess this is what nostalgia is. I feel old now hahahaha.
I am also here because I wanted to travel and I didn’t want to do a minor in the Netherlands. It seemed more exciting to do something abroad. My moms explained to me that studying would be more fun than working. I guess they are right. I chose to study in England. Furthermore, to gain my knowledge of words. At the end of this blog you will see what I have figured out so far. These are words I picked up during class. I’ve only heard them and might be writing them incorrectly. For the dutchies: translation is included.
Flares = flarden
Uthelised = gebruikt
Digestic and non digestic sound = geluid dat je op dat moment gebruikt en geluid dat je in post productie toevoegt
Laniels = laniels?
Artificial = kunstmatig. Ik begrijp dit al een tijdje, maar toch in contexten vind ik het lastig grip te krijgen op dit woord.
Splice = splice?
Picture in voicture = afbeelding in spraak?
Threshold of perception = op de drempel van perceptie.
Martial law = staat van beleg. In English: military government, involving the suspension of ordinary law.
Mybrid artist film = mybrid artiestenfilm?
Callsheets = oproeplijsten
Medermity = middelbare leeftijd
Engrossing = boeiend. As my American friend explained: you could be losing yourself in a game/film. It doesn’t have to be a bad thing. I guess the connotation is positive.