Showing posts from November, 2017

Hobbies: Why and How I Started a Book Group

Hobbies      The leisure activities we choose shape us. They should be important because they stimulate our spirit and are a revealing trait of our personality. 

The Importance of Hobbies      There is a very good article that includes, in my opinion, interesting and well-explained reasons about the significance of hobbies. It is called "Why Hobbies Are Important", published by David and Daniela Naidu on the website Skilled At Life. I invite you to go ahead and read it.  They list 11 reasons, and I agree with all of them. In fact, we can also see how helpful they are when moving abroad. Check Daniela and David's list (I have underlined the ones that most apply when making a fresh start):  "It makes you more interesting.""It helps to relieve stress by keeping you engaged in something you enjoy.""Hobbies help you become more patient.""Having a hobby can help your social life and create a bond with others.""It increases your confiden…

Me Cooking. My Butcher. With Wine.

What happened to me? Did it happen to you too?
     I must confess. My darling is not hallucinating or imagining things. Yes, I used to cook more often and sometimes even sophisticated meals. Then, reality sank in. You might wonder what I mean, or maybe you know EXACTLY what I am trying to say, as in "been there, done that." It started feeling like an obligation, a must, a chore that couldn't be skipped. I asked myself, what can I do to like cooking again?

     Not much. It has never been my strength. Even so, I have looked for ways to enjoy it more: Share a meal with a friend; enjoy when I am invited over and someone else does the cooking; have fun when preparing a meal. When alone, never say always but close, I listen to a nice podcast and have a glass of wine. Then my honey comes home and says home cooking is better than anything else. I don't agree, but I try to feel flattered. Do you see what I mean?

What have I been cooking lately?
     Every weekday I need to mak…

Friendship Is An Art

     Friendship is an art.Through life, one hopes to learn, practice, and honor it. It is like any other trade: You understand the skills, put them into practice, ruin hopefully not too many friendships, and then, one day, you look around and realize how friends are stars that illuminate your sky. That is something worth living for to see.
OLD AND NEW FRIENDS      When I decided to move abroad for love, I knew that some friendships back home would continue as strong as they could be, other would weaken, and some forgotten. Also, I was aware new ones needed to be built, worked on, sculptured. To have a real friend is a serious private matter. This new person will meet you in a vulnerable state because you are trying to adapt to your new world. You are needy, too many areas to work on. Of course it can be scary! It is too intimate. But you know what? Like my new friends have told me, we are all in the same boat. Call it life or love, we are all on a journey and in this moment we are ridin…

Finding Balance: Proud of Delivering the Mail

Next week it will be three months since I started working at PostNL. I have gone from this will never happen and this is killing me to feeling proud and having fun while at it. 

What is there to be proud of?

Having a job in a new country (You know what it was like!)Working in a respectable organizationImproving my performanceSpeaking Dutch with my colleaguesSaving money for the first time everBeing a candidate for pensionWhat is fun about it? Exercising and losing weight (Just ask my darling about it!)Being part of "the gang" (This totally deserves its own post!)Riding the bike 500 m to get to work (I know, nothing to miss from Mexico there...)Chatting with colleagues (especially when we need to wait for the mail)Seeing people thankful for delivering their mail or package (Yes, I speak with people, but sometimes I just smile and nod because I don't get what they say! No time to stop to chat either!)
How does it all look like? 
If you have time, watch the videos. You will see …

Distance and Family

When deciding to move abroad, one topic to consider is family. Different situations can influence your position. I can think of some but do please help me with your comments because I am probably leaving many more unmentioned. 
     Closeness, attachment, and health are some of the elements I consider to be important when making the decision. In my case, it wasn't difficult. I had lived abroad for more than 15 years, I am very independent and sometimes too detached, and everyone in my family was healthy.
Until today.
     Today is Friday. I am home. My father is in the hospital, under observation. My family is taking turns to be with him at all times, day and night. He seems fine, but this morning the doctors have said his heart has not been doing well.
     Thanks to WhatsApp, I can hear and see him, I can send recordings of music I know he loves. I can be in touch. 
     What is weighing me down is this helplessness, the waiting. Trying to hold myself together so they don't worry…

Depression, Priorities, and Van Gogh

"Ik doe al mijn best er kracht achter te zetten want ik verlang er zoo sterk naar mooie dingen te maken.– Maar mooie dingen kosten moeite – en teleurstelling en volhouden."Vincent Van Gogh to Theo Van Gogh*     Recently, I have been collecting material about Van Gogh. Reading one of his letters got me thinking about beauty and happiness, and the struggle sometimes they require.  

     Late September, I made an appointment with my huisarts (physician) to discuss my mild depression and what could be done so it wouldn't become a serious health issue. We had an interesting talk pointing out how I was out of balance trying to learn how to live with someone, take care of a house, and at the same time finding out who I would become. This was being very difficult since I was feeling lonely and alone. We agreed it would be helpful to have some sessions with a "prajtijkondersteuner". For those not familiar with the term, a prajtijkondersteuner is a kind of …

Things I Love About the Netherlands: #1 Swimming and the Journey In-Between

As I have mentioned before, I am working on building a healthy routine for my mind and body. What do I mean? I am trying to put together moments that uplift my soul and make everything brighter. Like what? Like the joy I feel when, while swimming, I see the air bubbles under the water, small crystal pearls mapping a sparkling trail along the way. 
     So far, Mondays are one of my favorite days. I wake up early, get ready and go downstairs to brew coffee. Then, I spend some time writing or reading while waiting for my darling to wake up. Once he does, I go downstairs to prepare his lunchbox (he says it's the best gift ever), coffee and toast. We talk for about half an hour and then we leave: He goes to work and I go swimming. 
     Today, I would like to share with you a little bit of what I see on my way to the Peter de Hoogenband Stadion. I wish I could show you what I see under the water, but since I can't, I hope you can enjoy biking to the pool because it is one of th…

Finding A Job In The Netherlands: PostNL and I

Let's start with a question. Is it easy to find a job in The Netherlands? If you ask some people, they will say no. If you ask me, I will say yes. Of course, we are not talking about a specific job, but just a job. Any job. Maybe you are thinking about a job like the one you used to have. As for me, that isn't possible. I went to law school but had spent years being an elementary school teacher without a teaching degree. In The Netherlands, I can't teach in a school if I don't have a diploma on education. End of tale. So let us go back the "any job" story.

What did I do first in order to find a job?      I uploaded my CV to Why did I do this if I was not looking for a job? Well, I wanted to have the sensation that sooner or later I would receive in my mail an opening for a great and wonderful job that I would adore to apply to. 
How was the process of applying for PostNL?      One sunny summer Friday afternoon, and after cleaning the house, I received…

Esther Perel and the Shaping of Time

I have been thinking about how I can show you who I was before moving to The Netherlands for love. I think that if I can accomplish that, then you can better understand the challenges that starting over imply. 

     A typical day for me was:
5:20 a.m.                            Get up and go swimming or running
7:15 a.m.                            Drive to school
7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.         Enjoy the love and attention of my more than 200 hundred students     
7:30 a.m. to 2:45 p.m.         Work on inspiring my students to learn, think, and understand
3:00 p.m.                            Drive to a friend or student's house for lunch
4:00 p.m. to 7:30 p.m.         Give English private lessons
8:00 p.m.                            Go home or have dinner with friends

     In the six months I have lived in The Netherlands, my routine has gone through many changes, and it still does. There were the weeks where all I could think of was cleaning, and others were I wanted to go to every st…

Be Careful What You Wish For

Be careful what you wish for because you will get it. Be even more careful what you work for because you will get it even more quickly. Colin Cunningham

     Since I first arrived in The Netherlands, people kept talking about how difficult it was to find a job. See, what you used to do in your country of origin might not be an option in your new place. This is usually the case for the partner that leaves everything behind to be with their loved one.

     Some things that worry us:

Speaking the languageKnowing where to lookFitting in the workplaceGetting a decent salaryAppropriate scheduleRunning out of hope

     If you know me, you won't be surprised by what I am about to say. If you don't know me, read carefully. I will explain how I ended up with a job. 

Month 1: So happy I don't need a job!Month 2.1: For full integration, I want a job.Month 2.2: I don't have to get a job! Month 3: I have a job. How the hell did this happen?!Month 4: I am miserable! Should I quit?Month 5:…

As Steven Tyler sings: I Make My Own Sunshine

I say hey, let's make a rainbow
Look for a pot of gold
I'll show you how to keep it nice and easy
And even if a cloud comes forming on my love today
There's nothing (nothing), no, nothing that could stand in my way

It don't matter if it's raining
Nothing can phase me
I make my own sunshine
And if…

Have you listened to the song "I Make My Own Sunshine"? Let me help you. Watch and listen:

     When one moves abroad, and for love, there are days when it is difficult to keep it all together. I wish I could say, "It's been easy, like a holiday!" Or maybe, "It's as wonderful as a dream come true!" Truth to be told, my friends, is that some days you have to make your own sunshine.

     Now, there are days when someone comes and brightens it. For me, Monday was that day. Why? Because on Monday, Olga Koltsova's article about me was published! And you know what? It was a gift, a much-needed one. The reason being? Olga's article inspired me …