On Being a Freelancer: Couldn't Have Done It Alone

"Let us be grateful to people who make us happy, they are the charming gardeners who make our souls blossom."

 Marcel Proust

My First 3 Months in the Netherlands
I wish I had started writing a journal back in those days. I have a terrible memory, you see. From what I remember, I was excelling at being a housewife, studying Dutch every day, and enjoying my new social life. On the other hand, my sweetheart and I were figuring out how to be with one another, and I too was unrestful figuring out what who would I become. 

Month #4
I got my first job as a postbezorger, and that was quite a ride as you know... (If you don't, read "Finding a Job in the Netherlands: PostNL and I.")

Month #5
At the taalcafe, I was asked if I had been a teacher. When I said yes, this beautiful Russian lady expressed she would love having a teacher like me.  This took me completely by surprise! Some days later, I contacted a language school in Eindhoven and was told that they didn't need anyone, thank you. 

During an afternoon coffee, I discussed the school experience with my dear Italian friend, who happens to be a teacher too, and she talked about the possibilities making a business out of our professions. At that time, I was confused and tired. I didn't know where to begin or what to do. Luckily, my sweet and smart Turkish friend encouraged me by saying I should explore being an independent teacher, and that she would ask around to see if anyone would like to join a conversation session with me. It was right then and there that the magic started to happen. . .

Month #7
On December 6, at 15:10, I had an appointment at the Kamer van Koophandel to officially register as a freelancer for January 2018. There is a lot of work to do, lots of responsibilities to fulfill, and a whole new world to learn about. 

I am deeply grateful for all the wonderful people in my life. Being a freelancer was possible because I had many angels helping me with ideas, information, translations, etc. It might sound unbelievable, but months ago, I had told my "praktijkondersteuner" I was feeling alone. She went ahead and corrected the statement. She explained it was not only a feeling but a state: I was alone.  Today, I am in a different place thanks to everyone around me. Like the Russian proverb says, Tell me who your friends are and I will tell you who you are. 

Tot volgende jaar?

To Begin 2018, Two Cities and Three Museums

It is the end of the year, and one starts thinking of what has been accomplished and what one desires for next year. Oh, dear! I hadn't reflected on it until a cheerful friend of mine asked me about my 2018 goals. Then, and to follow up on my top priorities, I settled on a plan of action. In it, I pursue and select activities which bring me excitement, joy, and that in a certain way, provide nourishment to my brain and soul, as for me, like knitting or visiting museums. 

What is at the top of my list?

     The Museumkaart! It is a personal card that gives you access to more than 400 museums in The Netherlands and it is valid for one year.  If I had asked Sinterklaas for a present, it would have been this! As you can tell, I didn't ask for it so...I will give it to myself as a New Year's present. Yeah!

What will I do in order to foster personal growth?
     To begin with, two cities and three museums. Would you like to join me? :-)


City: Eindhoven
  • Museum 1: Van Abbemuseum
  • Showing: Top 10 on Tour, Masterpieces acquired for the Netherlands thanks to the BankGiro Lottery
  • Entrance: Free with Museumkaart (normally 12)
  • Why: I know it includes works by Van Gogh, Rembrandt, Steen, and Picasso, among others. Let's see who else is there!


City: Den Haag
  • Museum 2: Mauritshuis
  • Showing: From their permanent collection, Steen, Vermeer, Rembrandt and Frans Hals.
  • Entrance: Free with Museumkaart (normally 14)
  • Why: To follow Rembrandt and Steen after having seen Top 10 on Tour. I mean, who doesn't love the Dutch Golden Age?! I know, not everyone, but I do!
  • Museum 3: Gemeente Museum Den Haag
  • Entrance: Free with Museumkaart (normally 14.50)
  • Why: The first exhibition, to follow Picasso around too. About the second one, it is something different. It is a novelty for me since the theme is jewelry and silverware, and it ends on February 18th. 
How to prepare for the visits?
     I suggest you read all the information you can find about the exhibitions. Study the paintings, explore the places and characters. And why not? Find a music piece that matches the art according to you! Another possibility is to get in touch with ARTSY Language Studio (me as a freelancer) and book a session previous to your visits. A prior approach would allow you to make your visit an unforgettable and enriching one. If you want more information, feel free to contact me at artsylanguagestudio@gmail.com.

     I wonder what our plans might have in common for next year, or how different they rather are. It would be awesome to learn from you!



Beautiful and Limited: Reflections on Turning 43 in The Netherlands

"Today you are You, 
that is truer than true. 
There is no one alive who 
is Youer than You."
Dr. Seus

     Birthdays are what one wants to make of them. For some, it as an ordinary event. For others, it can be a beginning or an end. Some more might view it as an opportunity to reflect on what has been experienced. And then there are the loud and cheerful who take it as an extraordinary occasion worth sharing. For me, birthdays are unique and unreplicable.

     I must confess I am shedding some tears as I write this. On one hand, I am healthy and have been blessed with family and friends that love me and celebrated with me in the same way I approach life, with laughter, joy, and extra pampering. On the other, I wish I had mastered the art of letting go, of being in control. I wish I could embrace certain feelings in order to later let them go. I wish I could settle and conform. 

     There is a podcast I listen to for my Dutch immersion. It's called 100% INSPIRATIE PODCAST by Thijs Lindhout. This week I found one that was in English instead of in Dutch, "Over Being Limitless" with Ananda Giri. Its message is still lingering in my mind. The main idea is that you have two choices while living. You can choose to live in a beautiful state or in a limited one. Then, when you approach moments, you can only decide between the two. Ananda Giri explains the concepts and gives some tips on how to put them into practice. 

     Turning 43 in The Netherlands has both been beautiful and limited. There is a circle of love and friendship, my sweetheart, achievements, hard work, tears, sadness, and longing. I guess they are all inevitable since we should quit trying to control everything. At least that I must. As for now, I will work on trying to figure out which state I am living in, and then learning how to choose beautiful rather than limited. I have a long way to go, but then again, I am only 43!

Het was mijn verjaardag!

To practice your Dutch, try to listen to the radio or podcasts. Even if you don't understand much, it will help your brain tune the language in.