Chapter 2: No music to my ears

Is it only me having ears this sensitive or are the Dutch really way louder than the rest of the world?

Being so private-space concerned with putting the bag at the seat next to them in public transport, how about the noise interfering your space? It’s definitely more difficult to define the norm , but not less disturbing when it’s off the limits.

You read a book, or listen to the music, do your work, or just think about something and that’s when a horrible sound reaches you.. first you think it might be a scream of a wounded animal… look around- ah no, just someone laughing at a joke..  what did I think about/work on/read again?  The iPhone headphones are no help- unless you make it so loud that it hurts.

Restaurants are another “weak” spot. Forget about having the conversation while having a diner- you will be hardly able to over scream the background noise. That’s why I prefer more expensive places- maybe the public there is older but at least I can enjoy the dinner! 🙂

P.S. nothing personal, but being an expat and observing a different  culture I have to make some generalizations (aka “why aren’t  you drinking vodka?!” )

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Vivaldi concert in a beautiful church in Venice

I don’t care!

This morning I had a couple spare minutes at the station, and instead of going for pastry, I went to the book shop (food for the brain!). This made my day: 

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Haven’t read the book, but looks like I’m excelling  at this skill! You know that Asian wisdom “be smart enough to change what you can change, to accept what you cannot change, and to distinguish one from the other”. That’s the whole point. A lot of worries we have are over things we cannot control or change. Look at all the Facebook freaking out about the trump election(most even not living in the US). Unless you get your b*tt of the couch and go on the street to protest, all your jokes and comments and complains are just a waist of energy. The election has happened, deal with it already!
The same about a ton of other things. “Oh dear, seems like my colleagues don’t like me”. “The global warming is coming”. “The weather is terrible during the weekend”. “What else is your head occupied with”
If you stop worrying you will have so much more energy to spend on something more meaningful. To help with that, you need to know what to do in case “it” happens. Imagine the worst situation and think your steps through. Most of the times it’s not as bad as it seems when you just worry;)

Saturday

Couldn’t come up  with a better title :))

Yesterday I made 15000 by only walking  around Utrecht! And people keep asking me why I don’t cycle;)

Yesterday was super sunny day and I was out quite early, busy treasure hunting (you know those days right after pay day)).

Utrecht is full of nice little shops(I don’t mean clothes). So I spent quite some euros in cheese shop, tea shop, my favourite Dille&Camille for dark chocolate with orange, the Body shop for best ever butters, and Stach for guilty pleasures to go with planned later movie afternoon.

Movie afternoon was at my friend’s place who lives in such a wonderful area! Do you believe that every place has  certain energy? (Btw my previous apartment was near the cemetery:) )

Next one, I will do my best to have close to Niewegracht! It feels so calm and solid there.oh why it’s so expensive to rent here

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The movie we watched was miss Peregrine’s home for peculiar children..

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what to say, it’s definitely one of the weirdest movies I’ve ever seen. Thanks God they added some modern music in the end, otherwise I would become totally moody! But it was really very good, and it’s not only my love for fairy tales talking, might be my admiration of Eva Green though.

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And the snacks for the movie, really Stach is just a Wonderland for these things
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And the new canal by night on the way back home

 

Chapter 1. The bag.

I woke up like this

…Flawless

On lazy Saturday afternoon, when Utrecht was covered in that 1cm of snow, I was sitting with my friend and her boyfriend in a bar eating some deep fried stuff (Bitterballen are love) and drinking wine.

The conversation was about my 10-minute online dating experience ( aka the gift of finding something wrong with any picture). And then we went on talking about the  power/importance of the looks in the first impression.

And here comes the thunder in the blue sky. The friend’s boyfriend goes like: “Well, I think a girl in sneakers, in a casual shirt, with her hair in a bun and a beer in her hand looks very sexy”. My bitterball gets stuck in the throat: “What?!”

The next day I kept thinking about the sneakers-bun-beer image, and thought it actually can be sexy.. but(!! and this is crucial ) with quite some work on the background.

I agree it’s not always about the high heels, heavy make up and the dress. However, it’s always about being..polished maybe?

Your feet are soft just like a baby, cuticles doesn’t resemble the lifestyle of a homeless, nail polish covers the whole nail (and not like “oh, I should have removed it a week ago”). No hair on the legs is allowed, the skin on the elbows should be soft. The hair should be clean, soft and shine, smelling like a bouquet of fresh flowers in spring.

The face has this healthy glow as if you never got tired in your whole life. Super smooth lips and groomed eyebrows (aka not resembling a warm or a caterpillar).

The body is toned. The clothes fits perfectly. And the sneakers are clean and kinda new.

And ok, if you have all of this that look can be sexy.

P.S. The more I live in the Netherlands, the more I love the Youtubers (quite some are Russian) who keep talking about hair/facials/make up/body. In Russia, no matter how much money you have or how much time you have, there is a bare minimum that is considered to be something just like brushing your teeth. Here the minimum is literally “I woke up like this” and my Russian soul(and eyes) is missing being around women who look “taken care of”  🙂

Welcome 2017!

How did you welcome the new year?

For the first time I hosted a New Years party! And it was the first party  in my new home. For that reason I was a bit worried about everything going smoothly and being fun. Lucky me, my worries were for nothing 😊 We got a ton of food, from all over the world: Russian salad(my love), indian samosas, Dutch oliebollen, Belgian chocolate mousse(it was so delicious everybody had to eat it with eyes closed)). And lots of Spanish, Italian and French sparkling drinks! A good party is when there are more empty bottles than there were guests))

We have this silly saying ‘you spend the year the way you see braced it’. So 2017 is waiting for me in an open silk dress, with perfect hair, dancing like crazy to 90s hits.

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4am after party selfie
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Nobody  starved 😅

Thank you 2016

How to leave the past behind?

I guess it’s my wicked mind trying to reflect on the past year as hard as it can. This reflections lead me to red wine and ice cream.
Why is it so that I keep thinking again and again about the failures of the year? It’s just a “bad radio signal” kind of noise in my head. And all the positives seem not so big. Or maybe just not so noisy.
Actually this year was great.
I visited the places that I always wanted to visit. I spend a week in lovely Georgia eating the wonderful food and drinking the best rose in the world.
I discovered that I got true friends in the Netherlands.
I discovered a lot about myself, something it wasn’t anything positive- but as we all know first step to solving a problem is realizing that you have  a problem. As my step counter app says “you are on the way to greatness!”
This year I got my first home.
This year I learned to enjoy time alone and not to feel lonely.
I started doing things that I wanted to do for years-and was postponing for years. Not in am back to dancing. I started colouring a painting. Started doing the group class at the gym and actually, to my surprise, being able to enjoy it.
I had the strength to say goodbye to people who didn’t make my life better.
I learned to make my life better.
Once again I realized what a sweet, loving and supportive family is have.
So..thank you 2016, for all the great and powerful experiences I had this year!

Honesty is the best policy

Guys, let’s be honest.. Btw how honest do you think you are?

What I noticed is that people (including myself) tend to think better about themselves than about others. “Oh I am such a well mannered person, and that I was rude to the waiter today-I was just tired, that’s a reason decent enough”. Such little lies won’t hurt, right?

How about being honest to others? Living in the Netherlands I heard a billion times about ‘Dutch directness’. What I have to say about it is that being impolite/tactless is not that same as being honest, and that’s the confusion for me. I expected the second but keep seeing the first.

And how about being honest with yourself? Not direct, thinking “you fat cow” when looking in the mirror,  but namely honest. Saying to yourself “you are so bored with your life that can’t stop chewing” seems to be a different approach.

How often do you illude yourself? ‘It will change’ you think. ‘it’s tempory’. ‘I just smoke socially’. ‘I really tried’. ‘He will change his mind’. ‘I would have done that if I really wanted’.

To be honest..honesty is scary. Being honest to yourself in many cases means change. Insecurity. Starting from scratch. It’s all really tough. But the risk of not doing that is that one day years from now you will wake up and cry. Because you lived somebody else’s  life. Because of all the opportunities you missed and the time you wasted.

Be honest and tell yourself what you like and what you don’t like. And have the guts  to do something about it. Or to accept that but then be at peace with the situation.

This honesty will save you from major disappointments. And it is never too late to start practicing it! Make it your number one New Year’s resolution. “I will always be honest with myself”. And I will do that too 🙂

Sweet november

-doctor, I want to stay under the blanket with a cup of tea all the time, what’s wrong with me??

– it’s normal, you have November

So this season started: still too far from holidays, but already cold like in Siberia! OK,  never been to Siberia, but i assume, the weather is no better than here 🙂

What annoys me most is that it’s dark all the time- going to work is still night, coming back home already night. Well, the good part is that is the perfect season for red wine! doesn’t seem as heavy anymore 🙂

Also I feel like staying home more, tea and movies are so much more attractive than dressing up and (oh gosh!) leaving the house! not to turn into a complete sociopath Dutch way of keeping agenda helps a lot! when you made plans, bought tickets when it was still warm, the thought of having your money wasted pushes in the direction of the door no matter the weather )))

But so far sharing my autumn favourite,the best tea I tried in a long time! If you live in the Netherlands check out this Simon Levelt shop, the tea selection is great.20161109_213144

And then the perfect evening at home, blanket, movie, tea and rituals candle

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So guys, no matter how bad is the weather, make the most out of it, use the time to enjoy yourself !