Where does the time go

Kenia 2014 1547It was yesterday, exactly a year ago, that I got on a plane in Amsterdam and headed to first Cairo and then Nairobi.

It was today that I arrived in Kenya, in the midst of the night.

Since I got back after 5 weeks, Kenya has been in my thoughts every day. Close to every hour, to be honest. Though these days it’s not just the highlights, the best moments and experiences, that cross my mind, but every little feeling, fragrance and detail. Memories are playing themselves like movies in my head. And I have a feeling that this will go on for the next couple of weeks. Today feels strange, but yesterday felt really melancholic. Sometimes I wonder if I do not hold fast too tightly, if I do not over-romanticize. Yet is is true that I was happy, and above all, felt alive. It wasn’t necessarily being in Kenya, but being surrounded by love and lovely people and every moment experiencing and exploring this new way of life.

I remember riding back into Nairobi after spending a few days on the coastside, the modest skyline ahead of us, back in what after the humid ocean air felt as chillier air now, and although the coast-life made me feel more comfortable because of its laid-back pace, it felt as coming home, knowing that familiar people and places were waiting.

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA few days ago I received this photo of my sweet Ciro, all dressed up in uniform in front of her school on her first day. I can see some nerves on her face, but her eyes are shining as always.

I remember how she’d come to sit on my lap and count the Maasai burns I got on my left arm real slowly, while tenderly touching them one for one. This girl had stolen my heart, and I’m glad that I can support her for her education – something that has a far bigger (and probably far better) impact than volunteering.

Quai Branly // NYE

The last day of last year I spent in Paris. Leaving with a bus in the middle of the night, around 9am the grey suburbs of the city loomed. The sun was shining when we stepped on parisian ground, on the banks of the Seine, a little later. It felt good that the first thing we had to do was looking for a place to have breakfast, having just arrived. Eventually we only had a cup of coffee, in a too expensive cafe in the gardens of Musée du Quai Branly, whose building has green plants growing against its walls. The museum calls itself a meeting ground for cultures of the world. Perfect place for me, wasn’t it? Very inspirational place indeed. So I’d still like to share some art pictures.






Tattoo Exhibition


A while before midnight we took off from the restaurant in Montmartre and with many, many other people we got (/tried to get) on a metro, which were free these last hours of the year, on our way to the Champs-Élysées. Apparently the French don’t really do fireworks with New Year’s Eve, so the new year does not start as spectacular as expected in Paris. But thousands of people gathered on the whole Champs-Élysées avenue gives you a pretty festive feeling anyway, especially when they all start moving after midnight. Walking around Paris in the middle of the night with a dear friend, a bottle of champagne in our hands, so many elated people around – the beginning of 2015 is something I will not forget.

Winter Blues

Time slips through my hands and suddenly I can say it’s February 2015. Time feels slightly empty lately. I study what I find most interesting and I have nice people around me, yet my self doesn’t seem to notice the blessings. I try but smiles have a hard time appearing on me, in me. Once more I realize that better periods don’t mean it will be better forever. There are high hills and low dales inside of me. Irony is that it is not standing still and holding tight that keeps you high on this metaphor of the mountain, but going on steadily – I just haven’t figured out yet what to do with the valleys. Do I let myself run into them, resolute, not afraid to fall?Kröller-Müller & MMK Arnhem 071

At new beginnings I feel good and I wondered if a new chapter might have begun when I started university. Now I realize that all the newness is just distraction and not a cure nor a solution, just like traveling in order to find yourself is actually running away from certain parts of yourself or your life. Eventually these will turn up again, wherever you are and whatever you do, and if it’s not on the road it is upon return. In valleys certain questions that are always and always have been by my side, come to the surface while they become heavier and of utmost importance. Normally I succeed to ignore them, but in these times I need to know the answers, the answers that I don’t have, because without them everything feels so damn incomprehensible and pointless. I know that there will come a moment in which I suddenly feel myself slip from underneath the dark veil again, but it is the not knowing when that makes me feel first desperate and then hopeless. When I look at others I feel childish and irresponsible for not sharing the same lightness and ease.

The valleys always appear with the days getting shorter and the sunshine getting scarce, but I’ll be honest and tell you that I doubt whether it is Winter Blues. Yet we all know that it is comfortable to give the thing a name to hide behind. To tell myself that I have to wait for summer, ignoring the fact that after summer the brothers of fall and winter show up again.

I assume that people think, and I do too, that this is who I am, that this is me. Is it me? Is it circumstances? Is it twisted relationships?

“Sometimes people think they know you. They know a few facts about you, and they piece you together in a way that makes sense to them. And if you don’t know yourself very well, you might even believe that they are right. But the truth is, that isn’t you. That isn’t you at all.”        ~ Leila Sales, This Song Will Save Your Life

That is something that I need to remember, together with a lot of other things. I define myself, and if I want to be undefined, then let me be undefined. Don’t hold tight on the images that you make of the whole you, but based on only parts of you. Don’t let those parts become so important, so defining, that they keep you from being the person you really and wholly are – the person you are in your day dreams? And above all, don’t give a damn about the images you think other people have formed of you. Because it is not you. Not at all.

Yet it is me. In a way. Partly. Eventually. The mountains and the valleys. The valleys.

Music: Gaël Faye

Petit Pays, a beautiful song and video by  slam-artist Gaël Faye that a friend of mine showed me a few days ago. Gaël is half Rwandan, half French, but born in Burundi. In the song he describes Rwanda and Burundi, the little African countries of the big lakes. He sings about the history of war and about the relationship with his homelands. Although my French isn’t good and I can’t fully understand what he says – and I wish I could, for the lyrics are like poetry – the song knows how to touch me anyway and I wanted to share it with you.

(Re)Fresh // winterbloementuin

Some day last week, before I would start reading my economy, I looked outside my window and decided to fresh my mind first. So I took my camera. I opened the door and walked into the chilly November air, but left my coat inside. I started photographing the flowers in our garden, discovering more and more beautiful plants I didn’t even know were there before ,while taking pictures. That is what photography does. It shows you the unnoticed. It opens your eyes for the great little beauties around us. I had missed the feeling of a camera in my hands. This short photography session lit a fire inside of me that gave me energy for the rest of the day.

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Little Update + Gratefulness

Kröller-Müller & MMK Arnhem 170 I won’t deny it: I have been busy these months and my mind was with other things than blogging and the like. Big changes have occurred and I’m trying to find a new rhythm, a new balance, a new pace in this new way of life. University life has started, from now on I’m a student focusing on the field of international development. I move between two places that feel like different lives and I try to combine the two into one, dealing with my wanderlust at the same time. Good things happen. New friends and interesting people introduce themselves, I discover a new area of the country, I go to Amnesty movie nights and yoga classes and magazine commission meetings in an attempt to shape myself into the person I want to become, finally having the space for that. I can feel myself growing.

Though,                                                                                                                               “Even under the best circumstances, there’s just something so damn tragic about growing up.” (Jonathan Tropper)

I have two homes now, one old and one new, the first feeling different than before and the latter feeling exciting but still strange. I find myself wondering, is my real home within me? The need to express my feelings through all sorts of media has grown bigger over the last year, and I’m happy that my gap year gave me all the space I wished for. After struggling through high school freedom was what I needed. I discovered myself. Among other things, I painted, wrote, made music and I wonder how I can keep doing all of this now busy life has started again. Though I’m a determined person, as a dear friend of mine said. I will find my way, and I’m lucky that my study isn’t the most hardest, busiest of all. I just have to find a new rhythm, a new balance, that is all. If there is one thing I’m sure of, it is this: although I decided not to go into arts, I will never allow myself to become the serious, boring, ‘proper’ adult that fits in.

“I am half child, half ancient.” (Björk)

Over the last half a year I have been keeping a gratitude journal. Every day before I went to sleep I wrote down the things I had been thankful for. I hope this will keep my eyes and heart open for beauty and inspiration, even when the focus in my life is on more serious things for a while. This week’s gratefulness:

1. Mulberry vanilla raw chocolate

2. ‘Desert Flower’ by Waris Dirie, which I’m reading, and the fact that I’m, thankgod, not circumcised

3. Chai latte @ Bagels & Beans with a friend

4. A girl that guarantees good laughs and serious talks, and the feeling of being understood

5. An evening spent watching tv on the couch with my family

6. Late summer days

Lastly, if you’d like to you can follow me on Instagram from now on. I see my posts on there as the things I’m thankful for, too.