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.

xx

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Thoughts On International Relations

I’ve always found myself being very aware of the inequality and unfairness in our world. Together with my endless interest in other cultures and my longing to travel this is what made me decide to volunteer in Kenya last February and March. I’ve been thinking for a long time, both before and after my trip, whether volunteering is a good thing or not, and I still haven’t figured it out. It is a very complex topic. A while ago I wrote down some thoughts about it all:

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“I say it is hypocrite to ‘just’ travel through countries in, let’s say, Africa. To go on vacation while there are people living in the most poor circumstances, who might not even have something to eat or a roof over their heads. But the thing is, I now see: what have I to do with it? Yes, I am rich compared to the majority of the Africans, very rich. But there are also rich people in Africa, as well as a middle class. And there are poor in the West, too. In the Western world am not rich. And in none of these cases it’s my fault. In none of these cases I have to do something with it. I was born in the Netherlands and that is great luck, and a total coincidence.

We have to improve the living conditions for a lot of people in this world, and there has to come equality, but that aim doesn’t have to come along with a feeling of guilt.  For some people it probably should, but for most of us not. We should help our fellow humans as much as we can, but it is by no means our duty to make our life goal out of that. We’re simply living our lives. Just like people in Africa also simply live their lives. And I have strong belief that they’ll be fine. They’ll get there. Developing work should focus on something completely different, namely on the opposite site: it should prevent that the West holds back developing countries developing.

The collective feeling of guilt towards the poor, ‘third world’ countries that exists in the West is also called the White Savior Complex or Messiah Complex. It basically means that we’re all left with a post-colonial feeling of guilt towards people in developing countries.

Yet I also have a different theory: it’s not about feeling guilty, but about a boost of our ego and most of all about retaining our powerful position. We claim the opposite, but with all that we do we only confirm it – it is an apparent contradiction, a paradox. With volunteering and developing work we claim that we want to help and make a difference, but in fact we’re retaining our strong position through it: the rich, the white man, the leader, the one that matters opposite the poor, the black man, the follower, the inferior. I wonder if volunteers would be happy if there was eventually done so much volunteering work that it wouldn’t be necessary anymore and we would have reached a point of wellfare all over the world. For we would have lost our autocrat position then.

I feel sick when I think of this.”

Life

It’s easy to lose yourself – in your own world, in the hectic world around you, in the past, in thoughts. “Remember to write,” I told in a note to myself a few days ago, “Write, draw, paint.” “Listen to music,” I would like to add now, and “hear the silence”, as well. I always have short periods of creativeness followed by a sort of nothingness, but now I’m succeeding in this pretty well and to my delight for a few days already. As a result thoughts, ideas and creativeness start flowing. I know I lose myself when I don’t do these things.

So this is what my days are looking like in pictures:

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I painted the bird a few days ago, after one I saw in Kenya. The cosmic painting is a fast one from last night: “Still believe in magic? Yes, I do. Of course, I do.” (Coldplay) The photo on the left reminds me of that magic. Enoch and Joseph are the wonderful boys on the picture on the right.

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Four days ago I started reading “Eat, pray, love” by Elizabeth Gilbert, and I feel like I’m in Italy since. Together with the beautiful sunny and warm weather it makes that I feel passionate again, not in the last place about searching for new recipes and making delicious, healthy summer food.

P1100026 This is a bad picture of today’s gypsy outfit of mine. Walking around barefoot in house and garden. Feeling content and free.

Try to inspire yourselves!

xx