A case of laziness

(The title is a pun, but you have to read the post to understand.)

You may still remember that I bought a Thing (better known as a “smart phone“). The Thing and I needed some time to get used to each other, but I think we are finally getting along well enough. However, I’m not always the most caring person when it comes to valuable objects. I do try to keep them alive and well, but sometimes, I get a little careless… Sloppy… Slovenly… Or whatever adjective fits best.

So I decided to buy a phone case in order to keep the Thing’s screen pretty and scarless.

When you want to buy that in a shop, it costs so, so much. When you go searching on ebay though, it costs close to nothing. How is that possible? I have no idea. Either way, I bought myself a very cheap case, no shipping costs, perfect.

And then, it didn’t show up. I waited patiently for about two weeks, then I let my brother (who owns the account) send a mail to ask where my case was. In the meantime I had already decided to stay in Belgium, so if I would have left for Russia, it wouldn’t even have arrived in time.
We got a quick response about how something went wrong and they gave me a refund.

Fair enough. I needed to find another one to order, but because of a suddenly busy life, and a bit laziness, I never came to do it. Procrastination is the word, I think.

And then, after four or five weeks, my mother called. “Something arrived here, it looks a bit like a wallet, I think it’s that thing you ordered.”

What?

It just arrived. There was no great problem after all. Okay then!

My brother mailed again, but I don’t know if they got the point, because instead of accepting our money again, they said something about the refund and ‘check your account’. Oh well, we did pay it again, so hopefully they’ll just keep the money. So now I’m the owner of such a fancy wallet phone case, which protects my screen and makes me look just that little bit cooler (and up to date).

You see, sometimes laziness does pay off! I’m going to use this every time I need to defend that theory.

(And you see, Belgium is a country of great adventures…)

A sense of belonging

When I decided to stay in Belgium, I had to start my courses here a week later than everyone else. I missed out on almost all the first classes. That’s certainly not a big problem, and I have good classmates who tell me what I need to know about those first classes, but it does mean that I started my academic year a week later, and maybe that is why I have been so busy. Part of it, at least. It seems that I have been running from point A to B, from classes to food and back, and then to homework and then to bed and then to point A again. I have been running around, it seems. Just running around.

I thought this would be terrible, staying. I thought it would be hell. When I decided to stay in Belgium, I already knew I was choosing the ‘lesser bad’ option. Staying was not what I wanted, but being late more than a month in Russia wasn’t what I wanted either. And it seemed to go well. I have adapted to my new situation. There are small little bright sides here too: I have a good new room, I have good classmates and housemates. Things aren’t as dramatic as I imagined them to be.

But yesterday, I was listening to a certain song, and suddenly I started to miss all the others, all those who are now abroad. I miss them. I want them closer to me, I want to talk to them and go to dinner with them and have a drink with them. But they are all abroad and I am here because of no other reason than someone not doing his job well. I have lost. And I’m one of the few who actually had everything to go studying abroad. Not one retake for an exam. Good grades. No difficulties whatsoever.

And yet, here I am.

Together with missing my friends, I started to think I don’t belong here. I’m taking someone else’s space. This shouldn’t be my room and these people shouldn’t be talking to me and I shouldn’t be walking around here. It’s not like I don’t feel at home, because I do, but I have the idea that I’m out-of-place. I’m very used to this life here again already, and I think I’m doing well, and things look okay and everything. But I shouldn’t be here. I should be elsewhere.

It’s a strange thing, and I know I just have to suck it up, man up and so on, but this injustice and missing sometimes hits quite hard. I’ll get out of it again – but for now, I will try to find a way to deal with it.

Golden Oldie

A few weeks ago, I told my father that for some strange reason, I wanted to watch Troy again. I have no idea how I came up with it, but I just suddenly wanted to see it once more. Two or three weeks later, Troy was broadcasted on tv.

Speaking of coincidence! Maybe someone has taken pity on me for not going to Russia, and maybe he is trying to cheer me up by doing these little things that light up my day. I like it.

It’s not like I haven’t seen Troy before, I have seen it multiple times, but at an age when I couldn’t really enjoy it to the fullest, I believe. Of course I know the story and everything, but there’s more to movies than just the plot line. I wanted to see the images and hear the music and just watch a movie of which I know I will like it. So yesterday we watched it again, and we all enjoyed it here. There are so many stunning one liners, great comebacks and brilliant scenes. For example this quote:

“I’ll tell you a secret. Something they don’t teach you in your temple. The Gods envy us. They envy us because we’re mortal, because any moment might be our last. Everything is more beautiful because we’re doomed. You will never be lovelier than you are now. We will never be here again.”

Achilles says this to the Trojan girl he kind of stole and who becomes his lover. She was a servant in a temple.

Achilles is one of those characters who make this movie so great. He is so stubborn and doesn’t want anyone controlling him. He seems so good, but then kills Hector and treats him so badly, and you want to like him still. Then there is also his king, Agamemnon, such an asshole. Oooh, you just hate him for being greedy and brutal. But he’s got some of the best lines from the movie, and the way he says them makes them close to epic. (Then every son of Troy… shall die.)

In the end, they basically all die. Well, almost all of them. This is not exactly how the myth goes, but hey, at least the good guys don’t all survive. Greek mythology isn’t the one inventing the happy end after all!

There are many more examples and an IMDB page full of quotes, which I won’t share here – though I would like to. Let me just tell you that nothing compares to a proper Greek myth. There is barely anything you can’t find in these stories. They are so full of reall humans, real feelings, real reactions. Greek mythology, I think, can teach us way more about human nature than the Bible. I love those stories, and I like this movie a whole lot.

 

Which Golden Oldie do you want to see or read again?

Where I am now

In Belgium, clearly. It’s the seventh day after my last post, simply because I have been busy starting over my life here. Exactly one week ago we managed to find a room for me in the city where I study – of course, I had found someone else to stay in my first room, thinking I’d be gone for a year. Since that day I had to put an order to my Belgian life again, choose my courses, move my stuff to the new room and trying to get used to it all – which happens quickly.

Luckily, it is not as bad as I thought it would be here. My new room is nice, I like living here, and the housemates are very friendly. The courses are okay, we’re mostly with four people in class, so that is not much at all, but less desperate than I expected. It’s also interesting to note that our professors have made it a big issue, all the troubles with going to Russia. I’m far from the only one who had such troubles (though I’m the only one to stay), but they’ve noticed and now I’m even asked to talk about it with someone. They want to hear my story to see what went wrong, in order to make things better.

It’s a little too late for me now, but okay. I will do a second attempt next year. If the university there will still take me, that is… They have done all this effort, and now I have to inform them that I won’t be coming anyway. I’m still struggling with telling them this. Fingers crossed they won’t be mad!

So, that’s the little catchup with my life. I plan to write more interesting posts again soon, but for now you at least now where I am, and how I’m doing. Take care and see you soon!

A not happy end

Unless a miracle occurs, I will not go to Russia this semester.

I’m still waiting for my invitation, I’m still waiting for news about a host family and some other things. Meanwhile, the academic year in Belgium has started as well. This is the first week. One more week before the deadline of ‘pick your courses’. If I don’t want to be running late everywhere, I will have to decide now what I will do.

But actually, the decision has been made. I will be staying in Belgium. If I go to Russia, I want to be there as long as possible, I want to do as much as possible there, I want to blend in. If I would still go, I would be late more than a month. That’s a lot. It’s a pity to not be there as long as possible, too. Today is the last day. If I still get a phone call – ‘your invitation has arrived’ – today, I will go. But that’s not very likely to happen.

I will stay even though I want to go to Russia so badly, even though I don’t want to stay at all, even though I have done all this effort to go. My holiday didn’t mean anything, because I was waiting. I have thrown away three months for something that will not happen. I have had so much stress for something that will not happen.

It still feels like a punishment, but I guess I’ve paid my debts by now. I feel like a zombie.

Will you find your other half?

According to Plato, people are always one half of a unity. Once we were cut in half, and from that point on we are searching for our other half. Isn’t that romantic? It means there is someone who can make you complete, someone who is perfect for you.

I think many Hollywood movies are based upon this idea. The idea of “true love”, the One and Only. There is this one person you should find to find perfect happiness. This one person who will make it all worth it. The One.

I don’t know if I ever believed that theory. When I was younger, I developped a pragmatic view on love. Romantic stuff didn’t appeal to me. Pink hearts? Fluffy teddybears holding the letters I LOVE YOU? No, thanks. Watching the sunset together, long strolls on the beach. All of this never seemed to attract me. Maybe I was just trying to be ‘tough’. It is very well possible that I just didn’t want to be the girly-girl, but more the rational girl. Add to this that it hurts less when you don’t go all romance and head over heels.

Maybe it’s just my nature, who I am. For a part, I’m convinced that I am way too rational to believe in an ‘other half’. Since I’ve been thinking quite a lot about ‘love’ and finding a good guy recently, I inevitably got stuck on the question: is there a One and Only? As I see it, love is merely the product of circumstances. I don’t think there is one perfect partner for you, no matter what happens. Wouldn’t it be too good that almost everyone end up finding the One? Would there really be a plan to make you meet your other half? I have a hard time believing that such a thing is true.

And yet, you never know.
Do you think there is this one perfect person for you? Is true love real, or just a fairy tale we like to believe?

Scrubbin’, waxin’, workin’ it

Is beauty in the eye of the beholder or is it in the bottles in your bathroom closet?

Let me tell you a secret: there is much more to beauty than makeup. Manipulation starts way before that and can be very subtle. I never took part in the madness, unti I recently discovered that actually, I do…

You see, on thing that makes you really pretty, is a flawless skin. That is something you can barely fake with foundation and concealer. The best way to have a flawless skin, is to just have it. How? Well, you should ask someone else for good information, because I don’t have a flawless skin. I do use a peeling with dead sea minerals from Obey Your Body, and that stuff is good. It takes of the dead skin without it feeling like you are rubbing sand on your face. The skin on my nose had the tendency to look aggressive, but that really improved with this peeling.

I use a body scrub as well, though I don’t really see the effect of that one. Your skin feels a little softer, but it doesn’t seem to have a spectacular effect. You never know though, I believe it’s a healthy thing to do still.

A flawless skin also means without hair, if you think of legs. And so the adventure with pink wax starts… It hurts a little, doesn’t rip out everything, but in the end the effect seems to last quite a while. Thank god. There seems to be a new ‘movement’ of women not shaving their legs. Though I think it’s very freeing, I can’t bring myself to doing it. Having soft legs is something I do for myself too.

via 9gag

via 9gag

There are also even more subtle beauty tricks than these. I started polishing my finger nails – not with nail polish. Together with the Obey Your Body peeling we got a sort of cube. You have to rub three sides of it on your finger nail, however that may seem, and then your finger nails will shine. Very subtle, but it does look good. No shiny nail polish needed. It makes your finger nails look very clean.

And then there is the hair mask from Lush. It promises to ‘light up’ your hair, if you have blonde hair. I’ve always been blonde, but it gets darker every year, and I don’t like this evolution. So I am trying to light up my hair. It does seem to have a paler, lighter shine, so I believe it works. Of course it doesn’t turn you into a bleached blonde, but okay, the product never said it would do such magic tricks.

So you see, I’m guilty of manipulation you wouldn’t even notice when you see me. Of course I can’t live without makeup either, without mascara I don’t have eyes and I like some soft glitter as well, but that is manipulation you can trace. I don’t think all the products mentioned above are makeup, but they have a good effect and make you shine more. Shining is nice.
It does take some time,but not as much as it may sound, luckily. Shining isn’t as far away as it may seem!

So, is beauty in the eye of the beholder, or in the peeling/scrub/nail polisher/… in your bathroom closet?
Probably in both…

The risk of getting shot

I tend to manipulate my memories when I’m angry. A while ago I changed the end of a memory involving Trust break guy. Instead of watching him go, I would go up to him, spread my arms and say: “Well then, pull the trigger.”

Due to some coincidence I recently watched a TED talk on the “power of vulnerability”. I felt like this was an issue close to my heart by now and decided to give it a go. While Brené Brown was doing her talk, I started to recognise some things, and it wasn’t really pleasant. As the title already gives away, she sees vulnerability as necessary. In short her point is that we need to learn to love with all our heart even though there are no guarantees. She also said that it is important to think we’re enough.

Well, hello there, mirror on the wall!

Some of these things sounded too familiar, and I’m not talking of the ‘vulnerability is necessary’ part. I’ve always been protective towards myself. I never wanted to be vulnerable. In my eyes, vulnerable means weak. Not so much for other people perhaps, but for myself very much so. I tell myself that I shouldn’t let anyone hurt me. And by saying that, I numb my feelings, as Brené Brown states. Not only the vulnerability, she adds, but also joy.

That might be true for a part. You probably can’t have just the bright side of things. Though I must say I can still feel joy and everything, even while being overly protective towards myself. Overly?

Maybe not so overly.

You see, how Brené Brown says it, you should be able to stand in front of someone and wait to see if they will pull out their gun. It’s vulnerable, but you will be rewarded, because this means you’re alive. Every time I try this though, it feels more like I’m standing in front of someone, give them a gun and point at my heart.

Here. Aim at this.

I haven’t really experienced a happy end so far, and this brings me to the topic of ‘feeling enough’. Brené says it’s a condition to be able to connect to people. You should think you are enough. You should feel worthy of love. I must admit that I fail at this. After all the disappointments you can’t help but wonder if you are maybe just nog good enough. Not pretty enough, not smart enough, just no enough to treat well. Maybe you are not worth it. Maybe they were right to leave you behind and ignore you.

Of course there is also another side, saying that you are worth more. Blocking out the bad side is a hard thing to do though, and this way I end up not feeling enough. I don’t know if I am enough and therefore I don’t know if I can connect to people. Something keeps me from getting attached to them and expecting something from them. It’s safer.

No one can look into the future (as far as I know at least), so no one can tell me if I should take the risk of getting attached to someone again. Getting attached is after all giving that gun to someone. Giving them the chance to hurt you.

So I ask myself: am I willing to take the risk of getting hurt over and over again while hoping that it will lead to ‘The One’ some day?

And the loudest voice then answers: no. I don’t want to let it happen. I’m not even sure if it will weigh up to the promise of ‘The One’ (I don’t believe in that idea anyway). So for now I will not accept getting attached and hoping. It’s the safest bet still.

Okay, that’s all the drama for today. What do you think of vulnerability? Is it necessary? Have you felt the need to keep people at a distance?

Hunted down!

Great news: The Indecisive Eejit has hunted the music down! Wonderful, wonderful. I would like to thank everyone who has commented and tried to help me. I knew that asking help here would lead to something, like it has done before already. I can now present you the one and only piece of music used for the Simple Things pas de deux:

Silouans song!

 

You see, the harder it gets to find something, the more you want to find it. And now Juls has helped me out, I can listen to this music without the coughing and background sounds. I like this piece of music a lot. If you know some of Arvo Part’s music, you can immediately recognise it as his work. I’ve never known any other composer who works with silence like him. He builds in these quiet moments, where you almost want to hold your breath. And strings, how I love strings. It’s such beautiful music and I hope you will enjoy it as much as I do, especially now it’s got a name!

Thank you so much, Juls :)

Treasure Hunting # 8 : The Hunt is On

It’s been a long time since I took out my gun to go on a hunt. The hunt for music, that is. I think I kind of forgot this more or less series. But I need your help. Recently I stumbled upon a video of a danced duet including my favourite ballerina (Ekaterina Kondaurova, if you’d like to know). I immediately recognised the music as being Arvo Part’s work, but I couldn’t figure out what it was exactly. Even after using my high tech systems (Shazam, Google music recognise thing) I couldn’t find it. I’ve searched on YouTube for a while, but this piece of music seems to be hidden away.

So now I would like to ask your help. Do you recognise this? Do you know a way to find out what it is? Pretty please?

I think I have found the choreographer on Facebook, but I find it a bit weird to send him a message asking what that particular piece is. He’s Russian though, so it would be good to send him something in Russian. Still I’d first like to try it this way. The last time I asked your help, it worked, so I have good hope that this time you will hunt the treasure for me.

The music I am searching for starts at 2:03 and ends at 7:24. Meanwhile you can watch the interesting pas de deux. It’s a good pas de deux if you ask me – especially with such music!

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