You wouldn’t want to swap this summer with me…

I was talking to a friend and suddenly, I don’t know how we got to the topic, she said she’d rather have had my summer than hers. Fast forward: 45 min later I’m still thinking about that. It kind of hit me, in a way this can still hit me.
You know what I’ve been through this summer. Now, her summer wasn’t fun either. She had to retake five heavy exams, so she basically had one week of holiday before the new academic year started again. That sucks a whole lot.

But swapping with me? I don’t think she knows how hard it was. I mean, of course, it’s something kind of unusual, and I don’t think you can really understand it unless you’ve been through it yourself. It’s a first world problem for sure, but having your big dream being shattered in front of your eyes while standing there powerless affects so much more than many people think.

First of all, I’ve been working an entire year for it. I sometimes locked myself inside, I had a minimum social life, just to make sure I’d get good grades and no retakes so I could go to Russia. There were problems from the very beginning with the exchange program, so we’ve been living an insecure life for a few months. Waiting, waiting and never knowing when we would finally know more.
I had no plans during the summer, because I didn’t know when I could go for visa and when I could leave. I didn’t go on a holiday. She did, during the week holiday she had. But I was at home, three long months I spent at home. Every single day.

During July I worked every weekday. That was sometimes hard, but it was okay, and I still thought that things would turn out fine. But in August, the stream of bad news sucked me in and wouldn’t let me out until the end of that month. I couldn’t do anything. I could barely meet up with anyone, because I tried to save my trip to Russia, there could be something happening every moment, I was mentally stand-by all the time. Sleeping got more difficult. And bad news, one after the other. Never a positive note.
I was powerless. I did what I could, but in the end that was not much. When you have to rely upon other people, you can only try to push them to do it faster. But everything went so slow, so slow… And I did my best, I did my best, I tried so hard, but it was in vain. I had no control.

During September, everyone seemed to be busy. Busy going on holidays, busy retaking exams. Trying to meet up with someone was hard, and I didn’t know what to talk about anymore. I could only think about Russia, about what I still had to do, about what went wrong. It controlled my mind, and I felt so bad about it that I wasn’t so keen on talking to people anymore. I could only give them bad news, and I couldn’t take hearing too much happy news from their side. Of course I was happy for everyone having a good time, but I couldn’t handle it too often.

It affected way more, it wasn’t just a lonely, frustrating summer. I was genuinely scared of staying in Belgium. I knew I would be left behind while everyone would be abroad having a good time. Staying here meant staying in these old patterns, staying in this old shit. The old shit I wanted to get away from so desperately. It got so bad that I couldn’t look in the mirror without thinking about how ugly I was. I was convinced that I would be alone forever. That everything could only get worse and worse. That no boy or man would ever get to like me.
I knew that this too was an effect of all the bad things happening. I knew that I wouldn’t have stared into the mirror thinking ‘my forehead is so huge!’ if I would have known everything was alright and I could leave in time. It took over my life and sucked out what was still good, it seemed. Try staying positive when you didn’t have any positive news in months. Try staying positive when your big dream gets taken away, piece by piece, with you standing next to it, unable to do anything about it. Try to stay positive when you know that what will come is three months of isolation and loneliness. I was the only one who ended up staying here. Everyone else left, even though I was the first one to point out that something wasn’t right, even though I was the one who immediately jumped on it to fix things. But everyone left. And I didn’t.

As you may remember, it felt like a punishment, in a way. I felt like I must have done something wrong in order to deserve this series of bad luck. Maybe someone was playing a sick joke on me. Maybe someone was testing me, to see how much bad news I could take before snapping. Maybe I deserved this all, but in that case, what did I do wrong?

When we singed the contract for my room in the city of my university, I cried. It made everything definitive. All the effort, all the work, everything I had done in order to save it, it was finally definitely clear that it was all in vain. I’ve wasted a summer, an entire summer for nothing at all.

This sounds very dramatic, but at that point, this was really how it felt. It felt this heavy. Even at this point I get tears in my eyes upon writing this down. It still hurts.

In the end she had one more course she now retakes, and my semester wasn’t as lonely and desperate as I expected, luckily.

But swapping the summer with me, I don’t think she really wants that. I wish this upon no one. The best proof of that is the fact that I’m sitting here trying not to cry. Even after all these months…

Not to say I would have loved her summer, because that one sucked so hard too. And I’m not mad at her for saying this or something. She really doesn’t know the extent of this plan failing. Just to point out that this was and still is something that cuts deep.

For good results, add violin

We have this saying here that there’s a fair going on in hell, when it’s raining and the sun in shining at the same time. Isn’t that a wonderful saying? A little while ago it was hailing over here, and yet the sun was shining. A strange sight. And then it started raining too…

But hey, no worries, I’m safe inside.

This intro has absolutely nothing to do with the point I want to make here, but it was too good not to mention. So now to the actual post, that has something to do with the title. You may know that I like violins and strings in general a whole lot. And though I like to say that I’ve got a slightly alternative music style, I have to confess that every once in a while I still have to give in to something popular.

Oh man. I hope you still like me when I confess that I kind of like Katy Perry’s song E.T. …

But the truth is, the song has an awesome rhythm to dance to! It’s so catchy! It’s not the best song ever and not highly poetic, but it makes me want to dance. On a sidenote, even Iron Maiden sometimes makes me want to dance. So okay, I kinda like that song, but there’s always room for improvement, and that’ where we throw in the violins…

There’s this Aston band, which covers well-known songs in a more classical way – with strings, a piano, a guitar and so on. They turn the song into something very good and it still makes me want to dance. A great bonus is that you can listen to this song without people disliking you for listening to Katy Perry. Yay!

 

Please note that I don’t care that much about what people think of my taste in music. I will never immediately say that I like ET by Katy Perry, but hey, I listen to whatever I want still :)

Growing soft

By now everyone reading my blog probably figured out that I care a whole lot about my looks. I can find such happiness in shoes or bags or sweaters even, I never leave the house without mascara, or without earrings. That’s so typically me. It’s inherent. I want people to see the best part of me, the prettiest part. You just never know who’ll you run into after all.

Via 9gag.

Via 9gag.

But.

There’s a but.

When I share a house with you, you will get to see a different side of me. The side that doesn’t always wear earrings or mascara, the side that wears pyjamas. Shock! Horror! You see, sometimes I’m equally lazy and vain. When I get up in the morning and I need something from the fridge, well, I’ll just check to see if my face looks okay, but I’m not going to change my clothes. First things first. It’s as simple as that.
But it’s not just during the morning, when I’m too apathetic to care. When I know I will be home the entire day and I just have to study, I always put on something comfortable. After all I’m a dancer and I have troubles sitting in a normal way without moving, walking around, occasionally stretching and so on. You get the picture. I need my possibility to move in any direction, so I need clothes who can handle that urge for freedom.

And now my mother, who has the ability to buy the most amazing things for me, bought me pyjamas. But not just pyjamas. A most comfortable, cute pair of trousers, a T-shirt with a drawing of a cat, soft white things that are a cross between socks and slippers, and a fleece vest – fleece inside and out. It’s the softest thing ever, I swear. So I’ve kind of come to the point where I don’t want to change clothes anymore. I could live in that vest and be happy. Satisfaction is fleece. It’s like wearing a teddy bear.

So yeah, everyone sharing the house with me, ten other people who were strangers up until the point I moved in, gets to see me wearing pyjamas and a fleece vest. I might not look sexy, I might not look dazzling, but dammit, there is no reason to wear anything else when I’m at home. I will do the effort of picking a fitting T-shirt to go with it, but that’s the end. You will never ever see me wearing such things once I left home, but once there – it’s all comfy and soft.

What do you like to wear at home? Do you like fleece vests?

Time will kill us

Time will kill us,
Leave our skulls battered,
Shattered all over this floor.
It crushes my ribcage
When I walk, when I talk,
Eats at my fingers, it lingers,
Threatens to kill me
Each time I go to sleep.
Time will tell
When to part, when to leave,
When to bury me underneath
Sweet moments, silver seconds
That faded – so do we.
I think I dug our grave. A tomb
That is sealed and silenced,
In some place only we know.

You poison me – I let you.
I’m losing nonetheless.
But there I go, sleeping
By his side – quite fearless.
There will be time tonight.
And we’ll pull back our bones,
Our skin, what’s left
To fight. But in the end I’ll still beg
For this sweet, sweet cyanide.

Oh the drama, don’t you love it. It’s been a long time since I wrote something creative, but time has become my biggest enemy and from time to time I need to make a lot of drama. That’s how I function. To give you an idea about my reason of writing, it’s not about death or dying, but more about parting… Though you may of course read it the way you want. There is a small chance I’ll be working on this some more, but you’ll notice then.

Enjoy your weekend, everyone!

Ten Things Thankful’s Debut on NBI

I was planning on writing a post on the small things that make me happy – to make up for all the whining here – when I read the Ten Things of Thankful Post by Lizzi, and I decided it would be a good moment to participate at last. There are still many good things in my life, but of course all the bad sides make me write and whine a little. To give you a better view on what my life is currently, and to not scare you away with negativity, I’ll give you a list with ten things that light up my day.

1. The pleasure I still get from using my new bag (well, the one I bought in July – is that still new? It feels like it) and from wearing my heeled boots. Call it superficial, but they still make me feel good, fabulous and elegant. I love those things.

2. Or the pleasure I get from wearing my new winter vest, it’s the lightest shade of dark green, in combination with my green earrings, well, that can make me feel good. For real!

3. The beautiful autumn weather. It’s getting colder, but that’s okay, because it means I can wear my winter shoes! And the sun shines, there are still coloured leaves, it all looks so pretty and postcard proof. I want to go for a walk.

4. Having discovered Warpaint, I listen to them so often now. And in their songs I can appreciate the little moments, like from 3:10 on in this song – that guitar/bas, whatever it is, it sounds so good. Well, the song is just lovely in my opinion, but that say 1 min piece is extraordinary.

5. My brother’s girlfriend is here at last (she’s not from Belgium) and she turns out be the prettiest, sweetest girl. Which is nice because a) my brother deserves a good girl and b) if she becomes my sister-in-law, I can be sure that all will be well.

6. Going for a drink always makes me happy, especially when I do it with someone you can have a good conversation with. Thursday night a friend and I went to some book presentation, where three of our current professors were, so bonus points!, and then we went to a cafe. She’s the kind of person you can talk with for hours and hours and you know you can trust her. I find that a real pleasure.

7. I’m starting to notice that I really want to learn to cook better, which is nice because I think everyone should be able to cook a little. Of course I can do some things, but with two classes having finished, I now have the time to actually make some decent food. With vegetables. I’m more and more thinking of a healthy life style and I like that about myself.

8. But no fear: my brother’s girlfriend brought very delicious deserts. My god, too good!

9. I ordered a book for a very big paper I have to write, and there are photos in it, and it’s about ballet, so I was happy to see all the pictures! Besides, that book will save my paper. Huzzah! (Probably more to come about that paper…)

10. I’m keeping a kind of secret, but it’s a good secret and it makes me happy, it makes me happy. I’m probably posting about it sooner or later, but for now let’s call it a silver lining.

So my life definitely isn’t all tears and sadness, despite the fact that sometimes, not being in Russia still cuts in. There are always bad sides to everything, but as you see, there are also still quite some good sides. Whether those good sides are sweet or heeled, they are still present and can light up my day!

What are you thankful for? What small things can make you happy?

To Dance Or Not To Be

One of the first things most people get to know about me, is that I am a dancer. It’s one of those most present, obvious things about me, apparently. NBI the dancer.

But I’m not taking dance classes anymore. I didn’t enroll myself, because of a few reasons. The first one, obviously, is that I believed I would be in Russia now. When I decided to stay, I only had one more week to enroll myself. But I also suddenly had to start my life in Belgium over again. The second reason is that I didn’t want to pay for a whole year while I could only attend classes for three months. And last but not least, they would be preparing a show, which I couldn’t take part in, because I will be abroad then.

Long story short, I’m currently not taking dance classes.

But how I miss it, how I miss it… Mentally, physically, I think I underestimated this. I don’t mind not getting up at 8 every Saturday morning, but that’s about the only bright side so far. I just really want to dance, I always feel the need to dance, but now I lack the space to properly do exercises. Every Saturday, every, every Saturday evening, I do dance in my room at home. It’s something. There is not enough space to do all the fun stuff though. No real jumping, no going from one side to the other while turning, no such things are possible.

There is also no good teacher who makes up new exercises, who corrects me, who makes good choreographies. What I do every Saturday evening is mainly to do something physical, to stay in shape a little, to not lose my technique and flexibility. Also, I do it to move. I still feel good when doing ballet exercises, even when space is limited.

I’ve come to realize that dancing makes me deal with things as well. It’s a form of meditation. You think of the music, the steps, all that, but you don’t really get the chance to think of the assignment you still have to do, that one thing you said to that person, what you still have to buy for dinner. And sometimes, when you’re really struggling with some issue, it helps to dance it out a little. Therapy in the dance studio. Yes, I know I’m getting cheesy.

I don’t just miss it mentally though. I’ve never had back aches so often, and I think I now where they come from : I move too little. The best cure for back aches so far for me, is to use my back, bend it, dance. It helps. Backs should be used often, and when you sit for too long, it will protest.

So you see, I’m made to dance. I’m not made to dance professionally, but my body screams for moving when I hear music. I still can’t go from point A to B without throwing in some arm movements or kicking legs. That’s what I’m made from still, that’s what I’m made for still. So I can’t wait to take dance classes again, to be in a dance studio again and to move, and to sweat, to feel elegant again.

I don’t want it. I just need it.

(To breathe, to feel, to know I’m alive – bonuspoint for anyone getting that Tool reference.)

Of course, no post on dance without a good video. This dance duet is so powerful, so beautiful, so heart crushing and impressive (all those lifts!). Warning: may beat you up mentally. But trust me, it’s worth it.

 

Is there something you cannot live without? What defines you for most people? Do you love dance? I promise not to hate on you if you don’t, however hard that will be ;)

Aiming higher

Sometimes, miracles do happen. Sometimes things accidentally go the way you wanted. It doesn’t happen often at all, but exceptions exist! A few weeks ago, I found the exact right shoes. I had a specific sort in mind, and I found shoes so close to them that I could barely believe it. Thankfully, my cool mother told me to just buy them, because she knew I really wanted them. That made me so happy, so very happy that I knew I would regret not buying them.

So, I bought them. And I’m still in love with them – because I can really love objects such as shoes and bags. This means I will use them as much as possible, so no fear, I don’t just put them somewhere to look at them.

The thing with these shoes is that they have heels.

Laarsjes met imitatiebont van s.Oliver

Here they are! It’s fake fur. S. Oliver. Via this site

I’m a quite tall girl, 12 cm taller than the average Belgian woman according to this site. In my hometown, I don’t feel extraordinary tall, but in my university town, I often feel as if I can overlook everything. I don’t want this to keep me from wearing heels though, so I just continue lengthening myself. You see, there is something about heels that just appeals to me. They make me feel elegant. They make me feel strong. Even a bit intimidating sometimes, because after all they make me even taller than the average Belgian man. There is nothing wrong with having some effect, right?

A lot of women know how the attraction of heels feels like. Though they’re often not the most comfortable shoes, you still want to wear them for the good feeling they give you. And hey, I’m a dancer, I stand on top of my toes for fun – wearing heels isn’t even that strange for us. It’s even more than that. We have this teacher, a young woman, who nearly always wears heels and walks around in them like it’s a piece of cake. I admire that. For real. I’m not sure why, I mean, it’s okay to wear whatever shoes you want, but I always admire those who wear heels as if they are the comfiest shoes ever. Maybe because I believe that you shouldn’t only care about what is comfortable. Of course, comfortable shoes and clothes are nice, but that should never rule out the look they have. I hate it when people give up on elegance and just go for the ‘oh they are so comfy’.

But where do heels come from? Who came up with the idea of lifting the heel? According to the Wikipedia site on this matter, the first ones to wear heels were Persian horse riders, who used shoes with heels to not slip of the stirrups. Since then something happened and then everyone started wearing heels – men included. Apparently, European royalty started wearing them in the 16th century to look taller or larger-than-life. Wikipedia adds that nowadays, women probably wear heels as a sexual prop.

I’m not sure about that though. I’m more likely to scare away the guys because of my length when wearing heels.

Wikipedia also gives a nice list of pro’s and cons – in which the cons are all about the damage they do, and the pro’s circle around the aesthetics. One of the pro’s is that they make your arch more defined, and as a dancer, I do admire a good arch as well. The other thing about heels my inner dancer adores, is the fact that your line isn’t broken. When your foot is flat, the line of your body suddenly gets broken by your foot with a 90° angle. But when you lift your heel, your line doesn’t get broken, it goes on with some deviation. Much more elegant, my inner dancer says.

We all know that wearing heels every day is not healthy and will hurt, but it has to be said that they give you this feeling of elegance and strength and that is worth something as well. I don’t feel the need to be taller, but I can imagine that being interesting for some girls as well. As longs as you don’t aim too high, it can even be more comfortable than a really flat shoe, like ballerina’s. Though Wikipedia has this last piece of wisdom for you:

“Extremely high-heeled shoes, such as those higher than 5 inches (13 cm), are normally worn only for aesthetic reasons and are not considered practical.”

Who could have guessed.

So, what do you think of high heels? Do you like wearing them? Do you like seeing them? Or are you against the high aim?

And then, everything disappeared

The hour, gone. A red cross where there used to be sign of connection. But connection was no more. There was silence.

Well, actually there was a noise. An alarm that started freaking out because electricity had disappeared. Let me ask you something: what’s the best way to discover who is currently at the student house? Answer: look who shows up when electricity is gone. There were five people here, but we couldn’t figure out how to solve the problem. Every solution that had worked before, failed to work now.

Let me ask you something else: what do you do when you don’t have electricity?

Answer: well… nothing. Because everything needs that. There is no Internet connection, you can’t charge the battery of your computer, phone or anything. You can’t put the heating on. The fridge doesn’t work anymore. You can’t cook, you can’t heat up anything, you can’t even boil water, unless you make a giant fire with some wood and a match.
Currently I have to use the Internet for almost all of my assignments, and if I don’t need it, I still need it for music. It’s getting dark earlier, so you want light. You want food. You want warmth. You want all these things that are no longer available when there is no electricity. It’s very confronting, how little there is left when you end up without it.

And you know, since we are having energy problems (don’t ask me to explain, because I’m no longer following the situation), they might have to turn off electricity for certain places in Belgium for a few hours every now and then. They’re scaring all of us with it, giving us tips like ‘don’t leave the light on in a room if no one’s there’. Oh well, good of you to remind me, I couldn’t have figured that out myself. How about the lights that always stay on in shops at night? How about that? Shouldn’t they shut it down?

So there is this threat of not having electricity for a few hours every now and then during the winter. (That’s when you need warmth.) Having experienced life without it today, I must say that it seems to be very, very boring and cold. Truth be told, we had this problem today at noon, so it was still light and warm, and I had to go to class, and when I returned, it was solved.

Still! Life without electricity is not something we can survive, I think. It’s become so necessary and so present that we sometimes forget that almost everything needs it. Every time this happens, I’m surprised at how powerless we are without.

But hey, candles do create a nice atmosphere, so I’m not freaking out.

Taking the award, ignoring the rules

It doesn’t happen everyday, getting an award. I remember that when I first started blogging, I so enjoyed those. They showed you you were doing a good job. These days I’m less focused on more readers, more views and more awards, but I still like to be awarded, of course.
Now I’m not the best one at taking them. Something I just thank you and don’t post about it – it’s nothing personal, I just kind of forget about it, and I believe I’ve awarded almost all of my blog friends six times already at least – so the need to pass on the awards is not so big anymore. Still, I appreciate each and every compliment you give me, because I’m an attention whore, truth be told.

When I have run out of inspiration and I see someone is giving me interesting questions to answer though, I can give in to the award-craziness, which will happen now. I would like to thank Osyth once more for nominating me this time! If you are interested in more Russia, certainly check out her blog. It’s what got me into hers, and it’s definitely worth a read.

Of course, I’m still a rebel, so I’m not playing this by the rules. I nominate every reader of mine, but no one specifically. You know I like you! I’m not making up any questions either. I know, I know, how dare I?
But what I will do, is answer Osyth’s very interesting ones. So here we go!

  1. Why should people read what you write?
    Because I like to have feedback and response actually. And because sometimes I write interesting stuff – but above all because I tend to write better if I know people are reading.
  2. Fruit or cake?
    A cake with fruit? I like both… (Does this remind anyone else of Cake or death?)
  3. What is success?
    Success is getting what you want, whether it’s a grade or buying a house. It’s being happy – after all, that’s what we all strive for in the end.
  4. Advice to your 14 year old self
    Other people don’t always care about what you do, so do what you want. Don’t be afraid to be a little different, to have your own opinion, your own taste in things. In the end it will only make you feel better if you embrace these odd things about yourself.
  5. Favourite place on earth
    There are many places I can feel good – but I do want to return to Prague very, very much, because I remember it as a very nice place. Though I can also thoroughly enjoy a good bar for example, or a bed.
  6. Pictures or words?
    I’m better at words, and words for me can often do a little more than pictures. I like good photography as well, but give me a good book and I’ll be gone for longer than just a few minutes. I can express myself way better by words than by pictures too.
  7. If you could spend an afternoon with anyone, alive or dead, who would it be?
    This is a very hard question. In my current situation, I would like to spend my afternoon with my friends who are abroad at the moment. Sometimes I really, really miss them, and it would be nice to go for a drink with them.
  8. First love
    I’m not sure if I’m supposed to name a person, but I’m not going to do that. My first love is dance. I started dancing before I could properly read or write. I adore reading and writing, but dancing is something so necessary, something that lives in me, something that will never fully leave my body.
  9. Town or country?
    Town. I like nature and calm, but in the end I always need to see people, to feel like I’m surrounded by them. It takes away loneliness, even when I don’t talk to them. Just to know they are around is enough sometimes.
  10. The greatest invention of the last 100 years
    Maybe the Internet, if that counts? For making it possible to write this to you. For making music and information so close. Of course it’s also a curse, but it has very good sides.
  11. What is content?
    Content as in satisfaction – that would be this moment for example: looking forward to a nice evening. Doing what you want to do. Feeling loved. Feeling like you did exactly what you wanted to do. Finding the perfect shoes. A nice cup of coffee. A good song.
    There seems to a lot to be happy about, maybe it’s just because I’m in a cheerful mood :)

 

This was written yesterday, while looking forward to spending the night with a friend at a bar. It was a great night indeed, which helps a whole lot to be cheerful and positive in general. Maybe I should add to ‘what is content’ that going for a midnight snack (french fries) at 2 am is very satisfying.

So, that is as far as I will take this award. Thank you, Osyth, for the interesting questions! And feel free to answer these questions yourself in the comments – I’m curious as to what you guys would respond.

Music Crush : Warpaint

Major Music Crush. I have more music crushes than I ever had crushes on people in my entire life. That’s the bitter truth! But you see, this time I really want to share it, because a) it’s not a Russian song for a change, b) it’s such, such a good song and c) this one has a sort of story behind it all.
Well, story is probably a big word, but let’s take a look.

Three years ago we had to write a paper for our Latin course. I chose to write about sirens, the mythological creatures who sing so well that seamen are lured towards them, leading to their death. You could say they are femmes fatales avant la lettre. While writing on this topic, I came across a video on YouTube, a scene from the movie ‘Siren’ (I believe). In this scene, the siren sings a song, which I liked, so I decided to listen to the original song.

This song was Elephants by Warpaint, and inspired me to write this.

About two weeks ago I was eating in the kitchen of our student house, on my own, with the radio playing. Suddenly there was this song, and I thought by myself: this sounds like Warpaint. I was done eating, I was alone, and I started kind of dancing, because I felt like it. Ooh, how I liked it. Randomly dancing in an empty kitchen to a good song.

I decided to give Warpaint another shot and that’s when I stumbled upon this song (see the video below – or better, listen to it). Those guitars! That voice! Those sounds! This kind of guitar sounds is what I call raw, and it reminds me of the 80s guitars. Give me 80s guitar and I melt. Together with those lyrics, it just all fits. Not so much because of what the lyrics mean, but because of the sound of the words. I don’t often say this, but the dark ‘o’ sounds fit so nice here. (Does anyone remember the literature classes in which the teacher suddenly stated that ‘o’ is a dark letter? Turns out he’s right after all!) It has this power and groove and all to it.

You see, it’s a major music crush I’m having. What do you think? Any more fans of this kind of 80s reminding music?

 

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