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?

 

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!

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