Soul seeks mate

Thanks to NotAPunkRocker I decided to answer the question of Daily Post:

How do you define the term “soulmate,” and do you believe in the existence of such a person — for you?

It’s confession time!

Maybe the cliché that “it will come when you least expect it” is true after all. As you might remember, I didn’t end up going to Russia last year. It broke my heart, it killed my trust in administration, it ruined my summer. I genuinely feared staying in Belgium. And of course, that’s when the magic happened. It wasn’t by far as terrible as I thought it would be, staying in my own little country, and I met someone. Someone nice. Someone pretty. Someone I could talk with.

So – boom! – we got a kind of couple. Kind of, because we both wanted to go study abroad. Only a few months and we would go our own way. That was the deal. It was a good deal, I thought. Then I went to Poland, did several stupid things and realised that I had been so lucky to meet The Belgian One. You don’t always meet someone that respects you so much and that you can trust. Actually, that is a little miracle for me. I seem to attract guys that will let me down by ignoring me. But with The Belgian One, I felt at peace. It was all calm. I knew he wouldn’t do that to me. He’s one of the best guys I have ever met.

Too bad I was in Poland.

But then I returned. We saw each other again, and – boom! – it felt better than before. Something in me seemed to have changed, which made our Thing just better. Still not official, but better than before. This was so unexpected. Who could have foreseen that we would see each other again? I never thought it would happen, let alone as good as this. Although it also woke up a hell lot of fear in me, it was actually really, really good. Really calm, still.

Then I went to Russia, and – boom! – I suddenly discovered that my head is faithful. I don’t want to go and try to find another one. I don’t want to take the risk of doing stupid things again. But with my faithful heart, I don’t feel any pressure to seduce or attract people. I will not make the same mistakes again. Instead I’m looking forward to seeing The Belgian One again, and I think he wouldn’t mind seeing me again either.

I guess you could say I fell in love.

I’m not sure if I could call him a soul mate. Some of my friends seem to have more similar souls and minds than The Belgian One and I. We do seem to have something in common about our way of thinking, which I guess is more important than sharing interests and hobbies. No one knows what the future will bring though. It’s very well possible that he’ll meet someone else, someone who seems to be more of a soul mate to him. (That’s something I actually fear.) There’s also a chance that we’ll see each other again and it will be exactly the same, but a little better than before. Maybe we are soul mates. Maybe love does come when you least expect it. *fill in another cliché*

The heart is a complicated thing, moving in its own way. We will see what happens, but for now I enjoy the thought that somewhere, someone every now and then thinks of me and decided to talk to me.


This weekend I watched a certain video and it got my inner debate about guilt going again. I had come to terms with it, more or less, but then it all got loose in my head again. Maybe everything was my fault? Maybe I am guilty and no one else is? Who would judge me? With these question the urge to ask everyone’s opinion returned as well. I would like to tell some people my story and ask them if I think it was my fault. On the other hand, I don’t want to tell it, because I would feel bad if they’d say it was my fault. However much I agree, I want to hear them say that I’m not guilty. I want to ask everyone for forgiveness. I want to ask for forgiveness while I only need to forgive myself, really.

This dictionary defines guilt like this:


the fact or state of having committed an offense, crime, violation, or wrong, especially against moral or penal law; culpability:He admitted his guilt.


a feeling of responsibility or remorse for some offense, crime, wrong, etc., whether real or imagined.


conduct involving the commission of such crimes, wrongs, etc.: to live a life of guilt.

Interestingly, they also define it as a feeling of responsibility, whether real or imagined. Guilt isn’t necessarily based on facts. It’s not black and white. There is an entire gray zone for every feeling, including this one. It’s very well possible that I blame myself way too much for what has happened. It’s very well possible that it is my fault. In the end though, I will never know, because there is no real answer to this question. No one has the right nor the ability to say how much of it was my fault and how much wasn’t my fault.
And yet I fear that people would judge me and think less of me. It would hurt immensely if someone who’s important to me would tell me that yes, I am guilty and no, (s)he doesn’t think I’m so “valuable” anymore. So far none of my friends has judged me, but who knows, maybe someone who knows me in another way would?
I do feel regret, and maybe that makes up for guilt, in a way. We want murderers to feel regret after all. I only harmed my own feelings, but maybe the thought of regret compensating guilt could make it better.
In order to feel comforted without telling you what happened, I would like you to judge this case, not regarding the consequences:
Imagine you know a man. He seems to be thinking of death a lot, you are talking to him about it and he seems to think it’s not bad, it could even be good. He lets you listen to a song about suicide. He hands you a gun, and when you load it, he turns to you so you could shoot him straight in the heart. However, during all this, he is high on morphine.
Would it be okay to kill him?
And if he weren’t high on morphine but living through a rough divorce, for example, would that make a difference?
(Luckily, I haven’t killed anyone, nor am I high on morphine. I just spent a while thinking about wrong and right and that’s when this all came up again.)
(It’s WordPress’s fault that the spaces don’t show. If anyone knows how to solve this, please tell me. It’s so annoying to read…)

I made it!

Welcome to Russia, the country where the roads are dusty, the women dress up for everyday life as if they’re going to a party, where no one smiles at you, where those you know will feed you endlessly.

I made it, darlings. This year, I made it. I could barely believe it when I got out of the plane. It was already really dark, I had been traveling all day, so when I got out of that thing, I was just smiling weirdly. Isn’t this one of the weirdest thing I’ve ever done? Going to Russia all alone? But I can tell you: I’m doing very well. I managed to slice my feet by wearing new shoes, but next to that it’s going well. People tell me I talk well in Russian, that I barely have any accent, and so far I’m not impressed by their lack of smiling or effort to be nice to strangers.

The amount of strange things here is quite great. Everything is in Russian style, but that makes it so interesting. Also, strange things can be very cool. Since last night I can add drinking apple juice at 3 am while eating a good salad after having danced like crazy in a pub to my list of Weird Stuff That Just Seems To Happen. Now that’s the kind of thing I like – random, absurd, but absolutely good.

In Poland it took me about a month before I seemed to do something, for real. But here I dived into it and now it feels like I’m making the most of it already. I’ve been drinking beer with friends, I’ve gone dancing, I’ve gone to my classes, everything seems to go faster.

And that is good.

Caffeine commemorations

Oh, sweet caffeine. Right as I’m writing this, my cup of coffee is standing next to me. Almost empty, unfortunately. Though I always like a good cappuccino in the afternoon, I must say that today I needed it. Let me tell you one thing: waking up at 3:45 am every weekday is quite a thing to do.

Quite exhausting, to be precise. I remember that once I wrote a friend about what hell was for me. I wrote that it meant waking up at 4 am every day, eating cat food and doing useless things all day. Except for the cat food, I’m living that hell. I wake up so early to go cleaning, that’s my job for a month, but in fact dust always returns. But of this is hell, well, it could be worse. I didn’t know it would pay so well here…!

Luckily, we take coffee breaks while cleaning, which are the moments I look forward to just a little too much. They have good coffee there, I have to say. Twice every morning, I have my cup of caffeine, and that makes me happy. I’m not even sure whether it wakes me up or not, but at least it gives me a break and liquid. It doesn’t matter whether the caffeine wakes me up, or the action of drinking something, as long as it does something. Needless to ay I’ve come to appreciate a good cup of coffee. I’m no longer stating that it tastes like plants (which I did when I was about 6 years old).

I’ve only recently discovered that I do have some coffee moments that I will never forget. Not only all these coffees at work will be whirling around in my memory forever. Coffee moments can be very intertwined with a wide range of emotions. Who knew!? The coffees at work remind me of the fact that I’m actually able to get up and work at 3:45 am every day, which is a very comforting thought.

Equally as comforting was the coffee moment on my last travel in Poland. It was a part-time solo trip, which I enjoyed more than I could have foreseen. Unfortunately I shared a hostel with very young and very loud people (I would have gladly thrown them into a well). So on the second day, I was very tired and I decided to go have a coffee. I ended up in a brown sofa in a cosy cafe, with barely any people, very good coffee, and my Polish book. It felt good. I was walking around all alone, sat there on my own, and I liked it. This trip made me realize that I’m okay with going to a cafe on my own. That feeling is worth a lot.
Also: very good coffee for not that much money!

Somewhat more sad was the coffee moment the day before leaving Poland. I had high hopes that I could go for a long walk past all the most important places that day, but unfortunately it was drizzling and raining all day. After having packed almost everything, the apartment felt too sad and empty to stay, so I went to our nearby coffee bar and had a very good and big cappuccino. Sadness was inevitable, as the weather was gruesome and the apartment too empty, but having that big, good coffee there was surely a good decision. A decent goodbye where all others failed because of the rain.

Last week I finally finished my bachelor paper and turned it in on the hottest day of the week. I wore my very much adored long black dress, put the thing where it belonged (far, far away from me!) and went for a coffee. By accident I was served by someone I vaguely know, who started speaking Russian with me (how painfully hard that was for me…!) and paid my coffee. It baffled me in the best possible way. Some people are so kind, I love it. While I was drinking this coffee and reading a bad book, someone I adore quite much showed up and we spent a good (warm) afternoon together. The free coffee and pleasant talk in Russian was a good start for this all.

On a related coffee moment, when my parents visited me in Poland, we had a coffee in a place where you had to order at the bar. So I stood there translating from Dutch to Polish. Apparently this caught the attention of the barista, who started asking me how I knew Polish, what and where I was studying and so on. It was hard to understand him, because he was making our coffee with loud machines, but we talked nevertheless. When the coffee was ready and paid, he shook my hand and said: “It was nice meeting you.”
I think I needed more than an hour to grab myself together. How often do baristas tell you “it was nice meeting you?”. How often do they shake your hand? I was genuinely overwhelmed. My parents started planning our wedding immediately. I honestly don’t even remember whether the cappuccino was good or not, but I think it was. At least it was the most memorable barista ever.

Very subtly coffee fought its way into my life and managed to be a part of some memorable moments. Who knew that the drink that tastes like plants would become a source of inspiration for a blog post? (This goes both for the coffee and the blog, actually.) Above all these moments remind me of the fact that actually, I can do a lot more than I thought. I can travel alone, live abroad, get up at 3:45 am, it’s all possible. All you need is good quality coffee. Isn’t that wonderful?

Inspired by Top 5 Coffee Moments (with some tm thing that I cannot reproduce) by Nicholas Conley.

One line is my sins, the other forgiveness for these sins – part 2

~ Arvo Pärt

Read part 1

If there is a line of my sins, then there should also be a line of forgiveness. A few days ago, I felt its roots. Suddenly a part of me decided that the guilt I spoke of was exaggerated. I admit that I’m to blame as well, but this was one single event, one single time, and I’m convinced it’s not all my fault. So this strong-willed part of me was fed up with the guilt and decided to let it go.

I’m still doing my best to accept, to believe that there are no other consequences than me feeling somewhat bad about it. The only damage is a hurt ego. Whatever the damage was though, there is no point in reminding yourself of your guilt over and over. I did something stupid. I did something stupid.

But I only did it once, and at least I know it was wrong.

Normally, it doesn’t take long for me to find my crown again. When you wear a crown, you have a straight back. When you have a straight back, you are strong. I’ve always felt a certain pride, a certain self-respect when someone hurt me. The fact that this time, I stupidly took part in something that hurt me, made it difficult to feel this. It is, though, always the way out. If I have my crown, all will be well. If I wear my crown, it means I have forgiven myself.

It doesn’t happen just like that, but I felt the line that’s forgiveness, and that is good. Something will eventually distract me and classify this under ‘things I did when I was young’. I’m not the only one doing stupid things. And it could have been worse. I will never think of it as ‘good’, or even as a ‘good lesson’, but it shouldn’t haunt me anymore. It should be what it is: history. And only that.

Do you want to hear what it sounds like, sin and forgiveness? I think I can hear it here:

One line is my sins, the other forgiveness for these sins

~ Arvo Pärt in an interview with Björk

However you approach the situation, you will always come to the conclusion that I bear some kind of guilt. If I would take this to court – which I would never do because it’s not so bad at all, but if – they too would come to the conclusion that they couldn’t charge him with anything. Not because of a lack of evidence or something along these lines, but because of something way worse.

I let this happen. I even participated. There isn’t a single sign of the fact that I might not have wanted this to happen.

There are two things in my defence, though it sounds pretty weak: I wasn’t really myself at the moment, and I thought I was doing what I was supposed to do. Something in me was apparently afraid of disappointing people. Unfortunately, this occupied my brains more than being afraid of what this meant to me. Somehow, I gave up thinking what I wanted and only did what I thought I was expected to do for the other.

Which, of course, I shouldn’t have done.

This might not be an excuse, but at least it’s an explanation. Also, even if the hypothetical court couldn’t charge him with anything, let’s not oversee the fact that there’s something like morals. Rationally speaking I’m guilty, but looking at it from a ‘moral’ point of view, I think we would all judge him too. Taking advantage of someone is wrong. Always. Even if the other person doesn’t realise he’s being taken advantage of.

If I would be able to turn back time, I know I would return to this very specific moment to make sure I wouldn’t let it happen. It took away a piece of my trust, my self-respect, my dignity, and I want all that back. Unfortunately I don’t have this possibility, but the least I can do is learn from my mistakes and never let it happen again. Not because of the fact that I could be judged, but for myself. So I will never feel used again.

Once upon a time in a coffee bar

Once upon a time, when I still lived in Poland, I was working in a very atmospheric little coffee bar close to my home. The coffee was very good and very cheap as well, in comparison to my country and other cities. Of course I didn’t live in Warsaw. There were bikes hanging at the wall, even better, bikes cut in half. The menu was taped on vinyl plates. It was a great and quiet place, perfect for work.

So I sat there, trying to do something useful though I couldn’t focus – nothing new. Then I noticed that the music was getting quite 80s. There is some special beat about this music, which makes it easy for me to put songs into categories. It’s such a “danceable” beat, you know. Take any 80s song and you’ll know what I mean.

So they put on this cd with the unmistakable 80s beat, and modern as I am, I shazamed it. (For those who are like I once was: shazam is an application that recognises music. Sometimes. Anything but classical in my experience.) It turned out to be SoKo.

SoKo? I’ll kill her SoKo?

Exactly. Apparently she has this 80s inspired cd now, which was just perfect to put on when I was packing all my things on the rainy last day in Poland. The catchiest (apparently this is not a word, but I’m keeping it anyway) songs are Who wears the pants? , My Precious and Temporary Mood Swings. Then I stumbled upon the white raven, as we say here. One of the songs on the cd wasn’t like the others. It was a quiet, sad break up song. I played it almost on repeat.

From then on, I have been stumbling on more songs of her, which without exception were played almost on repeat. I don’t know what it is, but something about those songs catches my eye, or rather, my ear, and makes me addicted. After Keaton’s song, as described above, there was Don’t you touch me, which has this beautiful sad anger about it. It beautifully builds up to a climax. Great song when you are struggling with liking someone who doesn’t like you back.

On a quiet, not peaceful evening before the exam I still had to take here, I put on I’ve been alone too long, and immediately had a new target to play on repeat. It fitted the situation a bit. I was almost all alone in the city of my university, where I dramatically didn’t want to be. As soon as I arrived in that city, I felt everything overwhelming me. Everything I had been through there flushed over me and fucked my mind up. I was happy to stay over at my brother’s place there, so I wouldn’t be confronted with more memories. While revising, I put the song on repeat. It has this calmness that I need when I revise.

The exam went well, and I spent a great day there, with friends, beer and sun. I crawled out of the wave of memories, luckily.

I’m still not free, because I have to finish my bachelorpaper. Since I write on a computer, modern as I am, I play music all the time. It’s extremely boring when you work without music, isn’t it? So I clicked on yet another SoKo song, Why do you treat me like you do? , which is a cover. It has a sort of country thing to it, although it’s not country. Lovely to sing along, I can tell you that. Catchy, but in a very different way than the 80s style songs. But catchy still!

Right now, my latest crush is Treat your woman right, which is an equally sad song about loving someone who doesn’t like you back. (Okay, I may have issues, what about it?) Above all the haunting humming makes this so very touching for me. It’s hard to explain what it is, but it has this feeling to it, this atmospheric sad feeling. I try not to kill it by playing it too much, but that’s hard. I could hear it all day. And I am hearing it all day. I can’t stop it.

This is a serious music crush, as you can see. I like the way this music is intertwined with my life though. It’s not important whether I relate to the lyrics or not, although I do for a part of course, because the music in itself is enough to make its way into my head and heart. Next to that it reminds me of the time spent in the coffee bar, of the rainy day I spent packing, the strange evening spent in the city of my university, and everything that came after. Life is unexplainable and unpredictable. And life needs a soundtrack. For the moment, mine is SoKo.

Muscle memory

Time is one of the strangest things. It’s completely rational – 60 seconds, 60 minutes, 24 hours, 365 days. But it never feels like this. It always feels shorter or longer, painfully stretched or non-existing. Time is one of those rational things we never perceive in the same way.

That’s why sometimes, it feels as if I haven’t spent five months abroad. When seeing some people again, it feels as if nothing is different. Except some tiny little thing inside me, that has grown and developed in Poland. I’m sitting outside a cafe with friends again, and we don’t even talk about what we’ve been doing. Things are the same. What’s different is something in you, but it’s not visible.

It seems that muscle memory is the strongest kind of memory. You walk around in places you haven’t been in ages and it goes so smooth. (Until you walk into a door handle of a door you haven’t used – clumsiness still outweighs muscle memory I’m afraid.) It surprises me how familiar things still can feel after the first few seconds of shock. Shock because however well you remember something, it always seems a bit different when you face it again. After those few seconds, everything feels as familiar as it always was before.

Even with people.

Your body sometimes remembers more than your brains. Your body works its way back into the old-but-somehow-new houses and cities. And before you know it, you fit in all those places again. You fit next to people again. However strange it may be, it often feels good. It means that you don’t necessarily leave things behind, because apparently, you can come back and everything can feel as if nothing’s changed.

Except that little thing inside you, which will make you silently happy.

Home is where the heart is, they say

Life just keeps going.

In about two weeks I moved my life back from Poland to Belgium, and I’ve done my last exam here. For this year, at least. As soon as I settled down a little here, I had to start studying again. Let’s just say I jump from one thing into the other without catching a break. Right now, I’m working on my bachelor thesis as well – because that thing has to be finished as soon as possible, before I start working.

I’m one busy creature. Maybe it’s for the better, so I don’t get all too nostalgic to Poland. During the last weeks, I felt as if my life there had finally become the life I wanted to have there. Leaving that country was not something I was looking forward to. Things were going well, my Polish was improving, life looked good, but then I had to return home.

Which of course isn’t so bad either. I’m happy to see my family again, that’s for sure! And when I was at a cafe with friends, I had to admit that life in Belgium has its very, very good sides. The biggest downside is that everyone speaks Dutch. What am I doing here if I can’t improve my other languages? I’ve never felt so sure that I want to go to Russia. Despite all the effort and stress and waiting, I have to go to Russia. I want my Russian to become even more fluent than my Polish, and I know that it’s possible. Also, I know that after two months here, I will be longing to something different again.

I can notice that I have changed these past months. (Luckily – what is the point of doing something like this if you don’t notice any difference?) In short, I think it is independency. I don’t need people to feel at ease, I don’t need people to cook for me. It’s very much appreciated if I have them around, and having my parents helping me out is great, it’s awesome! But my point is, if they wouldn’t cook and wash and do stuff for me, I would be able to do it for myself. That is a great feeling. Also, try to impress me – I speak Polish and Russian and traveled on my own with two heavy suitcases to Poland. You won’t knock me off my feet all that easily!

If home is where your heart is, then I will have many homes. I think my heart will be shattered all over the world. I went to Poland and made it mine. A little piece of my heart is still there.

And that’s how I like it. These five months have made me more independent and more fluent in Polish, and at the same time they made Poland like a second home for me. It’s not always been easy and fun, but in the end it was worth the effort. This is an experience I will always carry with me.

Now who wants some pierogi!

Going solo

Loneliness is a scary thing. As much as I like being on my own sometimes, I need people around me. They don’t even necessarily need to talk to me. Just being surrounded by people is sometimes sufficient. So when my flatmate/friend said she was leaving way earlier than I thought, I was a little scared at first. So I will have to live here for two weeks on my own? Completely alone? Also, I wanted to travel still, and I thought we can do that together. But it seemed that those plans were no longer in the running.

It took me a few days to get used to the idea, and to even look forward to it a little. When my flatmate left, I felt at ease. Not because I don’t like her company, because I do, but suddenly I could do whatever I wanted. The flat is mine now. Each and every sound each and every piece of rubbish is mine. There’s no one to blame but myself. I can play music as loud as I want, I can dance around the house if I want to, I can sing out loud and so on. There are no limits.

It’s not like much has changed. I just barely use headphones anymore, and you can regularly hear me sing ‘we built the pyramids!’. (If you don’t get this: Big Bang Theory…) Maybe it’s mainly the idea of freedom that makes me happy. However nice it was to have her as a flatmate, you always have certain limits when you are not alone.

I took it a step further when I decided to travel on my own. Which sounds very spectacular, though it’s not. I didn’t want to spend an entire week just at home, so I traveled to a city in Poland where some of my friends were still studying. I did spend eight hours on a train on my own, slept in my hostel alone, and walked around alone half of the time. In the evenings I still had my friends to hang out with. It was a partial solo trip, which I enjoyed a lot. I even felt good, walking around with my map and figuring everything out. Who knew I wasn’t that bad at reading maps? I even noticed that I knew way better what I was looking at. And never, not a single second, not even while eating on my own, I felt uncomfortable.

Now this is something I really like. I’ve never really liked doing things on my own, because often I thought people would think I don’t have friends, they might mock me, and so on. Doing this trip on my own showed me that I no longer think that. Now I even subconsciously realise that it’s no one’s business, and that most people don’t really think about why you are alone somewhere. Why would they? Rationally I’ve known this for years, but now I even felt it, in a way.

Going solo isn’t that big of a deal. It gives a certain amount of freedom. Sometimes it’s easier when you are the only one who has to decide something. All you need is company every now and then. When you have the right balance, you can enjoy both to the max.

Isn’t that quite the life lesson I just got here?


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