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.

Things I Learned When Going To University

Yesterday I hopefully had my last Bachelor exam in Belgium. Our system here works like this: three years of Bachelor, and then one or two years Master. Since I want to go studying abroad next year, I would do my third Bach year there.
It feels good of course to have finished all my finals. I’ve been working so hard since February to come to this point: no more exams! No more work for school! Freedom! Now I sit in my garden, typing this post, and I can, because there is nothing more I really have to do.

Yesterday we also emptied my room. Belgium is small enough for everyone to go home during the weekends, so so far I have lived in two places the whole time. From Monday to Friday I lived close to my university, and the weekends I spent at home. It is incredible though what you can put in a room so small… Students all live in small places, I had the luck of finding a big one, but I filled it for sure! I made it my mission to get as much stuff in boxes and bags before my dad would pick me up. I spent almost two hours cleaning my room… I didn’t realize how much I had there, and how much should have been thrown away ages ago. I found information about how the university works again… Only two years ago I started something so new and exciting, and there was still proof in my room. Proof of the time when I still needed maps and information. Next to that I found pages filled with words and their translation, words which I now often use.

Has university been what I expected? For the biggest part, yes. It meant freedom, it meant going out as long as you want, it meant exciting nights, booze and guys. This came at a moment when I really needed such a thing. I’ve told you more than once how I had enough of the rules at high school, and I found my life boring back then. That definitely changed when I started going out at university… It didn’t turn out that well all the time, but it gave me stories to tell. I like to have stories to tell. I’m still convinced that going to university came at the exact good moment and is the best thing I could be doing now.

Next to all the knowledge I gained in my classes, I did also learn a lot of other things. So, here’s a little list of Things I Learned When Going To University:

* Freedom! Freedom! I like freedom! And I don’t abuse it!
* Having an opinion of exactly one page.
* Cooking is way more about heating things up than about following the rules so the food won’t kill you. (Luckily I don’t eat chicken though.)
* Every day can be a good day to go for a drink.
* Guys can be assholes and/or cowards.
* I take the wrong decisions, but in the end I always make a good, important decision and all is well.
* When it’s fun, you should stay.
* Not everyone likes hygiene like I do. Unfortunately.
* Though water can sometimes be enough to clean things…
* You can always do more than you think – like reading ten giant books in 13 weeks.
* However hard you try to avoid it, bullshit will always be somewhere.
* But at university it’s less than in high school.
* I like water. Like, a lot. In high school we couldn’t drink during the classes. Then I went to university and now I carry a bottle of 1,5l with me almost all the time.
* I need food the entire time.Preferably every 30 minutes. Or else my stomach can revolt…
* Whatever I do, I need my breaks and relaxing. I can never keep on studying from 8 am until 11 pm without some distraction. I accept that.
* Mornings are just not my time. I mostly wake up for real in the evening, and then I feel like my day can finally start… I also accept this.
* Dancing and writing are real passions, like things I need, physically, mentally. I need to dance, I need to write. It keeps me sane and happy. It’s not just a hobby in some way…
* Make sure you always have some food at home.
* Food expires fast.
* I like freedom. I like the freedom to say that twice 😉

Now I feel like a new exciting part is coming up. I’m looking forward to going abroad. It’s terrifying and it freaks me out, but that’s exactly why I want to do it. Moving all my stuff out of that room felt calming in a way. Finally clean. And ready for a new episode. These two years have been fun, I cherish the memories, but I’m not longing to it. There will be something else.

And that feels awesome.

Good memories

Good memories rarely start with ‘And that day I decided to stay home and go to bed early’. So yesterday I was hesitating very hard, like I do nearly all the time about small decisions. (Give me a life changing decision and there you go – immediately I’ve made a choice! But coffee or tea causes me troubles…) I was really tired yesterday and today I had a long day of classes. So I was hesitating – would I go out with my brother or not? Of course rationally I knew I needed to stay home and sleep. But deep within (not that deep at all of course) I really wanted to go out one last time before entering the Finals Cage. Then my mother called me and when hearing upon my terrible dilemma, she said: YOLO!

Okay, she didn’t actually say that, it was more like ‘you’re only young once, just do it and if you’re tired tomorrow, then so be it’. Have I ever told you how cool my parents are? So then I decided that screw it, sleep is for the weak. And there I went, fully awake, straight to the bar where the booze was very cheap since they were open once more before the Finals and they needed to get rid of all their drinks. Luckily my brother and his friends didn’t mind me joining them. Later on that evening my best friend also gave in and showed up.

And there it all began. At first there weren’t even that many people. But along the way of course it got crowded as hell since the booze was cheap. We talked a bit, but as the music got louder and the people got more, there wasn’t much possibility to talk and we started dancing. The music was pretty good as well, and surprisingly I always want to dance when hearing good music! It became crowded, it became insanely hot, the floor was sticky. When kicking the floor with you feet, you could something splatter against your leg. Hmmm!

So there I stood, soaking in sweat, with something splattering against my legs and dancing like a fool. I felt awesome. Can you think of anything better than that? It was the best place I could have been at that moment. I used to go out hoping I would meet new people, but now that’s no longer the aim. I want to go out and dance and jump around like a fool until I’m sweaty and sticky and my legs hurt. If I meet new people, cool, but if not, also cool. There’s also come a point where I no longer care how I look when I dance. I don’t want to know either, because it might look ridiculous, but who cares? I’ll be gone last year, and at least I’m having a good time. You know, there are also those people who are just bouncing all night long while looking extremely bored. What’s the point of going out then? I may look like a fool, but you can’t say I’m not liking what I’m doing. Bored is not a word to describe me when going out.

Then I went to the DJ to ask for a song, which he searched for, found and promised to play next. I wanted to declare my love for him at that point. How often do you get that? A DJ who immediately plays the song you asked for? Then everything got even brighter. Not literally of course. As usually I had said to not stay for longer then two hours. As usually I failed. Like I always say though, when it’s fun you have to stay!

Good memories rarely end with ‘And then I woke up completely full of energy and ready for many classes’. I had yolo’ed a little too much, but after a power nap I was fully charged and ready for the day again. And hey, now I’ve got the great memory of an awesome DJ, good music and dancing until I could almost feel the sweat dripping down.

I could do this every day.

Life Choice # 6: Day or Night?

Up here, there’s a saying that can be roughly translated to ‘mornings are gold’. It’s the saying people use to get you out of your bed in the middle of the night… At least, what I consider to be the middle of the night. But I’m a night owl. Every morning I struggle to get out of bed, especially when there’s nothing fun to look forward too, or nothing as stressy as an exam. I need a really, really good reason to obey the alarm clock. After having the same alarm clock for 7 years or something, I still wake up quite often thinking ‘what’s this noise? What’s that? How can I stop it? I want it to stop! But how?’ Then I realise it’s the alarm clock, and I push a button, sometimes multiple buttons before I hit the right one that releases me from the annoying sound (which is just the radio, not even the annoying beep thing).
So yeah, mornings aren’t really gold to me… On the other hand, nights are my habitat. As often as I wake up disoriented, I can feel myself really waking up at 10 PM. And why go to sleep when you’re not tired? Having class all day and then going out until the sun comes up again – no big deal. I even managed twice to do this, and then without having slept I went to my morning class. I was pretty dead afterwards, and I sincerely promised myself never to do it again, but still I survived and really did that.

Mornings are made to work, you have to get up early because there’s stuff to be done and you should start with that as soon as possible. But nights are made for fun. You can either dance ’till sunrise or watch a movie, or listen to music before you go to sleep, it doesn’t matter – nights aren’t made for all duties you have to do. (It’s different when  you have an exam the next day, or when you do night shifts.) They have some kind of magic as well. You can dress up, put on makeup, lots of it because you won’t see it that hard, and become your ‘nighty’ self. When you don’t go out, nights still have this kind of ‘coziness’. Light a candle, close the curtains and enjoy your little cave. If you don’t even do that, remember that you sleep at night. Nothing feels as good as a warm, nice bed when you’re tired. That’s also a part of the night-time.

I guess it’s pretty clear I’m a night owl. No, I don’t like the idea of getting up because there’s too much that has to be done, too much that can bother you. No, I don’t feel well when I leave my bed so soon. It makes me nauseous instead. Just let me run around in moonlight and me is happy.

Kind of true sometimes. But still better than days.

What about you? Do you prefer day or night?

Not really looking back… only a little bit

You know that feeling when you leave the hotel room or the apartment of whatever you slept while being on a holiday? During your holiday it was full of clothes and towels and teeth brushes, but now it’s empty. Somehow you really want to go home, because home is good, but on the other hand, it was so good here… And still you just close the door behind you and you leave.
That was the feeling I had when I left the room I’ve been living in during the school year. This year has passed by so damn quickly. Mostly I promise myself not to look back, but quite a lot has changed and it’s almost impossible not to turn around once more. The best part of looking back is the fact that I liked this year. Not at all times, of course, but overall this year has been full of interesting stuff – going from Russian and Polish to going out ’till dawn. These studies are definitely ‘my thing’, which is a nice feeling, and going out in the city of my university is exactly what I always wanted it to be. A lot of places to go, each with their own style and music, a bunch of nice people of our age, and not caring about when to return home.

So the confession I have to make is that I’m going to miss it this summer. There’s a great chance I won’t find any work for these months, which means: less money and boredom. I really hope I will still find something, and if not – I’m screwed. Either way, even though it was stressful at times, and confusing and whatever, I will really miss being there, going out there, living there. Which means I’m looking forward to return, and that’s a good thing, right?

Yesterday I went out there for the last time this school year, and when I returned the sun had risen already, it wasn’t dark by far, and I was biking home with this great feeling of having had a great last night now. It was a great ending to this year, better than I expected.

So I’m not really looking back this hard. I’m just being happy with the decisions I have made in general. I only want to ask one thing of you: please stay with me this summer, in case I go insane because of the isolation. Next to that I wish you all a great summer!

Biking home this morning didn’t look like this by far, but it kind of felt like it was me on that horse. Because exaggerating is an art!

And suddenly – it’s all bizarre

Leaving at night.

Going out.

Everything’s fine.

Everything’s fun.

And then – all of sudden, a bizarre situation and you’re taking part in it.

Suddenly you’re talking with people you have ignored for two years.

You’re sitting next to someone you haven’t seen for months and other people call you ‘cute’.

You’re offered a cigar while you wait for someone to feel a bit better.

You walk past people, totally ignoring it because you really, really hadn’t seen them, though you almost pushed them out of your way (it was dark…).

Someone suddenly decides to bring you home without any intention.

And that’s not even the entire story behind all of these. How on earth can things end up being so weird? You think you leave for a drink, but you come back with a lot of stories, and stuff to think about. One day, I’ll write a book about it. But first, I have to make sure I do not drown in this massive amount of work I’ve got to do. Dear lord, I’m never going to survive this…


Awarded, but lazy

It’s been a long time ago since I sat in front of the computer and wrote a decent post about an interesting subject or whatever. Could I have foreseen how busy life would get? Probably I should have known better. But okay.
Let me do a Guapo trick now: what’s been going on in the blogosphere? Edita was interviewed, go read it, it’s really worth it. Mistwalker made some great pictures, very intruiging. Mabel made a kick-ass (kick-head?) friend. Go check those out while I survive without posting ;).

I need to thank some people as well. Audrey en Lily have been so kind to give me awards, and that still makes me as happy as a child who gets a biscuit. So thank you thank you thank you! As usually there are rules and everything, but I’m so badass that I will not obey. What seven things could I tell you which you don’t know yet? Well, there are plenty of things in fact. I’ll give it a go.

1. I’m exhausted. Really exhausted. There used to be time when I thought going out until 3 am was exhausting. No I consider 3 am too early to leave already.

2. But it’s not entirely my fault. That’s just what happens when your friends go out such a long time.

3. I will not say I dislike it. Every Thursday I have the greatest time, and Friday I haven’t got any lessons, so that is fun.

4. Right now I’m working on a task for which I have to use the Russian keyboard. Do you have any idea how different that keyboard is from ours? I’d say, imagine qwerty being messed up completely. That’s what I feel like right now.

5. The task isn’t really done yet, but after five sentences I was tired of typing with only one finger.

6. It isn’t a useful task either.

7. I’m running out of songs to listen while doing this kind of stuff! Any recommendations?

I’m way too lazy (and busy) to gather stars or nominate people – you’re ALL nominated because I’m so kind ;).

O, and I fell really hard. Feel free to think of a cool story I can tell to explain the bruises! I was thinking of something mafia related. Or falling of an elephant. Anything! Let your fantasy run wild.

PS: No, I wasn’t drunk.

A Sneak Peak In My Life

What have I learned today in class? Well, I’ve learned that the Russians have a song about a guy who started a revolution. Though I couldn’t read the entire translation, I saw that there was also a young bride involved. Apparently he was a brave man and stuff. All people starting a revolution are brave. But okay.
It seems as if a Flemish guy thought this song was boring though. He kept the melody and changed the words. So now here in Belgium, we sing this song as well, but our lyrics are about a frog sitting on his mother’s knees… Great.
This song is also sung at what we call a ‘cantus’. This is an event that is typical for students. You spend the night singing this kind of songs and drinking as well. Sometimes, alternative versions of a song are allowed. Especially this frog song has a lot of different versions… Before you know it, the frog is sitting there in Gangnam style. Oh yes.
If you’re not going to a cantus, you can go to the Gangnam style TD (Thé Dansant? ThursDay?) in one of the cheap restaurants. Those restaurants are frequently visited by students, ’cause if you are a student, your food will cost at most € 5,10. And it’s quite decent food as well. Sometimes.
For people like me, who suck at any form of cooking, pasta included, this is a blessing. I mean, okay, pasta isn’t that hard, but still I eagerly accept the advice of my ‘house mates’ when cooking. (‘Cooking’) Luckily they are kind enough to help me out. This evening, we’re even going to party in one of the student cafes. Beer for € 1,20; Rochefort for € 1,80, be a blessed student… This evening, vodka red bull will be € 2. Which means I’ll have to watch out.
Not that I ever get drunk. But I could start saying and doing things I’ll regret afterwards. Secretly I hope to see someone again, someone who has been a part in my non-existing love life. I wonder what it will be like to see him again. I wonder what he’ll say. I wonder if I can turn back time a bit. Have I done something stupid? I don’t know.
All I know is that I should be studying instead of partying and writing posts.

That is what I’ll do now. Or else I will get some sleep… Sounds even better. How are you doing?