Sunday, January 29, 2017

The world is changing


The topic of this blog post was pretty much set, but current events made me change my mind. How am I going to write blog posts about silly things like movies and fashion and places to eat, while there are so many concerns bothering my mind? These silly things are things I enjoy, but how can I go on living a nice and quiet life while there's so much going on in the world – my world – right now?

I was in a complete shock when I learned that climate websites full of scientific research would be taken down. It appeared to me as if a world of lies is being created: when the important information and proofs disappear, soon people will forget and claim much of these things to be untrue. Ignorance is a dangerous thing. It is unbelievable that a man, who has benefitted from this world for seven decades already, supports the destruction of that same world, only to leave it in ruins for his offspring. Perhaps it is all for the money but soon there will be no world to have money on. I was even more shocked because this decree is purely an attack on freedom of speech and freedom of press. As the press is fundamental to a good working democracy, this is an attack on democracy as well. As I'm aspiring a career as a journalist, it especially hurt me to learn that journalists and other writers are being shut up and told they lack integrity and intelligence by a man who is supposed to be the wisest of all. To me this was a proof that this man is dangerous.

I was worried to hear that organizations that provide abortion and sex education in other countries (that need it) will no longer be subsidized by the United States government. The discussion about abortion is endless, and it all comes down to when you believe that a bunch of cells can be called human. In my opinion, these (early) cells are the seeds of a gardener and the gardener should be able to decide if he will water them and make them grow into a plant or not. On the other hand: if scientific progress would not have allowed abortion to be possible, we would not have a discussion but instead focus on pregnancy prevention and not pregnancy interruption, and we may have worked it all out just the same. I'm not worried for the women in western countries, because if they would not be allowed to have an abortion (which is nevertheless ridiculous) chances would be that the child won’t grow up in extreme poverty. In other countries (the same ones in which abortion is provided by the NGOs mentioned before) some women do not even realize the relationship between sex and pregnancy until it is too late! If they continue the pregnancy, both woman and child (and probably any further offspring) will loose many of their chances and continue to live in poverty. The world population is increasing, and if there are going to be more people on this planet, let those people be born in circumstances that will give them a chance at least. Even though you may not notice much of it, America knows a lot more about sex and pregnancy than people in these developmental countries do. At least America knows how to deal with it. A country like America that has the knowledge and the resources should help other countries who don’t, and prevent them from going any worse.

I got upset when I heard that Islamic people are banned from entering the United States. Our own royal flight company had to turn away Muslim passengers even though they had a plain ticket to the United States. They had little choice: if they would take these passengers, they would most certainly be stopped and be stuck at an US airport. This is the first obvious proof that this all is already affecting us. The people from the countries that are especially disadvantaged are so solely because of pure discrimination. This is pure and only human right violation! Other countries, European in particular, disapprove of the acts carried out by the mightiest man in the world. They express their disapproval but they don't show it and they let their fellow countries be discriminated. How will the discriminated and disadvantaged countries feel? They surely will be angry. I'm scared to see how these countries will express their anger. I'm sure some of these countries have terrible weapons to use, and if not there will be someone happy to provide these in exchange for a whole lot of money. In the end that's what makes the world go round. I'm terribly afraid that a new world war will take place due to the acts of one horrible man. Especially since a lot of intelligent people, world leaders and diplomats are expressing their worries about the latest decrees. And even more since America and Russia are bonding and the European Union is weak, since the new American president signed to modernize the American army, and since the USA will take steps against countries that do not support them in the United Nations. And no one of the people following this horrible man will care until a bomb will drop on their heads. All they say now is that they are genuinely happy that finally a president keeps his promises.

There is another leader who lived not so long a time ago, who managed to do the same thing. He promised more jobs for the people and so he gave the people more jobs. He wanted to expand his reign but he hurt other countries by doing so. He chose religious and ethnic groups to be the scapegoat and there was only one small group of people who benefitted from him. Now a man wants to shut his reign off from the rest of the world but he hurts other countries by doing so. He chose religious and ethnic groups to be his scapegoat and there is only one small group of people who will benefit from him. Times have changed and circumstances are different, but parallels are hard to deny.
How is someone like this chosen to be the mightiest man in the world? Because the world didn't get to choose. One population only got to, and they chose what's best for themselves even though this means they will hurt everyone else in the world. Now that is pure egoism, and egoists is what many today have become. So it is no surprise people choose for themselves, even in their daily lives, and misuse others to make themselves great again.

In the old days countries may use to think for themselves and act in their own advantage, but these aren't the old days anymore. Globalization has taken place and all our economies are interwoven. The USA is certainly an important player in here. If they will take steps to help their own economy, and those steps will hurt other economies incredibly, it is to be expected that these other economies will get angry. No country can think solely for itself anymore. There is one world and we're all on it. We should help each other more and benefit from each other, instead of hurting each other to become better ourselves.

Some people grow wiser as they grow older, others do not and keep dwelling on the past: they desperately try to go back in time while this is impossible to do. No one can go back in time. Have we not learned anything from our mistakes in the past? The world has improved and made progress, but the same mistakes are being made. Is this only human? Will we never live in a peaceful world in which human rights are guaranteed? At least not in a world were walls are being build to shut people out. Sometimes I’m wondering if walls are necessary in this world, because of the nature of humankind. Does human nature make it impossible for us to live in peace?

I'm anxiously seeing the world change. Of course I had hoped that, after the new president of the United States was chosen, many of his words were only campaign slogans and popular talk to gain votes. I hoped he would be OK and surprise us all in the most positive way. It only took him NINE days to make all my hope fade away. His policies are based on fear and lies, his words are often contradictory, his ideas are ridiculous - for example, he wants to make Mexico pay for this idiot wall by increasing import taxes on Mexican products....which would of course mean that the American civilians will indirectly pay for that wall anyway! Did he even think this through? Did he even have a plan when he yelled he would make Mexico pay? Is it just popular talk after all? Not to mention that Mexico is third on the list of America's biggest trade partners...so if import taxes on Mexican products in the USA will be increased, so will import taxes on American products in Mexico! How could a supposed intelligent man like the United States president propose such ridiculous things?

It lights up my heart to read that thousands of Americans are demonstrating against the stricter visa rules in the States, that lawyers are offering their help to detainees at the JFK airport, that Oxfam Novib is calling the Dutch government to stand strong against this discrimination, that our own minister of Cooperation and Development has proposed to establish a foundation to help abortion NGOs, that former presidential candidate Al Gore and some environmental organizations will arrange the meeting about climate change that was earlier called off, and that scientists try to safe as much of the American scientific research on climate change as they can from perishing. There's still hope and there are still many people who want to fight for a better world (or at least for preventing the world from going worse). Demonstrations of large groups of people are the ultimate proof in a democracy that the people still care. When something is so unacceptable that it hurts one's core values, one will not be quiet and watch how these values are being crushed. I am happy to see that even though people are less and less involved in politics, their society and other people's rights and concerns, there are still many, many people who make their voices heard. These demonstrations show a clear clash between the people and the person who is supposed to be their leader, so I feel great things will take place soon: either the people are going to win, or we are all going to loose.

All that's going on right now feels like a bad movie. Is this even real? Is this even now, in our time? I can vividly imagine all these things that I’m witnessing written down in the History books. Perhaps these are the History books of my own children, when they have to memorize these events that happened because of a single dangerous man, just another man on the list of dangerous men that were responsible for horrible things happening to other human beings. All they will care for is passing.

I will go back to regular, low-key blogging soon. I'm only too upset about last week’s developments and I felt it would be inappropriate to write about topics that seem so utterly unimportant to me, at this moment and compared to other things. My blog is a place for things that are currently on my mind or happening in my life, and I do not want to write about my regular choices of topic and pretend that's what's on my mind right now. I'm just anxious for what is to come.


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Wednesday, January 25, 2017

L00K: Dem booooots doe


HEY GUYS. I'm sure you've all been bombarded with over the knee boots lately. Here I am! Those boots are friggin amazing though. They are the most covering yet the sexiest boots around. Isn't that fantastic? 

The shirt is my boyfriend's. Being in a relationship basically means having two wardrobes (it's the sole reason I agreed to be in this relationship). His shirt is almost like a dress to me - almost, too short to be actually like one. Solved this problem by wearing a short black skirt underneath it. I like to wear his sweaters a lot, too. I've never really been into sweaters from the girl's section, so I don't own any. But as you might have noticed, it is kinda cold lately. Sweaters must be worn. So now I share Mitchell's sweaters with him. His words, seriously. I couldn't make them my property (yet).

I bought the coat last Spring, but didn't wear it much back then, even though that coat is much more appropriate for Spring than it is for the current season. It is kinda cold, honestly. But it is just as fine as an actual winter coat when wearing a thick cardigan underneath it. So I've been wearing it quite regularly lately. 

These pictures are taken by Janne when I was visiting here in Amsterdam. We're loving the graffiti street art wall in Amsterdam-North! Will be back in Amsterdam this weekend: I'm going to the Drake concert (if he is not going to cancel it AGAIN) on Saturday, and going there again on Sunday together with my friend Merle, for her belated birthday lunch!

Talk to you later! XO


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Sunday, January 22, 2017

ROOM TOUR: Noa's place


As you could read in my previous post, Noa is my friend who has moved to our neighboring country to study Photography. Me and Noa know each other from high school, and we became friends in 10th grade when we were assigned to the same mentor class. Noa has always been my most creative friend who always had a large interest in photography, so it was no big surprise that it was a photographer that she wanted to become. Eventually she decided that she wanted to go to college in Antwerp, even though that is quite some miles away from our hometown. Luckily another friend of hers made the same decision so now they get to share an apartment together. As I knew Noa has a great taste, I'd expected her own room to be decorated in her own inspiring way, so when I paid her a visit, I grabbed my chance to take some pictures of it. So now let me show you around Noa's room - including some remarks about it by Noa herself.


This is Noa, a pretty and cute girl with curly blonde hair and a pair of round glasses. She has a great unique taste in fashion: everything from a vintage tartan blazer to self-made velvet tops - but that's a story for a different time.

The most eye-catching item in Noa's room is for sure her clothing rack, which literally consists out of a wooden stick and some rope. "Decorating your room doesn't have to be expensive. I made the clothing rack myself and it didn't cost me anything! I found the wooden stick in the woods, got rid of the bark and scoured it a little. Then I plugged two hooks into the ceiling, attached the two pieces of rope to the hooks and tied the ropes to the stick."


Noa's desk (an iron one, contributing to the industrial style of her room) is full of old cans and jars filled with candy. Above her desk, a collection of four black and white photographs are hanging with clips on a piece of rope. "These are photographs by Sebastiao Salgado, a photographer that I admire a lot. Especially since I saw the documentary The Salt of the Earth. I got these pictures in Berlin and they are a great source of inspiration to me."


Going around Noa's room is both interesting and inspirational, as it is filled with objects that each have their own story. There is a beautiful old sewing machine on top of an iron, industrial cabinet. On a shelf of that same cabinet, a small leather suitcase is opened and now filled with clothing. "I found the suitcase in the attic in my parental house. I used to take it with me whenever we went on a holiday when I was younger."

A little bookcase, shaped like a house, is filled with books on photography, analog cameras and other photography attributes. "A lot of the things in my room (picture frames, old cans, vintage cameras, pretty pillows and blankets) I found in thrift shops, in our attic or I got it from my grandparents' house."


Posters decorate the white walls, some of them neatly put in a frame. "Those are posters from photography exhibitions that I've visited and that I was impressed by, like exhibitions of works by Anton Corbijn, Eve Arnold and Alice Springs."


"Even before I moved into my own apartment, I knew that I wanted my bed to be made out of pallets. I got my pallets from someone who was selling them for 5 euros each online! The space between the pallets comes in really handy to keep stuff like books and shoes."


Her room in Antwerp certainly contributes to making her feel at home in this foreign city. "By decorating my room to my own taste, it always feels like coming home here, even though I'm actually in a foreign country and quite far from my family."

Thanks so much Noa! Curious to see some of Noa's photography skills? Check out her Facebook page


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Thursday, January 19, 2017

Breakfast in L'Anvers


About 1,5 years ago, when we all went to college, Noa moved to Antwerp (Belgium) to major in Photography. That is quite some miles away, so I hadn't visited her yet until the plan arose to go there together with another friend of ours and all of our partners. Eva's partner, who owns a car, drove us up there. We arrived late in the afternoon at Noa's apartment, which she shares with another girl that we know from high school. We soon started to prepare a three-course dinner and spent the rest of the night at home. 

The following morning we had breakfast together and then prepared to go into the city center of Antwerp. Here we did some shopping in a vintage store (to the annoyance of the guys) and were shown around by Noa.


Noa took this photo of us strolling down the park on our way to the city's center with her iPhone.


Of course we couldn't leave without having had a Belgium waffle!


We had lunch at a place named ''t Elfde Gebod' (the eleventh commitment), an impressive lunchroom as it was stuffed top to bottom with Christian statues. Certainly a place you want to go to if you're into kitch Christian stuff. 


Photo on the left: by Noa, using a fish-eye lens on her iPhone.


Hope to visit Antwerp again some time as there is much more to explore in this nice Belgium city, and to be with my dear friend! 
Have you ever been to Antwerp?


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Tuesday, January 17, 2017

3 GREAT THINGS THAT HAPPENED IN THE WORLD RECENTLY


The world sucks a lot and so does a lot of media coverage. Thankfully there were certain events that happened about a week ago that reminded me that there are still great things happening in the world in the middle of everything tragic and insane. This is a post to celebrate those 3 specific things that lit up my heart and my hope.

Lena Dunham's legs

THOSE LEGS really made me feel so genuinely happy, even though they shouldn't, because they are pretty average legs. It is in fact insane that I must feel happy surprise of all feelings upon seeing those legs adorning the cover of a mainstream women's magazine. In a perfect world, I would be more likely to feel indifferent about seeing two very common legs on a very basic magazine! Nevertheless, in our current world, unrealistic (photoshopped) or extremely rare bodies are privileged to be displayed in magazines, as magazine producers know those bodies have a strange and unconscious attraction to us, while at the same time, we unconsciously begin to believe that those bodies are real, and that everything unlike them is wrong. But darling, if it's too good to be true it is usually false. So naturally I am glad that there's finally a magazine that has chosen to keep it real and put an un-photoshopped pair of legs on its cover. Does that mean that we should find these legs beautiful or attractive? No, I don't think so. We can find it very well hideous or even disgusting. I think proclaiming that 'everyone is beautiful' is just as unrealistic as the type of legs we usually see in magazines. Nevertheless we should appreciate it very much that it is at least acceptable and possible to have any type of body on a magazine cover, and that a person can be on there without being photoshopped into somebody else. Photoshopped, fake legs should not be the only type of legs to make a chance of being on a magazine cover. Every body should have the chance to be on there as its authentic self. And we should create a culture in which no single type of body on a magazine cover can surprise us anymore.


Meryl Streep's Golden Globes-speech

Another great thing that happened recently is Meryl Streep's fantastic speech at the Golden Globes 2017, where she received an award for her contribution to the world of entertainment. She used her acceptance-speech, those few minutes in which everyone would listen to her, and her position, to address the most dreadful event that happened to the United States of America and the world in the past year. I am glad to see that there are people out there who do use their position and power to strive for what's good, even if it's just by reminding your fellow powerful and famous colleagues of their position and public duty in your Golden Globes-speech. In this speech, Meryl Streep speaks to the Hollywood Foreign Press and all Hollywood-actors, about their duty towards society. She very accurately notes that "Hollywood", "Foreigners" and "the Press" all belong to "the most vilified segments of American society right now".  And more importantly: "Hollywood is crawling with outsiders and foreigners, and if you kick 'em all out, you'll have nothing to watch but football and mixed martial arts, which are not the arts", referring to Donald Trump's proposed immigrants policy. Then she goes on to the very neatly constructed core of her speech, in which she remarks the danger of a humiliating man in a powerful position, and what they [Hollywood and the press] could do to prevent the humiliating and disrespectful behavior of this man to become normalized in society, and explains why it freedom of press is such an utterly important constitutional right.

"An actor’s only job is to enter the lives of people who are different from us and let you feel what that feels like. And there were many, many, many powerful performances this year that did exactly that, breathtaking, passionate work.
There was one performance this year that stunned me. It sank its hooks in my heart. Not because it was good. There was nothing good about it. But it was effective and it did its job. It made its intended audience laugh and show their teeth. It was that moment when the person asking to sit in the most respected seat in our country imitated a disabled reporter, someone he outranked in privilege, power, and the capacity to fight back. It kind of broke my heart when I saw it. I still can’t get it out of my head because it wasn’t in a movie. It was real life.
And this instinct to humiliate, when it’s modeled by someone in the public platform, by someone powerful, it filters down into everybody’s life, because it kind of gives permission for other people to do the same thing. Disrespect invites disrespect. Violence incites violence. When the most powerful use their position to bully others, we all lose.
This brings me to the press. We need the principled press to hold power to account, to call them on the carpet for every outrage. That’s why our founders enshrined the press and its freedoms in our constitution. So I only ask the famously well-heeled Hollywood Foreign Press and all of us in our community to join me in supporting the committee to protect journalists. Because we’re going to need them going forward. And they’ll need us to safeguard the truth."

I found her words so incredibly strong and touching, and somehow comforting as they show that there are still clever people living in the United States. 'Cause that's what she is. What she basically says in her speech is: 'Whatever a man promises he would do as a president, it doesn't matter when core aspects of modern civilization are not his own.' Besides being able to think and breath, a president should at least be able to make these core aspects his own. If not, he would rather qualify for a president of a prehistoric society. I was impressed listening to this speech, not only because of the accurate content and neat structure, but also because of her initiative to speak those words as soon as she got the chance, even if that chance would be her acceptance speech at the Golden Globes. Meryl Streep is da bomb.


Jesse Klaver, party leader from GroenLinks, going around the country as part of the election campagne

For a long time I claimed to be a supporter of D66, a social-liberal political party, but after I went to the 'Election Meet-up' by GroenLinks in Nijmegen (for which 1200+ people showed up! - this is a lot, considering it was snowing that night) and heard party leader Jesse Klaver speak, I claim to be a HUGE supporter of GroenLinks, a progressive, leftist, socialistic, green party. I literally agreed with Jesse Klaver in anything he said. Maybe I got brainwashed, but after the meet-up I felt incredibly impressed with this man. But honestly, if you're running for premier at age 30 while having been a House of Representatives' member for 7 years already, you must be pretty heroic. He is amazingly charismatic and you can really tell that he strongly believes in his ideals. That is surely something we can use in our politics. Also, he is by far the most handsome politician our country knows, just saying.

D66 and GroenLinks don't differ that much in perspectives, so I would be very happy if either one wins the elections, and both parties will get along quite well if they'd have to rule together. Nevertheless I now feel much more connected to GroenLinks than I ever felt to D66.
It started a while ago when I came across this video on Facebook, that showed a project by a photographer to address the immense problem of plastic pollution. I was shocked to learn that it takes 450 years for a single plastic bottle to degrade, that there will be more plastics than fish in the sea by the year 2050, and that 50% of the plastic ever used is only used once. Basically, if we keep producing more and more plastic, there will soon be plastic everywhere, it just won't leave our planet! Imagine that! This bothered me so much - like I even get annoyed when I see a single plastic bottle lying around in nature. I also felt quite stupid and ignorant for not being aware of this before! To me this was a true wake-up call, and I immediately signed the pledge to re-use plastic and reduce the amount of plastic in my life, that came with the project mentioned called 'Mermaids Hate Plastic' (I will share later how I now try to reduce [plastic] waste in my life). (Of course there are many other ways by which humans pollute their own planet, like waste of water and energy and clothes and food and pollution of the air et cetera, but I consider plastic pollution as the worst - I might find other things equally bad as soon as I learn more about them, and I'll let you know). Anyway, this photographer's efforts to make plastic pollution more discussable is the very point when sustainable development became one of my core values in life. For all my life I viewed the environment as something other people worried about, unaware of the great impact it truly has, and possibly only because it didn't affect me directly. Now I know that the threatening of the environment is a lot bigger deal than I'd thought. It's a scary thing that threads us humans too. And now I've seen a little more of the world I am quite determined that we should not let the beauty of this world's nature go to waste.

Later I came across this campagne video by GroenLinks and as sustainable development is something that identifies the party, it immediately got me interested in it. That's why I decided to go to the party's [free of charge!] 'Election Meet-Up' in Nijmegen, where Jesse Klaver and some others would come to speak about the party's ideals and plans. Not just for people who are supportive of GroenLinks, but especially for people who are uncertain about their own political preferences, or people who simply don't know much about the party's views. This meet-up by itself, even before I went, got me incredibly enthusiastic: a meeting where a party's leader would speak to everyone who would want to listen, a meeting that was made aware of through Facebook (and therefore reaching a lot of people under the age of 30) - this meeting was something no other party had ever done before, it was a great initiative to make politics more accessible for everyone and not just people who have an innate interest in politics; it was perfect in the context of modern politics, in which there is more involvement of citizens! I loved the idea and found it brilliant. Fun fact: when Jesse Klaver finally appeared on stage that night, the song 'I Gotta Feeling' by the Black Eyed Peas started playing, as if they were trying to say: 'Politics are fun, and tonight is gonna be a good night.'

I was especially excited to hear Jesse Klaver speak (in just a few days I had developed an intense instant crush on him). And when he did, I was not disappointed once. This guy literally knows what to say to everything and it is always clever! Honestly, I was impressed. Besides that Jesse Klaver is very firm in his belief in his ideals (something we could use in the politics of country!), I noticed that GroenLinks is a party that does not only claim certain ideals for the long term, it is a party that tries to turn those ideals into actions. It is a party that acknowledges certain problems, while at the same time thinks in terms of solutions . And when it comes to those solutions, this party looks at the causes of a problem and tries to address those! These things all seem so obvious, yet many parties don't seem to get the heck of it! And, like Jesse Klaver explained to us, many see our society as a market instead of a society. It is all about the money in this world, but what about humanity and equality? What about the things that are truly important in the world, like health, education, a comfortable home, equal chances, and empathy?

After listening to Jesse Klaver's speech, I knew for sure: GroenLinks is the party I want to vote for. Why? Here are some things that I know from his speech, plus some things that made me switch from D66 to GroenLinks:
  • Naturally, GroenLinks wants a greener country. This is the very party that truly acknowledges environmental problems as pollution, waste and resource depletion. And those are things that will become more and more important over the years as those problems grow increasingly. GroenLinks wants to give climate change and protection of planet earth priority - and this is necessary. Some people may say that the problems people experience now should go first, but really, if we don't do anything now, we won't have a planet to experience any problems on anymore. They say people love their children more than anything - if that's true, they would care an incredible lot for the world that their offspring has to live in!
  • GroenLinks strives to improve our country. And this is a large difference between D66 and GroenLinks. D66 claims to be the 'optimistic party'. Sure, we should stay positive! But it is unrealistic to say that The Netherlands are doing great on average at some major indicators, while there is still so much shitload going on. Maybe not for me, but certainly for a lot of other people who are perhaps less fortunate in circumstances and income. Like every country we've got problems, and there may be less problems here than in other countries, but people in this country don't care for being compared to other countries, it is about the problems that affect us right here. A lot of people are dissatisfied, and I don't expect those people to vote for a party that pretends we're doing quite alright. They don't care for being better if only relatively speaking. GroenLinks stands for real solutions to the problems that people in this country experience on a daily base. Even though Jesse Klaver is a man of ideals, he knows how to put those ideals into practice. And this is something I'm missing in D66 sometimes: they are equally idealistic, but they don't focus as much on actively actualize those - again, because they largely believe that The Netherlands are doing pretty well (at least compared to ten years ago, and compared to other countries) and all they need to do is prevent things from going bad and maybe reinforce the good things a little. That's why I feel sometimes their ideals are just hypothetical, and they have a fear for change (just as many satisfied people in this country though).
  • GroenLinks wants to change the way that politicians often think about health care, education and our society, which is, less in terms of numbers and euros. Jesse Klaver is against 'economism', the way people tend to think that they can manage everything as if it's a fabric in which people are products and machines, that our society is like a market, that money is the most valuable thing in life, and that they can think of everything in numbers...For example: "someone who needs health care, is a product in the health care industry" or the way every child has to go through the same educational system as if its a fabric, even though no child is the same. And when people think in numbers and indicators, based on which they will act, many things are not taken in consideration. For example: when it was calculated that the melting of the North Pole benefits our economy, the environment was not taken in consideration. So basically, GroenLinks wants to think in terms of what's intrinsically important in things like health care and the educational system, which is obviously respectively health and education.
  • GroenLinks is against inequality in chances, but also against great inequality between incomes. For quite some time I found it unfair if people with a large income had to pay higher taxes in order to minimize differences in wealth. I found it unfair that hard working people who earned a lot of money (either because they worked hard or because they spent ages in colleges, or both) had to give so much of that money away to the less financially fortunate. I saw my own poor hard working dad, who worked more hours than he didn't and who spent half of his life in college to achieve such a job in which he would finally be rewarded with a convenient income. This is largely why I had come to the conclusion that taxes are unfair. I liked the idea of the 'American dream', in which anyone can become anything if only he works hard. I thought that people who worked hard to achieve their goals should be rewarded in some way. What motivation would there be if there would not be any reward for such efforts? But now I realize that high taxes for the rich won't make everyone have an equal income, it will at least make the poor have a convenient life and the rich have an above average convenient life, although slightly less convenient than if they would pay less taxes. There will always be differences between poor and rich, and I think those should exist for the same reasons that I initially thought of taxes as unfair. But I don't think that the poor should live in inhumane conditions while others live a more than convenient life! How could one enjoy his wealth if he knows there are people in his own country that live a life that is hardly to be called humane? I would love to pay some more taxes so someone else can have a life that is at least to be called comfortable (although I believe that GroenLinks mainly wants large companies pay the taxes they now largely avoid). (Note: in countries like Denmark, people are actually happy to pay taxes, as they can actually see the positive results of it: it comes back to them in advantaged common goods). And YES there are still incredibly poor people in The Netherlands! As Jesse Klaver claims himself, there are still 400.000 children who live in poverty in this country. Children who can't go on school trips or buy a gift for a friend's birthday because they don't have the money. I found it horrible to learn that this is still happening in this country today! And as Jesse Klaver puts it: As long as there are still 400.000 children who live in poverty, we should not care about how our country is doing on income inequality compared to other countries. 
  • According to Jesse Klaver, every Dutch civilian, regardless one's origins or background, is part of the Dutch population and is equal. Everyone is part of a society in which wealth is shared and people take care of each other. GroenLinks wants a society in which connection and empathy and altruism are key aspects. Another important thing that GroenLinks stands for, is a humane treatment of refugees, who are, just like us, human beings. I personally don't think we should let every single refugee live in this country, especially when there are other, larger countries who could give some of them a home as well - but as long as there are refugees living in inhumane conditions in refugee camps somewhere at the border of Europe, dying from the cold (is this WWII?!), while we still got plenty of space to share, then we should. It is what every single one of us would wish we would do if they were refugees themselves.

At this age I have come to realize many things - and maybe that's what becoming an adult feels like: when things come together like that, and you kinda feel like you've wasted too much time at being ignorant and thinking things that are irrelevant now. At first, D66 largely stood for the things that I found important. I agreed with the party in that weed (and other drugs) should be legalized and that euthanasia should become easily possible, and I still think those are things that should be realized in this country, but I think we should first go back to the core and fix what's to be fixed there before striving for such details (nevertheless I think it's important that a party who focuses on details is part of the government, too). Now I think that sustainable development, health care, education, income equality, and support of refugees are things that are more important right now. Even though I support both D66 and GroenLinks, for me personally it has become clear that the values of GroenLinks may be a little more important in my life. Nevertheless, this can be different for your life. Jesse Klaver agrees, and told us that we should pick a party that suits us best, and not the other way around: a party should not adjust its ideals based on what the people want. A party should stick to its own ideals and the people should pick a party they agree with on the things that are most important to them, as you will most likely not agree with everything - because that's what's democracy is.

The world has changed dramatically in the past 30 years. Are we gonna go on the way we are going? Or are we gonna change? A lot of people are dissatisfied with the current leaders of this country, and they want change. So even though I agree at many points with D66, I think at this time it is ignorant to fear change like them. We need change. We need modern politics, we need politics to adapt to our modern world and not to the world we used to live in 30 years ago. And if we're gonna choose for change, it will be either PVV or GroenLinks. I would rather vote for change that addresses problems with realistic solutions and hope instead of hate and fear. 
IF you don't want a Trump-like situation here in this country, then at least VOTE for something - anything, I don't care, as long if you do (it is your democratic duty, but also your democratic blessing. Unless you'd rather live under a dictatorship). Even if you don't care for politics, even if you're satisfied with the way this country is being ruled - there are a lot of people who aren't, and they will go and vote. If you don't want those dissatisfied people to make the choice for you, and if you don't want this country to go down the tubes, then please VOTE.

So sorry for talking too much! My biggest flaw is my total inability to be short-spoken.

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Sunday, January 15, 2017

LIBRARY STYLE



HI THERE.

This dress that I'm wearing is a find from a vintage store in Budapest. I took it home as I thought it was quite an extraordinary piece of clothing, something I had never seen before: it's more like a dress-like shirt, that buttons up on the back and has large golden buttons attached to the sleeves, which I like to leave unbuttoned. It reminded me quite a lot of a 18th century men's shirt. So of course I needed this in my closet. I combined it with a pair of large white plateau heels, a set of bracelets, and a golden necklace and earrings. The red lip is beginning to become a part of my body now - there's hardly a day that I am not wearing it. 

The photos were taken in my dad's study (by my personal photographer, a.k.a., my mom). Every single piece of wall in his study is covered by bookcases filled with psychology and philosophy books (my dad has a degree in both) and it has always been quite and interesting place to me (although I wasn't allowed to touch the books when I was younger). I've always been quite a studious girl, especially in HS, so naturally I had expected that I'd love to go to college, but it's all been a bit disappointing to me. Perhaps it's because in college there's so much depth and focus on a single subject, while I'm desperate to learn a little of everything, instead of everything from a little. Or perhaps it's because I feel that I've studied too much and lived too little during my HS years (under the great pressure to perform that I felt), and now I've learned that there's more in life than just getting high grades. Even though I'm still just as eager to learn as ever today, I don't believe school should be the only way to learn and develop yourself.

The library is the place where I can most likely be found in these upcoming days. There are exams coming up that I'll have to take to complete the first semester of this academic year. I expect to enjoy studying once again in the next semester, when psychology stuff (my major) won't be my only topic of study: besides a History minor (about which I spoke in my previous post), I will take sewing classes and a few photography classes as well (Don't get me wrong: Psychology is interesting as fuck, it's just the variety that I'm missing). I'm excited about all and I'm really looking forward to broaden my horizons - and this is all in the context of one of my New Year's goals: "Learn new things." Because studying is actually really cool - at least, gaining knowledge and skills is. Anything to make you less ignorant about this world is. And that's what's really been bothering me about college: by focussing so much on Psychology in the past 1,5 years, my factual knowledge in that field has grown, but the growth of my factual knowledge in all other fields has pretty much stagnated. Of course we're not able to know everything about anything, and in order to be able to put your knowledge into practice, you need to pick one field of study and learn about its depths - but learning about the depths of solely one field has made me feel as if I've grown dumber rather than smarter!  Or maybe I'm just a nerd who needs to shut up.

ARE YOU A NERD LIKE ME? And what do you think about this very white look?


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Friday, January 13, 2017

HIDDEN HOTSPOT: Philipse Koffie & Brocante [Nijmegen]



Where to go when you're strolling in the freezing cold down the cobbled streets of Nijmegen? Here at Philipse Koffie & Brocante it's certainly warm and dry! This cozy place is located in the most beautiful part of the city center, quite hidden away behind the Saint Steven's Church. I stumbled upon it one day last year, when Mitchell still lived close to the church and we had discovered some stairs leading up there. When turning the corner, Philipse came into my view and my first thoughts were that I had found a secret lunchroom, like the ones you may only stumble upon if you were a princess in a fairytale. The day I went inside, I realized those thoughts were not very far from being right. The tableware! The cutlery! The little plants and cans and jars! It all looked so incredibly adorable and sweet, yet it was not overdone - an old record player, small wooden tables and old school chairs made the whole look a bit more rough. Though the 70s-wallpaper can not be unseen - and together with the funky orange lounge sofa all the living room-vibes are rolling in, and you feel right at home.

Philipse is a place for coffee or High Tea with friends, or perhaps for sitting down to have a nice lunch. Me and Janne were here for some coffee and a small bite. If you're looking for a place to study, you are very welcome here as well! It's something that I should consider to do! The new semester is coming up, which will be quite hectic as I will start a minor in History, together with one regular class of my Psychology major. I'm quite excited for that minor, which I do a hundred percent out of free will. The early Middle Ages, the Roman empire, and the Byzantine and Islamic worlds will be my topics of study for the upcoming semester. I have always loved historic stuff and I do really regret that a major in History offers so little chances and prospects, and where would I be if I'd spend three years studying a topic of my interest that will literally take me nowhere in life? For Psychology there are some topics I find equally interesting, but there are many others that I couldn't care less for. So I'm glad I get to do some History courses anyways! Hopefully this blog will survive all the business and craziness of the upcoming few months. Perhaps all I need is coffee in a fancy cup at Philipse.


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Monday, January 9, 2017

A Day in Newcastle upon Tyne


When Janne invited me to join her on a mini cruise trip to Newcastle, I immediately agreed, even though I knew little about this Northern England town (except that it's where Newcastle United is from - the reason why Mitchell felt a genuine twinge of jealousy upon hearing my plans). We would spent two nights on a small cruise ship, and one day in the city of Newcastle. It turned out that not much more time is needed: Newcastle is rather small, and perfect for a one-day city trip abroad.


We left our own tiny country in the late afternoon, to arrive over 15 hours later at our destined location. On board there were plenty of (rather expensive) restaurants and bars, where live music and a game of bingo was there to amuse us during the trip. But for the largest amount of time, we slept in a nice cabin, enjoying a relatively quiet night as the sea and its waves had decided to stay put for the time we were sailing it.


In the morning we watched the sun rise, which was definitely worth waking up early and going into the icing cold outside. It was a marvelous experience, to see the sky go from orange to yellow to pink to blue and finally see the sun peek over the horizon.


Land ho! The morning was bright when we finally reached our destination. We got a first and nice view of English landscape as the ship slowly sailed alongside the quay and into the harbor. We were so lucky the day was perfectly dry and sunny!


From the harbor a shuttle service took us to Newcastle, dropping is off in the middle of Newcastle's old town, where we were surrounded by many old and brownish buildings that were nevertheless larger, more impressive and more romanized than I had imagined. A very pretty and lovely city indeed. First we took a stroll down the Christmas market, where we bought some food to go at one of the stalls. Then we quickly looked into the shopping district, which was more modern and less good-looking than the old town, so we soon moved away from there.


Grainger Market was our next destination: an indoor market with adorable little stores selling fruits or candy and shops selling frills and baubles and cheap clothing.


From the city center we walked down to the river, on cobblestone streets along antique-looking buildings, like a typical English pub packed with smiling old men enjoying their beer. 


Close to the river we sat down at The Great British Cupcakery, where we had the sweetest and biggest milkshake ever. It was delicious, even though it did opposite from warming us up, make us shake from all the sugar and nauseous from the amount of food we had consumed in only a short time! 


Next we spent some time at the Baltic Centre for Contemporary Art. Here a couple of small exhibitions could be viewed for free! More importantly: this museum has a free viewing deck as well, where you get a nice view over Newcastle and its many bridges. Those bridges can also be viewed from the quay alongside the river.


By the end of the day, when the sun was going down, we walked back through the adorable streets until we got to the bus that would take us back to the ship. And even though it was a short day, we felt quite satisfied: no more than a short day is needed to get a general impression of this beautiful city, and to see quite a bit of it.

Before I went there I had no true expectations, but I didn't think much of it as I knew relatively little of this town. Now I know that this city is absolutely worth a visit! One day is perfect, but if you're able to stay longer you could try out some of the fabulous and modern restaurants that are located in many of the old buildings here, or take a tour to Alnwick, the castle where many scenes at Hogwarts in the Harry Potter movies were shot.

Have you ever been to Newcastle? Let me know in the comment box!

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