November in hindsight

November2017

All throughout this month I’ve been thinking about my ‘November in hindsight’ post and I decided that I wanted to post this on my blog on November 30th. To literally finish the month off in the only right way, especially since I’ve been posting these hindsight post quite late these last couple of months. So half way through the month I started to write the first couple of things for this particular post. So that I would be able to just add some last minute changes to in on the 30th before publishing it.

Nanowrimo

My November has been all about Nanowrimo and it was a good month. We’re now literally at the end of the month and I can tell you that I have a accumulated a grand total of 33 516 words. A word count which I’m really happy about. This is way, way better than I expected to do and I’ve written way more creative stories than I ever could have imagined. And even though I haven’t reached the 50 000 words which were our goal for Nanowrimo I am content with what I did. It was hard – I’m not going to lie about it – I struggled but in the end I was able to get to a really nice word count. A word count which is much higher than I expected to reach, so nothing to be ashamed about. Maybe I’ll reach the 50 000 words next year. We’ll see.

Our Epic Blue Unicorn group had four meetings at the Library on Friday afternoon, around five we would gather and sit at ‘our table’. The only thing missing is the fact that they don’t put up one of those plates with reserved on the table for us. But other than that we can easily call it our table. Next to our Library meetings we also had one Ikea meeting. We had so much fun, we’ve invited some new people to our group and I sure hope some of them will stick around for the future. This was the fifth year our group was active and during those five years I’ve made some wonderful friends who are really dear to me.

Reunion

I was supposed to go to Groningen for another meeting with some of my vacation friends but that didn’t happen. For several different reasons we had to decide to move the weekend to February or March of next year. Because December and January are just going to be too busy to make it work. Hopefully I can tell you all about my city trip to Groningen in the first couple of months in the beginning of 2018. I’m looking forward to it.

Efteling

Since Groningen wasn’t going to happen I was free to make some last minute new plans for the last weekend of the month. My parents were going to the Efteling – it was a day out to the park provided by my dads work – and my mom asked me if I wanted to join them. The Efteling is a beautiful theme park in the Netherlands, and during the winter months they turn the park into a winter wonderland of sorts. It always has a special atmosphere which is vastly different if you go there in the summertime.

If you ever have a chance to go to the Efteling you should really do so it is a really beautiful theme park, whether you go there in the summer or in the winter. The theme park is different from any other theme park I’ve been too. They have their very own style which appeals to young and old people alike. Most people in the Netherlands have been there at least once and the park has been voted best theme park many times over. This year the park has even been voted the most beautiful theme park in the world by the Americans. And the park has been scoring well on all types of theme parks lists. It’s an original park by which I mean that it is not based on Disney for example so it has a very unique style.

I’ve been to the park so many times and I still love it each and every time. From an early age on I’ve been going there, with my parents, with our school on a school trip and nowadays I often go there with a group of friends. It is always fun to see that people from a young age all the way up until the elderly enjoy themselves.

Reading and writing

Since November is all about Nanowrimo you have already been able to read all about my word count and writing for the month in the beginning of this post and in all the other posts I made about Nanowrimo. So it would be a little redundant if I repeated it all again. So for now this is all going to be about my reading.

I’ve finished up my latest book in the last couple of days of this month, it was The Circle. A book which really got me thinking about all the things we’re giving up when we aren’t careful with our privacy. I learned one thing, I don’t ever want to give my privacy up. Not because I have a lot to hide yet simply because we should be able to keep some things to ourselves if we want to. And everything – every single detail certainly isn’t a good thing.

Music and television

I decided to write some posts I haven’t previously added to my blog, the first one was about the 300th episode of Grey’s Anatomy. One of my favorite shows of all time. Another post I wrote about a television show was the one about the Once Upon A Time season six finale.

I also managed to wrote two cd reviews from albums I’ve been listening to these last couple of weeks. The first one was about The Corrs’ new studio album, named Jupiter Calling. I’ve loved the Corrs for at least the last twenty years and I was really surprised when this album came out. The second one was about Pink. A singer / songwriter who I really admire. She has been at the top for so many years and each and every time she comes up with a new song or a new album which tops the charts. Beautiful Trauma is a great new album – with a wide variety of songs.

Looking ahead:

  • December is right around the corner, everyone in the world knows what that means, the holidays are coming!
  • December also means lots of extra time at work! The busy December month, probably goes for a lot of people at work.
  • We in the Netherlands have Sinterklaas, which we celebrate on December 5th. We do a Secret Santa type of thing which is always a lot of fun!
  • Of course there is the TGIO party (Thank God It’s Over) and that refers to the party to celebrate that we’ve survived another November full of writing. I’m going to Utrecht to meet up with my fellow Dutch Nano’s.
  • Christmas! Who doesn’t love Christmas? I know I do, it means I’ll get some
  • New Years Eve still sounds so far away but it is right around the corner! And this year I hope to celebrate it in a different way than I did previously.
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October in Hindsight

Oktober_2017

The Reunion 2.0

Oktober first was our second reunion. Ten people from our vacation group had a second reunion, we had decided a while ago that we wanted to do an Escape Room. We decided that we would go to Prison Island in Utrecht. This time we went on October first and we met up at the Escape Island, it was so good to see everyone and to catch up. We had decided ahead of time that we would make two teams, one of four people and the other one had five players. The tenth person joined us at dinner. The Prison Island is set up in an old factory building. You have to walk up a couple of stairs to get to the prison as soon as you step through the door you enter a prison. The look and the feel of the whole place is just perfect. I had never been in an Escape Room so this was new to me. There was a short introduction by one of the ‘guards’ and each group received a chip with that chip we could open the doors and start the games. At any moment you could leave the room. Which is perfect, no need to panic if you’re claustrophobic. Which is always a good thing. After the explanation and introduction we were allowed to venture off into the prison. There are twenty-four cells and each cell is different.

I think that this makes for a really interesting afternoon, each room you can try as many times as you like. Only the best result is kept in the total score of your group. There is a screen on which you can see how your team is doing in relation to other teams that did the Prison Escape that day. Each room had their own game and the level of difficulty is also different for each room. In some rooms you simply have to answer questions, in another room you have to slam on buttons or figure out a puzzle. We had so much fun! Definitely a super positive recommendation for Prison Island at De Fabrique in Utrecht.

The Zoo

I love going to a Zoo, it had been a while but we received a couple of free tickets for Burgers Zoo in Arnhem. I think it’s interesting to see and to take in the animals. They are so fascinating and there is so much to learn about them. For the longest time I didn’t like to go to Zoo’s the reason for that was that we visited a Zoo which was just horrible. At the time friends of my parents said that it was a really nice place with lots of different animals and it was close by to where we used to live at the time. We actually went there and it turned out to be  a horrible place. Even as young as my sister and I were at the time we could see that it wasn’t a good place. It was a German Zoo, it has been closed down for a long time which is for the better. The animals were in these really small concrete boxes and I can still to this day vividly remember a polar bear in this white and blue painted concrete box with a tiny bit of water just looking plain miserable.

At that point we were done with Zoo’s. It took a long time before I wanted to visit one again. Actually it was only a couple of years ago, we have beautiful Zoo’s where it doesn’t feel like it’s a horrible place but where they seem to look for ways to make them look authentic. They have a beautiful Mangrove with huge butterflies, they are so beautiful. I made some awesome pictures.

Reading and writing

I haven’t written much this past month, but what I did write was my book review for American Gods.  It was a difficult one, I am still not sure what to say about it. I think it’s one of the toughest book reviews I’ve ever written. On one hand I thought the book as well as the television show were intriguing and interesting yet on the other hand it was at times really tough to follow and hard to understand. However I liked reading it and I might read it again in the future. Because I feel like this book requires multiple reads. I think that you get a lot deeper into the story and start understanding it on a different level. And that is an interesting thought one that needs exploring.

Looking ahead:

  • After October comes November and that means only one thing. It’s time for Nanowrimo! During November I’ll be writing – don’t know what but we’ll see I’ll get something written somehow.
  • The book
  • I don’t have any specific plans for November, on Friday evenings you can find me in the local library with my writers friends – also known as the Epic Blue Unicorn group. We might also plan a Saturday or Sunday in the Ikea in our hometown.
  • Writing, writing, writing …
  • A weekend trip to Groningen – maybe … we’ll see.
  • Secret Santa is coming up, better get planning!

September in hindsight

September_2017

Okay, so let’s get this show back on the road. I really need to do better when it comes to my blog. I was doing so well and in less than a month I completely ruined all of my hard work. And that is a shame.

In all honesty I don’t think that I have a whole lot to tell about my month of September. All I know is that this is the busiest month of them all when it comes to my job and I worked a lot of overtime. Basically two hour extra each day and I also worked two Saturdays. And what little spare time I had left was literally booked with other appointments as well so September came and went so fast that I can hardly comprehend that it is October already.

NoSun Festival

The weekend of the 23rd was simply said awesome. On Saturday we had the NoSun Festival, a sort of reunion festival organized by the travel agency. Two of my fellow travel companions and I decided to go there. We arrived just before one in the afternoon. Our first job, setting up our own tent for the evening. OMG! Last time I put up a tent was in my early teens – I think I was twelve we where on a camp with everyone in my class to celebrate that we were about to leave school – so it had been a while. Luckily for me I had an expert with me who helped me. Without Lind,a I’m sure the whole unpacking and put it up somewhat presentable wouldn’t have happened so smoothly and when Daniel arrived his tent was set up even faster.

Despite my precautions, extra warm clothes to sleep in that night it was cold – ice-cold. And by the time morning came around I felt like a freaking popsicle. In all honesty, I don’t think I really slept at all during that night. Now you must know that every single person that stayed the night received a tent for themselves. And there were a lot of us staying. All of the tents were green and there was literally one person who brought their own tent with them. So you really don’t want to know how many times I heard people exclaim during the nigh; ‘How the hell am I going to find my tent!’ And each and every time the answer was the same; ‘It’s the green one!’ Anyway finally morning came around,  and at that point I didn’t really believe that I would ever feel warm again. Though I have to admit a warm shower does wonders – it took a while to heat up but not nearly as long as I expected it to take. Besides the hot shower we also had a really nice breakfast outside. Bread with bacon and eggs, that really helped. Besides that the sun was shining and it looked like it was going to be another beautiful day.

City trip: Madurodam / The Scheveningen Pier

Coincidentally we also planned some family time during the same weekend, so after I left the campsite behind I made my way to The Hague. Where my family and I went to visit Madurodam. For those who don’t know what Madurodam is let me explain it. Madurodam is a park in which you can see scaled versions of famous Dutch buildings and object all scaled to 1:25. I’d been there years ago, many many years ago so it was nice to see it again. But in my honest opinion it’s not all that spectacular. Of course you’ll see a lot of families with small kids and often grandparents with them and a lot of tourists.

It was a fun to watch and I guess that it’s really interesting when you get to see all of these buildings in a day when you are a tourist or a child. But I prefer to see them for real. In my honest opinion that makes it all the more interesting. But I can understand the need for a place like this where you can show it all at once. And give a little history lesson while you’re at it. Though I’m sure that the real deal is at least ten times more beautiful.

We spend a while at Madurodam but eventually we decided to take a tram to the sea. We were about five minutes away so it was perfect. And the weather was simply beautiful, the beach was filled with people – enjoying what we all thought to be the last good summer weekend of the year. We walked around for a while and enjoyed watching all the people with kites in al different sizes and colors. We had a meal at The Pier which was really nice, they finally gave the Pier a new destiny. For years it had been closed down and it was looking awful. Granted there still is a lot to do but they are definitely working on it and they made one of those food markets inside where you have all of these small market stalls and each and everyone has a different type of food. Often from different countries as well, not exactly the regular type of food you’d get at the store. I choose fish and chips but in an Asian style. With red peppers and spring unions and a chilly sause. Absolutely loved it!

Looking ahead:

  • Our second offical reunion, again planned in Utrecht this time because we all wanted to check out the Prison Island escape rooms.
  • I’m going to a Zoo, probably in October depending on the weather.
  • The Nanowrimo Kick-off party is about to happen.
  • And with that comes the beginning of Nanowrimo
  • I need to come up with a plan for November – most likely I’m going to be a rebel! We’ll see …  maybe I’ll make working on my blog part of my Nano mission.

 

 

 

May in hindsight

May_2017

It’s hot and it’s cold, May has been going two ways the whole month. One minute it was cold and we were still wearing our down coats and the next minute we were walking outside with our T-shirts and sunglasses on. The same was happening in my life, one minute I was running hard to keep up and then everything came to a halt and there was time to spare. It was a strange month but all in all time flew by. We’re already nearing the half year mark of 2017. It’s so hard to believe!

City trips

I’ve been working a lot of overtime this past month, even worked on some days when we were officially free due to a national holiday and on a Saturday. Which is not usually a work day for me. I didn’t get to make any trips, the weather wasn’t all that good this past month, it was quite cold. And with work I didn’t have the time. Besides looking ahead to my upcoming vacation I knew that I needed money for that so I’ve been saving up some money whenever I could. So no trips this past month, but I’m sure that I will make up for it next month. 😉

Reading and writing

So I’ve been reading the second book in the When Women Were Warriors series, and as soon as I finish this book I’ll dive straight into the third and final part of the story. The other book I’ve been reading is a travel guide. I need to know some information before I start my journey. I’m so looking forward to my trip.

I honestly haven’t really been writing much lately. For some reason the need to write is gone, there has been a time in my life where writing felt like breathing, something that I needed to do. But nowadays that need is gone. And I feel like I can’t force it. So I’m not going to force it. I’m at peace with it, for now.

Looking ahead:

  • Hanson, Hanson, Hanson!!! Twenty five years of Hanson being a band, twenty years of me being a fan!
  • I booked my vacation, I’m going to Sadinia! An eight day trip! I’m so excited.
  • I’m thinking about going to a festival, I still have to purchase the ticket but it’s a chance to see Beth Hart. I love her and it has been quite a while since I’ve last seen her perform. Which reminds me I should really rewrite an restore some of my concert reviews! (long overdue)
  • The grafitti festival is coming up, so I’ll probably go there.

City trip: Gouda

A couple of weeks ago – actually way back in March I went to Gouda and I never got around to writing about this city trip. Let’s say better late than never – and get this thing done.

Gouda is one of the bigger cities in the county of Zuid Holland, the city has world fame because of their cheese – Gouda cheese. I’m pretty sure that most people have heard of this particular type of cheese – I recently noticed Gouda cheese being used as one of the cheese’s on Master Chef Australia which is literally on the other side of the globe and in a television show as well. Gouda’s traditional cheese market is a real spectacle, unfortunately the traditional Cheese Markets are only held on Thursdays in the spring and summer while I was there on a Saturday. So I wasn’t able to actually see the cheese market in it’s full glory however there was a regular market in the square. Overseen by the 15th century Town Hall.

Gouda is a beautiful old city, with these very old stately buildings, which is what I love about these types of cities. Old buildings give a city such a special vibe, it always makes me wonder what these buildings have seen throughout history. If buildings were able to tell their stories who knows what they would have to tell us, I’m sure it’ll be interesting.

I walked quite a long way through the city center as well as the other parts of Gouda. There is a lot of water in and around Gouda and while I was walking through the other parts of Gouda I spotted a Heron. I just had to take a picture, usually you spot these birds outside of the city.

If you ever plan on visiting Gouda I would recommend to do so on a Thursday, especially if you love cheese. Of course buying the cheese in a city like this is possible any day of the week but if you have the chance visit the cheese market. Even though I wasn’t able to see it this time I’m sure that I will go there on a Thursday if I have the chance to see the spectacle.

April in hindsight

April_2017

I know the month of May is almost over and I still haven’t written my ‘April in Hindsight’ post. I know, I know I’m not doing very well on that department.

April has been a strange month, it has been a collection of high’s and lows even more so than normally. One day I was celebrating a birthday and the next I was paying my last respects to someone. It’s the way life goes I guess but it remains a strange situation to be in, especially since it was literally one day to the next.

City trips

April is always an extremely busy month for me in general lots of birthdays and of course Eastern so in general besides working and those engagements I don’t have a whole lot of time to spare. So I didn’t make any city trips this past month and in fact I don’t have any planned for May either. Nevertheless I wanted to keep the routine going and I think it’s a shame that I couldn’t but it just didn’t work out.

Besides that I still owe you a post about my Gouda trip. I really need to get my shit together and get things going, don’t I?

Reading and writing

I read Lindsey Stirling’s book and I really enjoyed reading it. In my opinion everyone could read this book and take away some good advice from it. Peaked you interest? Head over and read my review to find out what I mean by that.

I’ve been reading the second book in the When Women Were Warriors series – A Journey of the Heart. I am really enjoying these books it’s a wonderful story about strong women and a journey to adulthood. I’m still convinced that it’s better to read the whole series of books before I write a review so yes you’re missing a book review. But that’ll be corrected once I’ve finished the second and the third book.

I didn’t get much writing done this past month, well I’ve written many many many whats app messages but I don’t think they count for any type of writing. Maybe one day I’ll tell you about my extreme increase of text messages this past month.

Looking ahead:

  • In less than a week I’ll be at the Hanson concert!!! So looking forward to that, they are celebrating the 25th anniversary as a band and it is my 20th year as a fan. MMMbop came out in 1997 and I love(d) that song! It’s a shame that they are not more known by an bigger audience these days because in my opinion they deserve it. But what can you do about it?
  • I finally made the arrangements for my holiday and in fact in less than a month from today I’ll be somewhere on a beach doing all kinds of fun stuff with a group of people who I don’t know at this point. We’ll see how that one turns out.
  • There are a lot of things I have to purchase for my trip into the unknown…  and I only have a month!

March in hindsight

March_2017

It’s only April 7th and I’m already working on my next ‘hindsight’ post. I’m proud of myself, I’m certainly making progress! 😉 Sometimes you just have to give yourself a slap on your shoulder, ain’t no one else going to do it for you if you don’t do it yourself.

That proud feeling didn’t last long, it’s now April 15th! And I still haven’t finished this post! That’s not good, I might as well start on my April in hindsight post already, enough has happened for a complete blog post and not all of it is good. Anyway, let’s do this.

City trips

I actually made two trips during the month of March, one to Amersfoort and one to Gouda (I still have to write that blog post) the city of cheese! That is probably what most people know the name Gouda from.

Concerts

One of the best experiences this month was when I was finally able to see Lindsey Stirling perform live on stage, of course I’d seen quite some performances on YouTube, she has after all a lot of performances available on her own YouTube channel as well as fans channels. It was a blast to see Lindsey live on stage.

I was really looking forward to Pinkpop, but after seeing the full line-up I was completely done with it. With more than 30 acts in total divided over three days it’s hard to believe that the line-up didn’t really please me. Some of the bands – the ones that I like are bands I’ve seen before – and the rest of the line-up didn’t really help. I’m not a ‘Belieber’ nor am I a huge Martin Garrix fan. So this years Pinkpop is not for me!

However I did score my next concert ticket! Hanson’s twenty fifth anniversary tour is coming to the Netherlands, and it’s in the best venue in the Netherlands – Paradiso Amsterdam.

Reading and writing

My writing has obviously been lacking, since I still have quite some catching up to do. One of the posts is of course the Gouda city trip and I think I still have one or two book reviews to write.

My reading however has been going better, I finished one book – The Warrior’s Path (When women were warriors #1) and started reading Lindsey Stirling’s book – The only Pirate at the Party. A wonderfully and inspiring book telling the story of Lindsey’s very interesting life and gives you an even better insight into this woman’s interesting life.

Gaming

I’ve been wanting to replay the Mass Effect series for a while now, however I never really got around to it. Now I am aware that I don’t need to replay the old series to start the new part since they are completely separate and I also know that we won’t get our precious Shepard to play with but I felt that I needed to replay them especially since all three games are backwards compatible on the Xbox One.

About that though, I started playing the first part and I was extremely annoyed. For some reason the game feels completely unplayable on the One, I’ve tried to make adjustments to the setting but nothing seems to help. When I first played the series I played them on my computer and I absolutely fell in love with the series for many reasons. It is actually the first game series that I played back to back from start to finish. And for that reason alone it will always have a special place in my heart. The other reason why I love this series is because you get to choose your character – male or female – always a huge plus if you ask me. Besides that this game allows you to choose love interest – even if that is a gay relationship. And I love that!

Looking ahead:

  • HANSON!!! Haha, yes the band made famous with their 1997 hit song Mmmbop is back! Well back is a big word, we fans know that they’ve never been gone to begin with they have always been making music, art projects, festivals and even their own beer – Mmmhop! And now they are coming here to perform live in Paradiso with their ‘Middle of Everywhere tour – the 25th anniversary tour’. Thanks for making us feel old guys! For them 2017 is their 25th year as a band, but for most fans 2017 marks the 20th anniversary as a fan. Since most of the world got to know them through Mmmbop.
  • I’m celebrating my 35th birthday in April … yes, thirty five. Ridiculous!
  • Still haven’t made up my mind about a vacation … really need to get my shit together!
  • At this moment I don’t really have any plans for a city trip, who knows what the future brings.