Sep 122014
 

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Pheuw. My work schedule is shrinking back to its regular size (most of the time anyway), and that medium-size fit there suddenly seems so much more room for activities! Even fitness activities!

I enjoy exercising, but honestly? When I’m busy, I need to chill more than I need to move. So screw it: If I’m tired and I want to blow off a work out for a night on the couch with my iPad and Oreo cookies, I will. And if I want to do that five nights because I have had a tough week and I’m exhausted, I will do that too. I’m an adult, I can do that, and you can’t do shit about it, son.

But when I can, I also really love dedicating a part of my day, however small, to moving my body. With the purpose to feel better, to relax and enjoy.

Here are a couple of my go-tos around town if I want to exercise: My favorite work out places in Rotterdam.

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Sep 062014
 

albert heijn superjuice

So, I was bored one day, went grocery shopping and came home with Albert Heijn’s super juices.

I love green juice – I make it myself a few times a week. But it requires some time and effort, and sometimes it’s easier to just grab something on the go: that’s when juices like this can come in handy. So this could potentially be great. Right?

I dedicate this taste test to two of my favorite online people: Femke and Aline. Because they’re hilarious on and offline, nothing could ever top their taste tests (click here for the other one) and I am not worthy.

You can guess from the title that I am not on board. But click on if you want to know why.

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Sep 032014
 

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After our first three days in Bangkok we took a flight to Northern Thailand. First stop: Chiang Mai. City with a ton of temples and great coffee. Second stop: Chiang Rai. Tiny town with zero tourist and coffee so strong your blood would register at 29% caffeine.

Pictures and bullet points after the jump.

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CHIANG MAI

  • We stayed in cute ass guest house Gongkaew, which was one of my favorite places to sleep on our vacation. It was really green all around, in the Old City Centre and at night you fell asleep listening to crickets and bull frogs.
  • We had a private room with a firm bed, airconditioning and a shower. I find that this is pretty much all you need in Thailand.

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  • When I saw this picture I threw this dress straight into the dumpster. I believe in dressing for your body type and this was a lapse in judgement.
  • Be warned, kids: never impulse shop when you’re frustrated because Zalando didn’t deliver your order on time. It makes you buy unflattering cheap dresses.
  • (DAT COLOR DOE. Am I right?)

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  • We had a massage at the Women Correctional Centre: the female prisoners there are taught and trained in Thai massage and the fee for the massage goes into their rehabilitation fund.
  • For me, it was blissful. The women could have torn me limb from limb and I would have been fine with it. Will was not so lucky: She hurt him so much he’d been sweaty and uncomfortable the whole time. Poor guy.
  • Also, we got these little fruit thingies. They were kind of like lychees.

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  • After dinner we ended up at Cafe North, where a Thai jazz band was playing. It was really fun to listen to, so we stayed there a while with beer (Will) and mojitos (me) while I flirted with the singer of the band and Will tried to flirt with the waitress who I’m pretty sure wasn’t into dudes.
  • We were walking home around three, Will was kind of tipsy and no help whatsoever in finding our guest house. Just when I started to go into full-on PANIC mode he pointed at a hid away fence and was like “found it – let’s climb over!!!” I gently reminded him he had the key and if he wasn’t opening it right this second I was making him sleep in the pond.

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  • Temples EVERWHERE. For about three days we just walked around, had food, had coffee and strolled in and out of temples.

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  • I did a meditation class here, and I bet it would have been really cool and enlightening under the supervision of a freaking Buddhist monk — IF ONLY I COULD HAVE HEARD WHAT THE FUCK HE WAS SAYING.
  • I was sitting in the back with a bunch of British girls and at one point we just looked at each other like this.
  • On the upside, in that time I was staring into space I could still remember 40 of the original 150 Pokemon.
  • (Update: It has been reduced to 4, but give me an hour in complete silence while some little dude in orange mumbles a bit here and there)

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  • I was becoming a boss in navigating with the Lonely Planet, by the by.

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  • It took us three tries and a game of charades with the waiter, but eventually we figured this hot-pot type thing out. It wasn’t the best meal, but it was really fun.
  • I also count the fact that we did not get food poisoning from this adventure as divine intervention.

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  • The ride out of the city and up the hill counts as one of the nauseating experiences of my life. And I’ve seen 2 Girls 1 Cup.

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  • 4004% fucking done with temples at this point.

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  • Will too.

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  • So, on the last day (of course) in Chiang Mai we find that right next to our guest house is Birds Nest Cafe, this great laid-back place with these amazing organic salads.
  • I had a salad there. For breakfast. As well as dinner.
  • We then took the bus to Chiang Mai: Will watched Black Tide (terrible shark movie why Halle Berry), I watched the green surroundings while listening to the Young, Wild & Free Spotify playlist. This song is my favorite.

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OTHER CHIANG MAI THINGS WITHOUT PICTURES (you know, it happens)

  •  We had lunch once at Henry Restaurant, which was the worst place I’ve ever been, period. The owner was horrible to her staff and to some customers, and the staff seemed really embarrassed and uncomfortable. I can only confirm the reviews you read here and I hope the staf has quit by now.

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CHIANG RAI

  • We arrived in our guest house Baan Rub Aroon (sweetest owner, made us breakfast, but the gate closed at 21:30, which was kind of inconvenient)
  • Here you see me in my natural habit: In bed, double chin, iPad in front of my face.

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  • Please note: I did not do any of the elephant-riding because I’ve read horrible things about them* and do not want to take any chance on participating. On our way to the starting point of our jungle trek we drove past one of those places and the guide asked me if I wanted to take a picture. I didn’t want to say no.

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  • During the trek we followed our guide through the jungle, which was muddy and slippery everywhere, but the guide was pretty confident and we had these bamboo sticks for support.
  • We hiked through tribal villages, I napped on someone’s porch, we had lunch with a local, swam in a waterfall (fun but I’m terrified of creepy crawlies in there!) and took this ADORABLE picture of us.
  • I liked it a lot more than I thought I would. I needed to get my mind off the MH17 crash, the surroundings were crazy beautiful and there is something mindful and calming about hiking.
  • I was 3000% done by the end, though. I was tired and I started slipping and stumbling more (which was pissing me off) and also our guide walked through this web and a fucking GIANT SPIDER crawled from his hat back onto the branches and I was just like NOPE I AM LEAVING.

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  • After the intense day, I deserved pie and coffee, obviously.

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OTHER CHIANG RAI THINGS WITHOUT PICTURES

  • Saw a Lady Boy Show at the Night’s Market. Was cool because up at this point we hadn’t really seen any yet. It was fun. Little over the top.
  • We went mountain biking to the White Temple, which was so much fun. Doing sporty stuff like that with Will is really nice. The White Temple is very beautiful, as well as super creepy.
  • During our mountain biking Will almost got bitten by this tiny black viper snake. I’m very glad that he didn’t, because then I would have had to suck the venom out of my boyfriend’s ankle — as well as kill the snake and find a hospital within like an hour. I don’t think I would have been up for that: I don’t have a thing for ankles.
  • I had another Thai massage but the dude put his fingers in my ears. Weirdest happy ending ever.

After four days in Chiang Mai and three days in Chiang Rai we felt like we had seen enough of these two towns, so we took a bus back to Chiang Mai and from there we flew to Phuket. Which was…interesting.

More on that next time. Stay tuned – OK BYE!

*I really love elephants. They are a family thing to me too. My birth announcement card had two big elephants and a baby elephant on it, ‘Baby Be Mine’ turns me into an emotional wreck anytime, anyplace, and Will’s latest nickname for me is Elephante Grande, because I tend to run up and down stairs like I’m an avalanche. 

Aug 242014
 

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 #nevernoteatingquestionablestreetfood

Okay, quick recap of my last two weeks: My feet touched Dutch soil on Friday. Saturday and Sunday were for laundry, yoga and stuffing my face with my favorite non-Thai foods.

And then I walked back into my office on Monday and that was that.

Despite what some people on the Internet will have you believe about our terrible life choice of working 9 to 5 jobs, us minions-for-The-Man actually care about what we do and we actually do something.

So when I have the energy to blog? I have to work. And when I have the time to blog? I am tired.

Therefore, this blog post has been made possible by a variety of little time slots over the past weeks (10 minutes uploading pictures, 5 minutes writing the intro, 15 minutes trying to remember what the fuck I even did in Bangkok) and a blissful Sunday afternoon.

We spent 5 days in Bangkok in total. My vacation started and ended here. This is what happened, where we were, and what we did.

How?

As you know and love me: BULLET POINTS BITCHES.

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Aug 112014
 

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(I don’t think my eyes have ever been this small in a picture. In my defence, it was 6 in the morning at the airport in Bangkok.)

It’s summer and that means a lot of you are enjoying some well-deserved time off from school or work. And many of you might go on vacation. Whether it’s camping in your own country, inter railing through Europe or chilling on a beach somewhere: You’re on vacation. It should be good for you.

Just the relaxing and doing fun or adventurous things is going to be plenty good for you, but if you want to make your holiday a little easier, enjoy your time more and come home even more refreshed: There’s plenty of easy, healthy and fun self help-y things to do!

Click below if you want to read about how to self help during your vacation!

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Aug 102014
 

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As you might have deduced from the fact I only mentioned I was going to Thailand 3 times in almost a year – once on Twitter, once on Instagram when I got my vaccinations and once on my blog bitching about advice I did not ask for- I’m not that big on the travelz.

I mean, I like it fine but I don’t get all starry-eyed and moony about traveling a vacation, and I think “finding yourself” while traveling is bullshit. You can “find yourself” on the fucking couch as long as you take the time and make some effort. I’m a big believer in the saying “wherever you go, there you are.”

Well, guess what?

Along with all the Pad Thai and sticky rice, I would be eating my words. All of them.

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Jul 232014
 

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All the way in Thailand (oh yes by the way I’m on vacation sorry I never tell you anything), my boyfriend and I were following the news on the MH17 crash quite intently. A plane disaster with so many victims is one of those terrible things that lodges itself right into your brain and affects you.

It had been a main topic of conversation for us from the moment we first heard about it. It doesn’t matter where in the world you are, whether or not you know someone who was on that plane, you are stricken by this tragedy.

All the way in Chiang Rai, Will and I talked about it. We discussed our opinions on Russia and Putin, the implications of this terrible event, the consequences we did or did not expect to occur. We talked about the horrors that were already taking place in Ukraine before the plane crash — as well as all the other places in the world where horrible things are happening: once you are on that topic of conversation you can go on forever.

And then we came back to the guest house after dinner and before bed, I received an email from work. I was informed my coworker and office roommate had been on that plane.

He was a very intelligent, hardworking and sweet PhD student from Malaysia.

We had shared an office for six months now. I didn’t see him every day and we weren’t close, but I saw him often and we were friendly. He was polite and super smart. I made him laugh with the occasional YouTube video. We chatted about his research and my job and our countries. The last conversation we ever had was about our upcoming vacations.

He was going to be with his family for a few weeks and I would visit Thailand. I told him I’d never been to Asia, he told me he was happy to see his family again. What I remember most distinctly is that we said we’d tell each other all about our vacations when we get back.

But we’re not going to do that. Because he died in a plane crash. He is not going to come back to work, to his research. He never even got to see his family again.

I cried a lot for him, while I didn’t feel I have the right to. Although we were friendly, he was “just” a coworker. I cannot even imagine the pain of the family and friends of the victims, especially with this horrifying aftermath.

But it was in my thoughts, even as we tried to get our minds off it. At night our bed turned into a newsroom with international papers spread on the sheets and  Twitter feeds of journalists on the scene on our phone.  I even checked the passenger list once I found it, with some sort of bizarre hope we had all been wrong.

We were consumed by it. Selfishly, we are now trying to slightly move away from it, because I feel sick every time I see something from the crash site and Will gets enraged by every bit of news of Russia being outrageously offensive.

It’s been a long time since I used my blog as a venting machine, as a place to process of just be vulnerable. I’m doing it now, because I can’t seem to let it go. I keep thinking about it.

This tragedy made me hyper-aware of two things: One, the world is full of suffering and pain. Which I always know, but never truly allow myself to feel, you know? It’s too much. And I don’t know what to do about it.

And second, you always think you’re going to see someone again, until you don’t.  We take our safety and health for granted, especially in our country where there is no war, poverty or power struggle.

Although constantly being aware of the hurt in the world is not a constructive way to live, and always being afraid for the lives of your loved ones isn’t either, I can see the lessons here. I am still trying to figure out how to put both these things to good use; because at this point that is pretty much all you can do.

Today, I will think of everyone on that plane, everyone who lost someone and everyone else who is affected. I will write a card for my coworker’s family to let them know their son was appreciated and will be missed.

I will hold my boyfriend’s hand and together we hope for respect for the victims and justice to be served in their honor. For better times ahead for Ukraine after this, but also for Gaza and any other place in the world where people suffer. And because thinking only does so much, I will think of ways to contribute to a better world.

And also, I love you. I appreciate your presence. I hope you’re safe and happy. Take care.

Namaste (my light honors your light) babies.