Ode to Boterdiep – My Fifth Home

“Dit is wel een erg kleine kamer. Past je grote mond hier wel in?”, said Ruud.

In 2001, I moved to this tiny room at the Boterdiep in Groningen. What it lacked in space, was compensated by an abundant amount of beautiful light and brightness thanks to the three large windows.
DSCN0047

Continue reading “Ode to Boterdiep – My Fifth Home”

Goodbye DT!

Today was my last working day at Dutch Telecom! Crazy how three months have passed already!

I had a great goodbye lunch with my project team, and the rest of the day was more or less filled with chatting and having fun with colleagues, as I finished the transfer of my work to my replacement.

I am happy I decided to do this project for three months! I have learned so much, have seen so much, have bumped into walls so often,  have met cool people, and have laughed so loud!

All the best to my former colleagues there! Thanks for the good times! Believe it or not, I will miss you!
And maybe someday, somewhere, we’ll meet again!

Tomorrow I am taking the train to LONDON!!!! Together with Ellen, I am going to visit Job! Lovely!

Being unemployed has never felt so good!

Cheers!

Baking pancakes in Beijing

One evening in November in Beijing…. Weiti (friend and flatmate) and I decided to bake some pancakes with Dutch cheese, bacon and strawberry jam. We live in the center of Beijing in an old neighbourhood (hutong), in an apartment with a little kitchen. For Weiti, it was the first time to actually turn the pancake in the pan. I found this movie again when I was browsing through my external hard disc. Makes me laugh!!

 

Kaki King in concert

Yesterday I went to see Kaki King in Paradiso, Amsterdam. My older brother introduced me to her music, and I was quite interested. She is known for her non-conventional way of playing the guitar and somehow I do not know many very good female guitar players.

 

KK1

 

KK4

 

 

Dan Brantigan had a trumpet next to him, and I was waiting for him to play on it. Au contraire, he played the electronic flute, or how to call the thing he played, which reminded me of the asthma inhaler I used when I was very young. He only played trumpet during one song, which was a pity.

KK2

 

KK3

 

KK5

 

Paradiso is located in a former church in Amsterdam, and the most famous music venue in The Netherlands. It is a cultural icon and according to Wikipedia, Keith Richards once said that the Paradiso concerts were the best live shows the Stones ever did.

It was interesting to see that there was a decibel meter in the concert hall. It is known that 80 dB is the safe and legal limit to which the hearing may be exposed. Regular noise above 80 dB would inevitably lead to hearing damage. I forgot to bring my ear plugs. I will definitely buy some professional ones for in Beijing. They don’t care about the level of dB in Beijing. At least here they show you to what you are exposing yourself 😉

 

KK6

11 Weeks later..

After having a great Christmas holiday in her hometown Groningen, Maysha returns to Beijing. She has decided to do the project at Dutch Telecom, to quit her job at Intertalent, and to be away from and back to her beloved ones for three months. When she arrives in BJ, she knows all too well that time is precious as she has only two weeks before the plane will bring her back to Amsterdam again. She fills the two weeks with making arrangements with the apartment to ensure that she can come back to that little place in the hutong, and spends loads of time on the things and persons she will miss most during her stay in Holland.

Disaster strikes when she becomes sick in the last week. Having horrible images of sitting in a plane with annoying passengers, while sweating out feverish liquids, she decides to spend her last days in BJ in bed and on his couch. She recovers just in time and before she knows it, she is on the plane again. The thought of being back at work in Holland is a bit frightening and Maysha seriously ponders  why the hell she is doing this.

Very early on Sunday, the plane lands safely at Amsterdam Airport, Maysha’s sister picks her up and they stay at her sister’s place in Leiden. This is going to be the place where she will live for the upcoming three months. Having hardly any time to adjust, the next day, Monday, Maysha starts working at DT. The two worlds alternate very fast, and it feels as if BJ was just a dream. At DT in Amsterdam, she runs into a lot of familiair faces, and setting up the Delivery Academy does not give any space or time to even think about the worlds that just switched places in a blink of an eye. Let alone that Maysha has any time to update her blog. 😉

She fights against jetlag in the 1st week, starts finding her way at DT Delivery in the 2nd week, finally sees Erika again who got MARRIED in 2008 in the 3rd week, has dinner with Hok Kwan whom she knows from BJ causing her feel like being back in BJ again and to almost yell out Fuwuyuan to the Dutch waitress in the 4th week, parties with her Posse in Groningen in the 5th week, hears that she is going back to BJ for sure in May in the 6th week, breaks her 50-years-old saxophone in the 7th week, cycles with Kirsten to the beach and ends up in The Duke in the 8th week and has an old-fashioned evening with Tobm filled with pizza, pot, and bad horror movies in the 9th week…Still 5 weeks to go….No one knows what will happen..

My hometown Groningen

I have spent three weeks in my hometown Groningen and wanted to share some pics with you!

Groningen is a great small city, very lively and dynamic!

This is a park called the Noorderplantsoen. I have spent many many hours here, having a picnic with friends, lying in the grass. My university was very near here. So many hours of procrastinating!

 

g1

 

This is a little music chapel in the park. Many years ago, some friends of mine and me organized a little music festival here! I had an important exam the next day, it was my first year of studying Psychology, and I studied the whole night through, and passed the exam! Haha, probably cause the knowledge was still in my short-term memory.

 

g2

 

This is one of the little streets going towards the city center.

g3

 

A part of the city center called the Waagstraat, where old architecture is combined with modern architecture.

g4

 

Our city’s pride and joy: The Martinitower!The christmas tree was still there, as well as the ice-skating ring.

g5

 

Our city hall.

g6

 

The market place with in the distance a beautiful church called the A-kerk.

g7

 

Of course we have the canals running through the city.

g8

 

g9

 

Another picture of the Noorderplantsoen. I love this park!

g10

 

Stamppot Zuurkool! A typical Dutch dish!

g11

Maysha meets Balkenende

Last Saturday, the Dutch Embassy organized a reception where they invited Dutch prime minister Jan Peter Balkenende for a speech. Balkenende was here for the Euro-Asia summit about the financial crisis. This reception was also meant for him to meet and greet the Dutch community in Beijing. He held quite a funny speech and then he just walked around among the people to have a drink and to chat with everybody.

So Lisa, Esther and me grabbed our chance and we chatted with him and of course took a picture!!!

'08-10-25 Beijing 022

Olympics: Taekwondo

O yeah, I went to see Taekwondo as well! I think that that was the best one of all the matches I’ve seen now. Here are some pics:

 

tkd0

 

Sorry, can’t remember anymore who these fighters are.

tkd1

 

I never had a toy like that when I was his age!

tkd2

 

Sooo many red flags.

tkd3

 

There were quite some Iranian supporters. Not for nothing! An Iranian guy won gold in the end!

tkd4

 

In red the Iranian guy who won gold.

tkd5

 

French supporter cheering for the French lady who won bronze in the end.

tkd6

 

The other side of me! I should be ashamed holding the flag wrongly!

tkd7

Holland Heineken House

Today is the last day of the Olympics. Yesterday evening I went with some friends to the Holland Heineken House. I hadn’t been there before in the evening and it was said that it is one of the best places to party during the Olympics. Wasn’t too bad at all!

The Holland Heineken House is located in the Agricultural Exhibition Centre of Beijing:

HHH0

 

Many many Dutch people of course. Been a long time ago since I was surrounded by so many Dutch. But the Holland House is open to everybody!

HHH3

 

Here is a video to give you an impression of the House:

 

Jihui, Mark, Dave, Benjamin and me in our orange shirts, kroket and french fries with REAL mayonaise!!

HHH4pp

 
HHH2pp

 

Olympics: Judo

Last Thursday I went to see a judo match! A Dutch guy (Henk Grol) won a bronze medal. Of course the Chinese won another gold medal! The atmosphere is just great at the Olympics matches! It is quite impressive, I never expected it to be so much fun actually!

The security check:

Judo1

Judo2

Judo3

Chinese fans are the majority of the crowd of course and their support to their athletes is just amazing! I guess everybody in the world knows Zhong Guo Jia You now!

This is during the matches for the medals. The press photographers have the best spot!

Judo4

Judo5

Judo6

The referees

Judo7

Chinese fan:

Judo8_2

Anton Geesink on the left, handing out the medals, Henk Grol on the right:

Judo9

Dutch supporters:

Judo10

Judo11

Me thinking that it should actually be One World Many Dreams, or One World One Nightmare (considering certain aspects of this whole event)

Judo12

European Championships Soccer!!

Here in Beijing, we also watch the European Championships Soccer! Last Friday at 2:45 am, I watched the match France-Holland, in a French bar, surrounded by French people, with two French friends of mine! What an evening!!! Sour faces.. I almost felt sorry for them! Carla and Ruud brought me a Dutch flag, so I can cheer for the Dutch team with it. Guess it was a good idea not to bring it to this bar!

So where is the flag now? Hehe check out this picture of the building where I am living. Guess which apartment is mine…:)
EK1

Here is a close up:
EK2

I can’t remember ever being so nationalistic during games like this. Well, maybe it’s not so strange as I feel much more Dutch here than when I am in Holland. So tonight they play again! It kinda sucks that it is broadcasted in the middle of the night here. Need to work tomorrow…But I will probably watch the quarter finals, no matter what day in the week it is! Hehehe… Hup Holland Hup!!!!

Carla and Ruud

As I said on my former log, Carla and Ruud were in town. They were here last year as well, and I just love them for coming here again! After my birthday party we visited the Lama Temple together, and of course had dinner and spent as much time as possible. They were only 4 days in BJ before going further into China, and I had to work during the day, so we spent all the evenings to catch up!

Lama Temple
CR5

CR6

Ruud was recording everything with his videocamera
CR4

At a certain moment after the Lama Temple we came across a very cosy little hutong. I had my bike with me and had to walk out of the hutong, casually, pretending that I am living there! So funny!
CR1

Last evening with Carla and Ruud. Yes, there were some tears..
CR2

CR3

Happy New Year!

New Years’ Eve was such a foggy night. I have never seen fog like that before. People were calling the cops cause they got lost and couldn’t find their houses anymore. I spend this night with good friends and the fog made it all a bit surreal. It is strange to be back in Groningen but at the same time it feels as if I have never left this little town.
HNY

I wish you all the best in 2008! May your dreams come true, but not all of them otherwise there is nothing left to dream about.

China’s National Day

On the first day of October, 1949 Mao proclaimed the formation of the People’s Republic of China. It is the China we know now. This day is China’s National Day and is the start of a week holiday for the Chinese. Actually people do not really have a week off. Officially we have three days and the other two days are actually working days. The weekend before the holiday is a working weekend to compensate the last two days of the holiday in order to give people a whole week of holiday so they can travel. And that is what the whole country does. Travel back to their hometowns. Just like with Spring festival, Beijing all of a sudden is a whole lot more quiet. People celebrate this day by for example going to parks where some festival is being organised. Nicolas and I went to Chaoyang park, the largest city park in Beijing. A huge festival was organised there with exhibitions of ofcourse the upcoming Olympics, live music, little vendors, lots of things to eat, rollercoasters and mini bungy jumps, stuff you see in theme parks.

In this park there is a Dutch village. I thought, why not go to see some Dutch stuff on China’s National Day. So we went there and ate some kibbeling with remoulade sauce, smelled the Poffertjes and saw one windmill. There was a stage with a singer singing cheesy songs. I bursted out in laughter when he started to sing a song very well-known for us Dutchies. Too cheesy for words, but it made me laugh! It almost felt like being home again.

After this, someone in the park gave me a map of Finland in case I would ever visit Finland, and we ended the day with a nice pricey meal in a French restaurant. So nice to have a good meal with a delicate taste again!

So far my celebration of China’s National day!

Betreffende Hyves

Voor alle mensen die berichten voor me achterlaten op Hyves. China is niet zo blij met Hyves en daarom is Hyves geblokt. Ik kan vanaf hier niet op de site komen! Natuurlijk zijn er wegen om de geblokte sites alsnog te bereiken maarre, dat doe ik niet zo vaak. Het is wel vreemd dat de site niet te bereiken is, ik bedoel wat kunnen al die kleine berichtjes en de persoonlijke dingetje van mensen in Nederland nou aanrichten in China? Natuurlijk blijft het een open platform voor communicatie en ja zoals we allen weten is en blijft dit wel China, en moet ik zelfs oppassen met wat ik schrijf in het Nederlands omdat anders mijn blog uit te lucht wordt gehaald en ik mijn eigen blog niet meer kan bereiken. Zo’n vaart zal het uiteraard niet lopen, maar dagelijk worden er zo’n paar honderd blogs uit de lucht gehaald.  Men investeert in dit land enorm veel in voorkomen, met de Olympische Spelen als grote drijfveer erachter, en ja ze kunnen proberen de mensen hier te leren niet meer te rochelen en hun prutje op straat te spugen en en wat al meer niet, maar iedereen weet dat het water naar de zee dragen is. Onderhuids is alles nog lang niet koek en ei. Soms besef ik me dat hier maar al te goed, hoewel in het dagelijkse leven als je gewoon braaf je leventje leidt, het niet voelt als een land waarin vele essentiele onderwerpen grote taboes zijn.

Hoe dan ook, berichten op Hyves zullen mijn oog niet snel bereiken!

Groetties!

Das Aldi Combo

So last Friday Galuh and I gave a marvellous, stunning, incredible, fantastic party! The evening started at around half past eleven and in the beginning we were a bit nervous as we booked a smashing band starting to play at around eleven, and we really hoped that people would come in time for the band. Luckily all went well and when the band, Das Aldi Combo started to play, the cafe was filled with people and during the one hour and a half that the band played it became more and more crowdy. After the band we had a great DJ who ensured that the dancefloor stayed filled with dancing people! Time flew by, and before I knew it, it was half past 5 in the morning and time to call it a day. I had a wonderful time, with friends all around me and even people whom I hadn’t seen and spoken for a long long time. I could not have wished for a better farewell party as the one I had last Friday.

For all of you who have missed the band, I’ve added a video of Das Aldi Combo (found on YouTube) of a concert they held at the ZomerJazzFietstour last summer! Check it out!!!

So now another 12 days are left before my departure. Yesterday I got sick, feverish, a cold whatever and today I slept for the whole day. As you can see I am writing this post at 1:22 am, as I cannot sleep at the moment. Too much sleep during the day causes insomnia at night. Everytime I think back of the party a smile appears on my face! I just can’t help it. It was phenomenal!!

Chinese Embassy

So a new year has begun.

I still can’t imagine that I will be in Beijing in 20 days. Last week was filled with official administrative stuff to arrange for my departure. I have my Chinese visum now that allows me to study and stay in China for 180 days. Sometimes I can be such a moron when applying for things like this. In some manner I get stress cause I am thinking bout all the doom scenarios that might happen e.g. them not giving me the right visum, or them losing my letter of invitation or worse my passport. So completely out of the blue I get stressed based on nothing except a distrust in the human being and its administration.

Ofcourse everything went well. Except for the fact that on my way to the Chinese Embassy I was desperately looking for an ATM as I vaguely recalled that the visum could only be paid in cash. The Chinese Embassy is only a bicycle ride of ten minutes away from my house but I just did not pass an ATM, so I made a detour. A laaaaarge detour! When I finally got my money and arrived at the Embassy there was a huge waiting line and when it finally was my turn, the lady asked me whether I wanted to pay Cash or Pin! So in case anyone needs a Chinese visum in The Hague, it can be paid by Cash or Pin.

Feeeeest!!

Ik wilde een boel mensen een uitnodiging sturen per mail, maar op de een of andere manier werd het plaatje niet goed of helemaal niet meegestuurd. Velen of iedereen hebben alleen mijn link naar mijn blog gekregen. Dus het spijt me voor mijn gespam. Hieronder de uitnodiging in tekst.

Ik vlieg op 5 februari naar Beijing, en vanaf dan kunnen jullie op deze blog lezen hoe het me vergaat daar in het Oosten van de wereld!!

feestje van Maysha en Galuh

vrijdag 19 januari

De Walrus (Pelsterstraat 25, Groningen)

met Das Aldi Combo

open vanaf 22.00 tot ………..

gratis entree natuurlijk

En Free Salad bar!