So, I am planning this trip to Holland next month and I’m going by car. And because of that I was looking back at this blog to the time when I first drove to Spain to see where I stayed overnight and how long I drove etc. And then I started reading back what I wrote on my first few weeks in Spain and so on. And I enjoyed reading all of that so much that I decided that I should start writing a little bit more again.
I update my crossfit-log almost every day, but that is not the same. That’s just to track my personal fitness progress and even though it is a big part of my life it certainly isn’t all of it.
So, why am I driving to Holland? It’s not because I’m moving back.. yet :p. The thing is.. all this time that I’ve been living in Spain, I still kept my apartment in Holland. My friend is living in it and it has been a good arrangement, because it was like a security blanket for me and in the meantime she had a place to stay. But the day has come to give the apartment up, as I have no intention to ever move back into it and we found out that my friend is not allowed to take it over from me so she will never be able to stay in it for the long term.
Luckily I am able to work three weeks from Holland, which means I have plenty of time to arrange everything for the apartment and to enjoy a little bit of my home country while I’m at it.
The reason that I’m driving and not flying is 1. because I want to take Murphy with me and 2. because I bought a campervan that is waiting for me in Holland. So I’m going to drive to Holland with my Honda, sell my Honda, and drive back with my cool Volkswagen T4 Minivan / Mobile home :D. How cool is that!!
My new van
Raise the roof!
The reason that I say that I’m not moving back YET is because I am starting to be fairly certain that my days in Spain are slowly coming to an end. My sister and her family (which now consists of 4, since she gave birth to my beautiful second nephew last month) have moved back to Holland, which means that I am out here on my own now, without any family nearby. And to me that does make a big difference. I love my nephew and I want to be able to start loving my second nephew just as much. I want to see them grow up and I want to be their cool auntie Tessa. Aside from that.. Live just feels a bit empty without family around. Whenever I have an off day or don’t know what to do I was always able to step in the car and drive to my sister. Now there is nowhere to go on those days.
My baby nephew Kyan
Cool boy Jay
But that is not the only reason. I think I mentioned it before on this blog, but I always felt that me being here felt temporary. Which is weird, because I love it here so much. But it never felt like home. And I don’t think it will ever feel like that. At the same time I’m not sure what to expect from living in Holland again. There are so many things that I enjoy here, that are part of my day to day life now, that I won’t be able to have in Holland. At the same time I can’t wait to see how my life would be now back home. I changed so much.. the things I do.. the things I enjoy.. I am eager to find out how that would all fit into a life in my little flat country.
But, not quite yet. For now, I feel happy with the thought that yes, I will probably go back soon. But I’m not in a rush. Things in Holland are all a bit chaotic now, with my sister living in my parents house and loads going on. I think I will let them settle down first before thinking about going there as well. Also, who wants to go to Holland when winter is just around the corner?! Not me!! Haha. No… I’ll stay here through winter and then in a couple of months will think it all over again.. and we’ll see… maybe I’ll have completely changed my mind by then. Only time will tell ;).
It is that time again. That time to look back on the past year and look forward to the new one. 2013 for me has been an amazing year. Full of good times and people. It is also a year where I got to experience some intense emotions. I turned my life around this year I think. I started it in 2012 and really made it happen in 2013.
I am really settling in here in Spain. I moved to a new apartment again, with new flatmates. I started going to Crossfit, which completely changed my life. I’ve been to so many cool places in 2013 with the 2 highlights being Norway and Morocco. Two countries I had never been to before and thereby fulfilling one of my new years resolutions from last year. Morocco was an amazing trip, for me it was the first time to leave Europe, which made it extra special.
Let’s look at last years resolutions.
Go to two countries I’ve never been to before
Learn Spanish!!! (this one I really have to do!)
Learn how to kitesurf
So, I fulfilled the first one. The second one I don’t even want to talk about. I still don’t speak Spanish and I have not taken any real effort in the whole of 2013 to learn it either. Which I am not proud of. I have no excuse for it. The only thing I can say is that over the last year and a half I have turned my life upside down. I moved to another country, I changed my lifestyle, I fell in love and I learned new sports. I had so much new stuff in my life that I did not manage to fit Spanish in there too. Life has been overwhelming, in a very good way. I could have put more effort into Spanish and maybe I even should have. But even so I am proud of what I’ve accomplished since I am here and even though I do get embarrassed when I have to admit that 1.5 year in Spain has not thought me any Spanish I choose to look at the things that I have learned and accomplished in this time. And that, in my eyes, is quite a lot.
That said, I do feel that it is about time that I do start to make a real effort into learning the language. Where I live it is very easy to ignore it, because almost everyone speaks English and you don’t really need to speak Spanish to get by. But I am starting to get to know more and more Spanish people and it is does get very frustrating to not be able to communicate properly with them. I also feel that it is a wasted opportunity to not learn the language when surrounded by people to practice it with. I even think it’s a bit rude of me to not make the effort to know the language yet. I am in this other country and right now they have to speak another language to be able to speak with me. It should be the other way around. I should speak their language with them. I am very aware of this and sometimes I get upset with myself for not having the self discipline to put in the time and effort. So, yes, it’s going on the list again this year.
Learn how to kitesurf.
Well…. in the technical sense I guess I failed. But, in some ways I think I can say I fulfilled this one. I have been practicing kite surfing. I took some more lessons and I bought my own kite and been out with it in the water several times. But, I haven’t been able to do the waterstart and get up on the board yet. The thing with this sport is that it’s not possible to practice it whenever you want. You need good wind conditions and in my case, as a beginner, flat water help as well. Because of my job I only have the weekends to practice and not every weekend has good wind, and when there is good wind it’s not always good for my kite size (too much wind can be dangerous, not enough wind makes it impossible to surf). And then there is also this thing where I sometimes plan other things in my weekends. All in all I have been out in the water less than 5 times since I bought my kite. And most of those times the conditions weren’t really perfect.
But for me the important thing is that I’m trying. And every single time I do get to go out in the water I have so much fun and feel so completely happy that it is worth every frustration that comes with the sport as well. I can’t wait to practice more and more and more!! Therefore my new motto is:
“Don’t plan. Just follow the wind!”
I think I did well on this one. When I started doing Crossfit I started feeling like absolute crap. Because it is such an intense thing on the body, those workouts. The first week I literally felt like I had been in a car crash. And I could tell that my body was telling me that it needed proper nutrition. I’ve never been interested in nutrition. At all. When I met Anita and she told me she studied nutrition, the first thing I told her was “promise me to never tell me anything bad about the food I eat”. That’s how much I did not want to know whether food was good or bad. I fully believed that food is meant to taste good and that is why you eat it. Who cares what’s in it.
Now I have the complete opposite view on food. Now I believe that food is what you need to fuel your body. I now eat certain things because it contains specific macro nutrients that I need instead of just having a craving for this or that. The problem was that I knew nothing about food. So around the time when I started Crossfit I really started looking up a lot of information on the internet and educating myself. I found that there are a lot of different opinions on food and what is good for you. I think the most important thing is to listen to your body and to not get too extreme. There are a lot of diets or food lifestyles that are very hard to maintain and in the end will not make you happy. For me, I try to eat conform the Paleo lifestyle, but not in a way that I follow it very strictly. Paleo is something that attracts me because it is very much about eating natural, unprocessed foods, but also about trying out what works best for you.
For me it mostly meant that I started eating a lot less bread and “bad carbs” and a lot more vegetables and meat and fish. In the beginning I cut out rice and pastas as well, but I found that it was too hard to get enough carbs with just veggies so now I do have rice as well. And I do eat bread and pasta as well. I just don’t cook it myself. So I eat it a lot less than I used to. I also stopped eating crisps or any snacks/sweets really. The only sugar explosion I do have almost every day is chocolate (dark). I also stopped drinking diet coke completely. On rare occasions I will have some, but I found that I don’t really crave it anymore. Which is amazing to me as I used to drink at least 1 can of diet coke every day.
The thing for me that worked is that I cut out bad habits, but not limiting myself to never eating certain stuff again. My habit of drinking diet coke, of eating crisps, of having bread with chocolate for breakfast. All those habits are gone. That doesn’t mean that when I go to a friend and they open a bag of crisps that I won’t have any. I’d probably have a lot. And I am the first one to try out all the tapas every time I go out with friends. But the beauty is that when you have good habits it doesn’t matter much when you sometimes indulge in something bad. And I have also found that the food that is good for you usually is the most delicious food as well!!
So, all in all I think I did pretty good on my resolutions last year. Time to make some new ones ;).
1. Start speaking Spanish
Instead of writing down ‘learn Spanish’ I think I really need to start speaking it. People keep telling me that that is the way to learn it. Which is so annoying to me because 1. I’m shy and 2. I’m a perfectionist when it comes to things like that. I will not send you a Spanish text unless I’m sure I used the right words. I will not say something to you unless I feel confident that I’m not saying something stupid. People tell me that I will never learn it if I keep thinking that way. I will try my best to overcome that “wall” and start speaking it!
2. Visit a country I’ve never been to before
I did 2 last year to make up for 2012. This year it’s back to the normal one.
3. Be the best version of myself (keep improving with crossfit)
They have this nice motto, which is ‘Be better than you were yesterday. Every day.’
4. Be more outwardly happy
This is a difficult one.. Or.. maybe.. I’m not sure.. The thing is.. I am a very happy person. I appreciate all the things in my life and feel an overall sense of happiness whenever I think about all the beautiful things I have and can do in my life. I experience a lot of intense moments of complete happiness. However, some of the people that are close to me tell me that I complain a lot. Which I can understand. I do complain. I complain about my work all the time, because even though I appreciate my work, my work also drives me crazy. That is not because I’m unhappy with my job, it’s because I’m passionate about my job. But yea, I complain. I also tend to complain when things don’t go my way. For example, I’ve been wanting to go to Sierra Nevada for a while now and always somethings comes up: I get sick, people cancel, something else comes up. Which is not the end of the world, but I REALLYYYYY want to go, so I complain that I haven’t yet. I think the thing with me is that I don’t outwardly express my happiness as much as I feel it and I do outwardly express my frustration as much as I feel it. So to other people it may seem like I’m a grumpy complainer. Which I am so not!!! So.. I’m gonna try and improve on that. Less complaining and more showing of how I truly feel. Because I really am a very happy person.
Those are my resolutions for 2014. I’m going to take it as it goes.. like I said before.. don’t plan, just follow the wind. I really want to spend as much time as possible in my happy place, which is either at the beach or in the mountains. I’ll go wherever the wind may lead me :).
I do have some Crossfit specific goals as well. There are many movements that I can’t do properly yet and overall I just want to improve (more endurance, more weights, etc), but here are some specific ones that I would like to work on.
- Be able to do a hand stand push up (I can’t do a hand stand now)
– 50 unbroken double unders (I managed 10 for the first time a couple of weeks ago)
– 10 strict pull ups unbroken (this might be a bit of a challenge, I can do 2 unbroken now)
– 24 inch box jump
I moved from Calahonda to Nueva Andalucia and these are my new surroundings. Well, these are my surroundings after a 5 minute drive. But it´s pretty awesome anyway.
5 Minutes by car the other way and I´m on the Puerto Banus beach. I walk Murphy there every morning while watching the sunrise.
I think this move was a very good decision. I´m not right on the beach anymore, but it´s still so close that it doesn´t really matter so much. And the beach here is actually much nicer. I have two flatmates now (both Spanish, so hopefully that will help me improve my Spanish as well), who are two very nice guys. I live right next to my job so I can have lunch at home and keep Murphy company. I live much closer to the CrossFit gym so I can go there more often and more easily. And all in all I think there´s just more to experience in this area. And in the mean time I´m saving loads of money too :D.
Been living here for a week now and it seem pretty perfect.
As some may have noticed I started being a little bit addicted to physical activity. Being active has made me feel so much better. I have more energy, I feel healthier and I might even look a little better!
Today I started a new adventure in the world of fitness: CrossFit.
What is CrossFit?
That is CrossFit.
It looks like fun. Very hard, but very fun. And since I”m doing a Mud Race in September in Holland, I need to get super fit!! And CrossFit seems the way to do it :).
I had my first workout today and I plan on going three times a week from now on. CrossFit is all about tracking your time and efforts, so to keep track of my progress I started a brand new blog for my experiences as a CrossFit Rookie.
After coming back from a holiday to Hungary last weekend I realized something. I realized that we’re only halfway through the year and I’ve already been in five different countries in 2013. That is a bit crazy if you ask me. Crazy wonderful. But still, a bit crazy.
It makes me think too. That some people can have more money than they can spend, yet they will never feel rich. And some people, like me, never have much money on their savings account at all but feel like the richest person in the world.
When I think about all the things I can do I really do feel rich. I have so much freedom and possibilities in my life. I’m very thankful for that.
The freedom to travel is one of them. I have never traveled very far (yet), but five countries in six months is quite impressive if you ask me.
In March I went to London together with Anita. We stayed at Shin and Maciek’s place. Which was awesome as always! We didn’t do much sightseeing, but had a lot of coffees and nice food. We walked around in the freezing cold a lot, went to stand up comedy in The Comedy Club and saw the musical Wicked! We also spent some time in the gym haha.
2. The Netherlands
Home sweet home. I went to Holland for a couple of days to go to a Pink concert with some friends. I managed to squeeze in a spinning marathon as well :D. Unfortunately I didn’t plan this trip very well though, as my parents went to Spain during the same time, because it was Jayden’s birthday on the Saturday that I flew back. Very dumb move from me. But it was still nice to see my friends and have some good times in Holanda.
Noruega! That was a bit of an unexpected trip. Anita, who has become my best friend here in Spain and also my flatmate, is from Norway. She moved back to Norway now and because the flight prices were so cheap (5o euros for a return flight!!) I decided to visit for a couple of days. It was very nice to be there. We did a run in Oslo, went for a little boattrip with her father, I got to shoot a gun for the first time in my life, had some nice and not so nice Norwegian dishes and had an overall good time. The last day we hiked up to Gaustatoppen, which was absolutely beautiful. I was only in Norge for 2 full days and 2 half days and that was definitely not enough time, so I’ll definitely be going back!
Hungary! Finally I got to go there again. I hadn’t been there for two years so it was nice to be able to go and just spend a week with my parents. Bukkszentmarton is still the same nice old village with the same nice people. It was lovely to be back. Unfortunately I didn’t have the best of weather. A lot of rain. Especially when I went horse back riding. We got surprised by a huge thunderstorm and got soaked through and through, which cut our ride short. It was still nice for how long it lasted though. I should definitely go horse riding more often. I also went for a long bike ride of 30km one day. I never really biked for fun, but I really loved it. Especially because the surroundings there are so nice. On the last day we hiked to the top of the Belko, which is the not so high but very impressive looking mountain that we can see from our village.
Of course! Viva Espana! Living here for 15 months now and loving it more and more. I never expected to have such a good time here. But life here is beautiful. Work is still good (been working there for a year already!) and I’ve found my own friends and life here. It’s living in a holiday feeling every day. I still don’t think I’ll be here forever (it’s a strange feeling, because why?), but for the near future I don’t plan on leaving anytime soon ;).
So.. what’s next? I still have to go to one country I’ve never been to, to check off my new years resolution. It’s going to have to be one nearby though, because I think I’m running out of vacation days!! I’ll make another trip to The Netherlands in September. But for now I’m just going to enjoy the summertime in Spain. Because honestly, in summer, there is no better place to be than right here.
I’m happy to say that we did climb La Concha. It took us three tries haha, but in the end we managed. The second time we couldn’t get to the top because Murphy wouldn’t go past one point where it was a very narrow track with a big fall down on one side. So we had to either leave him behind or turn around and of course we did the latter. But on the third try we left Murphy at home and managed to get to the top in 2 hours and it was totally worth it!
Next week we’re going to try and climb the highest mountain in mainland Spain: Mulhacén. It’s in Sierra Nevada and there’s probably still going to be a lot of snow. So we’ll have to see if it’s actually possible right now, but if it is, we’re going there!!
But, I wanted to post about another thing. Running!!
I started running at the beginning of February. Some of my friends in Holland were talking about a run in June that they wanted to start practicing for. And even though I can’t join that run I thought it would be a good idea to practice “with” them. And so I started running with the famous Evy and to my big surprise I actually really like it! Then, a couple of weeks ago, I found out that there was an organized 5km run here in Malaga ‘Mujeres contra el cancer’. So, of course, I had to join! That run was today and it went great! Even though it was very hard, because I actually never ran for 5km until now. I’m still following the Evy schedule and it’s only up to about 4km in 30 min now. But, thanks to Anita’s constant (and sometimes annoying) motivation I ran 5.93km in 39.57 minutes!!
I’m pretty proud of myself. I tried running a couple of times over the last couple of years and I was never able to run for more than 3 minutes haha. And now I ran for 40 minutes with only two small 1 minute breaks.
Next goal: 10km SEB Tallinn run in Estonia! I have no clue if I’m even able to get the time off from work to go there. But for me it’s nice motivation to keep on practicing and pushing myself. And it would be a great excuse to visit a country I’ve never been to before :D.
Every day when I drive to and from work I see this mountain. The La Concha (seashell).
Today, my friend and I decided to walk up that mountain.
We knew where to start, but that was about it. And as it turned out, it wasn’t enough! We didn’t get to get up to La Concha, but we did get to the top of two other mountains. It was a 4 hour walk and every time we had to “climb” up I noticed how fit I am NOT. Still, it was a lot of fun and next week we’ll definitely make it to the top of La Concha (which should be much easier when we ignore the other mountains and don’t go up all of them ;)).
The mountains we went to the top of were Juanar and Salto del Lobo (I think).
At the beginning of the trail. With the Cruz de Juanar right in front of us.
We were on the right track!
The view from the top of Cruz de Juanar
See that white top in above picture? That’s Sierra Nevada! I went snowboarding there a couple of weeks ago!
They have a big cross on top of the mountain. There is a legend that says that a fishing boat got lost in a thick fog, they had no idea in which direction to head towards the beach. The fog cleared for a second and one of the men saw the tip of the Juanar mountain. This saved their lives as they managed to head home. In gratitude they planted a big black steel cross up on top of the Juanar mountain and therefore it is known as the “Cross of Juanar”. There is a pilgrimage up there once a year and mass is said under the cross.
Cross of Juanar
Murphy on top of the second mountain (Salto del Lobo??). He was a bit tired XD
This is where we decided to head back. As the farthest top is the La Concha one and we figured we wouldn’t make it there and back before it would get dark.
La Concha! We found you! And next time we will climb you!
Today is the last day that cinema Utopolis Lelystad will show movies. They are closing down. And it breaks my heart. It’s a shame that it has come to this.
I feel bad for all my colleagues still working there. Having to say goodbye to the best work place ever. I feel bad for Lelystad. Such a boring city already and now they won’t even have a cinema. But I also feel bad for me. The cinema is so special to me and I’ll miss having that place around to just drop by for a cup of coffee (when I’m in the country ;)). To walk in that dusty old building with it’s ugly carpet and retro interior. I’m gonna miss it!
But, they can take away the cinema, they can’t take away the memories. I can still remember the first ever movie I watched there (or the first one I can remember anyway), which was The Lion King in 1994. I remember the Sneak Preview’s, going every Tuesday to watch a movie without knowing which one. Or we weren’t supposed to know anyway. I can remember one time, the sneak preview was The Pirates of the Caribbean. Nobody is supposed to know and the sneak preview usually had about 50 people in the room maybe, but that night it was fully sold out! Haha. So much for secrets.
I can remember going to the first Ladies Movie Nights. And then a couple of years later hosting the same event.
Of course I have the most memories working at the cinema. Learning new things, making new friends. It was the best job ever. All the way through from year 1 to year 6. I loved it from when I had to sell tickets, man the bar and clean the rooms to the point where I had to worry about having enough personnel, having the right personnel, things breaking down, regulations to follow (help, a mouse!), more things breaking down.
I shared so many good times with my colleagues (most of them now my best friends), during nightly movie showings especially. Or during the late night talks after a busy Saturday evening. And of course during all the cinema-parties that we had. They were the best!
And I loved working with film. 35mm film. I can’t explain why, but I loved it. Putting trailers and previews together, taping act 1 to act 2. Moving films around, hoping they wouldn’t collapse. Having a film collapse anyway and spending hours to unravel it. Machines breaking down for no reason. Machines breaking down in a way that you’d have to spend the rest of the movie holding a button or manually slowing down the table. The frustration of old equipment. I loved it all. I never got to experience the digital replacement for 35mm and I actually kind of like it that way. Because for me 35mm was such a big part of my job that I’m glad I quit before 35mm did.
I also remember the customers. The crazy ones, the nice ones, the scary ones. So many people coming in and out for just a couple of hours, but some of them made a lasting impression, for sure!
Yea. I will always remember the times I had at the cinema. And I can only hope Lelystad will have a new cinema soon so new people can start making new memories. And if there will be a new cinema.. I can recommend everyone to work there. Because working at a cinema will be the best time of your life!