May 27, 2009
May 25, 2009
Yesterday I drove to Geneva. I had to be there today to give a presentation at HQ of the organization that I am working for. But I went a day early because friends of mine live there. I had the best time. We spent the entire day in their garden with view on Lake Geneva and the Alps. It has to be one of the best views in the world.
Best thing about these friends? They sure know how to spoil a girl who loves good food and drinks... We started off early with a pre-lunch aperitive - rose wine and bruschetta. Well that was a first for me. Pre-lunch aperitive? I don't complain. We had a fabulous lunch with white wine. We drank gin-tonics on the pool side. We had dinner with swiss cheeses and salad from their own garden. Have you ever heard of Himalaya salt? They had it. I never expected to say this of salt, but it was delicious. They served espresso accompanied by the meringues I had brought from Lyon. We sat outside until well after 1am, playing cards, drinking limoncello. Do I sound like an alcoholic yet?! I must have gained 10 pounds in one day...
I love these people. Not just because their well stocked fridge. They always make me feel so welcome and relaxed. I'm sad that when my internship is over I won't be able to visit them so easily anymore....
Even though I didn't sleep so much last night my presentation at HQ went really well. My supervisor even hinted there would be job opportunities for me in the organization or other international organization...
Couldn't ask for a better start to my last week in Lyon...
May 22, 2009
I just realized I completely forgot posting my weekly dose of positivity. (Which I really need right now because Windows Explorer just crashed on me leading me to lose a nearly-finished blogpost... Argument to buy a Mac?!)
Here we go. this week cheers go to:
* Family. My uncle and aunt are in Lyon for a couple of days on their way to the South of France. Spending time with them yesterday reminded me how amazing it is to have loving family and how strong family ties are. They won't "break up" with me and while that may cause panic attacks in some people, I find it very comforting.
* Cute couples videos. I saw this on A Cup of Jo. I've found it on a number of other blogs since then as well, but I couldn't resits posting. Guaranteed smiles. And can you believe the awesomeness of their wedding guests?!
This other cute video Amelie-style was posted over at rockstar diaries.
* Having a boyfriend who has been so incredibly supportive both times I went abroad for a long period but who also tells me now he would like me to stay in the Netherlands from now on.. (I'm sorry I have been gushing about MrBee so much lately. You must be quite curious about him by now.... I promise to limit my MrBee-gushing as soon as we are reunited. I'm just a little obsessed at the moment. Just bear with me for a week en plus!)
*Blip.fm. Which seems to be a worthy replacement of pandora - which doesn't work anymore in Europe and which I have been missing terribly - and last.fm - which I never really liked. If you are on blip.fm as well, come and find me and check out my DJing superstylin'. Username is MsBee!
* Writing my cheer posts. I've found writing these posts make me feel so lucky and happy! I can recommend it!I hope you're all having a wonderful day as well! xo Bee
May 21, 2009
I met Mr Bee in a record store.
We talked about music.
I bought many CDs.
He gave me discounts.
We went for a drink.
We talked and laughed and talked.
We kept on talking until we had been kicked out of three bars who closed before we were ready to say goodbye.
Small complication. I had a boyfriend.
We saw each other as much as we could.
I introduced him to my friends. We all danced together in one of my favorite clubs.
We laughed and talked.
I told him things not many people know.
We went to a concert together. The concert of Phoenix.
It was amazing.
I wanted him so bad.
It was electric.
Phoenix quickly became one of my favorite bands.
We stayed out until 7 in the morning. I didn't want to say goodbye.
We bought tickets to go see Air play.
I had to break up with my boyfriend. I was in love. With MrBee.
By the time that Air concert came around, MrBee held me. We had been together for a month.
Today MrBee and I celebrate our 5 year anniversary.
Well we have to celebrate it separately, with me here in France and him being at home in the Netherlands.
I'm sure we'll make up for it when we see each other again (in 8 days!!!! wooooot!)
I can't wait for the next five years....
May 20, 2009
(As you can see Lyon has its own tiny "Eifel Tower")
May 19, 2009
May 18, 2009
I'll tell you more about it in later posts.
May 15, 2009
Last weekend my dad and my brother were visiting and we had the perfect French day on Saturday.
We had breakfast with Pain au Chocolate
We drove into the beautiful French country side of the Beaujolais with many vinyards, hills and forests
We visited medieval villages, churches and boroughs
We had really really incredible macarons (mine was raspberry-pistachio, with poppy seed)
The sun was shining all day
We had baguettes for lunch
We did some vin degustation in the afternoon and of course made a little purchase too
We had dinner at a very cute little Italian restaurant.
... Ok so that's not typically French. But it was the perfect ending to a glorious day!
May 14, 2009
I don't feel very positive today.
I feel the need to hand out some boo's.
Free use of Pandora is restricted to the US. It has been already for a long time and I had moved on but right now I just really need to listen to a good mix of music and last.fm just told me I finished my trial period and Pandora was always so much better and AAH..
I'm just so frustrated with being here in Lyon in my crappy appartment without my friends, without MrBee. MrBee and I just moved in together a month before I started my internship and our house is so lovely and I feel like I am in a cocoon here, like life passes me by. I am lonely. Is that overly dramatic?
I read all these great blog posts about making your own notepads, sewing and great cooking and baking. I do some very basic baking here to feed my (very Dutch) egg cakes addiction (which I will post on later), but anything more challenging is virtually impossible. The kitchen in my crappy French appartment only contains about three knives and a whisk. Also, cooking is so much more fun when you can share. I'm inspired to try all these things but I get so frustrated because I can't here. I am making lists of things I wanna try and do as soon as I get home and I am so impatient and I just want this internship to be OVER. I've been abroad for pretty long periods of time before, but this time I'm not so excited about it as previous times...
I guess you could say I'm homesick.
May 13, 2009
I love Regina Spektor
But I am also a total groupie of John Lennon.
I love the Regina version of Real Love by John Lennon. I think it's magical.
Also, don't you just love this video by Ben Folds featuring Regina? It's an unofficial vid but I think it's fun and the song is just great.
*My killer heels. I wasn’t feeling all too happy this morning but strutting down the streets in these babies on my way to work gave me the boost I needed
May 12, 2009
May 11, 2009
* How long should it be?
Guy: Oooooh... Really? No bite? [Sees my face] Oh but then next time we meet, if destiny allows us, if fate allows us, then next time I can bite your cheeks right? [while grabbing my hand]
May 10, 2009
7 Things that make me happy in no particular order:
1. Fresh flowers. They brighten up a room and make a perfect gift.
2. Dresses. I have many many dresses. You could say I have too many dresses. I love dresses. Wearing dresses makes me happy.
3. Dipping cookies (preferably homemade of course) in my tea.
5. Food & Wine & Friends. Hands down best combo in the world.
6. Doing the MC Hammer dance. I'm serious. If you ever feel down, put on the CD (OK, I confess I have the MC Hammer Greatest Hits CD but I swear it was the result of a bet and I only ever play the first two tracks!) and dance and you'll feel better instantly!
- Rachel at Heart of Light writes one of my favorite blogs. She's crafty, she shares great recipes AND she takes beautiful pictures.
- Melanie at You Are My Fave is funny, has six sisters and posts oh so many lovely things.
- Olivia at Everyday Musings has a very witty style and works in a cup cake bakery.
- Meg is amazing and writes an honest blog that I love. And I LOVE the picture of her mom in the header.
May 8, 2009
Abroad it is usually a bit more challenging to ride a bike through busy cities; challenges being hills and motorists that are not used to cyclists and therefore try to run you over more frequently.
When I was in Geneva for the first part of my internship, biking was not really an option for, Geneva being a town in between the Jura mountains and the Alps. I HATE cycling uphill. So I used my car to drive around town and from work to my house. Better than public transport in this case, but it was far from perfect: heavy traffic during rush hour, problematic parking and f course environmentally unfriendly. The only really good thing is being able to sing along very loudly to my iPod. (Although they probably do saw me passionately mouthing the words…). That would be slightly less comfortable in a packed bus.
But here in Lyon they have a really cool system. They have ‘stations’ with bikes, electronically locked, on 250 places around the city, which basically means on every other street corner. After you’ve subscribed to this system – which is ridiculously cheap – you can unlock a bike at any station and return it again to any other station. And the bikes are generally quite good: they have working lights and cute little baskets for your coat/purse/shopping bags.
However, even though you see quite a few people riding these (and other bikes) around town, most Lyonese drivers are not yet entirely used to them. So I’ve found it’s safest to cycle over the tram tracks. Mind you, you have to use the tracks of the tram coming from the opposite tracks from you. You don’t want to be surprised by a tram ambushing you from behind…
So now this Dutchie gets to bike again! I love it. It makes me miss my own bike a little less….
I love my bike.
May 7, 2009
Still I finished the last bit of the book incredibly fast. Not because I was so curious to find out how the mystery would unravel, but because my friend had brought a copy of Twilight by Stephanie Meyer with her for me.
Somehow I completely missed the whole Twilight mania. I know I know... it's a whole series and they're making movies of it and millions of kids are dedicated fans and everything. I know now. But I didn't know anything about Twilight until my friend told me she had read all the books in the series so far and that she was embarassed to admit that she loved them all.
And I trust her opinion.
I knew it was sort of a teenager romance book and far from the most intelligent read around, but also that I was going to love it.
And I do.
After finishing The Forgotten Garden in a hurry I dived straight into Twilight. And I'm hooked.
I read while having breakfast. I decided to walk to work today so I could run into streetlights. No. So I could read. And accidentally run into streetlights and other obstacles along the way. I find it hard to focus on work. I just want to finish the book!
Anyone else read the book?
By the way, this morning walking down the street, I passed by two elderly French men, discussing politics (I think... les allemagnes blablabalabla) while both having a baguette clutched under their arms.
I wish I had a camera with me.
But then again I'm not sure what they would think of me if I asked them whether I could take their picture...
May 6, 2009
This week my cheers go to:
- My cute new shoes! All three pairs!
- Only having another 3,5 weeks to go at my internship in France! Then MrBee is coming to France to reclaim me. He's coming by train and then we'll be driving back to Holland together in my car. After a romantic weekend in Lyon of course... I'm so looking forward to being back home again.
- Mail. The non-electronic kind. It's just awesome to receive handwritten postcards, letters, notes. I love the stamps, the handwriting, the excitement to find something in the mailbox, thinking of the trip that envelope must have made before it reached its destination... So that's why I am sending out a couple of cards myself today, knowing the receivers will appreciate it just as much as I do. And then karma will do the rest right?
Eating crepes. (They tasted better than they looked).
But it also meant serious shopping.
My friends felt like they were on vacation and therefore had no reservations on spending and I.. well I didn’t want to spoil the fun.
So I bought a couple of things. Just to join in.
Some things I truly truly love.
Like these shoes. Aren’t these the cutest??
I thought they were so cute, I bought them in three colors.
(You can see I already started wearing the blue ones...)
I think that purchase is totally legit: they were really really cheap, just looking at them makes me smile and I wear ballerina flats all the time. All. the. time. So no regrets here.
But I also got two tops at NAF NAF which were sort of cool and on sale. Which is of course a big plus. But after I tried them on a couple of times at home, I wasn’t too sure anymore. They weren’t very flattering and I didn’t feel comfortable in them, which is usually a sign for me I won’t be wearing them much. And already my closet is too full with items I rarely wear. (I'm in desperate need of a major closet clean out). So I decided to take those back.
When I got to the store yesterday, it turned out I was too late to return them. Because they were sale items, I apparently had only 8 days to return them.
The girls at the store were so nice and felt really bad for me. They told me the computer wouldn’t let them take it back. I couldn’t understand everything they said in French and I think they were sorry for me, as a foreigner, not understanding it, confused…
In the end they graciously offered to take back the clothes and let me shop for the worth of those clothes. I didn’t know whether I should feel disappointed about not getting my money back or thrilled about having a shopping carte blanche, financed by myself.
Anyway, in the end I was really content because I got two rather basic pieces that I know I will wear a lot which is so much better than having to keep the other two pieces that would definitely have ended up somewhere in the back of my closet. And the girls at the shop were so sweet, I left the store a happy customer...
May 5, 2009
It is tradition that at eight o’clock at night everyone is silent for two minutes. Everyone is. Public transport stops, cars halt at the side of the road, all TV stations are silent, streets are empty and flags are half mast. Everyone takes two minutes to pay tribute to all those lost. People gather at war monuments. The largest gathering is at the national monument at the Dam square in Amsterdam, which is also attended by the Royal family. After two minutes the flags are hoisted again to the national anthem.
(If you’re interested, watch the video in the link here. The guy giving the speech in the end is the Mayor of Amsterdam, he is thanking the Queen for being there this year especially, since there was an attack on her and the Royal Family only last Thursday, on Queensday (see link). Some maniac drove through the crowd, killing 6 people on the way, trying to ram the bus with the Royal family.)
When I was a little I would think of Anne Frank for two minutes. For me, she was the symbol of all that suffered in that time. My mom had taken me to the house where Anne Frank was hiding during the war when I was maybe only 10 and that together with reading her diary really had a huge impact on me.
Even now, being abroad, I take two minutes to think about the cruelties that happened then and to remember those whose fight and resistance make that I live in a free country now. I am grateful for that.
I think it is beautiful when people come together to do something good, the way I feel all Dutch come together on the 4th of May. I feel the same – although it is something completely different – when an ambulance with sirens on comes hurrying down the road and all cars make way. There is a silent code that that’s what you do in a situation like that, because that helps others, because it’s good, so we all do it. I think it’s so cool.
On the fifth of May the Dutch come together again. We come together to celebrate our liberation in 1945 by the Canadians, English and Americans and we celebrate our freedom today. And that’s done a little differently: no silence, but a lot of music. Festivals are organized all around the country and we celebrate, sing, dance and drink beer to celebrate our freedom.(the banner reads "celebrate freedom", photo from parool.nl)
May 4, 2009
Female (25), slightly impatient and demanding, looking for new laptop love; has to be powerful and versatile.
Any suggestions? Should I go for Mac or not? What brands are good, which aren’t? HELP!