Arnhem adventures part II

For our second, and only whole, day in Arnhem we didn’t plan much. We decided to meet up early, around 11pm to continue strolling around in town and maybe look for souvenirs. I really wanted to buy a small Princess Peach or a little Yoshi figurine for Zoe but couldn’t find any for a reasonable price. I had also noticed a vinyl store on our first day there and we went in to check it out. It was awesome because I really wanted to find a Hotel California vinyl. I have been for a while but they’re hard to come by here. Sadly, it was way too expensive so I had to skip it this time. We went on to an Asian store to buy some ramen we had planned to cook for dinner that day.

At first we were wandering around aimlessly until Jacky said she needed to go to this store by the central station. Overwhelmed by the different smells in said store, we looked around, talked about family and how awesome our friendships are. A little while after entering the store, it felt like we all forgot what we were doing there and we left. From no where, Jacky is all Hey, wonder where he is? 
Where who is, I thought and then we flipping saw David pop up. We were gonna meet up in Arnhem all of us, including David, but due to some circumstances, those plans were changed and we thought David wouldn’t make it. But we were fooled and it turns out he and Jacky had already plotted to surprise us by having David come by for the day! I was thrilled David came along, and I’m pretty sure many people at the station stared at me as I raised my arms in the air and basically jump-hugged David, haha.

The first thing we talk about was of course food. It was past lunch time and we had no clue what to eat but since we were all simple people, we decided to just sit down at the Burger King that was located in the station. During our meal, a stranger sat himself down by the piano and started playing a song from the game Detroit Become Human. Now the song is even better because we created a fond memory while hearing it outside of game play. It was magical.

Shortly after we finished our meal, we decided to play some Pokemon Go. Yes, nerdy we know. We hurried across the street to catch an ongoing raid and we all nerded it out. When we were done kicking ass, we hopped into the car to head for the supermarket. We needed some more groceries for dinner and by being efficient, we did all the shopping fairly quick and got back to the car to head to Jacky’s apartment. Once we got there, we finally met Mitch! Again, lots of hugs and we talked like never before. Many more questions though, and I felt so much closer to these people than ever before. Most the time, we were complaining about the weather as we chilled out on the balcony. The best part? We could sit in silence without it ever being awkward. That is what true friendship is like.

Unfortunately, David had to leave us after a couple of hours and it was pretty heartbreaking to see him leave. After dropping him off at the station, we headed home and made that ramen bowl. I love cooking and I love cooking for friends even though the ramen didn’t turn out anything like I really wanted it to. I have to admit, though, I simplified it because it was convenient. I’ll have to make up for it next time. Nonetheless, the dinner turned out great and we still had a great time.

Since Jacky was gonna drive us back to the hotel, we decided not to overstay our welcome and left shortly after dinner. It got pretty late but we had to tuck in as the next day would be our last and we’d have to make the trip to Amsterdam.

-sobs- It was expensive :(
The roof of Arnhem station,
Our dinner.
Cool wall AND THE BEST FRIENDS EVER

//Cae; and that was one of the top5 best days of my life so far. It was simple and full of love. 

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The muse sings again

It’s been a while since my muse sung to me, but yesterday she did. I’ve missed it. I even revisited a few posts and realized how much I enjoy writing, as I always have. I’m grateful to my past self that insisted on keeping a blog. I have the privilege of going back in time, read and reflect on my thoughts as I journey through life. Some of the posts even made me cry because I somehow managed to write so eloquently. I’m sure I didn’t feel like I was expressive enough but after having gone back and read many of my posts from 2013 and onward, I can confidently say that I actually am eloquent. At least in my written language. Take that all you jerks who’ve said my English is garbage! Hah!

I’m currently looking at bikes so I can take Zoe to school. She starts in 4 weeks and her school is a bit too far for us to just stroll over there. By car, it’s at least a 10min ride so a bike would be incredibly convenient. The problem is that bikes are so expensive! I really don’t get it. At first, I intended on getting one of those cargo bikes but those are basically “gimme one month salary”-expensive. It’s ridiculous. The second hand cargo bikes, regardless of age, cost half that price. So after a bit of consideration, I think I’ll just get a city bike, attach a seat to it and hope Zoe won’t outgrow it after one semester. Those are also expensive but I hope it’ll at least be a better investment than a cargo bike. At least a city bike won’t be inconveniently large and difficult to find a parking spot for. What do you guys think? Should bikes be that expensive provided they’re much more environmentally friendly and gets you exercised?

€500 excluding child backseat, lights, helmet
le cargo bike

//Cae; might be willing to sell organs to buy bike :P

Time is fun when you’re having flies

Isn’t that how the proverb goes?

I’m kidding! It’s been a while since I posted and I seem to take about a month to post something here. I hope I can improve on that soon. Words escape me when I want to write something. I’ve been keeping a personal diary and I think that has been my writing outlet lately.

It’s been about a month since I posted last and since then I’ve broken sales records on my promo tours. The last one, I doubled the estimated promotions I was given. That felt amazing and I was complimented for it. I only wish this job was more sustainable so I can make a proper living out of it. Sadly, I only work a few times a month. I enjoy it for sure, but I wish I could do it more. It feels like the next best thing since I haven’t gotten a job within my field. It’s a shame not to be able to work as a marine biologist yet but tides will turn.

There are many things happening the coming weeks. My birthday is coming up. My 1 year as Twitch affiliate is coming up as well. Something very exciting is coming up this Sunday (I’ll keep you posted, I promise!). I’m as excited as the garlic smell is prominent as I simmer the Bolognese we’re having for dinner tonight. Just wanted to pop by and check in on you guys. I hope to write you soon :)

//Cae; much love~

Dear Annie

I love you. I never got to tell you, but I love you. I will remember you as a loving, caring, determined and independent sister in law. I never met you, nor did I ever get to speak to you in person but our daily interactions over the past year has been amazing. Whatever world order that decided to take you away from this earthly life wasn’t being fair. You had your whole life ahead of you but didn’t get to see it through, not even to your 22nd birthday.

It’s gut wrenching to know, that my brother will go through what people normally go through once they’re old and have spent countless years together. It twists my whole being into something incomprehensible just thinking about the pain and the struggle that lies ahead for him. You were supposed to come this year. You were supposed to go out on an amazing date. I wanted to have him pick you up at the airport. I wanted you to be able to cook him all that pork belly you’ve been practicing to make. I wanted you to get on his nerves about getting another dog. You and I were going to scout for breeders and talk about dogs and cook all the dinners you wanted to learn. We were gonna be each other’s go-to dog sitters.

I’m mostly angry. I’m angry because all of this could’ve been avoided if you were around responsible adults. I’m angry because my brother had to start this year knowing the two of you would finally be able to start your amazing journey together, only to be shot down in the most heartbreaking and emotionally wrecking way possible. I’m angry that all that is left right now is grief and regret, not for me but for my brother. I’m angry because this should only happen to people when their journey has been long enough. Yours was way too short. Your story was way too short. It angers me because all I ever wanted was for you two to be happy. Even if it meant filling the house with little furbabies. That would probably get to my mom’s nerves. But I wanted it for you. I wanted you to have that joy, that comfort, that safety.

I despise that the last thing I told you was that I’d make you pho and you were dying to have some, you said. I haven’t even known you for long and the thought of never being able to fulfill that promise makes my heart twist and turn and twirl around looking for a way out of my chest. I can’t possibly imagine how it is for my brother. I can’t imagine it and trying to hurts even more. I don’t know how to be a good sister. All I want to do is to take all the pain, lock it in a box and never ever open it again. I want to fill another box with all the beautiful memories of you and constantly put it in a loop to give to my brother. In all honesty, all I really wanna do is to turn back time 2 years and literally go pick you up despite what either of you said back then. Maybe then none of this would’ve happened. If there’s even a slight chance, I’d take it without a doubt. You’re such a beautiful person, I wanted you to have an equally beautiful life. I’m falling apart writing this, I can’t imagine how my brother feels. I don’t even know how to approach him other than to tell him that I’m here. I’m here and I’d bend the rules of the universe if it was within my power to change this reality because it is surreal.

So, dear Annie. I’ll always love you. I’ll always remember you and for as long as I do, you’ll never truly disappear from this world. Never. I’ll keep you in my heart, in its warmest spot because we’ll never have you in a warm embrace.

Sensei and padawan adventures

As many of my readers know, Twitch has become a large part of my life. Twitch has brought me friends I never phantom to have.  Friends who are just as nerdy as me but still are incredibly resilient in their life stories. Strong individuals (looking at you coffee fam).

One of these people have been very patient with me when I ventured into playing Overwatch. I was really nervous because I had never played such a game before. I’d always stuck to my comfort zone of Japanese role playing games. This friend provided many useful tips and probably spent countless of hours to play with me. I wanted to improve and he knew, so we kept playing. Eventually, I actually got pretty decent at it and it just happened that I called him my sensei (jp for teacher) and I was his padawan.

Along with many other friends from the coffee fam, we started to talk about a serious meetup. Originally, we were gonna be 4 to meet up where I am but life happens and 2 of us had to postpone those plans. Sensei stuck to it though and he got here! I was too excited to even remember to make a sign as I picked him up at the airport. I reminisced when I picked up Frank at the very same airport and thought to myself how lucky I am to have such great friends.

Sensei spent a week here and during that week, we essentially ate a lot of great food and watched Overwatch streams. It might sound lame to some but to us it was awesome because it was exactly what we wanted to do. We really got to nerd it out. To me it felt great because I had someone to relate my Overwatch nerdness to. Now, Zoe won’t let me say Poggers because “that’s sensei’s thing”. Why is she so sassy?

Anyway, it felt awesome to have a friend that’s normally so far away that close and maybe sometime soon, I’ll have all of those four friends here and we can really nerd it out. We’re totally going back to that Star Wars café that I love so much. Back to the place where my own mug that says “You call me a bitch like it’s a bad thing”. Back to the place where a Stormtrooper will greet you by the cashier. To the place where a Hello Kitty in Dath Vader mask will stare you down as you sip your coffee. Soon.

//Cae; feeling incredibly fortunate with all my friends. Miles apart, together at heart <3

 

My 2017

I meant to post a year summary a few days ago but never got the time around to do so. In many ways, 2017 was a roller coaster, not just for me but for many I know. Despite that, no matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to find it in me to say that 2017 was a horrible year.

The first few months of 2017 was stressful and full of struggle. My thesis kept crashing and my data vanished several times. It was infuriating as much as it was frustrating. At some point, I had to re-do all calculations and it felt as if I could never finish. Hard work pays off, though, and I eventually made it to the finish line on May 18th. I defended it well, although in retrospect I could have done a way better job. It’s okay because I passed and I got to share it with friends. That was amazing. Right before I defended my thesis, I applied for a dream PhD position. A project that I had been longing to do since my second year at university. At that point, I wanted the project subject to be my Bachelor’s project. However, the world order wanted something else for me and I ended up doing a pilot study instead back then. I struggled a bit to write the application but my spirits were always lifted by colleagues and top notch recommendation letters. Despite my efforts, I was turned down for the position and it made me incredibly sad. I would have been perfectly fine if I had lost the position in any other way, but I was told my English was insufficient and I even had half the department backing me for the position. Not to mention my 2 really well written letters of recommendation from renowned scientists in the field. The rejection hit even harder when I learned that my biggest competitor withdrew his application for another job. It took me several months to recover from this and it still makes me a little angry when I think about it.

To make matters a bit worse, one of my biggest idols, Chester Bennington, committed suicide in mid July. It was horrible because he was part of a band whose music had helped me through the difficult stages that teenage me went through. In the midst of all this emotional turmoil, my uncle’s cancer came back and the entire family went crazy worried. At the same time, my parents struggled to get along after their vacation in Vietnam.

A great, but unanticipated thing happened in July, though. My stream took off and I made it into the affiliate program! I make money off of my stream now. It’s not a lot but it’s something!

Fall came and Zoe started at the new daycare. We saw an incredible character development in her and she was constantly praised for her English. Some even thought we had been living abroad. It was a delight to see how well she adapted to the new environment despite some conflicts with another child. Children will fight and we kept comforting her and teaching her how to deal with such conflicts.

Around this time, my parents’ conflict only grew larger to the point where I feared for my mother’s and brother’s safety. Eventually, they filed for divorce and while I am aware that divorces can be nasty, I’ve never seen someone give up so quickly just to completely make a U-turn and blame it all on the other side. I saw some true colors during the process and I still feel dreadful each time my dad calls me.

Zoe then turned 5 in November and I was struck by reality that she’s starting pre-school this coming August. Yeah, soon we’ll sit there with her homework. I’m not nervous at all. I really want to inspire her to be better and to know that school is an important part of life. I’m even looking forward to her teenage years because I still remember what it was like to be one and the struggles that come with it are so difficult to handle. I want to teach her that her mom will always be there for her even when she’ll claim to hate my guts. If there’s something I want to teach her, it’s that no matter what happens, as long as she confides in an adult she can trust, I’m sure she will be fine. If that person happens to be her mom, even better because I never had that and I want her to have it.

My parents’ divorce became more of a mess when my dad refused to move out and once he did, he kept coming back. We’re still struggling to have mom at least change the locks to prevent him from coming into the apartment. All he does is either sleep on the couch or yell when Zoe isn’t there. What’s the point of parting ways if you refuse to spend time apart from each other? I hope they both realize that soon. To make family matters worse, my uncle passed away Dec 23rd and the family has been pretty much a worse version of the emotional mess that they are. Conflicts are happening as no one seems to want to respect my uncle’s last wishes and no one seems to support my aunt in matters of the funeral. At least it’s going to happen on Jan 5th but the conflicts make me worry  about what will become of the relationship between my aunt and the rest of the family. My aunt always speaks her mind and it’s not very appreciated. At least I made it clear she will always remain family to me. She is my cousin’s mom, after all.

So to sum it up, despite all the dramatic things happening in 2017, I still can’t find it in me to say it was a horrible year. In many senses it was, but in just as many senses, it wasn’t. I have learned that this is what life is like and we are not here to hate the journey that is our lives, we’re here to learn things so we can pass them on to future generations. Let it be friends, family or just strangers from the streets – we’re here to share. To this end, I have nothing more to say other than love for the incredible amount of appreciation that I have been so fortunate to receive. What I wish for 2018 is that there will be even more appreciation, humility, kindness and joy in this world. We do live in the most peaceful times since the beginning of human history, let’s make the most of it!

//c_Cae; appreciation is our greatest need, make sure you show it