31 March 2018

Las Fallas: have a genuine taste of the Valencian tradition!

How much can they party? I thought to myself when I decided to visit Valencia during Las Fallas (15th of March until the 19th of March). How crazy can it get? The people there are always calm. Valencia is such a quiet city. How much noise can there be?

Well, apparently… a lot of noise!!!!

First of all I had to get used to the constant fire crackers. Children running around with wooden boxes or plastic bags carrying all kinds of fireworks are encouraged by their parents to make as much noise as possible. Then there is the music and the drinking and the food and I realized the Valencians take their celebrations quite serious.


Every morning there was a wake up call, with music and firecrackers of course. Every day at 14:00 we had the ‘La Mascletà’. A firework show mostly consisting of firecrackers and enormous bombing  that made my whole body shake. The big show was at the city hall, the Plaça de l'Ajuntament then little shows followed in each community. I experienced both of them and both are spectacular and a bit scary I must admit. But the Valencians are clearly used to it. The louder, the better!




I was highly impressed by the Fallas, the work of art created by each community. Every year each community in Valencia gets together, raises money and then pays an artist to create amazing art made of foam. The details of the art are astounding and the creativity is on a whole different level. The Fallas are accompanied by little children’s Fallas as well. The Fallas are spread all across the city so if you take a walk you will come across several of them. Aside these there are seven enormous Fallas in the city that are incredibly high and amazing. Imagine my surprise when I heard they burn them all at the end of the festivities, on the 19th of March. This is called ‘La Cremà’. This is the tradition as in old times people used to burn their old furniture and in a way start a new year fresh. The burning of the Fallas is a symbol of that. And the fire is…huge! There were people running on the streets because of the enormous smoke that had built up from just one of the Fallas and they were not even one of the biggest ones.

I loved the costumes and parades. Everyone looked so beautiful. They did this every day! Dressed up every day and joined the parade.

‘L'Ofrena de flors’ is wonderful as each community carries flowers during a parade and brings them in the center where a giant statue of the Virgin Mary stands. The statue is then decorated flower by flower.



There was also a wonderful light show with music in Ruzafa that is definitely worth watching. I recommend you watch some video’s on youtube as I was unable to capture their beauty o camera. All the streets are lit up and you basically walk among colorful, rainbow colors. Whatever you do, do not miss this!

Aside the firecrackers shows in the afternoon there are also fireworks shows late in the night. Now these are impressive! Never have I seen anything like it and I felt like I was celebrating New Year all over again.  The funny thing is that with New Year, Valencia doesn’t go this far with fireworks, but with Las Fallas! Be surprised and be amazed!

Let aside the traditions, I have seen some unusual things take place as well. I have never witnessed a…leek fight before. Teens hitting each other with leek was quite an interesting event to watch. No, this was not part of Las Fallas, it was just part of being totally drunk. Saint Patrick’s day combined with Las Fallas creates quite some interesting moments as well. Oh and if you see people crashed on the street, don’t wake them, just let them sleep it off.


But aside it all, the millions of tourists, the crazy partying, the drunk people, Valencians are still very polite and relaxed. Even the dogs (usually scared of fireworks), seemed more relaxed than I was. In crowded places people still respect each other and there was not one moment in which I felt unsafe. Also Valencian people love to chat! You don’t speak Spanish? They really don’t care, they just talk to you slowly and even join you while you are sitting at a terrace. They are amazing and I think it’s because when you look at them, you realize they are truly happy. People in Valencia are happy. Their lives are simple yet they have all they need.

Las Fallas is a special event that I definitely recommend to anyone who is interested in traditions and partying. It’s amazing to see and it’s something you shouldn’t miss for the world. Just be careful to book on time because all hotels are already booked a year in advance. I was lucky to stay with my amazing friends. I basically forced them to stay during the Las Fallas so I can come over. I understood that usually the Valencians just leave the city in that week. I wonder why? Jajajaja!

24 February 2018

Cold weather, cold heart



It’s the 24th of February, the ‘Dragobetele’ is here. It’s the traditional Valentine’s day in Romania but the weather isn’t making things easy. It’s cold, it snowed and we’re expecting temperatures up to -18 degrees during the night. No wonder everyone is so gloomy lately. It’s cold when it should be warm and the other way around. 

I don’t know if it’s because of the weather but I have noticed a change in people lately. I’ve noticed how everyone, step by step is closing in. I noticed how people have become selfish, distant and secretive. It’s understandable. We all have a past to deal with. We all, sooner or later learned we can’t trust the people around us. Someone broke our hearts at one point and we decided to keep it more hidden from the outside world. We all came to the conclusion we should love ourselves first in order to move on and that priority one should be us. I understand that. But…selfish? There is a difference between putting yourself first and expecting everyone else to put you first. People have become business men. You do something for me first then I will consider to do something back. It seems as if everyone is sitting on a bench waiting for the other to stand up, make a move, to act differently, to give hope. But, if we are all sitting on the bench, how will we make that possible?

I had a theory a few days back. A sad theory. I came across it when I looked at myself. It was Valentine’s day and I expected to see love around me. Not me particularly but at least around me. I know Valentine’s day has become commercial and seems an obligations but there is no need to spend money or act as expected from the rest of the world. On that day I only saw people complaining about that day, ridiculing it. On that day I saw selfish people, demanding people that did nothing but at the same time expected everything to happen to them. I grew sad. Then I thought of young people, how reckless and crazy they can be. They act on their feelings and take no time to let their heart be told otherwise by their mind. Why is that? Why when we are young we can do so many things, never expecting anything in return and later on we grow so cold? Because we were young, new, fresh and had no generous past to carry on with us. The older we get the more luggage we accumulate. Our thoughts and feelings change. Perhaps in the past we did a lot of things never expecting anything in return but then one day we realized why did we do them for people who did not deserve them? Now we think, it’s time for the other person to do those things for us. We set our priorities, blame our parents, clean out our friends list and start new. We start stronger. That’s the illusion. Stronger. We think we are stronger because we don’t let anyone come near our hearts that quickly anymore. We think we are stronger because we know what we want and we know we only deserve that, no less than that because we know our self-value. Stronger? Perhaps we should say colder. We’ve become colder. We closed ourselves in and created an ice fence around our hearts. We don’t have time for the things we used to have. We don’t want to ‘invest’ in people we don’t know or listen to people that seem somewhat different than us. Time is essential. We don’t want to waste our time! Colder. Sometimes a part of the fence melts and we let someone in. We begin to hope again and expected something more. Then something happens. We freeze again. The ice around our hearts becomes stronger and even more difficult to melt than before. Cold. We think we are stronger and have the ability to deal with disappointments easier because we’ve learned to not have any expectations from anyone. In fact we are detaching ourselves from the world. We become colder and colder until our hearts are unreachable.

How do we solve this? We can’t. We can’t expose our hearts anymore. It’s too precious for us. It’s become our treasure, our most valuable pearl. Perhaps one day, when the weather is warm and the birds are singing, for one moment, by mistake, a little part of the fence will melt and at that moment someone will steal our most valuable possession. Let’s only hope that the thief is…an honest and worthy one. What can we do until that day? Do our thing. I believe we all have our thing. We have the ability to create. I believe creativity is the key. Do something, no matter what it is, as long as you put passion into it, it’s good. And look around, do something for others too. If you give a compliment or make someone smile, you are not giving away a part of your heart. You are only doing something expecting nothing in return as you used to do when you were young. I said I am surrounded by selfishness but there are exceptions. I have met someone who helped me by giving me information without expecting anything in return, I have met another who gave a present just because he felt like doing so and another who loves to give hugs and compliments just to see me smile. Are they expecting something in return? Perhaps or perhaps not. I believe that heroes are not the ones we see in action movies. I believe heroes are those who have been through enough in their lives but are still able to look around, do something for another person and dare to move on. Those who let a part of their frozen fence melted knowing that that is the only way to stay alive.

One day all the little things you do for others just because you want to, will add up and you will see. Dare. Make mistakes. Don’t throw yourself off a bridge…but dare to do things that you usually wouldn’t do. Make mistakes and learn. Time is valuable, I agree, but moments are above it and moments last forever. Don’t be caught in by time and don’t think your time is that precious because time is not a possession, it’s merely a measurement method. At work time is money. But we are not working every single moment of our lives are we? If we do then we are only machines and nothing more.

So on this crappy weather day do your thing, let go of the time notion and dare. Dare to live and dare to give.

14 February 2018

V is for?





This year I will spare you with my sarcastic Valentine stories. Let's just say this morning I am in a good mood ;) (don't push it!)

This little text is inspired from Nat King Cole's song which you all know. God, I hope I spelled it right this time.

V is for the sweet Vibes you give to me,

A is for the Amazing you I daily see,
 
L you’re very very, Lethal as a baby,
 
E is for Every moment l smile and laugh just thinking of you.
 
N is for the Nights I dream of us,
 
T is for the many Times you make me blush,
 
I because I love you, darling I adore you,
 
N I can’t Nearly describe how sweet and polite you can be.
 
E is for the Extraordinary youuuuu......
 

Happy Valentine's Day everyone, share the love!






06 January 2018

To Do List 2018



Happy New Year everyone, wishing you all the best for 2018. My year started perfect, with new scars and pains, the future looking promising this year. But nothing can stop me from sharing with you the brand new ‘To Do List’ for 2018. It’s become a tradition truly and my heart is filled with love knowing that there are so many readers waiting for this list to be posted.

I won’t keep you waiting much longer.


January

After seeing the 'Crooked House', I must give it up for Max Irons and his incredible role as the detective. 

He is cool, distant and observant, his splendid eyes watching your every, little, criminal move. I like that in a man as long as he knows how to warm up the heart.





February

So what he’s got a bit of a rash? Prince Ernest from 'Victoria' is a catch! 

David Oakes has a noble charm and that smile just melts my heart. He is funny, cute and his accent is mesmerizing. I would definitely invite him for some tea. Those eyes can tell me many stories, I bet.










  
March
  
Is she a bitch? Is she an angel? 

With Rose Byrne I really can’t say. Those who have seen her in ‘The Spy’ and ‘X-Men’ will understand. She has a wicked, sexy combination that makes any man or any woman fall for her sweet personality and arrogant attitude.


 
April


Mister Turner can’t be absent from this list. His ‘Poldark’ role is just too good to set aside. He’s the perfect man, perfect husband, well almost perfect husband and he fights for justice and honor. 

Once a vampire, now a true gentleman. You gotta forgive him for his little…slips.







May

A flower always in bloom that goes by the name of Lesley-Ann Brandt. Sweet as she is in real life, as cruel and sadistic in ‘Lucifer’. 

She can beat the crap out of you and send you to hell but hey, if you really want the girl you should be willing to make some sacrifices. 



  
 June
 

Who says that good men don’t fall out of the sky? Whoever says that has never met Thor. He nailed it with 'Ragnarok', saved the world once again and even with the unfortunate new pirate look, he still kept his dashing smile. His beautiful long hair is gone but he still looks perfect to me.





July

Auch, hot! Speaking of hot, here is Nyle DiMarco! Don’t count on him to put out the fire. He’s a fire starter, ladies! Someone call for help because he is too gorgeous to be alive and that body is accompanied by a beautiful and altruistic personality. You will fall in love with him immediately!

 


August

Still burning hot. 

Zoe Saldana is not making things any easier. 

We loved her in 'Galaxy 1', we adored her in 'Galaxy 2' and she is preparing some wonderful new roles for 2018. She is tough, smart, beautiful and deadly. If you die in her arms then you’ve made your life worthwhile.










September

Even though he creeped us out in ‘Life’ Jake Gyllenhaal’s effort to survive won’t go unnoticed. And yes, even if he rarely smiles in this movie, I still think he’s amazing. 

Still waiting for that Prince of Persia sequel, Jake!


 
October

Halloween is coming and yes, of course, how can Jensen Ackles miss the party? 

Dean Winchester loves cutting off vampire heads and butchering demons. 

But ladies, be careful, if you ain’t got beer and food in your fridge, you ain’t got Dean’s attention.




  


November

He is a weirdo but we like them nuts and twisted…no…not twisted nuts…I know you were thinking about that. 

G-Eazy has this way of being a bad boy with a good heart. He can be romantic in his dark and reserved way. And let’s face it, we all love bad boys.




December

 This one is not a bad boy. He is a very good boy….man, for that matter. Iain Dale stole our hearts and made us cry in his role as lord Melbourne in ‘Victoria’. Even though he played some mean roles in the past, in my heart I will continue to see him as the perfectly, good gentleman on whom I can always count.



Here you have it! Unfortunately there are only 12 months in a year so I can’t add any more (no matter how much I would have wanted that). Enjoy your To Do list! Unless this is the year our world ends, then in that case…try to do as many as possible in the little time we have left.

23 December 2017

Theory of happiness



I can’t let 2017 pass without posting an update. I can say that in the last period I have been rather distracted but I won’t use the word ‘busy’. When people say they are ‘busy’, to me, it’s irrelevant information. It can only mean two things. One: you are either trying to show others that you are more important than you truly are, this making me question your self-esteem. Two: you have too much on your plate and lost control over the situation thus not realizing where your priorities lay and I am about to send you to a time management course.


So, no. I haven’t been busy. I just didn’t find the need to post this until now.
I have been living in Romania for almost three years now. It feels strange to realize that I feel at home in a country in which I only lived five years before. What is home to me anyway? Am I not just a nomad? Or is that the reason why I feel the need to call a place ‘home’?

In Romania I feel at home…in a way, yet there are doubts to whether this will be my final destination. I don’t know where this country is going and I am not sure I am that compatible with the people living in it either. In a way I still feel alone. I am certain the Netherlands was not my home though I appreciated it (now even more) for its infrastructure and order. The people there were even less compatible with my character and the environment did not suit me at all but there was less chaos and greed there than here.

People say that home is where your heart is. Home is where you will find the people you love. Yes, that is true but though I have the people I love around me there is still something missing. Perhaps my sanity is missing…

Yes, perhaps it is just me. I am just as restless as I have always been. That little Tasmanian devil inside me is turning and twisting asking for yet a new change. To where do I want to escape this time? From what am I running now? Responsibilities? God knows I’ve always had those and I accept them all so that can’t be it. Love? Life? Children? I want them all. I do not fear them. But I also want to reach my dreams. I grow frustrated that I am not there yet. I work hard but the results are minimal. And at the same time, I think, what is the point? Why am I pushing myself so? I remembered a beautiful quote by Einstein, it lives within me from time to time:

 “A calm and modest life brings more happiness than the pursuit of success combined with constant restlessness,”

I am always eager to learn more, to achieve more. I want to fight, make myself heard, I want to achieve so much yet things always seem to stand in my way. But am I not trying too hard to achieve those things? Should I not be taking a deep breath instead, enjoying the little things? Should I not stop worrying, pushing and criticizing myself about the things I can’t do better or faster?

It’s time to look back and see what I’ve achieved since I moved to Romania. When you don’t put much thought into it, you don’t realize it. I am not a famous book writer (YET). I haven’t traveled to the end of the world (but I did visit some splendid inspiring locations within Europe). 

I have new amazing friends. I restarted old friendships. I meet new people. I am taking singing lessons and it’s an incredible experience. I have always loved singing and performing but I have underestimated myself in that area. That’s the worse I have done to myself. I have underestimated my worth.  

In the end I’ve done a lot of wonderful things yet I don’t allow myself to see the positive things and the things I achieved. I only look forward and want to reach for those dreams. They can be achieved but not if I keep pushing myself in the wrong way. So cliché isn’t it? And yet I must remind myself of this daily to be able to focus on the good things and not on the things I don’t have. 

Why am I sharing this with you? Because I am sure that one way or the other you might have been through this as well. Perhaps there are words in my post that you find familiar. Perhaps these words will make you think about your own life and give you a little something to think about. We live in a strange world where becoming rich and famous seems to happen to people overnight. We wish for so many things yet we haven’t the least clue what we will do with our wishes once fulfilled. 

For this Christmas I will shut off my thoughts and enjoy the little things, all the things that come my way.