From Amsterdam to Jakarta

Carrying 13 kg worth of backpack, which felt more like 45 kg, on my back, my travel buddy, Giles, and I left Utrecht by train to Schiphol Airport in Amsterdam on the 25th of June 2015.

I don’t think I had ever been more filled with such an unhealthy amount of anxiety than I did the day I left. A dose so unhealthy that it made me want to vomit. Right then. Right there.

Within a week, I went from being under the torturous pressure provided to me by a couple of lovely university finals to being under both a physical and a mental strain about something that was supposed to fill me with happiness and excitement.

I never expected traveling to the other side of the world for the first time would be this nauseating. This feeling of utter revulsion slipped away as soon as I stepped out of the door and actually embarked on the adventure I had been planning, dreaming and fantasizing about for almost half a year. In that same second, the only desire you have is to go forward and experience what has now become tangible.  

We flew from Amsterdam to Dubai and from Dubai to Jakarta. In those 19 hours of traveling we spoiled ourselves with an abundance of films and gorged on fresh fruit supplied to us by Emirates.

Despite all the good care, coming out of the airport completely sleep-deprived, feeling and looking like The Walking Dead, and then being hit by a wave of scorching heat and an impenetrable wall of humidity really did not boost my temper.

The drive to Jakarta was beautiful and we were astonished by the busy traffic. Take a moment to imagine entire families of about five people driving on one. single. scooter. Or imagine vans with people on top of the roofs. Or trucks with around fifty people in the back: all having a cigarette in their mouths; all wearing winter clothes in 35°C; all smiling and waving and welcoming you to their fascinating country.

The landscape, especially the huge palm trees, was so different to what I’m used to in Europe and kept me astonished, entertained and amazed for the hour-long journey. I was culture shocked. In a very good way.

Tip: always ask all the taxi drivers their individual price because they will all say a different thing.

Our dinner that night was divine. That is all I have to say about it. Ginger tea, watermelon juice, the juiciest chicken satay, nasi and all sorts of other goodness – you name it.

After that, we got our well-deserved sleep and prepared to venture into the unknown.

Advertenties

Embarking on an Indonesian Adventure

11653481_10155796957065093_1112139634_nTomorrow.

Tomorrow is the day that I will board a 19 hour flight. The day that I will travel all the way to Dubai and, after a quick stop, to my final destination: beautiful Indonesia. Tomorrow is the day of the start of a new adventure.

My travel buddy and I have planned to travel across Java towards Bali and Lombok. It feels like a dream coming true.

I can’t describe how insanely terrified but excited I am. I have never left Europe. It’s my first time visiting another continent. I honestly have no idea what to expect. How jet lagged I’ll be or how much of a culture shock I’ll experience. Help.

Of course I will be blogging about all the wonders we’re bound to discover along the way, and, hopefully, I’ll be able to post some interesting stories about all the shenanigans!

Stay tuned.

Peace & Love

Dressed In Black

As long as I can remember I’ve been obsessed with a minimalistic style. Monochrome colours make anyone look effortlessly stylish. You really can never go wrong.

Since my sweet friend, and blogger, Lizette, wanted to take some pictures of me in order to review a wallet she got for me, I thought it would be nice to repost her photos and show what I pretty much wear on a daily basis.

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Jacket – Mango / Jeans – Pull&Bear / Shoes – Nike / Wallet – Kancha

Peace and love!

A Memoir of an E-tard

Despite that most of my friends had told me not to do it, not to start, not to get involved, not to waste my life and risk craving more, I, that sunny morning, ended up taking a suspicious-looking plastic baggy, that was given to me by an even more suspicious-looking man, with me on the train to the long-awaited, idiotically overpriced festival at the dockyards in Amsterdam. That same baggy, which was strategically hidden in my bra, contained a tiny red triangle-shaped sweet pressed with a clean cut Superman logo. It was a sweet I had only ever seen in the news. Or in films. Or it had been spoken about a couple of times by most of the rock stars I applauded. Pumping that same little something into my body, that same little something that was said to be so stupidly dangerous and potentially mortal but could give me an unexplainable, ecstatic experience at the same time, intrigued me.

It was a risk I was willing to take. To say I was not nervous would be a lie. In fact, I had been researching everything I needed to know 24/7 for about sixteen days before I finally gathered the courage to take it. I had not been able to sleep because of the horror published on the Internet on websites such as Jellinek, Trimbo and DrugsInfo. I read the facts. I knew the danger. I would get dehydrated. My brain would swell up if I drank too much water. The chances of getting hyperthermia were quite high too. Just like the possibility of damaging my kidney, liver, heart and brain all at once. Oh, and, the most notorious warning known by all: addiction. According to the Internet there was no way around it. I would become a junkie. I would drop out of university, elope with a drug dealer and live at the central station in Berlin begging for heroin together with Christiane F. within a few weeks. The exact reason why all these reasons were not enough to scare me off I do not know. It must have been a combination of recklessness; wanting to experiment; the fact that ecstasy was taboo; that MDMA was illegal, and therefore ten times more interesting; that my closest friends had not done it. Pure curiosity. All that and a great deal of healthy stupidity.

Arriving at the concrete festival grounds, I admired the brick walls of the old fabric at the NDSM-wharf covered in graffiti in all sorts of reds, greens, yellows and blues. I pushed forward my legs, which felt like lead. The nerves started to kick in with the thought of smuggling. Giving no hint of faltering or drawing back, I strutted towards the security check. There was a big queue of people having to empty their bags filled with lollipops, bottle caps, Vicks, sunglasses, Dextro, glow sticks and a lot more accessories belonging to the standard raver attire. My turn. The guard looked at me, smiled, asked me if I had anything with me, to which I said ‘no,’ and let me through without checking anything. Not my bag, not my pockets. Nothing. Dumbfounded I happily skipped on to join the rest of the group as we walked towards the thumping stages, our bodies racing full of energy and anticipation.

We stood in the middle in front of the stage, bopping our heads and moving our feet slowly to the repetitive brain-soothing tracks mixed by Joop Junior that were full of stabs, wobbles, leads, pad synths, tremolos.

“Shall we pop yet? It’s kind of boring without and we only have like nine hours left before the festival ends.”

“Yeah, let’s do it. Would you like to half-half?”

Nervously I watched my friends take out their sweets from their tight boxers, bite them and wash them down like it was nothing. They grinned at each other, gave me a glance of encouragement and faced the stage again. I clumsily fiddled around a little in my bra before I finally found the lost candy. With my head held down and, simultaneously, suspiciously watching out for security guards, I managed to open the plastic drug baggy with trembling fingers. I took out the pill, looked at it, hesitated and proceeded in biting off half as I was carefully instructed. Swallowing the tiny piece seemed to be an impossible task. The taste of it was definitely not in harmony with the way it looked either. As it crumbled on my tongue, it left an indescribable, nasty taste. A taste comparable to bitter chemicals mixed with salt. A taste that was bound to linger in my mouth for another hour. With a face of pure disgust I turned to my friend who immediately gave me some water. I gladly accepted.

Not even half an hour later my limbs started tingling. As if they were asleep. But nice. I could not stop smiling for some reason. It was hard as my jaw was tightening and my teeth had started to clench. I held a plastic bottle of water tight in my hand and squished it as hard as I could. Doing that released something inside of me. My body started to experience the biggest energy rush I had ever had. No alcohol, coffee, red bull or sugar overdose could parallel that specific feeling of euphoria. Worries faded away. The urge to dance had never been greater and when I moved my arms and legs it felt like they were not even there any longer. I could not feel the usual muscle pain when dancing. It felt more like flying. The music started to sound better. I started to experience it. I locked eyes with my friends as they smiled and welcomed me to the party. We hugged each other tight whilst pulling each other’s hair for several minutes. The extreme tingling body high lead to positivity flowing through my body. I wanted to talk to everyone. I wanted to tell them how beautiful they were. How much I loved them. Oh god, the lights. The flashing lights. Lights that would forever mesmerize me. Lasers struck my face, sending shivers all over my body as I drowned in the blissful feeling of ecstasy.

The Disturber of the Peace

The ocean swallows my entire body as I softly dip into it and disturb its hidden peace. The loud atmosphere of crashing waves against the rocks, the screaming of my excited companions and the engines of several sailboats, rumbling because of the lack of wind, exchanges immediately for nothing but quiet, blue solitude. Finally. Finally I, Liam Krell, after months of hard work, have the right to call myself a rebreather diver and, finally, I, Liam Krell, am embarking on my seven-hour long journey in the Cayman waters.

As I float around admiring not just my curious surroundings but my own capacity as well, the splattering underwater sounds of the flippers on both my hands and feet break the silence in combination with my Vaderly breathing technique. About to fully engage with the adventure, I, once more, glance up to the surface, to what is known. The mask unfortunately limits my vision and compels me to let go of the comfort of familiarity. Shimmering sunlight from the above reflects through the water and its rays illuminate the deep, dark blue. Upon looking down, that same light dances and reveals the spectrum on the sandy ground beneath me. Accompanied solely by the bubbles bursting from the air hose, I swim deeper into the azure abyss.

In astonishment, I take it all in whilst gently gliding forward seeking not to harm the foundations of the earth, for what must have been – is that the time already? The sandy scenery gradually starts to change into a more interesting decor covered in sharply carved rocks coated with dark green seaweed. UBA10 whispers I have reached 130 meters. An instant later, I am stunned by the heavily contrasting sea of colourful coral against the wrinkly rocks of before. The colours, in my memory, only comparable to the vibrancy of the fruit sold back home in New York on that little market on 30th Avenue, have me in awe. Envisioning that market’s display now reveals that it is in itself a spectacle: a gem concealed by the Manhattan of the city of grey of which its worth made available only to those who enshrine it. Amazed by the untouched, unexplored secret of the sea, I notice schools of green and yellow fish escape from their radiant houses, as they, to my enthusiasm, continue to accordingly wade, no, circle, around me, and – if possible – wonder who that big goober fish blowing out air could possibly be.

I start itching as I see the time. Panicking about leaving my wonderland, I take out one of the plastic sample bags that were given to me on shore and unexpectedly act on the sudden impulse. Do not hesitate, show no mercy echoes through my head as I follow a little clownfish that flounders away from me. And conquer it.

Existential Crisis

I am pretty convinced every university student has reached the point of wanting to drop out. I have many times desperately called my dad in tears begging him to let me come home. He never allowed me and motivated me forced me to continue. Looking back now, I am very glad he did not give in and never booked my one-way back to Italy. I’ve almost finished my degree and am happy to say that I’ve grown because of it over the years. However, that does not mean I’m not suffering of the whatthefuckamidoing-syndrome.
For a module at uni I wrote a short fragment of a guy, Oliver, who did decide and have the balls to quit uni and take on a new, riskier adventure.
Hope you’ll enjoy!

Oliver

Oliver evenly spread out the broken up Drum pipe tobacco and Amnesia on a blue Rizla, placed the cardstock filter accurately, rolled it between his thumb and middle fingers, licked it and admired his work with shimmering steel-blue eyes. The art of rolling. He smirked. So much better than the pre-rolled sold at the shop. He got up from the windowsill, pushed back a strand of his curly wood brown hair that had escaped from his messy bun and climbed over the bed that was cleverly placed in the middle of his 6-meter square room in order to pick up the golden dragon Zippo from the nightstand. Click. He relished the sound of the precious lighter as he lit up.

With the burning joint pursed between his lips, he, again, jumped over the bed and hopped back on the window seat with a soft thump. Taking a drag, he admired the cobbled street that glistened with the rain that had fallen not long ago. The fresh evening wind blew softly into the room, moving the crème, once white, curtains quietly along with it. Oliver closed his eyes. How had it come to this? The first time he attended university he dropped out because it was not challenging enough. The second time he realised it just was not for him. He could not spend his days sitting down at a table. He had not lost his eagerness to learn. He just could not find satisfaction by force-feeding himself the knowledge – that was made so bland and boring to his taste – from the endless amount of books he had to read. But what was he going to do if he was not attending university any more? Where would life take him? Did he have a purpose? Where was the meaning in it all?

Oliver sighed, ashed in the cup he left in the corner of the windowsill that was still half-full with cold coffee from that morning and covered his face in one of his palms. Without even noticing he slightly burnt his already ragged slate grey jeans with the spliff he held in the other. ‘There are only the pursued, the pursuing, the busy, and the tired.’ He had been tired for a long time. He hungered to be part of the pursuing again. He wanted to experience and yearned for his life to be worth it. He longed to chase his purpose and find it. He would start by doing things that would make him feel.

Oliver sighed once more as a he flicked the remainder of his blunt out of the window and watched its gleaming red vanish in the humidity of the street. He bent his knees and folded his arms over them. He knew he had to leave. He had to break the shackles of the town that kept him imprisoned. All in order to grow.

But what about Abbey?

The Visit

“Fanny Johnson?”

Although I do not directly look up, I see a nurse parade towards me on her flashy white moccasins. Her eyes burn on me as she makes another attempt for my awareness by repeating my name and tapping impatiently on her clipboard with her long, manicured, pink nails. I gather my last courage and lock my eyes with hers. It cannot be my turn already, can it? The nurse beckons me and causes shivers to run down my spine. Ashamed I rise from my seat and do not dare look back in fear of the sight of a visible pool of sweat on the black plastic chair where many others had sat in the same position. Others, who, like me, had dreaded dragging their feet behind the same nurse into that doctor’s office of doom.

“Ahh… Miss Johnson! Take a seat!” Knowing what was inevitably about to happen, my natural complexion flushes into a dappled tomatoesque visage. Why me? Oh, wait. I should have used the damn thing the way they tell you to in health class. What had the teacher said again? Oh yes, I remember. Don’t have sex. Because you will get chlamydia. And die. The doctor introduces himself and continues by asking the standard procedure questions. Nervously, I nod yes or no to the unwanted, intimate interrogation and try to distract myself by fiddling with the buttons of my duffle coat.

“Alright Miss. We shall now proceed with the test. Would you be so kind to undress, lay down on the bed and spread your legs accordingly?” Spread my legs… Accordingly? Uncomfortably and expectedly shy I do as I’m told, unbutton my jeans and let them slide down my legs. The humiliating image of myself flashes before my eyes. I am practically wearing nothing. Nothing but my T-shirt and white sport socks. Awkwardly avoiding the doctor’s attempt at eye contact I bumble onto the stretcher with a thunderous thump and embrace the cold of the office on my delicate flower as I lay down and blossom. My embarrassment peaks. The doctor surely does not care. Why should I? Shock. Was that a speculum? Or fingers?

“Sandra? Could you call in Fanny Johnson, please?” My assistant and I grin at each other. The irony. I counted. Ah, Fanny was today’s number thirty-two. Meaning, about twenty-eight more vaginas to peer into before I get to go home to my very own missus. Footsteps resounded into the office. Within seconds I notice Sandra strutting inside with a tiny, blonde girl of barely twenty skulking on her tail.
“Ahh… Miss Johnson! Take a seat!” I spare Fanny from calling her by her first name. Poor thing is quivering with nerves. I take a sip of my steaming black coffee and burn my upper lip. Smooth. Fanny doesn’t seem to notice, too busy avoiding eye contact. Am I that intimidating? Must be my irrestibility. Better get started. It’s always endearing having girls of the same age as me in here. I always sense more of a connection. More comfort.

“I’m Doctor Pettit. The procedure is for us to ask you some questions that you must answer honestly in order for us to examine you accurately afterwards.” I continue making the standard inquiries about sexuality, activity, relationships, blabla, whilst Fanny tensely nods yes or no whilst noticeably getting more and more uncomfortable, squeezing her arms around her core.

“Alright Miss. We shall now proceed with the test. Would you be so kind to undress, lay down on the bed and spread your legs accordingly?” Fanny startles in front of me, hesitates, relaxes her arms and then proceeds. What a contrast with today’s number thirty-one. A middle-aged woman who practically threw her polka dotted spanx at me. As Fanny avoids my gaze, she hops onto the stretcher with her jittery legs. Inexcusably I do not possess the ability to resist glimpsing. My friend Mr. Speculum and I come closer and stand in front of Fanny’s fanny. As her vertical smile widens, the uniqueness of the female genitalia never cease to amaze me: big, small, tight, wide, pink, purple, waxed, hairy, fishy, clean. Beautiful.

One more shot

1356267924201The amount of times I have decided to start blogging and fully commit to it are uncountable. Around 5 blogs of mine are still roaming around the Internet with a similar post such as this one. Never did I manage to post more than three things. However, this time I am planning to surprise myself and keep going. Tag along if you like!

Lots of love,

Nathalie