And the Award goes….

Image

Ever since I can remember I’ve been wanting to become either an actress or a musician. And not just any actress or any musician. In my childhood dreams I have always been aiming for the stars; I wouldn’t settle to become some hardly-famous B actress, who half the world had never heard of. Or a poor vocalist with no audience.  No, I was destined to become the world’s next Madonna, I so clearly was  a Meryl Streep in the making; just quietly binding my time, waiting for the very best moment to grace the stage and leave the world in awe with my mind-blowing abilities. I imagined myself answering witty interview questions while gently strumming my guitar. I spend days thinking of the teary eyed acceptance speech I’d give as I was handed my long awaited, well-deserved, Academy Award. And no, I wouldn’t be in it for the fame, the fast life or the fancy dresses. I was just a 6 year old girl who felt with all her heart that she was born for greater things; exceptional achievements and larger than life milestones.

Today, so many years later, I’m not an actress, not an recording artist, nor am I famous in any other way. I haven’t achieved greatness, yet, and it’s most likely that the long and graceful acceptance speech I had in mind will remain unwritten and most definitely unheard. I still have mountains of dreams and long lists of things I want to achieve, but my goals have slightly changed and I guess time has taught me that maybe being a little realistic won’t hurt me in the end. For example, I have accepted that I will probably never fill a concert hall with my sweet singing voice, nor will I record that album I’ve always thought I would. And I have given up on ever getting my hands on that much-loved golden statue, even though I still watch every Oscar-ceremony with the sinking feeling of  ‘that could have been me’. But since I haven’t acted a day in my life and my self-esteem is hardly Grammy nor Oscar-worthy , I had to admit at some point that it was all a bit of a long shot…

Through the years I started focusing on more accessible goals, other talents to tap into; I started to write& draw, I picked up the camera and discovered my love for capturing moments using words and images. I got older and wiser, most of my childlike confidence got replaced with that mature portion of self-doubt and insecurity, that seems to go hand in hand with becoming an adult. With every word I wrote, every photo I made, I asked myself whether it was good enough, whether I really though anyone would want to read or see the things I made. Not only did I give up on my grand, somewhat idealistic, dreams, but I guess  that at some point I gave up on my own abilities altogether.

So, imagine my surprise when I opened my mailbox this morning and found a lovely little comment from fellow blogger Kiz, from http://simpledailypleasures.com/ , telling me that she had nominated my blog for a Liebster Award, explaining how she thoroughly enjoyed my words & pictures. Me; nominated at last. Okay, it’s not an Oscar. And alright, I actually had no idea what a Liebster Award was up until a few hours ago, but the point is; I have been nominated an Award. Someone actually read my blog and liked it. Read my words, saw my pictures and thought they were good. Worthy of being read by others. I can’t believe it.

Thanks you, Kiz, for making part of my dream come to after all these years. It means the world to me!

Image

So, the Liebster award; a pay it forward award that helps new bloggers, like myself,  get recognized and read. There are a few rules and conditions:

1)      I have to post 11 facts about myself

2)      I have to answer the 11 questions my nominator asked of me (interviewed at last!)

3)      Nominate 11 bloggers, with 200 or less followers and link them in this post

4)      Go to the bloggers pages and tell them they’ve been nominated

5)      Tags back are not allowed

 

Alright, here we go:

Eleven facts about Naomi

1)      The book ‘Extremely Loud & Incredible close’, a most amazing novel by Jonathan Safran Foer, inspired me to become a writer. This book really changed my life, simply because it spoke to me in a way no other book had ever done before.

2)      I drink my espresso strong  with a cloud of milk

3)      When I fall in love with a certain cd or song, I can listen to it for days on end. Discovering a new song makes my day

4)      You are allowed to wake me at 4 A.M for a good vegetarian Indian curry. But only for a really, really good one!

5)      I love being outdoors and spending my days surrounded by nature. About three years ago I went to Scotland and  walked the West Highland Way, an experience of a lifetime!

6)      I’m a Lostie. I have seen the entire 6 seasons of this mind-blowing series  about 5 times by now.

7)      I’ve written & published two books of poetry and two of my poems have been published in a children’s book.

8)      When cycling or walking on my own, I have long, wordy conversations with myself. Both monologues and dialogues. Should I be worried?

9)      One of my ultimate feeling of freedom is riding my mountain bike as fast as possible, while listening the David Gray greatest hits album.

10)   I’m a green tea (with lemon) addict.

11)   For some reason I remember the words to almost every song I ever heard.

 

Questions asked by Kiz

 1)      What are your simple pleasures?

My simple pleasures are a nice warm cup of tea, homemade pie (lemon-pie or coffee cake), going for a long walk, playing my piano, digging in the garden, cuddling my cat, eating fresh veggies and watching a good movie/ series together with someone as enthusiastic about good series and movies as I am.

2)      What keeps you awake at night?

Mostly it’s an enormous amount of words keeping me awake at night. As soon as I am in bed, my head starts to fill itself with all sorts of lines and sentences, begging me to write them down. I used to have a pencil next to my bed, to scribble down bits and pieces on the wall, afraid I would forget it all.

3)      What’s the first thing you notice about yourself when you look in the mirror?

The occasional annoying pimple or red spot, I can’t look passed them

4)      Chocolate or Vanilla?

Chocolate, definitely

5)      What is your favorite thing to smell?

Rain on dry earth & lime zest, both those smells transport me right back to my childhood days.

6)      Ideal Sunday morning?

An elaborate breakfast with my sister, a pot of tea, espresso, clear blue skies outside the window & my hiking boots waiting for me to take them for a long, lovely walk…….

7)      Biggest Global concern?

I have quite a few global concerns, but what concerns me most is that there are still so many people who seem either totally unaware or totally unconcerned about the environmental issues we’re facing. Of course, there are also heaps of people who are really changing their ways and doing what they can to make a difference. But just to see the way some people still pollute, waste water and energy and decide to look the other way when it comes to environmental issues, it worries me.

8)      Favorite thing to write about?

I love to write about the little things in life; the simple things that really matter & have the ability to complete one’s life. I also enjoy tapping into my vast imagination; when I write fictional stories I have a much darker writing style. I love to explore my fictional characters at their darkest hour, it gives me the opportunity to really get to know them and fully understand the kind of person they are.

9)      Weirdest kid names you have ever heard?

Pilot Inspektor, son of actor Jason Lee. That’s just not a name, is it?

10)   Top of your bucketlist?

That’s a hard one. What about the top 3 of my bucket list, not in any particular order:

  1. Publishing my very first novel
  2. Making a whole lot of beautiful & unforgettable long distance walks in places like Scotland, Norway, Ireland, New Zealand ect…..
  3. Singing a duet with Milow (incredible Belgium singer-songwriter). Okay, I admit, I still dream big…

11)   Favorite foreign language/accent?

I have a thing for really nice British accents. Nothing too posh or over-the-top, but just the beautiful, clean-cut use of English. Irresistible!

 

11 Questions for my nominees:

1)      Which movie made a lasting impression?

2)      Best time of the day?

3)      Who is your favorite (story)book character and why?

4)      If you could chose one talent, which talent would it be?

5)      Which music are you listening to while writing this?

6)      How would other people describe you?

7)      What is your earliest childhood memory?

8)      What is the best thing you ever learned/ best advice you ever got?

9)      Train, plane or automobile?

10)   Describe your kitchen in 5 words

11)   Now describe your life in 10 words

And then last ,but certainly not least:

My nominees

This turned out to be the hardest part. Not because there are not enough really beautiful and inspiring blogs out there, but because I simply haven’t discovered them yet. I am rather new in the vast world of blogging and I actually want to take my sweet time to discover all the hidden jewels between the many, many blogs I have wandered into. So, for the sake of being imperfect, I have decided to do things a little different. I will nominate the few blogs that I follow & love and furthermore, I will add nominees in the future. Blogs that I am yet to find, love and admire….

So, for now, these are the nominees:

1)      http://www.getinthegoodlight.com/

Sweet, beautiful and lovely blog about Thomas and his mum, journeying through the wonders of childhood one picture at the time.

2)      http://www.eyefreckles.blogspot.com.au/

Inspiring and beautiful child photography by a homeschooling mother of 5.

3)      http://www.seaandsalt.com/

The word & images on this blog make you feel, hear, taste and see the sea

4)      http://curtainsforthewindow.blogspot.nl/

The name of this blog made me an instant fan.

These blogs are all well worth visiting, so feel free to have a good look around. Thanks for bearing with me throughout this extensive blog post, hope you enjoyed reading it as much as I enjoyed writing it! 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Advertisements

Our Garden

Image

 

My sister and I, we found ourselves a little patch of wilderness. A piece of land, overgrown with grass and weeds, but with time it will become our very own veggie patch. There is a lot of work to be done, earth to be moved, weeds to be pulled, but with a little love, some hard work and a lot of imagination I can see the whole thing come together.

Image

 

It’s been a couple of weeks now since we became the proud owners of our kitchen-garden. I was planning to keep you all updated about the progress of turning our little plot of land into a lovely garden. But lately time has been running out on me and I haven’t been able to post what I wanted. So in the days/weeks to come I’ll try to post some blogs about our garden, the progress we’re making, the seedlings which in time will become our veggies and the fellow gardeners we met.

 

And then she came…

Image

There we are; a collection of child. Arms, legs holding one another. Little fingers holding on to little arms. A messy bundle of brother and sisters. Happy, satisfied, but incomplete . All of us waiting for the last piece of our heart and soul to arrive; one last pair of legs, another set of hands to hold. Happily and patiently waiting for another.
We are a puzzle with pieces missing, but we’re not worried.
She will find us soon enough and when she does, life will be perfect at last.

ImageAnd then she came

And she changed everything. Made our lives so much brighter, the sun that much sunnier. My little big sister; the mornings we spend chasing one another around the garden, pretending to be cops and crooks, villains and heroes, both king and beggar. Effortlessly living two lives or more in the hours of one single day.

Image

These days she lives far from me; building a life of her own, making memories in which I don’t play a part. But it does not matter, for she will always be with me and I with her. We’ll forever share the jokes only we understand, recall the adventures only we got to go on, love the songs we listened to over and over, cherish the stories we made up as one day slid into the next.  We’ll continue to make the other just that bit crazier, just that wee bit wilder, bring out the best and the better.

Image

Twenty-seven years ago she came. She found us, completed us.
Life has been perfect ever since.

Happy Birthday, sweet little, big sister!

4th of May

Ever since the end of World War II, the Netherlands remembers its dead on the 4 of May. This is what the official remembrance website says:

‘During the national commemoration of Remembrance Day we remember all those – civilians and soldiers – who have been killed or murdered in the Kingdom of the Netherlands or anywhere else in the world in war situations or during peace-keeping operations since the outbreak of the Second World War.’

This is the official text of the Memorandum for Remembrance Day on 4 May. Ever since the end of the Second World War, the Netherlands has commemorated its dead on 4 May. As from 1961, the victims of the Second World War are remembered together with victims of other conflicts, wars and peace-keeping missions that have taken place since the outbreak of the Second World War in the Netherlands.

(source; www 4en5mei.nl)

Image

 

A while ago my mother, sisters and I went for a walk in the dunes near the Hague. It was a sunny, yet chilly day; a happy day spend in the company of those I love. After some time we came upon a War Memorial, called the ‘Waalsdorpervlakte’. During World War II over 250 people were brought there to be executed. Prisoners of war, ordinary people who’d dared to take a stand. People like you and I, caught in a time of war,once driven out there to be shot.

World War II; I’ve heard the stories, read the books, seen the movies. Images have found their way into my brain as I grew, studied my history books and was taught never to forget what happened all those years ago.

World War II; so long ago and yet so current in the world we live in today. The war ended, but new wars began. Battles were fought, some won, some lost. the same story told in a hundred different ways.
I stood there, a beautiful day in a time of peace, filled with a sudden sense of sadness. I could feel them, almost touch them; the people that had once stood there, awaiting their death. Had they looked around them, could they smell the sea?  What was on their minds as they moved towards the final minutes of their lives? Their father? Their mother? The dreams they left behind?

I stood, thought and remembered on that sunny day and these are the (Dutch) words that came to me.

Image

 I don’t normally translate poems, but I have attempted it just this once;

is it cold
is it warm
it doesn’t matter
it is the end

gone mother
gone father
gone the child which played
the sand, the castles,
the pirates with their cruel intentions
sailing in from faraway places

dressed in uniform
they have come
not in their ships
but in trucks and trains
crushing sand beneath their boots

the smell of the sea
memories
carried on the wind
as you stand
awaiting the beginning of nothing new

is it warm
is it cold
it doesn’t matter
it is the end