vrijdag 21 september 2012

Everything's changed.

Woops, Summer vacation's already over and I still haven't published this post.
Well, this is what I had been writing but never finished:

Sorry for not writing this any earlier, but I’ve been quite tired and busy for the past couple of day. Besides, with the amount of homework to catch up on (unfortunately my fellow, non-bilingual, classmates didn’t stop working when we were gone), I’m trying to keep my use of my laptop to a minimum (for at least a couple of days).
On Monday I had set my alarm for 9am, I think. I spent a little time on my computer , took a shower, got dressed, ate breakfast at 10 and started to continue packing my suitcase.
As it turned out, I had gathered quite a lot of things during my two weeks’ stay in London and it was very hard to close my suitcase like it should.
After moving things a lot around and putting some more things from my big suitcase in my trolley, I managed to close the big one by applying the very old, well-known, often used in movies-tric: sitting on it and closing it.
In the end I managed!

Then Tom and I left for the airport. We got there pretty early, checked in my luggage and had something to eat/drink at a little café. There really wasn't much choice as to where to eat, because London City Airport really is incredibly small.
Eventually we said our goodbyes and I went through luggage-control. Well, remember the jam and marmalade Tom and Amanda gave me?
I first had it in my big suitcase, but it was too heavy, so we moved it to my carry-on as we thought it wasn't really liquid. Apparently, airport-security people don't see it as not liquid, so I had to let them take it out :(

After waiting a 15 minutes extra, due to a delay, I finally got to board the plane. I had to deal with finding space for my trolley, but I managed. So I sat down and started flicking through a magazine, when I felt something dripping from my nose. Well, at first I thought it was snot, but when it touched it, I saw my finger got red!
That's right: I was barely seated and my nose started bleeding!
Thankfully, the man next to me was so kind to fetch some paper towels for me and a little while later a steward gave me some more.

The flight was really relaxed and we also received something to drink and some crisps.
Oh and here comes the fun part: when we flew over Holland we also flew over the town where I live!! We flew quite low, so I got to see my house/town from the sky :D That was so cool!


So, I survived the last few weeks of year five and right after that went on holiday with my family, my sister's boyfriend and his parents.
It was a great holiday (we went to Saint-Pol-de-Léon, in Bretagne, France) and at the camping I met a very nice British girl, Elizabeth, who lives in France. We spent some fun nights at the beach and at the camping.

We went back to Holland after two weeks and I immediatly had to go back to work on Monday. The first week was fine; I also slept over at Vera's (who was home alone) the next Monday and with help of my dad we booked our B&B in Venice (yes, I'm going to Venice in October!).
But weirdly enough, that Wednesday my dad passed away. Really, no one saw it coming.
The cremation was the Wednesday after that.

At times I still can't quite grasp it's happened to us. But for some reason, I've always been more afraid of my dad dying instead of my mum. Maybe it's because I couldn't imagine the way my dad would respond if it had been my mum that had died.

So yeah. It's safe to say that quite a lot has changed since I've come back from London.
I'm now in my final year of high school and am working on my application for UCAS (you need to apply through UCAS if you want to apply to British uni's).
I'm currently thinking of applying to Stirling, Dundee, Derby and Goldsmiths (which is part of the Uni of London). But I'm not quite sure, yet and I also need a fifth option.

So even though I need to juggle school and the surreality of it all, I've got Venice to look forward to! We're going for five days and I can't wait!
But besides going to Italy for the very first time, I'll also be going there a second time this year!
In the Christmas break I'm going to Rome with my mum, Helen and Martine for four days (:

This has become a rather long blogpost, but I intend to keep blogging in the upcoming months, to keep you all updated on my uni application and travels!

Lots of love,

maandag 28 mei 2012


Yesterday was my last full day in London. I actually didn't really know what to do, so I went to Westfield in Stratford City (so not upon-Avon, though I do want to go there once), which is a very big shopping mall. Charissa had been there and told me about it.

I got up later than usual: at 9am! (The past two weeks I've been getting up between 7 and 8)
At about 11am I was at the tube station. I took the District Line to West Ham and there took the Jubilee Line to Stratford.
The first thing I did was look for a Boots: I had been sneezing in the tube constantly and the days before the sneezing had gotten worse as well, so it was time to do something about this hayfever!
Well, Boots was still closed, so I went to the Primark that was next to it (not for hayfever-medicines :P). I didn't really feel like browsing their humongous amounts of clothes, so I only bought two pairs of flats, because the ones that I have at home have become very ugly (plus one of them has run off).
After standing in the queue for ages (it was insanely long) I went to Boots and got the pills (and it was 1 + 1 for free :P). Instant relief!

I didn't really do any shopping: I bought wrapping paper for all the souvenirs I've got for my family and a book, because I had finished the other book I was reading.
I also bought a 'brezel'/pretzel! It wasn't as good as the original German ones, but still very nice!
When I was there I was also able to see the Olympic park from a little distance as well as the Orbit-tower. I read the paper the other day and they want that weird tower to become as important to Britain as the Eiffeltower is to France. Weirdos. I don't think that tower will ever replace Benny or the London Eye as one of the most famous British buildings.

I went back at I think 4pm or something and had supper with Tom and Amanda (we ate at 5, because they had to go to an evening mass).
When they were out I retreated to my room and wrapped up all the presents. I also started filling my hand luggage (in which I can also carry 23kg) and now it's quite full. It's got most of my books in it, so I think neither of my suitcases will exceed the 23kg.
I also checked in online and then went downstairs to join Tom and Amanda outside in the garden. They gave me a jar of Tom's homemade raspberry jam and a jar of homemade marmalade and also a pot of ground coffee (the pot looks really nice :P). They were very happy with the chocolate bar from Honeyduke (:
When we got back inside I said goodbye to Amanda, because I won't see her anymore today and she wished me luck with getting into Stirling (she thinks Stirling is better than Dundee :P) and also told me that I was really easy to be around (:
After having pictures taken with both of them, I went to bed.

Hogwarts will always be there to welcome you home.

Yesterday was the day I went to visit the Harry Potter Studio Tour!
I got up at... 7.30, I think and then took my time to get ready. I got on the tube and at about 10am I was at Victoria Station, which was an hour before the bus left.
I decided to get a frappuccino and then take my time to find the correct place. Well, the first struggle was the question of which direction I had to walk to.
It turned out I had done very well in coming so early, because it took me quite a while to get to 4 Fountain Square, Buckingham Palace Road! First, I asked a bus-driver, but he couldn't give me any more directions than that I should probably walk around the corner.
Around the corner I came across somebody who works at Sainsbury's and he was able to explain to me that I needed to cross the road and that it was somewhere there. Also very clear.
So I crossed the road and there was this building and it had a display to show what companies were situated in it and Golden Tours was on it!
I walked through the building and ended up in the right place! (:

There already was a queue of Potter-fans, so I just joined them to await the bus. After a couple of minutes, the bus made it's appearance! Now, you must know that I had anticipated a Golden Tours-bus like the ones I had seen driving through the city. I was not prepared for one that was decorated in Harry Potter-theme! It looked amazing!

After we had all checked in and received our tickets, the bus took off. The drive was about an hour and a half, but most time was spent driving through London (finally got see how big it really is!).

So at 12.30 we arrived at Leavesden studios. The first thing I noticed was how HUGE it was. Really, mind-blowing. And I don't believe that is the only building they used. So it was even bigger!

I joined the queue inside and after a while I found myself in a room with four screens hanging on either side of the room on which short fragments were shown about how the Harry Potter films had come into life.
After that, we were guided into the 'cinema'. We got to sit in very comfy chairs and watch a very big screen that showed us Dan, Rupe and Emma talking about the tour.

The next thing was the Great Hall and it really was great! They displayed two of the tables and props on it, some costumes and also dummies of the professors wearing their costumes in front of the professors' table.
After that I've seen props from the Yule ball, chocolate sculptures that had been kept for 7 years, make-up tables, the gate to Hogwarts, the potions classroom, boys' dorm, the ministry of magic and much, much more.
Then the tour went outside, where we could see the Knight Bus and 3 and 4 Privet Drive. Also there was an oppertunity to buy butterbeer there, which I, of course!, did! It was weird, but pretty good! I can understand why these young wizards are addicted to it!

Back inside we came into the room where many of the creatures had been created, like the goblins, giants, mermaids and so on. They also displayed some dummies they had used in the film, for instance a Harry or Dumbledore dummie that was about 20% smaller than the actual person, so that Hagrid would look bigger when standing next to the dummy (I hadn't even thought about doing that!).
We also got to see white paper models of places in Harry's world and artwork that had been made to inspire what a scene might have to look like.
Eventually I entered this room and it took my breath away! Before me, was a huge model of Hogwarts! It looked so real and amazing, wow!
What I learned is that they used this model when they needed to film Hogwarts from air: they'd film the persons that were needed in the scene, in front of a green screen, then they'd film the Hogwarts-location from the air and later edit it, so that it will become realistic! They've done an amazing job with that!
After that I wandered around the souvenirshop and bought myself the Studio Tour-guide, a milk chocolate bar from Honeyduke (the sweetshop in HP) and also a way too expensive chocolate frog. I also bought the same chocolate bar to give to Tom and Amanda as a thank you (they're also Potter-fans, though I don't know for sure they've seen the films).

Then, it was unfortunately time to go.
We went back to Victoria station where I got the tube to Notting Hill Gate, after which I had to find my way to Tom and Amanda's son Joe's cocktail bar, called the Portobello Star. It is, unsurprisingly, on Portobello Road.
We had a cocktail there and afterwards went for dinner with two friends of Tom and Amanda's (one of them who has also worked with my dad) and Joe and his girlfriend. Madeleine, Tom and Amanda's daughter, was also supposed to come, but she is near the end of her pregnancy and was therefore too tired.

It was quite a fun evening and the day itself was just amazing!

zondag 27 mei 2012

The Netherlands: shameful!

This post will be about what I did on Friday, because hey! Hadn't posted about that yet, either :P
Will try to update my activities of yesterday and today as well, but I'm not promising anything!

At work we started with the papers and then Lesley came to me again, to ask me whether I could look up the addresses of some more Swedish publishers. So that's what I did, though one thing was quite odd: there were also quite a few that are Norwegian. She also thanked me for doing the thing with the employee's handbook (yay me!).
After that I think I prepared a bunch of colouring books that needed to be sent to some company. I also prepared some more author copies (loads of authors, I know :P).
Then it was 13.15 and Maddy and Christina took me out for lunch. We went to a pub and sat on the terrace (yay for sun!). They ordered fish cakes (had never heard of that before!) and I ordered fish and chips. It took AGES for our food to be delivered, but it was quite good!

We ended up coming back half an hour later than usual, because it had taken so long to get our food.
At one moment, Mauro came downstairs and he started talking to me about the EuroVision Songcontest. "The Netherlands yesterday! Shameful! The singin: bad! The clothing: woooorse!" is what he said (try to imagine it with an Italian accent and said very dramatically). Well, to be honest, I've never heard Joan Franka's song (she was the Dutch contestant), but I've seen the clothing and on that subject I completely agree with Mauro! Don't really understand why she had to dress up like an indian.

To be honest, I can't really remember what I did after that... But I know that Mauro told me that on the end of the day I was allowed to take a bunch of books that I'd like to have (challenge!).
Furthermore, I received an email from Hannah to thank me for my sticking-efforts and to say that it had worked out well (I had left it on her desk the previous day, because she was out). When I asked her when the colouring book that I had provided ideas for, would come out, she told me that if I gave them my address, they'd send me a copy! Won't be until next year, but still really nice!

At half 4 (16.30) I got to start picking out books. I ended up with Jane Eyre, Sense & Sensibility, Hollow Earth, Dress Up Kate (also got one for Charissa and Vera), London Colouring Book (also got one for Charissa and Vera) and the first book in the series of Where's the Meerkat? (I just had to get one of those, because they've become pretty much the best sold books from Michael O'Mara).
Then Maddy and Christina gave me this really lovely little mug which has got some flags on it, as well as small Union Jacks.
I said goodbye to the Foreing Sales department (I'd seen them the most during my work experience) as well as to Maddy and Christina, and then it was time to leave.

Given the load of books that I had to carry around in two plastic bags that were bound to break if I just kept them bangling from my wrists, I had to carry them in my hands and try to remain cool. It was very hard, but apparently I succeeded. I was especially successful at the point that I was holding these bags, my oyster card ánd a frappuccino! Yes, I've got some serious feat for carrying many things at once!
Apparently, I looked very cool, calm and London-ish whilst doing this, because at some point a guy came up to me to ask which way Piccadilly was. Well, the funny thing is: I had no idea which direction I had to walk, but I was able to give the man the right directions!
In front of the Charing Cross hotel I met up with Vera and then we walked over to Foyles (which was according to Tom one of the best bookshops in existence), because we didn't know much else to do. We were a bit disappointed, as we had anticipated millions of fiction-books, but the majority of the books were non-fiction (and often scientific- / research-related). We decided to sit in the café and wait for Charissa to get in touch with us, as we had agreed to go out for dinner one last time.
I texted Char several times and called her once, but we didn't get an answer. We assumed that she was no longer interested in coming, as she had said she would see whether she would come.
So at about 20.30 we walked around for a bit and decided to sit down in an Italian restaurant (I know, again. The deal is, their food is good and often affordable!).

We had a really nice time and at about... well, some time after 10pm, we said our dramatic goodbyes which were mainly filled with 'I don't want to go home already!'. We ended with 'See you on Tuesday!' and then we parted. Yesterday Vera flew back already.

One Short Day in the Emerald City

I apologize for not posting any earlier but the last three days have been quite a blur, because I've done quite a lot! So now I'm going to try my hardest to remember what I've done on Thursday! This is gonna be hard...

Well, we started reading the papers. After that I phoned the last publisher for Mauro (they hadn't picked up the phone yet, before). Well, of course, the person I needed to talk to was ill, so I left a message with her colleague to email Mauro and Mauro seemed content with that!
Then I continued reading the ebook and I was doing quite well, so I decided I wanted to finish it before lunch. This resulted in having lunch half an hour later than I usually go out for lunch, but I finished the ebook! Man, it's not exactly a really interesting book. But perhaps that's just me, because it's a autobiography and before I had never even heard of the guy. So, maybe it is a good treat for his actual fans.
For lunch I got a sandwich and decided to sit in the park. There I ate and read my book for a bit. After I'd had enough with the park, I went into some shops, but didn't buy anything (though one shop had this really cute jam-making set, with pots and labels and such). I went to get a frozen yoghurt and went back to the office.

In the afternoon I got several jobs to do: read the new Employee's Handbook and compare it to the old, to see if there were any differences (and highlight the differences). Also, for one of the big bosses Lesley, I had to look up the addresses of Swedish publishers (they're planning a visit to Sweden) and I finished cutting out and sticking all the would-be stickers. And then I got to do the regular thing: author/publicity copies and franking the post of the day!

After work (I could leave half an hour early) I decided to go straight to Victoria, so I could go to the theatre and collect my ticket beforehand. You see, the ticket I had was for the R20-something in the Stalls. So a seat in the pink area of the map you see below.
So after some thinking I decided to upgrade my ticket, because I don't think there will be another time that I'm going to Wicked again, so I'd better enjoy the view! The upgrade was 27,50p and that ended up giving me the seat P27 in the Circle (so the first row of red seatings and then the middle one, on the last row). VERY GOOD VIEW!
And the original price for such a ticket is 90 pounds! So even having upgraded, it's still cheaper (I now know what to do the next time I want such a good seat!)
After collecting my ticket I walked around for a bit and got some food at a pub that's attached to Victoria Station. Very good food!

Then.... it was time to see WICKED!
The theatre itself is completely decorated to fit the show (I wonder what will happen to the decorations once they stop with Wicked [if they ever stop]). I decided to finally legalize my listening to songs from Wicked and purchased the CD.

The show itself was AMAZING! Really, it was soo good! Now I finally know in what order the songs are supposed to be and how they fit in with the situations (after listening to them for more than 2 years, I still didn't know).
I did have to do some adjusting, as this was performed by British people and the songs I listened to were from the original Broadway cast with Kristin Chenoweth and Idina Menzel (I really regret that I'll never be able to see them perform this musical, because they're so good!).
But nonetheless, the cast was really good!
God, I'd love to see it again some time... Well, who knows? I might one day go to NYC and decide I want to see a musical there as well... ^^

The show was over way too soon and on my way back in the tube I listened to the songs some more and enjoyed the fact that now I know what happens when they sing the songs.
It was a really good evening!

woensdag 23 mei 2012

I don't know anything about a meeting.

First and foremost I'd like to thank 2 very generous sponsors who have decided they want to make sure I survive my last days in London as well, without starving or having to walk for miles due to the tube that no longer could be afforded. So thank you! Thou shall be given rewards upon the arrival of thy beloved daughter!

Today wasn't so busy either at work, but I did get to do quite a lot of different things, which is good!

Once again (and I have the slightest suspision we will do the same tomorrow and Friday as well) we read the papers! There wasn't much news in celeb-world, so the only things we had to pass on were the things about the Royal family (with the Jubilee celebrations coming up, there's something about them in the papers everyday!).

After that I continued reading the ebook, I'm now at page 180-something out of 251, so I'm hoping to finish it before I leave (might also be convenient for Maddy and Christina).
When I was reading the book, Maddy came to me with something else that I had to do: read the new version of the Employee's handbook and compare it to the old one, to see which things had changed.

For lunch, I went out with Maddy, Christina and Florence and Lill(ian) from Foreign Sales. They wanted to have lunch together, because Florence is moving back to France on Saturday. We sat in a park, enjoying the fantastic weather and before returning to the office we got some ice cream!

Back at the office I had a short conversation with Hannah who had really liked some of my ideas and said they'll definitely using them in the colouring book (my ideas will be famous!)!
Shortly after I got two other things to do: I had to prepare some books to be sent to winners of some competition for Jessica and later I had to do something else for Hannah again: I have to try out to see whether all the stickers they think they need for the new stickerbook match with the 'drawings' they need to be stuck on in the stickerbook.
Furthermore, I called some more Dutch publishers for Mauro. The calls were quite unnerving as most people didn't know who Mauro was or that they had an appointment. I'm starting to wonder whether Mauro had arranged these meetings already at all...

When I got back to Elm Park and had rested for a bit, Tom and I set out to get some fish and chips (Amanda wasn't eating at home). Also, he purchased some mayonaise especially for me.
So, the fish and chips. They were nice, but the chips really should've been fried longer as they were really soft instead of crispy.

After supper, I spent some time in the garden reading and eating Greek yoghurt with Tom's homemade raspberry jam.
Then I chatted for a bit with Tom and Amanda about poetry, checking me in for my flight (which we will be able to do 24 hours prior flying) and Foyles (which appears to be an amazing bookshop and I'm going to have to find some time to visit it :P).

After that I retreated to my room to watch the final Glee episode of season 3, which was quite an emotional and surprising one and writing this blog!

I'll keep you posted (including tomorrow only 4andahalfmoredays! D:),

They obviously do brighter colours in the Netherlands

When I woke up this morning I had decided to wear the dress that had also been up for choice for the posh dinner: the light brown one with colour thingies on it.

When I got downstairs, Amanda immediatly expressed her liking the dress and Tom commented 'they obviously do brighter colours in the Netherlands' (I've been wearing some colourful outfits, including the one that I call 'Colourburst on the Go'). Well, to be honest, I don't think so many people in Holland dress very colourful. All those brown, blue, gray, white and black tones are sometimes just so depressing (especially 'cause the majority wears clothes like that). So I answered, 'Well, maybe it's just me.' To which Amanda replied, 'Whether it's you or the Netherlands, I think it's great.'
Aw yeah! :P

At work I started off with the papers, but this morning there wasn't that much news on celebrities. Then I started with the ebook again and I got surprisingly far!
During the ebook-reading, I got interrupted a few times to do things like prepare publicity copies, making sure two boxes that needed to be returned fit in one big box (and to do so, wrap it up like a present) and some other things.
During my lunch break I got a sandwich at Subway, which will probably be my last 'luxurious' lunch here, as I'm near to being broke. If I'm correct, I will receive my last paycheck from my former employer on Thursday, but I've got no idea how much that will be.
After having eaten my sandwich behind my desk and checking up on social media-life, I went outside with my book (I bought it on Sunday and have finished it by now) and read for a while in the lovely sun! It was absolutely GORGEOUS weather!

In the afternoon I finally got the somewhat-feared visit from Mauro who explained to me who I had to call, what I had to say and such. I really didn't like the prospect of having to call these people (I think it might be because the meetings are important and I don't want to be responsible for screwing things up).
Thankfully it went quite smoothly and my heart stopped thumping in my throat! One publisher said they'd email to confirm, another confirmed and the other two had probably closed already, as the phone wasn't answered.

The rest of the day went by very quickly.
After work I went back to Elm Park and dropped by the Tesco to get some ingredients for hutspot! I had promised Tom and Amanda to cook this Dutch dish for them, so I bought the ingredients and meat to make meatballs as well.
They really loved it; Amanda kept saying 'this is really good', so that's a good sign right?

When I got back to my room I saw that my new dress had been washed, but that, unfortunately, the lasagne stains from last Tuesday were still visible :( :( :(

I guess that's it for today!

I'll keep you posted,