My tropical getaway and proposal!

A few weeks ago I went to a tropical Island to enjoy some time off. My boyfriend and I wanted to relax and have some quality time together. So we decided to go to Cabe Verde and more specifically to the island Sal. After all it was going to be our last vacation with just the two of us..

As I announced in my last blog we’re expecting a baby! We’d already booked the vacation before finding out that I’m pregnant, but the timing couldn’t be more perfect. It was lovely to relax and be together just the two of us. I was dreaming of swimming in the turquoise water and putting my feet in the soft sandy beaches.

So that’s what we did. During the first trimester of my pregnancy I’ve been sick, emotional and very tired. Relaxing on a beautiful island is exactly what I needed. On our first day relaxing is all we did. Sleeping, eating, reading a book and more eating and sleeping. Of course we also wanted to see a bit of Sal.

The following days we went on an island tour and also went on a trip with a catamaran. The island tour showed us the ‘blue eye’. It was a cave with water and when the sunlight hit the water it looked like a turquoise eye. It was gorgeous, but we could only enjoy it for three minutes until the next group of tourists got to witness the beauty.

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The catamaran was very special. We weren’t sure if we would see any whales, small ones I might add, so we weren’t sure what to expect. We were lucky and got to see three families of whales. They came pretty close to the boat and there even was a mother with a baby whale! Of course I saw that as a sign, since we were also there with a baby.

I’ve talked about taking time off and how it can be good for you. Since everybody is telling us that our lives will be turned upside down once the baby arrives, this vacation came at the right time. We saw beautiful things and we had time to talk about everything we hope and dream about. Most talks were about our future with the baby, but also about the future of our relationship.

Secretly my boyfriend was already plotting something about our future. We stayed at a resort where there were many romantic spots. We planned for a romantic stroll and my boyfriend suggested to do it on our last evening. So we went to take a walk and take some pictures. Just when I was taking some pictures of a few flowers my boyfriend had a big surprise.

I turned around to take the pictures and when I turned back around there was my dream man on one knee. Oh and with a ring in his hand. He had a lovely speech and my heart bloomed even more and of course I said yes when he proposed!

And what do we do now? Well preparing for a baby and planning a wedding! We’re thinking of having the wedding somewhere in the beginning of next year. The baby will arrive in the spring, so we still have time for both things. Of course I will update you regularly on everything that is happening.

For now I just want to say that I’m super grateful for having quality time together with my fiancé, enjoying my pregnancy and now also planning for a very special day.

Relax and Unwind

For starters it’s good to get some mental rest and clarity. How can you do that? Do you remember those (video) games or any other machine with a reset button? When it’s overloaded, there is too much information and not working properly? So what did you do then, you hit the reset button. Magically it worked perfectly after doing that.

As people we obviously don’t have such a button. After all we’re not robots, but wouldn’t it be good if you can get rid of the excess information in your head? Start over and feeling all fresh and new. I think taking time off (from work) is like hitting the reset button. Especially when you’re going away and visit new places.

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I’ve had a few busy months at work. I work at an office with a computer all day long and at the end, right before my holidays, I ran out of fuel. I had processed too much information, worked long and intense hours and was tired. Very tired. And when I’m tired I’m also very emotional. So I really needed to hit that reset button. I could hardly bring myself to feel positive, when I’m always positive, which made me even more emotional. Luckily my trip to Turkey was already planned.

So there we went to Turkey and visit the grand city of Istanbul and a little town at the coast. It was my first time there so I had a lot of first impressions. Maybe because I received so much new information, the old (and excess) information was pushed away. I couldn’t think about anything else than what we’re doing at that moment. Living in the now and taking it all in. And of course taking a lot of pictures.

I didn’t realize it would work this way before going on vacation, but perhaps I never needed a break as much as I did now. Being away and seeing all the beauty of Turkey erased the stress and negativity I was feeling before. I was so happy to have that experience with my boyfriend. Side note it was our first vacation together. And as I wrote in the previous blog, snorkeling in the turquoise water made me feel so relaxed.

When did I know the reset button of going away had worked? When I was back home actually. During my holidays I also decided to change some things in my daily routine. For example not oblige myself to “have to do” everything in one day. I also decided not to say “yes” to all events, birthdays and activities. Simply because after work I need some more me-time to recharge.

So when we got back I knew what I was going to change. I felt so relaxed from the trip that luckily I felt positive again too. I still have to be careful not to run around in circles, but it’s a step in the right direction. Now when I wake up and start my day I’m looking forward to see what will happen. I’m re energized and it feels so good.

How to recharge yourself? Well even if you can’t go on a trip, you can enjoy some time off at home and do the same too. Relax in your backyard and read a book. Or try something new and open yourself up to a new experience. When it’s been a little too much we can hit that reset button in all different ways. My favorite though is on a tropical beach with sand between my feet. Just don’t forget to hold on to your newfound happiness when you’re back home.

Check out my Instagram for more pictures!

Spinning Buddies

Well I attended spinning classes in the past. It had been a while though and the last classes were not with an actual teacher, but with a video of a teacher giving instructions. I liked it, but it’s not the same as having a real person there telling you what to do. Mainly because with a video you could “cheat” with an actual instructor you can’t. Not that I would want to cheat my exercise routine, obviously.

This time around I convinced my stepfather to join the gym and join me in the spinning class. He’s 62 years old, but quite active and the spinning instructor is quite impressed with him. Of course he’s dripping in sweat after our workout and I’m not. Ok, I’ll be fair. The AC is on way too hard for me to break a sweat, but sometimes they leave it turned off and then I really notice the difference.

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But why do I love spinning? I’ve been going twice a week lately and therefore stopped running (for now). First of all I like doing it together with a buddy. It motivates you to keep going, even when you’re tired and stressed or just feeling lazy. But it’s also a great workout to relax mentally.

Because when I focus on spinning it’s the only thing I can focus on. Yes my mind wanders off, but I always get back to my focus point, spinning. My legs need to keep on moving and I literally can’t sit still. So that’s why I love it so much. It helps me to relax my mind. And this actually goes for any sport, especially cardio activities, at least in my case.

Sometimes I also glance to the side and see my stepfather giving it his all. I see his legs moving so fast he looks like one of those cartoon figures. You know that image of Road Runner going so fast his legs turn into a spinning circle? That’s what it reminds me of and I just start laughing so hard. So yes, even when I’m tired and especially when I’m stressed this is a great work out for me and it wouldn’t be the same without my buddy.

Take your pick

You also know the feeling when you despise someone? When you absolutely can’t stand a person for whatever reason and might even dare to hate him or her? You then also know how it the hatred feels and how it sucks all the life out of you. How your energy gets lower the more you talk about it, the more you think about it and the more time you invest in it.

If you know and can imagine the difference in these two emotions, then why not always choose for the first option of love? Wether you love your partner, your child, your friend or mother. Love is love and the positivity of love literally gives you energy. Even when you had a rough night and a lack of sleep, a phone call from someone you love can get you through the day.

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The opposite is then also true. When you had a rough night and a lack of sleep and you’re talking about or thinking about something or someone you hate that makes your day even rougher. Your energy level drops even more and nothing can make you smile. So we all have moments we don’t like something, someone or a situation. How can we turn that around so you can get energy instead of losing it?

The first step is to realize you’re stuck in a bad emotion. You’ve been whining, complaining or crying for too long and you need to put a stop to it. When you realize what you’re doing it’s time to change. It’s literally about making a conscious choice how you will use your energy. Imagine you “hate” or dislike someone for something that they’ve done to you. Do you think spending hours of hating them will change the situation? Will it make anything better? Will you feel better? Probably not.

So the choice is yours. What you can do is first to accept that the situation is what it is. You’re hurt for example and that’s it. So how to move forward? The second step is to use your time for things that make you happy. Instead of complaining for an hour, you can write a message with words of gratitude to someone who’s always there for you. Which of the two will make you happier?

And it’s a matter of practice. A few years ago when I felt hurt I was so angry and at moments I hated the world. Nothing seemed right. But all the time I spent feeling angry and sorry for myself really never made me feel better. When I decided that nothing would change for the better until I started thinking positive it finally started to get better. So take your pick.

Never knew I needed

I guess for a long time I didn’t understand this. I didn’t get that I also deserved and could have unconditional love. Of course I knew this from my family and my friends, but I still didn’t fully get the picture. Perhaps it’s also due to the fact that I felt lost for a long time. I didn’t know what I wanted and needed.

Now that I do know this I believe I deserve this unconditional love. Having moved to different countries forced me to overcome difficulties, learning to be on my own and growing as a person. And I finally learned to love my self unconditionally.IMG_4768This might sound silly, but I think we often forget how important that is. If you accept yourself, your strengths and your flaws, you learn to value yourself. If you value yourself you don’t accept anything less from another person. You won’t allow someone else to continuously treat you poorly, because you know you deserve better.

It took me a while to understand what I was worth, to get to know me better and understand what I needed. I guess that is why I went from a not so good relationship to another not so good one. When I finally got it, hallelujah, and then I didn’t mind being single. Why? Well I rather be alone than be with someone that doesn’t make me happy. I could make myself perfectly happy. I felt loved by myself, by my family, friends and of course my dogs.

And that is when it happend. When I learned to be truly happy by myself I crossed paths with my boyfriend. We met years ago when I was on a holiday in the Netherlands, but it wasn’t until now that we went on a date. Just like years ago it instantly clicked and we never looked back. Sometimes I’m still surprised of how good he treats me and then I remember that now I believe I deserve that. Before I accepted the minimum, because I gave myself the bare minimum.

So I guess that is my point. It doesn’t matter what you prefer, being single or being in a relationship. The key point to remember is that you shouldn’t accept anything less than what you are worth and you deserve. It is then up to you to know your self-worth. To first know how to love yourself before you ask someone else to do so.

Birthday Girl

My mom told me a story or actually she told me the story many times.. that when I turned 3 my birthday wasn’t going the way I wanted to. Imagine a bunch of adults sitting around a coffee table having adult conversations. I was 3 and apparently couldn’t jump into any of the adult talks. So what did I do? Well what could I do?

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I took control of the situation. It was my party. So I got up on a chair, clapped loudly in my hands and told everyone that now it was time to sing. My mom said she just laughed, because in her mind it meant I would stand up for myself and for what I needed. Now that isn’t always the case, but on my birthday it is.

So that’s when it was obvious I liked my birthday. And to be clear it’s not about getting presents and gifts. When I was younger of course I thought about that too, but that was never the point. What I like so much about my birthday is that the house is decorated, there is cake, I dress nicely and without shame I can ask all the attention, but only for one day. Perhaps having a limit to all the niceness makes it more fun, because you really have to enjoy it.

But here’s the twist. It might have seen childish or I don’t know what, that I like my own birthday so much. The other side to it is that I also love spoiling others on their birthdays. So I also like to decorate the house for someone else, bake a cake, give presents and do all those things that make it a real birthday.

And now my boyfriends family isn’t really used to celebrating birthdays, so he isn’t either. He says he doesn’t care about it that much. And even though his special day isn’t until the end of the year, trust me he’s going to love his birthday from now on.

There is a point though that it becomes less fun to see the number on your cake increasing. This year I turned 28, but of course everyone is rubbing it in my face that it means “almost 30”. So on one hand I feel shocked that I can’t believe how fast the past years have gone by. On the other hand I’m only 28 and grateful for every day I get to live and enjoy my life.

So even though it might seem silly, I will continue to celebrate my one day in the year as if I own it. All the other days I don’t need all the attention, I’m glad to make it about someone else, but my birthday is mine. My grandmother though gave birth to my aunt on her birthday. Imagine, she will always have to share it, but she did get the best present she ever could have wished for.