Being the Bridesmaid

About two weeks ago one of my best friends got married. I got to be one of her bridesmaids and be present on this beautiful day.  What does it really mean to be a bridesmaid and witness your friend on her special day?

One year ago my friend got the cutest puppy. Of course I had to meet the little fur-baby, so after getting him she and her boyfriend came over. She then randomly showed me her phone with a video of how they got him. And then I saw it! It wasn’t about her holding  puppy in the video, but about her boyfriend getting on one knee!

I was so thrilled for her and of course I cried some happy tears. Soon after we went wedding dress shopping with her mom and her bridesmaid. At that time we actually didn’t know we were going to be bridesmaids. After the dress shopping we all went for dinner and she handed us a card in which she asked ‘Will you be my bridesmaid?’. It was so cute and of course we said yes.

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But let’s not forget about the dress. It such a special moment when you see one on your best friends in a gorgeous wedding dress. After all the years of dating, heartache, finding the right one, moving in together to then finally saying I do. She was glowing and looked happy and I couldn’t wait until she could wear it again for real.

Obviously we also organized her bachelorette party. Living in the Netherlands the place to go is Amsterdam. So that’s what we did. We made her do ‘not too’ embarrassing assignments, went to a museum (ok, the sex-museum), got dinner, sang a song in the karaokebar and then went dancing for one more time. We laughed, we drank and we danced.

Our bridesmaids chores continued on the day itself. In the meantime we got our own dresses, the right shoes, a purse and our dates. And then it was time. The day had arrived. My friend picked me and the other bridesmaid up. In the car our fun started and at the location we got glammed up. We even wore special robes with ‘Bride’ and ‘Bridesmaid’ on it. What followed was a beautiful ceremony (of course I cried again), a lovely dinner and then it was time to dance again.

Our dates arrived and we did the last things we had to do as bridesmaids. After that we all went dancing and it was amazing to see my friend that happy. The whole day went perfect. After months of preparation it was the most perfect day she deserved. Everyone seemed happy and smiling. To top it off their opening dance was the best thing ever. They even practiced it together beforehand, how cute is that!

It seems a lot of time and effort to invest in one day. However after a day like that it doesn’t seem like just a day. It really is a day you’ll never forget. With words of love, all smiles, kindness in their eyes and their hearts filled with hope for a beautiful future. It was the perfect start of a life together or to continue their journey with a huge milestone in between. I’m glad and grateful I got to witness it all up close.

Take your pick

You know that feeling when you’re in love? How much energy you have at that moment? You are in your love bubble and giving love and receiving love makes you ecstatic, it lifts you up. You’re probably at the highest peak of emotions and energy you can be. So why don’t we hold on to that feeling?

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.

Date Night

When you’re in a relationship it’s easy to forget about date night. However I think especially when you’re not just dating anymore, but you are in a relationship ‘dating’ is important. So my boyfriend and I decided that at least once per month we have a ‘date night’.

So why do we only date when we’re ‘dating’? The point of dating is to get to know the other person, but also to have quality time together. When you’ve been together for a long time, you probably know each other pretty well, but quality time might be hard to schedule.

After a while, when the newly-together phase is over, you can get ‘stuck’ in the routine of your every day life. Usually this is when we can forget about romance and being a couple versus to just living together and having breakfast and dinner.

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And that is why we decided on having a ‘date night’. Our minimum is once per month and we haven’t even been together that long, but it is also just something fun to look forward too. And yes even though our relationship is quite new, we’ve had a lot of family events, visits with friends or birthday parties. That’s why when we have our date night we can ask questions we haven’t asked before and go to places we haven’t visited together yet.

So what did we do on our last date night? We went to the restaurant where we first met. My boyfriend used to work there and we saw a lot of his old colleagues, which was fun. We then had some wine, some nachos, our main course and of course desert. And it was so lovely to have a night away from home, no TV, no phones, just eating and talking.

I hope that ten years from now, when our family perhaps has grown, we’ll still have the tradition of date night. That we won’t forget to keep on dating each other and we’ll keep asking new questions. At this moment it’s no effort at all and probably then it isn’t either, but I always want to keep the romance alive. And one of the ways to do so is by dating.

Double the trouble?

About ten months ago I got a baby brother and sister. Yes twins and yes new siblings at my age. If you’re wondering I’m 28 and no I don’t have kids of my own, well apart from the fur-babies I don’t. So what happens when you babysit two?

First of all I was a bit hesitant to babysit my brother and sister, because I thought how am I going to combine that with walking the dogs? My boyfriend promised we would do it together and he could help out too. Ok, so that was settled. Well it was, until it turned out he had to work that specific weekend, the whole weekend.

But spoiler alert, I did manage to do it mainly on my own. Some parents might be thinking now of course you can do that by yourself. Just remember I don’t have kids, I’m not used to having kids and I’m not ready for kids. Even though I did used to babysit a lot I just find my dogs a lot easier. Also I don’t have an elevator so my mom came to help and carry the babies down the stairs. After that we went for a family-walk.

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Surprisingly it was one of those special days in the Netherlands. A day when the sun is shining and it was hot. It literally was one of the hottest days of the year probably. My mom was babysitting my nephews of five and two, so it was a gathering of small little humans. When walking a stroller for two you do notice how heavy those things are! I immediately didn’t feel bad for skipping the gym that day anymore.

The walk took us to the center of my city. In the center a fountain or sprinkler-thing is installed for children to play with. The twins are still too small, so while my nephews were running around the sprinklers, I was relaxing with the twins under a tree. And I must say these babies are so chill. They were just sitting on a towel playing with their toys and picking grass and that’s it. No whining, no crying, just happy. If babies when they come in a pair are a ‘happy-package’, then I can handle two for sure.

Of course at night they were a bit more reluctant and didn’t want to sleep. By this time my boyfriend was home and we took turns soothing a baby. He took my sister and I went to cuddle my brother. I guess we did a good job and the twins decided we earned our sleep, because they didn’t wake up until 7:30 am the next morning. Thank you babies!

So what’s the conclusion? Are twins indeed double the trouble or twice the fun? Well, when they’re happy they’re still a lot of work, but no trouble at all. When they’re smiling it indeed is fun multiplied by two. Now you’re wondering if I can’t wait to have my own? Oh I can wait, no problem. I stil find my two doggies more than enough for now.

I’ll see you in Amsterdam

Sometimes we have to wait a long time to see those we love. When I moved back to the Netherlands that is what happend. I left my Spanish friends behind. Luckily we can catch planes and last week I met a dear friend in Amsterdam. So how was it?

First of all, I know that the Netherlands is a small country, but for Dutch people traveling from one side to the other feels long. My boyfriend and I took the train and it took us a whole two hours! Yes two hours to go from the east (I live almost in Germany) to the west. Ok, my friends had to travel three hours by the plane, so I won’t complain, but I did cross my country twice that day. Just saying.

Going to Amsterdam to me also feels like being a tourist on a day-trip, although I used to work there. What did we do as ‘tourists’ when we got there? You probably know all the stereotypical things about Amsterdam? Eating cheese, drinking coffee and shopping? Oh no, I meant the other more controversial things, even though what’s on your mind is not controversial in my capital city.

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So now imagine some Spanish and Dutchies in a boat on the canals of Amsterdam. Passing by cool boat houses and having a little picnic. What did my tourist friends bring? Some beers, some chips and some marijuana. I personally don’t smoke, but it was a funny sight to comply with the stereotypical tourist activity.

But what was the best part? To see my friends and especially my dear friend Amanda. It had been a year since I last saw her and a lot had happend. Of course we already knew the big things, but now it was time to share the details around the big things. She got engaged, so I wanted to know exactly how her boyfriend proposed and the wedding is going to look like. And I got to share the details of how I met my boyfriend. Just the typical girl-friends stuff.

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And what is the good thing about amazing friends? It literally doesn’t matter that a year has gone by and that you live on opposite sides of Europe, because when you’re together it’s like no time has past. It’s exactly the same as when we would meet every week opposed to meeting just once a year. And that we got to meet on little boat cruising the canals of Amsterdam made it all the more fun. Because let’s be honest who doesn’t have fun in Amsterdam?

Never knew I needed

What makes you happier? Being in a relationship versus being single? I think this depends on your personal preferences. What I am sure of is that you first should understand what you need and what you deserve.

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

For the longest time I loved my birthday. It was the one day of the year it could be all about me. All the other days I wouldn’t dare to expect all the attention all of the time. On my birthday however it was all about me. But can you still do that when you’re approaching 30?

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.