May ’17

Here are my favourite snippets from the past month.

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Getting a new exotic plant for our bedroom
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Cocktails at the food truck festival in Brussels
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Reading outside on our little patio with candles at 11 PM (!)
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This picture perfect home desk set-up. Pretty in pink.
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Having breakfast in bed together
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Baking cookies on an extra day off
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Pulling out the summer dresses on our city trip to Lisbon
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This explosion of colours as I drop this Lush bath bomb in a hot bath
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Visiting the Open M exhibition during lunch at work
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Prepping for Lisbon
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Searching for edible flowers on a foraging workshop and walk
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Accidentally ending up in the Pride parade at the Stock Exchange in Brussels. And also sunny days.
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Finally getting to visit the Helen B shop in Ghent. How cute, right?
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The cool architecture of the Tour & Taxis building 
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Pretty flowers
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Healthy granola and my cool new mug from Helen B.
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The Steve McCurry exhibition
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Sipping lattes, eating cake and watching people. Life can be simple sometimes.
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This rooftop view over Brussels that makes me dream of New York.
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Visiting my friend Lena at her new abode in Hulst, Netherlands
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Lying on the grass to enjoy the sun

Can’t wait for June. What’s your month been like?

Love,

Silke

The Art of Choosing

“Choosing is losing.” It’s what I always presumed to be the truth. A truth that seemed to be reaffirmed by the fast-track society we live in nowadays. We are confronted with decision-making daily, all in order to achieve a richer life, where “more” equals “better”. From the clothes we wear tot he things we eat and the programs we decide to watch on TV, choosing has become an identity determining full-time job. And as if this decision-making isn’t arduous enough, society expects us to do it fast. There is no room for doubt or reconsideration; we’d have to decide yesterday rather than today. This leaves us bewildered as to whether there are still choices to make at all. Really, hasn’t the decision been made for us?

Careful consideration has become an ancient concept that people no longer choose to apply. Society expects us to know precisely what we want and who we would like to become, yet many of us are left behind, clueless. There is no time to be unsure or cautious because time is money. If we don’t make up our mind soon enough, we are left behind, doomed to become the outcasts of our society and communities.

Don’t get me wrong, having choice is a luxury, but when both ends of the choosing feel like losing, with FOMO chasing us down every path we choose to take, it often doesn’t feel like it. So, society tells us: choosing is losing. I used to be the person afraid to miss out everywhere. I’d want to be at different places at the same time. I’d want to meet different people at the same time. All this to the point where I’d be unhappy either way.

What I’ve realised is that it is not, though. When fruit famers grow fruit, they choose which branches to keep and let go of other pieces in order to maintain the quality of those that they chose to keep. To choose one thing and lose another means knowing what you want. It’s choosing quality over quantity. It’s choosing time over money. It’s choosing happiness over resurfacing doubt. Sometimes saying no to someone means saying yes to yourself. So choosing isn’t losing, it’s winning.

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November ’16

I took a deep breath in, and then out. And the month was gone.

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Ghent looking spiffing at night
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Two advent calendars to get me through December: one chocolate, one tea, perfect combo
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Someone very excited for the Holidays. Doesn’t that face just radiate enthusiasm?
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Early mornings make for great sunrises
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Golden hour in Saint Gilles in Brussels
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A train that clearly has lost all consciousness of time
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A picture perfect fika
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This cute store in Ghent. 
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When my make-up worked out just as I wanted it to
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Strolling through Brussels at night
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Job interviews that take you places, like this rooftop view over Leuven
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The morning sunlight trying to tell me something
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Resisting the urge to buy more plants
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Finishing a first drawing. 
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Going to see a dance performance in this fancy place, the Minardschouwburg
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Even fancier dining at this castle for my parents’ 25 year anniversary
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This soft light. Really I just enjoy my apartment view!
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Fika in real roccoco style at Alice with Seya
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Bars that dual up as book stores
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Walking around town
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Freezing temperatures and letting your face warm by the sun on a crisp and clear day
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This cute little street that radiates warmth (and being reposted by the @visitgent instagram page because they liked this photo too! Life goal! ;) )
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Pretty train rides home after school

Ik ben boos.

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3 maanden, 70 sollicitatiebrieven, ettelijke negatieve e-mails, 10 gesprekken, 5 persoonlijkheidstesten, 3 taaltesten en 7 schriftelijke thuisopdrachten later en ik heb nog steeds geen job. Nog steeds, ja, want hoewel er zeker en vast leeftijdsgenoten zijn die al langer thuiszitten, lijkt dit al veel te lang. Daar sta je dan, met lege handen op de arbeidsmarkt. Met lege handen, want een bachelor of masterdiploma, dat velletje papier waar je zo hard voor hebt geknokt, wordt tegenwoordig met gemak uit je handen geblazen alsof het niets is. Jouw diploma, jouw trots, alsof je niet jarenlang hebt bewezen dat je doorzettingsvermogen hebt, telt niet meer mee. Want het wachtwoord tot een job is tegenwoordig “ervaring”. Ik durf het amper uitspreken. “Je hebt wel weinig ervaring, hé”. “Kan je mij iets meer vertellen over je ervaringen?” “Geef eens een voorbeeld uit je ervaring.” “Er waren profielen die meer aansloten bij de ervaring die we zoeken”. “Helaas, een andere kandidaat had meer ervaring”.

Daar sta je dan, zogezegd met lege handen, want een levenservaring of ervaring als vrijwilliger zijn geen “echte” ervaringen. En dan, na de zoveelste afwijzing en de zoveelste teleurstelling, word ik boos. Boos omdat ik mijzelf in twijfel begin te trekken. Boos omdat ik mijn humeur laat bepalen door personen die denken mij te kennen aan de hand van een momentopname. Boos omdat ik mijn zelfwaarde voortaan koppel aan het aantal sollicitatiegesprekken en het aantal proeven waaraan ik mag meedoen. Boos omdat ik mijzelf  en mijn zelfvertrouwen elke keer opnieuw moet opbouwen. Boos omdat ik wil opgeven. Boos omdat ik mijn ambities en dromen bijna opzij schuif.

Volgende keer beter. Maar wat is beter? Beter voor mij, of beter voor het bedrijf of de organisatie? Ik word er in elk geval niet beter van, van nooit de kans krijgen om mijzelf te bewijzen. Nooit het voordeel van de twijfel te krijgen. Van alles al te moeten kunnen, waarbij willen kunnen ondergeschikt wordt.

Ik word alleen maar boos. En moe, want solliciteren is een full-time job an sich, maar ze betaalt de rekeningen niet.

Het is gemakkelijk in een negatieve spiraal terecht te komen en de moed te laten zakken. Met lood in de schoenen te beginnen aan je volgende brief. Maar niet met mij. Met mij niet. Ik weiger mijzelf kopje onder te laten duwen in de grote zee die de arbeidsmarkt is, en waar ik, als jong afgestudeerde, met zwembandjes aan naar adem probeer te happen. Ik, ik word Olympisch kampioen.

Ik was boos. En nu weer niet. Het is te gemakkelijk met kwaadheid de wereld te bewandelen. Die is er al genoeg. Het getuigt pas van moed en eigenwaarde in jezelf en je kunnen te blijven geloven, totdat op een dag, iemand anders het voor je doet.

En dan, dan vind je de job van je leven.

 

Let’s go

“You are not lost you are here.” “Let good things come to you. “

I read this first sentence on my way to work today. The second sentence was written on the label of my tea bag tonight. Sometimes words of encouragement can be found in the most unexpected of places, often at the best time, when we need them the most. So I wonder, do we unconsciously look for them, or does the universe in some way throw them onto our path? I don’t know. But I’ll take my chances and throw some your way just in case.

I’ve been a bit lost these past few weeks. I’ve been slowly moving to Ghent. I came back from travelling and dove straight into work. My stuff, my head, my feelings are all over the place. I’m often left feeling clueless. And I’m here to tell you it’s okay. It’s okay to not know what will happen. It’s okay to feel angry, sad and thrilled at the same time. It’s okay to have no idea what you’re doing. And it’s okay not to be okay sometimes.

“You are not lost, you are here.” Or, we are not lost, we are here. Because there is no one on this earth that hasn’t felt lost. Well, if we get lost together, I don’t mind. Let’s go.

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April ’16

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Fika with Seya, chatting away about our future plans and what it’s like going through our quarter life crisis 
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Celebrating Sophie’s 23rd birthday. And our table number being accidentally numbered her new age.
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Planning exams (not fun) in this pretty notebook (fun)
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Strawberries and New Girl episodes
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Soaking up some of that first spring sun with Joke at the Vooruit
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Finally meeting Mathilde and getting a Swedish  Kex bar as a gift. 
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This. The Sint Pieter’s Abbey’s garden
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Going to the Natural History Museum in Brussels with my favourite person
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And drawing some ridiculous dinosaurs
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Trying out winged liner and wearing my new spring jacket
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When Mum cooks you some delicious risotto
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A warm and sunny evening run (or walk, whatever)
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When your brother sends you this on Snapchat to cheer you on while writing your thesis
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Postcards from Iceland
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IKEA. Forever my second home. 
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Listening to some enchanting story tellers at the International Storytelling Festival in Alden Biezen
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Signs of spring in general
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Floraliën Ghent 
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Pretty houses in Ghent