New Beginnings: Settling abroad

Step-by-step, I’m settling here in Amsterdam, Holland. My new room in a shared apartment has been filled with furniture with a little help from IKEA, and all the official paper work has been sorted out. Furthermore, I’ve landed myself one of those 9-17 jobs… One that I’m really excited about as it combines previous work experience with my degrees – it seems like the perfect match. Moreover, my colleagues seems warm and welcoming, which is highly important to me as I’m quite the social type – a friendly and positive work environment is vital to me!

However, although having lived here for a little over a week now, I haven’t had time for what I enjoy the most due to practical matters: Exploring the city.
I guess, I shouldn’t be too worried about that for now as I’m going to live here permanently for an undecided period of time. This means that, if all goes as planned, I’ll have years to get to know the city and all it’s hidden treasures – but it’s not like me… at all! The previous times when I’ve relocated abroad, I was out exploring from day one. Maybe that’s because all the practical matters had been taken care of before moving? Anyway, at least I’ve had time to figure out the most basic things: Where to grocery shop, how public transportation works and where the green areas in my neighbourhood are.

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In this sense, though, I’ve come to wonder: What do I expect of my time in Amsterdam besides having a good time and it to be a positive experience? After some serious thinking, I’ve come to the following conclusion. In the big picture, I’ll work towards 1) Acquiring insight into and understanding for the Dutch culture; 2) Making new friends from all over the world in this highly international city; and 3) Settling in at work, befriending and getting close to my new colleagues. To me, these are the things that truly matter – especially the social aspect of it all.
Besides this, I’ve set myself certain goals to reach within the next five years. No rush, though – I’ll take it as it comes. It’s important for me not to get hung up on achieving certain things – as long as I work towards something with determination and it feels right, I’m on the right track, I’m sure.

xo P!

Wonderlost Wednesday: Berlin

For six months this year, I lived in Berlin. Here, I took advantage of every free moment there was from writing my MA thesis to explore this lovely metropolis with all its delights. However, even having lived in Berlin for a longer period of time, I don’t feel as if I’ve explored and experienced it all – however, that’s just a good excuse to return, right!? Because fact is, there’s just so much to do in this modern metropolis.

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What I like most about Berlin besides its diverse scenery is its cultural diversity – and not only people-wise, however, also area-wise. Each area is characterised in a different way from your high-end to alternative neighbourhoods. No doubt that there’s a lot of history to be explored here as well as (and implicit) culture. I do highly recommend visiting the typical tourist sights such as the Wall, Brandenburger Tor, Berliner Dom, various museums (especially the Wall Museum, which gives a comprehensive insight into the division of Berlin during the Cold War) etc. And although a tourist trap, I must recommend visiting the TV Tower! The view from the top is absolutely stunning. Furthermore, it’s a good way to get an overview of the metropolis and its areas from above. However, you can also do this from Die Welt, which is an air balloon close to the old boarder from west/east Berlin). Also the Jewish Memorial at Brandenburger Tor is a nice place to explore, walking around in between the many stones.

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Besides from all the typical tourist sights, I quite like just exploring Berlin – it’s always fun when you get lost because you come across places and things you didn’t expect. …I could spend hours walking around in my neighbourhood, Kreuzberg, which was a rather cultural diverse and arty area in which street art was highly visible. Here and in Friedrichshain, you can explore street art from well-known artists from all over the world – it’s rather fascinating!

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Food-wise, Berlin is perfect! Because of the many different cultures living in the city, there are a lot of various and different cafes and restaurents where you can dig into the cultural diversity, so to speak. I, especially, grew found of Alarabi Lounge in Friedrichshain, which is a cute and cozy Turkish restaurant that serves a delicious brunch!
These many variations of cultural foods can also be explored at flee markets around Berlin. I quite like Mauerpark Flomarkt, which is a rather big flee market with everything from furniture to clothes to technical gadgets to jewellry and music etc. Beside the flee market, there is a little park where people hang out every Sunday and street artists play music and perform.

As you may or may not know by now from previous posts, I quite like green areas where you can relax, enjoy the fresh air and get away from the noisy big city for a moment. On that note, Berlin is perfect. The city, namely, has a lot of parks. I suspect the most well-known park is Tiergarten, however, my all time favourite is Viktoria Park in Kreuzberg. This park is absolutely stunning: It’s located on a hill and has this amazing waterfall in the middle, which you can see when you enter the park – beautiful, especially, in the summer time. Besides this, there are also some sand beaches located around Berlin, which are open during summer time. These, a friend and I visited a few times, and we quite enjoyed the atmosphere there: It was like visiting an exotic place – in the middle on Berlin! It was the perfect way to have a little vacation away from the MA thesis.

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If you’re into the typical big city feel mixed with a lot of ’personality’ and cultural diversity, then Berlin is the perfect place for you to visit! And if you visit, don’t forget to stop by one of the many photo booths around Berlin – it’s the perfect souvenir to bring home with you.

xo P!

Moving Day: It’s time for my abroad relocation

Finally! The day has arrived. Moving day… Or moving weekend, really.

Moving day

For so long now, I’ve been looking forward to this day with pure excitement and happiness. Finally, my dream is coming true. With a few bumps along the way, I’m now ready for Amsterdam, Holland, and I cannot wait! Today, I’ll spend the day packing and when I wake up early tomorrow morning, I’ll be well on my way to Amsterdam. …I’ll be well on my way to start my new adventure – my new life.

I’m influenced by rather ambivalent feelings at the moment. I’m both sad and happy: Saying goodbye to everything you know is both terrifying and exciting at the same time. Mostly, though, I’m full of excitement and happiness. I take great comfort in uncertainty. For me, uncertainty, namely, determines certainty. I guess that sounds weird… However, that’s how I am: When nothing is sure, everything is possible – and isn’t that a great feeling!? So why am I sad? I think it’s because I’ll leave my family for good. My family that doesn’t understand my wanderlust or fernweh at all. My wonderful family nonetheless.
For the last couple of months, all my time and energy has been used on things related to this relocation. As such, I haven’t had much energy to use on them, which I feel bad about now. I think I’ve spend the entire week overcompensating for that – now, I think they’re happy to see me leave for a while… Having celebrated the entire month of Christmas resulting in Christmas Evening yesterday with my dear family, though, I feel as if I have said my goodbyes and am ready for this relocation. Of course, I’ll miss them and it will take me a little time to get used to my new reality in the fair city of Amsterdam. However, I’m not one of those people who walks around with an ache in their hearts homesick. Quite on the contrary actually. I rather walk around home being homesick for a place I’ve never been – a place I dearly hope to find one day.

Tomorrow, I’ll arrive in Amsterdam. Tomorrow, I’ll officially begin my new life. Tomorrow, will be the beginning of the rest of my life. …Tomorrow!

xo P!

 

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Wonderlost Wednesday: Blarney Castle

Build in 1446, Blarney Castle is one of Ireland’s oldest castles that is world-known for the Blarney Stone. According to myths, you can gain the gift of eloquence by kissing the stone. You will have to climb a lot of stairs and literally throw yourself under a rock, however, you will, of course, gain the gift of eloquence…

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However, there is a lot more to Blarney Castle than just the stone. To the castle, namely, belongs big and beautiful gardens as well as the Blarney House: A spectacular estate in the middle of the gardens.

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Including a poison garden as well as a fern, bog and Irish gardens, there is a lot of gardens to be explored on Blarney Castle’s grounds, which is closely linked to Irish history and culture. If you, for example, book a guided tour, a tour guide will tell you all about the castle itself as well as the stone. Furthermore, you’ll among others gain insight into how rulers, at the time, advanced their political powers by visiting the poison garden. Then, at the beautiful Blarney House build in 1704 – a large Georgian Gothic estate, you’ll acquire insight into how lords and ladies, at the time, lived: You’ll learn about the different families that have lived there, their history and explore the beautiful exhibits of furniture. For anyone interested in aristocracy, this is without any doubt worth to visit. For a picnic out in stunningly beautiful scenery, Blarney Castle is definitely also worth a visit.

xo P!

Being an Expat: Living abroad as a foreigner

Bing an expat

Relocating abroad automatically means that you become categorised as an expatriate – also known as an expat. As such, you have decided to reside in another culture than that of your citizenship – you are now an immigrant. As a result, it’s now your responsibility to adapt to this foreign culture – for better and worse. Don’t be afraid, though, it’s quite the adventure, and as long as you have an open mind, you’ll be more than fine – trust me. However, for anyone relocating to a foreign culture and trying to adapt as well as assimilate to norms and behaviour attached to this culture will know: It takes time. Meanwhile, in my experience, you’ll come to experience things – things that you may or may not have expected before immigrating:

  1. The paper work concerning your relocation abroad is endless
  1. …And the rules and regulations can be rather confusing and, to you, at times, somewhat illogical
  1. Not knowing the foreign language can be a real challenge – even with good English skills
  1. For better and worse, Google Translate becomes one of your treasured friends
  1. You’ll come to find that the importance of a personal number is key to …EVERYTHING
  1. Keeping in touch with friends and family from back home becomes truly important to you
  1. ..As a result, so does all types of social media as they help you stay in touch
  1. You’ll experience that your otherwise common and boring name is exotic and beautiful in the ears of foreigners, which is somewhat wonderfully weird to you
  1. You’ll discover what stereotypes there are out there concerning your home country and its people
  1. You’ll come to understand that there are various and different expectations of personal space
  1. You don’t always know what you should or should not buy at the grocery store
  1. It can be almost impossible (at times, definitely impossible) to find certain native foods
  1. You’ll pay unreasonable amounts of money for food that only somewhat resemble what you can get back home in desperate hours of homesickness
  1. The wonders of goodie bags sent from friends and family with foods from home can make your day
  1. Eating out can be either the best or worst experience
  1. You’ll never really know how much to tip
  1. When you meet a fellow (insert your nationality here), you immediately get excited
  1. However, you’ll experience that meeting new friends from foreign cultures is truly enlightening on so many levels – especially, culture-wise
  1. You’ll find yourself incredible excited when new friends or acquaintances know something about your country – especially, if you, like me, come from a little otherwise insignificant nation that people rarely tend to know much about
  1. You’ll find that keeping up with politics back home is difficult
  1. …So is keeping up with its pop culture
  1. On the other side, you’ll experience that acquiring insight into and understanding for a foreign culture is an exciting and adventurous experience
  1. You’ll come to understand your own culture and foreign cultures more in-depth and acquire perspective on these, realizing that there’s a lot you don’t know about the world yet
  1. Ultimately, you’ll realize that you will never truly know the foreign culture no matter for how long you’ll live there
  1. …That won’t stop you from getting lost in the foreign culture and your new home city/country, which you’ll find nothing but exciting
  1. As a result, you’ll come to treasure your native culture more in some ways and in other ways, you’ll come to treasure the foreign culture more

Despite challenges and difficulties linked to relocating and living abroad, it’s worth it! Every day is the beginning of a new and exciting adventure filled with wonderful people.

xo P!

 

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Wonderlost Wednesday: Edinburgh

For years, a dear friend of mine had talked about the magic of Edinburgh. She had visited the city and fallen in love with it from the first day. Finally, in 2013, we were able to go there and explore the city and its magnetic charisma together. After a week in the Scottish capital, I was sold! Since then, we have discussed the possibility of eventually moving there one day, settling for a while and get to know the Scots and acquire understanding for their history and culture.

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As you can imagine, her years of stories about Edinburgh didn’t disapoint me at all – on the contrary. During our travels, we explored the city to its fullest during the Fringe Festivals. As a result, we discovered not only its history and culture through various and different attractions and sights such as Edinburgh Castle, Princess Street Gardens, Holyrood Palace, various cathedrals, Calton Hill, Old Calton Cemetery etc. However, we also explored the Scottish humour through various comedy gigs and a theater play. There are many ways to enjoy this beautiful city, but as the Harry Potter fans we are, we also visited the Elephant House, which is a small cafe, were J. K. Rowling were inspired while writing the Harry Potter books. Of course, you cannot be in Scotland and not visit Loch Ness, right!? Well, we couldn’t. As such, we also went on a day tour to the Scottish Highlands and Loch Ness, which was such a nice experience although we didn’t find Nessie. The balance of city and country life is, for me, the perfect way to explore a culture, and when I return, I will make sure to bring a car so that we can experience more of the absolute stunningly beautiful country side.

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All in all, I must say that Edinburgh is a delightful, small city with a lot of possibilities – you won’t easily get bored there especially not during the Fringe Festivals! The Scottish people are welcoming, funny and open-minded, which made our experience even more memorable. It’s definitely worth a visit – I’ll be back that’s for sure(!) and next time for a longer period of time.

xo P!

The Elephant House

An Open Letter: Dating a traveler

Before you date a traveler, you should know that traveling comes first. In every way. Always. As a result, don’t expect her to settle in one place for the rest of her life. She will always need to move on. That’s what she does – she moves on. She moves from cultures and its people …and she moves on to new cultures and with new people. She does so because she wants something out of her life that cannot be found in just one place – perspective, understanding and knowledge. This doesn’t mean that she’s disloyal, though. Her love for travel is not in competition with her love for you – the two can never be compared that way! Ultimately, her biggest hope is to find someone to move on with. So when she feels the urge and moves on, it’s not because she doesn’t care for you. When she moves on, she does so because that fire in her eyes – that fire that you probably fell for – will die if she doesn’t. Her positive attitude and optimistic outlook on life along with that glimpse of excitement in her eyes that reveals to you that she sees a world of opportunities wherever she goes will vanish if she doesn’t move on. …She doesn’t want it all to vanish. She wants it all to stay. She wants to build on it and further develop as a person. The thrill of development is imperative to her – it’s like oxygen. She cannot live without it, but she cannot live without you and your love either. Therefore, her biggest wish is for you to follow her on her travels.

Travel and love

Should you fall in love with a traveler, you will have come to know someone with a truly open heart and mind; someone obsessed with diversity; someone who doesn’t see boarders; someone who sees differences and similarities at the same time; someone that breaks with social norms; someone ready to take a chance; someone comfortable with uncertainty; someone that doesn’t limit herself; someone with great independence and confidence in her own capabilities and the possibilities out there in the world; someone that doesn’t easily commit but when she does, she does so wholeheartedly; and someone with many layers all rooted in a curious and adventurous outlook on life. As a result, her curiosity for the unknown will continue to both surprise and amaze you – maybe even scare you at times. No worries though, she knows what she’s doing…but even when she really doesn’t, she’s come to know that things have a tendency to work out for the better anyway. So she’s not worried at all and neither should you be.
By now, it’s clear to you: Her heart belongs to the roads of the world, its cultures and its people. You have come to understand that the idea alone of her settling in one place for the rest of her life not only terrifies her right down to her core, it also saddens her. She, namely, knows that that would kill the fire in her eyes. Because of that, she ,simply, cannot commit to just one place. She needs to conquer the world while learning and acquiring understanding for it in order to feel the meaning of life. …And that’s just it: When she travels, she feels the meaning with life – way down in her bones. Of course, she needs comfort, stability and certainty in her life too, however, she finds this in uncertainty. She finds it there because she, through her travels, has come to understand that when nothing is sure, everything is possible.
Don’t(!) mistaken her for not having her life on track, though: Besides from being positive, open-minded and adventurous, she’s independent, ambitious and determined. She knows exactly where she wants to go: Everywhere. But she doesn’t just know this, she aims at it and she’s going everywhere – step-by-step. Conquering the world, though, takes time. Nevertheless, she’s in the middle of this adventure. This adventure called her life.

Before you fall in love with a traveler, it’s important to stress that it will be difficult to capture her attention. Moreover, it will be further difficult to hold it because she’s used to constant change and doesn’t attach herself romantically to men in order to avoid hindrances for travels. In her experience, romantic relationships don’t exist for long. Needless to say, the lifestyle of a girl who travels is not associated with a classic romantic relationship. No, because, as already mentioned, she’s always on the move. This habit of constant change makes her hard to read for someone not in the same mind-set. However, her wanderlust, fernweh and need for adventure doesn’t mean that she doesn’t want you or that she doesn’t need you – she does, believe me. So should you succeed in capturing her attention and hold it, then know this: Unless you understand her soul and share her passion and love for traveling, it’s not going to work out. She knows that. It’s only fair that you do, too. Because to her, traveling comes first. Always. She wants something out of life that cannot be found in just one place, remember… If you understand her, though, and fall in love with her and she, in return, falls in love with you, however, you become home. You become the one place in the world she always returns to. You’ll be the one she wants and needs to move on with, and you’ll be the one she seeks adventures with. She will make sure that both of you chase your dreams because she knows that the biggest adventure you can ever take is to live the life of your dreams. And she wishes nothing but a happily ever after for the two of you.

xo P!

Wonderlost Wednesday: Bath

Let me just state what you’ll later have no doubts about: Bath is one of my absolute favourite cities in England! Located in south west England, this city dates back to the Roman times – actually it was the Romans who founded the Bath we know today. Even though the city was established before that and known for its hot springs, it was the Romans who took advantage of these and build Roman baths. As a result, the city became known for these and has continued to expand since the Roman times. Especially later, when a cathedral was build and the city became a religious centre.

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Today, Bath is still known for its roman baths with hot springs, old beautiful buildings made of limestones and stunning scenery. However, there’s so much more to this amazing city: The Georgian architecture and scenery aside, this city has everything – museums, theatres, cathedral, universities, sporting venues, shopping opportunities, nice restaurants and cafes not to forget a lot of history and culture.
If you, like me, are into history and culture on your travels, you’ll adore Bath. Even if you’re not, this city will steal your heart with its beautiful architecture and scenery. I cannot stress enough how worth your time this city truly is. I believe we spent one day there, however, I could easily have spent several days exploring the city as well as the area around Bath. Next time, I’ll bring a car so we can discover more of this lovely area!

xo P!

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Attending Concerts: It’s all about that musical epiphany

…It’s all about that musical epiphany…

To me, music is a life passion. As I’ve touched upon in previous posts, I cannot go a day without listening to music. I need it to de-stress and switch off. I wish I could sing well or play an instrument (I would love to play the guitar or piano), however, that’s not the case. For now, anyway. I’m certain, I’ll learn eventually. Until then, I’ll have to do with recordings and attending concerts of gifted artists, which is quite the adventure.

Music notes

Although a rather expensive passion, attending concerts is something I highly value for several reasons. Of course, you can always enjoy music by listening to recordings. However, attending concerts is not only about seeing my favourite artists and listening to their music – no, it’s also about feeling the energy from these artists as well as fellow fans. …Being part of the fan community raises my spirit every time and gives me a boost and an experience that lasts a life time. Not to forget: It’s the perfect way to switch off for a moment and forget about every day troubles – just relax and have fun with friends and fellow fans. …Simply, immerse in the music.

By now, I’ve attended various concerts – both concerts of famous and non-famous musicians. As a result, some concerts are more memorable than others. They are more memorable for various reasons. For example, respectively Coldplay and Ed Sheeran concerts I remember specifically because they were dreams come true. Their music has had and continue to have an important part of my life. Hence, seeing these artists live, listening to their music, feeling everything and nothing at the same time in the company of good friends and fellow fans is something I will never forget. These concerts, simply, had an emotional impact on me – an emotional impact that continues and one that I truly treasure. However, I don’t only attend concerts of my idols… I like to attend all sorts of concerts – whether I’m a fan of the music or not. Sometimes it’s just for the experience itself and can be at arenas, concert halls or pubs. This was also evident when I attended respectively Snow Patrol’s and One Republic’s concerts. I didn’t know their music too well. As such, apart for a couple of hits, What I expected before going was to discover new music. However, these two concerts turned out to be so much more than just that. They, namely, turned out to be musical epiphanies to me. And that’s what it’s all about when attending concerts. At least to me. That musical epiphany. That moment when you fall in love with music all over again because you discover a truth in life through music – a connection. That moment exactly. It’s priceless. …Even though you can do that through recordings as well, it’s just not the same. At concerts, not only do the musicians open up, the audience opens up too. For an hour or two, this ”concert community” is a safe haven amongst fellow fans with open minds and hearts.

Throughout the last couples of years, I’ve attended lots of concerts and festivals in Denmark and abroad. As a result, I’ve among others experienced Dúné; Mads Langer; Coldplay; Florence and the Machine; James Morrison; Rihanna; Rizzle Kicks; Snow Patrol; Westlife; Christina Perri; Ed Sheeran; Elton John; Kaney West; Kings of Leon; Lady Gaga; One Republic; Passenger; Pharrell Williams; and many more. For 2016 in Amsterdam, I hope to join Hozier’s, Ellie Goulding’s, Adele’s, Coldplay’s and Rihanna’s concerts. I have no idea if this is financially possible at all. However, one can always dream and then make sure to chase those dreams, right!?

xo P!

 

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In the Process: Preparing my next relocation abroad

…Plan, organise, research…
…Then plan a little more, organise a little more and research a little more…

At the moment, I’m in the middle of planning and implementing my next abroad relocation. Within the month, I will (hopefully, if everything works as planned) move permanently to Amsterdam in Holland. I can’t wait! I have been counting down to December for so long now, and it’s finally time… Time to make my dream come true. However, the relocation, of course, comes with a lot of planning. Fortunately, this is something I don’t only enjoy, however, also something I’m quite good at. As a result, I already have all the necessary paper works as well as an apartment. Moreover, I have even started to learn Dutch via Duolingo and scheduled a meeting with the municipality in order to receive a personal number, which is needed for…everything really. Now, I just need a job. As such, I’m currently in contact with various companies in Amsterdam regarding a full-time job within my field of interest.

Job search
As it will be my first non-student job, I am excited to see what exactly I’ll end up doing and in which field. Of course, I’m applying for certain jobs connected to my experience and education. Nevertheless, there are many opportunities out there. Hence, as much as this is an interesting and exciting process, it is also a scary one. It is scary due to the uncertainty linked to it – simply because I have no control over the situation. I mean, of course, I send out applications and make sure to continually improve not only my CV but also my cover letter, which has shown highly positive responses. But… In the end, you never quite know whether or not the companies in question find you an attractive candidate for the job or that you lack experience and/or certain qualifications. Hence, I can do nothing more now but wait… Wait for feed back and a yes or no reply to my application… …Let’s just say, I’m not the patient kind, and to not have control over my situation is rather annoying… Nonetheless, this is my current situation. And when nothing is sure, everything is possible – let’s stay positive and optimistic, shall we.

xo P!

 

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