vrijdag 12 mei 2017

Stop! En door?

Photo by Abe Funnekotter
On Thursday evening, I attended "Plugged"; a festival at my university, that's organised by the study association of Built Environment, every year. I saw many people I hadn't spoken to in a while, one of which started talking about my blog. She said she used to read it and liked what I wrote. I had actually been thinking about it last week, because I stopped blogging about a year ago and I missed it. I told this girl I actually wanted to start again, and she motivated me to do it. So hey, I'm back!

The moment I'm writing this, is one of the relatively few ones that I've been feeling relaxed, in the past couple of weeks. I've started the last quartile of my second year at the TU/e, including an extra subject, and I'm doing quite some other things, next to my studies. Also, I just moved to another student house (which I'm super excited about!). 
Most of the things I'm doing, are fun. I enjoy coming up with ideas, being creative, making stuff, helping people. I've got some awesome friends and family members to hang out with and talk to. They get me through everything. 
Even though there is nothing really to complain about, I'm exhausted. I constantly feel like I'm behind on everything, not putting enough energy in people and things that are important to me. It all feels a little bit too much. The worst thing about this, is that I could feel myself slipping away. I became less and less in touch with myself, with my emotions. Whether these emotions and feelings are positive or negative, I don't like it when I can't really feel. Because that's not me. I'm a person who wants to experience and deal with everything that happens in her life. 

In the Netherlands, we have this well-known song, in which they sing: "Stop! En door!", which means: "Stop! And (go) on!". It was in my head, the entire time that I was thinking about writing this blog. I'm skipping the "stop" part at the moment; the only thing I'm doing is going on and on.
This week (and the weeks before), I was running around all the time, without checking what I really needed. I realised this the other day; I don't want to live like this and I need to make a change. Prioritise. Make sure I'm not behind on my studies, but also relax, smile, party, be with friends, sleep and fucking live enough. I decided to take an entire weekend for myself, to do all of that.

I'm not writing this because I want you to feel sorry for me. It's is my own responsibility and I'd rather get positive attention, than trying this way. I'm writing it, to illustrate what I can see happening to almost everyone around me, as well. It might be the time of the (academic) year, our age, whatever. So many people are working their asses off, beyond their limits. I see too many suffering from it; not paying attention to their actual needs. 
You'd probably be good enough, accepted, and loved as much, with half of the amount of time and effort that you put in your work now. It's something I have to constantly remind myself of, as well. But it's true; for you too.

When I think of the moments that I felt most loved, most valuated, happiest, those were all moments, when I didn't put effort in trying to be enough. The girl I talked about in the beginning, at the festival, said some things to me that I'm really thankful for. She was being genuine and what she said, might not have been that big of a deal for her, but to me, it meant a lot. At that moment, I wasn't thinking about stupid things, like saying something wrong or looking ugly. It made me realise that I should start listening to the real Josie again, who actually knows quite well what she has to offer, what she wants and what she needs. For now, that's a little (productive) break. Next time, it might be a nice travelling experience or a 5 hour talk with 3 litres of tea. Who knows. At least, I'll focus on the good.

So, are you also going to stop? And go on? Ask yourself what you need sometimes. And maybe what kind of (small) things you could do for yourself and the people around you, to make that happen. Good luck!

Lots of love,

zaterdag 19 maart 2016

What travelling teaches me

Hey there!

I know I didn't keep my promise to sketch weekly, as I haven't uploaded anything this week. I will do another blog post later with more sketches/drawings. But first, I would like to talk about something else, that's been on my mind for a while now. It might be a little incoherent because my thoughts are going cray cray, but excuse me for that.
Tuesday, the 15th of March, it was one year ago that I left The Netherlands for three months. It was the start of my amazing experience in Málaga. And this year, on that same day, I left Denmark after a five day trip - I visited friends that I made in Málaga. Symbolic, right?

In general, my gap year taught me a lot. In the beginning, I was working on some personal issues and improved each day. I went out a lot with my best friends and worked my ass off. I became so much more confident and got to know myself better. 
Though, going to Málaga was a whole new experience and has brought me a lot more than I could have ever expected. 
I arrived on a Sunday evening, without having food or any knowledge about the city. My Chinese flatmate offered me a roast potato with mayonnaise. I mean, at least I had dinner at 9 pm! Later that evening I got to know a lot more people from our language school and that's where it all started.
Yes, I was feeling alone and yes, I Skyped home to tell them I didn't know if this was what I wanted. But I needed that talk one time and within a couple of days, I was settled, had made friends and was enjoying my time.

I remember meeting Neeta, a young woman from the USA. I had just come back from a Sunday run and suddenly she stood there in the kitchen. "Oh my god, I didn't know you were coming! But take everything you need if you want!", I said. The next day, we were lying on the beach for hours, talking about our lives. 10 years of difference in age, no problem. So much connection, laughter and love. I don't know how to describe it. She said to me: "If people aren't making you happy, why are you hanging out with them?" And as simple as it sounds, that is the best advice I've ever had. I still think about it quite often.

Then, the endless, lovely conversations I had with Sarah, on my balcony, playing Fifty Shades of Grey music. Stine and me missing each other while being together already. Sharing all the love in the world with Norah, mi hermana, in Córdoba. The parties and beach days with the whole group, eating out every other night, allll the other amazing people I have met both last spring and summer... It was all like a huge holiday. But apart from the fun, I started realising something. 
Life is so much more than just having a career, money, kids and a house. It sounds cliché, but I really felt like this when I was in Spain. People there are living, they are enjoying life. Of course it helps that the weather is very good and the beach is nearby, but it just seems like they don't need a lot to be happy - and that's how I felt as well.

I started studying in Eindhoven in September and it took me a long time to get into the flow and step out of my Málaga dream. Though, I managed to do that and I've built up my life here quite well. We have to create a vision and reflect all the time here at university. I like to do that, and it got me thinking of what I want with my life in the future. As much as I enjoy studying here, designing and creating, I'm not sure whether that's what I want to do until I retire. Don't get me wrong, I love learning and I'm definitely not lazy when it comes to studying. I'm actually quite ambitious, and I definitely want to finish this. It's just that your studies don't necessarily define your future.

Often, I feel like I should live in a country with more sun. Get a handsome partner. Start up a small and cute bed & breakfast. Work hard (but enjoy it!). Meet people from all over the world. Go to the beach every day. Do yoga. Drink an occasional (or maybe more than occasional) cocktail. Save up money to travel. Be happy.
I know this sounds idealistic and you might think: well, Josie, don't we all want that dream life? Just finish your studies and then we'll see. Maybe we do, but we're all holding back because we think it's not possible. Or it's stupid to get a uni degree and then "throw away your life".
But no, I have never felt as happy as when I was in a foreign country, with those great international friends, in the sun. And visiting them again makes me realise even more that I may be someone who just needs to be around different languages and cultures, going back to the basics of human needs. Give a big amount of love and get a lot in return. I feel so inspired by people like Rachel Brathen (Yoga Girl) or just people who decide to risk everything that's fixed in their countries to find their happiness in something that's unknown. I want that.

I just want to thank all the people that I've met while travelling, because you've all contributed to me becoming a stronger, happier and richer girl. Including the bad experiences and the too drunk nights. It was all for a reason. I hope to meet many more inspiring people in the future <3

Norita and me in Córdoba

XO, Josie

maandag 29 februari 2016

Update + weekly sketch

Hello everyone!

I have been very busy lately. The second semester has kicked off and so has my first design project. It is a lot of fun, but time consuming, and apart from my project, I have two other subjects as well. So even though I'm super tired and stressed at times, I'm doing good. Especially now the weather is a bit more like in spring. It reminds me of how much influence the sun has on me. When I lived in Málaga, I was so happy and relaxed, partly because of that. 

Anyways, for my studies, I had to write a personal development plan for this semester. It contains information about who you are as a designer, what your vision on design and your future is and through what goals you are going to get there. One of my goals was to keep myself motivated to sketch and draw a lot. A friend of mine suggested to do a "Sketch of the week" on my blog, and I thought that was a great idea.
So from now on,  every Monday, I will upload a photo of my best sketch(es)/drawing(s) that I have made in the past week. I will start with this one, that I made last week.

It is a coffee machine; we were thinking about an alarm clock that would make coffee for you in the morning. This is just a drawing to get the feeling again. As a child, I was drawing all the time, but I haven't done it that much in the past couple of years. I hope this challenge will help me to keep  doing it and improve my skills!


zaterdag 23 januari 2016


Hello sweeties!

I've been away for a while again and I missed writing. The past weeks were super busy and I had to study a lot. Apart from that, I did a couple of nice things with friends and family - like the day with my bro and my father visiting me.
Sometimes, writing something down in a blog post, works like an online diary. Even though I've got my little diary for every day, at times, I need to write more than a sentence. So I'm just going to share some thoughts with you.

One week ago, my father came to visit me in Eindhoven. We talked about how funny it is how much you can look like one or both of your parents. Not only physically or in your personality, but also in how you live your life. For example, my mother struggled with the same things as me in high school, also had a gap year (went to France to learn French - close enough) and started to study Industrial Design (in Delft, not Eindhoven) after that. I mean, what?! I never made any of these choices because she did so at my age; it's just how everything worked out. This is just one example, but there are many more similarities I noticed between parents and children. Fascinating.

My father told me he could really see my mother in me. On the outside, I don't look like her that much - though you can see she's my mother - but in personality, I do. I mentioned some small things that were similar, but then he told me that he sees the perfectionist that my mother was. Expecting a lot from myself and others. I agreed, we spoke about it, but I gave it some more thoughts, later on.

I do expect a lot of myself. Although I think that I've become more relaxed over time when it comes to that, it was a little confronting to notice that it's still present. Of course, it's good to be ambitious. It's not a bad thing to strive for delivering well and being critical about yourself. The problem is, I expect a lot of myself in every way.
In high school, it was way worse. Without exaggerating, I wanted to be: pretty, slim, smart, well-dressed, sporty, musical, arty, considered a nice girl, a good friend, sexy, loved and liked by boys, a good family member, good but also a little rebellious, fun to party with, funny in general, confident and at the same time, relaxed. Ha ha. It's not that I kept this list to check whether I'd done everything necessary, it's more that I automatically compared myself to everyone who was better at a particular aspect. By this, I was only focusing on negativity. In the past two years, I've become way better at approaching myself in a more positive way, and also at accepting that I can't be all of that at the same time. It's not realistic.

Anyways, what I can notice, is that I overthink a lot. I still care about how people see me. I feel guilty when I've misbehaved or been mean to someone, I feel stupid about and angry with myself sometimes. I expect myself to handle every situation in the right way and to please everyone by being me.

I wanted to ask myself: why? Why isn't it okay to do things I maybe shouldn't have done, to make mistakes? Why can't I be sad about something, or hurt? Why does everybody need to like me? Why does it need to be perfect, all the time? Because, in other people, I can see the beauty of not being perfect. The weird little things about someone, imperfect bodies, insecurities; it makes you human. Often, I like you even more when I discover something personal that's different.
So; I'm not the perfect person. I say stupid things. I can be stressed, emotional, exaggerative, unattractive, whatever. I can have no clue of how I should deal with something. I don't sleep enough and I should study more. And do more sports.
But: I know I'm valuable to several people. I know that I'm not ugly. My body isn't too skinny or too big. I can offer a lot in different ways. I'm pretty smart, mature (mostly), know what I want (generally) and I can have deep conversations as well as a good laugh with you. Sounds a lot better, don't you think?

I feel like it's very important to adapt this way of thinking in anyone's life. There's no advantage in pulling yourself down. And honestly, at times, I can be jealous of people who genuinely don't give a shit about what others think of them. You go girl/guy!

I'm sure I'm not the only one, so even though it's personal, I felt like sharing it. Maybe you got something out of it <3

XO, Josie

zondag 10 januari 2016

Plog: brother-sister day in Eindhoven!

Hello sweeties!

A while ago, I realised that I wanted to do more with photos. I love Instagram, but I've always been very interested in photography. For my friend Lizzy's blog, I've been shooting photos twice, so far. I'll try to do it more often; it's useful for my studies (Industrial Design), as well. I like photos in any way; on holidays, with friends, arty... Would love to have a good camera too, but yeah, money, ya know.
This weekend, I didn't feel like going back to Utrecht, so I stayed in Eindhoven (needed to study, as well). Though, I wanted to see my brother and we planned a brother-sister day. Yay! I thought it would be nice to do a 'plog' (a photo blog) for this day (Jan 10, 2016). I always like looking at a lot of photos from others and wanted to give it a try. We had a fun day in Eindhoven, so let's go!

I started off being very productive; the kitchen needed to be cleaned so bad! I cleaned everything and organised the table, which was full of papers and more bullshit before. It's actually kind of weird when it's this tidied up, haha!

Then, I picked up my bro from the train station, to go for lunch in the city center. We went to a lovely place, called Meneer De Boer. My friend Lizzy once recommended this breakfast-/lunchroom and she was 100% right about it, so I wanted to take my brother here, too.

It was a good choice! We had a delicious lunch, once again. Look at his happy "I've got an uitsmijter"-face. I had a grilled sandwich with salmon and goat cheese - my two favourites - and it tasted like heaven. Oh, and look at how the tea bag is attached to my tea cup. So cute!

A little walk through the city. Such a good day with lovely weather.

On our way to my university, which I wanted to show him. It was Sunday, so almost everything was closed, but we could still walk through the campus.

Yay! I had to show him where my study association is located, of course. Too bad we couldn't enter the building, because it's a nice place to be. But at least, we took a photo in front of the logo (more than happy)!

Walking back to the city center. Spot the Philips building!

Straight on to the Philips museum! It was super interesting to go there. Maybe some of you didn't know that Philips was founded in Eindhoven. The history, designs, information; I loved it! And an old-coworker told us a lot of stories (about the logo, for example), with such enthusiasm. We enjoyed it!

Then, on to Strijp-S; where the old Philips factory was located. Now, it's an industrial place, with many new, hipster-like shops and stores. They left the factory the same on the outside, but on the inside, it's completely new. I live on walking distance from Strijp-S and I love it.

Chilling in my room <3

Annnnd dinner in the fresh and clean kitchen! With my house mates Willemijn and Raoul and my brother. It was gooood.

Then, it was time to say goodbye again. We had such a good day and we did a lot in very little time. Love you, bro! <3

Hoped you liked to see a little sneak peak in my life. It wasn't a normal day, and I've been studying both yesterday and this evening, so my life isn't all fun and nice. But it was a photo-worthy day. See you soon, cariños!

XO, Josie

zondag 3 januari 2016

What did I do this Christmas break?

Hello sweethearts,

It's 2016 now and my Christmas break is over. I don't really feel like setting goals this year, because I actually want to go with the flow. At least, I'll do my best at my studies, will focus on people I love and got some trips planned for this year! I'm going to Milano and want to visit Denmark, England, France and Málaga again. And more. Because more travelling is more good in my opinion.

Having said that, I wanted to look back on these holidays. A lot has happened; I'm glad I've got my One line a day booklet, so I don't forget everything that I've done. Let's get started!

I started off with a very nice lunch at SLA, with my brother, stepfather and a friend of ours. I also found a lot of old photos and my brother found even more books full of photos. I love watching them! Do you think I look like my mother? Furthermore, I had a Christmas toast with my old colleagues.

I went to Yoghurt Barn in Utrecht in the weekend, as well, with Lizzy (and with my friend Karlijn from high school earlier, too, haha). After that, we shooted some outfit photos for her blog. I really like doing that, so if you ever want me to do it again, call me on my cell phone, babe!
After the weekend, I had a good date, travelled between Eindhoven and Utrecht a couple of times, finally arranged that I could work in Eindhoven and worked on my studies. Then, it was time for Christmas!
On Christmas Eve, I was with my father's family and we had a relaxed time together. On Christmas Day, I first went to my father's parents, sang some songs to and with them, and went off to my aunt for dinner. She's my mother's sister and she and their other sister look so much like mama. We've got a big family, but we were with just eight; all of my cousins were at their boy-/girlfriend. Forever alone, once again! But, I had fun, as you can see (with my stepfather). The day after that, we went to my stepmother's sister, which was amazing, too. She's a great cook, so: good food and good company <3

On December 27th,  I went to my lovely cousin Rosanna, who's pregnant. She's living in England right now, so it was great to see her back home for her babyshower. Some of her friends actually thought I was her sister. They were all very nice and I had some good conversations with them. Loved the photo with the cat, too. 

Then, December 28, my friends from Denmark finally arrived! We walked around Utrecht (where I'm from and where we stayed) and Amsterdam. We had boerenkool and pannenkoeken at my place, went out for food several times, had a lot of laughs and celebrated New Year's Eve together. First, we stayed in Utrecht with a friend of mine and his international friends and then went off to Amsterdam at 1 am. We all took a lot of photos, so I'll show you a selection down below here.

Happy faces! Four blondes

My hometown: Utrecht

Crazy, lovely girls at the Domtoren! I lived next to them for a couple of months, in Málaga

Lunch at Bagels&Beans in Utrecht


Louise and me in Amsterdam

If you want a challenge... 12" dildo

Red Light District with Sarah, Stine and Alex

Cheers with Sarah!

Last day of 2015 with Louise, we got free Prosecco at the bakery!

The end... Lovely dinner at Beers&Barrels in Utrecht. If you like burgers and happen to be in Utrecht: GO THERE! Best burgers ever! 

So, this was it. A very good time; I don't really feel like starting uni again. But I'm sure there'll be enough to look forward to in the near future. All the best for you this year, sweeties. Talk to you soon!

XO Josie