Friday, 28 February 2014

Thou shalt not lie

Right after the commandment "Thou shalt not commit adultery" is the one that's in the title: Lying is bad.
It's bad in every big standard religion: Judaism, Christianity, Islam, Buddhism, Hinduism..
They all judge liars, whether the punishment is burning in hell, or being reincarnated into something that will teach you better.
And these religions usually don't even make a difference between white lies (to avoid offense, for instance) and big hurtful lies (which have a -painful- consequences).

And is not telling the truth the same as lying?

I discovered that there are two types of people: Those who will unforgivably condemn lies, because the truth prevails no matter what, and those that will prefer a lie in good faith, to keep their peace of mind.
This discovery is very much linked to the two cultures I lived in long enough to observe and appreciate both sides of this story. Maybe there are more types of people out there... I should find out.
I'm going to stereotype here, and I mean no offense. I understand that there are exceptions to every rule. These are mere observations I've made.

Egyptians, though perfectly religious, treat lying as natural as breathing, though you can't actually say that you are lying, for this brings up the tiny detail that you are, in fact, sinning. From complimenting your dress or hair style, to praising this or that person, to asking doctors to lie to you when you are chronically ill and possibly dying.
Real example: "My husband has cancer. He doesn't know this. I asked his doctor not to tell him. He is too old for chemotherapy. Better if he doesn't know that he's dying."
Another example: "No, we did not tell his sister (who is living in America) that her brother has cancer and is dying. Telling her would only make her sad."  -Forgetting the fact that she might actually appreciate being told in time to say goodbye or finish any unsaid/stalled business (my opinion)-
All of these lies are said to avoid panic, offense, or a general disturbance to anyone's peace of mind.

The (secular) Dutch prefer honesty. In fact, the Dutch are known (stereotypically) to be quite straight-forward, "blunt", and even "rude". Too much so, for many other cultures out there. They don't condemn the lying for fear of any specific God, either. It's just the way they were brought up.
They are not brought up to use flowery languages, and have a too-individualistic upbringing to choose your peace of mind over their own, and will tell you straight out whether they like your nose, belly fat or haircut, or not. There are exceptions, of course, here, too. Some Dutch can lie with a trained pokerface, though perhaps not with the same reasons Egyptians do it.

My opinion? In some cases, you can avoid lying or being blunt: By being diplomatic.
Instead of lying about a birthday present you receive, saying you love it when you hate it, or offending them and saying you don't like it: simply thank the person warmly and tell them how nice it is of them to bring you a gift~  Because it is. Nice. Of them. To get you anything at all. Whether you would've ever picked it for yourself has nothing to do with it.
(Combining the best of both sides, eh? Or avoiding the worst.)

More observations:
(Almost) everyone who cheats will lie about it, regardless of their culture.
(Almost) everyone who steals, will lie about it.
If you commit any sin/ taboo, your first temptation will be to hide it, or lie about it.
Some people almost ask to be lied to, for the mere fact that they are too aggressively stubborn about the way they think what something should be, or what someone should do.
(Almost) everyone will lie to save their own lives. (Or the lives of loved ones. Maybe.)

To me, when you are being lied to, and find out, it feels like being punched in the gut.
The worst part of it is in the case of you knowing that this person was lying to you all along, but denial made so much more sense, because it didn't hurt so much.
I've been in that denial phase so many times. And I'm a big hypocrite, because I've also lied so many times..

I try, as hard as I can, not to judge people.
I try, as hard as I can, to be objective and fair.
I try, as hard as I can, not to become irrationally angry or childish when told painful truths.
Mostly, I do this to invite honesty.
Because I prefer painful truths to pretty lies.
And I try, as hard as I can, to be honest without hurting people or causing offense...

I wish everyone was like that...

The Gypsy

Monday, 24 February 2014

Internship is official ~ And schedule is out.

All hands on deck!

Or something like that.
Besides getting a GO today to start my concluding my thesis (still a long way to go, but it's a start) , I signed and thereby made truely official: My internship at Lauwers.

Even better: I know where I'm heading. Salzburg and Vienna (Austria) are one main trip that'll be repeated a few times, the Coast of Cantabria (North of Spain) another.

As top on this already pretty cool whipped cream base, a cherry: A cruise trip from South of France all the way around Spain to Britain and Amsterdam. I made quite a fool of myself in front of my parents, squealing and dancing in the kitchen.

Something like that.

I've never been to Spain before.
And I've been dreaming of going for.. a long time.

It's going to be a busy (warm) summer.
But not complaining.
At all.

On a side note: Watched the Avengers.  I think I've actually seen it before. Maybe.

The Gypsy

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Inspirational quotes from The Alchemist

"Well, what if I decide to stay?" …
"Let me tell you what will happen. You’ll be the counselor of the oasis …You’ll marry, and you’ll both be happy for a year…. And you’ll get better and better at understanding omens, because the desert is the best teacher there is…. Sometime during the second year, you’ll remember about the treasure. The omens will begin insistently to speak of it, and you’ll try to ignore them…During the third year, the omens will continue to speak of your treasure and your destiny. You’ll walk around, night after night, at the oasis, andwill be unhappy because she’ll feel it was she who interrupted your quest. But you will love her, and she’ll return your love… So you won’t blame her. But many times you’ll walk the sands of the desert, thinking that maybe you could have left… that you could have trusted more in your love for. Because what kept your at the oasis was your own fear that you might never come back. At that point, the omens will tell you that your treasure is buried forever…. Then, sometime during the fourth year, the omens will abandon you, because you’ve stopped listening to them. The tribal chieftains will see that, and you’ll be dismissed from your position as counselor… You’ll spend the rest of your days knowing that you didn’t pursue your destiny, and that now it’s too late. "  (126)

"Even though I complain sometimes,” (his heart) said, “it’s because I’m the heart of a person, and people’s hearts are that way. People are afraid to pursue their most important dreams, because they feel that they don’t deserve them, or that they’ll be unable to achieve them. We, their hearts, become fearful just thinking of loved ones who go away forever, or of moments that could have been good but weren’t, or of treasures that might have been found but were forever hidden in the sands. Because, when these things happen, we suffer terribly.”  (136)

" My heart is afraid that it will have to suffer" … "Tell your heart that the fear of suffering is worse than the suffering itself. And that no heart has ever suffered when it goes in search of its dreams, because every second of the search is a second’s encounter with God and with eternity."  (137)

"Don’t give in to your fears… If you do, you won’t be able to talk to your heart.”  (148)

-Paulo Coelho, The Alchemist

The Gypsy

Entertainment brings success.

The more I seem to go out and socialize, the more successfully I can focus on working when I am at home.
Maybe it's the variety that helps. Not sure.
But seeing people is at least boosting my mental state.
So that's something.
Did I mention I love my friends?

And I've been busy focusing on the list in the last post. Which is making me more self aware.
And that's good, I suppose.

Yesterday, I spent some 11 hours going to and coming back from Belgium, for an hour and a half meeting (for my internship).
I wasn't even in delayed trains so much, but the place is a bit.. off-track.
The train goes there once an hour. So I needed to be there an hour early (or five minutes late).
And when I left, I had just missed it, so there went another hour. Not counting the actual travelling times..

But hey. I tested my patience successfully.
And though I was deadtired when I came home, I actually did small entertaining things on the way that didn't make it a torture.

The paper. There's such a thing as a too-healthy-food disorder... 

Paper crane trying to fly.

More cranes. I'm aiming for that lucky number thousand.

Antwerpen Central station. 

And then suddenly.. Boom. Dinosaurus. 

Lots of reading

I also wrote a few letters. (It's actually a challenge to have your writing be readable, on shaking public transportation). And music. My iPod hasn't been used this long in at least a year.

So now..
Back to work.

The Gypsy

Wednesday, 12 February 2014

126 Ways to be Extraordinary

A new mission!

I found this link via's someone's profile. The idea is to be extraordinary, preferably a 100 times per day. Thousands of opportunities to make an impact..

The idea I have now is to try and achieve all these 126 things, as quickly as possible.
Anything that's already happened doesn't count. It only starts when I publish this. 
And I want to see when I get to finish the list. 
(I haven't even read it through yet, no idea if there are "impossible for me" things on here- Bear in mind I don't get out much: Writing a thesis is solitary work)

So it's work in progress. 

Wish me luck!

Edit: The way I'm raised, there's nothing "extraordinary" about this list.
This is just being well-mannered and optimistically positive.
And... the way everyone SHOULD be. So yeah.
It's interesting how aware I've become of what I do/ don't do.
Getting to know myself. 

Choose to be extraordinary.
1. Open the door for a stranger.  
2. Say, “Thank you.”  
3. Learn from your mistakes. 
4. Stop whining. 
5. Fear less.  
6. Be kind.  
7. Let yourself be inspired.  
8. Lead someone.   
9. Pay off debt. 
10. Choose a side.  
11. Pay more for quality.   
12. Lend a hand.  
13. Let past mistakes go. 
14. Be invincible.  
15. Be more efficient with your time.  
16. Stop playing politics. ?
17. Plan to be successful.  
18. Be an expert.  
19. Stop defending yourself.  
20. Decide to take action today.  
21. Fight mediocrity. 
22. Laugh at life.  
23. Go to bed tired.  
24. Ask what you can do better. 
25. Give a stranger flowers. 
26. Hold the elevator door.  
27. Compliment a great idea.   
28. Work on being patient. 
29. Create what’s missing. 
30. Stay in mental shape. 
31. Practice getting back up. 
32. Shake hands while looking the other person in the eye. 
33. Assume the best in others. 
34. Try something new. 
35. Listen to your critics. 
36. Get into financial shape.  
37. Donate time to charity. 
38. Teach what you’ve learned.  
39. Give an opinion when it’s hard. 
40. Care about others.  
41. Pay attention to the details. 
42. Be a friend. 
43. Do physical labor. 
44. Brag on someone else.  
45. Share more.  
46. Love someone. 
47. Have a dream. 
48. Get up an hour earlier.
49. Write down your thoughts.  
50. Apologize more.  
51. Stay mentally strong.  
52. Put yourself in tough places.  
53. Cry when you are hurt.  
54. Have a purpose each day. 
55. Don’t stop until you finish.  
56. Be passionate about others.  
57. Pay attention to the conversation. 
58. Appreciate differences. 
59. Be less selfish. 
60. Ease someone else’s pain. 
61. Imagine the possibilities.
62. Smile at those around you. 
63. Care enough to cry. 
64. Make a call because “you’re thinking about them.”
65. Be a mentor.  
66. Fail gracefully.   
67. Practice being vulnerable.   
68. Decide to be optimistic.  
69. Ask more questions.  
70. Read a new biography. 
71. Do something outrageous. 
72. Think for yourself.   
73. Put in more effort. 
74. Ask for help.  
75. Tell the truth. 
76. Get some exercise.  
77. Decide not to get angry.  
78. Explore new ideas. 
79. Be more effective with your talents. 
80. Slow down (for a few minutes). 
81. Pursue your goals each day.  
82. Make a list of tasks to get done.  
83. Live with honor. 
84. Feed your inspiration.  
85. Avoid the crowd.   
86. Stop being passive aggressive.  
87. Find answers to your questions.  
88. Be accountable.   
89. Work on your biggest weakness.  
90. Replace “No” with “No thanks.”  
91. Let someone else get the attention.   
92. Listen with your eyes. 
93. Say what’s on your mind.  
94. Defend your friends.  
95. Shake off the straws before they break your back.  
96. Offer encouragement.   
97. Meditate on your goals. 
98. Don’t do anything halfway.  
99. Do good things for the right reasons.  
100. Get help for your head.
101. Demand brutal analysis of your actions.  
102. Put in the effort you expect of others.  
103. Share a good example. 
104. Offer to buy dinner or dessert. 
105. Decide to learn from everyone. 
106. Make a big deal of small wins.  
107. Let life happen around you. 
108. Have a big vision for those around you.  
109. Enjoy others’ success.  
110. Inspire others quietly.  
111. Deliberately invest in healing.  
112. Welcome diverse perspectives.  
113. Don’t go to bed angry. 
114. Anticipate the success of others.   
115. Value your own time.  
116. Ask others to “pay it forward.”  
117. Write a kind note. 
118. Offer to help for free.  
119. Have a plan. 
120. Overlook immaturity.  
121. Care less about being right. 
122. Schedule time to invest in others. 
123. Give away your best idea.  
124. Stop being offended so easily. 
125. Remember the good times. 
126. Decide that caring is more important than winning. 
The Gypsy

Tuesday, 11 February 2014

Almost the 12th :)

When I said that February would be a quiet(er) month for me, right here, I lied.


Okay. I didn't lie.
I just didn't know that I'd be this swamped AND having fun.
So far, I'm actually living up to my "resolutions".
At least the first two are looking/feeling promising. The third one is work in progress. :)

Besides my thesis, I had the house to myself a weekend when I dropped my mum and sister off at the station (they were heading for Belgium). Seeing as the male presence in this house is only in their rooms, sleeping or at their computer, if they are not at work, I was really mainly by myself.
And I actually got some work done.

Conclusion: People's presence is the biggest excuse I use to slack off.
That, and social media.

I made muffins for my brother and watched Thor: The Dark World with him, only to realize halfway that it was the sequal of Thor (which we were actually planning on watching).
So then we watched Thor afterwards.
And found out that the Avengers comes in between the two movies.
And that I should also watch Iron Man (1 and 2) and the Hulk if I wanted to enjoy any of this. xD Yay.

In the meantime, in Sotchi, the Dutch ice skating men are landing all the medals they can get their hands on.
I thought, the first time they got the three medals in a row for the 5 km (Sven Kramer -Gold-, Jan Blokhuijsen - Silver- and Jorrit Bergsma - Bronze-), that this was spectacular.
Having three others echo this in 500 m was almost unbelievably epic (Michel Mulder - Gold-, Jan Smeekens - Silver- and Ronald Mulder -Bronze). -Notice the last names, the gold and bronze sprinters are twins. :D
For the women: Irene Wüst did an awesome job scoring us gold for the 3 km, and Margo  Boer got bronze today for the short track 500 m.

I met up with lots of people this last week, some whom I hadn't seen in months (and one for 2 years) -- Lots of laughter and "gezelligheid" ensued.
I'm planning to keep that up. Though I should be more balanced about work and socializing >.<
Internship is getting more real, soon, the contract will be through and the schedule will be all-ready. Can't wait!

The Gypsy

Saturday, 8 February 2014

Being a Witch

The mission?
Drill forty odd children and hold auditions for five different movies in five days.

Did we succeed?
Hell yes.

I'm enormously proud of the crew, and all members of Dio-Kamp 2013, and thus present a glimpse of the group:

See if you can't spot ( & hear ) me.
Hint : I'm the witch.

The running joke?
I am always a witch.
I wasn't playing any role.
I was simply being myself.

It's most true, too.
Though those sleeves prove most unhandy in day to day life.

The Gypsy

Saturday, 1 February 2014

Movie review: Mirror Mirror (2010).

Warning: Spoilers ahead. Probably.

The cast was a mix up of all kinds of known actors and actresses, and their mothers.
I'm very bad at names, but I went all "Julia Roberts (Who was, admittedly, good at being evil).... HEY! That's the guy from the musical The Producers!
And that's the Lone Ranger! And the dwarf from Pirates! And OoooOooOooh.. NED STARK!"

I think that was the only thing in this movie I was genuinely enthusiastic about.
Oh. And the visuals are cool.

It's an even worse basterdization of the original than Hansel and Gretel (and that was a pretty shallow one already). It is as absurd as Alice in Wonderland and The Producers put together.

Also, it's just not funny.
Or rather: It's a specific sort of humor that either makes you giggle or groan, depending on who you are.
I groaned. A lot. Eye-rolled a lot, too.

It starts out with Julia Roberts trying? failing to imitate a British accent. Then there's a nice animation. Then there are dwarf bandits and  an idiot girl in a tedious story that has little to do with the actual original.
The idiot girl a.k.a the princess ends up lying, thieving, and manipulating -- she is nowhere near the Miss Goody Two Shoes she's supposed to be. The huge apple scene and a deep almost-death sorta sleep is completely emitted, cause apparently, this Snowwhite is too smart and cunning to be fooled.
The dialogue is mediocre at best. The movie has no depth.
And then, the entire movie ends with a Bollywood style dance and song AFTER the couple has kissed.

Not sure why/how I watched it to the end.

Don't watch it.
Unless you've watched EVERY OTHER movie you could think, read ALL books in your cupboard, and played "I spy with my little eye" with your siblings, and are STILL tied to your bed for some odd reason.

The Gypsy