Love: In All Phases

It is  February 14! I know that for some it is just a big ploy for consumerism. But, hey!  why can’t we just use this event to reflect and deal with love? Are you ready to be vulnerable?

v.png

Enjoy Single Life

Yes, being single is very different in various phases. Regardless of your status (No Boyfriend/Girlfriend Since Birth, Third Wheel, or Single due to a bad break-up or divorce), the best choice is to accept, embrace, and be thankful for your freedom.

Honestly, the most common mistake that you might commit is to blame yourself. This is actually suicidal or may cause sadness or even depression. Acknowledging and improving one’s bad personality can be a good move, but focusing on every negative thing that you can think of about yourself is really dangerous. So, please stop the negativity and welcome happy thoughts 🙂

The freedom that comes from being single gives enough space for you to find who you really are, what do you still want to do in your life, and enjoy every possibility that you can achieve without asking for permission or considering someone if he or she will agree with your choice.

Dating or Hanging-Out is More Fun than You Expect

I believe that dating or hanging out is not just about chasing or playing. I think it can also be seen as a learning opportunity about other people’s passion, experiences, culture, hobbies, and interests. It is always a win-win situation especially if you are happy to be open and get to know someone in a much deeper level.

Well, it is up to you to decide on whatever lines you would want to cross. Just take note, never ever change or assume something at this phase. Just enjoy and be yourself! Get to know the person and who you really are— in relation to your date. You’ll be surprised about what you can discover about yourself!

You Can’t Force nor Stop Love

When love comes into your life, you cannot really fight it! You might deny it or even want to postpone it but sometimes love gracefully enters whenever you are ready.

Ready means that you are not just lonely, playing around, or searching for love. Sometimes love just really comes unexpectedly during the time when you fully embrace and love yourself —that energy radiates and attracts the right person.

You can have a list of standards about what you like or don’t like about a partner but when love hits you, you’ll just know it.

THE RELATIONSHIP

People from different cultures have various notions about how should a romantic relationship work.

Being in a relationship can be happy, fulfilling, and really fun! You can both travel, spend major occasions together, and have various dates. You can also have a chance to be a part of each other’s social circle, and most importantly, family.

The fact that there is someone who loves you and has the willingness to be your partner is such a blessing or maybe one of the best stages that can happen to one’s life.

However, love is not just about being in a constant state of euphoria. Relationship is also about hard work, acceptance, and respect. Differences will always be a given factor but it takes hard work to reconcile each of these differences and acceptance to those things that both of you can’t change.

True love is accepting and respecting the worst side of your partner. Love is choosing to stay through the best and especially the tough times.

As a priest in Rome states in his homily, “your ability to love is determined by your capacity to suffer.”

Learn to Let Go

If the relationship reaches its dead end, be thankful and just let go. Never blame anyone, especially yourself. Don’t be bitter as well.

Be happy that you experience that kind of love, and welcome the possibility of a new beginning.

Cheeky Guide To German Culture: “German Men Sit Down To Pee”

When one lives in another country, one will be confronted with a lot of cultural differences or some unique things, which one will be confused whether to accept or shrug off. I also have my fair share of these scenarios as well.

Calling a Medical  Clinic

I needed to call  a medical clinic to book an appointment. Since the lady who received my call cannot speak English and I didn’t have that good German proficiency at that time, she really did not understand me. As a result, she just dropped the call. I was thinking that if this is an emergency situation and they cannot speak English or don’t have any patience in understanding a person who has a bad German proficiency, would they care to save a life?

Fried Rice for Breakfast

We Asians are rice lovers since we eat it with every meal. A warm fried rice with a lot of garlic is our staple breakfast meal paired with fried eggs, tapas or any other fried meat. Some Germans find it awful having rice for breakfast as well as the smell of garlic early in the morning.

At the End of Class Presentations or Sessions

After one finishes a class presentation or after a seminar or lecture,  it seems so weird for me to knock on the desk. I just go with the flow every time most of the Germans do it but I exactly don’t know why they do it.

Asian and German Pairing

When I arrived in Germany, most of the Germans asked me whether  my  ex- boyfriend and I met on the internet. I don’t have something against  people meeting on the internet. Most of them do really have successful relationships. However, I need to admit that the stigma of mail-ordered-brides or an Asian woman marrying a white Guy just for money  is still there.

It is really difficult to comprehend these situations. I always question myself whether I’m wrong or not. How much of my own culture or traditions do I need to change just to adhere to German traditions? What can I do to belong and how can a foreigner delineate Germans’ directness and rudeness?

German Men Sit Down to Pee - Nik Frank, James Cave.jpg

This book German Men Sit Down to Pee, which is written by Niklas Frank and James Cave, may not answer every question that I have. However, reading this book is a  good starting point in understanding the German culture.

 “The problem  with stereotypes is that they’re limiting”(10).

They begin the book  by pointing out that there also stereotypes that have been associated with Germans throughout different time periods. One of which is: “Planning is such a big part  of the German psyche that everyone expects everyone else to be organized as well” (106-07). However, I meet a lot of  Germans who just chose  not to be organized.

As foreign readers, the book gives us a lot of perspectives about German life, culture, tradition, celebration, entertainment, food, drinks, etc. There are also some trivia which I never knew before like:”April Fool’s Day… is said to have originated in Germany” (34).

The book has also an in-depth explanation about some interesting German terms such as Preis-Leistungs-Verhältnis, Freikörperkultur, etc. The book has many different short chapters, which makes it easier for readers to understand and remember the content. The information in the book is short, concise, and  direct with some given historical or social context.

As a reader, I highly recommend this book because it is useful if one can read this before they embark their journey to Germany or if one still want to try to make sense of the German culture. There are a lot of interesting information here and you will basically know the truth  and the reason whether German men really sit down and pee 🙂

The Authors are currently working on a printed version of the book. Interested readers can find more information  at www.germansbook.com.

Freedom in Amsterdam

Traveling in Netherlands is indeed expensive, but it’s worth it.

You have been warned that you need to spend some money in Netherlands, especially in Amsterdam, since their cost of living is relatively high compared to other European countries.

On the other hand, why worry in spending much if you can have one of the best days of your life here? Here are some of my recommended activities in Amsterdam!

Ride a Bike

Once you set foot in the city, you will be surprised that bicycles dominate their modes of transportation. For us, we’ve tried tandem bike. The person who will be riding in front should definitely control the direction and balance, while the other person will just support peddling at the back. I can say that it can also be considered as a good partner activity, since it will really develop good communication (since the one in front should say when to stop so that the other can stop peddling) and trust.

It pays literally to look left or right before you cross the street. You also need to be aware that there are bike lanes, tram rails as well as pedestrian lanes so be mindful of these demarcations to avoid accidents.

To have a safe and definitely relaxing bike ride, go to Vondelpark near Rijksmuseum. Or if you also want a different kind of biking experience try Canal Bike!

Eat!!!

Well, Amsterdam’s Stroop waffles, Apple Strudel with Cream and Dutch fries are really worth a try. If you are looking for some other dishes, you may also opt to eat affordable Asian dishes in Yu Family Kitchen. For alcohol lovers, Dutch Beers should be on your list. I find it refreshing and there’s a balance of sweetness and bitterness (well, it still depends on what kind of beer you order).

Here’s a major tip! Usually, normal meals in Amsterdam range from 8 to 10 Euros. But don’t worry, you can still find affordable meals by just spending your precious 1 Euro. Where is it? It’s in HEMA, a one-stop shop which can be found on Nieuwendijk 174-176. The mall opens at 9am and their 1 Euro breakfast is available until 10am. For the 1 Euro snack, it’s usually available starting 4pm.

DSC_0616

Stroop Waffle: Hot Dutch Waffle

DSC_0137

Mayo and Dutch Fries

 

DSC_0498

Brouwerij’t IJ Beers

DSC_0514

Shrimp and Vegetables in Oyster Sauce at Yu Family Kitchen

DSC_0515

HEMA’s Apple Strudel and Cheesecake

 

DSC_0456

Hema’s 1 Euro Merienda/ Snack: 1 cake and 1 coffee (We can’t get enough so we buy more cakes!)

DSC_0519

Hema’s famous 1 Euro Breakfast!!!! We just add some cents for the pancakes and bacon.

Visit their Museums

I love how Amsterdam embraces art and their rich cultural history. Various artworks from renowned artists like Rembrandt and Van Gogh can be seen in Rijksmuseum. They also have free app which you can access through the museum’s wifi connection. Using the app,  you can hear additional details about different artworks inside the museum. One trend that I noticed among all the artworks by Dutch artists is that they mainly focus on themes about their daily lives. As a normal museum visitor, I find it relatable and easy to understand. You can also find a cozy library where you can read books inside the museum.

We also visited two unusual museums that may not be common in other countries. Visiting The Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum is really an eye opener, because through their free audio guide, I better understand the pros and cons of legalizing and using Marihuana. Second, the Sex Museum provides a collection of various materials which were forbidden to see back when we were just minors. I think they can still improve the museum using  modern technology such as videos, audio guides etc.

DSC_0232

The Night Watch by Rembrandt can also be found inside Rijksmuseum.

 

DSC_0084

Two Mothers by Frans Stracke (1893): This sculpture shows the life of a fisherman’s wife with 2 fishes in her pouch showing that they also have impoverished life at that time

 

DSC_0149

Library inside Rijksmuseum. How I wish I can just seat here all day just reading books!

 

 

DSC_0359

Rijksmuseum’s park

 

DSC_0032

These are some various ways on how Marijuana has been smuggled in the past. You can learn more about all the issues connected to Marijuana in Hash Marihuana and Hemp Museum.

 

DSC_0115DSC_0105

Stop and Smell the Flowers

If you are in Netherlands during the period between March to May, please visit Keukenhof. Not just for nature lovers, I find the park very relaxing and  a perfect place to rejuvenate and unwind. Though, if you want to see all flowers in full bloom, then I think it’s good to visit at the end of April or first week of May.

DSC_0260

DSC_0464

Keukenhof’s Flowers in Willem-Alexander

 

DSC_0406

Keukenhof’s Flowers Outdoor

 

DSC_0744

Vincent Van Gogh Exhibition in Keukenhof: Paintings and Flowers

 

DSC_0501

Stylish Flower Arrangements

 

DSC_0522

Take a peek in Amsterdam by Night

Dubbed as the “sin city”, Amsterdam offers  unwavering freedom to its tourists. The Red Light District is somehow famous for its window prostitutes. All day and night, people can also buy Marijuana (joint, space cakes etc) in coffee shops. Though, it’s still up to the tourists to be responsible while enjoying these “sorts of freedom”.

DSC_0835

Red Light District

 

DSC_0056

Coffeeshop

 

Where to stay?

Eat, Play and Sleep in The Student Hotel. They really have friendly staff so if you have any questions, they will be very happy to help you. Their Kitchen offers various meals from breakfast to dinner. If you want to unwind after a busy tour, then you can also play table tennis or billiards here. Your money is definitely worth the comfort that you’ll be experiencing here.

DSC_0831 DSC_0834

Don’t forget to visit other tourist attractions!

DSC_0009

Anne Frank House. The line is really long so it’s recommended to book your ticket online or go there early in the morning.

DSC_0144

St. Nicholas Basilica

DSC_0931

Dutch Houses

DSC_0505

Windmill

DSC_0540

Royal Palace

DSC_0034