Bastiaan Reinink

Jul 182014
 

I’m writing this at London City airport, waiting for my flight back home. Or perhaps I should say “to The Netherlands”. Yes, I’m going home, but it’s only for a very short while. Because tomorrow afternoon I’ll be flying off to Ireland (for a week of hiking with friends, if you must know).

Sheep, castles and the threat of rain. So glad this is so close by!

Sheep, castles and the threat of rain. So glad this is so close by!

I know this isn’t the most efficient way of flying, but the ticket Amsterdam – Dublin was bought months before I knew I would be spending my time in London. A ticket London – Dublin is more expensive than London – Amsterdam, and this gives me the chance to drop by my own house, sleep for a night in my own bed and pick up my stuff from home (instead of having to have dragged them with me to London already). That last reason was in fact the most important one.

Which brings me to the subject of this post: The world is small. Or at least, time and efficiency wise things are close together. I am literally taking a flight to pick up a bag.

Yes, that’s decadent! But it’s also a sign of how modern life is. Flights are cheap and plentiful. And I’ve gotten used to them (I remember the first time I took a flight on my own, It took me a month to pack my bag (this time I packed it this morning), so mentally they are not a challenge anymore either. It’s like a train-ride where they make you be an hour early for your train.

As I’m writing this, I’m sitting at home! Nothing like coming home after a hot day (and a flight) to unexpectedly find you have ice-cream in the fridge!
We have the world at our finger tips. Beautiful sights, exotic people and amazing locations await us. All just a few hours and a few Euros (ok, perhaps a bit more than a “few” Euros…) away.

I’m looking forward to flying to Ireland, to going hiking, seeing the sights, drinking the whiskey, relaxing my tired legs after a long day. But more than that I’m looking forward to spending time together with my friends. Because more than beauty and adventure, this trip is about extending connections.

The world is small. So our friends are always nearby!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Jul 162014
 

Today I did algebra. And calculus. And a bit of stochastics.

Yeah baby, you wiggle that differential equation real good!

Yeah baby, you wiggle that differential equation real good!

For most people this would be a description of a horrible day. For me it’s a good one!

I studied mathematics for 6 years (ok, I was a student at the faculty of mathematics for 6 years. Let’s not get into how much time I actually spent studying…). And then I spent another 8 using it in one way or another for my work.

It still stumps me, horribly so at times. But I also have the confidence that I’m able to get it. If I just keep hacking away at a problem (or even just a bit of theory), my mind will (eventually) wrap itself around it and I’ll come to some new insight.

Even though I know I will eventually get it, I need to work hard at it. It’s right there at the edge of using everything I have to get to the end point. It’s what gets me in a state of flow. Give me a good problem, some time to work on it and an internet to look up papers and definitions (yay for Wikipedia) and I’m happy!

I studied mathematics for 6 years, worked with it for 8 more. And I only just now realized this!

Funny thing, life!

Two functions are walking in the forest. “Look out, a differential operator!”, shouts the first. “Pah, he can’t hurt me, I’m Exp(x)!”, says the second. The first function ran and lived. The second perished. The differential operator was d/dy.

If you didn’t get that: Congratulations, you are not a math nerd!

“You don’t know what you’ve got ‘till it’s gone”. Or in my case: “You don’t know what you missed ‘till it’s back“. My previous two assignments (spanning a year in total) were interesting, but not mathematically challenging. And as such I didn’t always enjoy them to the hilt.

The question is, what to do with this information? Only look for mathematically challenging assignments? I like mathematics. But I also know that no matter how hard the problem is, I will eventually solve it. Each individual problem is a challenge, but on a more meta-level there isn’t really that much of a challenge anymore.

In some sense mathematics is easy. Numbers don’t change their mind, don’t get angry, are always there. People throw fits, are gone when you need them, or in your face when you can’t use them. People are much more interesting.

Something with both people and mathematics (no, I do not want to be a teacher!). I’ll keep my eyes out for something like that coming on my path…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Jul 112014
 

I consider myself to be open-minded, non-discriminating. Which makes it all the more worrying when you catch yourself at being a horrible bigot…

The world would be even cooler if we had green and blue people (and I'm not just talking about a jealous or cold white person)

The world would be even cooler if we had green and blue people (and I’m not just talking about a jealous or cold white person)

My current job is in Canary Wharf, the (new) financial district of London. Glass-and-steel highrises, a huge underground mall, lots of eateries and pubs, all interspersed with bits of water from the old docks. And people. Lots of people. In suits (mostly).

It was during my afternoon walk-for-a-bit-of-lunch. As I mentioned, lots of eateries, so good to try things out (“pulled pork” is quickly becoming a favorite). I had gotten my lunch (a sandwich, if I recall correctly) and was strolling through one of the parks. I saw a guy with dark skin in a suit. And the thought popped into my head: “They should wear that more often.”

Now, as far as discriminatory ideas go, this wasn’t by far the worst of what the world has brought us. But it was a shock, as it was my thought!

I grew up in a smallish town in the North of the Netherlands. There was a hand full of Asian people around, but that was about it. When I studied just about everybody was as pale as a ghost as well. I’ve lived in Haarlem and Utrecht, also not known for their populations of dark-skinned people. I’d see someone of a different color than myself once and awhile, but this was definitely the exception rather than the rule.

I’ve tried being as politically correct as I could, so I very much hope I didn’t offend anybody. Not a simple subject to write about, but perhaps because of that all the more worthwhile.
Here in London however the people are an incredibly mixed bunch, with high percentages of people ethnically from Asia, Africa, South America, with a rainbow of skin colors to match. And it’s something I (seemingly) am not used to.

Two things:

  • I’m happy that I caught myself thinking something I’m not happy to be thinking. This way at least I can actively do something about it.
  • I’m hoping that living in such a highly multi-cultural society will make it more common (and thus more “normal”) to be around people different from myself (in whichever way).

Unknown makes unloved (in The Netherlands the highest number of voters for our right-wing anti-foreigner populist party are from regions where the number of foreigners is actually lowest). Which is a shame. Because I do love the new and the exotic!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Jul 062014
 

The house I grew up in was practically opposite a primary school called “Panta Rhei” (I didn’t go to that school, even though it was really close. It’s funny how you just accept things as a kid, my parents had decided that I would go to a different school so that was that…). Panta Rhei means “everything flows”. In my youth I was obviously not aware of any deeper meaning (things had names. This was the name of the school opposite us. You know, the one I didn’t go to).

Heraclites, the ancient Greek godfather of flow.

Heraclites, the ancient Greek godfather of flow.

Everything flows.

Hollywood (and especially Disney) have one-and-a-half to three hours to introduce their characters, get them in trouble and then get them out of it again. After which they live happily ever after.

Real life isn’t like that. Our adventures hardly ever are cinema-screen-worthy (though sometimes they are!), but more importantly, there is no happily ever after.

Everything flows. Everything changes. We have our times of happiness and our times of sadness. There isn’t a moment in life after which everything is fine, after which we can sit down and simply enjoy. The world will take it upon itself to bestow novelty upon us. And if the world is a bit too slow, we inevitably do it to ourselves. For better or worse…

The opposite of flow is stagnancy. A lack of movement, of growth.

Having been in London for a week now this is something I’m feeling deeply. Yes, it’s definitely not as easy here as back home: A hundred things that I need to arrange, not a lot of friends around, trying to figure out how this (huge, wonderful, amazing, weird) city works.

Another way of looking at it: “This too will pass”. Letting go can however be very difficult…
It’s not easy. But it’s good!

I’m learning, changing, growing, moving. I’m falling, failing, making a fool out of myself.

Everything flows. It’s good to be in that flow!


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!

Jul 032014
 

A week ago was the last day of my previous assignment. 7 days, yet it seems like 7 months…

Even buses are better in London :-)

Even buses are better in London :-)

I started on my new assignment (get IT stuff sorted out, read up on what it is they actually do (and better, want me to do), meet the team and other important people (trying hard to remember names and failing miserably) on Tuesday. But more importantly, I started London!

It’s hard to describe this city. The best way I thought of was to say it’s high dimensional.

It’s huge. You can spend an hour on the tube and you will still be well within the confines of the city. Except that it isn’t really one city. It’s a whole lot of villages, that happened to have grown together, each with it’s own feel.

The hugeness isn’t just horizontal, it’s also vertical. Skyscrapers and skyline, but also the underground, walkways, overhead passageways, bridges across streets, escalators going up, elevators going down… The third dimension is used way better than in any other city I’ve ever been to.

I’m sure I’m going to miss my friends (though getting back to the Netherlands once and awhile isn’t so hard either). What I already miss however is my saxophone. I’m sure thought that my housemates are very happy I didn’t bring it…
And finally the people. The many many people! In suits and rags, sporty or pudgy, white or black or something in between. I’ve always loved watching people, but it gets so much better when there is such diversity to them.

I’m falling for her. Falling for this city. Falling head over heels. I know it’s the energy that comes from meeting someone new, from looking through pink glasses. But even if it won’t last forever, it’s not any less real right now.

So I’m enjoying my new-found infatuation, these butterflies in my stomach. And I’m looking forward what more this will bring…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. I write this blog to give you some insight into the things I run into and perhaps to inspire you to go in search of your own life extraordinaire.

I love to connect, so if you have thoughts, ideas or questions based on this (or another) post, please leave me a comment!