Bastiaan Reinink

Jul 292014
 

“Hi, I’m here for my appointment to set up a corporate bank account.”

“Ah, mr. Reinink, yes, yes, of course, have a seat, so glad to have you, welcome.” (The guy wasn’t wringing his hands together. Yet…) “Your passport, good, good. And your deed of incorporation, great! And… Oh… You ehm… Brough a lease as your proof of residence…?”

Jep, that's me. Except for the flames perhaps...

Jep, that’s me. Except for the flames perhaps…

It all started a while back. I got a phone call from one of the intermediaries I was in contact with once and awhile. “We’ve got the perfect job for you, how would you feel about building a model in London?”

Before he had stopped speaking I was doing laps and high-fiving random people, though coolly I answered: “Well, maybe. Let me think about it…”

I had a chat with the manager who seemed to like me and the job seemed interesting; we both said yes.

That’s when the hoops started.

The client was British, so they didn’t know what to do with a Dutch sole trader. “Set up an English limited or you’re not getting the job!” Was their solution. Not a big problem, but very inefficient tax-wise.

“Can’t my intermediary hire me?” – “No!”
“Can’t someone else set up the company and you hire me through that company?” – “No!”
“Can I set up a shell company in the Caymans that then sets up a different company in the UK which buys up your bank but only siphons off just enough money to pay me for the work I do?” – “No!”
“Can you pay me more to at least make up for part of the tax benefits I’m missing?” – “N… Oh, all right then, but stop whining!”

Besides having to jump through some hoops I actually am very happy to be here in London. I guess it’s good to have some frustration so you can enjoy the good parts even more. If I keep telling myself that, maybe I’ll actually start believing it?
So I had to set up a UK company. Which was a bit of a hassle: Getting incorporated, buying insurance. Nothing too serious though.

Until I tried setting up a bank account.

“Mr. Reinink, we really do need proof of residence. And this lease, the one paper that actually allows you to stay in the place you’re living, well, it obviously isn’t good enough! Don’t you have a UK driving license, don’t you pay London taxes, don’t you have a utility bill?”

Seriously?!?

And guess what? No bank account, no place to send my money and thus no payments…

Go to London they said. It’ll be fun they said…

Grmbl!!!


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 272014
 

”Why do I do this to myself?”

$&#@**^ gently rolling hills...

$&#@**^ gently rolling hills…

I must have asked this question at least once per day the past few days.

You see, we were hiking. Through the gently rolling hills of Ireland. Meaning that any piece of flat path was a blessing; what goes up must come down again. And then go up once more… And as we were packed with rain-gear, we obviously had nothing but blistering sun (to be fair, we had quite a bit of clouds and a tiny bit of rain as well).

So after hiking for 25 kilometers, knowing that you have at least 5 more to go, (going up all the way) there are moments where you curse yourself for agreeing to come.

Why do I do this to myself?

Being on a hike I had plenty of time to think and these are the reasons I came up with (in order of least to most important):

Besides hiking we also spent a day in Dublin. I now know that Dublin was founded by vikings, who went around in yellow amphibious vehicles, wearing horned helmets and yelling “Rwaarrrrr!” at every street corner. Their descendents can still be observed to this day…
  • The views. You don’t get to enjoy a landscape in any similar way as you do when you hike.
  • Enjoying the food (and drinks) after arriving. Gotto get those calories, so that means big and good meals. Which obviously need to be washed down with a pint or two…
  • A sense of achievement. “Yes, I did it!”
  • Not hiking. As in, getting off of your feet after doing your bit for the day. Enjoying the feeling of peace and quiet, of staying in your chair (while food and beer are served). This is an important one!
  • Most importantly though: Spending time with friends. There is nothing like being in close proximity, talking (or not), experiencing something together, to cement friendships. I feel closer to everybody in the group than before the hike.

Sometimes it’s tough. Sometimes it hurts. But like with almost everything in life, there is no gain without some sacrifice. I’m happy to sacrifice a bit of comfort, if the above is what I get back for it!

Looking forward to next year’s trip!


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 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!