Sep 242014
 

This past weekend I was in the Netherlands to celebrate two very good friends getting married. And I didn’t just get to celebrate, I got to be a very intimate part of it, as they had asked me to be master of ceremonies (luckily together with four other lovely people)!

I'm not really the marrying kind, but throwing a party like that must be awesome!

I’m not really the marrying kind, but throwing a party like that must be awesome!

Seeing a wedding “from the inside” is definitely something! So far I’ve only had to enjoy the occasion, drink my beer, have some cake, congratulate the bride and groom, hand over some gifts (and get them handed back, to be dropped at the ubiquitous “presents table”) and then go back to drinking beer, talking to old friends and having a dance.

Don’t worry, I got to do all of the above. But in between I was helping to drag big flower pots back and forth, hanging decoration, greeting guests that were early to arrive, directing guests to the right location when they were late to arrive, making sure that people knew they got to go on a picture with the happy couple, announcing speeches, announcing funny songs, helping to set up dinner, getting the bride a glass to drink, pointing, directing, helping.

At the end of the day I was feeling just a tad tired. But when I finally got to crash down on my air mattress (because why wouldn’t you go camping after a nice wedding?!), I couldn’t sleep. Too many things still dripping through my subconscious to let my consciousness get the rest it deserved.

One of the things that came to me was: “I’m happy!”

Happy that my friends had a beautiful day and that they had announced to the world that they loved each other. Happy to have been a part of it, to have helped with it. Even if it’s not your turn in the limelight, it’s still awesome to be directing the beam!

And something that had been at the back of my head for some time came to the fore: To be happy you have to do something.

The downside of never getting married: You don’t get a bachelor party either!
Helping to organize a wedding is a lot of work and especially at the moment you have to start it, it feels like a burden. Yet during all the time I was busy with it, I enjoyed myself immensely. Afterwards I felt very good indeed.

I have a tendency to be tired after a long day (like everybody?) and I make the easy choices; to surf the web or watch a series, instead of doing something that may cost some energy but in the end will make me feel so much better. To go out for a walk (however small). Or to write. And I find that when I do do something, energy comes flowing back very quickly.

I’m not sure whether I’m going to be helping anybody organize their wedding anytime soon though… :-)


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant 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!

Sep 172014
 

In my life I’ve twice bribed someone.

A re-allocation of funds to speed up the processing of important yet bothersome paperwork...

A re-allocation of funds to speed up the processing of important yet bothersome paperwork…

The first time was in a train from Germany to Prague. We were dirt poor students, enjoying a well-deserved vacation to Eastern Europe. We knew that we could buy a ticket on the international train, so when the appropriate people stopped by we eagerly asked them to sell us a ticket. “Later, later” was the reply. This happened another 2 times, until we were almost in Prague. Then they came in and in our best combination of English, German and Check they explained us that we could get a ticket – normal price, or we could not get a ticket – half price.

Young, naive and not the brightest knives in the book, it took us a while before we figured out that they wanted a bribe.

Of course we would happily travel with the half-price-no-ticket deal they were so kindly offering (more for the novelty value than the money really (though being dirt-poor students the money was nice as well…)).

I said that the first room was bad. I was lying, it was horrific! There were already 6 people living in the 3 person flat, more mold than clean walls and the room wasn’t big enough to turn around in. When politely asked by the agent who had shown it to me I equally politely said that I would not be taking it. She then told me that this was her second day on the job and that she was so ashamed of this that she was going to quit as of immediately!

The day before yesterday I again bribed someone. As I wrote I’ve been in a bit of stress over where I’ll be staying for the next few months. Then on Monday I did three viewings. The first was bad, the second great(!) and the third ok. The second obviously had to think about it, as they weren’t in any hurry. The third was happy to give me the room then-and-there. “Let me sleep on it?” Was my somewhat lame answer.

And here I was in a conundrum. The second room was what I wanted, larger, better location, very nice people. The third was ok, not very convenient, small, hot.

So I did what any self-respecting person would have done… I made it worth their while. I sent a message, saying that if they could speed up their decision making process (in my favor) I’d happily pay a bit extra…

Then they slept on it, but in the morning gave me the final verdict: The room was mine! Woohoo!

So, the universe does provide. But sometimes you’ve got to grease the cogs a little bit…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant 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!

Sep 142014
 

A while back I wrote that I had nothing left to wish for. A while before that I wrote a piece about being careful what you wish for, because you just might get it.

Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood...  Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough...

Under the bridge downtown, is where I drew some blood…
Under the bridge downtown, I could not get enough…

I’ve got something to wish for…

When I first came here it was for a 3 month contract. That has been extended for an additional 3 months (yay!). Having planned to be here for just month though I signed a lease agreement for my room for 3 months. And if I wanted to extend my current lease it would have had to sign up for an additional full year. Not so handy… So I decided not to. I mean, how hard could it be to find something in a place as dynamic as London?!?

Let me tell you: A lot harder than I had thought!

The first time round there were lots of places being offered, so many even that I got multiple messages on the add that put online (most of them completely unsuitable btw, but enough that did seem to be ok). In the end I had a choice of 2 that were both very suitable to my needs.

Now however it’s the beginning of the school year, meaning that lots of students are looking for rooms. And like me, they prefer to be some place central… Meaning that the pickings are slim, things gone well before I have a chance to reply, messages don’t get replied to and phones don’t get answered.

At moments like this I need to remind myself that you can’t have an adventure without some adversity…
I’ve always firmly believed there were two kinds of occurrences in life: Those that you could do something about and those that you couldn’t. The first you fixed, the latter you ignored. No need to stress.

Now however I’m stressed! This is something in between. Yes, I can do something about this (vigilantly scour the internet for something suitable), but for the most part it’s out of my hands. And the fact that I really do need a place to live doesn’t make this any better!

In the end it’ll work out. The universe will provide (perhaps the universe will provide an over-priced hotel room, but still…).

On the map I’ve been living underneath London Bridge. I hope I won’t literally have to live underneath London Bridge…


Bastiaan ReininkI’m Bastiaan. This blog is meant 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!

Aug 162014
 

For the last few weeks I’ve been taking sword-fighting classes. You take a plastic sword, a plastic buckler (small shield) and you cut, stab, parry, riposte and other things I know the name of but have clue how to actually execute.

One more skill on my list for becoming a real pirate!

One more skill on my list for becoming a real pirate!

Last class was dedicated to sparring. 1-on-1, trying to score a hit, whilst not getting hit yourself. A score on the limbs is 1 point (or 1 life off of the other person) and a score on the torso or head (fencing mask!) is 2 points / lives (it feels a bit like a real-life Super Mario game…).

Being the least-experienced I wasn’t getting my hopes up of actually scoring any hits, resigning myself to being out before I could really get my sword up.

I could’ve played in two ways. The first was to keep on defending, biding my time for that perfect opening. The second was to go all out, try to stab them before they stabbed me.

As I didn’t really have a clue what I was doing and I wouldn’t see an opening if it bit me in the ass, the defensive way would’ve just meant that I was defeated slowly. Going on the offense however gave me at least a fighting chance (so to speak).

The motto for the sword-fighting club I practice at: “…because one day the bullets will run out!” I feel more prepared for the Zombie Apocalypse already!
I was pleasantly surprised to find that it wasn’t actually that hard to score a hit. Many a brave knight fell before my sword! The thing that was very difficult however was not to get hit back at the same time! I fell before many a brave knight’s sword while they were falling for mine…

Still, I managed to get in a few hits in without getting decapitated (figuratively) myself. Woohoo!

Life, as any game, can be played in two ways. You can play not to lose. Or you can play to win.

Personally I’m happy to always play to win. In life that means taking your chance, even if it means you leave yourself open to the sword of misfortune.

Trying means you can fail. Not trying means you won’t ever succeed. Which is worse?


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!

Aug 022014
 

Without the stage to frame it, this could've been right out of a movie

Without the stage to frame it, this could’ve been right out of a movie

One of the things that London does is plays and musicals. Recently I had the chance to go to two, a play (“39 steps”) and a musical (“The Commitments”).

In both cases the plot was threadbare, the jokes were simplistic and neither seemed to a have a real ending. Still… I loved both to pieces!

There is a stage, just a few tens of square meters. There are actors, one or three hand fulls of them (depending on the play). And there is magic.

At the beginning of the month I usually reflect on last month’s “personal challenge”. This time it was “be more opinionated”. I have however been way too busy being in London that this was very far away. I’ll just keep this for another month, so if I feel “at home” enough to actually think about my personal development 
The magic is in the set. The pieces of wood and cardboard and plastic and iron. It happens before your eyes, but within seconds what was a busy Dublin street is transformed into a nightclub, into a living room, into a cafe, back into a street. Lights are lowered from the ceiling, a two-story living-and-bedroom contraption is wheeled up on the stage. Without missing a beat an actor steps through the (still being moved-in) door to start a conversation with his parents. The focus is there, whilst “outside” the scene is transmogrified into a lively party, lights still dimmed but visible nonetheless. The actor steps out again and exactly on cue the lights hit, the music starts (as though it had been playing all along) and he starts to sing.

Sleight of hand on a massive scale. No mirrors, a bit of smoke. Entertainment for the masses (who happily show up to fill the theater, be it massive or tiny). Wonder and amazement. If you’re ever in London (or have the chance to go see a show somewhere else) I would very highly recommend it!


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!