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!

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 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 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!