Love through wonder

I know I’m late to the party, but I am finally learning to appreciate podcasts.

I think I’ve always liked the idea of listening to podcasts, but I never really found the right moment for them.

I usually put my headphones on when I need something to either pick me up or chill me out. I use music as a backdrop for an activity and always avoided audio that would occupy more than 5% of my brain capacity.

A couple of weeks ago the stars aligned perfectly and I found myself in “right place, right time, right amount of attention span bandwidth”-situation, as I stumbled upon a Ted Talk about revolutionary love by Valarie Kaur.

valarie kaur

Valarie’s choice to start her talk by describing the experience of giving birth to her son as an analogy for the deepest, most intense and unconditional type of love, is one I can follow rationally. I understand that women that go through labor, experience indescribable pain while simultaneously being flushed with hormones, enabling them to love and care and protect the new little creature more than they’ve ever loved anything else, including themselves.

I love the idea of feeling so connected to this little helpless being, and realizing it is an extension of yourself and your legacy for the future. I can see how this deepens the connection you feel to you mother, and her mother, and her mother and how this makes you realize you are part of something bigger than you. I can imagine this is both humbling and empowering at the same time.

As much as I appreciated the anecdote, it did not motivate me to explore my own ability to love. I see the beauty of it on a poetic level, but it does nothing for me on an emotional level. Some people say I need to have kids of my own to understand this. Others say it’s a clear sign I’m not meant to have them. Who knows.

RevLoveBut Valarie continued explaining how she learnt the lessons of revolutionary love and started reeling me in as she went…

The desperation in her voice when she reminded me that hate crimes are the highest they have been since 9-11 drove a cold chill over my spine and an ache into my heart.

The realization that, despite her efforts to bring people closer together for the last 15 years, so many of her compatriots chose to vote this hateful figure into the white house, is heart breaking.

The tears that filled her eyes as she acknowledged that her son is likely to be labeled “terrorist” at least once in his life, is just infuriatingly sad.

She shared her realization that answering an act of hate with more hate would be understandable but pointless and counter productive. She explained:

We love our opponents when we tend the wound in them. Tending to the wound is not healing them — only they can do that. Just tending to it allows us to see our opponents: the terrorist, the fanatic, the demagogue. They’ve been radicalized by cultures and policies that we together can change.

love-3-directions-uai-516x333

 

She then admitted that removing hate from her own heart required a conscious effort, or as Valarie puts it: “It becomes an act of will to wonder.”

And all though the point of her childbirth reference was lost on me at the very start, she drove it home when she presented me with her final lesson in revolutionary love:

 

This is a feminist intervention. Because for too long have women and women of color been told to suppress their rage, suppress their grief in the name of love and forgiveness. But when we suppress our rage, that’s when it hardens into hate directed outward, but usually directed inward. But mothering has taught me that all of our emotions are necessary. Joy is the gift of love. Grief is the price of love. Anger is the force that protects it.

Now that is some superhero stuff right there.

She concluded her TED talk by revealing the three directions in which revolutionary love must be practiced: towards your direct surroundings, towards yourself and towards your opponents. The method: wonder.

Yepp, that’s it. She’s wonder woman.

But as it turns out, so am I!

wonder woman

And now I’m wondering about you… Are you OK, sister? How was your day, brother? What did you learn to day, uncle?

Let’s connect.

 

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Biting the bullet on gun control

If you tell me I have no place in the gun control debate a) because I don’t live in the USA, b) because I wasn’t born in the USA, c) because I don’t have to defend myself from my government or d) because I am clueless, I would agree with you on the first three points.

Clueless I am not, all though I can imagine my love for satirical news programs and the heavy lean to the left these shows tend to have, may have you believe I am biased. Guilty as charged. But who isn’t? I don’t think there are neutral parties in this discussion. And if there are, than I believe them to be the clueless ones.

To understand more about the pro-gun advocates side of the story, I have chosen three different examples to shine a light on in this blog, starting with Florida’s senator Marco Rubio’s, who is often quoted after any gun-related issue comes up:

Marco Rubio official statement gun protests 2

Marco Rubio is a frequent target on shows like the Daily Show for his lukewarm conservatism and unexciting “boy-next-door” appearance. But if this debate has to be had (and it really does), I actually very much appreciate his style. He always presents his opinion in a civil way and is as polite about it as a topic and situation allows.

Marco Rubio gun control quote

On a side-note after reading some reactions on social media; it’s really interesting to see how being balanced and well-informed is seen as negative in current day politicians…

But back to his statement on last week’s “March for our lives” protests, in which he doesn’t really say anything, other than “there are two sides in this debate, and everybody has a right to their opinion”. The last two sentences are the only ones really worth reading. What he basically says there, is “let’s talk and move towards a solution that will prevent more people being killed”.

It’s vague and it doesn’t really give me the idea that anything will change soon, but perhaps this shouldn’t be an overnight thing anyway. As long as the discussion is being held, truly, then there is hope. It does require willing participants, not just to speak but also to listen, and particularly this last part seems to be quite the challenge.

A show that also gets quite a lot of flak for being too liberal is the View. I have to agree the balance does tip more towards the left, but I feel they really do try to give all sides of the debate a voice. Take this conversation they had earlier this month, for example:

So the first argument I hear as to why the second amendment has validity, is made by Condoleezza Rice. She describes a situation she remembers from her childhood years, during which Bull Connor was the Commissioner of Public Safety for the city she was living in, being Birmingham, Alabama. With such a strong opponent of the civil rights movement in charge of “public safety”, – one who actively and openly supported racial segregation-, I can imagine that was a fearful time for African American children to grow up in.

She describes how her father and his friends would keep the neighborhood safe, by shooting into the air when KKK members would ride through the neighborhood. If her father would have had to register his gun, it would have been taken away by the local government at the time, according to Ms. Rice, leaving the neighborhood vulnerable to those who were determined to harm the black community.

Let me start by saying; that is just so terribly sad… I am not part of a minority now and even growing up in a country where I was, I was never threatened or discriminated against. The need to have a gun to protect yourself from your neighbors and from the intolerance of your government towards your very existence is something hard for me to fathom.

I would like to say that making a policy based on fear can never lead to a balanced solution, but I recognize that in the face of Ms Rice’s story and the current day president, it’s a hard argument to make.

The segment continues with Meghan McCain stating that “There has never been a mass shooting carried out by an NRA member” and that “as a vocal NRA and second amendment supporter, we feel vilified”. I get that. They are definitely being vilified. I can imagine how being a member of a gun association could help you become a responsible gun owner. However, I also feel they should have no place in government or policy making.

And if the one true argument to NOT ban AR15’s is that they are used for hunting in rural areas, how about you only allow people to have them that have a hunting license. That’s a thing right, a hunting license? At least in the Netherlands it is… Go ahead and correct me if the US doesn’t issue those, but it makes sense to me to combine the two. No hunting license, no hunting rifle. Right?

So… enough of all the balanced “on the one side this, but on the other side that”-stuff. What does an uncensored supporter of gun ownership and fanatic second amendment defender say?

This good sir, Matt Winkeljohn, of the “Resist the Tyranny” movement, repeatedly speaks of “lies and propaganda” being spread by the “March for our lives” activists.

Propaganda, according to the Cambridge dictionary is:

Information, ideas, opinions, or images, often only giving one part of an argument, that are broadcast, published, or in some other way spread with the intention of influencing people’s opinions

Sure, I agree. That is definitely what this is.

These are kids aiming for the stars in a seemingly unequal fight, like David against Goliath. It’s up to politicians to pour these heart-felt opinions, born through trauma, fear and grief, into balanced statements, discussions and policies.

Mr Winkeljohn, likes to refer to the protesters as “terrorists” because:

“They’re going around the country and they’re spreading all these lies and propaganda in order to scare the shit out of people in order to get them to support gun control”

All though I still haven’t figures out which lies he’s referring to exactly, I do agree with the fact that the protesters are trying to make people aware of the dangers of guns and motivate anybody who is willing to listen “to get them to support gun control”.

He finishes his argument off by stating:

“Well if that isn’t the definition of terrorism, then I don’t know what is.”

He then goes on by saying stuff like “If guns were the problem, then we would know about it” and compares being shot to having a “rare disease”. He argues that if less than 200.000 people have a certain disease it is considered rare and only 11.000 people get killed a year with a gun.

confusedboyBecause having a rare disease isn’t as bad as having a common one? Or should we only invest into trying to cure people with diseases that more people end up dying from? I’m still trying to figure that one out…

The fact that pro-gun-control activists are threatening his life several times a day, has led him to believe this march wasn’t about “saving or trying to protect lives” at all.

He refers to the most vocal Parkland shooting survivors as terrorists, standing on “a pile of children[‘s corpses] in order to pass a political agenda”.

Words like “propaganda”, “rhetoric” and “political agenda” are used frequently in this video and the debate in general, suggesting that people are being manipulated into believing something untrue.

I just can’t figure out what that might be. What’s the “political agenda” behind these kids’ “rhetoric” that we should all be cautious of? If he means “gun control”, then yes, that is definitely what they are trying to achieve, but it’s not as if they are trying to sneak that message into a warm, fuzzy conversation about unicorns and easter bunnies… They’re saying it loud and clear.

political-agenda-political-agenda-everywhere

So, I guess I just really can’t connect with this guy’s views. I don’t get it…

I’m afraid all I can do is go back to comedy… For some reason, blowing up a situation into ridiculousness and laughing about it, often brings out the nuance more than anything else. So, click play and let me know what you think:

 

 

Mystery Blogger Award!

One of the big upsides of participating in the Blogtober challenge, is finding inspiration in posts by other Blogtoberists. The amount of topics obviously vary enormously but it’s so motivating to read fun, creative pieces from all over the world! One of the treasures that came across my path was Tsetsewaa’s notes. She also happens to be the one that nominated me for the Mystery Blogger Award. So thanks again for that, Kukie!!

Questions for me to answer

The question she came up with for me and my fellow nominees are listed below, along with my answers:

  • Who inspires you?
    • I was deeply inspired by the interviews and speeches Michelle Obama gave during and after the US electoral campaign. She comes across as such an extremely balanced person, managing to be warm and kind as well as strong and determined. She stands for women’s empowerment but without ever letting go of her husbands hand (figuratively speaking). She rocks.
  • What were you like as a kid?
    • I’m the youngest of three and the only girl, at that. I was definitely spoiled in some ways but was raised pretty strictly when it came to manners and politeness. I loved climbing in trees and goofing around with animals. Knees were permanently scarred or green from ages 4 to 12. I was probably a pain in the ass for my brothers, but they always had my back when necessary.
  • What’s the best advice you’ve given anyone?
    • Stop drinking.
  • What’s your least favorite household chore?
    • This in an unrankable category. All household chores are annoying and I can confidently say I pretty much suck at all of them… Sorry mom, I know you tried.
  • Describe your favorite shoes!
    • I once owned a pair of beautiful brown leather flats that were not only super comfortable but also fit in at any occasion. My current shoe collection (or the part of it that I actually wear regularly) consists of palladiums, leather army boots, desigual ballerinas and running shoes. I’ve been trying to find a nice pair of neat and comfy shoes for a while now, but my small feet and picky taste have not led to success as of yet.

Mystery Award origins & rules

Happy as I am with this nomination, I do have to mention that there are a few strings attached. The rules are as follows:

  1. Put the award logo/image on your blog
  2. List the rules.
  3. Thank whoever nominated you and provide a link to their blog.
  4. Mention the creator of the award and provide a link as well
  5. Tell your readers 3 things about yourself
  6. You have to nominate 10 – 20 people
  7. Notify your nominees by commenting on their blog
  8. Ask your nominees any 5 questions of your choice; with one weird or funny question (specify)
  9. Share a link to your best post(s)

OMG, I’ve only read the first rule and I’m already stressing out… Where is the logo? What does it look like? Every other nominee I’ve visited seems to be adding a different image… Ok, I’ll just pick one from Google images then…

The Mystery Blogger award itself is the brainchild of Okoto Enigma, meant to bring interesting blogs out of the shadows and into the light for more people to enjoy! So I give thanks to you too, oh award creating being!

Rules 1 through 4: Check! On to the next.

Three Epi Facts

  1. I really feel letting up balloons should be forbidden.
  2. I’m allergic to shrimp, since I ate a a bad batch somewhere in my teens. It’s unfortunate as I would love to be able to eat a beautifully BBQed gamba skewer or a fresh seafood paella.
  3. There’s a robin in my garden who I have named Patrick. I get worried when he doesn’t come out for breakfast when I sit down by the window and have my own.

 I nominate…

Cagedunn, Bonnywood manor, Deutscher wanderwulf, A lot from Lydia, broadsideblog, Notesfromcamelidcountry, Stoner on a Rollercoaster, Observing Hermann, Travel with Intent, psychologistmimi, sarcasticbohemian.

…and I have the following questions for you:

    1. Which animal matches your character and why?
    2. What’s your absolute favorite dessert?
    3. What is an opinion you have but don’t (always) dare say out loud?
    4. What would you save from your burning house, if you could choose only one thing?
    5. What does your alarm clock sound like?

 

The posts I enjoyed writing the most are:

I realize that the blogs I am most proud of are all quite heavy on the morality scale and not exactly feel-good posts… I apologize for bumming you out but I am glad if it made you think about the world and your position in it.

What you do, say and write matters, I’m convinced of that.

Derailed thoughts

train-tracksMy parents live in the rural North of Holland. It’s a 2,5 to 3 hour train ride to get there. Not long, for some countries’ standards; pretty bloody long for Dutch ones. I have a love-hate relationship with this train ride. I hate it when the train is overly full or when I need to pee or when one annoying person decides to sit nearby on the one day that I forgot to take my earphones with me. I love it when I have a quiet seat by the window, when I have a good book with me or the skies treat me with pretty sights (rainbows, sunrises, thunderstorms, etc).

It can also have a very philosophical effect on me and my thoughts.

Last weekend for instance, I had decided to go up North after a long week of work and a slight flu. I decided to leave early in the morning. I ran into a co-worker, who was actually on his way to the office that very morning. He told me one of the software systems the company runs on had been down all night and he wasn’t particularly looking forward to this day, as it was bound to be chaotic. I felt lucky it was not my turn to work the weekend and smiled as I soaked up the morning sun.

I was completely relaxed. Something that would prove to come in handy later on…

ns storing.jpgWhen I got to the station I saw something was up. The train schedule screens were lighting up and I saw grumpy people walking away from the info-desk. I asked what was going on and found out a combination of planned and unplanned issues had disrupted certain routes, including mine. It would take a bit longer, but as far as I could see, it only meant one extra change of trains and not too much delay. It was still early, so no prob.

By the time I got to my first stopover a new issue had arisen and it was announced that I would have to take a bus for a part of the way. Bummer. I don’t like buses. At all. The sun was still shining though, and I had a newspaper with me, as well as my earphones so I wasn’t too bothered. I walked to the busplatform and sat on my bag, which was soft and comfy as I had taken some dirty laundry with me. I sat there, just soaking in the mid day sun. It was surprisingly warm, which reminded me that Spring had definitely made its arrival.

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When a big object suddenly blocked my rays, I knew the bus had arrived. When it rolled to a stop, about 200 people ran towards it. I moved myself out of the chaos and back into the sun and decided to wait for the next bus. Soon after, several buses arrived all at once and I shook my head, witnessing the shamelessness with which people pushed and shoved themselves towards the entrances.

A guy tapped me on the shoulder and asked me if I could see if the bus in front of us was already full. I was already starting to say something along the lines of “I know as much as you do, dude”, when I realized the guy was blind and that he was the only one who actually didn’t have a clue. I asked one of the orange-vest peeps to help the guy onto the next bus, which they said they couldn’t really promise and he seemed to be OK with that. He disappeared into the crowd at some point and I guess he found his way.

I watched several more buses come and go. More people were now waiting on the platform and I realized my chilled out mood wasn’t going to get me a seat on any of these rides. I decided I didn’t really want it anyhow. Not like that. So I called my parents and told them I was going to get a bite to eat in whatever-town-I-was, and see if things would be different later on in the afternoon.

So, I walked back to the train station and, to my own pleasant surprise, saw a train that was about to leave in precisely the direction I needed to go. It was pretty much empty. Ah, how I love my guardian angel!

trein.jpg

And as the train snaked it’s way through the Dutch fields, my own train of thoughts went back to the rowdy crowd that I had witnessed earlier. The way they ran towards an arriving bus… It was just so strange… And kind of funny too… I envisioned what it must have looked like; me sitting there, squinting into the sun, hardly moving at all… And then this same plump family running by, every couple of minutes; first to this bus, then to the next, to the left, to the right. It was just so silly; fit for a Laurel & Hardy sketch…

I reminisced about how little respect there had been for the elderly and handicapped. At the same time, I thought back to how unapologetically some of these elderly citizens had driven their strollers into the crowd to get through. I thought about how organized we always claim to be, as a peoples, and how primal people were reacting to this situation. I pondered about food aid trucks in war-stricken zones and how ruthless people could be in their quest to get their hands on a cup of rice, a piece of bread, a can of condensed milk.

police-dogs-waiting-food-china-1.jpgI reflected on how ugly this side of mankind was and how I could pour this situation into a blog. I said to myself “it shows what an inferior species we are” but I immediately realized that isn’t true at all. The fact that we sometimes share our food and belongings and can do this very selflessly, is actually what makes us special as a species. Fighting over territory and food (especially when it’s scarce) is a very instinctual reaction that is displayed by pretty much every living thing on earth.

And then it hit me… I was actually portraying anti-evolutionary behavior, despite often proclaiming to be a supporter of Darwins “survival of the fittest” theory. In that particular situation I was clearly not the fittest. I just gave up, hiding behind an excuse of being too polite… Or was I just too lazy to get down and dirty?

The fact that I ever got where I needed to be, was more luck than anything else.

I told myself that my attitude would most likely be more feral if my life really depended on it. Or that of my family’s. I don’t really know though. And I guess that only demonstrates how lucky I really am.

Message received

argument stubbornI love being right almost as much as being proven wrong. I don’t enjoy being contradicted per se, but I do enjoy it when someone shines their light on a situation from a new angle, putting my truth to the test. I don’t mind admitting I was wrong (or at least incomplete) when new facts are presented to me in a fair way.

This happened to me a couple of months ago, when I got into a cyber discussion witih a Jewish FB -er. It happened to me again last week when a fellow WP-er, Being Woke, called me out on my use of the word “exotic”, among other things.

All though part of me is still a bit defensive and wants to emphasize how good my intentions are and that that should be what counts, I know deep down that she was right to cyber-slap me on the wrists.

polar bear facepalm.jpgLet me summarize what happened. I read a blog in which a muslim girl described how threatened she feels on a regular basis (and during one especially aggressive encounter in particular) by looks and remarks she gets about her muslim appearance.

Instead of stating straight away that I hated that she had to deal with these kind of reactions, I inadvertently channeled my inner oaf and pretty much asked her to sympathize with the burden of my white privilege.

I told her how muslim women (or anyone foreign looking in general) stick out in my predominantly white hometown and how I struggle sometimes with how to react. I tried to explain how I would want them to feel welcome and acknowledge their presence, but at the same time I know that they would much rather just blend in. So how do you forcefully help someone blend in, when in all truth they stick out like a sore thumb?

Making myself explicitly not look makes me feel like a silly child ignoring a former friend on the school yard. It doesn’t feel nice or friendly or welcoming or productive in any way. Looking at the person in question however, even if it’s just to give her a smile, might make her feel uncomfortable and exposed, which is pretty much the opposite of what I intended in the first place. My idea was to acknowledge the facts, show her that I see her but that this has no negative connotation.

And then I earned myself a one way ticket to hell by referring to foreign looking people as “my exotic compatriots”. It’s  really bad… right?

My comment was met with a verbal eye-roll and a couple of questions to top that off:

I personally do not believe your stares are required to acknowledge someone’s presence. Do you stare at people who look like you to acknowledge their presence? Or is that reserved for those who don’t look like you – and therefore are your stares for them or to fulfil your own curiosity?

The answer to the first question is probably “no” and I go back and forth on how to feel about this. I know she is implicitly calling me a racist here, and I myself have admitted at some point I am not perfect in this field. The answer to the second rhetorical question is “yes” and again, I know I am being expected to feel bad about this.

What I want to say is that I have been on the receiving end of stares myself. I grew up in a country where my appearance stood out and I was the odd one out in a crowd. I tread a fine line here; because even though my skin and hair color made people point at me and call me names that have a negative connotation I will always be privileged by the simple fact that I am white.

Or as Louis CK puts it:

So, yes I am white and “thank god for that shit, boy”. I am guilty but I mean no harm. I am one of the good ones, I really am. I understand why it must annoy the hell out of you to be called “exotic” and have us whiteys defend ourselves by saying we meant it as a compliment. I understand you feel you are being compared to a tropical parrot or something.

I should have never touched the word. I understand that now. I do want you to know I didn’t mean it as a compliment… or an insult, for that matter. I used the word as an adjective, to describe all my fellow countrymen and -women that may have lived here their entire lives and maybe even their parents did too, but lack the Northern European look the majority of us Dutchies has. I wasn’t saying you are not Dutch. Or less worthy. Or extra sexy-feisty-squeezy-easy. Or whatever other negative connotation it may have.

So, let me be completely open and disregard all political correctness for a minute and ask some frank questions of my own:

  • How can I, as a member of the white majority population, find the balance between acknowledging your values, respecting your right to wear different clothing and help you blend in? The only way I can think of is stop looking all together, which is most definitely not what I want. I love my sense of wonder!
  • Can I, as a white person, ever say you are too sensitive? Thin ice cracking, thin ice  cracking, thin ice, thin ice…
  • Am I allowed to say “I understand” or is the impossibility of me ever getting the struggle of a person of color so evident that it would always be either a lie or a display of my ignorance?
  • Why does us discussing semantics feel so silly?

Anyway, I promise I will never stop trying to improve myself and trust I will find a balance at some point, all though I am starting to sense that it is almost inevitable to tread on some toes along the way. I apologize beforehand. I really do try!

Mind Cleanup – 2015 overview

Happy new year everyone! Hope you had a good transition from old to new and that you are ready for what 2016 has in store for you. If you’re not ready yet, you will have another chance to start with a clean slate soon, when the new year starts according to the Chinese (goodbye sheep, hello monkey!).

So, using my new mind cleanup tool, I want to glance back on 2015.

emoji happy.pngUppers

  • My current job gives me such a strong feeling of belonging that I can’t imagine ever having felt insecure about the decision to apply (which I totally did)
  • I am so lucky with my bf, who’s love I never doubt, even (especially?) when he says I’m an idiot (because it’s usually exactly what I needed to hear on that particular moment).
  • Climate agreement achieved!

emoji disappointed.pngDowners

  • My parents’ dog was hit by a car and died
  • My family can no longer be together in the same house. All though the decision of the family members in question to take no more shit from each other and just deny the other’s existence has brought some peace into the equation, it is a very sad status quo for many of us; my father in particular.
  • Terror & mass-shootings have become matters of “When” rather than “If”.
  • The hypocritical and nearsighted response of the Western world to the Paris attacks, completely ignoring the equally real suffering, pain and losses of life elsewhere bummed me out big time.
  • The Dutch soccer team did not manage to qualify for the European Championships, despite reaching the final in the World Championship 2 years prior.

emoji SeeNoEvil.pngThings I tried to ignore

  • Everything Trump
  • Bruce’s transition to Caitlyn and the world’s revelry about this
  • I-am-this-and-that declarations on social media.
  • The guilt I feel about my ecological footprint
  • My laundry

emoji music.pngMusic related thoughts

  • I still think it’s a pity Grooveshark quit and do not feel Spotify fully fulfills my musical needs.
  • There is a lot of pretty awesome sounding electronic music being made these days! To name a few: C2C, EZA, Jarryd James, Låpsley, Alt-J, Oh Wonder.
  • Ariana Grande is an amazing singer and much more talented than I was prepared to admit, until I saw this.
  • Adele’s comeback was so ginormous when it comes to view counts and online viralcy that the actual music never really lived up to it for me. She’s incredibly sweet and charming and I love that she is part of  current day music, but I definitely don’t have her album on re-play.

emoji lightbulb 2.pngEpiphanies

  • Rugby is really fun to watch!
  • If I can’t kill and prepare an animal myself, I should become a vegetarian.
  • I am a privileged person. I don’t need to feel guilty about this but consciousness is vital.
  • It’s not always up to me to solve conflicts between people. Even more so, removing myself from the equation as self-appointed mediator can actually be the solution in some cases.
  • I am not an atheist in the sense that I believe what has been scientifically proven. I leave room for spiritual ideas and am willing to admit that science is also “just a theory” in many senses. However, I am very strongly nonreligious. Stronger even, I am anti religious, unpopular as it may be to say so.
  • Blaming DNA for any shitty traits you (or I) may have is a poor excuse and does not give you permission to be an asshole (or a drunk or whatever).
  • Doing a month long a-blog-a-day challenge is actually really hard.

emoji sunrise.pngEpic moments

  • Summer with my brothers and kids
  • Learning how to dive and becoming PADI open water certified
  • The opening of the Engelandvaardersmuseum in Noordwijk

emoji paella.pngEpicureous 

  • I have a shrimp allergy and I’m sick of it.
  • Couscous tastes so much better the next day!
  • Peanut butter cups are actually very easy to make and, imo better than the supermarket kind.
  • I met a Canadian girl during a food tour in Ljubljana (amazing city btw) who, when I asked what the difference between lager and pilsner is, illustrated this with some common knowledge from “back home”: Lager is like having sex in a canoe; it’s fucking close to water.
  • I really don’t like potatoes.

emoji hourglass.pngEpilogue

  • 2016 is going to be awesome, have a good one!

The world through my brother’s eyes

You know those people who can pick up any random instrument and just instinctively know how to work the thing? They just hoot, whistle, strum, tap or pluck a bit and then… there you have it: beauty!

1780253_418645348272979_443952143_o.jpgMy eldest brother is like that, but not with music (even though he did play the trumpet for a while, in his teenage years). He has the eye. He looks at completely mundane situations and suddenly feels the urge to get on his knees and take a few shots from a funny angle. Yes, he is a passionate photographer and a bloody good one, if you ask me.

Of course I am biased. He’s my big brother. I grew up looking up to him (in the most literal sense as well as figuratively speaking). He never does anything without at least one honest attempt at becoming really good at it and often succeeds. He has top sport mentality that he applies in every aspect of his life and I have nothing but respect for him for that.

But enough talk, let me show you his stuff!

There’s the beautifully cliche…

…the awe-inspiring…,

…and the artsy fartsy:

I know he loves the artistic experimental stuff most of all, but he’s done some wonderful wedding and commercial photography as well.

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Check more of his pics out on Flickr, drop him a message on his Facebook or give him a friendly tweet, if you like what you’ve seen! Also, let me know what you think in the comment section, so I can pass it on.

His own website, Photgraphie TB, is in French, but it’s all pretty self explanatory and totally worth a visit.

A good weekend to all of you!