new-140122-graduation-jms-1904_75033af413ca334338a9cbfd07d9754a

Bachelor of Science!

I have an announcement to make! I recently finished my Bachelor degree in Pedagogical Sciences, which I am very proud of. I will be attending university still next year, because I intend to get my Master of Science degree focusing on Clinical Child and Adolescent Studies. I’m very excited and looking forward to taking on a new adventure!

The past months of studying have taught me a lot, though. For example: my workload was crazy heavy, and people at the university doubted whether I could make it. If I put my mind to it, I absolutely can, so I did. It wasn’t easy though, because I really had to focus and be hard on myself and people around me, at times. This too is the reason I haven’t made blogging into a priority in a while.
The truth is, at least for the next year, I don’t intend to do so either. I have many interests, and to pursue them tends to take my attention away from what needs to be done as well: studying. So my biggest challenge for next year? Singletasking. Yes, you read that right. I will not take up a job or volunteer work, or blog or create other distractions and obligations that aren’t strictly necessary to get me to my goal. Because I still have a vision and I will work for it!

I wish to thank everyone who has ever read, subscribed to, or commented on my posts. Also lots of thanks for loving messages, tweets, LinkedIn adds and anything I might have forgot to mention. You guys are the best. To all my fellow bloggers: good luck! I hope to ‘see’ you all again.

A Syrian refugee holds a baby in a refug...A Syrian refugee hold

Kill the refugees! Kill them all!

I have written this post first in Dutch, because it started out as a vent. Then I translated it, so my international readers will be able to read it as well. Scroll down and click the ‘Continue reading’ tag for English.

Nederlands

Ik ben boos, teleurgesteld en diep verontwaardigd. Sterker nog: ik schaam me momenteel dat ik Nederlander ben.

Hoe dúrven zovelen, waaronder zelfs Facebookvrienden, het leven van vluchtelingen als waardeloos te bestempelen – ten meerdere gunste van hun portemonnee, nota bene! Ik daag je uit om te lezen wat ik daarover te zeggen heb. Tot de laatste letter.

Je hebt ongetwijfeld gehoord van de ramp met de ruim negenhonderd gestorven bootvluchtelingen gisteren, en vast ook van de geweldige, fantastische column van Roelof Hemmen over de op gore hebzucht gebaseerde reacties van verscheidene mensen (mag je ze zo noemen?) op deze ramp. Ach, daar bleef het natuurlijk niet bij, want ook op die column moest nog flink wat modder worden gegooid. Misselijkmakend. Het mooiste van alles vind ik nog wel dat we momenteel met onze eigen potentiële crisis zitten ten aanzien van vluchtelingen. Denk maar niet dat we ook maar enige tolerantie voor een ander zullen opbrengen – nee zeg, het zal ons wat kosten…

Even het volgende. Ik begrijp goed dat je ontevreden bent over jouw leven. Je hebt niet zoveel geld als je zou willen of misschien zelfs nodig hebt, je hebt geen baan en vindt dat je kans op werk is weggenomen door arbeidsmigranten, je baalt nog steeds van de verpakkingsbelasting… noem maar op. Ik snap het, want ik heb ook niet zoveel geld als ik zou willen, en vaak ook niet genoeg om rond te komen. Goochelen met geld (niets illegaals, laat ik dat even melden) is mijn tweede natuur, en ach, ik word er creatiever van. Het is niet makkelijk, maar hé: ik heb een dak boven mijn hoofd, voldoende te eten (niet altijd genoeg om dik van te worden, gelukkig), kan internetten en televisie kijken, en laat me je dit vertellen: jij kan dat ook, anders las je dit niet eens.

Nu een stapje verder. Stop eens even met je zo ongelooflijk zielig en benadeeld te voelen, want ik heb nieuws voor je. Er zijn mensen die helemaal niets hebben. Geen dak boven hun hoofd, geen kleding – maar ook geen foto’s en geen thuis, en geen taal om zich verstaanbaar te maken in deze enge omgeving. Bovendien hebben velen van hen familieleden verloren. Weet je wel dat de helft van de vluchtelingen kind is? Overigens zijn vluchtelingen maar mensen, net als jij en ik. Of wil je beweren dat jij wél houdt van moord en doodslag om je heen, graag dagenlang op een houtje bijt en ervan geniet om je continu af te vragen wat er met je vader, moeder, man, vrouw of kind is gebeurd? Zo ja, maak dan je plekje vrij voor een Jemenitisch gezin en verkas zelf daarheen. Of Syrië, als dat meer je ding is.

Trouwens, na de Tweede Wereldoorlog zijn veel Nederlanders vertrokken naar Canada en Australië, wist je dat? Dat deden ze omdat de oorlog zoveel in hun levens had verwoest, dat ze hier niets meer konden opbouwen. Dat is psychologisch gezien niet vreemd. Gelukkig maar dat er zoveel Turkse arbeiders in de jaren ’80 naar Nederland wilden komen om alle banen op te vullen, want anders had de economie het destijds misschien wel niet zo goed gedaan.

Mijn punt is dat je te makkelijk oordeelt, te weinig waarde hecht aan het leven van een ander eenvoudigweg omdat het niet jouw leven is, weigert je hand in eigen boezem te steken en niet eens iets doet om de situatie te verbeteren. Je bent bang dat je tekortkomt omdat mensen huis en haard hebben verlaten in de hoop morgen nog te ademen, terwijl jij in hun positie exact hetzelfde had gedaan. Jij handelt vanuit dezelfde overweging als de vluchteling: je wilt overleven.

Het gaat niet om wie meer of minder krijgt of waar mensen die niets hebben verblijven. Als jij wil dat de zaken veranderen, kap dan met je gezeik en gezever, kom van die bank af en span je in om het thuisland van vluchtelingen een veilig heenkomen te maken. Of kom in actie om ervoor te zorgen dat vluchtelingen niet slechts in het eerste land van aankomst asiel mogen aanvragen. Zorg dat er iets verandert dat de wereld een beetje menselijker maakt, en tot die tijd, mocht je het aandurven: steek je hand zo nu en dan eens uit voor een ander. Dat hoeft niet eens een ‘vieze buitenlander’ te zijn, maar gewoon je buurvrouw. Begrijp dat de verantwoordelijkheid niet bij de overheid of hulporganisaties ligt, maar bij jóu, als mens. Wees dankbaar voor wat je wél hebt, want niemand heeft het breed, en dat kan je geen vluchteling verwijten. Zij hebben alles al ingeleverd. Had jij dat gedaan?

Overigens was het nieuws van gisteren voor mij de druppel. De honderden bootvluchtelingen die zijn verdronken kan ik niet redden, maar de bange vluchtelingen in Nederland wel. Tijd voor actie.

Continue reading

operation-blessing-tv - kopie

“You can’t start the next chapter if you keep re-reading the last one.” — Unknown

It’s been quite a while since I was last here. I could be shamefully admitting so, except for the fact that I needed my time off from, well, pretty much everything. I ended my job last September, and I have been treated horrible during the last weeks there. With no good reason, because I really hadn’t done anybody wrong. In retrospect, I think that might’ve been just it: it was clear they didn’t want me gone, in fact, they demanded I quit studying. This has always been a sacrifice I wasn’t willing to make, so I decided my best option was to resign.
I have been heartbroken for weeks. During the whole month October I have been feeling awful, feeling empty, wanting to spend my time useful, while at the same time wishing I could spend the rest of my days in bed in hopes of ever regaining my energy. I felt drained, exhausted, and — as a result — scared I might never succeed (I’m a born perfectionist, which is really not a great trait). After the first week feeling like this I decided I should take better care of myself again, so I started to eat healthier, take in vitamins and exercise almost daily. It took me a lot of hard work, but even though I felt wrecked, I managed to pass exams and startup a small web design business. All of this, and the never ending support of the love of my life, got me here: finally feeling like I’m getting back out there again.

Getting back out there also means taking steps, maybe even leaps of faith. So this morning I signed up for the Master’s course of my choice: the Master of Science in Criminology, specialized in Intervention Criminology. What an energyboost that was, I’ll tell you that! It’s great to be able to celebrate achievements, even the smallest, and even when they haven’t yet been fully realized. Reading up on relevant matters in criminology also got me fired up about this blog again. My dream to contribute to an international cause has never ceased to exist, in fact, with every step that I take, I come closer to realizing that goal.

What I am especially looking forward to during my Master’s is one very specific course that handles matters of prostitution and human trafficking, human smuggling, and organized crime. During several other courses much attention will be given to criminology in relation to children, ranging from (sexual) abuse to children themselves developing criminal behavior. Right up my alley!
I’ve been researching human trafficking for quite some time now, so I’m hoping to post an update concerning the matter in the near future. For now, I’d like to share this story (clicky) with you. It’s about human trafficking in the United Kingdom and how little actually is being done to help victims of human trafficking and forced prostitution. I feel strongly for this matter, not in the least part because it’s not just relevant for the UK — it’s relevant for every country, everywhere. We’re supposed to protect each other, not treat each other with dismay. Where citizens sometimes have a tendency to excuse themselves from this responsibility, the police should not. It’s not okay to become immune to the tragedies we’re being confronted with.

(By the way, on a practical note: if you ever friend me on Facebook through this blog, would you be so kind as to send me a message you’ve been referred through this blog? I receive many friend requests from people from all over the world, and unfortunately, not all of them are as kind as yourselves. I’m a bore for such tough selection, however, it has proven necessary. Besides that, I simply like getting messages. 😉 )

Featured imge courtesy of operation-blessing.tv.

Kind like children.

“The greatest gift: unconditional love and acceptance.” — Brian Tracy

It’s been a while since my last blog post. Believe it or not, I’ve been trying to write something useful or even something to simply clear my mind, but I always got stuck and decided there would come a better time to publish. I do believe I shouldn’t write just for the sake of posting something, so maybe today is the day I’m finally going to publish a piece of me again. First, I’ll try to get you caught up.

Something Personal

If you’re a regular reader – or at least, you used to be – you know I had my heart broken some time ago. I won’t go into detail here, but eventually he and I got back together, and about a month ago we decided to live together. So I’ve been busy moving, while still working full time. Thankfully I’m in my well-deserved vacation now, and I have to tell you, I am drained. In all honesty, I mainly feel this way because I have become so immensely disappointed with people. Not certain people, it’s not some kind of personal vendetta against people I know or people who are close to me. It’s got everything to do with the way people act and their audacity when it comes to their self-serving motives and goals, seemingly not caring about people with different considerations and their well-being.

Something Universal

It pains me to read all news reports concerning limitations being put on people’s beliefs and increasing extremism worldwide. Frankly, I have no words for the way all this makes me feel. I’m really not a cry baby, but I certainly do feel affected by all the injustice. Doesn’t the world seem a little bit darker, and doesn’t the world feel just a little less safe every day? Don’t get me wrong, I can see all beauty, and I can still look on the bright side of life, it simply turns a bit gray every now and then. By now, there’s been so much going on simultaneously for quite some time, coming from and affecting multiple areas in the world, that it seems to me that problems that used to be confined to one particular region, have now become worldwide issues for which we cannot and must not close our eyes. Yet, I can’t help but wonder: how? How on earth are we supposed to make this world a better place, when more and more people appear to have made it their personal goal to ruin lives?

I’m good at empathizing and showing understanding. Believe me, I do understand. I get why people can be permeated by their philosophy of life. What I don’t get, however, is how people go from honorable philosophies to being prepared to do literally anything in order for them to – hopefully – achieve some kind of ultimate world order. I strongly believe that we need love and acceptance as our ultimate goal; as our worldview; as the way we intend to approach people, so that we may all flourish. I invite you to pray with me that we may all receive hearts of kindness and meekness. Moreover, I invite you to show your kind and meek heart to others, so that we may demonstrate love and acceptance.

I am not naive. I may be an idealist at times, and certainly, I am a dreamer. What I urge here, however, is neither idealistic nor a distant dream. This is basic decency and, at most, a way to connect with others. Please. Care.

Featured image courtesy of savvysugar.com.

Heart

Yes, the Girl’s Alive… On a Personal Note

It’s been quite a while since I last posted an update on this blog. I never meant for it to take this long, but unfortunately, that’s just the way things go sometimes. I’ve been studying on gang cultures and hope to post an interesting view on that sometime soon. But first, let me just recapitulate highlights of the last two months and why updating has been a bit of a burden for me.

My last post was about the tattoo I got. Saudade. The meaning of this tattoo; this expression became very real once again the day before Christmas. I’ve never written it here, scared to make it real, but I had been seeing someone for a while. It started out rather impetuous until it became a bit more serious. Too quickly, perhaps, but it felt good at the time. So then it ended, after both of us having very mixed feelings about this, and I felt like I once again lost someone.
Then I got pissed. Real pissed. You’d think someone would take some time to be sad or something, but I just got infuriated and decided to not deal with anything. I got into some stupid stuff that could’ve been pretty dangerous. Classic self-destruction and running, I suppose. But hey, I have to say, in my defense: I dared open my heart to someone and got hurt badly. Of course I ran. As fast and as far as I could.

The past week has been a bit turbulent, ’cause I realized I had no way out in the long run. Sooner or later, you have to deal with what’s been given to you or what you’ve caused, good or bad, whether you want to or not; whether you like it or not. So I cried, and made some positively silly decisions, but I also started doing things I like again. I’m finally getting closer to who I am again, and that’s worth everything to me. I’m finally watching crazy amounts of documentaries again, studying up on all kinds of topics of interest concerning the world in general, culture, international development, zoology, history, and so forth. I love it! So prepare for an updatefest whenever I get the time; I have so many questions and so much information inside my head, I really need to vent all of that every now and then.

In short, it’s not like nothing good has happened to me lately. The biggest reason for me not updating, was the fact that my schedule was crazy busy. I had exams to prepare for but I also had to work a lot due to some changes in the workplace. Eventually I have been appointed assistant manager! A whole new responsibility which I’m already loving. So I’m still studying 1 to 2 days a week, but I’m also working 4 to 5 days a week. Today I have a day off, and I have to say, I’m loving every second of it. So that’s why I finally got around to writing this post!

I’m not sure if I’ll be able to update regularly and if so, on what day I should (or could) do so. In any case I’ll try to post an interesting piece every now and then. Remember you can always send me a message through the various channels mentioned on the right, or by leaving a comment. Even when I don’t update, I still read and respond to my messages.