This picture is exactly how much I show of myself here. I’m behind the camera. I show a little bit, but not much. For months this blog has been a lot about our trips and not much about us. Or me. Nick gave up blogging months ago. Some of you also pointed out a complete lack of pictures of me. It’s a photographer’s curse. Always behind the camera, never in front. I’m working on that. (Honey, I know you read this. Take more pictures of me).
I’m learning how to be more open. It’s something that started while we were traveling and I think it’s one of the best things I have ever done. Opening up gives a lot of freedom. The freedom to be yourself, to share and to care. It is time to get personal!
Here is to me being more open: 10 things you should really know about me. In random order:
- I believe everybody can do anything. If you really want something, you can do it. You can achieve great things. Just make an effort, go for it. Try something new. Try something you hate. Don’t get stuck in everyday life, feeling like things are out of your reach. Nothing is impossible.
- My favorite food is pretty much anything as long as it is prepared with a lot of love. I don’t like store-bought treats, but I love home-baked things more than anything.
- I grew up in a tiny house in a medium-sized city in Holland. My room was just big enough to fit a bed and a little cupboard. Somehow I managed to spend my entire teenage years in that bedroom without going crazy, with friends and everything.
- Ever since I got a tattoo of an owl on my arm, people have been buying me owl things. I was never into owls, but I have quite the collection now. Please don’t buy me owl stuff.
- When I first met Nick, I knew. I knew I would fall in love and I knew it was going to last. I didn’t want to fall in love, but I couldn’t resist it. Now, after almost 6 years, I still thinks he is the greatest man who has ever lived.
- I always dreamed of being a rock star. But I never learned to play an instrument or how to sing. I did take singing lessons…once. For our 3rd anniversary I recorded a song for Nick. I didn’t give up on my dreams, my dreams changed, grew. Now I dream of being a really awesome designer and photographer and living on the beach.
- Okay, this is not about me, but I was so fascinated when I found out, it’s worth sharing. Nick was born only 500 m from the sea. Last week we biked by the house he was born in and when I was looking around I suddenly realized how close to sea the house is. I don’t think there are a lot of people who can say they’ve been born this close to the sea (except for his brother and sister).
- I believe you should try something before you can say you don’t like it. In this spirit I have worked at a garden center, I have cleaned elderly person’s homes, I washed dishes, I worked as a hairdresser, I studied fashion, small business & retail management and art, I lived in several different cities and I traveled the world. I also try to eat something I claim to dislike every week. I guess you can say I like to challenge myself. ‘Oh so I don’t like cauliflower. We’ll see about that’.
- I drink about 5 to 10 cups of tea every day. It’s mostly herbal tea. My favorite at the moment is something Nick made me the other day. A mixture of fresh lemongrass, lime, mint and ginger.
- When I was 15 I dyed my hair for the first time. Black. For the last 10 years (holy shit, I’m getting old) I’ve bleached my hair. On our trip I didn’t dye it at all, turns out my natural hair color is kind of awesome and I now have a really nice looking dip dye. I also have some grey hairs. I’m only 27 for God’s sake. I”m not sure if I will dye it again.
If you want to know more about me, like my shoe size (39 or US8.5) , my zodiac sign (Scorpio), my dog’s name or breed (Zena, a mut), my favorite breakfast cereal (home-made muesli) or anything else. Send me a message, find me on Facebook, Twitter or Instagram or leave a comment below.
Now, tell me. What is something I should really know about you?
We had such a great time in Cameron Highlands. We needed to refuel our energy, breathe in some fresh air and get a good fix of nature before committing to Kuala Lumpur for a month and a half. Plus Cameron Highlands has relatively low temperatures which is great after half a year of Asia’s humid hotness.
There is so much to see and do in Cameron Highlands, our highlights were visiting tea plantations, strawberry fields, cacti, bee farms, millipedes (they are my worst fear together with caterpillars), frogs, turtles, butterflies, spiders and a lot of jungle.
Tea and me are best friends and we have been so for years now. It’s the first thing I drink when I wake up and the last thing before I go to sleep. Seeing how tea is grown and processed was great. The tea factory filled the air of the surrounding area with a scent of a flowery black tea, it’s the only thing you smell when arriving at the plantation. I stole a tea leave and I’m drying it between some books so I can hang it on the wall of the house we one day hope to live in.
Not before long we had seen all we wanted to see in Cameron Highlands and we made our way to Kuala Lumpur where we still are now.
So far Kuala Lumpur has been great, our creative juices are flowing. We are creating, inventing, thinking, discussing and dreaming all day long. Work has never been this good. We are finishing up projects and starting new ones and we are doing what we love. Everything has been so well. Until yesterday.
We like to think we are positive and happy people and nothing will get us down. Until something happens. We go from ‘don’t worry be happy’ to ‘when life gives you lemons, you sit and sulk at the bus-stop’. We had just found out Nick’s MacBook needed to be repaired and he won’t be able to use it for about a week. A week! In the busiest month of our lives. We have clients piling up, projects to finish, projects to start
We left the shop quite upset and sat down at the bus-stop. There was an old man waiting. Not wanting to talk because we were to busy feeling sorry for ourselves, we didn’t say anything to him. He didn’t care and started to talk to us about where we wanted to go and which buses we had to take, what was the best place to exchange Euro’s, and where to go for shopping.
He stopped every bus and asked if it was going to our destination anyway, even though he could tell us exactly which bus we had to take. When our bus arrived he got on the bus with us and paid our bus-tickets before we could politely refuse. We were in shock. This is the greatest random act of kindness we have ever experienced and even though it was only 1RM (about €0,25) bus-tickets it meant the world to us.
Has it ever felt like a stranger knew exactly how you were feeling and went out of their way to make you happy again?
China’s most laid back city is Dali, we liked it and that’s probably why we’ve spent two weeks in Dali working. And with work comes coffee. One of us is an avid coffee drinker and the other is crazy about tea, we’re always happy to find a good cup of either in the cities we work. China is famous for its tea and you can get it everywhere, finding a good cup of tea is easier than finding a decent cup of coffee. We have spent many hours finding good coffee in Dali and this are the three places we loved most.
Ok, I realize it’s a bummer I can’t remember the name of the place in Dali where I liked the coffee best. I’ve tried finding it online, to no avail. Luckily for you however, I still know what street it’s on and the general location on said street. Angela made a map to show you where it is.
From the outside it looks like a regular European café, big window, with a door to the left. The window frame is painted a light shade of blue and you can see a lot of plants behind the window. It looks kind of hippie-esque, but so does every bar in Dali. You should see the bar behind the door. It looks pretty dark from the street.
The coffee and espresso served here is made with a classic, the percolator. Because of this it can take up to 10 minutes before your coffee is served, but it is great coffee, the strongest I’ve had in Dali. The tea served is made from dried tea leaves, no pre-packaged tea here. It’s tea from the region and bought on the market. Fresh, organic produce can come with some unwanted friends. Angie found a tiny caterpillar on her mint leaves. She refused to drink any more tea the following week.
Like all the places on this list, they offer free WiFi.
2. Bakery 88
The coffee here is pretty good but what makes this place truly great are its sandwiches. After a couple of weeks in China you’ll find yourself with a craving for decent bread, cheese and meats. I sure did. Bakery 88 is the place to go if you want a taste of home while in Dali. They have different kinds of bread here, all home-baked. The whole-wheat nut bread goes great with old cheese, and I loved my BLT. They also sell home-made jams and imported olive oil.
You can pick whatever kind of bread you want for your sandwich. The pastry, pies and cookies are also very tasty. The cheeses and meats are mostly imported from Europe. The cheese is really good!
We couldn’t find a website for Bakery 88, so here’s the TripAdvisor review page: Bakery 88
3. Black Dragon Cafe
Another lunchroom-style café we loved was the Black Dragon Cafe. We both get a literary hard-on when we see books and this place is full of it. They’ve got plenty of new books for sale, and shelves full of second-hand books you can either read there or buy.
They’ve got a decent coffee, and the tea here is amazing. They’ve got a tea called ‘Black Dragon Eight Treasures Tea’, with marigold, globe amaranth, jasmine, peppermint, orange zest, Chinese date, goji berry and rose leaves. It looks cool, the taste is special. The rest of the menu looks good. We had some home-made pie and cookies when we were there and they were delicious.