Friday, November 29, 2013

Working out

I posted a while back about this Abs challenge. I've dutifully followed the exercise regiment everyday and I am very proud of myself. 3 more days of working out and I will have finished what seemed like an impossible challenge. Normally I'm not the exercising type, I rather sit on my ass in front of the computer, or on a couch reading a book. But this one, for some reason, caught my fancy.

Just exercising for 24 days will not bring miracles or obvious results. I am aware of this. So I paired it with quitting chocolate for a while. About 4-6 days into my challenge I realised I was addictively eating chocolate. Way too much of it and too often. Since I like to see results of what I do, I decided to remove chocolate from my diet and take it easy on desserts in the hopes of seeing improvement. The first 2 days I was constantly thinking about chocolate, and I became aware I was probably addicted to it. It does have stuff in it that makes you crave it, makes your body crave it. But now that I haven't eaten it for a while it's really easy.

My body has a delicate balance when it comes to weight. I aim for 50 kilograms, although 48 would be the considered "ideal" weight for me. When I gain one or two kilo's, it is immediately noticeable in my face and stomach. Once, I weighed 55 kilograms. All you out there are laughing, only 5 kilo. But seriously, I looked FAT. I had a chubby face and all my pants were way too tight. Mild weight changes effect me exponentially. Because I weigh so little and am so small, a kilo for me is more than a kilo for you.

Dieting on chocolate in combination with the exercises had an immediate effect on my body. I mean, you probably won't see much of a difference, but I lost one and a half kilo and trimmed some of the fatties away on my stomach.

Good times! Perhaps I shall work out more often. It gives me a proud and accomplished feeling. 

Tuesday, November 26, 2013

I'm such a loser

I was an hour early at the consulate. I was not late, this was good and planned. The consulate opened at 13:30, so I was cold and a little miserable while waiting. The first one in line was me. A girl I saw and recognized from the medical examination was second. We talked about our visa's, both the K1 fiance visa. Her boyfriend lived in Virginia. She and I both discussed the papers we had to gather and things we had to do to get here for the interview. Here is where I discovered that I was supposed to have transferred 180 euro to the consulate bank account and should have brought a copy of the payment with me. I felt like she just hit me in the face with a brick.

Nothing to be done however. All the other papers she had collected that I had never heard off could not be magically conjured at that moment either. The time that the consulate opened had arrived and an grumpy and expectedly impolite officer/guard asked everyone to stand here and there. Did I have any electronics on me? Yes ofcourse, my phone. Get rid of those please. You mean shut it off or disassemble it? No, get rid of it somehow, NEXT.
If only they had that sign there
Well. I did not know that. Everyone else in line apparently did know you could not have electronics on you. I panicked, made an expensive and useless phone call to Michael who yelled at me and was angry about the forgotten payment. The solution ended up being a café who didn't mind holding on to my electronic belongings. I got back in line (the last person now).

The guards were suspicious by the sudden absence of my previously present phone. I swayed them in the end to believe me I truly left them at a café.

Then a confusing, chaotic and uncomfortable process of putting your bags in baskets and getting through the metal detector. Which ended in me trying to quickly get this part of the interview behind me by walking away on my socks and leaving my shoes behind. At least that got a smile out of the guard, while I hastily mumbled something about nerves and scurried away this time with my shoes on. Obviously thén I had to scurry back because I had no clue where to go because I didn't listen to the guard in my embarrassment.

By this point I felt like I did at my driving exam. I was going to fail this anyway, so why worry. I didn't make the required payment, and come on, we are talking about Americans here. They are not going to go easy on me! It was completely my fault anyway, because I totally missed it.

I got in line as the last one. I saw the girl getting her visa, yay for her, grats, good luck etc etc bye. The people before me all had so many more prepared papers and documents than I had. It was like I was in high school again, and I studied just enough to pass, and everyone else was going for that 10/A+. Well whatever, I managed to graduate then, didn't I? Who says I wont pull it off again.

The lady behind the window was ridiculously nice. That was unexpected. She asked me for my birth certificate and I said to her: Look, I don't want to waste anyones time so I'll just tell you this right now. I didn't make the required payment because I forgot, I understand if we need to reschedule now.

She was so kind to me. She made several phone calls and enquiries and in the end it was possible for me to pin the money. Which normally wasn't allowed. I thanked her profusely for her effort. My idiotic mistake was undone by a woman's kindness. After that little bump in the road there were some doubts over the lack of financial documents (only 2) but it didn't come up again later.

Then I went to the window where the immigration officer stood. He asked me 3 questions. Was I married, was Michael married and how did we meet. After all questions were answered within 1 minute, he informed me the visa and my passport would arrive in the mail within 4-5 days. My jaw dropped open. All that worrying and preparation for nothing. All the gathered evidence and duplicates. It seemed that my 'studying to pass the exam' was still excessive!

In short: I got the K1 fiance visa. Which means I have 6 months to leave for America, and from the day of arrival I have 90 days to get married. After which a whole new process starts to get me a permit and stuff.

Hurray! I got a visa even though I almost screwed it up! The loser that is me didn't end up ruining her own future.

Monday, November 25, 2013

Visa Interview

Tomorrow is the deciding day. I will keep this short, because I have things to prepare. This is the reason why I have been so low on blog updates lately. The all important and all defining interview will happen tomorrow. I will go to the consulate in Amsterdam, where they will quiz me to see if I actually meet the requirements. Emails, photo's and chat logs have been printed. My bank statement lies ready and I made notes for the possible questions they will ask me.

If I screw up, that´s it. No emigration. If everything goes right, I will permanently move to the United States of America, Florida, in January. Yes, that early!

I´m very excited for it to all be over, and me just happily living together with Michael in our own apartment. Say this interview ends bad - which it won't - then the other option is the American Friendship act. It means Michael can start a business in the Netherlands and acquire a visa that way. It's much more expensive, and not at all what we want, but hey, at least there is a back-up plan.

Now it's time to make copies of all my documents and organise them in such a way I can find them in a second! Odds are I will know at the end of the day (tomorrow) if I have been approved or not. I will let you know.


Tuesday, November 19, 2013

Medical examination

In less than 3 hours I have my medical examination that is required prior the interview. I'm a little bit nervous, but nothing gets decided today. The only thing happening will be a full physical, vaccinations and a chest X-ray.

There haven't been any updates on my blog lately. This is not because a lack of time, but because a lack of inspiration. Every now and then I don't mind writing a short blog in which I didn't put a lot of thought in (like this one). But I prefer to have updates where I'm happy with what I wrote and pleased with the quality of writing. So as a consequence I have about 5 half written drafts which I decided were not worthy, and that is one of the reasons why there hasn't been any publishing for so long.

But the short  update on my life is that today is the med exam, and in exactly one week I have the all important and determining interview! There I get to hear if I will get my visa or not. Chances are high I do get it, but I'm still a little nervous. All the paperwork is in order, and I'm ready to go.

I will definitely let everyone know in detail how the interview went.

PS. Some comments have been disappearing from my articles. If you can't find your comment any more, I didn't delete them. 

Thursday, November 7, 2013

Abs-So-Tightly Right!

The 24 day challenge called Abs-So-Tightly Right! has lately gotten my attention thanks to my cousin Jessica! She had posted it on Facebook calling out to her friends to join her and all do the challenge together. I got excited right away, what better way to exercise than to know your friends are suffering with you. So I made an FB event and invited all my female friends.

If I haven't gotten you in my Facebook friends list, but you do read my blog, consider yourself invited to join us. Monday the 11th us girls will start the 24 day challenge to get our abs in Abs-So-Tightly Right shape. I'm going to see this thing through and be sure I'm ready for those Christmas dresses.

Join us!

Wednesday, November 6, 2013

Written in blood

Well that low didn't take very long (see previous blog). I feel great now! The only thing bothering me still  is a insanely annoying cut on my right middle finger, right by/under the nail. It keeps opening and bleeding, and it hurts. Even while typing :( so you better appreciate me writing this update! It is written in blood.

I actually wanted to give this "article" the title; Mountain. As in, a valley because I felt bad, and now mountain because I feel good. But written in blood sounds cooler,  and typing this really does hurt.

Maybe the terrible and mind numbing pain of my poor little cut shows me the wonders of life! No, really, all kidding aside, I think my "I don't feel good in my own skin" period is over. This blog helped me put in perspective what was wrong with me, and once I wrote it down I could work on it. Such is the power of the mind, huzah.

This was my method.

The weather has been typically Dutch: overcast, rainy, cold. It's nice. I decided to take a walk in the park next to my house, in the rain. A variation of what Michael de Graaf suggested in a comment on the previous article. He suggested meditation. However, since I do not know how to meditate, I did the next best thing. Immersing myself in greenery and nature. It brings me back to the things I really love, and what really matters.

Then, I read some reviews about the antibiotics I'm taking. Man, those people have it bad. Obviously only people who have something wrong with them will leave a review so I wasn't worried. But I did feel lucky to only have my sleep influenced. So I looked at the future and knew being tired for 2 weeks was not the end of the world, and that I should get over myself. Which I did.

Once those things were accomplished, I focused on why I like to work, during work. This brought back the pleasure in working again. Moving, staying busy, having a purpose, helping people to have an enjoyable time, experience or item. Learning new things as long as you want to.

Today I learned how to clean glass without it looking like a snowstorm!
Yesterday I made a salad I was proud of and that people ate!

And as the cherry on top, today I heard I won the ISO14001 test my hotel gave its employees. As a prize I get a voucher to go the Novotel Leuven for 2 nights including breakfast! And it's for 2 persons. Isn't that awesome?
I erased the other 2
names for privacy purposes
Time to stop typing and spare my finger. Until the next time!

Sunday, November 3, 2013


Lately I’ve not been feeling very well. I blame this mainly to the antibiotics treatment I’m taking right now. A tick had attached itself to my leg when I went sheepherding. It was a very scary one, and it refused to let go. The result was that the head of the tick is now stuck in my leg, and not even the doctor can get it out. She decided it was best I underwent antibiotic treatment in case it had Lyme.

Ever since I started it, I have been sleeping badly. Waking up constantly, and having disturbing and very lifelike dreams. As a consequence I’m grumpy, stressed and easily annoyed which in turn affects my work, friends and family. The doctor warned me it’s a strong treatment; but perhaps my body is overreacting a little.

At both jobs I have to check myself constantly. The shop and the hotel require good and flawless customer service and that is a little difficult for me with my sleep shortage. That, is the reason why I’m always obsessively sleeping enough. I need to get my 8 hours of sleep or else I can’t function properly. Less sleep and there you go! It turns me into a bitter old hag.

Whenever I struggle to stay kind and helpful to guests and customers, I have to take a deep breath and tell myself this is not me, and that the thing that is currently annoying me, is not actually annoying. I just think it is because I’m tired and full of drugs.

That gets very exhausting after a bit, constantly having to check, remind and reprimand yourself. As a result, I get even more tired and I get the tendency to snap. Which I have to stop from happening if I want to do my job right.  It’s a vicious downwards spiral.

This brings me to lists. It might be time for lists, to bring some structure in my life. With the interview coming closer the stress increases. Sleep shortage and stress together can burn a person out, and I need to prevent this at ALL costs. I do not have the luxury to burn out at this moment in time. By making lists, I can give myself peace of mind. It won’t have to worry about things it normally needs to remind me off.  

For example, I need to make an appointment for the medical examination. The exam needs to take place at least one week before the interview. Then I also need to keep track of the antibiotic treatment, what times I have to take the pill, for how long, and that I need to make an appointment with the doctor 10 days into the treatment. But I also have to make sure I got enough American passport photos for the medical exam and the interview.  Those ‘to do’ things, are just the tip of the iceberg – just think of all the furniture I need to get rid of!-.

If I make a list of everything that needs to happen and prioritize it, so I know what I have to do first, I think I’ll be able to rest more and stay “zen”. Normally I rely heavily on my subconsciousness to remind me when things need to happen. The thoughts lie dormant and reliably rise up when I need them (like every first Saturday of the month I have lunch with my best friend). But I can also imagine that it takes up room (RAM) in my mind and costs energy. Like when your laptop is in sleep mode. Its energy usage is low, but still present. The advantage is that it can turn on whenever you need it. That’s how I view my mind.

I hope the physical list will help shut down my mental list to free up some room (RAM) to relax. This theory of mine might be based on nothing, but I have done it in the past and it has worked before.  

Time to roll up my sleeves and get to work.