Monthly Archives: December 2012

The year of loss, searching and hope

2012 – you were not kind to us and we are so happy to see you off.

1. What did you do in 2012 that you’d never done before? 
Traveled to Australia.

Buried a parent.

2. Did you keep your new year’s resolutions, and will you make more for next year?

For 2012 my resolution was to lower my expectations in terms of juggling family life/work/household and pay more attention to my health, including squeezing in a yoga session a few times a week, maybe joining a gym again…

I started running again, even in the rain – could I BE any more Dutch? I do yoga on a more regular basis.

I have done some soul searching this year and hopefully will bear results next year. I am not making any resolutions for 2013.

3. Did anyone close to you give birth?

No. I said it was a pretty crappy year.

4. Did anyone close to you die?

My father.

5. What countries did you visit?

New – Australia, US.

Other than that: UK.
6. What would you like to have in 2013 that you lacked in 2012?

More sunshine, literally and figuratively.

7. What dates from 2012 will remain etched upon your memory, and why?

8 November – I lost my father.

8. What was your biggest achievement of the year?

Making some pretty big decisions.

9. What was your biggest failure? 

Too much self-criticism.

10. Did you suffer illness or injury?
Thankfully, not.

11. What was the best thing you bought?

Our real Christmas tree! After Christmas it will live in our backyard until next year.

12. Whose behavior merited celebration?

Mark’s, hands down. I hope I am half as much of a rock to him as he is to me when times are hard.

13. Whose behavior made you appalled and depressed? 

Anyone who purposefully inflicts pain on others and causes injustice. There has been quite a bit of it this year. Have I mentioned that it wasn’t the most stellar of years?

14. Where did most of your money go?
The same as last year – mortgage, groceries, bills. Flying to the Land Down Under wasn’t cheap either.

15. What did you get really, really, really excited about?

Visiting Australia. We’d been planning on visiting my uncle and his family for years and finally got to it this year. We only saw a tiny part of it but oh my, it is a beautiful country. It did make us a little sad when Una said that she wanted to move there because there was lots of sun and lots of space. We visited  Australia in July – that should tell you how sun deprived we are here.

We also got excited about the possibility of moving across the Atlantic. In the end it didn’t materialise and we now believe it is for the best that way but the thought of possibly packing up, leaving everything behind and starting anew was exhilarating.

All the decisions I’ve been making about my work-life balance, although difficult, were very exciting too.

16. What song will always remind you of 2012?

17. Compared to this time last year, are you: (a) happier or sadder? (b) thinner or fatter? (c) richer or poorer?

(A) Sadder, a lot.
(B) The same.
(C) Probably the same.

18. What do you wish you’d done more of?
Taking photos of my father with my children.

19. What do you wish you’d done less of?

20. How did you spend Christmas?
Christmas #1 (7.1)- The same as last year, it was just the four of us, lots of  eating, playing and dancing.

Christmas #2 (25.12) – we are having a cousin of mine over. We’ll certainly do more of the above mentioned.

21. Did you fall in love in 2012?
I did, with my family.

22. What was your favorite TV program?
Did not much TV this year.

23. Do you hate anyone now that you didn’t hate this time last year?

24. What was the best book you read?
Nothing I read this year left a really big impression on me. I wanted to like The Forgotten Waltz by Anne Enright but it just left me cold. Contrapunt was very poetic and heartbreaking, although I think that my knowledge of Dutch is still not sufficient to appreciate the linguistic nuances in it. Any suggestions on good reads on somewhat happier topics or at least positive outlooks are very welcome.

25. What was your greatest musical discovery?

It is not really a discovery but I’ve been enjoying the album “Love This Giant” by David Byrne & St. Vincent.

26. What did you want and get?
A change in my work arrangement.

27. What did you want and not get?
Not sure?

28. What was your favorite film of this year?

29. What did you do on your birthday, and how old were you?
I turned 35. For the first time in years I spent it with my whole family. It was a very low key affair but I felt so loved. Later in the day Mark and I traveled for a couple of hours to attend a conference the following days and had a nice dinner there, just the two of us.

30. What one thing would have made your year immeasurably more satisfying?

More perspective.

31. How would you describe your personal fashion concept in 2012?
Not much changed from last year. I tried putting conscious effort in accessorizing more, I am notoriously bad at it, which is another reason I missed my sister so much. You see, I can’t even buy a pair of earrings without her.

32. What kept you sane?
That this too shall pass.

33. Which celebrity/public figure did you fancy the most?

I wrote on my FB wall: “I fully admit to not knowing all the ins and outs of the Australian political scene but while I hope that there will be less and less need for speeches like this I do hope that while they are needed and wherever they are needed there is always a Julia Gillard to speak up. ”

34. What political issue stirred you the most?

The year wasn’t short of them. The public disappointment after the Dutch election. The (not so well) hidden xenophobia, and I am not only talking about NL. The gun control issue in the US (again, I don’t pretend to understand it but I can not wrap my mind around some stances). The feminist issues, are we moving forward at all?

35. Who did you miss?

My family and friends scattered all over the world. I missed my sister so much. I missed my best friend. I missed my dear friend Maja and was thrilled to see her again after 5 years. Thank heavens for Skype!

36. Who was the best new person you met?

I have met a couple of PFTs and am looking forward to getting to know them better.

37. Tell us a valuable life lesson you learned in 2012.

Live in the moment, that is all that we truly have. You’ve lived the past and the future you are planning is fickle. And tell your loved ones how much you love them. Time is finite.

38. Give a quote that sums up your year. (*originally this was supposed to be lyrics of a song  but like last year I chose to use an excerpt from a book*)

“Hour by hour, I was merely exchanging one higher value for another, one imprisoning ethic for the next. I had joined the generations of women zagging between the either and the or. Being with my child is so important. Working is so important. Taking care of my family is so meaningful. My work is so meaningful. I should be here. I should be over there. I need to do this. I must do that. This is the right choice. No, that is the right choice. On and on, picking, choosing, evaluating, rationalizing, and often regretting” Karen Maezen Miller “Momma Zen”

Oh, this all sounds quite depressing, doesn’t it? It has been a trying year, in many ways. But I have also learnt a lot about myself, am happy that I had the courage to make changes and am grateful that I feel so much sadness. And I am beyond grateful for the chaos that ran our house this whole year and the three curly heads that make my life so wonderful. Onward and upward, we are ready for 2013.


Filed under Family, Grief, Life in Delft, Tata


I spent the last 16 hours with a two year old with a stomach bug. After the night of no sleep I spent the day changing his clothes either from the waist up or down. Or both, depending on the damage. I may or may not have gotten some of it on myself in the process.

Now I am off to lecture. Two things:

1. I hope that the lights in the lecture hall are dim enough and the distance between the board and the first row is sufficient.

2. I really wish I had been more sympathetic towards my lecturers when they looked wiped out and/or smelt funny.  

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Filed under not such a zen mama, work-life (im)balance

How old was Sheldon when he started college?

Not too eager to learn

Very eager to learn 🙂


When asked what she thought of mama's classroom, Una replied "It's OK but mine is better, it's got more stuff"

When asked what she thought of mama’s classroom, Una replied “It’s OK but mine is better, it’s got more stuff”

Busy, busy - bright and early in mama's office

Bright and early in mama’s office

My two busy boys

My two busy boys

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Filed under Family, Life in Delft, work-life (im)balance