Good News And Bad News

So, I’ve got bad news and good news.

The bad news is that the job at the bookstore Van Piere, in Eindhoven, that I talked about in this post, is a no.

I sent my curriculum, as well as an application letter, and I received a very polite response this week, informing me that, as they received a lot of applications, they wouldn’t be able to interview everyone and I was excluded from the interview phase. It’s like The Voice, and I am not going through to the TV shows. Oh, well, c’est la vie and all that…

Because…

The good news is that my application to write to BookRiot has been accepted! 😀

I don’t now if you have heard of the site – here’s a link – but I’ve been following it closely for a while now, especially on Facebook. It’s a site about everything book-related, it’s funny and quirky, and when I saw they were recruiting writers I figured I had nothing to lose. I actually sent my two application texts very close to the date I sent my job application to the bookshop. I’m glad at least one of those worked out in the end.

Of course, the BookRiot thing isn’t a permanent contribution, at least not yet; first I’ll get two texts published as a trial run and, if they get enough visibility, there’s a chance I can contribute to the site on a regular basis.

Apart from this great news, this week was pretty crazy – as in, I should have gotten more sleep than I did – and the heat is slowly killing me. Don’t get me wrong, I love Summer, but when you live pretty much on the rooftop, heat can – and will – be a problem. I got a new fan, that I assembled myself (there were three pieces too many at the end, which are not mentioned in the instructions manual at all and I can’t figure out where they fit, but the fan works nevertheless, so I guess we’re good), and I’ve been eating way too many ice lollies.

Tomorrow I’m heading off to Dusseldorf, in Germany (I swear I live in Belgium, but we’re so close to everything), with a couple of friends to do some shopping, some eating and some walking around.

Carina.

 

Update On Life #2

I just noticed that my last blog post was in… January! Five months flew by on gilded wings without a single word written on here. That’s not to say I haven’t been writing; my Portuguese blog seems to take the most of my attention but, returned from this year’s vacations in Portugal, I figured I’d give this one un update too.

I was in Portugal for two weeks, with a very limited internet connection, so I had plenty of time to catch up on my reading: I took twenty-six books with me, on my Kindle, and I ended up reading eight of those twenty-six. In two weeks, I’d say it’s not a bad mark. Now, back to work, I’ve been trying to get back to my routine as well, spend time with friends and just try to take it easy as well.

I’ve applied for a job at a bookshop. It’s been my favourite place in Eindhoven forever, a bookshop with a little café inside; it’s cosy and quiet and just wonderful. Honestly, it would be the perfect job for me, despite the fact that my Dutch isn’t yet perfect. I still struggle with some very specific vocabulary, but I believe this type of job would be perfect to help me out with that as well. I sent my resume and a solicitation letter, so keep your fingers crossed for me! Maybe after five years living in Belgium – Eindhoven is in The Netherlands, I know, but I live in Belgium, about 40km away from town – I’ll finally get my dream job. I’ll finally get to say, clear and proud: Oh, me? I work in a bookshop. You should come around sometime, it’s a really great place! Dreaming is still free of tax on my book.

I’ve finished my Goodreads challenge for the year. Between books and audiobooks, I managed to get thirty books read in less than half a year. Now I’m up 46 books, and while at first, it was a tie between audiobooks and printed books, that Summer reading put printed books on top. And to think that last year I struggled to get 24 done. I’m not really reading for the challenge, I’ve just come across some great books, but the challenge certainly keeps you focused, and it’s fun to try and excel yourself at this.

Speaking of audiobooks, I’m now listening to a non-fiction book regarding placebos and next on I’ve got a book with writing tips to listen to, which seems quite fitting.

In any case, I’ll try to keep you all up to date on my shenanigans and if you’d like to check some book reviews, in case you’re looking for what to read next, feel free to take a look at my Goodreads page, to the right side of the blog.

Oh, and by the way, I’m making a pallet bed to replace my old bed! I’ll post a DIY tutorial here as soon as I finish it! So far, it’s looking good!

Have a good weekend!

Carina.

So, Where Was I?

December is already here!

November was quite a good month, bookly speaking. On top of the three books I bought at the fair in Eindhoven, I purchased three more books at Book Depository. Here they are:

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Since I read The Girl On The Train, I’ve been meaning to buy Gone Girl. I can’t really say it is comparable – The Girl On The Train got me a lot more anxious about knowing what was going on – but Gone Girl has screwed me over and over again, and its end really got me questioning life. It’s a great read, it took me about three days to finish the book but, as I posted on instagram, the book played me like a cheap pianola. Note to self: never trust narrators who speak in the first person. Bastards.

I started reading The Paris Bookshop which has a very nice rythm to it. I can sense the Paris spirit in it, as it should be. Good Omens and The Silent Wife were very good. Fortunately, The Milk is a nice, albeit short, story for kids.

I’ve found out Audible when I was searching for audiobooks and, since they offer the subscription for the first month, I got The Ocean At The End Of The Lane by Neil Gaiman, read by him too. It’s really, really good. Gaiman is a fantastic storyteller, as well as a fantastic writer. Listening to The Graveyard Book on youtube made me certain of that, so when I had to choose a book on audible I didn’t even consider any other narrator.

I still don’t know which books I’ll buy in December. I want them to be special, because it’s my Christmas gift to myself, but I am also planning on buying a tablet that I can carry around with me, see if that makes me write more, so I really have to check my finances before I make any decision. I’m thinking about completing my Diary Of A Wimpy Kid collection – I’m missing the three last books – but I’ll keep you posted.

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On another note, I intent to make regular updates here, so I will start by posting once a week, every Friday. I think that having a day to post things, rather than doing it “whenever” might lead me to create a habit and, therefore, to actually write and update the blog instead of this ramble here, ramble there, followed by months of silence.

I’m a fan of radio comedy/drama and I’ve recently discovered the pleasure of listening to audiobooks, so I’ll be posting about my favourite podcasts.

This year i’m engaging again on a Christmas fic exchange, for the Cabin Pressure fandom. If all goes according to what I am planning, I’ll be writing my first Wooden Overcoats fic! I have a plot already, I just need to put it all to paper. If nothing goes according to plan, I’ll be writing this fic anyway, I’m not discarding my plot. (The exchange is for the Cabin Pressure fandom but other podcasts are accepted, we’re a very open fandom).

I’ve bought nearly all of my Christmas gifts for this year. Those I haven’t bought online, I already know what I want to offer so I’m taking care of most of them today. It’s not a lot of things, mostly just chocolates and sweets. I’m spending Christmas as it’s usual for these last fice years, at friends’ place.

I thought I was going to have a bit of a pickle over New Year. I usually spend it with the same friends from Christmas but my ex is going to be around for New Year and he is going to spend it with them. I didn’t want to start my year with him – the past is in the past, don’t mingle it, and all that jazz – so I had two options: ask around to see if any friends would be here for New Year (most of my friends come from abroad), or spend it by myself which is not as bad as it may sound. Luckily, a friend of mine is having a party at her place, so I’ll have dinner with them and then I’ll stay the night. I’m actually looking forward to it, I think it’s going to be fun!

So, now I’m heading off to the stores and I’ll see you next Friday!

Update On Life

I haven’t been very productive lately, especially in what concerns to updating this blog. There’s still a lot of things I want to finish – stories, reviews – but I’m in a place in life where I don’t seem to have the motivation to finish things which ask a lot of concentration out of me. One step at a time, I’ll get there. It’s been a year – on November 1st to be more exact – that I moved to this small flat and that I’ve been living on my own, which I still love. I love it here, I’m really happy in this place, both physical and emotionally.

I started meditating on a regular basis – as in everyday – first with the app Calm, which is really helpful but, unfortunately, the free sample ends after the seven days try out and I really can’t be paying monthly for this sort of thing. So, I moved on to another app called Headspace, which fits me better than Calm, and I won’t deny that having been reviewd by Emma Watson might have led me to download it first and foremost.

Calm was really good but it won’t allow your mind to wander. Headspace is a bit more flexible about that, which makes it all easy, specially for someone who can be a bit restless, like me. It isn’t easy to shut my mind completely off.

In other news, and since we are talking about life changes – however small – I also tried out a new app in order to be able to work out often, since I can’t get a gym subscription for now. It’s called c25k and it promises to turn you from a couch potato into an active 5-miles-runner after a few months. Today I did the first half hour and it was not bad: you get a 5 minute warm up, then you alternate between a 60 seconds’ run and a 60 seconds’ walk for 20 minutes, and at the end you get another 5 minute walk to cool off. It’s not heavy and I guess it will help me build up a constant workout pace. I’ve downloaded a yoga app, see if I can go back to practise it on a daily basis. We’ll see how it goes.

(If you haven’t noticed yet, I bought a new phone which has allowed me to download all these apps, my old one wouldn’t. I’m quite content with it, I’ve been using it in helpful ways to make my life easier.)

Yesterday I went to a book fair in Eindhoven. Mostly the books were in Dutch and my Dutch isn’t fluent enough to be able to enjoy a book in that language – a shame, there were some wonderful Agatha Christie collections there – but the Engish section was quite decent. I didn’t feel too attracted to most of the books though, because I didn’t recognise the authors or the titles, but I did find a Neil Gaiman’s book, Fortunately The Milk, which was more than I could have expected. I also bought one book because it contained a review by Erin Morgenstern – who wrote The Night Circus – on the back. This book has a sequel, though, so I’ll have to buy the sequel before reading this one, as they advise on Goodreads. The other book was The Silent Wife, which I recall hearing about somewhere, and seemed promising.

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I just finished reading Saramago’s Blindness – which was raw and cruel but, altogether, it is a fantastic piece of literature – and I have started reading Good Omens, by Gaiman. I’ve been longing to read it since I’ve heard its BBCRadio4 dramatization, which is spectacular and I’ve listened to four times already.

I set a goal for myself of buying at least three books a month, and I do have an ever-growing wish list at The Book Depository. Last month – the month I actually set this goal – I bought Girl With A Pearl Earring, The Graveyard Book – I have read both books before but I didn’t own them; now I do – and Good Omens. I still don’t know for sure which books I’ll buy this month, but I’ll keep you posted. I did create a bullet journal for my books because of that.

Now it’s time to get some headspace, read a bit, and get some rest. Tomorrow I’ll have a free afternoon so I’ll be grocery shopping and, hopefully, running as well. Friday is a holiday so I am really looking forward to the end of this week.

Also, if you want to follow me on instagram or/and goodreads, just click on the links!

tvgj.

Returned From The Dead

Well, not quite.

I was away from Belgium – and from the interweb – for most of September. As it’s already usual every year, I take two and a half weeks off work to visit my family in Portugal. I can’t really call it vacations, because I am busier then than the rest of the year, running from one place to the other to see the friends and family I missed for a whole year, so I always take a few days after my return home to be able to actually relax, with no commitments to go anywhere. This is to say that I am back and, hopefully, I will be able to update the blog more often.

I suppose the upside of having no internet connection at my parents place – where I crash on my old bed for the whole of the vacation – is that I end up using my free time to read more. I also visited Lisbon for two days (I used to live up North) and met some friends I only spoke to online.

Now, I came across the term bulletin journal on one of the blogs I follow, here and the idea seems quite intersting and neat. I’ve been keeping diaries since I was nine and the only resolution I made for New Year was to go back to riting journals on a regular basis, a whim I have obliged so far. I am now on my third journal.

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Now I still have the weekend to enjoy – going out with friends tonight – and Monday it’s back to work. I still feel quite content. After almost a month away from home it’s good to be back and to spend some time on my own.

Oh, speaking of diaries: I watched Bridget Jone’s Baby and it’s so good old Bridget, it felt like I went back fifteen years. Can’t wait for it to be realeased on DVD.

Also, I dyed the tips of my hair blue – it ended up fading to green after a few days. I still like how it looks. 🙂

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tvgj.

Sundays

After spending the whole of yesterday’s afternoon moving furniture around, I finally managed to change my room into a cosier place. The desk is now by the window, where there is plenty of sunlight, the shelf has everything I need to write and do some crafting at hand, and the rest seems to fit pretty well the way it is placed now. Even my reading nook.

Today, as any Sunday, is one of those lazy days: no schedules, a good book, home-baked pumpkin cake and lemon tea.

I hope you’re having a good Sunday. Now, I’m going back to my book.

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Daily Routine

This week I have been sleeping better than any night from the previous months. I have no idea why my sleep has been so so erratic lately, as there is nothing worrying me at the moment, so I hope I am back to my old self,  who enjoyed long hours in bed and had restful nights.

Tomorrow I have a free Friday, it happens every fifteen days – I have a part-time job – and Monday is a holiday. Basically, I worked four days this week, will have a four-day weekend, and then I am back to working four days next week. I could get used to this.

I have no plans for the weekend. Well, I say that, but there are books to be read, movies to be seen and stories to be written. At work today I was listening to a podcast – I will talk about it with more detail in another post – and my mind wandered back to a comedy radio script I was writing a while ago, and that I completely abandonned. Writer’s block, maybe. Probably just laziness. I do intend to get back to it soon.

Also, I am determined to make some changes in the house. Rearrange my bookshelves and my room a bit. I get easily bored at the way things are displayed here at home and I am always looking for something new to rearrange, to improve. This all means I will probably spend all afternon rearranging forniture just to realise it doesn’t work and put everything back the way it was. Fun,though.

Now, The Cursed Child awaits me.

Night, night.

 

Heat And Pizza

It should be illegal having to endure this heat when the sky is completely grey. My brain does not know what it should feel, because one thing does not fit the other. The sun is setting now, though, so that should be taken cared of for the day.

After work I drove by the local fruit shop to get some grapes and maybe a watermelon, but the shop was closed. Right next to it there was a bakery, so I bought two turkish pizzas and a donut instead.

I mean, it wasn’t really my decision.

tvgj.

Take A Closer Look

I’ve been complaining for a while about the lack of open spaces in my town, here in Belgium. There are plenty of places to ride a bicycle, or to play with kids, but almost no free green zones to sit and relax, or to make a picnic. The only places I know are camping/beaches, but you have to pay to enter those spaces, and near the channels, but the grass is usually to tall to sit on.

I live in an attic flat. So, right at the top of a two floors buidling, with crooked ceilings and ceilling windows. Quite romantic and pretty, I must admit, but not completely perfect when the heat strikes. In all fairness, heat isn’t exactly a huge problem here in Belgium, but during the summer it can reach up to 37ºC, and this week the temperatures lingered between 25ºC/30ºC.

I can open the windows, of course, but it’s hardly enough (not too mention all the mosquito bites I have to endure, those bastards manage to pass through the tiny holes of the windowscreen) and since I don’t have a terrace, I would like to be able to find a place to sit outside once in a while.

Today, for the first time, I decided to take a leap of faith and drive my car around, in search of a nice place in the neighbourhood where I could stretch my beach towel and read my book, or write. I packed my computer, my journal and my kindle, a bottle of water, and walked to the back of the building, where the garages are.

Before I opened the car I could predict the heat that would great me, because I had left the car parked outside, in the sun. As the heat striked me and I tried to gain courage to get in the car, I looked ahead.

The building – only two couples, and myself, live here – has a common garden. A gardener comes by about twice a month to tend to the garden. In all honesty, I had considered before using the garden to sit outside, because all neighbours have a terrace so they don’t use it, but I felt shy. After all, it is a common garden, and the neighbours could see me sitting there. Was it okay to sit there, since no one else used it? Well, I found that out this afternoon.

I locked my car, picked my stuff up, and laid the beach towel on the grass, next to a tree that shadowed me from the sun. It was perfect.

I spent the whole afternoon there. I even chatted with a friend because – go figure! – my internet connection was still accessible from there.

Not only did I have a perfect place to sit and read, I didn’t even have to leave the building. No need to spend fuel or go in search of the lost open garden.

Guess where you’ll find me Tuesday afternoon?

tvgj.