Wakanda fever on Valentine’s

I do not know about ya’ll, but man, I was so thrilled to wake up yesterday and realize that weekend was finally here! Too bad it has almost come to an end. Last week has been such an intense week, where I have found myself hanging on a thread between thesis writing, wedding arrangements, work, meetings, visiting loved ones and celebrated that one particular day a year that some have loathed, some have dreaded and others have waited for: Valentine’s day.

My Facebook and Instagram feed got flooded with anticipation, expectations, the search for the perfect Valentine’s date and of course an undeniable portion of disappointments, caused by looking at others. This day is that one particular day a year whereby – and I say this without a single doubt – the personalities of people are undeniably put under a social magnifying glass. But strangely, I have never actually felt anything for Valentine. Only because it always got me these vibes, of which I witness most societies being split into two camps. One camp is being treated and praised for having a partner to share “love day” with, in comparison to the other camp which is subdivided into those who are desperately in search of someone to share that love with, while others condemn their own camp mates.

When I was still single my mother used to tell me that I am her Valentine and we have sort of made a tradition out of it. I mean Valentine’s day should not be a thing standing on its own in the first place, rather be an addition to a love and relationship that already exists. May it be between you as partners, you as friends, or a parent-child relationship. There should be nothing wrong with a day that centers on love, in a world where disparity, hate crimes, naming vs. shaming, oppression and the raising of voices is promoted everywhere. So we should praise celebrating love more often, that is all I want to say.

Aran and I thought that it would be good to go on a date again during this whole wedding planning. Because trust me, between the planning and working, we can get quite intense. So we decided to go on an old skool cinema date to spark that love, since watching movies is really our thing. Luckily, I found this amazing guy that almost shares the same movie interests as I do. Considering, my diverse taste in movies, raging from old Hollywood black & white, to Lord of the Rings fantasy, to Gladiator history, to Love and Basketball black movies and X-Men superhero, it’s difficult to find someone who loves 80% of the movies I digg. But God knew my heart loool and gave me this incredible man, with impeccable taste in movies.

So on Valentine’s day, you could find us in our African wear in the cinema at the official release of Black panther! And that movies was E-VERY-THING my African-artistic-history-superhero-loving heart needed, because THIS IS THE MOVIE THE BLACK COMMUNITY HAS LONG BEEN WAITING FOR!!!! I love how Lupita Nyongo described the entirety of this movie’s storyline by stating that: “It’s such a rich tapestry, that it’ll wake people up to a different idea of what Africa really is. That’s an idea we don’t often consider, that there is so much diversity in black cultural identity”. All hail the flawless and ever beautiful, Lupita.


Next to the fact that we are celebrating another Marvel film – because we love Marvel to the bone – this movie allows us, as a black community, to celebrate history being made. One our generations before us envisioned. Because from now on, cinema screens all over the world have portrayed the richness, diversity and opportunities of African soil and culture. From this day forward, black children all over the world will look at superheroes and be allowed to pretend to proudly be the one they can physically identify themselves with. Wakanda made us celebrate all shades of melanin, all types of hair, a big treasure of African jewelry and the beauty of African mother tongues.

If you haven’t seen it yet, you totally should! And once again, this date made me even more smitten with this man, because he and African culture is just a big yessssssssssss!! If you are in the midst of wedding planning, or if you are married for x years, or just dating, I could suggest doing as much outdoor things as you can, just to keep that magic flowing. From strolls in the park, to dancing, to dinner, skating or picnics, it’s the little things that matter. ❤

Advertisements

Not All but a Dream

So yesterday officially marked the “100 day countdown” to our wedding day!!! But lately, I couldn’t help but wonder – actually unproductive day dreaming at work – thinking like “where has the time gone?”. I just cannot phantom my writer’s block to have escalated to this point where I haven’t posted in years.. I mean, I wouldn’t even be surprised if some of my dear friends would be majorly shocked to find out I am even a blogger at all. Can I even still call myself a blogger, after what feels like, trespassing blog regulations by being offline for 3 what years? Buuut in my defense – do procrastinators even have valid reasons really? – mental venom truly is paralyzing. I have been going on and on for years about writing again, meanwhile my pens and blog documents have been choking on the dust.

Image result for writers block

It is one thing to associate yourself with that one specific thing you love to do, but another to actually dare yourself and do it. Because to be honest, us humans have no problem with identifying ourselves with distant dreams, role models, the opportunities and ‘what if’s’ of tomorrow. Excuses come natural to us, like white little lies: “today is not a good day’’, or ‘’I’m tired, I will try tomorrow’’, or ‘’it’s cold outside, I’ll hit the gym another day’’, or ‘’I am allowed to binge watch Netflix in bed under a blanket with hot choco once in a while right’’ – I know I am not the only one guilty of doing this, so can I get an amen?

So, there is nothing wrong with this mentality to begin with, we all have our bad or lazy days. But it becomes a bad and toxic habit when we use this attitude as a façade to mask our insecurities and our ‘’I-do-not-know-where-to-start-off’’ anxieties. I have had to come to terms with the fact that as human beings, we have an internal mechanism that tries to deal with heart break in such a way that we won’t get hurt in the same way again. In fear of cruel vultures wanting to destroy your efforts of breaking free from your cocoon, hiding from confrontation feels safe and eventually it’s the most comfortable place to be in. During this process you easily create a shell, in which you protect your most valuable possession; your heart.

However, when is it that we rise? Isn’t that unfolded in a personal story, one that social criticism and standards could never reach? Because rising equals making the decision each day that you are destined to rise above and beyond your yesterday. It lies in refusing to adjust to the social standards of looking at a select group of people in total admiration and seeing them do the things you thought you could never do, but still try to do them. Instead of looking at the accomplishments of others, start each day with putting a post-it on your wall, or hanging pictures on your bedroom door, containing who you aspire to be and what you dream of doing. You are in charge of your own life, of your dream and of your future. But it starts with celebrating the baby steps, since those are the ones filling us with the most satisfaction. So let me start today!

Not All But a Dream

So, completely out of topic, but then again not so much. The point of this post was to share some news with ya’ll, before I got all Oprah-I-have-a-dream-Make-yourself-great-again, on you. Since I am in the process of planning our wedding day with my almost-spouse-to-be and our planners, as well as spiritually preparing for marriage, I thought it’d be fun to bring you along on our journey. A lot of my friends have been asking how the planning and prepping is going and I figured, what better way to describe than through doing what I love to do most: writing!

Save The Date Website Aran+Vero Edit_

I will do my hardest to post something every 10 days and give you an update of how things are going, how we kept our calm – or not, in my case haha – and how I am experiencing this planning period. I hope you will grow with me on this journey and I look forward to capture this moment in time of which I have been dreaming about ever since I was a girl. So tip of this week: never give up on dreaming!

The Prague Chapter

After being offline for almost a whole year (forgive me), so much has happened, that my heart is at the urge of exploding out of excitement. I had to discover where I am taking this blog and I have almost figured things out. But all in time, first things first, I am currently finding myself in a new stage of life and God’s ways still amazes me sometimes. For those of you who did not know yet, momentarily this short black girl is on a 5-monthly journey in Prague, Czech Republic all by herself.

20150917_16464920150918_150203

Wait, whuuuut? All right, all right, let me break it down for you. As European Studies students, yes exactly I am one of them, we are required to study a semester abroad in our third year. I have known about this since 2013 and have been working hard to make it possible ever since.

20150921_170509

20150918_17044620150921_17334920150918_160649

Why Prague you might ask? Well, believe it or not this city definitely was not my prior choice. I firstly wanted to go to South Africa, but sadly the due to differing exchange semesters, that ship had sailed. To cut things short, this city carrying ancient European history has found me. I am officially a student at the Metropolitan University of Prague and actually follow classes varying from UN peacekeeping, to French to, colonial & post-colonial Africa.. and I absolutely love it here!

20150918_163102

20150918_165604_00120151003_145721
20151003_145737

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Of course, this trip has demanded much of my emotional state of mind. That is why I went from dreadfully anxious, to overly excited, to plain nervousness, to feeling absolutely lonely. Wow, the mix of emotions I have endured in the last month were a serious roller coaster and I am not even exaggerating.

20150918_165036 20150918_164312

It might not be well known, but I haven’t travelled much in my days. So now, being away from my friends, family and bluntly everything I am familiar with for ”so long” for the first time, was such a huge deal for me. I was afraid of the unknown I guess. It is in these times that I know I need Jesus more than ever. ”Fear not, for I am with you; do not look around you in terror and be dismayed, for I am your God. I will strengthen and harden you to difficulties” Isiah 41:10a. This Scripture has been carved in my heart and never left my side ever since the bus drove me away from my loved ones. Jesus’ promises have proven me that love is actually greater than all my anxieties and fears and God keeps on amazing me every time.

20150918_170505 20150918_172539 20150921_160920 20150921_164350 20150921_170149   20150921_175030

This trip has already changed my perspective on everything. It has opened up my eyes for the many charming things this city has to offer. It has given me the opportunity to meet so many phenomenal and inspiring people, it has taken me out of my comfort zone and it is great! For me, the little gems were found in the little walks at the parks and witnessing the love of an elderly couple still being in love after 50 years of marriage, the 3 hour hike I made and witnessing God’s creation at first hand, the new faces and personalities I met who have taught me new cultures and habits, told me new stories and introduced me to the taste of new cuisines.. But also seeing the poverty and sadness people are experiencing here and be grateful for all I am privileged to have. The destructive impact previous wars and hate have had, still echoes in many families here today.

20150930_154537 20150930_150630 20150930_160040 20151001_220313

 

Travelling has stretched my mind in so many different ways already, that it is impossible to sum them all up. But I am going to try to involve you in my journey by posting bits of my time here! Hope you will enjoy reading it as much as I enjoy writing about it! Also, I hope you, whoever you are, are inspired to break out of your comfort zone and go explore the world. It’s okay to be afraid sometimes, but let the fear of something new fuel you to do discover new dimensions of beauty. Because through all its chaos, the globe and its populations, in their fragility, need more courageous pioneers and kind-hearted people to overwhelm them. ❤

20150924_124429 20150924_145914

20151003_145117

 

 

 

 

 

 

Bitter sweet abandonment

Sitting here, with an aching heart. Palms sweating, tears repressing, thoughts lingering. It’s holiday season, it’s the best time of the year, nevertheless, every bone in my body cannot carry the hurt you caused. After 22 years, abandonment still feels heavy in the heart, still feels like yesterday, still feels like you leaving without ever looking back.

In this blessed life God has granted me, I still have a lot to be thankful for. I know if you would be here, things would be quite different. Life as I know it today wouldn’t be mine; people that have imprinted themselves on my heart couldn’t have done so, beautiful places which bring along so many memories, might just be another dot on the map and my high school crush I now call the love of my life, may not even be in my class to begin with. But still, a really minuscule still, I wonder how life would be with an earthly father.

Would I come home to laughter? To the sweet sound of happiness most of my friends seemed to come home to? Would you lift me up every time I got straight A’s, or just buy me ice cream every time time I got bruised? Would your love feel like rose petals and would calling you dad give me a sense of belonging? Would you give my handsomely boyfriend this threatening eye you dads make, when he took me on our first date? Sigh, I often wonder how my life would be with you in it.. And I often wonder who will give me away when I will get married one day.

I can get so incredibly enraged at times like these, because of you making me feel this way. For making my palms sweat, making my heart feel dark, making me feel worthless and unlovable. Giving me this agonizing contemplation, asking myself how you could ever act like I, flesh of your flesh, did not even exist. I even have the privilege to love and be loved by someone to such an extent that he literally holds my heart. And still because of you, I am so afraid that it is just a mere glimpse of happiness and that this love can fade away at some point in my life. That is why I clutch myself to him as often as I do, just for him to know that I am a real person with emotions. That is why I make him pinky promise not to leave me, just for him to know that I am in it for the long run. I do not always feel strong. I do not always wake up with a smile. I try to do the best I can and sometimes that is not even enough. I am not superwoman, but rather her vulnerably imperfect other half.

However, even if I am dealing with rejection, pain and sadness every day. I still have a Father Who willingly chose to love me unconditionally. I have learned about the depths of love, which this world cannot even comprehend. So every time, these previous thoughts come to mind and my palms feel like sweating and the tears need repressing.. I think of You Jesus, I think of Your acceptance, of Your face which is the true reflection of peace and divine love. I think of how You blessed me with this amazing young God fearing man and friends. Of how deep Your love is for me. And that fills my soul with so much warmth, that void has no place to reside in it. During this Christmas season, I would like to fill you with a spark of hope. Whatever your pain is and I may not even get close to knowing, Jesus knows and He loves you! He can take all of your pain away, so let’s praise Him for Jesus is the reason for this season! ❤

Sing in your jail

From my heart to yours, or from yours to mine.

A heart so troubled, that relief was not even near to be found in its deep and mysterious core. Been wanting to say something, but in this rapid changing world – carrying tragedies in itself – the story behind this heavy loaded heart seemed invalid of pronouncing. Next to this, there can be concluded that silent suffering isn’t acknowledged in this world. Since silence equals personal and disguisable, we are left frustrated. Since we live in a world of visual preferences, where suffering needs to be seen to be defined, and needs to be understood to be treated. But even silence promises favorable circumstances and giving voice to your reality doesn’t always, so evidently it is easier to conform to the world of silence and pretense, than to face hurtful confrontation. With as consequence silence accompanying me, because now my suffering feels worthless to even mention.

We think we are fine. we are not. We think that personal problems we deal with, will go away. They won’t. We can talk about a series of different things; insecurities, fear of failure, abandonment, abuse, disease, depression, eating disorders, poverty, resentment, shame, brokenness (name your situation), they won’t just ‘go away.’ And our incompetence to mention them, helps build the walls which will eventually destroy us. Unknowingly, this silence not only damages our reasoning, but it lets us fail in being a well-functioning human being as well, according to the International Encyclopedia of the Social and Behavioral Sciences in 2002. It explains, “A species’ survival depends critically upon its ability to communicate effectively, and the quality of its social life is determined in large measure by how and what it can communicate.”

Communicating through speech or non-verbally defines us in a way as a person, a mother or father, a husband or wife, a daughter or son, a sister or brother, a friend. And in this case not communicating your worries by not addressing them at all, is taking something from your beloved as well, how else will they know that you’re heavily dealing with things? Because all they want to do is communicate help, encouragement or love towards you. Without allowing any involvement of the ones we love, worrying becomes a fulltime occupation. Thus, not addressing our difficulties makes us prisoners of our own thoughts, thoughts we often sadly choose to carry alone. Our imprisonment causes tears. To a point where all we can do is weep. Until we can’t even do that anymore.

sing in your jail pic

But we don’t have to carry this burden all alone, we don’t have to be fretful, or scared or burdened. Jesus has come to take it all for us and give us happiness and love. In the Bible I read about God’s love letters to me, telling me that I am special, made after His image. That I am beautiful and made righteous. I am healthy and powerful; that I need not to worry because He will never forsake me.

Matthew 11:28-30 “Come to me, all you who are weary and burdened, and I will give you rest.  Take my yoke upon you and learn from me, for I am gentle and humble in heart, and you will find rest for your souls.  For my yoke is easy and my burden is light.”

John 14:27 ‘’Peace I leave with you; my peace I give you. I do not give to you as the world gives. Do not let your hearts be troubled and do not be afraid.’’

 Aren’t these promises beautiful? That I can come to Jesus as I am and He will give me peace of heart. That I can press into His presence and He will give me empowering rest of the soul. The Word of God has taught me to glorify God first and thank Him that He has already taken care of everything that tries to knock me down in this world. Because He surpasses all trouble, pain, feelings and knowledge. And this made me sing songs of boldness:

2 Timothy 1:6-7 ‘’ Wherefore I put thee in remembrance that thou stir up the gift of God, which is in thee by the putting on of my hands. For God hath not given us the spirit of fear; but of power, and of love, and of a sound mind.’’ 

We have ALL been given a bold spirit to sing in sorrow, none excluded, a spirit that does not fret. But it’s up to us to awaken that God given courage within us. When will we stop being okay with destruction and start mending the little different pieces of hope which lead to our healing?  Don’t forget fighters aren’t born strong, they train. Winners don’t start off by winning but by working. Leaders don’t own robustness, they are molded. It’s all about how you see yourself; it’s not how you start the race, it’s about you singing through it and how you finish your journey. You are special and unique in your own kind of way and let no one tell you otherwise. Jesus has given us freedom from all our problems and hope for the future; He is with us. He loves YOU so deeply and profoundly.

Psalms 3:3 ‘’But thou, O Lord, art a shield for me; my glory, and the lifter up of mine head.’’

It’s important to talk to others about difficulties you’re facing, to our friends or family, to your spiritual leaders, but to wise men or women. This way they will be able to encourage us and build us up when we feel down. We don’t have to look at what others have to conform to their standards, or desire it in silence. What we need is people who embrace what they do have, what we can make better and to always be willing to grow. People who joyously sing about who they are, be it an actor, singer, writer, a survivor of any kind, or a fighter, fill in who you are. Your life is worth living and fighting for. Worthy to be acknowledged no matter what you’re dealing with. Time is too short to be dwelling in suffering forever, stir up God’s gift to you; start singing in your jail to become truly free from the captivity of silence.

 

  • Drawing by my beautiful Melisa Dundas, you will be seeing much of her in the future.

Eat pray love

Restaurant Santa Anna in Barcelona truly gave me life with its delicious Paella and Sangria.
The first day in Catalunya, our first of many on our enchanting trip to Barcelona gave my heart pure happiness. Not only is Barcelona such a pretty city at night, but the first restaurant we entered was everything my stomach craved for and more. That fish Paella with mussels, amazing shrimps (very biased here because I’m a shrimp fanatic), shells and that twist of lemon with a sangria on the side was a dish straight out of heaven. At least that is how it tasted. I definitely recommend it for ya’ll who are planning to pay Barcelona a visit.

This is the first of the new series EatPrayLove.

I’ll share some delicious must have meals, some words/quotes of  encouragement and spread some love in all kinds of ways.
I hope you will enjoy them and get inspired to travel the world and experience new dishes, new people and new places.

These pics are still from my first official trip to Barcelona and I’m happy to tell you guys that the food there is DELICH!

 Pictures taken by my lovely and overly talented Chanterly Louis:
http://www.exhaleyourmind.blogspot.nl for more Barcelona pics!

 

 

DSC_0726

DSC_0728

DSC_0734

DSC_0739

IMG_3007

 

A thousand words left unsaid.

What is the measure of appropriateness to forget tragedies? Breaking news today, something cruel that happened next month and the memorial of an accumulation of bad things that have happened every passing year. How do we forget 298 people, 298 children, neighbors, brothers, sisters, parents, friends.. humans? — we don’t and we mustn’t!

There had to be a moment that everything around each and every one person in that air plane stopped. The moment where you don’t care about the loud music you’ve been irritated by for the last 15 minutes, where the joy of celebrating your honeymoon with the love of your life doesn’t even cross your heart. Or where months of excitement to go on a 4 week holiday, seems to be so very vain.. That moment where the thought of death is no longer a question, but a statement of fact. And the acknowledgement of that undeniable fact fills you with such horror that even the very thought of inhaling cuts every spark of hope the heart could withhold. That switch, that let’s say 2 minute switch, which brings you from happiness to total devastation, has to be the longest timespan in a person’s life. And the very image of this scenario, chokes me.

Dying changes everything. What do I say to the people you left behind too soon? How can hopelessness be overcome when it’s the very definition of every emotion that is felt? How do words give voice to what I feel, when the whole world has been silenced by this dark moment in time? How does pain occur, let alone go away when I don’t even know you? And when is it okay to try and move on?

When I think about Malaysian Airlines, I do not only think about that one particular air plane. Right now, Malaysian Airlines stands for every source of life that pointlessly has been taken and victimized due to unethical violence that is present in this world and the restraint behovior of leaders concerning peaceful measures. And it hurts. Thinking about this injustice hurts. To see these broken families cry over their loved ones and screaming, out of pain makes me — unconsciously, relive every single moment of hurt I’ve endured in my whole life. In a sense, it’s my way of trying to relate to these people their pain and in a way it seems fair. But of course, no matter what I think of, nothing can compare to what they are going through, no matter what I say, my words could never soothe the pain.

Nonetheless, I want to express my sincere condolences to all who have directly and indirectly lost someone due to these tragedies and unfairness. My prayers go out to the families, friends, colleagues and acquaintances who have been hit by all this pain and injustice to the extent of near destruction. We may move on at one point, but the character of a heart is not measured and remembered by ones body, but rather by the stories it has told. And I know that the loved ones of each and every soul gone too soon, will tell all your hearts’ stories boldly and loud. So all your hearts will not be forgotten and the world will know all the thousands of words you may have left unsaid

 Psalms 139:5,8-12 

”You have beset me and shut me in—behind and before, and You have laid Your hand upon me. If I ascend up into heaven, You are there; if I make my bed in Sheol (the place of the dead), behold, You are there. If I take the wings of the morning or dwell in the uttermost parts of the sea, even there shall Your hand lead me, and Your right hand shall hold me. If I say, Surely the darkness shall cover me and the night shall be the only light about me, even the darkness hides nothing from You, but the night shines as the day; the darkness and the light are both alike to You.”