Your friend LP

It's been real! 2011 – 2016

Month: October, 2011

Studenting, a recap of the first eight weeks

In honor of having survived eight weeks of university, an only slightly dramatised recap of these first eight weeks:

Introduction day: even after having only slept 1 ½ hours, there’s no one in my group I hate at first sight and/or sound! This is good!

Day before the start of week 1: I’m starting to think this whole going back to school thing is not a good idea a.k.a. I’m freaking out.

The evening before the start of week 1: That’s it! I’m dropping the f*ck out. No, seriously.

<insert phonecall with someone who tells me to chill the f*ck out>

Day one of week one: I’m there.

Week one: I. AM. SO. OVERWHELMED!

Week two: This is ok, I think I can do this.

Week three: I’m doing fine and… oh crap! I’m sick. Not panicking though.

Week four: Back in full force. Damn, this week is overloaded with, uh, everything.

Week five: I am Le Overwhelmed. I can’t do this. This is too much. Should I drop out? Not feeling too swell. Not sleeping. Oh, wait! This is week 6 breakdown, a week earlier.

Week six: I can’t do this. I feel sick. I am tired. But at least it’s better than going skiing. Feeling better by the end of the week. I might be getting the hang of it.

Week seven: started off well, had a very shitty middle (mostly due to almost chopping off my finger) and a decent end.

Week eight: impressed myself by spectacularly failing both my exams because I freaked for (in hindsight of course) absolutely no reason. Impressed myself even more by NOT dropping the f*ck out.

This might give off the impression that I don’t like my studies, but I really, really do. I just seem to have a hard time getting into the swing of things. Everything feels very fragmented and unhinged to me, reading a paragraph here and a chapter there makes it hard for me to get an overview. It feels a bit like collecting jigsaw puzzle pieces and trying to put them together, while not having the picture on the box to guide you and actually not being sure if the different pieces are even part of the same puzzle.

Add to that some health issues and me putting WAY too much pressure on myself by constantly thinking “I can’t f*ck this up, this is my last chance!” and yeah, no wonder I constantly feel overwhelmed. So that’s going to be my main focus for the next 7 weeks: to chill the f*ck out. Sleep like a normal person. Chill the f*ck out some more. Just sit down and do my assignments instead of freaking out about them for 5 days before actually doing them. Just chill. The f*ck. Out. Wish me luck!

“Let’s just say it was An Experience”

What happened before.

So yesterday, @_kouw and I went. The weather was nice, I was feeling good and was ready to experience the experience with an open mind. I told myself I wasn’t going to be disappointed or frustrated. And I tried. I really tried. Some people (the ones flyering, the people at the infostand, the people in charge of the food and the guy at the donation tent) were really nice and helpful, but the overall atmosphere felt off. There was a certain grimness. I didn’t feel welcome or comfortable.

At some point there were speeches, and while I know that in this country neither speech nor logic is on the regular curriculum in schools, it shocked me to see that speeches consisting entirely of ill-fitting sentences full of hollow media-fuelled catchphrases and non-sequiturs were received with almost religious enthusiasm. And what to think of: “…you shouldn’t belong to a group! *cheering* WE. ARE. OCCUPY! *cheering*” Wait, what?

The march that was supposed to be at 13 was moved to 14, so they asked if anyone wanted to speak. I thought about it, but was afraid that if I expressed how I felt, I would get pelted. People had already glared at me when I didn’t applaud for a speech that I couldn’t back. And while I do believe in speaking my mind, I’ve already reached my quota of injuries this week by bumping my shoulder on a doorpost and almost cutting off my finger with my new pocket knife.

To be fair: the UvA-student (I haven’t been able to find his name unfortunately) that spoke about tuition hikes, the decline in quality of education and how worldwide we’re at a point that education is just for the (very) rich, gave a great speech. And as always, Fabiola brought it. But despite this, my overall feeling was “WTF am I doing here?” And when people started singing along to a song “written that morning” that went “we are the 99%, we work three jobs to pay our rent” I went “No, you don’t”. And that’s when I gave up and left.

I know, it’s just a song and people are just singing along, not claiming they’re something they’re not for street cred, sympathy or whatever* and the speeches were just the opinions of the people who gave them. I’m sure other people had a great time, and it’s probably different if you’re actually doing something concrete, like helping out with logistics. As a “day visitor” I just felt completely out of place. And that’s maybe why, despite promising myself I wouldn’t be, I was so frustrated and disappointed afterwards: I’m used to feeling out of place 90% of the time amongst “regular people”, but apparently I don’t fit in with this crowd (anymore?) either. Oh well, frustrated and disappointed is better than burnt out and bitter, right? Right?

Anyway, I did get The Occupied Wall Street Journal. Isn’t it pretty?

*which is a thing that pisses me off more than it should, but that’s a topic for another epic post

ETA: for the Dutchies, @_kouw wrote a bit about her experiences here. And made an awesome skeleton!

Pre-Occupied

Despite my claims of ‘living under a rock’, I actually follow Happenings in the Outside World quite closely. One of the bigger happenings I’ve been keeping up with in the last few weeks has been Occupy Wall Street and the Occupy movement spreading through America and other parts of the world.

When I first heard there was going to be an Occupy Amsterdam, I didn’t know what to think. I did some online research and even sneaked it into a poll (like you do), but that didn’t really help me decide if this was something I would potentially want to be part of. Usually I’m quite good at deciding if things are for me or not, but Occupy Amsterdam kept occupying (ha!) my mind.

Asides from the “Occupy Amsterdam sounds like World War II” knee-jerk reaction, I had some serious doubts about what felt like the coopting of a movement. Call me bitter and burnt out, but it annoyed me that apparently you can’t get people in this country to care about anything, let alone get off of their couches unless it’s 1) something “invented” in Uh-meh-ruh-kah* and 2) propagated via Facebook.  Add to this the fact that due to Prolonged Activisty Fatigue Acquired through Excessive Windmillfighting (a.k.a. burnt out and bitter) and my actual chronic illness I do not have the mental and physical energy anymore to get all excited about, let alone get (over)invested in, something that looked to me as a one-off thing that would lead to nothing.

On the other hand: something was happening. People were doing something, and I felt that I should back that, especially since this could be a starting point for later projects that might be more up my alley activisty-wise. It could also be the thing that reached people who are not “the usuals” and thus broadening the group of “potentials”, which is not only Buffy-speak, but also short for “peeps who might be interested in doing stuff at some point”.  And last but not least: as much as I joke about it, the fact that, 5 years after leaving my highly frustrating job at a LETS community enterprise, I am still bitter and burnt out saddens me. And I really, really want (need!) to get over that and hanging out with some likeminded people could be part of the, for lack of a better word, “cure”.

I kept going back and forth and back again, and I eventually decided not to go on Saturday 15 October. I already had an appointment that day and I didn’t feel like cancelling over something I was so indecisive about. And of course on Saturday, while walking down the street with The Big Kahuna in her hometown on the other side of the country, I realised I should have been there. Figures.

*Regarding the “invented”: I was quoting what I heard people around me (in The Netherlands) say.  @redjives pointed out to me on Twitter that “here [in the USA] there is explicit acknowledgement that this is a continuation of work began in Greece, Spain and the UK”.

What happened next.

Turn that frown upside down

Yesterday, I wasn’t feeling my best. I was tired, I felt flu-ish and was trying to translate my way (Dutch to English no less) through an article that was, let’s be nice here, not so well written. By the time The Big Kahuna (a.k.a. my mom) dropped by, I was in a serious state of blugh.

Me, ranting: “I’m so f*cking tired of this IAMSTERDAM-sign that has been blocking my view for 2 weeks now…”
The Big Kahuna, interrupting me: “When do you EVER look out the window?”
Me, Le Curmudgeon: “THAT’S NOT THE POINT! It’s the ~principle~! And it attracts noisy tourists with their bikes and their pictures and their climbing on the damn thing at 3 am!”
TBK: “If you can’t beat them, join them.”
Me: “WTF?!”
TBK: “Where’s your camera? It’s picture time!”
Me: “Are you serious?!”
TBK: “Do you have a balaclava?”
Me, starting to see what she was getting at: “Unfortunately not, but I do have my multipurpose-scarf?”

Introduction

You’d think that after going through an Introduction Day, an Introduction Week and an Introductory Meeting in the course of 4 weeks, I’d be awesome at introducing myself.

Nope.

For some reason it never gets easier or less awkward. It’s like with job application cover letters: when I read them back, the description always feels both incomplete and braggy, not to mention insincere. According to some, who you are is defined not by what you say, but by what you do. And while I know that “what you do” should not be (strictly) interpreted as “things you do”, I think it’s easiest at this point (mostly because this is turning into a semi-pretentious blabfest and I really want to get this first post over with) if I just make a list with clickable links:

I live in Amsterdam, where I study English at the UvA. My Dutch blog LogPoes can be found here, I’ve been writing it since 2002 and am eagerly awaiting my award for “longest running, least read, not even that crappily written blog”. Sometimes I take pictures. I read. I’m also into cats. I play bass. I unironically love The Poeticores and I don’t care that I’m biased. I tweet a lot and should REALLY cut down on that. I love to swim. I (co)write zines. I want to learn something new every day. I enjoy calling things I do Projects (more on that in later posts). I’m probably forgetting Actual Important Things, but whatever.

In short: hi! I’m LogPoes! How are you doing?