Vampire cat

When the morning is dark, the city still asleep, the monster is awake. He quietly sits at the end of the bed, silently staring at the two unaware humans. “Sleep for now…” he thinks out loud “..soon everything will be mine.”

An alarm goes off, I desperately try to reach for my phone. Hoping to turn off the sound in time before he awakes. As soon as my hand touches the bleeping device I realize I’m too late. I can feel four tiny paws making their way towards my face. The chainsaw loud purr moves closer to my face. I withdraw my arm quickly silencing my phone under the sheets and close my eyes. I lay as still as I can, but I have failed. A screech is followed by the deafening purr into my ear. He knows that I know what time it is.

The hunt for flesh begins. His nose digs under the sheets, he find my arm and screeches again with joy. He pushes his nose against the bare skin sniffing in the scent and places his paws to hold it in place. From each paw four razorsharp nails emerge digging deeper into the skin, kneeding one by one into my arm..forcing me to get up.

I get up, immediatly hundreds and hundreds of litter particles touch the soles of my feet. He has done it again. When we sleep he marks his territory. The tiny particles are infused with his smell and spread as far as he can. During the day they are kept in one place. A big box, especially for him, but it’s not enough anymore. Most evenings he walks in and out over and over, spreading the particles like wildfire around the house. One day,..the whole house will be taken over and will will stand no chance.

To keep him happy we feed him. Oh do we feed him. But every now and then his mood changes and food is no more than a measly peace offering. He retaliates and in a bloodrage he leaves decapitated frogs all over the house. It’s a significant warning…The worst thing is, we haven’t found out yet what for. all we can do is wait…

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

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Life purposes

I keep waking up, wanting to write something meaningful. I end up picking on my boyfriend and moaning about it to my cats. Cat’s, I might add, who see me as a walking vending machine. Push enough buttons and food  will come out. We play this game all day.

Staring at the blank page continues. First I wanted to write about all the funny (in hindsight) arguments my boyfriend Daan and I had whilst we were travelling. We get so childish, we make other couples feel good about themselves. I thought this was hysterical. ..he did not.

He’s been thrown in like 10.000 projects at once when we got home and he’s working around the clock. I feel bad complaining about hardly seeing each other. However,  it turns out he takes me for lunch during the night.

The other night around 3 a.m.:

D: Ains! (Nudging me with his elbow) You need to pick a sandwich!                                   Me:(Sleepy but entertained immediately) Eh..ok. .which one are you having?               D: Hmmmmmm….that one!                             Me: OK, I’ll take the other one. So where are we now?                                                       D: (Matter of factly ) In town of course!       Me: Oh yes I see.

I like to keep the impression that I’m a busy, responsible adult. For example. .my mum left me the watch her house and cats while she was away on holiday. She managed to use all forms of communication to tell me to not let one of the cats upstairs.  Obviously I did ( not on purpose) let him upstairs for 3 whole seconds. And in this time he managed to pee on my bed and clothes. I must say, I’m impressed by his accuracy and speed. However I did not find the time to write about anything meaningful or life changing.

The only thing I’ll be changing today are my sheets.

Vanlife Diaries

I wake up to Dan siting up in bed, holding the surfboard above his head with two hands and yelling at me. “Ains! Look outside! I can’t see where I’m going!” Here we go again I laugh to myself. Another one of Dan’s sleeping adventures. “Dan,..you’re ok..you’re safe..we’re in the car..” “Damnit just look outside would you!! I have to break!” his eyes are wide and worried. He’s kicking the back door, seriously stressed out. Then he let’s the surfboard go, rips open the curtains and looks around furiously. Then he calms down and starts to laugh “Fuck I’m doing it again aren’t I?”

We wake up with a council warning shoved under our windscreen wipers. Risking a $200 fine by sleeping in a non-self-contained van. Ok, time to find a new sleeping spot. I’m just happy they didn’t wake us up and asked us to move, we both needed the sleep after the vivid dreams Dan has. We read through it briefly, shrug and drive off to brush our teeth in a nearby bathroom.

Being homeless is starting to grow on me. In daytime it’s a small living-space we have learnt the hard way to utilize. I now have a toothbrush and deodorant in ever bag and Dan’s surfboard now functions as extra storage space above our heads. At night it’s our own little fluffy cubby hole, we could be anywhere in the world, wouldn’t matter, that bed is damn comfy.

Just the mornings can be a little challenging. We are travelling with not only 2 bags and a surfboard, but two more backpacks, a guitar and a wetsuit. It’s usually all piled up on the front seats at night. Most mornings we wade our way through it all and drive to the nearest public toilet to get ready for work. But on the weekends I leave Dan be and sit amongst all the stuff eating my cereal or doing my make up in the rearview mirror.

As we don’t always use the allocated spaces and out van is no way near self-contained, we have to be a bit more sneaky about it. I push my alarm to silent as fast as I can. Just in case someone outside would hear it. Roll from the bed onto the front chairs so I don’t have to attract noise by slamming doors. And when having breakfast and someone walks past, I pretend to be casually waiting on someone while I pause chewing.

I can’t even imagine living in a house anymore. And what’s wrong with washing myself in public toilets anyway? Right? 🙂

I’m walking down the beach swapping long audio messages with Charlotte who now resides in Sri Lanka for the moment. She’s explaining to me how to not wash your hair for a week and still smell pretty. I have to, as showers are now a luxury, thank the lord for dry shampoo. And when I run into Hector (one of the chef’s at my work who also lives in his van) we always keep each other up to date on new shower/sleep spots we’ve come across.

I feel like I’m more aware of real important things…and not telling myself all the time I need this or that in order to get through life or to be happy. I’m definitely enjoying my surroundings more. And wherever I go, my home comes with me. Turns out, adventure comes in confined spaces too.

The Van People

I moved into a car.

Yes a car. Not just any old car, but a car with a bed in the back and my clothes in boxes, stashed under it. I find myself crazy for saying it out loud but it feels so liberating.

New Zealand turned out to be a bit over my backpacking budget. I’ve been working my ass off but I hand it all back in for rent. Daan and I were getting a little stressed out. Until we met….. the Van People.

Backpackers who turned their vans into homes. Some of them decked out, some of them just have a mattress thrown in the back and a few curtains. But it works. There’s showers on every beach, free campsites all around and bbq’s next to the dunes. It’s freaking perfect. Envious of our newly discovered subculture, we infiltrated their circle, bombarding them with questions about all the how’s and where’s. Which they were happy to share with us newcomers. And a few days ago..We finally became a part of the Van People.

Excited and feeling very mature/free/hippie-like we had our first night sleep in our car last night. I had finished work so late and we both needed to be in a certain area again in the early morning. We decided to sleep in a carpark near a public toilet block. Our car doesn’t look like the typical backpacker car and you can’t see in. This is good because we didn’t want to get caught here. So we had to sneak around a little instead of making ourselves comfortable before going to sleep.

It’s comfortable all right. But sleep could have been better. Daan kept having nightmares about the car rolling into the road while we were sleeping. So every little while he’d sit up in utter shock looking out the rear window to check if it all was ok. Not really awake, not really asleep but very freaked out all right.

Turns out this is the mark of being part of the Van People. One other girl kept dreaming her car got taken by the sea during a tsunami when she would park next to the beach. The price to pay for a free life;)

 

 

 

Capturing infinite life.

For as long as I can remember I’ve been writing down my memories. Turning memories into words is a part of my soul, as they reflect back at me, reminding me why I’m alive. As detailed as possible, so that re-reading them takes me back to that moment in an instant.

This last week I’ve been introduced to a whole new way of capturing life on camera. I travelled to Cyprus for a short holiday get away and a long awaited reunion. But it ended up bringing me back in touch with my life’s purpose. When I say, a whole new way, I obviously know how to work a camera, but this was a different kind of level and was interesting to get a glimpse into the brains of people who feel the exact same way about filming and photography as I do about writing.

Every waking minute is spent on perfecting the frames in their mind. Getting that perfect shot that captures an entire moment and feeling in a few seconds. Because a photograph isn’t a photograph until you can see inside it and feel what it contains.

I’ve been back from my 3 year world trip a while now and have been (somehow) getting used to normal life, where the beauty passes you by and the extraordinary would have to hit you on the head to be noticed. I appreciate my days but new ones appear without me making any effort. If today was boring, I will try again tomorrow. But that’s not what I had promised myself years ago. If I had to explain what I did promise myself, I will have to refer to a scene in the movie called ‘The perks of being a wallflower’. At one point Sam (Emma Watson) is in the back of a big Ute, speeding like crazy and while driving into a tunnel, David Bowie’s “Heroes” is on so loud she doesn’t hear anything else. She closes her eyes, raises her arms and throws her head back and screams “I feel infinite!”

I forgot what it feels like to feel infinite. Something no human being really is, yet if we can stop time in our minds for one second, like a photograph, we are infinite.

I used to go through life trying everything I was scared of, as I know firsthand what hiding behind fears is like. Yet as soon as the subject cliff jumping was brought up in Cyprus, all that my mind said was NO! But hey, hashtag yolo right? Cyprus is beautiful. Vast clear turquoise water, rust coloured dirt roads and more flowers than the Dutch tulip fields. The cliffs were incredible. And jumping looks like the easiest thing ever .. until your mind tells you it’s not. When fear tells you “no”, you can’t do it. Your body responds, your legs turn to jelly and your breath verges on hyperventilation. That’s when I realized no-one is holding me back but me. This is when you need to stop thinking. There is no thinking required for jumping, but simply leaping into the open. Yes, one wrong movement and it could be over. Instead I was overcome with a feeling of freedom…Freedom and a lot of water in places I don’t want to talk about.

Sometimes you will have to jump off, climb over, dive into, feel or just stop thinking. I am happy those days reminded me of this.

I want my life to be one big event of those infinite captured moments all strung together.

 

Mandatory dating

On the day of your 29th birthday something amazing happens. You magically skip a year and become 30. Even though your birth certificate says you are 29, to the rest of the world you are now 30. And holy shit, fix that piece of shit life already!

It started the other day with my mum. I caught her mid-sentence “..because now that you are 30..” “Mum, I am 29.” “Yeah so,..you’re thirty.” “Mum …my birthday isn’t for another 6 months yet.” “Ahhgg it’s the same thing.”

So technically I can behave like a complete adolescent for another 6 months. Whenever I get weird stares or shock strangers I can just pull out my ID card and tell them to Relax,..I’m still 29.. But it is a big no no…

Then unfortunately just before I actually turned 29, I became single. And trust me,.before those heartbroken tears have left your chin there is a line of people waiting to jump you with “Soooo…..how’s your love life going?” I can’t figure out what’s worse. Answering that question with “Quiet thanks” or the worried faces people make when they hear me say that. Single at 25 equals freedom and involving a lot of “Good for you girl!” Single at 30 feels like a job interview from hell while someone is pointing a gun at your face.

Suddenly my eggs (What! I have that to worry about too?!) and ovaries are a normal conversation topic. To freeze or not to freeze. My friends take turns in finding random men, sticking a ribbon on their foreheads and dragging them to my doorstep, presenting them to me like: “What about THIS one?” . And what is up with that “Where do you see yourself in 5 years?” question. I mean ..WHAT!!?? Can you even imagine what your life looked like if it had turned out exactly as you thought it would be at 18 or so?  Why start planning now?

The last 4 months there hasn’t been a week where someone didn’t bring up my dating life. As if I don’t have anything else to do than manhunt.  Am I supposed to drag my sweaty (Oh,..and it is I can tell you) ass over to guys ..pretend I am interested in so I can calm the world around me and say..It’s ok..I got a live one..just in time hey?

Sometimes I wish I was less complicated. Not always wanting to be/do the opposite of what is expected. Because that is sort of what I like to do. I wish I liked dating, having just one job and settling down. But the truth is….I am going to 29 the shit out of life till it runs dry.

 

Dear Housemate,

Dear housemate,

Though I know you envision yourself a ghost, a master of disguise,
I now have to tell you this,
I don’t think it will come as a surprise.

That, alas, the opposite is true,
Your grossness has been found out.
We all know it was you.

The long curly hairs in my razor, really weren’t mine.
You transformed the white spotless shower walls into a curtain of body hair and grime.

It’s fine you empty your nose out over the sink.
And what an aim I might say!!I’m impressed!
I would never reach that back wall, I think.

When it’s time to sit down after a long day of work.
You make sure you welcome me with a nice smelly burp.

You close the windows because it’s so cold.
Leaving the stench of your farts and other unleashed fumes to unfold.

This one time I got annoyed and spoke my mind clear.
But you said: “Whatever Ains! It doesn’t smell, it goes straight into the atmosphere.”

That’s fine, I’ll have dinner in my room again, alone.
So you can enjoy your extra loud trash metal and hardcore without my moan.

I’ve always wonder what the limit is of your beer bottle collection on the floor.
Twenty-five? Thirty-two? Sixty-four!?

Ok, ok,..you have your heart in the right place and you do have your good days.
You picked up the hoover once and almost made it across the hall way.

Remember that one time, where you attempted to do the dishes?
The sink was full of water and crap for days, you gave up and went out with the missus.

So I’d lie if I’d say I’ll be missing you, my heart filled with grief.
Actually I know for sure the both of us will find it a great relief.

Soon the day will come where we’re moving out, so we can live without any strain.
So let’s part and promise to never live with each other again.

 

 

Female Chewbacca

When is using Hot Wax ever a good idea? And why do I keep thinking that THIS time it will be better? De-hairing. Not my favorite thing in the world. And as much as I am pro feminism…after a week of not shaving even I agree with the next best guy.

Maybe it doesn’t help that I have dark hair. Where other woman seem like the perfect smooth angels,..I feel like a modern Chewbacca. (Word actually recognizes Chewbacca as a real word, impressed) So I have been shaving and plucking since god knows when.

I remember being like 12 and secretly using my mums razor for my legs, while locked up in the bathroom. (Sorry mum! )Then not long after plucking my eyebrows to shreds and not long after that all hair becomes an obsession.

Most of the time I am just thankful I live in Holland, where you get a break for at least 7 months of the year. When I was living in Australia waxing is the norm. Every four weeks I visited a salon who took care of it all. It was cheap, and I’d be out in 20 minutes. But the pain is insane. And yes, yoi can grow it, but what is with this itching after a certain length?

So now, years later, I’ve settled happily for my razor. Until today. I have a few friends who al keep talking about the epilator (worst torture  method since the iron bull) and waxing at home. They make it sound like it’s the easiest thing ever and I got curious.

Why the hell did I get curious!!

I went out to the shops and got myself some hot wax..I mean, it sounds  like the salon stuff.. My housemate had just left so there would be no questions about  what I was doing in the bathroom for so long.  I heated it up as instructed and started spreading the stuff on. This itself is a complete task. The wax was spilling down my leg, onto the bathroom floor and everything nearby. And hot wax on your private parts is not an enjoyment! Wow! Ok so my hands are covered in green stuff and I’m trying to “make a swift motion against the hairs”. Only parts of the wax come off, some of them have dried so much they are too hard. When the bit finally comes of, I am bleeding. But, yes , I continued.
The hairs come out, that’s something. But it hurts as I have to do one piece over an over before it comes off completely. The wax keeps breaking. It’s hard to time it right, when I am too quick, it hasn’t dried yet and all I do is cover myself more in this green and smelly mess. My sink has a little pile of hard green wax with hairs sticking out of it all over. And then I make the mistake of spilling the wax on parts, one should never have wax smeared on to.

I want to cry. I have no idea how to get this off. I look down and see a pink, bleeding and half hairy mess, with one blotch of green dried up wax that I am too terrified to take off.  Half a liter of oil does the trick and I decide to quit this crazy impulse I had.

As I walk to the bin I can feel parts of me stick together as I move. And I find another strand of wax wrapped around my ankle. I chuck the whole pan in there and vow to love myself, even when I feel like Chewbacca.

 

Puss everywhere and screaming doctors

I’m almost teaching full yoga classes. David, my trainer, keeps complimenting me on how happy he is that I am not grossed out by sweaty people and that I dare to touch everyone without hesitation. I wish he could see me the rest of the week…Sweaty people are the least of my concern.

Monday evening at 10 pm one of the doctors on call rang me up. We had an emergency, a dog had a badly infected uterus (Piometra) and we needed to remove it asap. Did I want to come in for the anaesthesiology? Oh my fucking yes I do!! It’s hard to imagine for anyone who’s not in this field…but for some reason..the uglier and dirtier the case, the more excited we get. Also this was my first time solo, my nerves were flying through the roof!

I was out at dinner with my sister at this point. She’s a people nurse and she said she’d drive me if she could come and watch. Yeah..great plan. The doctor was just happy that we came in, and my sister ended up to be of great help. Sisters in surgery

It was a long night,..the infected uterus was harder to remove than we had thought at first. The dog lost a lot of blood and we were standing in a pool of it, together with well used gauzes and the smell off meat past the date. The stress got too much and there was a point where everyone was just screaming at each other to get things done. I remember trying to calm the doctor down by telling her how well the dog was doing. She was, her breathing remained incredibly stable during the whole operation.”Would you just shut the fuck up!!” I got as a reply. It took a few deep breaths and another doctor who came in at 1 am and before we knew it the dog was up and awake, minus one big fat gross uterus.

There we were, 2.15 am, smelling of blood and dog pee we drove home. In 4 hours my alarm was set to go again. Luckily no surgeries planned,…or so we thought.

Knocking back a cup of iced cappuccino a distressed lady came in with her cat. The cat had given birth to 3 kittens on Sunday and she was still bleeding. This was a lovely white cat but now covered in red gore, it looked like the cat version of Carrie. For all you ladies who have once woken up to the worst period of their life..That smell..multiplied by 100 mixed with cat an kitten poo. Yes, my thoughts exactly.

Another uterus removal in 24 hrs. Yay..this stench was overwhelming, there was pus and blood coming out of her all the time and within no time half the practice had bits everywhere. During the surgery we had to keep a close eye on her temperature. I got out the thermometer and carefully made my way under the operation cloth to find, oh yes, her anus. Now this cat had just given birth, her hoo-ha still swollen to 60 times the size, her butt hole teeny compared to this. Also, as there was cloth over my hands I couldn’t see a thing. Here I am, using my bare hands to find a way through the puss, blood and stench to find a cats butt hole, and it took me minutes too. Why not an office job Ainslie, why did you want to do this soo badly?

At the end of the day, life isn’t pretty, we all pretend to be pretty and clean. But face it, we are all big bad bags of blood and guts.

There is a point where the care of an animal is bigger than anything and you just don’t think about what you are actually doing. Things that gross you out normally, vanish. Because if it was you in that position, you’d be so happy somebody was fumbling around in your blood to find your anus……….

Roads, crossroads and shitballs

The road to work is deserted. I love mornings like this, it’s sunny and no wind. I pop in my earphones and start flicking through my Ipod. I only have one brake working, so I am feeling a little stupid when I realise I am holding it in my wrong hand. If something happens now I can’t brake. But, it’s quiet so I go on.

Suddenly a car rushes onto the road from the right, cutting me off. If it wasn’t for my Ipod, I would have seen or heard him coming. Though it’s my bad I still feel a surge of annoyance rise up. The feeling is soon diminished and replaced by a big smile on my face. Half awake, Dick is smiling back at me and rolling down the window. “Morning! I just got your message.”  He slows down and we ride next to each other. His smile changes to a serious face “Ains, I really want to go back so badly.”

Just before I left the house I shared a Timehopp post with Dick. This app shows you all the things you posted on that date. In this case 6 years ago. We had just finished out trip together in Australie. I stayed, his time was up. Dick had posted a message on my Facebook wall, happy for me I had just made it back to Broome. Explaining how he’d love to join me for a sunset. Then saying that he sometimes just lies awake, unable to sleep due to homesickness. Homesickness for a place that was once our home away from home. At that time, I avoided every possible idea of going home. I had just arrived in paradise, I was in no rush to go anywhere else.

But now, I am home. It’s perfect and absolute shit-balls at the same time. For every thing that I am grateful to be here, there is another reason I wish I was somewhere else. We came home after living on another planet. Time passed, but we will never be the people we were before. Not even close.

It is so incredibly frustrating to not be able to explain to anyone what you experienced, because there are no words that come close. The more time passes, the more people expect you to move on, get back to your old life, into the mould of society. That everything will come flowing back to you naturally, but it doesn’t.

It’s my one life experience that connects me to half the world, yet makes me feel like the loneliest person alive. This is why I am grateful to have Dick living right here in my home town. We have been through so much, we just have to look at each other or say hi and for a little while, my loneliness melts away.
One line of “Hey Ains, remember that old piece of shit van we had?” And we can laugh. Knowing we are laughing about the same things, that it’s ok, and that we are not crazy. That it’s only a matter of time that we’ll go back and do it over.

As I am cycling next to the car, there’s a line of cars piling uo behind Dick’s. We’re forced to part again and head back to the normal things in life. We agree to have coffee soon. Not today though, it’s busy at work today. I wave him goodbye, turn my music on with the right hand and ride off to work. Enjoying this road a little more than I did before.

For not all that wander are lost.

dickie