cyprus infinite

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.

 

Valentine3

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.

 

 

'Like the Brazilian?'

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

Whoop there it goes

Sober Bob flashing her undies.

Not drinking is no big deal to me. It’s been so long since I’ve had a drink that I’ve come become quite accustomed to going out amongst alcohol fueled crowd.

Lately, I’ve become almost too busy to go out. Let alone, do my hair properly. It’s always up, and my clothes are easy.  During my traineeship at the vet  I wear old manky stuff that’s ok to get peed on, for work I have to look a certain way which gives me the options: Black shirt #1 or black shirt #2. When I have to go to school I am usually so tired from getting up so early, I just wear what I can find on the floor in the dark.

You can imagine my enthusiasm when I found out I had a wedding to go to soon. Followed by a pang of panic as I found out I was having the every-girl-in-the-world-problem: Nothing to wear. I am not the girliest girl and don’t own a proper dress, my only ‘nice’ shoes are my € 10 h&m heels, which are ruined by mud and candle wax (Don’t ask).  I am made for jeans or shorts, the end. But God forbid that you wear those to a wedding, I found a little strapless pink dress in the end.

The wedding itself was ok, though the more weddings I attend, the more I find I probably won’t get married. Sure, it looks very romantic, but all just a little over the top, to me. Anyway I am not complaining about the parties afterwards. Crazy! Unlimited cola for me, yahoo! Before you know it the carefully picked out dress is covered in beer and your pretty hairstyle sweated out in a wild dance.

Blend in quite alright. I might even be a little crazier than most in the crowd as I am doing this sober and you are in a blur. You can do whatever you want, no one will remember tomorrow but you.

All of a sudden this Dutch song came on, translated as  “I feel sexy when I’m dancing”. Loved this tune and soon one of the guys came over for a dance. As the crowd parted a little I made a bit more of an effort. But seriously, dancing sexy while a crowd is watching, actually thinking about moves,..jeez. Couldn’t somebody have warned me? The guy, Rodney, gave me a twirl and stepped back while holding my hand. I thought it was a great idea to flick up my leg while stopping in this pose in order to spin back on the next beat. And I did spin back. Including my dress that got caught on my heal when I was doing so, resulting in pulling down my whole dress altogether.

I couldn’t have reacted more quickly while stumbling over my own dress that now had hole where my was still stuck. Rodney is a friend, and did what all friends do,..laugh his ass off. I got a hold of my dress and backed off, but there was too much laughing to continue the dance.

This also was my last attempt to ever wear a dress in public again.

So there are those moments where I can look back and cringe. Though I know Rodney remembers far too well, I know no one else will.

Even Buddha get's pissed off sometimes

Buddha Face

Nothing embarrassing for today. No gynecologist appointments recently, no farting in public. Though I am so glad some other guy farted during yoga last night and not me. I ate beans on toast for dinner and a fart would have been disastrous so to speak.

The yoga school I go to is training me from scratch to be an amazing yoga teacher. I am still extremely excited about this and at the same time terrified. While in one way I am completely devoted to learn anything there is about yoga, and in theory, I understand it all. In real life I find zen a highly foreign word in every sense.

“Buddha face! Do a Buddha face!” A lady explained after class this is how your face should be during poses, no matter how hard they are. Maybe even take this thought with you in daily life. But when I cycle home through the busy city centre, crashing into almost 32 tourist a minute all I am screaming in my head is: “F***ing Idiots! Have you never heard of a pavement?!” “Look first, mate LOOK”! Moments filled with heavy sighs, grunting and ringing my bell like lunatic. There is no Buddha face, nor will there ever be one.

I imagine the perfect yoga teachers almost pirouetting their way through the busy streets with a calm smile on their faces…and then there is me; a stressed out catastrophe. My other job is being a waitress. Another challenge now the days grow sunnier and busier and the people become more demanding. I find myself having a hard time keeping my patience sometimes. Empathy is lacking from both angles and again I feel like losing my calm and swearing under my breath a lot.

So how do people do it? How not to want to punch people in traffic? And my biggest question; How am I going to teach calm without being calm myself first? But doesn’t the most advanced yoga teacher get annoyed about something sometimes? I mean, when you bump your little toe on a leg of a table,..it hurts and even the most together people do a little swear word while jumping around on one leg right? I would…..I do.

The perks of disgustingness

So I am almost 29 and half way through my study to be a veterinary nurse. It sounds very cute and fluffy but really, most my days look like this:                                                                                               Instead of this:  

If anything, people who work in this area have the stronger stomach ever. And I’ve seen some pretty disgusting stuff but last week turned disgusting into a whole new meaning.

I recently started an internship at a local petting zoo/ children’s farm. I needed some experience with animals other than cats and dogs. I had already been turned down by another farm by my appearance. I am 5”2 and look like a 18 year old, which has its advantages, but this farmer just scanned me from top to bottom and said  they were full. (Having just said they were looking for interns a few moments before) So I was really happy that this farm wanted to take me on board.

The most important thing I had to experience was a birth, of any kind, just a birth. Luckily all sheep and goats were with young and due within the next few weeks so I was present with a few.

A very interesting experience obviously. Hard too, because there is no way a goat understands you when you say it’s going to be ok. Talking to goats has become my speciality during this time. And they have been so kind to forgive me of everything I have said to them during  labour, as soon as I presented them their babies.

But as any creature, births are loud and bloody. And a little slimy. To think that humans go through the exact same thing in the same way as sheep and goats is something I’d rather not think too much about at this time. The worst is the ‘afterbirth’. This thick, slimy, bulgy thing mixed with blood and string that sort of hangs out of them for ages. After the whole birthing experience is over we clean up and dump everything on the dung heap.

The next morning all of us working there forget about everything the day before because today we have baby goats and lambs! And every morning as usual, we let out our pigs Haka and Hina. Two very stubborn little Maori-pigs from New Zealand. While we are busy cleaning out stables and before we open to the public they get to run around, eat grass, bug us for food. They usually start with a sprint to the dung heap to sniff out any interesting food. Remember they are pigs, they eat absolutely anything.

After returning with a full wheelbarrow of crap I found Haka and Hina fighting over a bloody piece of afterbirth they had dug up in the hill. Fighting over it like a tug-of-war. Feeling rather sick at the sight I called one of my workmates over. It wouldn’t kill them, but it’s a little unhygienic at the least! Another intern came over and the three of us tried everything to move them out of the dung heap. But pigs are heavy and they just found their gold, they weren’t going anywhere.

So picture three little girls shoving and yelling at two indifferent pigs. Mission impossible. When the other girl finally contained Hina I was giving it everything I had to work Haka out of the heap. Unfortunately as I was pushing him he suddenly moved leaving me face downward in the dung and blood.  Slimy, bloody bits of whatever mixed with shit of at least 15 different animals covered my entire body. I wear huge wellington boots and jeans but I am not prepared for this kind of mess.  The rest of the day I go to smell like sheep ass and look like a chicken during moult.

This week I started my other internship at a vets practice. I was almost relieved that the worst thing that happened on my first day was a dog that pissed on my arm.

It’s a vet nurse’s life for me.

Lady-bits-antics

There is nothing more awkward for any female on this planet than having a full check up at the gynaecologist. Trust me, I can’t think of anything worse, but it’s my annual obligation to check if I don’t have tentacles growing out of my uterus, or a mutated hobbit growing inside me. You know, the usual stuff.

For my last check-up I asked my sister along. She is a med student and watching something like this is, to her, the best thing that could happen this year. Then again, I might as well have someone familiar and honestly interested in my hoo-ha with me for support.

The session usually starts with a bunch of questions about your sex life and vagina. Working through them, the gynaecologist  suddenly asked if it would be ok to have an intern to help with the exam. Errr,..  “Yeah I guess”. Students need to learn somehow right?  The more the merrier?

A young guy walks in, not saying a thing and the most serious face you have ever seen. So after the whole ‘drop your pants and sit in this amazing you-can’t-hide-anything chair the gyno-lady starts explaining all the steps in medical terms to the intern, who continues to nod in silent seriousness. To me, this is all quite humorous and awkward at the same time. Somehow his serious face, doesn’t match me half naked with my lady parts on a weird angle. Then she pulls on a glove, letting it slap against her wrist and applies half a tube with lube to her fingers. Let the games begin.

No matter how often you tell yourself ‘ah it’s alright they see this a million times a day’ having three people stare at your vagina, including a spotlight so they can ‘see’ clearer, this is a far from comfortable experience. She starts the manual internal exam and then asks the intern to follow her instructions as h will continue the exam. He gets this speculum so they can have an even closer look and really tries jabbing it in all sorts of angles that hurt so much I want to cry. Finally the gyno- lady takes over and does it properly. This is when my sister jumps up excitedly, shoves the doctors out of the way, gasps and then yells “Omg I can like see your womb!” Note to self: Next time keep it a solo event.

Still leg strapped in the chair, I am down to the last exam, an internal ultrasound. Basically this is just a super expensive dildo with a built in camera. The intern takes a minute to adjust his composure, takes a few deep breaths, squirts the other half of the tube of lube on the device and goes for it. Or so he thinks. Three long minutes pass as he tries to find the right opening and angle. Again I can feel tears start to appear, but not from pain. My sister gives me one look and we both burst out laughing at this guy. I mean how hard can it be,…for a guy!? “How long have you been working here?” I ask. “Oh, this is my first week” he replies smiling.

I eventually leave the room feeling like a complete useless guinea pig. Leaving behind a mortified doctor to be, a fascinated sister and a brand new appointment for next year.