Heart to Post, Writing Challenge

About The Places I’d Go…

“Often, bumpy roads lead to beautiful places”Dave Martinez

Whoops, there life was, getting in the way of my plans. Sorry about that.

Then again, most of you are probably used to me being MIA every so often. I guess I just didn’t want to let you down 😉

Life has actually been very busy, with tons of ups and downs as is natural. But today I am back to picking up where I left off, as I am determined to bring this writing challenge to a good end (just when that end will be remains a mystery).

#5 – List 5 places you want to visit:

Just 5?

Well… that’s a bit of a let-down. Or a challenge, depending on how you look at it 😉

In the light of COVID-19 I’d say even a short list of 5 places reads as a drama story, considering I won’t be visiting any anytime soon, but oh well. I am not the only one and like Einstein (presumably) said: my imagination can take me anywhere.

But as soon as my money peaks and the borders open, here’s where I’d like to go:

5. Tirol

I once started a private list of silly things to do in foreign places and guess what’s to do in Tirol? I am thinking much more than learning how to yodel, but at the same time: why not? I can definitely visualise myself on top of a mountain in a short skirt, surrounded by cows and other quirky people like me, yodelling our hearts out*. After a few drinks, of course. And in the right company.

* Please do not make me any wiser if learning how to yodel in Tirol is nothing like this…

4. Japan

Next on the list: Kappa fishing in Japan. Don’t laugh. Don’t judge. Don’t growl at me either! I saw this in a documentary about Japan and it seemed like just the thing I’d do. I like cultural spirituality, and much like elves in Iceland and trolls in Norway, this sounds like a fun afternoon to me. Plus, with my worm-phobia fishing with a cucumber as bait seems like a great plan!

3. Jukkasjärvi

What’s wrong with me? The moment the temperature outside hits below 10 centigrades I stop feeling my feet and start complaining about hypothermia, yet I feel the very strong desire to spend a night in an ice hotel!? It doesn’t even have to be Jukkasjärvi, anywhere in Sweden is fine (although I probably had you re-reading that twice, didn’t I?)

2. Wicklow

Oh, woe to me! With a weekend-birthday this year I had Great Plans to visit Ireland in a cottage in Wicklow. Do some hiking, visit my beloved Dublin, maybe even attend an Oscar Wilde-play. Find pure happiness in a pure environment. Why, COVID, why!? (My back-up plan is visiting a panda-infested zoo, so I’ll be alright. The ‘woe me’ is for dramatic purposes only – I’d rather be healthy at home than running free in Ireland, potentially getting sick or making others so.)

1. Seljalandsfoss

Mark my words: I will walk that path behind that waterfall one day! Iceland might be freezing cold (again: what is wrong with me? My feet really don’t like me…), but somehow it’s nested itself comfortably in my heart. I cannot get this country out of my head! Truly everything I saw there was worth going back, and then some. Plus, crazy or not, I’d like to try some of that cured shark…

There are many more places I’d like to go one day. I have yet to visit Oscar’s grave in Paris, for one. Or walk (yes you read that right) the marathon of Médoc. Eat a true Wiener Schnitzel in Vienna and stay overnight at a panda hotel somewhere in China that I once saw featured on TV.

But the five places above… they pull at me the strongest.

And seeing as they’re all pretty costly, I best begin saving up 😉

 

 

 


What places would you like to visit? Let me know in the comments or take on this challenge yourself – let me know if you do! (You can find the original and full challenge here)

Writing Challenge

About Someone Who Inspires Me

“Greatness always inspires you to be great”Debasish Mridha

Whoever inspires me does so not by being famous, rich, or huge in any way, but by being extraordinary in the smallest way possible.

And mind you, I really had to think about this one before I came to an answer… Because I was thinking too famous, rich and huge when all I needed to do was look into my heart – or rather over my left shoulder.

#4 – Write about someone who inspires you:

Before I get to the main point, I feel I should tell you about something funny that happened a few weeks ago: my favourite singer held an online concert and I got a ticket. Woohoo!

The show started and I was as excited as if I was a child given carte blanche in a toy store!

As the show progressed, however, I felt an uncanny sensation creep up on me… I wasn’t enjoying myself! Sure, the man was giving it his all in a nearly empty theatre (COVID-19, remember?) and I concluded that perhaps that was what was itching me: the lack of interaction with his public (which is where he usually truly excels, by the way).

But it wasn’t until he went from playing the piano to playing on the piano that I really started to feel annoyed.

It’s that moment when you catch yourself staring at the clock wondering how much longer when you realise something’s really off.

That something got a name when Mr. Favourite Singer got off the piano, hit two keys and then got back on the piano. It caused me every bit of strength not to turn off the show and I was left with a very bad taste in my mouth for days after.

For about a week I felt confused: what happened? Someone I’ve been a fan of for years has suddenly disappointed me? How?

The answer is: when he was on the piano wriggling to and fro, I saw something that caused me to lose a bit of my faith in this man: insincerity (remember my pet peeves?). He was doing this to please a big audience, not because it was actually making his show better – it wasn’t, it was a farce. A gimmick.

Where I, in my head, had portrayed him as my role model for integrity and authenticity, I suddenly saw through the madness of this man’s performance. My head lost an inspiration and gained a little void (don’t worry, I am all over it now. No longer a fan, but I can still enjoy his songs).

So when this writing challenge topic popped up, I had to think twice (or ten times, more like) to find someone who inspires me in such a way, that I feel it every time I think of them. I was pondering on this for a while, while putting on my socks, then randomly turned my head and spotted a photograph I keep in my room:

My inspirations ❤

My grandparents ❤

How could I be so silly to look anywhere else, when I’ve had the two most extraordinary people to have ever been alive right here in my family? I needn’t look on any stage or search in any corners but those of my own heart to find the two people who always make me smile and strive to be better – even if they’ve been gone for nearly twenty years each!

My grandfather is my big hero. He was a construction worker, just like my father (his son). During the Second World War he was ordered to help build a concentration camp here in the Netherlands, where the only thing that separated the workers from the prisoners was a fence.

During lunch time, my grandfather (and some others) would secretly either give his lunch away to or share it with the inmates, at risk of being caught and put on the other side of the fence himself.

My grandfather was a small man in stature, but a big man in heart – he hated injustice, just like I do. He’s also the reason why I called my business after my (our) last name: because I am extremely proud to carry it.

My grandmother was the kindest person on the planet and the World’s best grandmother EVER. I don’t care what you think of yours, because I know mine was the very best, it’s a fact! Her kindness was unlimited – and unmatched! There’s never been anyone like her ❤

Sometimes I wish I was a little more like my grandmother… But I’ve got her chin, so there’s that 😉

These people inspire me, because I would literally give everything I own, no doubts or questions asked, to be able to spend just one more minute with them. At the same time, they fill me with pride because I can say they were with me. They were a part of my life and are still, because they drive me to believe in myself, to try my hardest, to be kind and giving, and brave.

And down to earth.

Because for me, no one, not even a big artist dancing on a grand piano, however extraordinary, can match my grandparents’ greatness.

 

 

 

 


Who inspires you? Let me know in the comments or take on this challenge yourself – let me know if you do! (You can find the original and full challenge here)

Writing Challenge

About My Top 3 Pet Peeves

“Peeves do not make very good pets”Bo Bennett

I once had an About Me listing the 11 weirdest facts of me as a form of introduction. However, I don’t recall all 11 as clearly. I’ll try to give you 3 original pet peeves, but forgive me if I accidentally repeat myself 😉

#3 – List Your Top 3 Pet Peeves:

From 3 to 1 (because I can!), here’s my top 3:

3. Bad spelling/grammar

So okay, nobody is perfect. And writing in a language second to your native one is a challenge, always. But I recall once researching language schools when I received a letter of one full of spelling errors. It was an official Dutch institute, yet their letter was filled to the brim with the most common mistakes made. You’re a language institute, you should be on top of languages at all time! It took me all the courage I could muster NOT to correct every error and send the letter back (I am a Scorpio, I take things heavy and hold grudges. Love me or leave me alone).

I also do not get Dutch “street language”. I just don’t. Must be a generation thing, because it’s used in many songs teenagers listen to nowadays. Or when people abbreviate words without any reason. How am I suppose to enjoy what you write me if you can’t even find the time to write it in the first place?

2. Spitting on the ground (or retching in general)

More than your average pet peeve, I’d say in terms of dating this would be my number one turn off. I get beyond icky when someone in the street searches their toes for the biggest, worst possible phlegm he/she can muster, then drops the aforementioned ginormous lump of spit somewhere random.

China was hell for me.

Well, obviously it wasn’t (pandas! <3), but it took some time before I was able to walk the streets of Chengdu without nausea rising within me. If you want me to leave quicker than you can spell emetophobia, you drop your spit somewhere near me and watch me flee in horror.

1. Liars

There’s car salesmen and there’s empty liars. The first will cheat you out of money and into a broken vehicle. The second will spin make belief around you like cotton candy: sticky, overly sweet, and afterwards you’re left washing the sugar stains off your hands, face, clothes, hair, teeth, and everywhere else you didn’t think it would hit you.

Car salesmen are bad, but can be avoided once you see through them. Hot air salesmen (as I call them) will try to make you believe something non-existent. Like, how amazing they are, for instance. Or how many college degrees they have. Or how big their head is (which usually is true, actually, but not because it’s filled with the intelligence they claim to own). Hot air salesmen will sell you whatever story they think will make you see them as The Most Amazing Person On The Planet, yet in the end you’re left with nothing but hot air. Not even a broken car to cry over; empty hands more like.

Also, a hot air salesman, when caught with a lie, will only hit you with more lies so as not to lose face. They’ll never own up to their stories being fake, rolling from one lie into another, much like how a snowball turns into an avalanche. They embody my number one pet peeve.

 

 

 

 


What is your biggest pet peeve? Let me know in the comments or take on this challenge yourself – let me know if you do! (You can find the original and full challenge here)

Writing Challenge

About What Someone Told Me About Myself That I Never Forgot

“May my soul bloom in love for all existence”Rudolf Steiner

“You have an animal soul,” his words sometimes still ring in my ear. I cannot tell you who he was, because I don’t know.

It was in 2016, on holiday in Canada, touring through a region that used to belong to the First Nations, when I stumbled upon a wise old man who told me I have an animal soul. I’ll never forget these words, for every time I lovingly stare at my pets, cry over koalas with burn marks or coo over  saved animals in the news, I am reminded of them.

With these words I embark on another writing adventure regarding the 30 Day Writing Challenge:

“You have an animal soul: animals sense your kindness and take a liking to you, as do young children.”

I have mentioned all my nephew and nieces either go through or are having an “aunty Samantha-phase”, right? As did the granddaughter of a cleaning client I only met twice, but who pretended to be me for a long time after (she’d drag her toy hoover everywhere).

Have I also mentioned I sometimes feel what animals feel? In Scotland, at a donkey sanctuary, there was a pony who caught my attention. All of a sudden, while looking into his dark eyes, I felt an overwhelming sense of sadness.

I don’t know why that pony was there, but seeing as it was a sanctuary for maltreated animals (mostly donkeys, but they also had llamas, ponies and some sheep) I can only imagine…

And then there was that one horse in Finland, who got upset because I took photos of all the animals and he was scared I’d forget him. He posed when I focused my camera on him. And finally stopped his screaming.

When there’s something off with my pets I can always tell, and even if I can’t put my finger on the exact problem I’ll know where to look because of how they make me feel (anxious, stressed, scared, sad).

And there was that one cockatoo at the zoo a few weeks ago who went crazy every time I passed his cage. Wanted me to pet his tummy (so sweet!) ❤

The list goes on, really. And I DO love animals! A lot!

So yes, these strange and surprising words have an effect on me today still, even if they were uttered over four years ago.

I have an animal soul. And I am proud of it ❤

 

 

 

 


What has someone told you about yourself that you’ll never forget? Let me know in the comments or take on this challenge yourself – let me know if you do! (You can find the original and full challenge here)

Writing Challenge

About Ten Things That Make Me Really Happy

“I, not events, have the power to make me happy or unhappy today. I can choose which it shall be. Yesterday is dead, tomorrow hasn’t arrived yet. I have just one day, today, and I’m going to be happy in it”Groucho Marx

Even if my online priorities are somewhere else right now, I have to admit I miss this blog and the WordPress community. But… I have yet to find some structure in my daily doings to make room for Heart to Follow, meaning I either have all kinds of ideas what to write about but zero time, or tons of time to blog but zero inspiration.

I’m normally not that much into writing challenges, but this one I stumbled upon and it triggered something inside me. So I am going to give it a go, although I won’t post something new every day. I simply don’t have the time for that right now, but one post a week I should be able to manage – I hope.

Without further ado, here is challenge 1: List ten things that make you really happy. In no particular order, those things are:

1. My pets
Those of you that have been following me for a while know I am an animal lover pur sang, and that I’ve have pet gerbils for quite a few years now. After all the past drama of sickness and death, I am now the proud owner of two furry friends called Meeko (brown) and Dorian (grey). Watching them fret around in their massive cage or just observing their beauty makes me (very) happy.

Meeko and Dorian getting comfortable together

2. Chocolate
Really, need I say more?

3. Reading
Trust me I do not lie when I state I am always reading one book or other. I just finished reading Ivanhoe today and already I have two other books waiting for me – and that’s just leisure. It’s standard for me to keep a book of professional interest on my night stand as well as a coaching magazine nearby, and of course I read blogs when I have the time. Really, even subtitles are devoured by my eyes.

4. Music
A good song can make my day or break a bad mood. I am not sure if I’ve ever told you this, but sometimes I experience music in colours. That is to say, one song can “feel green and yellow” while another can make me feel white and gold instead. I love all kinds of music as well, as you can tell from my personal playlist.

5. My family
Did you know “AuntSamantha” is one word? Well, it is according to my nephew and nieces, and I am proud to say all but one of them either have had or are having an “AuntSamantha-phase”, meaning they are seemingly obsessed with me, especially when I am around. I like that.
The only exception here is my youngest niece, who has yet to turn one. But she’ll get there, too, I am certain.

6. PANDAS!
Some people complain when I say I see most of the world in black and white, but then they talk to me for over five minutes and they understand: I am a pandaholic by heart. I love all animals, but these are my favourites.

Pandas, pandas everywhere! ❤

7. Horror
A good horror movie is never wasted on me. A bad horror movie even more so! There is something brilliant in fictitious evil, especially when the storyline is good. I really enjoy this genre, both on screen and in writing.

8. Travelling (MOUNTAINS!)
I love visiting new countries or, if that’s impossible due to, say, COVID-19, new places in general. I recently visited a Dutch isle and had a wonderful time observing sheep and cycling to and fro a lighthouse. Talking to locals, figuring out some history and trying specialties… And don’t get me started on mountains. I live in the only mountain-less country! It’s unfair… All I see is open fields with cows or rows of tall buildings. Bring me some mountains!

9. Writing
Playing with words, trying to find the best one. Creating a sentence with an amazing build-up… I really should do it more. Maybe combine it with coffee, cakes, music and/or chocolate. And some pandas, of course.

10. Revenge
Nothing tastes as sweet as a successful revenge, muahaha >:)

Nah, just kidding. I don’t take revenge. But accidents happen…

The real 10. Coffee and cakes
I feel these belong together. In Germany they call it Kaffee mit Kuchen for a reason. A really nice cup of coffee, a very well made piece of cake (with or without chocolate), with a good book or bad horror movie, must be one of the best combinations to making me a very happy person indeed.

 

 

 

 


What are some things that make YOU very happy? Let me know in the comments or take on this challenge yourself – let me know if you do! (You can find the original and full challenge here)