Riobamba, La Nariz del Diablo & La Llama

Saturday it was about time for my first weekend trip, with colleague Michel – Dutch guy, who is also an intern at Yanapuma – and Max, German guy – and English teacher volunteer who I’ve never seen before the trip. We doubted between going to the coast to catch some sun and visit Isla de la Plata or to go for culture & adventure at Riobamba and La Nariz del Diablo. And as the title of this blog post says, you know what it became…

Zaterdag was het dan eindelijk zover, tijd voor een eerste weekend uitstap met collega Michel – Nederlander die ook stage loopt bij Yanapuma – en Max, Duitser die vrijwillig Engelse lessen geeft in Quito en wie ik nooit eerder voor de trip had gezien. We twijfelden even of we naar de kust zouden gaan om wat zonnestralen op te vangen en Isla de la Plata te bezoeken, of dat we naar cultuur en avontuur op zoek zouden gaan in Riobamba en La Nariz del Diablo. En zoals de titel van deze blogpost al verklapte, weet je wat het is geworden…

The Travel Team

Travel Companions: Michel, Me and Max

So Saturday morning I left with a small bag for one night to Riobamba. I was going to meet the boys in Parque El Ejido to catch a one hour bus to the terminal of Quitumbe where we would take the bus to Riobamba. I decided again to let go of my fears and took the public transportation with my camera and stuff. And thanks to God that went well!

4 hours later, around noon, we arrived in Riobamba. On our way we enjoyed spectacular views over the Cotopaxi volcano and other beautiful landscapes, as we were driving along the Panamericana highway. And as always I also slept good on that bus… 😛

Dus vertrok ik zaterdagochtend met een kleine tas voor één nacht richting Riobamba. Ik zou the jongens in het Ejido park ontmometen om daar een één uur durende busrit richting de busterminal van Quitumbe te nemen. Daar zouden we de bus richting Riobamba nemen. Ik besloot opnieuw om mijn angsten te overwinnen en maakte gebruik van het openbare vervoer, ondanks dat ik mijn camera bij had. En God, dat ging even lekker!

4 uur later, rond de middag, kwamen we aan in Riobamba. Onderweg genoten we van spectaculaire uitzichten over de Cotopaxi en andere prachtige landschappen, terwijl we over de Panamericana autosnelweg reden. En naar goede gewoonte deed ik ook een aardig dutje op die bus… 😛

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We booked a cheap hostel for $13 a person but as they did not provide us the expected room, we bargained until we paid just $11. The Ecuadorian way! Overall, we had not to complain about this place, except that the WiFi signal was poor and there came more water from the shower on the floor than over my body… The Ecuadorian way too?!

We started of with a walk through the small city of Riobamba, where we were happy to find the Saturday markets. One market was full of artesian products, and the other with fresh vegetables, fruits and meat.

We boekten een goedkoop hostel voor $13 per persoon maar gezien ze niet over de gereserveerde kamer beschikten, brachten we de prijs tot $11. Op z’n Ecuadoriaans! Over het algemeen hadden we niet te klagen over deze plek, afgezien van het slechte WiFi signaal en het feit dat er meer water uit dan in de douche liep… Ook op z’n Ecuadoriaans?!

We startten even later met een wandelingetje door het kleine stadje Riobamba, waar we tot grote vreugde de zaterdagmarkt terugvonden. Er was één markt vol met ambachtelijke producten, en een andere met verse groenten, fruit en vlees.

Local market in Riobamba on Saturday

I can’t get used to seeing Cuy (guinea pig)… It’s a typical Andean meal, but I’m not really a fan of it!

Ik kan alleen maar niet wennen aan het zien van Cuy (cavia)… Het is een typische maaltijd uit de Andes, maar ik ben niet meteen fan!

Cuy Ecuadorian specialty

We also had the chance to see a lot of indigenous people in this town.

We zagen ook heel wat inheemse mensen in dit stadje.

Indiginous people

And we enjoyed a $0.25 icecream on one of the beautiful plazas in town. Couldn’t taste better, and sunny weather!

In the late afternoon we had seen about the whole town and decided to turn back to the hostel as it just started to rain out of nowhere. Yes, this is also typically Ecuadorian: sun and rain are unpredictable and you can easily experience the 4 seasons in one day: freezing at night (winter), sunny in the morning (spring), hot around noon (summer) and rainy cloudy afternoons (autumn). That’s one of the reasons why should always wear clothes in layers and take as well your sunglasses as your umbrella! “Una locura” = craziness, regarding locals…

En we genoten van een ijsje dat slechts $0.25 kostte op het centrale plein. Kon niet beter smaken, en wat een zonnig weertje!

In de late namiddag hadden we heel het centrum wel gezien en besloten we om terug te keren naar het hostel. Het begon ook plots te regenen. Tsjah, dit is ook typisch aan Ecuador: zon en regen zijn onvoorspelbaar en je kan makkelijk 4 seizoenen in één dag ervaren: vriestemperaturen in de nacht (winter), zonnig in de ochtend (lente), heet rond de middag (zomer) en bewolkt in de namiddag (herfst). Dat is één van de redenen waarom je hier altijd kledij in laagjes moet dragen, en dat je zowel je zonnebril als je paraplu moet meenemen op uitstapjes. “Una locura” = gekte, zoals de mensen hier zeggen…

Walking through Riobamba

We decided to play some silly card games in the hostel until it stopped raining, and even watched the most stupid tv programs on a small retarded television, but no… It didn’t stopped raining for that evening, and so we headed around the corner and spoiled ourselves with some delicious pizza and a cup of Sangria before heading to bed. The next day we had to wake up in 4 o’clock in order to get the bus at 5AM to Alausi, where our main goal of this weekend trip was waiting for us… La Nariz del Diablo!

Around 7 in the morning we arrived at the small village of Alausi, another 2 hours more southwards from Riobamba. Here we could find the train station to La Nariz del Diablo. Luckily we bought out tickets ($25 a person) in advance, because places are quickly sold out at the station as many touroperators include this trainride in their itineraries.

We besloten dan maar om wat eenvoudige kaartspelletjes te spelen in het hostel tot het zou stoppen met regenen, en we keken zelfs naar de meest belachelijke tv serie ooit, maar nee… Het stopte maar niet met regenen die avond, en dus besloten we om snel het hoekje om te lopen om onszelf te verwennen met een heerlijke pizza en een glaasje Sangria voor we naar bed gingen. De volgende dag moesten we om 4 uur al opstaan om de bus van 5 uur richting Alausi te kunnen halen, daar wachtte het doel van onze weekend trip op ons… La Nariz del Diablo!

Rond 7 uur ‘s ochtends kwamen we vervolgens aan in Alausi, nog eens 2 uur zuidelijker van Riobamba. Hier vonden we het treinstation naar La Nariz del Diablo. Gelukkig kochten we onze tickets ($25 per persoon) op voorhand, want de plaatsen waren al snel uitverkocht omdat vele touroperators dit treinritje in programma door Ecuador verwerken.

Alausi town

As our train departed at 8AM, we had still plenty of time to enjoy the Sunday market in town and grabbed some breakfast at the station for $2,50 (including cheese sandwich, eggs, coffee and fresh juice). Not bad!

En omdat onze trein pas om 8 uur vertrok, hadden we nog ruim de tijd om de zondagse markt te verkennen en om te genieten van een heerlijk ontbijtje t.w.v. $2.50 (broodje kaas, eitje, koffie en vers fruitsap inbegrepen). Niet slecht!

Alausi station

Then it was time for boarding… But oh, wait. Let me tell you what exactly is this Nariz del Diablo… Well, La Nariz del Diablo (also called Devil’s Nose in English), is the “MOST DIFFICULT TRAIN IN THE WORLD” and is one of Ecuador’s most famous attractions. The railroad was originally built to connect to Andes with the coast, and the route goes up and down steep slopes, along river valleys and has to negotiate a wall of rock called Nariz del Diablo.

Dan was het tijd om in te stappen… Maar oh, wacht. Laat me even vertellen wat die Nariz del Diablo nu eigenlijk is… Wel, La Nariz del Diablo (ook wel Duivelsneus genoemd), is de ‘MEEST GEVAARLIJKE TREIN TER WERELD’ en is één van Ecuador’s meest populaire attracties. De spoorweg was oorspronkelijk gebouwd om de Andes met de kust te verbinden, en de route gaat op en neer doorheen diepe ravijnen, rivier valleien en gaat dwars door een grote rots, genaamd: Nariz del Diablo.

The most dangerous train ride in the world

People used to be able to choose to sit inside or ride the roof for a better view, but you can imagine how dangerous this was. And yes, eventually some people died so that now it is no longer allowed.

But the real reason why this train is called the most difficult train in the world is because many people died building it, and when you take the ride you understand why. The terrain is precarious. At times the train is so close to the side of a mountain that if you stick your hand outside the train car, you’ll lose it!

Mensen konden vroeger kiezen om binnen of op het dak te zitten voor een beter uitzicht, maar je kan je voorstellen hoe gevaarlijk dat was. En ja, uiteindelijk zijn er doden gevallen (letterlijk!) en is het nu niet meer toegestaan.

Maar de echte reden waarom deze trein de moeilijkste trein ter wereld wordt genoemd, is omdat er zoveel mensen stierven tijdens de constructie ervan. Wanneer je de treinrit neemt, begrijp je waarom. Het terrein is woest en soms komt de trein zo dicht bij de bergen dat als je je hand zou uitsteken, je je hand kwijt zou zijn!

Nariz del Diablo

A round trip train ride from Alausi is only 2,5 hours but we had plenty of time to enjoy all the beautiful scenery because the train goes only 12 km / hour.

Een heen- en terugreis vanaf Alausi duurt slechts 2 uur en half, maar we hadden wel ruim de tijd om al dat moois te aanschouwen want de trein rijdt slechts 12  km per uur.

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The tour includes a short stop in front of the famous mountain, where of course everybody wants his pictures with the Devil’s Nose in the background. And so did we!

Bij de tour hoort ook een korte stop vlak voor de beroemde berg, waar iedereen natuurlijk een foto wilde met de Duivelsneus op de achtergrond. En zo wij ook!

Me in front of the Devil's Nose

The tour also includes a 50 minute stop in the town of Sibambe for lunch. Here we could see some indigenous people demonstrating an authentic Ecuadorian dance. You can imagine that this was quite touristic, but it was really nice done and so we could enjoy it to the fullest!

Bovendien was er een stop van 50 minuten in Sibambe om te lunchen. Hier zagen we inheemse mensen aan het dansen. Dit was vrij toeristisch, maar wel leuk gedaan en dus eens leuk om te zien!

Typical Ecuadorian Dancers

The highlight of my trip however were the llamas… This was my first encounter with them and I felt excited like a small little child. Of course, I also needed a picture with them but as you can see I was over-happy and enjoyed it too much.

Het hoogtepunt van mijn trip waren echter de lama’s… Dit was mijn allereerste ontmoeting met hen en ik was zo blij als een klein kind. Natuurlijk moest ik ook even op de foto, maar ik was over-enthousiast en had het zoals je kon zien wel even te goed naar mijn zin.

Me and the Llama

As we had 50 minutes in Sibambe, I had plenty of time to get to know the llama. And I decided to do a small interview with Mrs Llama. (I suppose it was a girl because she was so beautiful hihihi) 😛 :

Tijdens die 50 minuten in Sibambe had ik ruim de tijd om de lama beter te leren kennen. En ik besloot een klein gesprekje met mevrouw Lama te voeren. Helaas sprak de lama enkel Engels vandaar geen vertaling voor dit stukje… 😉

1)      Do you think I could ever keep you as a pet?

Yes, I am loving and cute, and I have many uses. I require less cost yearly than dogs, and am wonderful companion. 

2)      I’ve heard that llamas like to spit. Is that true? Why do you do that?

Yes, it is true. Llamas spit as a way of disciplining young or low ranked llamas in the herd or when they are angry or irritated. Female llamas spit so as to maintain order among the other herd members or when a male llama attempts to mate with her yet she is pregnant.

3)      Are you lazy or do you just look really like that?

Yes, I can be quite lazy sometimes. But if I have to, I can reach a top speed of about 40 miles per hour when running in a wide open area. However, I would only do it if I am trying to escape a predator in the wild. 

4)      If I would ask you kindly, would you give milk?

Yes, but milking me is more difficult then milking a cow or a goat.

5)      Are you strong, like a donkey?

Of course! I am very hardy and strong and can carry loads of stuff. I could also be your perfect hiking companion.

6)      What is your favourite meal?

I love to eat grain and hay, legumes, and vegetables.

7)      Would you ever bite me or use violence?

Some llamas like to chew on you, but we won’t hurt you because we only have teeth on the bottom of our mouth.

8)      If you ever fall in love, how many babies would you like to have?

Oh, I love to love because I am a herd animal. You will need at least two pets. Llama young are called crias, and I would like to have only one cria at a time.

9)      How often do you go to the hairdresser?

Whenever I feel like having to much fiber! (Llama hair is commonly called ‘fiber’.) Did you know my fiber is prized by hand spinners, knitters, weavers and crafters for its softness and warmth?!

10)   What is your preferred climate: hot and humid, or chilly and windy?

I’m used to live in the Andes mountains. However, the climate of a llama may vary. We can live up in the Mountains, on rocky cliffs, but also in ranches, open land plains, and even zoos.

The Llama

Buenos dias, Llama. Mucho gusto…

And before I knew it my 50 minutes were over, and I had to get back on the train.

As I took more than enough pictures during the first part of the ride, I took some time for meditation while I enjoyed the beautiful scenery.

And of course I thought about home, about how much I wished that I could share these beautiful moments with all of the precious people in my heart. I love you and I miss you!

En voor ik het wist, waren die 50 minuten alweer voorbij gevlogen, en moesten we weer terug op de trein.

Aangezien ik al meer dan genoeg foto’s had genomen op de heenrit, besloot ik om even tijd te nemen om te genieten van het mooie landschap dat voorbij gleed.

En natuurlijk dacht ik ook aan thuis, aan hoe hard ik wenste dat ik dit kon delen met al mijn dierbaren. Ik hou van jullie en ik mis jullie enorm!

Meditation Time

Around 10.30AM we were back in Alausi, but as we were awake from 4AM it felt like a long day already. We could use the 5 hours on the bus back to Quito for some serious power nap, and after another bus hour in the giant city of Quito, I finally reached home. Tired but accomplished.

Rond 10u30 waren we weer terug in Alausi, maar omdat we al van 4 uur wakker waren, voelde het aan als een lange dag. We konden de 5 uur slaap op de bus richting Quito dus goed gebruiken, en na nog eens een uur op de bus in de grootstad Quito, was ik eindelijk thuis. Moe maar voldaan.

Ecuador is a wonderful country!

Ecuador is een prachtig land!

P.S.: Michel, my ‘compañero’ made a lovely movie of this trip, which I am happy to share with you:

P.S. Michel, mijn metgezel maakte een leuk filmpje van dit reisje, dat ik graag met jullie deel:

 

100 Things I will miss from Spain

My Erasmus time is almost over. It’s time to pack my bags and leave all the good things and wonderful people behind. The only thing that’s left is sugar sweet memories… These past 5 months were without any doubt the best months of my life. And because I want to cherish every moment in my heart, I decided to make a top 100 list of things I will miss of my Erasmus experience. To make sure I will never forget the small but exciting details of my life here. I want to thank everybody that’s part of this, you’re definetely in my heart forever, and I hope that some of you can recognise some things and feelings here. Enjoy it, and pink a tear away with me… Love you Love you Love you!!! And… I WILL MISS YOU!!! 😉

1. I’ll miss going to sleep more often after 6AM than waking up at 6AM.

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2. I’ll miss having classes most of the time only from 3PM to 5PM.

3. I’ll miss ‘Pan con Tomate y Aioli’.

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4. I’ll miss studying near the swimming pool.

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5.  I’ll miss enjoying the Spanish celebrations throughout all the year.

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6. I’ll miss being too lazy / having too much fun for cleaning the house.

7.  I’ll miss living only 20 footsteps away from the beach.

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8. I’ll miss coming home from the party in my sweaty party clothes at 7AM.

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9. I’ll miss using “I’m Erasmus” as an excuse for almost everything. (Watch this and understand)

 10. I’ll miss playing drinking games that I’ve never played before.

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11. I’ll miss going out to the pub zone, Tikibar, Cocoloco and Eclipse… Only after 4AM. Spanish nightlife rules!

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12. I’ll miss the feeling of going to a Spanish hairdresser with a scared feeling she will not understand what has to happen.

13. I’ll miss Churros con Chocolate whenever I feel like eating and drinking it.

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14. I’ll miss chilling out in the pool.

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15. I’ll miss my own surprised face, every time I realize that I think way too far / deep about pages, tasks, projects, … Remember: Spanish level of education: EASIER!

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16. I’ll miss checking Facebook group to check where the next botellon / flat party is.

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17. I’ll miss sitting on a table, talking with people from all different nationalities.

18. I’ll miss going to the ATM to withdraw cash and thinking: “Oh no, crap, again?”

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19. I’ll miss singing “La vida Erasmus, la vida major! Sin estudiar, sin trabajar! Con mi botella de ron.”

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20. I’ll miss being always late at least 10 minutes, just because it’s allowed.

21. I’ll miss the days we went photographing, just for fun.

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22. I’ll miss living together with other students.

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23. I’ll miss living close to the other Erasmus students (small community atmosphere).

24. I’ll miss having to walk max. 10 minutes to everything instead of being waiting for hours for trains.

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25. I’ll miss having my family and friends coming over for a visit.

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26. I’ll miss using “Tranquila” and “No pasa nada” at least 20 times a day.

27. I’ll miss having a swimming pool.

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28. I’ll going out for dinner at least twice a week, just because it is twice times cheaper than in Belgium.

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29. I’ll miss speaking so much languages at the same time that I start mixing them.

30. I’ll miss having Mc Donalds and Burger King at 2 footsteps away, because they have Mc Flurry.

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31.  I’ll miss catching cockroaches in the flat.

32. I’ll miss DON SIMON juices and ‘tinto de verano’.

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33. I’ll miss small cucumbers and huge peppers! So useful!

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34. I’ll miss seeing the sea when I wake up and look from my balcony.

35. I’ll miss ESN Trips!

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36.  I’ll miss going to the beach every day, whenever the sun is out!

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37. I’ll miss explaining that I’m from Belgium and that I speak Dutch, not French, or even worse: ‘Belgian’, even though I’m not from Holland.

38. I’ll miss being surrounded by strong characters, all international minded.

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39. I’ll miss meeting so much new people.

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40. I’ll miss noticing somebody is in the house or not, just by the way the door is locked: 1x Andrea, 2x Me, 0x Katy.

41.  I’ll miss watching the sunrise after coming from a party around 7 in the morning.

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42. I’ll miss sitting on the balcony at night, listening to the violinist that always plays around my corner.

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43.  I’ll miss Spanish coffee at university.

44.  I’ll miss the lovely sound of the waves.

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45. I’ll miss Spanish economy and cheap prices.

46. I’ll miss preparties at Wiebke’s flat.

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47. I’ll miss being the only one to clean the flat. (SARCASM)

48. I’ll miss the thin walls. (ALSO SARCASM) 😉

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49. I’ll miss talking to the woman from the tobacco shop.

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50. I’ll miss having to much pictures that I don’t know which ones to publish on Facebook first.

51. I’ll miss the salads, burgers and carajillo at Barracuda.

barracuda52. I’ll miss all my crazy Spanish teachers.

53. I’ll miss feeding the poor street cats on my way to school.

DSC_065154. I’ll miss saying ‘hasta luego’ like I burned my tongue and overuse it.

55. I’ll miss siesta time (even more than fiesta time).

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56. I’ll miss passing by a group of men staring at me and saying ‘guapa’ (beautiful girl).

57. I’ll miss having dinner at 10PM (or later).

DSC_0080 DSC_016458. I’ll miss working on projects with Spanish students (on the Spanish rhythm).

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59. I’ll miss making camp fires on the beach in hot summer nights and playing guitar and Ukelele.

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60. I’ll miss the sound of cars passing the street while playing reggeaton with windows open.

61. I’ll miss being frustrated to see how dirty my / our flat looks…

Benidorm 04262. I’ll miss the beach parties!

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63. I’ll miss Wednesday night beach botellons and parties at Varadero.

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64. I’ll miss never being hurried.

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65. I’ll miss Spanish school trips: obligatory, fun and cheap (for free).

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66. I’ll miss going to Mare Nostrum real estate agency to pay rent and being surprised every time again of how simple things works here.

67. I’ll miss joking about Spanish teachers their way of talking.

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68. I’ll miss living without ironing, vacuum cleaner, …

69. I’ll miss the dinners in my flat.

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70. I’ll miss watching Callejeros Viajeros with my Spanish roommate, Andrea.

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71. I’ll miss not having to work but still receiving money: long live the Erasmus Sholarship!

72. I’ll miss sitting and talking on the balcony at night.

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73. I’ll miss Valencian oranges and everything made of it, and that smells like it (fresh blossoms in summer).

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74. I’ll miss the 55-minute train trip between Valencia and Gandia, watching the beautiful landscapes and feel blessed to live there.

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75. I’ll miss going for a walk at night and seeing the sunset behind the mountains.

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76. I’ll miss walking to the end of the peer at the port and sitting down at the ‘forbidden part’ where I feel one with the ocean, surrounded by the sea.

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77. I’ll miss buying postcards of every destination I even visited without ever sending them to anyone.

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78. I’ll miss living without cellphone, post box, …

79. I’ll miss the terrible smell of ‘jamón’ in the supermarket. Something I’ll never get used to but now is part of my supermarket image.

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80. I’ll miss ‘Turron’ icecream flavor.

81. I’ll miss the Spanish Ultratop 50 music list, being played everywhere, all the time.

spotifu82. I’ll miss smelling freshly smoked marihuana at the school cafeteria, and me being the only are finding it weird that that happens in public at school.

83. I’ll miss ‘platos combinados’ and paella at university cafetaria.

photo-184. I’ll miss going to the copycenter at school and saying: “doble cara / una hoja / 2 diapositivas por hoja”.

85. I’ll miss free entrance to Eclipse before 2.30 AM.

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86. I’ll miss the fact that we never dry our dishes with towels, but let them dry by itself in a “rack”.

87. I’ll miss Spanish ‘servilletas’: always available everywhere, for free, and always too thin and rough.

servilletas588. I’ll miss the thin and ugly sheets (that kept smelling, even though I washed them for a 100 times) that were provided by our real estate agency.

89. I’ll miss the taste of Spanish Fanta, which is also very different coloured.

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90. I’ll miss the lower education level, once I have to adapt again to the Belgian one.

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91. I’ll miss the temperatures, always being +10° warmer than at home.

92. I’ll miss the school excursions with Pau, Joan and Maryland.

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93. I’ll miss home being so close to everything that I can always come back quickly: for example to change shoes when going home from the one party to the other at night.

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94. I’ll miss Skyping with my mommy and my cats.

95. I’ll miss traveling through Spain with Ula, my friend from Poland.

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96. I’ll miss having to bring the garbage to the container on the street myself, ànd that the garbage truck comes by the house at 3 at night. (NOT!)

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97. I’ll miss the sound of the Montaditos cashier who calls our name when tapas are ready. “Holanda, por favor!”

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98. I’ll miss my face / expression when somebody (especially teacher) says something and I don’t understand it at all. “Si, si, …” So worth a million euro.

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99. I’ll miss going out and meeting all the bachelors party people: dressed up in funny clothes.

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100. I’ll miss the finish air of the sea and the breeze and never needing to use my inhalator (astma-patient).

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I’ll miss the way Spain and Erasmus have changed my whole life and how it turned my world upside down. I’ll never forget how grateful I am to live this amazing life here. I’ll miss every part and person of it and take it in my heart!! I am amazingly thankful and if I could turn back the hands of time, I would do it all over again. If there is one thing in my life I didn’t regret, it is for sure going on Erasmus. The best decision ever!!! ❤

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About Love & Purpose

Sometimes I just sit here and do nothing but thinking about what happened, happens and will happen. I realize that it’s my decision, my choice. But it ain’t always that easy to change or just stay. What’s the best for me for you for everybody? And especially … Am I making this world a better place? Isn’t that the most important topic in planning your future and your do’s and don’ts? I wonder what will be next but I wonder even more what I am going to do now. Sometimes life seems to take control and I feel unpowered of self-detachment and encourage. I need to be strong to fur fill every dream in my life but for now it’s even hard to find out what my dreams in life are. So if I don’t know what I really REALLY want, how can I know what to do and what’s best to do.

People always talk about purpose and the reason why you’re here. But I am here without a reason. And yes, there are things I really love to do but I wonder whether those are really what I have to do in life because they are just material dreams? I don’t think I’m born for a material dream . and when I go left I wonder why I didn’t go right and whether it is wrong or right. And oh no, time, is such a gift when it is large but most of the time I feel already hurried by finding the love of my life. Maybe because I desire too much.

I want to be free, I want to travel, I want to have enough money to make everything happen that happens in my mind, I wanna love and receive even more. To be able to give more than I already gave and I wanna be so happy and feel released of all teases and pains of the past but at last at least I need answers and security, I want to feel safe even though I am free to go wherever I want. Is it allowed to feel sorry for myself about my father? Is it allowed to care some regrets and hurting’s with me? I wonder why he left me over here without saying goodbye but that doesn’t withhold me from getting further, I think. Because probably it made me stronger than ever before, of course yes.

Where is this all leading to? This text, this life I’m leading, am I leading it however? Or is some higher power sending me on a path which I just walk and do I have to trust deeper en fuller? Yes; but I wanna decide a few things that destiny doesn’t seem to be responsible for. Sometimes I feel like given a little bit of space to change those plans from above a little bit to make it less boring or something like that. But those decisions are really thug! I really would love to be able to talk about it with someone, someone I don’t have? Maybe that’s another big topic in life, especially my life, making friends and being able to love them with all my heart. Making time for them without wanting to make advantages of them. Somehow I have the feeling I do sometimes. I cannot force myself into making new friendships or improving old ones but I desire to have a real good friend. Or a few, to be honest. And a lover that loves me more than my mum and dad ever did together. I am afraid I do not even know what real love is because I’m used to see people loving each other but actually needing each other for several reasons or fears. And I don’t want that in my life, but ending up alone, is that better than? Do I have to become more naïve and less realistic. Do I have to accept that life is pretending that love is true and that fears are stronger and that relationships are important. Well I try to find out, walking here alone.

Do you recognize the feeling of having everything you thought you needed and then sitting there, with everything that you thought you needed in your hands, and totally don’t know what to do with it, how to feel about it and wondering deeply why you ever thought you needed it? They say the way to the goal is more important than the goal but I wonder why people keep making goals. You know, I had the feeling of having it all, one day, I remember, I was in Curacao and having the most wonderful experiences of my life. I was so truly happy and fulfilled of joy and beauty around me. At that moment, I turned around to see whether I could share my completeness but there was nobody. And from that one moment to the other I realized that no money, success or beauty in the world could replace the value of love. Suddenly I felt more empty then complete and I realized how stupid I had been by thinking that materialism could fur fill my life. I realized and since then, never forgotten anymore, that balance is so important. You see that money means nothing when you cannot share it and that success leads you forward but when you end up high in the sky there’s no place to fall, you can only get stuck into a wall and look into the mirror to see things clearer. Love is such a valuable thing, so many people desire, so many people do need more love, just like me, and probably you. Do you feel surrounded by those millions? I really don’t, but I know a lot of them miss it too. So why, is it such an empty living? Let me just hope that that will change soon…

They say that if you start loving, love will find a way back to you. I try to love but I don’t know who I can love. I am afraid to love, my neighbor and my teacher and my dentist and my driver and my boss and my mum and … There are plenty of reasons that withhold me from loving but that are also plenty of reasons that make me desire for love. Maybe I should learn something from that. If my proud and ego are bigger than my opportunity to give love than I have two choices: accept that I can’t be loved or put my ego and proud aside to make place for love. Some things in life, you just cannot combine. That’s true, that’s easy. Oh god, there is so many wisdom in this world that I would like to discover J

And because I want to share a little bit of my wisdom with you, I want to ask you to be grateful for life, for living it, for the people who you’re living it with, for the places you’re living it in  and so on. Why? The best question of course in your whole life: because being thankful is very important in life. Why? Because feeling blessed in this world makes you love the world more, automatically. And if you start loving more, more love will find its way to your heart. So love deep, from your heart.

From Julie with Love

(Written 21 December 2010.)