The colour-hunter

Today I received a card from a friend, and some words she’d wrote down for me coincided with a little day-challenge I gave myself. She wrote “…no matter how dark the days can be sometimes, you always manage to see light and make your life so colourful!” Her timing was perfect and her words touched me with all their might: after a couple of dark days – or more, weeks – this morning I’d given myself the challenge to go colour-hunting. As I felt I needed to see more light and colour again.

I sometimes give myself a single colour at the beginning of the day, with the simple challenge to notice that colour during that day. Where ever I go. It’s amazing how the whole day seems to burst with that given colour. You should try it! Today was multi-colour day and the colour-hunt brought me lots of colour, which was marvellous on a very grey-gloomy day.


These are some of the treasures I discovered today. Blue stood out somehow. Maybe as a tribute to my “little blue lately” ;-)

Which colour will you be hunting tomorrow?


Like you, I’m shaken by the happenings in Paris. I’m shaken by the refugee crisis. Shaken by those who say it’s the refugees who are behind these attacks. Shaken by people who praise the attacks.
But I’m not here to give my opinion on all the fires in the world. Simply because I don’t have the words nor – like anyone on this planet – the knowledge to form a true and balanced opinion on this matter. We all have our own truths and there is enough pointing of fingers going on already.

Instead, I would like to talk about love. I was raised with stories of miracles (provided by Waldorf education and my parents) from all different religions and backgrounds. Cheesy but true, these stories in the end always were about love. It was and still is love. Love for oneself, for one-another, for a god. Underlying foundation for religion = love.
That’s why to me, all religions are the same. When thoroughly dissected they are based on that one core ingredient. What a shame they’ve all lost that ingredient. What a shame that we all have gone so far from that main subject that the opposite is what’s reflected in our world today. Hate.
What a shame. And believe me, we all should be ashamed of ourselves. No matter what religious views we hold or how strong our Atheist visions.

So here we are. Our world on fire. Voices raised, fingers pointed. And we just do…what exactly? We wait. We wait for our world leaders to condemn and for the Pope to shake hands with the Imam. Hoping that after that, everybody will follow their example. But if we’ve learned from the past, we know that doesn’t work. Otherwise we wouldn’t be where we are today.
I believe it has to come from us. From within. Pure love and compassion. Openness towards each other. From grocer Jack and the school teacher to your neighbours and you. From the local church to the Islamic policeman. Let’s drop our megalomania.
We don’t own this planet. We live here, that’s all. We should never think we are superior. Not to each other, not to this world. Because we are not. After all, we are just like animals or trees, a flower; we exist and grow but only because of nature’s magic. Let’s find back our humane core. The gesture has to come from us. Individuals. We have to reach out, shake hands. Show our love. Talk and listen. We are the change.


Yes, you may always say I’m a dreamer. That I’m naive. But believe me, I’m not the only one. And I think it’s time to pursue our naive ideas instead of always reason – because has reasoning stopped the world from burning? Has pointing fingers made us come closer? Indeed, it has not. It’s time to stop follow populists blindly or let fear take over. Go on, dream and be naive. Touch hearts. Just like this guy.

Signing. Not singing.

When I was six I met a deaf girl on a campsite in Limburg, The Netherlands. Intrigued by the sign-language she and her family used, I started practising and soon I dreamed of being a deaf-interpreter. Later that became singing-and-laughing-biologist-and-deaf-interpreter due to another interesting meeting, also on a campsite. In the U.K. this time. By the time I was 12 the Conservatoire was calling and I wanted to become a singer.
Still the sign-language intrigues me. Unfortunately I never kept up practising the actual language so all that’s left are the signs for sailboat, geography, I love you and an alphabet full of gaps.

And then this morning I watched this video by Channel 4

Did you see Patrick’s face at the end?! A whole new world opening for him. Finally tools to communicate. Express himself. Share stories and experiences. Say his name. Beautiful! What an inspiring start of this Sunday.

Imagine you live in world that’s incomprehensible for you because you can’t speak nor have other ways to communicate. I can’t even begin to imagine, really… What I can begin to imagine, however, is how this teacher and his new pupils will continue to spread and share what they’ve learned so that one day, even in the most remote areas in this world, everyone will have means to communicate. You and me, we can start and teach ourselves. Youtube is a good place to start, obviously. Let’s keep it simple and start with the ABC and how to count to 10 and soon we’ll be able to follow the Universal Declaration of Human Rights

However, be aware that no sign language is the same. Just like spoken languages. There is ASL (American Sign Language) and BSL (British Sign Language) and so on… These differences mean you can’t communicate with every deaf person in the world once you’re fluent in a sign language. So start with Spanish sign language if you’re Spanish. For the Dutch amongst us the lessons Suzette Pauwels posts to her blog are a nice start.

A figment on tenderness

Even though one of my main blog subjects is ‘happiness’ I’m going to apologise beforehand as this post is going to be a bit of a vent. Towards some people. Of the GVB – the main public transport provider in the city of Amsterdam.
Avoiding this public transport is my aim. I’ll only take a tram or bus when it snows or rains too heavily to cycle. Or when I’m physically too exhausted to walk much or cycle at all.

Today, however, was a non-avoidance day. A hairdressers appointment most of the time is too exhausting to do the cycling to and fro. The whole washing-combing-uncomfy-chairs-and-lots-of-pulling-my-head drains me. Enough about that though. On my way back home something happened on the tram.

A little girl with the big pink bag got on the tram. Wide eyed she placed some money on the conductor’s counter.

I was too far away to overhear the conversation, but from the way the conductor started talking more loudly in Dutch with some English words flung around I made up that the girl wasn’t Dutch. Next thing I know, the girl was send off the tram at the following stop. Second next thing I know, I was too late to jump off the tram too to help her but not too late to see how she walked away upset. Crying, to be precise. The conductor, not at all sensitive for helpless young kids but sensitive enough to notice the critical looks from passengers, then explained to all who wanted to hear it how the girl was 11 (only 11!) and needed a parent with a special pass to be able to pay for a special discount fare for 4-11 years-old. The girl got the discount amount in cash. But no parent or chip card to actually get the discount. And so she had to pay the full fare for a one hour ticket, which is €2,80. Instead of the 34% discount that is given to 4-11 years, which would make the fare €1,85 (if I’m not mistaken…but even with the help of a calculator maths isn’t my strongest subject). GVB almost would have had a gap in today’s budget of €0,95. The girl probably had a €2,- coin with her, so the GVB’s loss could’ve been reduced to only €0,80…but let’s leave that bit of information aside. The girl didn’t speak Dutch. The girl was only 11. The girl even had some money with her.

Come on! COME THE FUCK ON! I don’t want to go all black and Goth or black and white about it, but this is what’s wrong with us humans. Exactly this!

At the next stop I jumped off. Walked back. Passed the stop where the girl got off. I looked for her. I wanted to help her. Take her by the hand, pay for the journey and bring her to B. No pink bag with little girl attached I found. So I walked the last 15 minutes home, not willing to contribute anymore to the GVB. At least not today.

Dear people, call me naïve… but for the love of Tea, is it really always necessary to be so strict?! Is it really impossible to sometimes turn a blind eye? Be kind to one another? Helpful? Are these little kids or homeless people that can’t pay (the full amount) for a ticket really such a threat for the GVB’s annual financial report? I mean, how often does this happen…I refuse to believe that situations like these, can bring a company down. Try a little tenderness, people. Please! I assure you it won’t kill you. Nor will you go bankrupt instantly.

Dear little girl with the big pink bag and tears rolling down your cheeks, I really hope you’ve made it from A to B in the end. And that while on your way to B, you met some warm and helpful people after all. We’re not all like that unwilling and witch-like conductor.