April 30, 2011

Home sweet home

Well since I got a request to write about my short trip to Japan I might as well do it =D. I left on a Friday and came back on a Monday. I can say it was stranger than ever in my experiences going there on a short time. However, when arriving at the airport traces of fair still remained. I had some private family problems so I had no choice but to go, but even when going home I saw the people of Osaka being like their usual selves friendly, laughing and doing the silly stuff they always do. That's home for me even though, there still is a crises in the nation, Japanese people still fight and support each other. Many times on TV I heard ganbarre Nippon (keep it up Japan). A lot of support is being asked and donations for the people from Fukushima. Even we Osaka people support much, many stores give a big part of their supplies to those who need it. So that children can still go to school with something to eat, even though it is some anpan and a little box of juice. But I can say Japan is a strong country and from what I saw it is going better now. Although in Tokyo fear still has grip on the people’s minds. Most of the stores were sold out and everyday still a small earthquake can be felt. On the news they said its better to have a lot of small quacks then none at all, because it could be big one and that is what most people fear now. In a way I can't wait to go back in the summer, even if it is freaking hot. Japan will stay Japan for now, but I just want to look positive at the situation.

April 27, 2011

IBL day 2011

A few weeks ago I highlighted the International Financial Management day at HvA/University of Applied Sciences, Amsterdam. Well this time my blog is about the IBL (International Business & Languages Day). IBL day 2011 took place on April 20th and it was a full day event and it was fantastic!

The day started off with several lectures of very interesting guest speakers from the Future Firm, Nike, Tommy Hilfiger.

 In the afternoon had a chance to play soccer, table-tennis, squash or dance zumba or beach volleyball. I chose soccer and am so glad that I did as it was a lot of fun to play soccer with the students. There were quite some girls who joined the league and were very good. My team of some students of 2IBL1 came in 2nd and I was very proud despite the hurt ankle.

Having sweated off some calories, we were ready to have some dinner and everyone gathered at the Werck restaurant in the centre of Amsterdam. The location as well as the dinner were amazing. The weather was great and we enjoyed sitting outside, having dinner, chatting and having some drinks. Most importantly talking to students about other topics than our lectures and our subjects.

Then there was a salsa workshop given by four IBL students which taught us some nice latino moves and although some people were shy, there were quite some dancers on the floor.

It was a long but very fun day. Needless to say the next day my whole body was hurting from the exciting soccer matches and salsa, but I do not regret for a single second that I played and participated. It was yet another fun day when students and teachers did some fun activities together and I wish we had more events like those. For now I have to patiently wait till the next IFM and IBL day and hope that students enjoyed it too!

April 22, 2011

Why I don't write

I suddenly realized that this is about the fourth Thursday I have missed my blog deadline. And for me - the founder of the blog - the one who usually pushes the others to write, to keep going - this is really unacceptable.
And while no one has written in to ask - hey what's up - I think I need to 'fess up'. The thing is this - even teachers have private lives. And families. And sometimes life throws us some things that we don't really know how to handle - like sickness in the family. And we try to pretend that everything's alright but actually it's not. Because suddenly all of my priorities are different. Now it's my highest priority to keep in nearly daily touch with the ones I love, the family I have who live overseas. It's funny, but sometimes bad things can be the catalyst for good things to happen. Many years ago, when my first son, Yarden, was sick with cancer, I discovered that. Yarden's illness, although I wouldn't wish it on anyone, took me on a journey which enabled me to look deeper into life, spirituality, relationships, and all in all made me a better person.
And by the way, happy Earth Day!
And now I look at this new situation in which I find myself - where a family member abroad is ill - and I find that this is making me crave the contact which for years I felt I 'didn't need'. Not that I didn't want more contact, but I had gotten used to being a very independent person - one who doesn't 'need' to speak to her  family very often. I had my life, they had theirs. I loved them, but the distance was very clear.
Now find myself in another phase - I want to be close to all the members of my family. I want to hold them, to wish them well, to see their faces. Thank goodness for Skype, because otherwise I'd have to give up my apartment so I could pay for weekly airfare!

So, that's what's been keeping me busy - I hope my readers forgive me...

April 20, 2011

The two wheels that hate me

Although I said I would write about the charity event that our school in organizing, since that topic has already been covered I figured I'd write about Dutch culture instead and my experience with it.

One of the first things that you will notice when coming to the Netherlands is the gigantic amount of bikes we have.
I personally hate riding the bike and the feeling is mutual, since every time I ride a bike I fall or bump into something.
This Monday was perfect of example of my misfortune as we had to go mountain biking in the Amsterdam Forest with P.E.( no we don’t actual mountains in the Netherlands). As P.E. is mandatory I could not skip this class.

As we were practicing people were complaining about how useless the helmets were and we did some games like who can drive slowest. And I started to cycle in the forest I got a little more confident.

As we were past the half, I was little too fast and the person riding the bike in front of me a little too slow I somehow fell breaking, landing in poison ivy and thorny plants and the bike falling on top of me. I was extremely glad I was wearing my helmet at the moment.

As I got up I just continued driving ignoring the sting on my right arm, but when I looked down at it I was speechless. I not a good reaction to the poison ivy. My whole arm was covered in bumps, my classmates were just as shocked as I was. They kindly helped me get dandelions since they help against the bumps caused by poison ivy.

As the bumps were gone there were still scratches and bruises and it wasn’t until the next day that I noticed that my ankle was swollen, so the conclusion of the story: I’m not getting on a bicycle anytime soon.

Even though we might do stuff I don’t really like with P.E. once in a while, it’s a good way to socialize with your classmates and to stay fit for free. And I definitely like the way HES thinks outside of the box. We go squashing and play DDR which was just awesome and there were lots of other fun activities to do. Mountain biking was just not my thing!

April 17, 2011

HVA for Japan

Weeks have past and even though we’re hearing less and less every day, the Japanese are still struggling with their shortage of water, food and electricity…not to mention the nuclear failures at Fukushima.

Therefore, in collaboration with Japanese exchange students and Japanese teachers, a fundraising day will be held on Wednesday the 20th of April.

On that day there are multiple ways for you to contribute:

- Origami folding.

Learn to fold traditional origami cranes.

- Buy DELICIOUS homemade cookies…mMMMmMmmMMMMmmmMMmmm…..

- Calligraphy.

Learn how to write your name written in either Hiragana or Katakana, two out of 3 alphabets.

Main event: Film screening of the award-winning Japanese animation movie ‘Grave of the fireflies’.

Fees will be asked for the activities named above and will be donated to school in Akita, Japan. This school has dedicated itself to helping the victims.

More information regarding this event can be found on 'Movies for Japan' Facebook:


See you there!!

April 13, 2011

The charity event for Japan

Today there is a charity event to collect money for Japan with several Dutch artist as well as some Japanese artists and also a soccer match between a Japanese Team and a Dutch team.
At first I was not planning on going until my mentor and my classmates talked me into it. The tickets are only 5 euro and we would be helping a charity, besides that it would be fun to go and therefore I'm going.
It's not that I like Dutch artists or know the Japanese performer, but it really doesn't matter who performs, it's the thought behind the event that counts and of course who you are going with. If you go with fun people you will have a fun time.I hope they still have tickets when I go there though, since I didn't buy them before!
Some people from my Japanese class are also putting together a smaller event together with someone Japanese exchange students and I'm not sure what they are doing, but once I know I will be sure to inform you!

For more information about the event of tonight click here

April 12, 2011

IFM day 2011

This semester I have been pretty lucky and that is because I also get to teach the IFM students of 1st and 2nd year (International Financial Management is one of the English study programmes offered by the International Business School at Hogeschool van Amsterdam). For the same reason I was invited to attend the IFM day. It is a day when students and teachers get together, play sports, have some guest lecturers and work shops, interact, chat, have dinner together and get to know each other outside the classrooms.

It was my first time and even though I was looking forward to it, I could not have possibly imagined how much fun it would be. And it looks like I was not the only one. The programme manager, Mrs. Wil Hazelhoff, wrote to the students: “I was really happy after IFM-day, I had the feeling that you were happy too and that you learned something and that you have had a lot of fun! A 2nd year IFM student commented: “It (IFM day) was cool! every part of it actually, I enjoyed it a lot!”

The IFM day started off with an opening speech by the programme manager, Mrs. Hazelhoff, followed by a guest lecture by one of the IFM alumni, Christo Thekkel, on networking for international success.

Then one had the choice to play squash, table tennis or soccer and I have to say all sports were popular.

After a short break it was time for a zumba workshop and everyone joined in. Of course boys were somewhat shy and stayed in the back rows while lecturers and even the programme manager joined in the energizing workout.

 “It was a way to relax a little from the intensive football matches and of course, watch the teachers doing zumba was the best part!”, said the 2nd year IFM student.

April 10, 2011


So I woke up on the 9th of April (somewhere in the late afternoon), turned on the TV and immediately switched to a news channel; because I normally watch the news in the early morning it felt like I slept for a week and missed out on important news topics, but then again, I knew the world is in mayhem and the only thing I’d miss were death rates, images of people massacred and other disturbing news which makes you think…..where the !#$@ is this world going!?!?

I was right, Libya, Syria, Ivory Coast, Germany (major pile-up) and of course the death toll updates from Japan were the first things I saw. Thinking it was over, they announced a shooting in Alphen a/d Rijn. Some hopeless lunatic sprayed around him killing 6 innocent people and then himself using a full automatic weapon (you don’t have to be from the military to know it’s not a wimpy weapon)…what happened to old fashion suicide?

As bitter as it made me, I had a hard time feeling remorse for what happened in our country… Yes it is a tragedy and incidents occurring closer to home are indeed frightening, but then again, that day; 22,000 children died due to poverty, 4000 died (half of them below the age of 5) due to air pollution, 6000 died due to diseases which ARE curable (2.1 million a year) and another 4000 from lack of access to save drinking water. Adds up to approximately 13 million deaths a year (among children alone!!!)

People act as if nothing happened when something far away from us takes place, just an announcement on the news and a few numbers of deaths and injuries. Many people tell me “we can’t fix everything, a better world starts at home” but it’s not just that…the equality in this world is off-balance because ‘people’ and governments have different priorities and are driven by cuts and greed!

Inequality? Here’s some brain food.

Did you know that; “A mere 12 percent of the world’s population uses 85 percent of its water”

“Number of children in the world: 2.2 billion. Number in poverty: 1 billion (every second child)”

“Less than one per cent of what the world spent every year on weapons was needed to put every child ON EARTH into school by the year 2000”

“Nearly a billion people entered the 21st century unable to read a book or sign their names”

“The total wealth of the top 8.3 million people around the world “rose 8.2 percent to $30.8 trillion in 2004, giving them control of nearly a quarter of the world’s financial assets. In other words, about 0.13% of the world’s population controlled 25% of the world’s financial assets in 2004.”

I’d like to leave you all on a Sunday afternoon with a quote I read just a few minutes ago.

“Children die quietly in some of the poorest villages on earth, far removed from the scrutiny and the conscience of the world. Being meek and weak in life makes these dying multitudes even more invisible in death”

April 9, 2011

Spring time!

It really has been crazy lately exams, nature acting up but can't complain about the weather though. There are ideas hanging around about a charity event to show support to Japan and Japanese students, -Teachers on the HES I don't exactly when but I’ll keep it posted when I get more information. In other related news yes I am in a studio and YES I have wig and yes I am presenting the news from a desk wearing no pajamas at all with a smirk on my face saying and other related news. Long sentence I know but for real it's almost summer and most people are ready to enjoy I can see even in Amsterdam it was hot someone lit himself on fire on Wednesday I don't know why, but he died from his injuries me he R.I.P for any reason he had it’s still a sou. Next to that Strange thing was most of students were not even far away from it 20 minutes removed from there. After all Amsterdam the place where stories and legends are born I say. http://www.nu.nl/binnenland/2486347/man-zichzelf-in-brand-stak-overleden.html but to be honest the sickest thing this was that 12 year old girl story, my stomach just turned when I saw it on the news.

April 5, 2011

How Are You? but I Don't Really Care

I am an optimist, but as most of us, there are days when I feel blue or upset or frustrated. I do not keep it all in and do not mind sharing it with other people and ask their advice. Hectic schedule, so many things to do, whether for work, study, family or with friends. Our lives have become extremely busy which in turn means that there is a lot more pressure to manage our time better, multi-task and utilize the 24 hours that we have.

What I do not understand is people who are always happy or at least say they are happy or that everything is going good every single time when you ask them. Frankly, I then just think, come on now, show some emotion and feel free to spill it out and show that you are human and that not always everything has to be great. I then begin to think that people either do not want to talk about what is really going on with them, at least to discuss it with me, or that their problems or concerns are not big enough to share with others. Or that they are simply the annoying bunch who always is happy with everything?Is it even possible?To me, it is not real.