My Week 14/11/16 - 20/11/16

by - November 20, 2016

Monday 14 November 2016

After a flu-driven bed bound weekend I hastily made my way to Amsterdam for a +/- 30 minute meeting. Although I need to travel a bit more than an hour to get there (and back again), it's important to do what they say you've got to do. So after a long bus ride, train journey and a packed metro, I finally found myself in the headquarters. I sheepishly went to the room where we're always settled, only to find out that it was taken by some strangers. I tried to 'casually' remove myself from the situation and made a 'relaxed stroll' through the haunted halls (this place used to be a Jewish/deaf school and during the second World War... Do I really need to finish the sentence? You get what I mean, right? There are multiple big plates and a suspiciously small statue (for the deaf) to commemorate those gruesome acts... haunted, haunted halls). I didn't succeed in my search of 'the master' so I anxiously gave in to the time pressure (the clock keeps on ticking and I hate to be late, to enter a filled room staring at you, and me breaking out in sweat and trying to make non-sensical sensical excuses for a totally normal situation that somehow always feels like a burden to carry): I texted my peers 'Hey, where's the meeting?'. I waited. A buzzing sound. I checked my phone: 'Uhm it's Monday, the meeting is on Tuesday'. Sure. Of course. Why not.

In my defeat I called my mum (as you do). She laughed.

In my defeat I went to a vintage store to find a gift for a friend. I accidentally bought a slightly overpriced scarf for myself (as you do). I laughed.

Tuesday 15 November 2016

Today was the meeting. I got on the bus. The bus was stuck in traffic. I missed my train. I didn't want to be late (see Monday). So I made a devious plan whereby I AT WORST would be ten minutes late instead of waiting half an hour for the next train. I prepared my peers by texting them my mishap. They said it didn't actually matter, the meeting before mine was taking longer than expected. However I still rushed my way to my destination. Taking roads I'd never walked before (that's because the roads I took were train tracks. You'll get arrested if you walk on those tracks). It was scary. I was scared. And stressed. I don't like public transport. I don't like public people. I don't like to be in public. I don't like to be in public travelling to places I've never been before. I survived (hardly). Only five minutes late (but say that to the sweat gushing down my back). I dramatically walked into the cantine; where apparently the meeting was taking place (I don't like cantines. I just can't hear anything that's being said because too many mouths are moving at the same time and it makes me feel nauseous. Also the smell of food). I cached 'the masters' eye. She acknowledged my existence. 'Oh nothing to worry, we are just going to get started, if you could just wait for a moment.' Yes. Fine. Of course. That's how business goes. A bit more than 50 minutes later, still waiting. I should've just waited for the next train. (Not to mention that, when awkwardly sat in the metro, the dean/art history teacher got in and stood right next to me without either of us looking or acknowledging each other's existence. IT WAS TENSE).

Wednesday 16 November 2016

1. Today I persuaded my sister to call some Belgians. Actually: I need to conduct an interview with a conservator from this Belgium museum, but before I can do that I need to ask this conservator if she wouldn't mind doing an interview with me... However I DON'T DO PHONE CALLS. Since a year or so I pick up the phone when my dad calls and I've taken up the courage -when alone and secluded- to call my mum BUT ANYTHING OTHER THAN THAT MAKES ME WANT TO DIE. So I said to my mum that due to my soar throat and bad hearing (my had is stuffed with the flu) I wouldn't be able to make that phone call. But with your assistance, mummy dear, 'I' could still arrange something if only you could make the phone call for me by pretending to be me. She said: 'Tas', my sister, who's actually called Natasja, but for short we call her Tasja or Tas, the last one sometimes being quite confusing as 'tas' in Dutch means 'bag'... Just imagine generically funny sitcom scenes whereby there's a long confusion between Tas and tas... anyway, she said 'Tas, could you please call the Belgians and pretend that you are your sister because she's scared to do so?'. She, my sister, Tas, said: 'Fine. Sure. Whatever.' And so history was made.

Only a few hiccups accured: first of all we'd forgotten that you need to put two 00 before the 'land number' to actually make it work (so take Belgium: 0032 [insert the other digits to make up a phone number that works] instead of 032.We're smart people). Second of all the man on the phone asked for my email so he could send me an email containing the email I needed to email to get to the person I needed. My sister didn't know my email and started just guessing it (good move). Luckily I sat next to her and could stir her into the right direction... Everything went fine. (I actually emailed them last week but hadn't heard anything from them since then so that's why I confided to the bloody phone. Only to find out, after the phone call and checking my email to make sure everything went alright, that just an hour before the conservator I needed, wanted, had responded to my first email saying 'hi, this is my email, you can ask me questions if you need to.' Breathe in. Breathe out. Scream and shout. All those years of my life sacrificed for nothing...).

2. So, as you can imagine, I didn't do anything useful today. I emailed the conservator with my question to interview her (we'll wait and see and hope) and then I just binge watched (on YouTube) anything Jon Stewart/Daily Show related. Don't know when or why or... why I started but now... it's just here, on my list of 543 videos 'to be watched' (mind you: not all are about or around Jon Stewart). I actually just watched this documentary called (I think) 'Jon Stewart has left the building' and it's really that typical kind of documentary whereby everything it's got to offer is already said within the first minute or so on the show, but still it gets to be prolonged for another 59 minutes (which, I mean, is some kind of art). And why are the experts always just people who are quite distanced from the actual person that it's about? You know the b or c star that's 'related but not really but related because, well, you can relate anything to anything else, right? 'As long as the cameras are rolling I'll be there to try to rub his fame onto my body', the 'I will do anything for love' 'famous' person). I enjoyed it thoroughly. Especially because the person who uploaded it hadn't even bothered to edit the adverts out and, man, American adverts are... well... interesting.

Thursday 17 November 2016

The plan for today (I like to have 'plans for today' something to hold onto or to ignore and feel guilty about):
1. Sleep
2. Wake up early
3. Have breakfast
4. Try to do some morning exercise (I've gained wait. 'I'M FAT!', dramatically screams the voice inside my head 'I'M FAT AND UGLY AND WORTHLESS AND STUPID AND' on and on it goes. Then another voice inside my head raises the problematic issue of such thinking 'first of all it makes you spin into a never-ending unhealthy spiral of negative thoughts and second: what's wrong with being fat? What's wrong with not fitting yourself, your literal embodiment, into the shape that society has put forward through the media that's unattainable and perhaps undesirable anyway! You do you! Also: since when has weight got something to do with intelligence? Ugh, you're so generic and badly informed...'. Whereupon the voice in my head responds with 'I'M FAT I'M NEVER GOING TO EAT EVER AGAIN'. And then, as #firstworldproblems #genericwhitegirl goes, I go and grab myself a cookie or two...).
5. Shower
6. Write some words for my research
7. Write some more words for my research
8. Where do you think you're going? WRITE SOME MORE WORDS (and maybe eat something or like, whatever)
9. Write some words
10. Probably dinner
11. Watch some more Jon Stewart or that film my sister downloaded on my computer last night or read a book (EDUCATE YOURSELF DO SOMETHING USEFUL WITH YOUR LIFE) or do all of that (not at the same time. That would still be useless)
12. Sleep

Friday 18 November 2016

Guess who's about to arrange an interview with a Belgium conservator? I DO I DO! It's going to be conducted through the telephone, but like, you can't always get (everything) that you want... (You wanna know something funny/stupid/confusing? A conservator in Dutch is called a curator and a curator is called a conservator... yep. Great. Not confusing AT ALL). [EDIT 21/11/2016: Her official title is 'exhibition curator', which is slightly different than the work of a conservator (as she is far for instance more involved with researching the collection etc.)]

Saturday 19 November 2016

I had a plan. I had a plan. Did I follow that plan? No. Do I regret not following that plan? Yes. Because although now I feel pretty happy with myself by just doing whatever, I'll most probably (definitely) hate myself when the actual deadline is coming closer and closer. When the gap between success and failure is getting closer and closer. (Is there a difference between the two anyway? What is success at this moment: pleasing someone else, following their rules and feeling quite miserable about it because you already know that those rules, their image of what they want, isn't something that you can provide. Isn't that ultimately failure?).

I've got another plan (well, I've got loads of other plans...). It's not mine (as are most of the other plans...). But it is smart (I think, at least). First of all: 1/10. What does this mean? 1 hour of writing followed by 10 minutes of 'excercise' (walking around, dancing on music, getting myself a cup of tea). It's a good way to keep the brain awake, to stop the brain from blabbing on and on, to stop the brain from wandering, to stop my eyes staring at a screen without anything getting done. Today is day three of mission 1/10 and -with an exception of today, but like, my heart wasn't in it- it's going better than expected! A certain rythm is created which also helps you to reflect on what you've actually been doing. Where did I spend that hour on? (well, today I spend an hour on searching for a floor map of the exhibition I'm visiting tomorrow, but I couldn't find it... I still haven't found it. I hope they've got a copy there or, like, you know, I'll need to email them again...).

My second plan is related to my 'I'M FAT'-statement on Thursday. (Important note: it's not about being fat or trying to become aesthetically pleasing, it's more about trying to feel better than I do now. And honestly, every little bit that has a possibility of helping me to feel better is received with enthusiasm and confetti). What's the plan? 40/1. What does this mean: 40 days of 'working out' (aka 15 minutes morning exercise. There's this television programme that does this every morning. It's aimed at elderly, but like, I'm elderly on the inside) followed by 1 stimulant. The stimulant? Naked Pictures of Famous People by Jon Stewart (my obsession is still going strong and I mean, that title is worth gold). (Also, just to document it: I'm still listening to Lady Gaga's Joanne album... It fits with my current #aesthetic: green and pink (but mostly pink at this moment)).

Tomorrow I'll be leaving the country for a few hours. Guess where I'm going! (If you're answer consists either 'a museum' or 'Belgium' you're dead on). I'm actually quite excited to go (but also scared). Although, now writing it down, I feel quite (very) unprepared. Maybe I should do something about that... Or not. (And watch some more Jon Stewart... maybe... just a suggestion (please don't get angry)).

Sunday 20 November 2016

I'll keep it short and sweet (because I want to write more extensively about it for a blogpost coming to you *fingers crossed* this Tuesday. Nothing promised though). Today I went to Antwerp to visit the MoMu (fashion museum) for my research. I don't know why, but always when we have to travel for an extensive amount of time the weather goes funny. This time funny meant lots and lots of wind. Like, seriously, have you put your head outside the window today? It's crazy! CRAZY! I almost got crushed by a traffic sign and like, fences were overthrown, all kinds of things were floating through the air (that aren't supposed to float through the air). It was a madhouse! And it doesn't help that almost the whole of Antwerp is being digged up or something. Antwerp is a beautiful city, if you can see some of it intact. I mean, no road was a road! Most of my view consisted out of blown over fences, construction material and signs telling us we couldn't get any further because of construction work... I mean, Antwerp at the moment is just a lot of 'to be continued'. It left us with a cliffhanger, certainly worth another visit in the future (when the wind has calmed down and the roads are, well, roads again).


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