On the road – direction home – the lake house

You’re entering the door. The smell. The lighting. The whole atmosphere makes you remember. Remember how it once felt. How it felt a long time ago. Is it possible that a place can feel so far away even though it has been so close to for you such a long time?

Memories are coming back. All these emotions. All these nights you have spent chatting about life with friends, laughing about the most childish jokes and sitting on the balcony, smoking, listening to music and watching the sunset over the lake. All these days you have spent on the corner sofa in the arms of the one, the one you once loved so much. Reading books and watching these comedy movies you once enjoyed so much. You close your eyes. You can visualize the imagery in your mind, almost like a movie trailer. You have to hold back a smile. As you can hear the wind blowing, you open your eyes again. Outside the huge glass windows in the living room, you can see the lake getting rough. Watching the waves makes you feel like nothing has changed. Like you are still the same person you were years ago. These years you have lived in that house by the lake. This house that once was your home. A harsh shiver ran down your spine. Home.

How is it possible that a feeling of home can change so easily? Well, most of us are familiar with it. Being abroad or moving out, establishing a new life somewhere else often changes our perception of home. I know this is one of these themes of every second super ‘deep’ Instagram or Pinterest quote. But be honest with yourself. It does trigger a feeling deep inside you that makes you miss home, right?

Luckily, researchers discovered groundbreaking insights into our brain’s processes and display the surprising power and reach of our senses. In this context, our brain uses the subtlest information to perceive the world. It uses forms of perceptual information, which we are not even aware of. To get into the spirit of the perception of home, it might be helpful to discover methods that can facilitate arousing your senses and to focus. Knowing where to direct your attention, to make you feel at home anywhere.

#Sense of Sound
Turn on one of your favorite playlists or an album of your favorite artist. This artist that you used to listen to at home. Close your eyes, and focus on the music. Listen to the instruments and the lyrics. Take in all these sounds and catch your imagery of home.

#Sense of Smell
Light up some candles. Buy yourself some flowers that make your room smell, like it used to smell at home. Use this particular room- spray your beloved perfume to shed a fragrance. Close your eyes and focus on the smell, to let this sense develop powerfully.

#Sense of Sight
Use a cozy evening to watch this show or this movie you usually watched with your loved ones at home. This one show that was part of a weekly routine with friends and family. Concentrate on the visuals and the imagery.

#Sense of Taste
What about a potluck dinner with your friends; everyone brings one dish to share, one dish from home? Even though we can get food from almost everywhere in the world no matter where we are, it is often not as good as we are used to. So… just prepare it yourself and share it with your friends! Taste is a powerful sense and can evoke vivid memories, memories of home.

#Sense of Touch
Take your humification to another level and further explore the outside world. Take this little walk- around your neighborhood. Knowing your surroundings can provide you a feeling of belonging. Being greeted more personally at your local gym, supermarket or café can create such a tangible feeling of home. PS: whenever possible make your WIFI connect automatically.

These are just very general ideas of how to use the power of your senses. You can use this canvas and create an individual version for yourself. I need to end this post a bit corny… It should be clear by now that home is not a place, rather a state of mind, so apply these insights to finally bring back home to you.

Author: Antonia
Editor: Kat

Instagrammable Eateries in Rotterdam

When asking people to name what Rotterdam is known for, many will point out its architecture. For instance, the popular ‘Market Hall’, the Cube Houses and obviously the iconic Erasmus Bridge. However, Rotterdam also owns some pretty good restaurants and cafes that have delicious food and beverages. Not only do they taste delightful, but they are also worth capturing and sharing, as many restaurants also take the presentation of the dish into account. The interior design can be really aesthetic as well, attracting customers to visit. To share some of my personal favourites, I created this list of eateries’ recommendations that are worth visiting as they satisfy both your hunger and Instagram feed!

Photo credit: https://tripkitproject.com/
‘Foo Concepts’ is a tine play located close to Oostplein metro station that sells various dishes in style of the Asian fusion theme, such as pokébowls, sushi sandwiches, and bubble waffles. Personally, I really like their bubble waffle yakitori! The design of the restaurant is really color as the walls and furniture are painted blue. One of the walls even has a beautiful grafitti painting, definitely worth capturing. Besides, they also sell different kinds of trendy products from Japan or Korea so K-pop and Anime fans would probably love this place.

Picture credit: http://www.elize010.nl/
‘Round and Round’ café is a cute and cozy place fully in theme of matcha. Not only do they serve some good matcha beverages, their signature cake rolls are also popular as well. The café is decorated really nicely, with a lot of details. For instance, one of the walls consists of a combination of several black and white artistic paintings. Occasionally, the owners will also organise crafts and workshops to provide an opportunity for those who want to deepen their knowledge about Japanese culture. It’s the perfect place to catch up with a friend or to study!

Picture credit: https://www.groupon.nl/
‘Rodizio’ is an all-you-can-eat restaurant that serves Brazilian Grill. The restaurant is colourful and has a great ambiance. However, what astonished me the most is their unique serving method as their meat isn’t ordered via a menu, but through waiters walking around holding up the meat and cutting it in front of the customers. You have to try it for yourself!

Picture credit: https://takumiramennoodles.com/
‘Takumi’ is a restaurant that serves authentic Japanese Sapporo Ramen. The restaurant is decorated in the style of Japanese culture and gives off a warm and cozy atmosphere. They have a wide range of ramen and rice dishes that are served with many ingredients and each dish has its own aesthetic. Little minus point is that this place is really well-known and thus always packed with customers so I would recommend making a reservation beforehand!

Picture credit: https://weekendsinrotterdam.com/
BY AMI’ is actually a restaurant I have yet to visit but the pictures I’ve seen of this place truly amazed me. This urban bistro not only cares about serving their customers new and unique dishes, they know the food’s presentation is as important. ‘Food should be an artwork’ is their motto and this can be seen in both their way of decorating the dishes and the interior design of the restaurant. Their main theme is vibrant colours and the walls are decorated with beautiful art paintings. They even have three ‘Instawalls’, perfect to brighten up your Instagram feed!

I hope these recommendations are helpful and the next time you visit Rotterdam centre, you will be able to try these great food places out!

Author: Gwendolyne
Editor: Kat

On The Road Towards Yourself

Autumn. It’s 5:30 pm and lanterns lightening up the twilight. Trees are visible through the glow from the lamps below. It is raining. It starts pouring. 5:35 pm. Raindrops are visible on some windows. Silhouettes of strangers on their bikes vanishing around corners. People are heading home to escape the cold and the rain. Autumn.

This time of the year is my favorite. Cozying up in the apartment. Enjoying a cup of tea, with a good series or good music blasting out the speaker, or both.  A lot of time for yourself. A lot of time to think; think about whatever is going on at this particular moment in life. Some people call it mindfulness, some people call it weird, I call it essential for happiness.

I often encounter conversations with people who are scared of that. Scared of being alone. Providing deep thoughts in this solitude, an opportunity to circle around. I get it. It can be scary. Scary to face problems and issues. However, these moments are purely assigned to reflect on yourself and everything that is happening around you. Solitude should not feel empty, nor scary, it should help you to get a better understanding of exactly yourself and the things making up your world.

It might sound and feel weird for you now. You might even feel uncomfortable to read further because you think this is just spiritual bull*. This is probably the simplest form to get to another level of happiness in life. This kind of happiness you find in yourself.

If you are open-minded enough to assimilate these words and apply them to yourself, look at the following advice…

Allow yourself time alone.
What do I mean with that? Try to avoid background noises on a 24/7 – basis; playing music every second possible, listen to a podcast, watch a series or anything else that creates something louder than your actual thoughts. In doing so, you will allow your thoughts to be free.

Give your thoughts the opportunity to cycle around.
Let the thoughts develop. It might be helpful to write them down. For this, journaling can be a nice method for you, to question your thoughts without feeling ‘weird’ or ‘wanna-be spiritual’. – “What do you feel right now? / Why do you feel the way you feel?” (Inspiration on how to get started with journaling: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=STRXoISJuDg)

Face your thoughts.
As we face issues in life, negative thoughts will eventually come off, and it might be fucked up at this point in life. Life will always be this, a challenge and an emotional rollercoaster, with all its ups and downs. If you won’t face these thoughts now, they will come back at some other point anyway. – “Why did you take a particular action? / Why do you have these positive or negative feelings? / Is there something or someone in your past that might have an influence on these present thoughts?”

Take control.
Do not be scared. You know these are just your thoughts, you are in control of them and whenever there is a moment of feeling uncomfortable or overwhelmed you can always divert yourself from them.

Stop making excuses.
As always in life try to start easy. Take at least these five minutes every day that you would normally spend with things that would withhold your thoughts. Take these five minutes to breathe, to introspect and take back the control of your mind and your thoughts.

Autumn. The time of the year that creates the atmosphere and vibes to get closer to yourself. Now it is up to you use these vibes and generate more self- awareness, Autumn.

Author: Antonia
Editor: Kat