45 Life lessons

This morning I came across a list of life lessons. They are written and collected by a 90 year old person.

I don’t know this person, but I loved it and I want to share this with you.


1. Life isn’t fair, but it’s still good.

2. When in doubt, just take the next small step.

3. Life is too short not to enjoy it.

4. Your job won’t take care of you when you are sick. Your friends and family will.

5. Don’t buy stuff you don’t need.

6. You don’t have to win every argument. Stay true to yourself.

7. Cry with someone. It’s more healing than crying alone.

8. It’s OK to get angry with God. He can take it.

9. Save for things that matter.

10. When it comes to chocolate, resistance is futile.

11. Make peace with your past so it won’t screw up the present.

12. It’s OK to let your children see you cry.

13. Don’t compare your life to others. You have no idea what their journey is all about.

14. If a relationship has to be a secret, you shouldn’t be in it.

15. Everything can change in the blink of an eye… But don’t worry; God never blinks.

16. Take a deep breath. It calms the mind.

17. Get rid of anything that isn’t useful.  Clutter weighs you down in many ways.

18. Whatever doesn’t kill you really does make you stronger.

19. It’s never too late to be happy.  But it’s all up to you and no one else.

20. When it comes to going after what you love in life, don’t take no for an answer.

21. Burn the candles, use the nice sheets, wear the fancy lingerie. Don’t save it for a special occasion. Today is special.

22. Over Prepare, then go with the flow.

23. Be eccentric now. Don’t wait for old age to wear purple.

24. The most important sex organ is the brain.

25. No one is in charge of your happiness but you.

26. Frame every so-called disaster with these words, ‘In five years, will this matter?’

27. Always choose Life.

28. Forgive but don’t forget.

29. What other people think of you is none of your business.

30. Time heals almost everything. Give Time time.

31. However good or bad a situation is, it will change.

32. Don’t take yourself so seriously. No one else does.

33. Believe in miracles.

34. God loves you because of who God is, not because of anything you did or didn’t do.

35. Don’t audit life. Show up and make the most of it now.

36. Growing old beats the alternative — dying young.

37. Your children get only one childhood.

38. All that truly matters in the end is that you loved.

39. Get outside every day. Miracles are waiting everywhere.

40. If we all threw our problems in a pile and saw everyone else’s, we’d
grab ours back.

41. Envy is a waste of time. Accept what you already have, not what you think you need.

42. The best is yet to come…

43. No matter how you feel, get up, dress up and show up.

44. Yield.

45. Life isn’t tied with a bow, but it’s still a gift.


Carpe Diem.

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To take a picture

Last week I finally managed to make time and I sorted out a big pile of digital photos.

Holiday snapshots, kids, mother and kids, sightseeing pictures and the most remarkable thing was:

I am hardly seen alone on any of them.


There are a few perfectly explainable reasons for that.

  1. I am not alone on that picture (mostly with the kids);
  2. Many pictures of myself I don’t like;
  3. I don’t feel comfortable being the subject of a picture;
  4. I do take most of the pictures. (Yes I can  😉 ).

But I managed to find a few where I am posing on my own. Although they are from a long time ago, they represent very good memories 🙂


Stag party on a quad in the snow (2005)                      No, not my stag party 🙂


Venice, Italy (2009)

And that is about it. On the other hand. I am perfectly comfortable with it. No regrets.

I guess I will stick to the scenery pictures with my phone.

Keep smiling 😉

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small talk or no small talk

Yesterday I felt the urge to have a haircut. It was already 6 weeks ago since the last attempt to have a decent hairdo. The side wings covered my ears and my hair gel usage was getting out of proportions.


Let me describe the process of getting a hair cut in The Netherlands:

You make an appointment because the working class is getting haircuts during the spare time they have on Saturday. This means that you have to plan it weeks before. The best is to make an appointment right after your hairdo is decent again. But somehow I keep forgetting it all the time. Glad to be outside breathing the fresh air without the smells of hair gel, perm fluids, sweat and perfumes.

Once i am comfortable in the chair, I relax and am quietly staring in the mirror. I do wear glasses, so if I take them off I don’t see that clearly anymore. Big advantage 🙂

The person asks how she has to cut your hair. Only scissors or can they use a trimmer for the back also?

My regular answer is:  I don’t care. I want my hair short in a fashionable way. Okay. Understood. one, two, three, GO.

I close my eyes because I don’t see anything anyway and it minimizes the small talk. Wishful thinking. There she goes.

It is needed. Your hair is so long again. <thinking> Weird isn’t it. Why do you think I am here?

Where are you from?: <thinking> If I answer that, does that change the way you do your work?

Do you have kids? <thinking> Are you looking for a second job babysitting?

nice weather isn’t it? <thinking> No not really it is raining. OR it is 30 degrees. I am sweating my ass off.

What I think always differs from what I am saying. Guess I am too polite to be rude.

This goes on and on. Until she is ready and you have to pay the bill.


Now I am living in Riga, Latvia and here it goes a little different.

Entering the barber shop the first thing you encounter is being attacked by a dog. 25 cm long and 10 cm tall. No excuses or any attempt to get the dog away from me.

They did speak a few words English and I managed to explain I wanted a haircut. Which should be obvious in a barber shop, isn’t it?

I was directed to a chair and sat down. Friendly as I am I tried to have some small talk with the person although I didn’t feel like it. And it went like this:

Nice dog. Yes

How long are you working in this shop? Why? why do you want to know?

Are you from Riga? Yes

From that point I decided to tell something about myself, just to see what was happening.

I moved from The Netherlands to Latvia in February. Oww.

I have 2 little girls. One of 1 year and one of 3 years. Sweet.

You have kids? No.

and this went on for a while until she was done with cutting my hair.

The bill was also higher than I expected. Next time I take the bus or train to the country side and get my haircut there. With the travelling costs it is still cheaper 🙂

Then I will close my eyes again and start relaxing as soon as my butt touches the seat. No small talk in Latvia. Perfect.

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First time for everything

For everything there is a first time.

To write things about yourself is challenging, but i do like a challenge once in a while. So I wrote down the 7 first times in my life as far as I can remember them.

  1. My first puppy dog. When i reached the respectable age of 4 years my parents thought it was nice to have a dog. So a small puppy entered my life. I carried that poor little ball of fur everywhere and put it on everything I could reach. Until the moment i dragged the pup on top of the radiator as I did not notice the heating was on. I still feel very sorry and really guilty for putting the pup there.
  2. My first bike ride on my own. My parents had a snack bar somewhere in the east of The Netherlands. As they had to work many hours per day to manage through life, I had to find out a lot of things myself. Without side wheels. Without any help from my parents. In the middle of a very busy shopping street where people where so nice to jump aside as I was using the entire width of the walking path with my bike. Feet, toes and legs were not safe that particular day, but as it happens with little kids. You get away with everything and people find small kids adorable ;-).
  3. My first glass of 7up. Although my mum made the mistake of mixing it up with Tonic. It looks the same but it tastes terrible for a 6 year old kid. I took 1 zip and turned the whole glass up side down on the table. I guess my mum was not happy with that moment. 7uptonic
  4. My first day in high school  I was so proud in the morning and after this first day when I finally was released from it, I was so disappointed. This is not what I expected. Used to the time off on Wednesday afternoon. Lots of time to play around. It was all gone. Did not wanted to go the day after. My dad brought me to school that day and it took me a long time to accept all these changes.
  5. The first time AND THE LAST TIME I had to repeat a year at school. After 4 years of high school i managed to survive and partied in the 5th year all year long. I was around 17 and did not put any or enough effort in school at all. It went so easy the previous years, so I was full of confidence I could do this all the time. I could not have been more wrong. although the next year was easy again because I knew many things already and had another year of partying. Without repetition this time 😉
  6. My first serious relationship. I was probably late with discovering girls in a way  different then studying together or seeing them as i saw all my friends. They are different. What a big surprise. A whole new world opened up for me. Another year of partying, but now with an extra dimension. Strangely it did not effect my graduation year. So at the age of 19 I graduated, had a girlfriend and explored the big world by going to the university.
  7. First time living on my own. When you live with your parents it is like a dream come true. Fantasies about setting your own rules, going to a bar whenever you wanted, eat what ever you want and sleep whenever you want. So I did. At the same time it comes with great responsibility. What?? Do I have to pay rent? O wait, my dad paid it for me. Do I have to prepare my own food? Is everything so expensive? As my allowance was not that big as in my imagination I couldn’t afford going out every day. Or eat whatever I wanted. This all changed when I got my first weekend job 😉

I guess I could make this into a list going on endless. It was easier than I thought. Every first time is great. Even if the experience is not that positive, I learned from it and it made me the person I am today.


Carpe Diem

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Monkey Business

Now there is no need anymore to travel in the weekends to see my kids because they are back in Riga. It is time to find nice places to go with the kids here in town.

Spring finally arrived here and suddenly it is 20 degrees Celsius during daytime. What is nicer than having a stroll in Riga’s Zoo. Right. Having a stroll in Riga’s Zoo with the kids.


It starts with getting them ready to go outside. that takes around 30 minutes if you are lucky. It is big fun though. Which shoes do you want? Darling, not your boots. It is not raining and  it is way too warm for boots. BUT I WANT MY BOOTS. And after 15 minutes she puts on her pink shoes which are perfect for sunny weather and a long walk. The youngest one hates to wear a cap. The next 15 minutes is spent putting on a cap, putting it on again, putting it on again.

It feels like a Zoo already and we did not even manage to go outside.

At the Zoo it is quiet and not a lot of people are visiting. In Latvia the 4th of May is also the declaration of Independence day and a lot of people do party in the parks and pubs of Riga center.

The kids are in a good mood and excited to see animals they don’t see every day. One is running from left to right and the other one is hanging outside the buggy for fun. This is promising.

The first sign is in Latvian and it translates like “DO NOT FEED THE ANIMALS”.

As expected most of the visitors visiting the Zoo cannot read. Monkeys, giraffes, deer. Everywhere people were walking with a big bag of old bread and throwing it over the fence. Now I am not throwing away food and I do feed the pigeons outside my flat. But everybody knows that animals in the Zoo are most of the time on a special diet. Signs are written in text and with pictures. What is so hard to understand?

riga zoo 4

Well, besides my frustration about something I cannot change anyway it was a perfect day. Only one little accident with ice cream :-(. I expected her to start crying, but the only thing she said was “Oy”. She was still holding half of it. The top was melting on the street.

riga zoo 2

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A new start

Just moved in to my new apartment on the 3rd floor of a pre war apartment building in Riga center and it is a great place. Heating works. pigeons on the rooftop of the garages in the yard and my fully automated coffee machine. What more can a man wish for?……..

RIGHT.  Dutch old cheese.


Unbelievable. Can you imagine how much I am craving for the Dutch (old) cheeses.

I am living in Riga, now for about 2 months. The pile of cheese I brought with is gone already for weeks. It will take a long time before I am able to visit Holland again. This will be tough.

Although there is a lot to replace this craving with. The garlic bread is delicious if it is freshly made and a big bottle of beer next to it.

Anyway, as an expat you get to know a lot of other expats which are facing the same challenges. It is a good thing to know that sharing this with the expat community in Riga and through this blog with the whole wide world (www) will make me even more determined to get my cravings fulfilled.

On to the next challenge. Writing my next blog in a few days. Read you later.

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