You’re gonna miss me when I’m gone

Loss. You’ll realize how much you care about a person when you can’t see them anymore, I can tell you that much after six months on a different continent. Loss might not be the word I’m looking for here, but bear with me as I continue to wonder about what it is I’m really feeling after leaving the ones I love.

So how about a theory on the subject of meaningful friendships? Friendships are different from relationships because they are not monogomous, there can be jealousy, hurt, love, but you’re fine ‘seeing other people’. You might be a little bit picky about ‘which other people’ but that comes with the territory. The amount of time you have been friends with someone shouldn’t be principle in how good your friendship is. Yes, time contributes to getting to know someone well thus understanding them and being able to relate to them. The amount of positive experiences and memories you share with someone also contribute to that ‘score’. Age definitely plays a role. It doesn’t seem to prevent the friendship, but it sets different parameters in how you view your friend. Friendships should be unconditional but you still have an opinion as to how the person acts, you still judge them, they’re people. The amount of contact and the regularity of the interactions don’t seem to be a deal-breaker either, it depends on what you expect from one another and if those expectations are just. But in my relatively short life experience I have found one thing to be crucial to the success of a friendship and the ability for it to really matter to me: balance. No one way street. However much you like someone, if both parties don’t invest equal effort, it gets old real soon. Then you have subjects that you have in common with your friend. Other than the daily ‘how was your day/week/month’; what can you talk about, what do you share? And finally: what do I like about them?

*sigh* friendship... We were imitating the movie Rock star by the way

*sigh* friendship… We were imitating the movie Rock star by the way

I have decided to analyse my friendships with some great people. So with the variables of time, regularity, age, things in common and attractive features; what make my friendships tick? What does one need to have in common with a person to instigate a friendship, and what needs to match to fuel said friendship beyond superficiality?(anyone who considers me a friend or acquaintance who isn’t included in this post isn’t necessarily not a ‘dear friend’  of mine. These are the people with whom I share something special and have been most active in my life in recent years.)

Dianne. So there was this TV show we taped in studio 4 at the Mediapark in Hilversum called ‘The Doctors’. The basic set and cables stayed put during the different taping periods so I never had to help set it up from the ground up. The productions itself was in its first season and wasn’t as ‘easy’ as some other comparable programs. It was fine, frustrating at times, but the crew is professional so we dealt with it. This was about two years ago in November 2012, if I recall correctly. One of the camera’s on the set was remotely operated and the operator was called Dianne. I’m not sure that I had seen her before this particular program but you never know. Most of the crew was very familiar to me and my friend Eva (mentioned in previous post and later in the current post) was also present as a prompter operator on multiple shoot days. Somehow me and Dianne had gotten onto the subject of running and I had mentioned that I had recently started running. She said that she would need some more motivation to really get into it and I think I offered to run with her. Turns out that she lived close to the Mediapark and we could switch up in which neighbourhood we would run.

We exchanged numbers and continued talking to each other on production days. So we went running, interval running to be exact. I had found some running schedule to go run for one minute, walk one minute, go run etc. and that would slowly increase your endurance. We started spending more time together, watching movies, hanging out at work. We could connect over serious personal issues, she had a hard time with certain things and I had had simalar struggles before that. So we had issues in common, 90’s music, we both loved to go for a walk, an occasional smoke and we both had a familiar relationship with the U.S. She’s 8 years older, a 30 to my 23. I like her because she’s interesting, when she smiles it’s beautiful and absolutely contagious, she’s the definition of fun and she trusted me enough to lean on me when she needed it.

My mom made me a book, for guests of my 2 ‘goodbye parties’ to write a message in. Dianne left me a heartfelt letter, saying what a lot of friends rarely say to one another. An honest review of what you mean to them. And every time I read that multi-page letter it makes me cry. And I’m not really known for my ‘sappyness’. She fits into the puzzle that is my life and her presence makes me smile.

Dianne - Left 3 hours before I left, right photo trip

Dianne – Left 3 hours before I left, right photo trip

Eva: Other TV show. A psychology show for public programming. The prompter girl needed something done with her monitor. I didn’t know the set or infrastructure. But I asked around and got her issue resolved. We talked a few times during production, both smoking, she was nice and very sociable. I saw her at a different event in that period and we a talked little bit more. Nothing special, just passing the time and mostly small talk. At the final taping of that psychology show, during the ‘after-party’ festivities we sat outside on a bench and talked about past relationships. This was about 2.5 years-ago, May of 2012. I was familiar enough with her to add her to Facebook and she accepted. She posted a need of a circular saw. I was not living with my parents but my father had on I knew, so I offered it to her. She would just need it for a few days. Dropped it at her house and she promised to return in to my parents. I was there when she dropped the saw off. The Queen’s jubilee was on TV and TV-savvy as we were; we drove it into the ground. It was not pretty. She offered for me to come drink a beer at her house some time as a thank you. I did. Came over around 7:30pm and left somewhere in the early morning. We worked together a lot, we hung out a lot, 70’s, 80’s & 90’s music, a litle bit of smoking and drinking (a lot), some hot pepper chocolate and endless conversations about relationships, life, finance, food and happiness. 21 years older, 44 to my 23. She’s this independent woman who has a beautiful view on life, she offers insights that you wouldn’t hear from anybody else, is emotional, appreciates that what she has and can be incredibly pragmatic, something that has definitely rubbed off on me. She’s a rock to me, someone I can go to for counsel, someone who does not let me down, is unmercifully honest and is someone who you would never want to let down.

Eva -  Uitmarkt 2013

Eva – Uitmarkt 2013

Liza: “Did you buy that (spike)bracelet at the Large?” I said during my first school musical. This alternative/goth-ish girl was sitting in the ‘green room’ of our future high school. She had a pretty big part in the musical being one year my senior and she actually had lines. The Large is a pop/rock/metal merchandise catalog in some countries in Europe to order band gear and alternative clothing and accessories from. I was leaning only slightly towards wanting to roam in those circles. This was in I think June/July of 2003, so 11 years ago. I don’t remember much of the rest of that year, she was done at school and moved onto high school, but she lived very close to the other location of our school. She was into the festivals, goth stuff, wicca etc. She became a regular friend. We shared a load of the same friends, eventually the same high school and her house was the go-to place. She lived with her mother in a small apartment. The fridge was always stocked with red bull and everyone was welcome at any time. I remember the key-ring I got from them that fit the key hanger at their door. I belonged somewhere that wasn’t home. This friendship evolved and got put on hold a few times, we had other friendships that were more dominant and we had a few falling outs. One of them I think about two years before I left. We shared our taste in music (mostly metal and rock), movies, TV shows and the English language. Just 1 year older, almost 24 to my 23. She became an English teacher, the language we both loved to speak, read and write. She has accomplished so much already. She’s still in school and already working quasi full time at our old high school. Passionate about what she teaches and the influence she has on the kids who are basically us; a few years ago in that school that we couldn’t wait to get out of. I’m proud of this woman. She loves unconditionally, is adventurous, isn’t easily fooled and a friend whom I don’t want to lose.

Liza - My birthday 2013

Liza – My birthday 2013

Ninke: At that same high school, in my first year; I met Ninke. She smoked on the school grounds with the older girls. I believe that smoking was only allowed when you were in your third year in high school and up. I was introduced to her by someone, I don’t remember who. I don’t remember how we started hanging out but we did. I smoked outside with her, I would usually ‘borrow’ her cigarettes. During those year we had hung out together at the picnic tables with a different group of friends and basically stuck together during all of high school even though she was a year ahead of me. Her family is great, they turned out to be another home away from home. Supporting me whenever I needed support. Probably my second or third year we started going for a cappuccino at a local cafe, then bike around the town, get some snacks at the grocery store and hang out at the park at ‘Slot Zeist’. Watching the fountain and singing to songs played on our phones and MP3 players. A year older, almost 24 to my 23. She came over to visit with my parents a few weeks ago. It’s amazing how easily you fall back into your relationship. We can really talk. No fancy ‘feelings’ talk but ‘why is that this way’ talk. We share some music tastes, hung out at the same bar and just love to vent to each other. No drama, decisive, appreciating the little thing and prepared to show up whenever she’s needed. She’s special to me and feels like a sister that I never had.

Ninke - Graduation 70's party in high school

Ninke – Graduation 70’s party in high school

Inge: During my first year in college my class mentor asked me to help out this girl who wanted to come out to her parents. I immediately guessed who it was because I had seen her around. I shot her a message through Facebook and we decided to hang out and just get to know each other. I had seen her with sandy blonde hair in a sporty ponytail walking through the hallways at our department. When she showed up for our meeting; she had cut her hair short. We started up slow but got to hang out regularly quite soon. She moved onto the internship stage of the program and became an intern for the competitor of the company I was to work for a year later. She was a year ahead of me in college but I’m 1.5 years older. We connected over the whole ‘gay thing’ but after she came out that subsided quickly. Music, movies and trying to make a career out of television filled most of our conversations. She would stay over in my teeny-tiny room when she would stay late, since I was much closer to work. We went to concerts, acted like 5 year-olds most of the time and heard each other out. For the last 3.5 years we have talked countless hours, imagined our futures and laughed constantly. I don’t have to miss her for much longer, she’s coming to visit me in 52 days but who’s counting.

Inge - 2013 Amsterdam gaypride

Inge – 2013 Amsterdam gaypride

Lysanne: I was born I Soesterberg where the American/Dutch military base was stationed, my dad was in the air force and never went back to the States. After I was 1.5 my parents moved to Driebergen-Rijsenburg, some miles away. We moved to live next to people who would be our new neighbours. Now I don’t remember what exactly happened 21.5 years ago but I do know that I met Lysanne, the girl next door, on number 16. Her father was Rover crazy, her mother a school teacher, her brother and sister living on their own for as long as I can remember. In those early years I had always liked her. She is 3 years older so back then I wasn’t cool enough to hang with the bigger kids. She was best friends with my brother and our other neighbours living at number 20. We went through a lot but never really got to hang out, she was my brothers friend and age definitely seemed to matter at that age. I can’t pinpoint exactly what year but somewhere along the way she wasn’t really my brother’s friend anymore, she had already moved out but we stayed in contact. I went to visit her at her first dorm room/studio. I guess I was 16 since I was drinking and our friendship flourished from there on out. She moved around quite a few times but she was always within reach. I lived next to her during my early years, lived in the sames town for about a year when we were both on our own, lived in the next town over for about a year and then she moved to the town where my parents now reside. We have never really been far from one another. We’ve both helped each other deal with our respective drama’s and hardships, we know each other. yet we don’t. Because when you lose sight of someone for just a short while, you can miss a lot of changes. We both adore Stephen King books, horror movies, British comedy. We have racked up an amazing amount of inside jokes and we put up with each others shit time and time again. She probably knows me better than anyone else, there is little that I haven’t talked to her about. I’ve been with her when she was going through some really rough patches and she has done the same for me. My heart swells when I see how far she has come and how much she has grown as a person. I like making her smile.

Lysanne - System of a Down concert August 2013

Lysanne – System of a Down concert August 2013

A lack of similar interests is fine, age doesn’t matter and regularity doesn’t define it. But does distance matter? The Netherlands is small. Wherever they or I have moved was within an hour travelling distance, so no it never mattered. But it’s been six months, there is an ocean, a time zone and an expensive flight between us. What will distance do? I’ve certainly been less involved with all of these friends. When I get off work, they’re sleeping. Watching a movie through Skype has proven to be quite easy, different but easy. Letters, texts and social media holds it all together. I send pictures, voice messages and videos; hoping that this can bridge the distance.

I moved for a reason. I still believe in that reason. I never once thought that it would be easy. So loss? That’s not the word. Deprived. I feel deprived of a big part of my life that was very much present, my friendships. Deprived to me means that the situation can be mended. Not to restore what it was before, but to build up as much with the bricks I already had and then continue with a few new ones. I have no idea what is going to happen in the next few months or years. I do know that I’m going back for a visit around April 2015. And April sounds oh so sweet.

“You’re gonna miss me by my ways,

you’re gonna miss me everyday.

Oh I know you will miss me when I’m gone.”

~ A. P. Carter from ‘When I’m Gone’ by the ‘Carter Family’

– Sidenote: That Anna Kendrick song exploded a while before I left. And it became significant to me and Liza when it turned up on the TV when I was at her house constantly. The weeks before I left the hugs goodbye became longer and tighter. I was always trying to be lighthearted about my imminent departure. I would assure her that it would be fine and sometimes whip out my phone and turn on that song, trying to get a laugh out of her. But I guess the lyrics of that song are incomplete to me. I’m gonna miss you when I’m gone.

Our flag was still there

Washington D.C. Almost two years after my first trip to the capital; I was back. There is something about that city that amazes me. When you walk through the city it doesn’t look or feel like any other place that I’ve experienced. It reminds me of why I am here. Why I’ve always wanted to be where I am right now.

When I arrived I felt that I already knew the city quite well since we had spent 6 days here and had explored quite a bit. I feel that it has helped me make this trip feel more relaxing and free. I was alone, I didn’t have to go anywhere. I had a list of things I might want to see and I didn’t plan more than a few hours ahead. I love to plan my vacations because you want to get the most out of your time while you’re there. You’re paying for your trip and your place to stay so you have to make it worth it. On the 4th of July I was standing in line outside of the National Museum of American History while the crowd for the parade accumulated on the sidewalk. Parades are really not my thing and I had no interest in standing outside in the summer heat to watch a few middle aged guys in convertible classic Mustangs rev their engines while going 5 miles an hour… (Yes I know that that is not what parades are all about but that cracked me up, even more so when people cheered for the ‘revving of the engines’, nothing says freedom like…) So anyway, I was in line behind a family that was discussing their ‘plan’ and they were talking about which things in the museum they had on their list. They we’re only there for 2 days and wanted to see as much as possible of what they actually cared about. Their daughter summed up: Lincoln’s hat, The Star-Spangled banner etc. “We need to be as efficient as possible!” I smiled. “That’s me!”  I thought. Maybe not so much the disregarding other things you might find in that museum but on a larger scale: yes, that is me. But I was so glad that it wasn’t me right now. My schedule was full of possibilities and it felt great. No specific plans, just to do whatever felt right at that moment.

With Kayleigh in D.C. 08/11/2014

With Kayleigh in D.C. 08/11/2014

With Kayleigh in D.C. 08/11/2014

With Kayleigh in D.C. 08/11/2014

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Since I arrived in the states, I was set on learning more about U.S. history and the country’s politics. Because how can you have a normal conversation or discussion about something you agree or disagree upon when you are under informed. Plus however short the history of the United States may be, it is still very interesting to learn how such a vast nation can form out of so many cultures in such a short amount of time. A few weeks before my trip; I started looking into U.S. history. I watched a couple of documentaries and movies on the subject and I found Crash Course. It was created by the brothers Green whom I knew from their Vlogbrothers video’s, Mental Floss, Mental Floss on Youtube and of course John Green, who is a novelist who has become quite popular (the book and now movie ‘The Fault in our Stars’ ring any bell?) So on Crash Course they make webseries on different subjects like: literature, biology, psychologyecology, world history, chemistry and U.S. history. It is very visual, funny, educational and full of great trivia. I’ve enjoyed their courses and it has really helped me become more interested in educating myself. I seem to be making some progress on U.S. history. I’ve bought a couple of books on the subject in D.C. and I will continue to delve into the history of this country.

Crash Course Channel

Crash Course Channel

Regardless if you agree on the country’s morals and ideologies; it is a fact that The United States has a big influence on the rest of the world. So when I decided that I needed to do something for me on my holiday weekend it was an easy decision to book a trip to D.C. So I booked an Airbnb (my first time) in Arlington, Virginia. The apartment was very close to the US Marine Corps memorial, Arlington National Cemetary and the Rosslyn Metro Station. Every morning I bought a half liter bottle of milk, took my tupperware bowl, spoon and ziplock with cereal with me to my starting point of that day. Why spend a lot of money on an unhealthy breakfast and sit inside. I wanted to go to this city, so I will be in this city and enjoy it as much as I can. I went to dinner at the Hard Rock Cafe where I ate two tables away from where I had dinner with Kayleigh 2 years prior. They will look at you funny when you ask for a table for one. I walked all the way back from 7th street to Rosslyn via The National Mall in the rain. Which didn’t bother me at all. It was empty, dark, sort of silent and the temperature was fine. They really do a great job with the lights on the monuments. I had breakfast at the Marine Corps memorial. I strolled through Arlington National Cemetary and watched the changing of the guard without any other spectators. I went to the National Museum of American History. I spent the day and night on an NEP Denali truck during the concert ‘A Capitol 4th’. Went to the Museum of American Indians, the Newseum, a sportsbar (The Netherlands versus Costa Rica) and went out to a club. I had a great time. And other than the NEP truck: I didn’t plan anything beforehand. I just made suggestions to myself and did what I felt like doing. And that is a part of me that has very rarely come out before going on this adventure.

Breakfast in D.C. (Well Arlington, VA, but it's D.C. Come on!) 07/04/2014

Breakfast in D.C. (Well Arlington, VA, but it’s D.C. Come on!) 07/04/2014

Breakfast in D.C. (Well Arlington, VA, but it's D.C. Come on!) 07/04/2014

Breakfast in D.C. (Well Arlington, VA, but it’s D.C. Come on!) 07/04/2014

So on my first 4th of July I was on a U.S. entertainment TV-truck: California. I expected to go to lunch with the engineers and get a quick tour while they got ready for air and then be on my way. I did have lunch and I did get a tour, but it was far from quick. I met a couple of great people and the Tech Manager on site took me everywhere on the compound and showed me what U.S. entertainment television was all about. He introduced me to a lot of great people and taught me about the life in the entertainment industry. This branch of television was much more familiar to me than sports. Because other than soccer, hockey, cycling and bobsledding I have had little experience in sports television. Most of my experience has been entertainment and cultural; and the similarity between what I had experienced in The Netherlands and how it works in the states surprised me. After the apprenticeship program who knows where I will end up. There are a lot of different options. But why speculate about the outcome of the program, when I would much rather travel from experience to experience and see where I end up eventually. Setting some goals can disappoint in the end and I for one would like to appreciate where I will end up, so no planning.

'A Capitol 4th' 07/04/2014

‘A Capitol 4th’ 07/04/2014

Jumbotron 'A Capitol 4th' 07/04/2014

Jumbotron ‘A Capitol 4th’ 07/04/2014

 

Jumbotron 'A Capitol 4th' 07/04/2014

Jumbotron ‘A Capitol 4th’ 07/04/2014

Denali: California 'A Capitol 4th' 07/04/2014

Denali: California ‘A Capitol 4th’ 07/04/2014

'A Capitol 4th' 07/04/2014

‘A Capitol 4th’ 07/04/2014

I used to have a skewed view of the U.S. versus The Netherlands. Just because I wasn’t in the place I would like to be most; I favored the U.S. over my place of birth unfairly. Neither of these countries are superior to one another. I love The Netherlands because of its government, social security, rights, liberalism, great infrastructure but above all because of my familiarity with it. It is all I’ve ever really known. My family, friends and trusty television industry. And I love the U.S. because of its seemingly endless opportunities (if you play your cards right), great cities, colorful history, its power to attract people from all ethnicity’s and culture, the fact you can drive for days through all sorts of climates without leaving the country and the possibilities that the television industry harbors due to its place in American culture.

Having moved thousands of kilometers away to my ‘promised land’ has confronted me with the reality of the greenness of the grass. Yes, a part of me is starting to feel fulfilled by taking on this challenge. But another part of me is has taken a beating. Reality struck me. Skype connects me to the people I love most. But it also distances me from them. It’s a tease to my emotions. It let’s me be with the people I love but confronts me with my decision whenever I hang up. When I close my laptop it is final and I can’t just reinstate the contact by driving over to them. I can’t sit next to them or show up at their door. Or go on an impromptu adventure with them. I can only reach out by sending a message, text, voice, photo or video. My only consolations are knowing that I will see them when I fly over and vice versa. And that I’ve only been gone for close to 3 1/2 months, I don’t know how I will feel and deal after 6 or 12 months. So after 3 1/2 months: I have reached the conclusion that the grass is green. Just green.

“O say can you see by the dawn’s early light,
What so proudly we hailed at the twilight’s last gleaming,
Whose broad stripes and bright stars through the perilous fight,
O’er the ramparts we watched, were so gallantly streaming?
And the rockets’ red glare, the bombs bursting in air,
Gave proof through the night that our flag was still there;
O say does that star-spangled banner yet wave,
O’er the land of the free and the home of the brave?”

~ Written by Francis Scott Key and Composed by John Stafford Smith

Photo gallery: Oakmont, PA / Pittsburgh, PA

Never forget your first prompter girl

Happy birthday! I was going to post this a couple of months from now. But I recently realized that it is quite hard to go to birthdays from overseas. So this will be my contribution.

If you’d have told me 3 years ago that I would be able to save fifteen grand in a year and a half I would’ve laughed. Simple as that. No. The little bit of money you earn next to your study comes into your bank account and finds its way out of it faster than the end of the month could ever arrive. I had saved up some money before; but only for a new computer or a pair of sneakers. And that meant setting a goal and working out how much I would need to save. Nothing fancy. I’m just glad that I never owed anyone any money, I just had an occasional lack of money sometimes. And whenever that was the case it wasn’t that challenging to survive.

When finally you get the chance to live on your own and make your own living; you take more pride in your achievements money-wise. You have a responsibility to yourself and of course you finally have a say in the grocery list, so you’d better make sure that it is money well spent. After living in Hilversum for a couple of years and being an intern at Dutchview for a few months I met a a ‘prompter girl’ at a program that I worked on for its entire season. The positive energy that seemed to hang around her was quite attractive and after the season’s ‘after party’ a Facebook friend request ensued. After a desperate plea to borrow a circular saw and me offering up my parents their saw; a deal was made. I offered to bring the saw to her house and I was supposed to come over at a later time to enjoy a beer with her. I think I arrived at seven thirty in the evening and I left during the night/early morning. I knew immediately that I had gained a new friend.

The Passion The Hague 2013

The Passion The Hague 2013

After months of seeing each other at work and on our days off we spoke a lot. And somewhere along the way advice started to pour through. And the financial advice intrigued me. ” Pay yourself first”  she said. I started taking 10% out of my pay the moment it came in and putting it in my savings account. I started keeping record of  all of my expenses in Excel in columns so I knew exactly what I was spending my money on. Apparently smoking was pretty expensive and I spent  lot on little things that you don’t really notice add up to a lot monthly. I kept a sheet with my monthly income and on the 27th of every month I mad up what the balance was in all my accounts, CD’s and cash. I was up to date on my net worth. It became a sport to me. If I had money left in my spending account at the moment my salary would come in; I would transfer that to my saving s account as well.

I remember that on multiple occasions I contacted the prompter girl in question to ask what the hell I needed to do with the money I had left. That was usually when I had done a lot of overtime. I saved because I wanted a buffer just in case. I knew I could rely on my parents if I really needed to, but that was never something I would gladly want to take advantage of. In The Netherlands I never needed a car of my own. I rode my bicycle to work, public transport to other places and I could always use my parents’ car. But I started saving up for one, just in case. Since it became a sport to me; I might have been in too deep. That’s when another rule for my financial system came in: “You can save on material things, but never on experiences. If you really want to go to the concert: just go!” More valuable advice that I still treasure.

When I got the e-mail from my current employer asking if I would be interested in becoming an engineer at NEP I chatted with her until early in the morning. Asking her if I should really risk throwing away what I had built in the last 2 years against an offer. I made a decision that night in August of 2013 that I would pursue the opportunity because I would sure as hell regret it if I didn’t. And guess how that turned out.

Uitmarkt 2013

Uitmarkt 2013

Since I arrived in the stated two months ago I have managed to buy a good car and pay it in full, payed the security deposit for my apartment, furnished my entire apartment and have only spent 2/3 of what I had saved up. And yes about three week into my stay when my first paycheck came in: 10% found its way into my new savings account.

She changed me for the better. Remember watching the Queen’s Jubilee? We completely trashed the first half of the concert because none of the camera shots made sense. And we thought it looked horrible! I miss spontaneously coming over at 8pm and staying up ’till 4 because we lost track of time. Having heartfelt conversations, 70’s/80’s music duels and philosophic discussions. I wish I could still do that. We’ll try it with Skype sometime, see how that pans out.

What I really want to say is: Thank you! Thank you for being you, wonderful, positive, worried, laid back, sad, happy, frustrated, honest and genuine. I wouldn’t be where I was now without you! And it is bittersweet that I am now out of reach physically but very happy with what I’ve accomplished. I know your accomplishments have improved in the last few months. Less prompter and more classical music at the office. You’ve been doing amazing things and that tall man of yours is your biggest proof. I’m proud to call you my friend. Happy birthday Eva.

X Kim

 

The best gift but only a material one. I have received much greater gifts that I will never lose.

The best gift but only a material one. I have received much greater gifts that I will never lose.

“Never forget your first prompter girl”

~ Eva Mulder (The Netherland’s best prompter girl and upcoming music adviser) January 5th 2014

Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas

Pittsburgh, my new home. It has been 2 months. My mother might be able to tell you the exact amount of days. Other than needing it for showing up to work; time has been irrelevant to me. Or at least; it seems that way. Everything has gone so fast. For instance: I arrived on a Sunday and on the Thursday that followed I had found a car and an apartment.

When the plane took off from Amsterdam all I could think of was that I didn’t want to leave. It’s dark, the lights of the city become visible. The cars become smaller. The view broadens and then nothing but ocean and a blinking light at the end of the wing. I didn’t think much about what I had just done during the flight, not until Lake St. Claire and Detroit came into view. I peered out of the window, waiting until I could recognize the buildings, roads and cars as American. To verify that I was really there. And not for a vacation.

When I checked in with my mother it seemed that it was just a trip. And my first sight of America other than an airplane and a jetway was TSA and a Starbucks. I was smiling. Smiling all the way to the other terminal. Smiling waiting at the gate when my European to North American power supply refrained from working. I was there! There was still another plane to catch but I was there.

The new digs

The new digs

Moving in

Moving in

 

When I started up the rental car in Pittsburgh, found my way out of the airport and pulled onto the highway: I couldn’t stop smiling. On the U.S. highway, going the speed limit and apparently that means being pretty much the slowest person driving on the highway. I was going to stay at my boss’ place until I found a place to live. Only he would be at NAB in Vegas the first few days I would be there. So I was to meet his wife at the house. I had no idea what to expect.

When I arrived at the house I was met with 5 barking Brittanys and the sweetest woman! His wife Mac immediately set the goal to see and arrange as much as possible as I had only one week off before starting work. Everything that happened in the following weeks was amazing and a lot of fun. They both got me on my feet and have taken care of me. Helping me start over and build up my new life without expecting anything in return. For this I am incredibly thankful. I simply couldn’t have accomplished all that I have without them. And I think that it was a great relief for my parents to know that I was taken care of. I have never experienced such hospitality and kindness from essentially strangers. So aside from the car and the apartment I seemed to have acquired family.

And now a few weeks later I’m settled in. I have everything I need in my apartment and I’m just slowly filling in the blanks. I think I need me some posters…

P.S. I just realized the stock photo of Pittsburgh I used for my last post was taken at the West End Overlook in Elliot. I was there two weeks ago and snapped this:

 

Original photo © Bruce Sisson | Stockvault.net

Original photo © Bruce Sisson | Stockvault.net

Two weeks ago

Two weeks ago

 “Welcome to fabulous,

welcome to fabulous Las Vegas.

Give us your dreamers, your harlots and your sins.” 

~ ‘ Welcome to fabulous Las Vegas’  Written and performed by Brandon Flowers

Start spreadin’ the news: I’m leaving today.

I love airplanes. So I’m sitting here; at Schiphol Airport in the international terminal. Calm but a little nervous. Not because of the plane because I’m boarding onto soon. But because of the adventure that is to come. It is still surreal to me to be leaving. I haven’t shut up about it for months and I’ve been planning and researching during all of that time. Yet it still hadn’t seemed to sink in. 2 days of saying goodbye to the people I care so much about took care of that though. About 3,5 hours ago I wrapped up with my colleagues and friends in Hilversum and I haven’t gone to bed in between; just finished packing and drove to the airport. Even though it hasn’t sunk in all the way yet; it will. It might hit me when I drive away from the airport in the U.S, it might come in my first week, it might on my first day of work and it might happen 3 months in. Whenever it does; doesn’t really matter. Someone wise once told me to “Let it happen” and “Refrain from trying to direct things like this”. So I will.

After saying goodbye to everybody these last couple of days; I feel humbled by all of the support. I’m leaving behind a company that I have invested 2,5 years of my life in, with colleagues whom I endear. I’m leaving behind friends who have been there for me; even though they haven’t been the first priority for the last 2,5 years and that I don’t doubt my decision to leave all of this behind. I’m getting no exclamations of disbelief; just support and suggestions to maintain as much contact as possible. And I’m leaving behind my family for whom this has been a long time coming. Still a bit of a shocker now that the moment is actually here but certainly not unexpected.

Pittsburgh, PA  © Bruce Sisson | Stockvault.net

Pittsburgh, PA © Bruce Sisson | Stockvault.net

I can’t promise anything. You guys know as much as I do right now.

I know that I’m going to a country I dreamed of living in. I know that I’m getting the chance to do something I love for a living. I know that I’m extremely happy about that. But I also know that I realize very well what I’m leaving behind. And I will try to never take what life has already given me for granted. Because you have to admit that it is impossible to do that sometimes.

So I guess all I can do is ask you to wish me well. And respect my decisions as I will do the same with yours. And I think that I can promise you one thing:

Since I have decided to take this chance I promise to give it my all.  I’m sure as hell not slacking off when I’ve come this far. This is something that I want and I’m committing to it.

I might be leaving. But I’m not gone.

“Start spreadin’ the news, I’m leaving today.

I want to be a part of it: New York, New York.”

~ New York, New York by Fred Ebb & John Kander, performed by Frank Sinatra

A license to steal

7 days. Do you know that feeling that after a long period of insecurity everything finally seems to fall into place? Timing seems important until you get caught up in unexpected events and after frustratingly trying to control things; you find that it’s no use. You let things happen the way they do and stop struggling. Then against all of your expectations events start working in your favor. I don’t believe that “everything happens for a reason”. Of course it does; every event is caused by something else. I do believe that however much you want things to pan out the way you’d like; it isn’t always going to happen. And whenever things do go the way you’ve planned; there will always be hitches on the road. Life isn’t as unfair as most claim. You only experience what you perceive. And it is up to you to decide how to deal with it.

My now 2-year internship neared its end. I wanted to know what my next step was going to be; as I love to plan ahead. I found out soon enough that a future with my current company wasn’t set. I got worried as I do when I look ahead and find insecurity. I decided that I needed to go outside of my comfort zone and consider my options. That ‘American Dream’ of mine came knocking again. What if? I might as well look into what it’s like working for television in the U.S. I just had to set my scope. What do I love most about what I’m doing right now? Working with the trucks as an engineer. No fixed studio setting. Just traveling wherever the truck needs to go, setting up the production, doing the show, solving problems, striking it all down and traveling to the next location.

Intocht Sinterklaas 2012 Roermond

Intocht Sinterklaas 2012 Roermond

After finding different technical production companies; I stumbled upon NEP Broadcasting. The sheer size of the company amazed me and dwarfed what I thought was possible in television production. It was safe to say that it was a company that was very qualified to answer whatever questions I had about American television production. When the possibility of joining them as a mobile unit engineer apprentice arose; I was stunned. What if my future wasn’t that insecure and I just needed to be patient and got offered a contract anyway. And what if I decided to go on this adventure? How would that make me feel. I was taken aback by the the fact that my lifelong dream was back on the table. I decided that I would regret not seizing that opportunity and be patient to find out what would come of this.

This all started at the end of August last year and exactly 3 months later it was a sure thing. I don’t think that I’ve ever been that relieved. Although the weight of leaving most of what I knew behind; soon found its way to my shoulders. “Are you excited to leave?” is what most have asked. My answer was the same every time: “I’m excited to go, but I’m reluctant to leave.” I still had to graduate though, go through 2 more months of my internship, work and dog-sit when my parents went on vacation as I had promised a year before. April 7th would be the day. And due to flight scheduling that turned into the 6th. One less day won’t faze me the slightest. You will reach the point that you’re just waiting to leave regardless of time.

Former C&A colleagues presented me with a sweet goodbye present

Former C&A colleagues presented me with a sweet goodbye present

So here I am. A little over 6 days and 16 hours away from stepping on that plane. And I am excited. Not about the supportive friends, family and colleagues that I will have to miss. But about what is to come. So here come 6 more days of saying goodbye at dinners and parties with the people I’m going to miss. I’m very much content with the way everything has worked out so far. Putting your life in 11 boxes and 2 suitcases will tend to make you shift your priorities. And the most important thing is: I’m going to go do what I love.

“I was being paid to do what I loved, and there’s no gig on earth better than that; it’s like a license to steal.”
~ Stephen King in Bag of Bones

From here and everywhere: This is CNN

Go beyond borders. As October 2008 neared its end; I caught the flu. I don’t really get sick all that often or at least: I don’t call in sick that often. But this flu was genuine and not going away anytime soon. So the only thing you can do is make the most of it right?

The fluffy red couch at my parent’s house was my absolute savior during the day. You reluctantly get up in the morning, stumble down the stairs and park yourself on the couch. When you’re sick you can really appreciate being under the care of your parents. So we’ve got the location covered, now what can you do to keep the boredom at bay? Reading can give you a killer headache when you’re sick, so I guess you need to look for something that doesn’t make your brain cells work too hard. And once again; television won. And it was just my luck that I was restricted to the couch in the eve of the upcoming elections. There is only one channel I wanted to watch in this period. CNN.

CNN Center

CNN Center

Everyday was filled with endless reporting on the elections. Different anchors on multiple shows that seemed to flow into one another. Mostly because of the lack of priority in other news. The colors red, white and blue seemed to stick to the screen in every broadcast. I was hooked. The broadcasting process was amazing to me. As my days on the couch progressed I developed a goal. I wanted to work at CNN. Following the elections I continued watching CNN International every day and researched what working in broadcasting would be like. Every time I turned on the TV I would always tune into CNN at least a couple of times. Probably also due to my crush on news anchor Hala Gorani; but mainly I enjoyed trying to find out more about the programming.

A few years later I found myself studying for a degree in vision engineering. I was exploring the opportunities in broadcasting and was still interested in pursuing a career at CNN. When I decided to visit my aunt in Atlanta I knew one thing for sure: I was going to visit CNN Center. I booked one of those VIP tours and dragged my friend and my aunt with me. I was absolutely amazed at the size of the building and the number of channels broadcasting from there. The tour was slightly disappointing to me, but that was probably because of the fact that I would rather have seen more of the control rooms and the technical facilities that the building houses.

HLN control room

HLN control room

We did get to walk into an HLN control room that was about to go live. And the tour group was given a chance to ask the director some questions. After listening the rest of the group ask questions about “what all of those monitors were for”; I couldn’t help asking a question myself. Of course I didn’t go all the way to the U.S. to go on a tour at CNN to keep my mouth shut! “Where are the video operators located? And do they paint the camera’s and act as an engineer? Or are those two separate positions? And how did they get to work at Turner Broadcasting?” The director looked at me in wonderment and the room was silent for a moment. The technical director broke the silence and smiled at me.”You get brownie points!” After answering my questions the tour guide shooed us out of the control room; promising that we would pass the video operator along the tour. Sadly that wasn’t the case. And the tour didn’t cover CNN International either.

Walking to CNN Center

I was still extremely happy that I had gotten a chance to see this place. But in the months that followed I realized that CNN wouldn’t fit me as well as I had hoped. The thing I enjoyed the most from my internship at Dutchview was going out on a job with a production truck. Even though a fixed studio environment is very interesting and has its own challenges; it doesn’t have the same appeal to me as setting up this huge machine that can be fit to size for every production. Those trucks can be molded into whatever the project needs it to be. It is very satisfying to be part of a team that is innovative, flexible and committed to make the product whatever it needs to be. 

That degree I was studying for has been conquered. I’m receiving my diploma next Tuesday. And those trucks are not just in my future anymore; they are in my present.

“From here and everywhere; this is CNN.

~  CNN International 2009

Tour of the technical facilities at NBC’s 30 Rockefellar Plaza

Print screen of the 30 Rock Flickr Album by jkgreenstein12

Print screen of the 30 Rock Flickr Album by jkgreenstein12

Something that has been on my list for quit a while now is to go see NBC’s studio’s at 30 Rockefellar Plaza in New York City. The sheer size of this studio environment amazes me. I stumbled upon a Flickr album by jkgreenstein12 containing some beautiful photos of the location. It is interesting to get a glimpse of this huge operation.

I hope that someday I will be able to visit 30 Rock and get a glimpse of the beating heart of NBC’s entertainment in New York.

30 Rockefellar Plaza in NYC. Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/tattoodjay/4542015100/ Via PhotoPin.com

30 Rockefellar Plaza in NYC. Photo credit: tattoodjay @ Flickr
Via PhotoPin.com

I’ll be home for Christmas

Tree

It’s beginning to look a lot like Christmas. And it might be one of the last ones that I’ll have in The Netherlands. (Don’t stress that towards my mother…) A Dutch Christmas isn’t anything like an American one, or at least; that’s my experience. The family gathering and the joy seems equal. But it doesn’t seem as emotionally loaded as the American equivalent. That might just be pop culture fooling me though. (Hello Arnold Schwarzenegger and Macaulay Culkin.) You still create your own Christmas cheer and I guess that it will be just as magical as you wish it to be. Out of character as it may seem for the work-a-holic I am, I took this Christmas off. And I’m glad that I did.

I will not try to recreate any past Christmas feelings this year. These last few months won’t be forced into anything that I want them to be. I’ll be glad when all the arranging goes as planned and that I am able to get settled in Pittsburgh easily. But I guess most of all I genuinely wish that leaving everything behind doesn’t hurt half as much as I’m expecting it to. Nothing lasts forever, the gap of the ocean can be bridged and the unknown can be conquered. I’m sure of it.

Happy holiday of choice, whether it be commercial or religious. I’m a sucker for this time of year regardless of its origin. Ignorance is bliss.

Via 9Gag

Via 9Gag

“I’ll be home for Christmas, If only in my dreams”

~ “I’ll be home for Christmas” Written & composed by Kim Gannon & Walter Kent. As performed by Bing Crosby.