People ask me about what living in London is like and I'm like 'normal, I guess?'. Yes, everything is expensive and I feel like we've reverted back to graduate school standards where it comes to housing and budgets (, but other than that - we're enjoying it. It's normal, even, in a good way. I enjoy being at home and living my little life here. A large part of that might be that we've actually not been home very much this past month - being home doesn't get boring that way. The title says it all. Ski in Switzerland, work in New York, present in Belgium, and hang out in Holland. Tough times and I haven't done a whole lot of drawing during most of it, but I did some here and there and I thought I'd share. Which almost rhymes. Oh, and I turned 31 last week. Yayzers! Enjoy, peeps.
Last week marked out one monthiversary of living in London! It feels like it's been much longer, but at the same time we're only now starting to find something resembling a groove.
Last weekend it was time for some serious touristing around our new home town and we picked Notting Hill. Yes, from that movie with Hugh Grant. Spoiler: no we didn't see him. It was a gorgeous but cold day so we made several pit stops along the way for coffee and food and coffee and food. If you're not shaking, you need another cup, my friend.
We walked a record number of steps on Saturday (according to my fitness app) and even did a little detour to buy drop (Dutch licorice) and other necessities at the HEMA on Victoria Station. Perhaps it was the drop, or possibly the excitement of successfully pulling off a vegan zucchini cake (amazing recipe here) but Sunday was about as quiet as a Sunday can get. Oh well. Cake and a couch are all you need sometimes.
Enjoy your week, everyone!
When I was home sick this week, I finally caught up on reading through my stack of Frankie Magazines (so love that magazine) and came across a hilarious article on how at some point in your late twenties, early thirties, all your friends turn into couples and you all of a sudden find yourself attending dinner parties where all people talk about is mortgages and appliances. My friends are pretty awesome so they also talk about other things (although it has been suggested to me more than once that I get food processor X or mixer Y instead of my 5 Euro supermarket version which I happened to think was pretty grown up already), but it is true in a sense. Adult life can be very boring. Full of chores and boomerang errands where you take care of something, only for it to be followed up by another errand. Have I told you that joke about how the internet was supposed to be installed in my place this week? Oh yeah, they didn't show.
These journal pages are not about any of this, I just felt like stating the obvious above. Also, I was reminded of it because I felt like a real grown up when my new bank cards arrived in the mail. Yay. Bank cards! Bureaucratic hurdle number one has been taken!
Well, well, well. Look who's back, eh? Hope you're all enjoying this brand-spanking new year!
It's been smooth sailing over here in the town of London, with the one exception that we still don't have internet in our apartment, or excuse me, flat, so I've been a little absent. I wish I could say that unplugging has been wonderful and I've turned into this calm, serene, present being. But no. After a little less than a month of next to no internet at home I'm the same just more grumpy. You might also see me standing in the middle of the road holding my phone up high into the sky to catch a single bar of the crappy wifi service I unfortunately paid for. So basically, I'm turning into a crazy person. Or perhaps it was always there and the inner freak has now been exposed for all to see.
Let's the change the subject, shall we.
I've got some journal pages for you. They're not nice, crisp scans, though. They're freaking cell phone pictures because I simply couldn't be bothered to scan in the pages at home to then transfer them onto a USB stick, put that into my laptop and upload them someplace else where the wifi is decent. So there you have it. Enjoy.
* EDIT: I've since done exactly that and images have been replaced by crappy scans. Yay.
Happy holidays, everyone! Or: Merry Christmas! Or: Happy whatever doesn't offend you (seen on a sign in a London store window)!
We made it. Miso made it. Our stuff made it. Even our bikes made it - just on time for a nervous bike ride down to St. Paul's on nearly empty roads this Christmas day.
Internet is limited up here in our little tree house overlooking the city, so we read books and prepare lavish meals, and try to fit the contents of the 130 boxes the movers packed into the 50m2 at our disposal before the first guests arrive.
Happy times, everyone. Hope you have a good time wrapping up this year and preparing for the next. It's going to be a good one, I think.
Usually, my emotions present themselves right on cue. I bawled my eyes out during my brother's wedding, jumped up and down squealing when I heard I got the job I really wanted, and my voice cracked just the right amount when I read a goodbye letter to my grandpa at his funeral (I could still speak, fortunately). Me and my emotions are like BFFs - we're in touch.
These last few weeks, however, I've just been making other people cry. There were goodbye parties, dinners, meetings, and people have hugged me and expressed their sadness over this mythical event that apparently is happening in four days from now: our permanent move to London. It hits me, sometimes, in a combination of mild panic and excitement, but mostly I'm a little weirded out. Working towards a date on the calendar when this abstract thing will happen to us and our lives will change.
My scanner will be on a truck in two days, so I'm not sure when I'll post next, but follow me on Instagram in the mean time if you're curious as to when those flood gates finally open. Dramatic smudged-mascara-airport-selfies anyone?
Sarah Glidden, author and illustrator of How to Understand Israel in 60 Days or Less, has a magnificent blog. I might as well just stop writing there, as it's all you really need to know, but I'll continue because if there's one thing I've learned during my time as a digital marketer is that incentive is key. Concise messaging is also key, but I'm not too big on that one.
So here's your incentive. She recently (and by recently I mean a few months ago) posted some images illustrating her panel process. This particular panel features a night scene (so hard), and I'm so appreciative of her sharing her approach to working out panels. As a self-taught artist I often come up with my own very roundabout techniques to imitate results I love in other people's work. Usually these methods aren't particularly economical or consistent and when reading about Glidden's process, I realized that planning the coloring of a panel is half the job. The more I learn about making comics, the more I start to appreciate all the work that goes into them.
I heartily recommend reading Glidden's post 'Panel Process: a Night Scene' if you're learning about comics or would just like to see how much effort goes into each one of those little frames. I tell you, you'll never look at a comic the same way.
In exactly one month, a big truck will pull up to our house, and all of our belongings will be taken away by strong men with boxes. At least, that's how I picture it will go. Because, we found a house in London!
We did a quick trip to London end of October to do some house hunting. Which was exactly as horrid as you would imagine - apartments in London are expensive, tiny, and ugly. At least the first 8 apartments we saw were like that, and some of the more promising ones were taken off the market right as our relocation officer drove us around town to get there. We went through the ghetto and back, to closet-sized apartments on shmansy streets, and waited around for real estate agents who in the end turned out not to have the key to apartments we were eager to look at.
We were about to give up - talking of plans for another round of searching, possibly staying somewhere temporarily for a while, perhaps even looking at completely different neighborhoods, when we visited 'our' apartment.
Bright, not too tiny (still small), cute mixed neighborhood, right near a 'tube' station, perfect. We put a bid out almost immediately. Yes, a bid. I had never heard of it either, but apparently tenants can outbid each other until you put a crazy fee down (which we did).
Fortunately, the bid was accepted after much back and forth, and we spent the next day walking around our new home town and eating Turkish food near our future place. That was probably the last time we'll ever be able to go out to dinner as we'll be poor from the minute we arrive in London, so I'm glad to inform you it involved a very, ehm, motivated belly dancer.
As soon as we got back to Utrecht, we started sorting out our belongings. The new place is about half of the size of our current apartment (and about 2 times as expensive, so it works out in a strange, messed-up way), so we can't bring all of our stuff along. It's a great way to get rid of the junk we've been collecting and haven't looked at for years (college notebooks anyone?), but there also won't be room for some of the good stuff, like my drawing table or any of my studio equipment.
Fortunately, there wasn't much time to mourn our earthly possessions, as we boarded another airplane on our way to Lisbon, Portugal! I'd booked this trip a while back as a surprise for Jochem. Totally irresponsible, of course, and looking at it in hindsight we should have saved our precious Euros, but it was a welcome distraction. Sunny, beautiful, delicious, and relaxing.
The week after, I got a new tattoo! I had decided on the design a while ago and had booked my appointment a few weeks ago, but I was still nervous because that stuff hurts like a mother. I lived, though, and although the tattoo right now is looking scabby and itches badly, it turned out real nice.
Last week, it was back to normal life. Taxes, bills, scary movies. The usual.
But not before I took one more trip to London to attend a few meetings. I decided to fly in in the morning and fly out the same evening, which sounded like a good plan. Until I had to get up at 4 am to catch my 7 am flight. Fun times, but all the meetings went really well, and at least I won't have any trouble sleeping this week.
And then it was today and I'm drinking coffee and reading John Steinbeck before I get started on my work for the day. So. Bye then!