Life lately

Do any of you ever feel stuck? I do. Not necessarily being stuck in a particular place, but more being stuck in a mindset. I wrote my last post in July, when I was visiting my boyfriend and his family in Finland. It was a much needed getaway and I was sure to be refreshed and motivated for the new school year.

The next school year came around and this did not happen. At all. The subjects are difficult and even though I have more time for hobbies and schoolwork, I don’t find myself dedicated to any of it. In Denmark they’ve coined the expression “skoletræt” which means “school tired”. I am quite literally tired of school. The subjects don’t interest me, I’m demotivated and I’m ready to start something that does interest me. Not too long until I graduate now, and then it’ll be on to something new.

While this has all been going on, my boyfriend got into university to study psychology and here’s the kicker.. He’s now studying in the Netherlands. My entire family and now my boyfriend live in the Netherlands! How ironic! It does make family visits a lot easier though! I actually just came back from a family visit and it was lovely. I enjoyed spending time with my loved ones and seeing where my boyfriend settled in.

I’ve changed my wardrobe too! I’ve always been into the more vintage aesthetics, the 30s, 40s and 50s in particular. I finally decided to take the plunge and I don’t remember ever feeling this confident. I’ll definitely be writing about that too, so stay tuned for that.

And as some of you may have noticed, the name change! I felt like it needed to be shorter and something that fit me, hence Madamoiselle Vagabond (I’m aware it’s actually spelled mademoiselle, but that did not work 😦 ). I haven’t been feeling very rooted. I always kind of wander from place to place. As soon as school is out for the holidays I’m off to somewhere else, staying with different people and yeah.. This is what my life is right now. I felt that it was fitting.

I’m going to change my content up a bit, less of the diary type of stuff and more things related to perhaps lifestyle and fashion. I’m really excited about this new journey, and I hope you guys are with me along the ride!

25 things I have learned by 25

So last week, on July 5th, I turned 25 years old. A quarter of a century. You’re no longer considered to be too young to marry someone, buy a house or even to have kids. I’m not anywhere near the position to be able to do so, but it is a funny thought nevertheless. It was my fifth birthday without my mom, which still is something I have to get used to. I don’t know if it will ever get easier to be honest. Fortunately I was lucky enough to be spending my birthday with my boyfriend and his family. It made my otherwise rather lonely birthday a very pleasant one.

I feel as if I’ve learned quite a bit since then. I have a lot to learn still, but wisdom comes with age. The last evening I spent as a 24 year old I spent with my love and we just drove around, looking at the beautiful skies as we had a deep talk about how my life has unfolded itself up until this point. It was rather emotional, as I always used to say that I wouldn’t be able to make it to 25. A lot has happened and I’ve been struggling with my mental health for well over a decade. Hitting 25, in a way, was monumental to me. That evening and that talk got me thinking about the things I have learned in my still young life.

So here it goes.. 25 things I have learned in 25 years on this Earth!

1. It is okay to cut toxic people out of your life. You don’t have to relentlessly keep trying to fix a relationship that is bad for you.

2. You don’t need a whole lotta friends. When I was younger, I always wondered why I didn’t have as big friend groups as some of my peers did. I never was particularly popular and could count my friends on one hand. Now that I’m older I only have one friend of that bunch left and made some new ones here in Denmark. They’re always here for me. It’s all about quality, NOT quantity!

3. Be kind to others. It makes yourself feel better, but also others. Be nice to everyone you meet, EVEN if you want to gouge their eyes out. My mama taught me to kill them with kindness.

4. What others think of you doesn’t matter. With that I mean that what strangers think of you is irrelevant. Wear crazy colours if you want to, dye your hair a different colour if you think that that is pretty. The ones that truly matter will love you no matter what.

5. Judging others will only make your self-criticism worse. It just isn’t worth the energy. Live and let live.

6. Stop pleasing others. Making others happy is important, but don’t let yourself burn out in the meantime. Don’t be a doormat. Say no if you can’t or don’t want to do something.

7. Don’t buy something, not even when it’s on sale, unless you absolutely love it. Accumulating clutter is SO easy, getting rid of it is way harder.

8. Stop using ad hominem attacks when arguing. Going for the throat is the quickest way to win an argument, no doubt. It also does the most long term damage.

9. Let it go.

10. Cherish the bond you have with your siblings. I learned this after my mom passed. Living in Denmark makes seeing them hard, but when we do get together, it’s all good. Keep them close. You never know when you’ll need them.

11. Pictures and videos aren’t real life.

12. Everyone has their own timeline. This one in particular was hard for me to accept. Most of my peers are settling down right now, marriage, kids or buying a house. I’m not even remotely in the position to do so. And that is okay. There is no such a thing as a blueprint for life. We’re all just winging it. Some just get it done earlier than others.

13. Your life won’t change until your goals and habits do.

14. Stop playing the victim. It’s easy to sulk in self-pity, but reality is that you’re just holding yourself back.

15. Self care is important, even if it’s just 15 minutes a day. For me it is crucial to have some time alone every day. It is my way of recharging.

16. Exercise!!! Exercise is essential for health. Work out because you’re striving to be healthy, not for aesthetics. Sure, a tiny waist and a bubble butt are nice, but what are those things worth when you’re not healthy?

17. Eat healthy. Unhealthy food is good in moderation, no doubt. I’ll be the first to say a big fat YES to deep fried food, ice cream and cake. But too often isn’t good either. Preventative medicine is the best medicine.

18. If you have the means to do so, travel. Traveling gives opportunity to expand your mindset. There is so much to learn from different cultures and seeing the world from another perspective is never a bad thing in my opinion!

19. Carpe diem. Each day is a new opportunity to improve yourself and be the person you want to be.

20. Cliché, but follow your dreams. Do what makes you happy. You only have this one life, so make it the life you want to be. Don’t settle for a job you’re not happy with or an education you’re not passionate about.

21. Money doesn’t make you happy BUT it can provide comfort. Save up!!

22. Read. A lot. It can be anything, really. From fiction to scientific articles. Feed your mind. It makes you an interesting person.

23. Go out in nature. It is so easy to get caught up in the buzzing city life, but such a hectic lifestyle makes it easy to forget about yourself and the people around you. Nature has a great way to unwind and recharge. For me it’s the forest. My Opa always took me and my sister, when we were little, out into the woods and the energy there calmed my thoughts a lot. Even now, at 25, the forest still has a way of making me forget about all my problems for a while.

24. Don’t take yourself too seriously. If you mess something up, laugh about it.

25. Know how far you have come since 16, 18 and 21.

So there’s that. 25 things. I could probably think of about a 100 more, but this will have to do for now. It has been a wild ride so far. I wonder where life will take me next. I used to say that I wouldn’t be able to hit 25. I was depressed, broken and beaten down, but now, at this moment, I truly mean it when I say that I can’t wait what the next 25 years have in store for me. I just hope it will be good.

What are some important life lessons you have learned? I would love to hear them!

– Naiyee

Long time no see!

Hey you! It has been a while. Life has been pretty hectic lately. 6 weeks ago I went to the Netherlands to see my family and my boyfriend came along too. We had a blast. It was so lovely to be reconnecting with family and friends. Leaving was hard.. I felt out of place being back in Denmark and even though the homesickness has subsided, I still feel a bit lonely. Not that I have much time to think about it though, since my exams are coming at me in full force.

I have 8 exams this period, 4 of which are done now. I passed physics, which was a miracle, since physics is one of the harder subjects for me to understand, but I must admit that spending time reading up on it and doing additional research really did help. I’m looking forward to having it on B level after the summer. Other than that I had written English, written Math and Geography as well. English and Geography went great, I have not yet gotten my English grade back, but I finished Geography with the second highest grade. I’m pretty proud of that. However, the rush of getting good grades didn’t last me very long, considering I have a Chemistry exam coming up, which I didn’t manage to do a lot for. Chemistry at this point does not have my highest priority, considering I’ll take it on B-level next year, but I’d still like to pass obviously! I decided to prioritise the subjects I’ll be finishing this semester, which are Geography, English and Religion. I just don’t have the time to put equal amounts of effort in each and every subject.

This past semester has been tough. 40 hrs of school, additional hours for homework, work in the weekends, trying to stay in shape, keeping the place clean and seeing a friend every once in a while has taken a toll on me. School had to take the backseat at times in order for me to also get other things done and it shows. I guess that’s the downside of studying as an adult, but hey, even that is a learning curve.

I realised that grades are important, but not to the extent of them dominating your life and happiness. I prefer to focus on the subject I’m good at, which luckily enough are a few. The other ones I’ll try out and if they won’t work out, then at least I’ve tried. Despite this rough period, I’m still content with what I’ve managed and done so far. Right now I just want everything to be done and over with. I booked myself plane tickets to see my boyfriend and the in-laws in a few weeks and I’ll be staying in Finland over the summer. It’ll be nice to get away for a while and empty my head. I need some nature, fun and sauna therapy, ha! I’m already giddy thinking about it.

Yeah, it has been a while indeed.. What have you been up to? I’d love to hear your stories!

– Naiyee

Taking up old hobbies

Recently I have decided to take up an old hobby again. And that hobby is drawing! I used to love drawing when I was younger. My mom would have a sketchbook and pencils with her whenever we went out somewhere, just in case I got bored when we were out shopping or in church. I remember it being the best thing ever whenever my teacher in school scheduled an hour of drawing because I could let my creativity let loose. Every free moment I had I’d spend with my nose in my sketching block.

But then I stopped and I don’t really know why I did, but I had a friend once tell me that I would have been amazing if I had just kept at it. It’s sad that I stopped, really! I guess life just kind of happened and I forgot all about it. I dabbled a little bit into painting and crafting as well, both of which I really enjoy doing too. But there are only 24 hours in a day and combining it with school, work, trying to stay in shape AND maintain somewhat of a social life is tough! So for now I’ll just stick with one hobby at a time.

It feels like a better way of spending the time I have, instead of binge watching shows on Netflix. Not that there is anything wrong with that though! I love me a good movie marathon every once in a while, I think most people do, but to me it feels more productive to improve a skill instead of watching a series for 8 hrs on end.

Holding a pencil again was strangely familiar. I decided to doodle a bit and the rest kind of just happened. I was happy to find out that I don’t completely suck at it, haha! It is a challenge for sure, but honestly, I’m just happy to be taking it back up again.

drawing
A flower I doodled a couple of days ago. Seeing as it has been so long, I am actually pretty proud!

So far, I have found flowers and animals some of the easier things to draw, so that will be my main focus for now. Once I have gotten more used to that I might move onto humans or bigger drawings. My doodles so far have been pretty small. Bigger drawings are challenging because of the proportions.

But drawing is just one of the many things I’d love to get good at. I’d also love to get good at knitting, sewing, embroidering and baking! Unfortunately with the limited time I have, I’ll just have to stick with this for now.. And it’s great! I am SO excited about drawing again.

So many hobbies, so little time… Do you have any hobbies and if you do, what do you like to do? I’d love to hear about it!

The feeling of being stuck

Crazy how life sometimes gets in the way of everything isn’t it? I keep promising myself to write more, but then school and a lack of sleep happens. This semester is a busy one and it is a humbling experience to say the least. I often find myself wondering if this is what I really want. Becoming a vet is something I’ve wanted since I was little, but I’ve always been aware of the fact that this will be an incredibly tough journey. Biology and chemistry I have always found interesting but math and physics are a struggle. I have never been a genius at the science related subjects, but I am strong with languages and working with people.

This raised the question on whether or not I should be doing this. My degree as a vet tech can’t really be used to get into a university of applied sciences here in Denmark, unfortunately, but it can in the Netherlands and Finland. Returning to the Netherlands wouldn’t be as easy as it may sound, since we lost our home when my mom died, I can’t just move in with a family member or a friend and I don’t feel like racking up a ton of debt before the age of 30. One also doesn’t just casually to Finland without taking all of the risks into consideration either. It’s almost like trying to solve a complicated puzzle.

I’ve been looking around at different educations a lot, and currently Adventure Tourism and perhaps a degree in Business sound the most exciting to me. But then the ”what if” thought pops up. What if I quit what I am doing now, only to find out that I could have easily passed through this GED course and gotten into vet school? Or what if I get into vet school, but my love and I won’t be able to close the distance for another decade or so? Am I wanting to spend another 10 years struggling or do I choose something that fits my strengths best and pursue that? Tough decisions and no one to help me but myself.

As I’m getting older, I realise that there are many different things out there, exciting things and that vet school may not be the end all be all in life. I used to really have my eyes on the prize, become successful and be respected, but lately my mood has shifted a lot. Be it because I’ve been following my heart more now than ever, but I’ve come to realise that being successful isn’t always what makes you happy. And the art of being successful – what does it even mean? Does it mean having a lot of money in the bank, a big house, having people respect you because of your academia or is it just as simple as being at peace and happy?

In the end, being successful is a very subjective thing, since it isn’t a one-size-fits-all type of thing. For some it is wealth and I guess that I’m still trying to figure it all out.

For as long as I can remember I have been seeking for happiness and I still haven’t gotten there just quite yet. I guess obtaining it means making tough decisions and maybe even breaking some hearts and hurting some feelings on the way. But I have gotten to a point where I feel stuck. I want to be unapologetically myself, but it’s easier to keep up the appearance that people have gotten from me over the years. Eventually I will figure it out, I hope, but for now I feel stuck. And it sucks.

Have any of you out there ever felt stuck and if you did, how did you break free? I could use some tips..

– Naiyee

 

World Galgo Day: One of the most exploited breeds around

When I was 17, I adopted my first Galgo. I named her Falera.The breed always fascinated me and everyone who has or works with them, knows that it is a breed with a lot of pain behind them. I had known quite some people who had adopted a couple and they always went around, promoting them, telling people to adopt them because they are just that great. At the time I was working at an animal shelter who happened to have a collaboration going on with a foundation who rescue abandoned and abused Greyhounds and Galgos. I was very well aware that I couldn’t adopt just any dog I happened to like and the adoption of Falera was unexpected, but so welcome.

At the shelter, she was this quiet, timid but sweet little pup, but as soon as I took her home, she changed. She was excited, but scared of everything that would move above her. I remember taking her out for a walk in town, long after I adopted her alongside my other dog Hayley, and she completely broke down, howling and screaming, so I took her back home. Clearly she has not been socialized a lot in her early stages of development and it still shows till this day. Not only that, but she was difficult to deal with when I just got her. She and I struggled a lot with understanding each other, also because my other dog was so easy, but I soon realized that dogs are individuals and should never be treated with a “one size fits all” solution. So I spent weeks, if not months studying her. Why is she the way she is? Why does she want me to be close, but want me to leave at the same time? I observed not only that, but also the scars and traces on her body. She has this long scar running down her neck, like a cutting wound. We suspected that it could be a scar of where they cut her microchip out, since that isn’t exactly uncommon practice in Spain. Not just that, but she had her dewclaws cut off, poorly. There are still stumps left, one of which grows a very weird nail out of it and falls off again over time. But she also has scars on her hind feet, the big pads are half gone and has weird scarring on her hocks as well. I think it’s burned, either by a hot object or acid perhaps. She’s not suffering, it only rubs raw whenever it freezes a lot.

These findings made me wonder how they could do that to such a young dog. She was about a year old when I took her home and she isn’t even anywhere near as traumatized as some other pups I have seen. But then it became clear to me that this isn’t at all an uncommon thing among Galgos from Spain. Retired hunting dogs have often suffered horribly and the ones ending up in shelters are the lucky ones, because they’re still here.. Lucky may not even be a fair way to describe it, because I have seen dogs that suffered so much to the point of them having to be put down due to all the mental trauma.

The dogs are often disposed of after the hunting season, all based on how well they performed during that season. A lot of Galgos end up hanged after the season, since they are now deemed useless and it costs money to feed them in the off season, so culling their hunting dogs is the cheaper option. If the dog did well, they hang them higher up in the tree, so it’s a quicker death. If they did bad, they end up being hanged lower, sometimes to the point where their tippytoes can still reach and they end up hanging themselves just by the pure exhaustion of not being able to stand on their feet anymore. But this is just one way they sometimes dispose of dogs. Some end up being thrown down into wells, lit on fire, having their limbs broken and abandoned out in the wilderness amongst other things.

Some hunters do the more morally correct thing and surrender their retired hunting dogs to a shelter, but this also is a problem. Shelters often lack the funds and space, so lots of rescue groups take in the dogs and adopt them out to other countries, which is amazing work. Thousands of Galgos get disposed every hunting season and World Galgo Day spreads awareness about this issue. This is something you rarely ever hear about, but it is a big deal.

Galgos are excellent companions and some of the sweetest dogs you will ever meet. They are not for everyone, that is for sure, but you might just change your mind once you get to know them. I may have struggled with understanding mine, but after having taken the time to understand her, I have gained a whole lot of admiration for how resilient dogs are. Their ability to stay kind to humans after they have been treated badly is amazing to me.

If there would even be one of you out there reading this and considering to adopt a dog, consider looking into a Galgo. They need you and you may need them too.

– Naiyee

My ongoing struggle with the feeling of not being good enough.

The past weeks have been overwhelming to the point of me barely doing what I love to relieve the weight on my shoulders and resulted with me having a migraine for three!!!! days straight. This weekend I decided to my hobbies a priority, those being yoga and writing! Be it journaling or writing on my blog, writing is therapeutic to me in ways I can’t even put into words.

The new semester only started a couple of weeks ago and I am already overwhelmed. With that, the creeping fear of not being good enough popped up again as well. My exams have gone fine so far and ended up scoring pretty okay too, which for me was a confidence booster. But this semester we got introduced to some new subjects. Subjects that I hadn’t touched for a good couple of years. So getting back into them was difficult. My class consists of some incredibly bright people, the type of people that are going to make it very far in life. The more power to them, I wish them all the best! But I can’t help but compare myself to them. Comparison is poison for an insecure mind. I know I shouldn’t, but I do it anyway. I have to keep reminding myself that a lot of them have been dealing with these subjects for a while and that all of these things aren’t completely new to them.. I talked about this with a classmate the other day and she reassured me that I have nothing to be insecure about. She also mentioned how impressive it is that I am taking these very heavy science based courses in my third language after only having lived in Denmark for four-and-a-half years. I hadn’t really looked at it from that perspective and for a moment I did feel pretty good about myself.

But this struggle isn’t exactly new to me. I have always felt that I, in a way, was beneath my peers. I couldn’t really tell you why, but I just do. I compare myself too much to others and I feel like I need validation a little bit too much. My fitness journey (which I will write about some other time) is a perfect example of this. I went from 100+ kilos in 2014 to losing a good 35 kilos in the span of 2 years, convinced that I would finally be happy when my stomach would be flat. Surprise.. It didn’t. Instead I spent 2 years obsessively comparing myself to other women on a similar journey, hoping that I could be like them. Obviously I would never be like them, because I am me and that is okay too. That is just one example though, I have many more, unfortunately.

I really want to start trying to be myself unapologetically. So what if I’m not a straight A student, or the girl with a big booty and stunning abs? I’m not exactly an uninteresting person. I emigrated at 20, I speak three languages and I’m learning a fourth one, I have weird hobbies and I’m working hard towards accomplishing my goals. This however, isn’t too easy to keep reminding myself of, but eventually I’ll get there I hope.

Are any of you guys out there struggling with the same thing, and if so, how do you cope with it?

Any tips would be so much appreciated!

– Naiyee