Utrecht, Netherlands

9 02 2014

It has been now a little more than three months since I have moved to the Netherlands for my new work here. In this period I also had a one week training trip, with my new colleagues, to Seattle, at the company headquarters. A lot of first times in little… time. I have not been very good at updating lately but still I got no plans to abandon this little personal blog.

Plans is a big word for me though! Lately, the “plans” did not work out exactly as.. planned!!

As for last September I moved back to Europe. I will write more about this in the future, but among the different reasons that people might try to guess the only thing sure is that I did not move back because I did not like China!!! As a matter of fact I still miss extremely much my life style in China and the friends over there (Hong Kong and Taiwan included).

This return to Europe has not been easy. As I have been fast in enjoying and getting use to the life in China I had expected that getting myself re-acquainted to the European life style would have been easy. I was wrong. More than 5 months back and I still do not feel “home” for several aspects. Without going too much in details now, I admit I did not expect the Netherlands to be so expensive. After many years in Norway, basically 80% of my working life there, you get the idea that the rest of Europe is much less expensive than Scandinavia. Then, China of course gave me a completely new dimension about life and costs. I can’t say I was too much used about Chinese life, but, before moving to Utrecht, I had asked my friends in Italy about their typical expenses in terms of house rent and everyday stuff, people living in medium large cities.. but Utrecht turned out to be different, to be as expensive as, in comparison, large Italian cities. It is the first time that the rent of the tiny place where I live takes an extremely high part off my salary, and translating in RMB the rest I make more or less the same amount of money I was making in China!

I expect that when I know better the city I will manage to find the cheaper spots for both shopping and out life. Unfortunately lately I do not have much motivation to go out and explore. I am just interested in getting good at the new job and learn more about the medical industry my work relates to. And see what kind of doors this new experience will open for me.

On the other hand, being back let me meeting again lots of Aikido friends and Aikido instructors I really missed when in China. As people that know me can imagine, Aikido was of course among the reasons that favourite a return to Europe. Here in Utrecht I have joined a club where I feel my Aikido fits the best (after trying for another one first). The style (of both clubs where I have been trying actually) is the one defined by Ikeda Masatomi sensei, 池田昌富, an extremely structured Aikido with a lot of variations of techniques. I cannot say it is anywhere close to any of my teachers’ styles, but in the club I joined now there is more work on the contact and not an obsessive attack by uke resulting in a struggle where tori had basically no way out except.. kicking his/her partner in the nuts! And the people here has at least tried to meet other teachers in their Aikido life, outside from their own style. It is so easy to say to have an open mind, much more difficult to have it!

At least, when at best, now I can have again 3 session of practice in the weekdays and a better feeling of fitting in a “foreign” style. And then travel somewhere in the weekend 😉 A good Aikido friend told me about Yasuno sensei‘s words:

…in any case never give up your practice; in case you should not enjoy the keiko because you can’t train techniques as you like, nobody will never prevent you to train your ukemi like you want

Now it is Sunday, one of those few I am spending in Utrecht (no Aikido and no trip to Germany to visit 潘蕾) and finding the time to see a little around, check out some shops (open on Sundays is good, because they usually close before I get back from work!), have a walk in the centre and some time to tidy my place, before a few weekends of travelling!

So, a delayed happy new year and good luck to all of us for 2014!

Resolutions, predictions and 2013 wrap up will come later! With more words from my little world! 🙂


a cloudy afternoon



One response

10 02 2014

Welcome back! (or however you say it in Norwegian/Dutch/whatever language of your choice). Got your email; liked the explanation – and quite frankly typical of many practitioners that I know of.

And yes, hopefully we’ll meet each other in person on the mat – hopefully sooner rather than later.


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