Asking for directions in Sofia (Bulgaria)

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When abroad I love traveling around with public transport. Sometimes it is difficult if you can’t understand what is written, like in Bulgaria for example where I am currently. Asking for directions at a metro station was a bit diffucult, the woman working there didn’t speak any English and the only thing written in English on the map were the metro stops not the surrounding streets. When I noticed the lady and I couldn’t get far I decided to assemble some basic Bulgarian  and tried to explain myself in that language. The woman working there responded by hand gesturing that I had to wait and grabbed a phone.
All of a sudden two big security guys show up…. Well damn, what did I say?! Did I just assemble the most threatening sentences in Bulgarian and said them to the woman? Why drag security into this!
Oh… never mind the guys came to give me directions. Such a relief. What a bunch of nice officers they are.
As they walked with me towards the map to show me where the street I wanted to go was, one of the policemen said in Bulgarian: ‘How come you don’t speak Bulgarian? Whenever I go abroad I always speak abroadian.’ Ha ha funny guy. He asked me where I am from and I said Holland. Both he and his colleague went crazy: ‘Oh my god Holland kicked Spain’s behind the other night. It was amazing!’ They asked me if I knew van Persie.
I said: ‘Yes, he is my cousin!’
They got extremely happy: ‘He’s your cousin…really?!?’
Me: ‘Nope.’
Luckily they could cope with my dry sense of humor. The three of us did some cavemen hooligan bonding over Holland’s great game. After that they explained the route I had to take…in Bulgarian… just perfect. I wrote down a few stops I could recognize. After I arrived at the next station I asked a security guy if he speaks English. He confidently said yes and then gave me new directions completely in Bulgarian.
At the end I managed to get to where I had to be and if things continue to go like this I will be speaking Bulgarian in no time. :)

Been there, saw that: Sam Smith live @ People’s Place Amsterdam

 

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Yesterday I finally got the chance to see the young and talented Mr. Sam Smith perform live at the People’s Place in Amsterdam. This of course was a great way to spend my Wednesday evening! The second Sam Smith started singing I thought: “Pshht that’s exactly what I sound like when I sing in the shower every morning”. Ok… that wasn’t really my thought and I so desperately wish I had even 1% of Sam Smith’s singing ability! I mean seriously, what did he drink when growing up and where can I get it?!
The first song he started with was the beautiful ‘Nirvana’, which I had on repeat for a long time. When I closed my eyes it felt just like I was listening to the record at home. He was able to nail all the difficult notes perfectly during each song. Without even blinking, as if it was the easiest thing in the world. This 22-year-old singer has definitely been blessed with a wonderful voice and I am glad he has the chance to share it with the world. He performed some songs we already were familiar with but also some new ones like ‘Leave your lover’, which will be featured on his debut album ‘In The Lonely Hour’. This European Spring tour of his has been very successful thus far and every performance has been sold out. Take a look at samsmithworld.com to see if he will be performing near you in the future and make sure you get your tickets quickly. He’s worth it, trust me. Here are some videos to give you an impression of last night’s performance (footage is a bit shaky because it was too crowded and there was always somebody pushing me by accident):
1. Nirvana

2. Leave Your Lover

3. Money On My Mind

4. Lay Me Down

5. Stay With Me

*The picture used at the beginning of this post was taken from Sam Smith’s Facebook page.

Video: Would You Help A Freezing Child?

This video will restore your faith in humanity and warm your heart in this cold winter day. It will also make you aware of what children in less wealthy counties and countries in a conflict like Syria go through daily without our help. “Would you help a freezing child?” is an interesting Norwegian social experiment and a campaign to donate jackets for Syrian children. Watch it here:

Audio: Ed Sheeran – I See Fire (Kygo remix)


A highly addictive remix of Ed Sheeran’s single ‘I See Fire’ has just been released. The one responsible for this lovely remix is Kygo. I can’t listen to anything else except this song at the moment. The only thing that would make this a better experience is if I was listening to this while relaxing on a tropical island. But we can’t have it all… now can we? Take a listen and enjoy:

Been there, saw that: Mayer Hawthorne @ Melkweg, Amsterdam

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Mayer Hawthorne’s music has been bringing a smile on my face for several years now but somehow I never got the chance to see him perform. This finally changed on the 16th of October when I went to his show at the Melkweg in Amsterdam.
I asked a friend of mine to join me to his performance and she actually didn’t know who he was. She accepted to go even if she had never heard any of his songs and at the end of the night she was completely in love with his music. This is a perfect example of how good his performance was, someone who had no knowledge of the songs actually enjoyed the whole performance.
The venue was packed and I was surprised by how divers the audience was. Mayer’s music is for all ages and as I looked around I only saw people smiling. There was such a positive atmosphere throughout the evening. Together with his band he was able to give an amazing performance, I loved the way they interacted with each other and with the crowd. It seemed as if they were having a good time on stage which also reflected on the audience. They were of course musically talented but also funny and entertaining.  I doubt if anybody went home not feeling happy. It seems impossible to me after a performance like that.
Unfortunately I couldn’t film but I did take some pictures, you can view them at the end of the post.
Mayer Hawthorne will be in Europe until the 26th of November, go to http://www.mayerhawthorne.com/tour/ to see if he will be performing in your area this month.

Video: Naughty Boy – Lifted ft. Emeli Sandé

Apparently I wasn’t paying attention that well because I didn’t expect a video for this song to be released this quick. I’ve been addicted to ‘Lifted‘ ever since Naughty Boy put it on his soundcloud. Just like his song ‘La La La’ this single is one that will have a permanent spot in your music playlist. On August the 26th Naughty Boy will release the album ‘Hotel Cabana‘ which I am sure will be filled with a lot more incredible songs therefore I can’t wait to hear it. Take a look at the video for ‘Lifted‘ and enjoy the song:

FYI: The way the girl moves at 1:27/1:28 that’s basically how I reacted the first time I heard this track ;)

For those who haven’t seen the awesome second part of the trailer for ‘Hotel Cabana‘, you can watch it here:

 

Animated Poetry: Mahmoud Darwish – The Dice Player || محمود درويش – لاعب النرد

There are a lot of negative things we can say about Facebook and probably all of them are true but this is a good example of the benefits it has.
I just saw a friend comment on this video and that’s how I was able to know of its existence.
It’s an animation made for the poem “The Dice Player” by the poet Mahmoud Darwish. This is known as the last poem by Mahmoud Darwish, who passed away in 2008. In this poem he describes the Palestinian struggle like no one else can. It’s an extremely powerful poem and this animation only adds to its greatness.
This animation is part of the project “Visual Poetry” made in the Media Design Department at the GUC. I’m really eager to see what else they will make.
If you don’t know Arabic, don’t worry. They’ve added English subtitles to the animation, this way non-Arabic speakers (like myself) can also understand it.