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A Day in My Life: From the Netherlands to the USA

04/04/2010
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Life Across the World: From Wildervank to Irvington, NY

“The universe is transformation; our life is what our thoughts make it.” ~ Marcus Aurelius
“Life is like a coin. You can spend it any way you wish, but you only spend it once.” ~ Lillian Dickson

Life: A Rainbow of Opportunities ... by tj1959 via WG

Happy Easter and Happy Resurrection Day! By now you must have concluded all your festivities around this special Christian celebration. I like Easter because not only does it come right around spring when early flowers start to show their colors and the temperature warms up, but it also brings a message of spiritual renewal and rebirth – the resurrection of Christ.

This week, I bring you a guest writer/blogger, Deana Martina, to share some insights on the world she inhabits in Wildervank in the Netherlands. When Deana, who by the way is a good friend I met through Twitter, and I conceived the idea of sharing something about our daily lives, we were quite excited until we looked at the topic and the venue… the internet. We both agreed that sharing a snippet would be more interesting than a journal-like entry about our day.

Below is Deana’s piece followed by mine. Grab a cuppa tea or coffee, sit back and enjoy! As always, your comment/feedback below is appreciated.

A Day in My Life in Wildervank.

“To live remains an art which everyone must learn, and which no one can teach.” ~ Havelock Ellis

Life at Home: Wildervank at Night... via DWM

Life: Wildervank by Rens Van Stalen

Unlike my friend Elizabeth from NY, most of my days, here in Wildervank, are typical lately. It depends of the day of the week; if I’m at home by myself or not. However, the first few days of spring this year 2010, are very different.

Recently, my friend from NY and I agreed to write about a day in our lives. Not only is the environment we live in so different, we are also in different phases of our lives. She lives in the USA and I live in Europe.

I spent 37 years in the corporate world as an employee. For the last several years, I have been a stay at home mom with two young students still living with us at home.
My responsibilities are very different from what they used to be. I don’t need an alarm clock. I wake up when my body tells me I’ve slept enough. Isn’t that nice?

I mostly have 7 hours of sleep per night and I feel very energetic the whole day. I sleep very well every night; there was a time when it wasn’t that way at all.
I’m very grateful that I can decide for myself when I get out of bed. If I feel like reading or writing in bed for a while before getting out of bed, I can do that.

The most precious thing I get from being at home now is that I get to do the things I want to do whenever I feel like doing them. So this morning, I felt like staying in bed and writing the beginning of this post. It felt good to sit in bed, with the sun shining through the window and reflecting back in the mirror of our closet.

Wildervank: The View from my Window via DWM

I enjoy my life intensely because I get to decide my own program for the day. I decide if I should take the dog for a walk at 9.00 or at 10 or at 11 am. Pointer, our dog, will let me know when he feels like going out. If he doesn’t want to go for a walk, he will stay asleep and won’t get out of his basket or get out of his chair until he feels like it. He will look at me, turn his head and keep on sleeping.

Today, I decided that we were ready for our walk at 11.00am and Pointer agreed with me. We enjoyed the walk and we met up with another dog; a friend of Pointer’s and her owner.
As you can imagine, most of the dog owners and dogs in this neighborhood know each other. We often have very nice chats while walking our dogs.

We stopped by a neighbor who was preparing his garden for the spring time. When spring is in the air, you will notice most people are in a very good mood and up for a chat.

The gardening neighbor used to have two old dogs, but now his dogs are not with us anymore. But we, the other dog owner, myself and the gardener, were no strangers to each other and the three of us started a conversation about the tree he was pruning. Then, the conversation went on about dogs and cats and we finished the conversation discussing the fact that most young adults leave the village when they want to study for a higher education and don’t come back. Sometimes, they return only when they retire.

Life: Wildervank in Winter via DWM


Life: Man and Mull in Wildervank

The village lacks a certain group of people of a particular age; especially people with higher education of a particular age. The region doesn’t have enough work opportunities for this group of people. But then again, the region offers us the opportunity to live with a lot more space and have bigger gardens than people in the big cities have; that is if the city people even have a garden.

We talked about the fact that we are able to walk for a whole hour in the surroundings without meeting anybody and how great it is for our dogs to be able to play and run as they like. After our chat, I went home, let Pointer, our dog in the home and visited another neighbor who has not been feeling well. I had a cup of coffee with her, we chatted a bit and then I went home.

I took advantage of the nice sunny spring day and hung my laundry outside to dry.
Unlike in wintertime, I can hang our clothes in our garden to get my laundry dry in spring and summer. I do miss that in the winter time as I prefer not to use the clothes dryer; I seldom use it.

In the afternoons, I spend time on my PC. Since I don’t have a job anymore, I’m working on building a business from home. I use my time at home to work on getting the skills needed to be successful in my new business. I have the time to get knowledgeable on the industry I’m now in and I work on my personal development. I also work on building my visibility on the internet since I plan to do my networking and relationship building with people all over the world. I read, listen to training calls, and keep up with my virtual friends on the different social sites I use to build relationships. I work on my “Know, Like and Trust” skills.

What I like most about being at home is the freedom I have to decide when I do what I want to do. Today I have to cook dinner. My husband, Ronald, and I have agreed that the days he is not working outside the house, he cooks dinner and on the other days I cook dinner.

One of our two sons spends a lot of his time sporting and he has to eat two hours before his training, so I keep that in mind and try to have dinner ready in time. Most of the time, he reminds me when he is planning to go to his training and what time he would like to eat. Other than that, I can do what I want and that is the freedom I deserve and enjoy after being an employee, working in a job for 37 years. I’m very grateful for this freedom.

Steam Train in Wildervank via DWM

Wildervank by Oet Grunn! via Flickr

I must say that I can so relate to the experience Elizabeth describes of her days on the Metro North train. I traveled to work by train for 21 years and I used to meet the same people who, for years, were also on the same train almost every day. Some of us even became friends and used to go for a drink once in a while in summer time.

Now my life is mostly around the house, from behind my PC, but it will not stay that way forever. With the internet, I have virtual friends all over the world now. I have friends from Australia to USA and Canada and contacts with my family in the Caribbean whenever I want to and have time for it.

Deana Wilmink Martina lives in the beautiful village of Wildervank with her family and recently started writing a spirited Baby Boomer Blog. You may connect with her on Twitter at this link @DeanaMartina

A Day in My Life … commuting from Irvington, NY

“Life is easier than you’d think; all that is necessary is to accept the impossible, do without the indispensable, and bear the intolerable.” ~ Kathleen Norris

Life on the Hudson River - Irvington Park by Lori via Flickr

Life: Main Street Irvington via Steve and Sara ~ Flickr

No day is completely typical in my world. My patterns change depending on the day. Sometimes I wake up with a spring in my step and other days I wake up feeling as if I climbed up Mount Everest. My best buddy, Diahann, insists its diet related. I put it down to aging. Whatever it is, what matters is that when I open my eyes in the morning, I am just darned glad to be alive; another day to enrich my mind; another day to work out the kinks in my writing efforts; another day to make a difference in the life of a current/prospective student in my program; another day to be mom – hiccups and all.

When my dear friend, Deana, who lives in the Netherlands, and I agreed to write about “a day in the life…” and share a typical day in our locations with each other and our readers, I was quite excited until I remembered, “Oh, this is on the internet., how do I share without over-sharing…?” I mean seriously, how do you share a typical day without becoming an open diary; pegged and all?

Perhaps sharing a particular routine instead of the whole caboodle might be good; what do you think? Perhaps dissecting a slow day or a truly hectic day might work? I don’t know but here’s my stab at one thing that starts out the same but never remains constant because of the cast of characters I meet daily… my train ride to work.

My alarm on both my blackberry and bedside clock are set for 6:30am but truth is I wake up earlier – sometimes at 4:30am or at 5:00am. If I have a particularly hectic work day ahead, I visualize the day and plan moments to pause, breathe, meditate, vent or just grab a bite to eat. In the cold season, I tend to linger a bit longer in bed but not so during the warmer seasons. I always say prayers when I wake and do some meditation or simple stretches then it’s off to do my daily oblations and maybe some early morning writing.

Favorite Past time: The Croton Aqueduct walking path in Irvington

A northbound Metro North Train with views of the Hudson River

I live in a small, quaint village on the Hudson River in a suburb of New York. Like most people who commute from my part of the world into the City (NYC and the boroughs), the Metro North train is our transport of choice. It offers a clean, reliable and reasonably priced way to get into New York City; plus, the Hudson Line does just what it promises, it offers a beautiful view of the Hudson River and the surrounding landscape on a daily basis.

I take 1 of 3 trains that routinely arrive at my station sometime after 7:00am every day. Which train I actually end up taking depends on whether Rich drops me off, I drop the kids off at school first, or I drive and park at the station before hitting the platform and heading for work. Either way, there is always a core group of people who ride the same train and I imagine they wonder, like I do, where someone is when they don’t show up for the early morning ride.

The wait, on the platform, for the southbound train is often in silence; except for the occasional chatter amongst a few riders. On a cold day, when the air is particularly chilly from the breeze blowing off the Hudson River, we huddle inside the heated waiting room and wait for our Manhattan bound train’s arrival.

Grand Central: Brass Clock at Entrance via W. Koch

Life: Grand Central Terminal after the Morning Rush

What I like about the ride is the steadiness of it all; the same conductors (two male, one female) repeating the same reminders “all tickets please”, the passengers with their quirky preferences heading to favorite seats or not, the express/local stops along the way, the familiar faces stepping in at each stop, people reading their newspapers, checking emails on their blackberries or talking quietly on their cell phones, the cast of characters who add an element of surprise to what could be called a routine or mundane ride, and the hum of the engines churning along as we speed from stop to stop (about 4-6 on the express and 10 or more on the local) until we reach our final destination – Grand Central Terminal Station.

Getting back to the quirky preferences passengers have on my Metro North train, I like grouping passengers into clear categories; there are the window-sitters, the exit-sitters, the sleepers, the standers, the sprawlers and the prowlers. All of these categories make for a rather interesting early morning commute. The window-sitters love the Hudson River views and head directly for a seat facing that side on the train. The exit-sitters always go for the exit seat; just like some people do on planes – their motivation is to be able to exit without asking permission from the oblivious person snoozing or reading next to them.

The sleepers pick a window seat on the opposite side from the Hudson River view and turning their heads to face the window, return to their musings in dreamland. The standers rarely sit down, preferring to stand by the train door, tipping and tilting along with the curves on the tracks as the train hurtles along on its way into the city.

In Repose: Rip Van Winkle on Main Street

The last two categories, sprawlers and prowlers, are erratic occasional riders who sit wherever and spread their bags, legs and whatnot’s across train seats, talk loudly on cell phones or to their traveling companions. These characters are not regular riders but, nonetheless, they find their place by disrupting the status quo of what some might view as a ho-hum ride. As much as one would expect the regulars to despise these roustabouts, I suspect most don’t. Why not? Because by their presence alone, the sprawlers and prowlers force us out of our early morning, self-absorbed reverie. They pierce through our contented lull and remind us that there are all sorts of people in the world; even in suburbia

Which category of passenger am I? I change roles depending on how I start my day. I can go from window-sitter to sleeper to exit-sitter and sometimes make that decision when I actually get on the train and see what seats are available. Once seated, I always check my make-up, read Joel Osteen’s daily word prayer message, read a New York Times alert news piece, send my sister a blackberry instant message, visit my blogs and then settle down to sleep, read or just look out the window. For the 35-55 minutes it takes to get into the city, I take the time to mentally prepare for my work day and catch my breath.

Once at Grand Central Terminal, a truly stunning old world Beaux Arts style station with ½ an acre of polished beige marble floors, a massive brass clock, sweeping marble staircases and a wonderful domed ceiling showing the stars and galaxies of a New York winter night, we are greeted by combat ready police, military guards (a byproduct of 9/11) and the loud buzzing sounds of possibly 1 million plus daily commuters heading for the subways or doorways to get to work. I head across the main concourse floor of the station to catch my number 6 downtown, underground subway train.

New York City Subway Station before the crowds arrive

The subway is a jarring, fast and sometimes dirty, smelly morning ride. By the time I get to my final stop and take the final jaunt to my office, it is a solid 1:30 hours. When I factor in the time I leave home to my arrival at work, it takes me 1:45hours to get to work. I pause, say a prayer of gratitude that I made it without incident, and then, like clockwork, I start the process all over again at day’s end.

Elizabeth writes a weekly WordPress blog: Mirth and Motivation and a monthly Blogger blog: I twitter therefore I am? She is a working mom who cherishes her family, friends, spiritual and social media connections and God’s loving grace.

PHOTO CREDITS:
Photos of Wildervank and Irvington,NY ~ Google Images/Flickr/Wunderground
Photos of Wildervank by DWM ~ via Deana’s collection
New York City Grand Central Terminal ~ Google Images & Wayne Koch
New York City Subway shots ~ Google Images

Until Next Time…
Ask. Believe. Receive. ©
Elizabeth Obih-Frank

20 Comments leave one →
  1. Bree permalink
    05/04/2010 12:17 am

    Excellent! I say go for the gold be it at work or home.
    This is a breath of fresh air and a new approch.
    I love the underlying message ladies.
    Thank you!

    • 07/04/2010 5:33 pm

      Thank you Bree! This was a project that gave me much food for thought. Share your story sometime… 😉

  2. Cassie permalink
    05/04/2010 10:23 am

    This is very interesting to read. I like the personal touch and the way each story shows a different side to being a mom; stay at home or working. It’s all hard work. Nice job ladies!

    • 07/04/2010 5:37 pm

      I agree as I have been on both sides of the stay-at-home/work outside divide. It is all hard work for moms around the world and every mom should be applauded! Thank you for the support 🙂

  3. 06/04/2010 7:17 pm

    Hi Bree,

    I’m glad that you saw the underlying message from my side.
    I cannot speak for Elizabeth.

    There are so much in life to be so grateful for. I used to take all that for granted. Now that I have much more time for my self I see how wonderful it is to have that time freedom and to live where I can enjoy nature.

    Deana Wilmink-Martina

    • 07/04/2010 5:39 pm

      So true Deana … Gratitude is an attitude and we are all blessed.
      Thanks again for being my guest writer/blogger!
      🙂

  4. Bree permalink
    07/04/2010 12:14 am

    Thank you for your reply Deana – gratitude is something we all need these day!
    Your village sounds like a peaceful place to live; lucky you.
    What type of business do you do from home?
    Thanks again!

  5. 07/04/2010 5:31 pm

    Thank you Gregory and do come back again and share your story. 🙂

  6. 08/04/2010 8:23 am

    Relaxing reading. Working as a self-employed artist & songwriter I relate to Deana’s ‘freedom- timetable’ – I just heard someone speaking on National Radio about how, in the end, people are more successful in careers when we are lovig what we do – so good on you! Great to see the photos from two sides of the world! – I’m almost there!

    Reading about your lifestyles, I am inspired to share mine – it’s in my Baby Boomer Girl Blog (WordPress) – click on the Echo Living post – tell me what you think! Good one ladies!
    Cheers from New Zealand

  7. 09/04/2010 1:04 am

    I enjoyed this post so much 🙂 Bravo to you both for writing such an entertaining post and the photographs are simply beautiful! You both live in lovely places.

    Deana, thanks for directing me here 🙂

    • 10/04/2010 11:04 am

      Thank you Dori for your feedback – much appreciated!
      Eliz

  8. 09/04/2010 1:24 am

    Hi Bree,

    Indeed I do consider my self lucky and also rich to have people around me supporting me and loving me.

    Of course a person’s luck also depends on the relationships he or she builds. I’m working on my web of relationships.Friends tend to think of you when an opportunity comes on their path.( Then you’re lucky)
    And of course when you go for what you want.
    I was not born here.

    I’m building a people’s business from home. Network Marketing.

    Thank you again.

  9. Rose Casanova permalink
    10/04/2010 9:17 am

    I love this piece. I was able to visualize both your worlds just through the text. The photos were an added bonus.

    • 10/04/2010 11:03 am

      Hi Rose,
      Great to see you here. How are you doing?
      How about that guest blogger post? Would love to add your voice here.
      Thanks too for your feedback – much appreciated!
      E 🙂

      • Rose Casanova permalink
        11/04/2010 12:13 pm

        Would love to guest blog. You pick the topic, I’ll write the piece. btw. I moved to NYC.

  10. 10/04/2010 12:43 pm

    What a great post! I loved the pictures! I have been learning more about women all around the world this year at communalglobal.blogspot.com

    Fascinating stuff!

  11. 10/04/2010 2:26 pm

    I really enjoyed reading about you and where you live and the things you do during the day. I loved how your wrote it as well. Sometimes when reading “a day in the life of” I find I am very often bored. However you did a great job keeping my interest.

  12. goz permalink
    11/04/2010 5:40 am

    Poetic..I loved this! Liz, you’re such a gifted writer..for five, six minutes, I actually ‘rode’ that train with you, visualising the kaleidoscopic characters..and Deana, such beautiful photography, aptly capturing your bucolic lifestyle..whether staying/working at home or working outside, I think it’s important to “embrace the moment”..life is made up of seasons..and each one prepares you for the next..I wish you both well – remarkable in your “everyday greatness!”

  13. 11/04/2010 12:13 pm

    Baby Boomer Girl, Melissa & Goz,
    Thank you for your generous comments. Deana and I enjoyed the process and I look forward to other collaborations with her.
    Have a blessed week ahead everyone and thank you all!
    Eliz 🙂

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