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Notes from the weekend

1. Watching The Fault in Our Stars (with my boyfriend) in Holland is magic. A cosmic bonus: one of my favourite songs (Strange Things Will Happen) from my favourite band in the whole world (The Radio Dept.) played in one of the scenes, without me knowing that they are part of the soundtrack! The best surprise ever. I just love moments like that.

Me and M recorded this specific song during the time we just met. I took out my phone, he learned the chords quickly, and then we recorded it on that one snowy night. Later on, I made it into a movie which was an entry for Stockholm Shorts 2011. It was all DIY – I recorded a spontaneous Skype conversation (he was in Holland, I was in Singapore) and put the music over it. It brings back all the warm and fuzzy feelings. Aww. You can see it here:

Strange Things Will Happen from Angel Trinidad on Vimeo.

2.

“Work and leisure are complementary parts of the same living process and cannot be separated without destroying the joy of work and the bliss of leisure.” – E.F. Schumacher

3. I spent a lot of time in the sun this weekend. I saw Marloes again, after a long time! We walked around town, ate ice cream with loads of sprinkles, walked into shops to smell shampoo, and hung out at Roof Garden. We played N64 there and I beat her thrice at Super Smash Bros. Hehe!

Ice cream

4. I saw Case Mayfield play live at Roof Garden today – it was super dreamy. Then I ran into Marloes again at the Albert Heijn. We had drinks and sat in the sun with Pim at TAPE.

Case Mayfield

Marloes and me

5. A big birthday box arrived last Friday from home! It was filled with presents from my parents, one of my favourites is an old Mary lamp from my childhood. It’s absolutely beautiful- it reminds me of my mother, prayer and solemn, quiet memories.

6. Things I am loving lately: sweet popcorn, vanilla and tonka bean oil diffusers, my succulent plant in a pink pot, dogs, a crazy little goat called Jerry, cheering for my team when it wins, chocolate chip poptarts, being on Softly Sometimes and wearing my Swedish clogs. I also loved talking with my best friends on the other side of the world again, helping a friend who’s getting married with social media stuff, and Facetiming with parents. 🙂

A letter to Ideas Island

Ideas Island is a project by Fredrik Härén, an international speaker on business creativity and author of The Idea Book. He owns three islands (two in Sweden and one in the Philippines) and rents them out for free to creatives to help them in developing their ideas. Last week, I got to stay at Ideas Island #2 Vifärnaholme in Stockholm. This is a letter of thanks to the island, for inspiring me during my stay.

Angel Ideas Island

Dear Ideas Island,

I miss you already. I dream about you since the last time we saw each other: the moment I first saw you, shining in the distance. Waking up to peaceful mornings, the sun shining on my face (“I woke up in paradise,” I thought to myself.) The ever-present birds keeping me and my boyfriend M company. The lake, the trees, the bluest sky.

It was like a dream, but it wasn’t, and for that I am grateful. There are indeed places on earth that feel like heaven, and they truly exist. During my stay, time and space didn’t seem to exist, what only mattered was the here and now. My worries weren’t present (maybe I should try to live more like how I did on the island..) For the week that I was there, the purest of thoughts came to me and I just simply felt alive.

Time flies when you’re at the island. I first thought that I would be bored, but there was no single idle moment. I was either thinking of my project, writing an article, cooking a slow meal, having extended fika breaks, or trying to sneak up on the baby seagulls. And everything was enjoyable, even washing the dishes (with a view of a luscious lake, and the sun reflecting thousand of tiny diamonds on the water!)

While on the island, I read an article on Brainpickings.org on why quiet time is essential to a full life and a quote by Cheryl Strayed struck to me:

“The useless days will add up to something [because] these things are your becoming.”

I liked the idea of “becoming”. What a beautiful word it is in itself, too (Becoming: gerund or present participle “become”, grow to be, develop into; adjective, looking good on someone, attractive, flattering) I like that some things take time and during that time, we learn, we grow, we develop, we shape ourselves and we become, even without being aware of it. I remember thinking of a similar thought a few winters ago: looms are always spinning. Things are happening in parallel to what we are experiencing personally, things always change (and that is good!) Don’t despair when things are not going your way, for you don’t know the whole picture and many things are already happening that will lead to a new situation.

I thought of the creative process and how truly difficult it is. I thought of all the doubts, the second-guessing and the countless hours of writer’s block: which often lead me to think that I am “not being creative” or “not doing enough”. When in truth, it is part of the process and without it, we are not really being creative. In line with this, I should also let go of being a perfectionist.. I need to learn to be gentle to myself.

I am grateful that I am still on the path that I want to be in. A few years ago I had a plan and a picture of who I want to be, professionally and as a person. It wasn’t an easy road, but I stuck to it and now I am becoming that image: I live in Europe (I even have lived in my dream country, Sweden) and I am working in the fields I am most passionate for: the arts, culture, writing, nation branding and promoting Scandinavia and Holland. Somehow I found a way to shape the things I love into a career.

I am also glad that my professional and personal life are not two completely separate entities. I hope I will continue to be close to my passions, and that opportunities will open up so that I can live as close as I can get to my true, authentic self. The one I am happiest and at peace living with. 🙂

Becoming, idyllic, dreamy. That’s the best I can describe the time I was there, and at the same time that is what you are, Ideas Island! May you continue to inspire many others to breathe in ideas, create things for the good, and live out their dreams.

With love,
Angel

PS
Send my love to the three baby seagulls!

Seagulls

Ask Me Anything: New music, exciting things and a bajillion Euros

Ask Me Anything is a series of questions given by my friends and answered by me, Angel! If you have any questions that you would like me to answer, or if you’re just plain curious about me (because I am such a superstar), feel free to send me a message!

 

1. Who are your three new favourite bands?

Currently loving Future Islands so much! I’ve also seen them recently at Le Guess Who? Festival in Utrecht – they blew me away! Sam Herring is INTENSE, he’s the best performer I’ve ever seen. He grabbed my shoulder and shook me while singing “Do you believe in love?” 🙂 I do, I do, I do.

My favourite songs: Balance, Tin Man, and Old Friend.

Not really a “new” favourite band, but I’ve been listening to a lot of Blondie songs these days. I especially love “Sunday Girl” – it’s the soundtrack of my days in Ideas Island, where I am now staying for a week. Live in dreams, Sunday Girl.

Blondie’s “Heart of Glass” is my default karaoke song!

And again, not really a new find, but a sort of rediscovery. I’ve been listening a lot to our favourite Norwegian troubadour Sondre Lerche, especially here in Stockholm. I love “Heartbeat Radio” – I think it’s quite a sad but upbeat song, and it hits you in all the right places (in your sunny-dark melancholy soul). You just know Sondre’s heart is breaking behind all those jangly guitars.

He is releasing a new album soon called “Please” and a new video just came out of his song “Bad Law”. It’s about crimes of passion and being “that guy” at a party. Crazy times!

 

2. What’s your favourite food from the Netherlands?

Hmm tough question! Hehe. Well I do love Holland’s sweets, they have a lot of awesome baked goods there. I especially love the Christmas/ New Year treat called oliebol: a sort of deep-fried donut, sprinkled with confectioner’s sugar. Yum! I love Dutch cheese, especially the old ones. And bitterballen,  deep-fried snack balls which contain a mixture of meat and flour. Yeah, let’s deep-fry everything!

I also love eating at my neighbourhood Turkish restaurant, but is that counted as Dutch? :p

And I have to say, I love grocery shopping at Albert Heijn, they have the best selection ever! They also have the cutest hamster mascots which I ardently wait for on TV to show up. 🙂

 

3. If you have 1 bajillion Euros, what would you do with it?

ideasisland

Buy an island in the Swedish archipelago like the one I am on now. What a dream.

Check out the photo story I made of Ideas Island!

 

4. What is the most exciting thing that happened to you?

When I found out in 2008 that I won a scholarship to study in Europe and live my dream! I was screaming and jumping up and down with my best friend. That and the whole adventure and experience of living in Goettingen, Bilbao, Stockholm and of course, the Netherlands. I will definitely write about that in detail for those who don’t know. 🙂

 

5. Beyonce or Lady Gaga?

None. Haha I do like Lady Gaga’s opening act for her upcoming tour, though. BABYMETAL!!! \m/ Get ready to have your mind blown:

 

This set of questions is brought to you by my good friend and partner-in-achieving-dreams, DJ Yabis! DJ is the queen of eurotrip (and the glamorous founder of Dream Euro Trip). When not traveling, you can find him throwing dinner parties or working on DIY design projects for his apartment in Germany.

Notes from Stockholm

Greetings from Stockholm, my current home until the end of the month. It’s been great so far, as expected. I inhale and savour past memories and make new, colourful ones. The smell of Pressbyrån coffee and kanelbullar, the tingling sound of “Nästa Slussen” in the tunnelbana, the feeling of fresh summer rain.. some things never change.

And some things do, and that’s okay! I loved seeing my friends again – all of us now doing different things and “growing up” as working adults, reminiscing about our student days. But then again, we still do the same things: hanging out at Andy’s place eating candy and watching series, having fika outside, drinking loads of coffee, and just walking in the city, goofing around. I love being around their company. I love the awareness that there is always someone that I can just call to have dinner or coffee with. An awesome time is just a tunnelbana ride away.

I love that even if Stockholm seems like a bubble up in the North, with it’s hard habits and seemingly uniform culture, there are things that change in it too. New discoveries of a cafe by the lake (coffee with a new friend!), a food-court extravaganza smack in the middle of town (burrito fun times with Frida!), and the ultra hip new mall at Hornstull tunnelbana station (dumplings in the sun with Nat!)

I also met the nicest new people: colleagues of mine from the Netherlands Board of Tourism and Conventions, Dutchies who live in Sweden now. I love how my two worlds collide in their cozy, little spot in Götgatan. Plus, I got to watch the Holland-Spain world cup game at the Dutch Embassy. A glorious win for Holland!

But above all, I love that my feelings for Stockholm are also changing and growing up with me. I love that I have not two, but three places I consider “home” now, and that my heart expands to accommodate them all. A few years ago, I limited myself without knowing. Now I understand that there is always room: that a life is not contained, but extending.

A perpetual note to self: The good times are always now and yet to come.

Song: Bouquet’s Cave Life – a new favourite. My friend Natalie introduced me to her old band The Finches, where the lead singer is now making music as Bouquet. It sounds like falling in love.

Just live

It’s what she wants, first of all, and the people she admires — Tilda Swinton, say, or Kanye West — don’t define themselves only by the role that first earned them an audience. One point of guidance came from high school philosophy class. She can’t remember who said it, but it was something along the lines that you shouldn’t decide on your identity; that you should just live and your identity comes later.

– Tavi Gevinson from Tavi Forever

Change to stay the same

Change

Change was another word he used often. He said, “you have to change to stay the same” and it was the way he described the challenge of keeping the life in his art. But change requires work and a lot of risk-taking. To do it continually through a whole long career and at such a late age reflects a tremendous level of energy and endurance.” – MoMa on Willem de Kooning.

心想事成

Caspar_David_Friedrich_-_Meadows_near_Greifswald_-_WGA8267
“Meadows near Greifswald” Caspar David Friedrich, 1822

May all your wishes come true in the Year of the Horse!
心想事成

All wishes are ghosts

Perfect title, perfect song. This album by Snowbird is exquisite, beautiful and all the grand adjectives my heart cannot put into words. Stream “Moon” a few days in advance before its official release here.

Oh how music can change everything, in a heartbeat, in a moment.

Just stay here my darling.

14 December

Highlights of today:

1. This fantastic camel at Steenstraat.

2. Hanging out with this awesome girl at Winter Roof Garden during Rozet’s opening.

3. Totally feeling Phoenix’s “Bourgeois” and singing along with all my heart.

4. Singing karaoke at Winter Roof Garden and totally beating everyone’s a**. Pitch-perfect way to make new friends: be that Asian karaoke girl. 🙂