A Smiling Woman on the Bus

Today, as I was heading home, after a rough day at work, I saw a woman in the bus that struck me. She was probably around fifty, with a grey, pixie haircut and a very pleasant face. The first thing I noticed about her, is that she was wearing the same rain coat that Mounir has been wearing the last couple of months. Later, I noticed her basking in the early evening sun with her eyes closed, with a pleasant smile on her face. From then on, I kept noticing how she had a beautiful, permanent smile and looked “calm as a Hindu cow” all throughout the bus ride.

I don’t know if she is a happy and content person, but she certainly¬†seemed like one. And the idea of her being a generally happy person without a care in the world filled me with happiness, too. And so I learned that happiness is contagious. Unhappiness, unfortunately, might be, too.

Thank you, smiling lady, you made my evening a slightly better with your contagious happiness.

Pancakes and Peacocks

This morning Joasia and I cycled to the Amsterdamse Bos in the morning to go for pancakes at the Meerzicht, which is kind of like a farm, petting zoo and a playground in one. We met Eva, Scott and their kids there. (As I’m writing this, I realise I promised Jim that I would take a photo, which I totally forgot. Sorry, Jim!)

The bike ride over was lovely as it was early enough for it not to be too warm yet and the city to be very quiet. The only people that were out were super healthy people who were out for a jog and people who’ve got their shit together and got up early to read their newspaper in the morning sun on the terrace of a caf√©. I even saw a bunch of people playing table tennis in the park.

The farm was kind of cool and was also quiet, with only a handful of people there. When the kids arrived we spent some time feeding the deer, which was cool. We looked at teh peacocks, the chickens, the ducks and the geese. We also played in the playground, which I enjoyed a lot.

When the pancakes came, we had a great brunch. Afterwards we said goodbye to the kids and cycled back. It was a very pleasant morning. When we came home, we watched Game of Thrones. Also great. Great day altogether.

Unexpected Tournament

Last night I arrived to jiu jitsu rather late due to some work obligations running late and I was greeted by an unexpected tournament. To my big surprise I performed rather well, getting five wins out of five matches. Four submissions and one on points! The first submission was a very quick collar choke, the second two were bow-and-arrow chokes and the last was a modified Ezekiel choke from half guard. Quite happy with the result.

Sleep, Exeter, Daisies ‘n Stuff


Recently I started to be more mindful of when I go to sleep during the week. I try to sleep 23:00 until 07:30, which practically means that I sleep from 23:30 until about 06:45 or so. I wonder if this is the natural amount of sleep I need, or if I am still adjusting. I’ve been doing this for the last couple of months now.

There was a spell during the last couple of months where there was a lot of work related stress, more than I have ever had to deal with before, and it definitely jolted my sleep a little bit, and I started to notice that I would wake up in the middle of the night and be awake for about half an hour to an hour before falling back asleep. It still didn’t affect how I felt the next morning, so perhaps the regular surplus of sleep helped.


Yesterday I returned for another ten days in Exeter after having not been there in months. Joasia’s research sabbatical meant that she’s been in Amsterdam and we’ve rented out our apartment to a work acquaintance. It’s been really nice to be together more steadily and it seems like we are in a good place together.

Going back to Exe was nice; seeing some of the friends we’ve made, throwing a party for Joasia’s birthday, going to some of our favourite places to have food. It was really nice. Are apartment is also nice, and a small change we made to the interior, one we should’ve made a long time ago, made it even nicer.

The only thing we didn’t get to do is venture out of the city into the countryside, which is lovely around there. However, springtime is so beautiful around here that we didn’t need to go out of the city to enjoy the green and the flowers growing everywhere. At one point we came by a rugby field — and it sucks that I wasn’t able to take a photo of this — which was peppered with daisies and dandelions. Speaking of which…


I really think daisies are the flower that bring me the most joy. A beautiful grassy lawn with daisies erupts happiness inside of me that few things manage to do so consistently. Below are some photos a few photos I took. Including a couple with daisies in them.

Northernhay Gardens

St. Bartholomew Cemetery

Exwick Cemetery