Thursday, 18 April 2013


Though I'm not a Christian, I have always been fascinated with the time of Lent. I thought it was an impressive way of demonstrating one's willpower and discipline to avoid eating something as delicious and elemental as meat.

Naturally, I tried it myself at some point. I have to add, though, that I initially started to fasten in order to impress a girl I liked and that happened to be a vegetarian. I managed to make it through all 40 days without a single bite of meat... and guess what? That girl became my girlfriend eventually. But that's a different story.

Two years later, I tried the same stunt again, but admittedly failed. I was a student at that time and I remember it to be a particularly stressful day. I was running about the city, trying to fetch important signatures on even more important papers and was growing more and more desperate by the minute. When I noticed a certain gnawing feeling in my stomach, I decided to quickly head for a popular fast-food restaurant and grab a burger, as I had done so often before when having little time. I didn't even think about it at that time and noticed only hours later that I had eaten meat and thereby broken my pledge.

So the year after, I actually wanted to figure out how long I could survive without meat. You have to know that coloured bears are carnivorous and I just love the taste of meat, so this was quite a challenge for me. Starting at New Year's Eve, I ate only fruits and vegetables, but mostly weird instant crap that was probably mainly plastic. I'm proud to say that I lasted 7 long months as a vegetarian before finally whispering 'Bring me meat!' to the people taking care of me during these dark times.

Back to the topic, this settled the question of how long I could stay without meat, so there wasn't really any point in trying again every Lent from now on. So instead, I chose to stay away from something else that I liked to do way too much but that was probably not all that healthy for me: playing video games. This was particularly tricky, because I had already started my YouTube career, so I settled for this compromise: I could play a video game (namely 'Thief Gold'), but only if I did a recording of it and uploaded it. Other than that: no video games.
I managed to get through this time, too, though it was quite boring, to be honest. I remember that I read a lot more than usual and watched any movie I own thrice.

How could I overcome this success during the next Lent, you ask? This time, I challenged myself to not lie anymore. Of course, this is impossible, with all the little lies we express everyday without even noticing. So the task was this: no intentional lies. If I knew the truth, I had to either speak it or be silent.
This was a really tough one and I'd advise any of you to try it just for a day. I made it almost through the entire duration of Lent, but then... well... let's just say losing this challenge against myself was the lesser evil.

And that leads us to this year's Lent, which is already over. This time, I settled for something unspectacular, but that was increasingly bothering me. I was not allowed to drink any soft drinks, like cola and lemonades. I managed this one with ease, so I have to come up with something more challenging for next year. Any ideas are welcome, so let's hear it!

Tuesday, 9 April 2013

Amsterdam, Mate!

This year, I spent my birthday in Amsterdam. I didn't expect too much of the trip and prepared as much as any other tourist would: by staring at the city map on Google for a while and quickly checking whether there are any weird laws one should abide by.
And I must tell you I was really surprised by the beauty of the city. I don't know much about architecture, but even to me the uniqueness of this city was remarkable. Especially the Red Light District at 'De Wallen' had so much more to offer than half-naked women behind glass doors. Tons of old churches, bridges, the canals, house boats, slim buildings, crooked houses, thousands of bicycles and all those spiral staircases... I truly enjoyed my stay. 
The one thing that pleased me the most, though, were the people. Not necessarily just the Dutch people, but also all the tourists. Coming from a spot where there are solely Caucasian folks running around speaking the same (native) language, it was oh-so refreshing for me to hear this multitude of different languages, accents and dialects. Not to mention all the different skin colours, ethnicities, traditional clothings and general behaviour of people who grew up in a completely different culture than me. Such a grand city! I recommend it to anyone who likes to travel and has an open mind when it comes to disputable topics like soft drugs and prostitution.