Random thoughts and rants and events that I felt like belching out...
It is horrible, but after reading a Dutch food magazine and with it being so wintery out lately, I have a craving for...(whispered voice) stamppot. Where did this come from? Ok, so I made some about a month ago that I quite liked, but besides that I've only eaten the traditional Dutch food once or twice last winter when I decided to finally try it out. Now I'm all like "I could really go for some potatoes mashed with some boring green veggie served with a big sausage." What the hell is wrong with me?
Which of course brings to mind the evil "i" word: integration. I was just reading a little news blurb in The Amsterdam Times (a weekly English-lauguage, expat-aimed newspaper) that was saying that the despised Immigration Minster Verdonk was talking about how speaking Dutch in public needs to be pushed more, and while they'll stop short of fining you for speaking English to a shopkeeper, they'd really like it if you stuck to Dutch since it helps the "integration process." To which I give a big, fat raspberry in their general direction. Maybe
if 90% of the Dutch people who live in the major cities would stick with Dutch their own damn selves when we speak Dutch to them, the "integration process" would, in fact, go a lot faster. I know expats who don't care to speak Dutch and don't try, but a lot do, and a lot are at a decent-enough fluency after being here only a few years, but the Dutch person is like "you know I hear that American accent all lurking under what you're saying!" and to show it off switches to English... for our benefit? To point out that we were totally sucking at our go at Dutch? To practice their English because they want to move to England? I mean, really, what the fuck? And then every expat knows how it gets thrown back in your face in the form of a comment like "you've lived here how long and you still don't speak Dutch fluently?!" Fuck y'all. It's why I didn't bother taking more Dutch lessons (well, that and the cost), though it would have been handy to get the future tense down that I was just about to learn, but I just cannot bother when I get English thrown back at me a majority of the time I try using Dutch. That, and I just don't use it enough to justify trying to perfect it much more. I can do shop talk, I can sort things out on the phone with the gemeente, but when I'm only needing to actually converse about once a month when I see O's family... Forget it.
I admit I'm in a bit of an easily agitated mood lately. It's thanks to some medicine I'm trying to quit. I've been debating about writing about this for quite some time because I felt writing about it was leaning into LiveJournal, Dear Diary territory, but I kinda wanted to sum it up, if only for myself. I've been on Ef(f)exor for about 2 years to combat a mix of generalized anxiety and a bit of depression. I wanted off of it for months because I felt it wasn't doing its job so well anymore and I had this idea that the longer I took it, the more it was turning my brain into its whipped slave, so I got in touch with a psychiatrist and made a going-off plan. With antidepressants you always have to be really careful about stopping them slowly or else they fuck you up. I had gone through this before, with Zoloft, and that went ok until 2 weeks after I fully stopped and I turned into an emotional wreck. Effexor has been much more of a pain in the ass. I sort of knew it would be though; from what I've read online (if any of it can be trusted since some of the people posting in medical forums are off their rockers) Effexor was one of the worst to go off of. Yay! So I went slow, though the first step dropped me to half of what I was taking. And it was not fun. Every morning for about 2 hours I had a very unhappy, cramping tummy, which made me not want to eat, but then the bad feeling would clear, I'd feel hungry for a bit, get food, and by the time I was ready to eat it, I'd feel like shit again. Fun. Plus I had this weird dizzyness that is like being a bit tipsy or high, my eyes just felt like they were slow in registering things. This lasted for weeks and the only thing that made me keep on was that it was just for a bit in the morning and then I was ok. And I fortunately wasn't having any bad emotional problems. Until I dropped to 1/4 of what I had been taking. Then I turned into two-faced, "don't even TALK to me right now!" bitch from hell. Everything agitated me to no end. I'd feel so annoyed that I'd feel it physically, like my muscles were vibrating with pissed-offness. I managed to keep it mostly in check at work, but O got a lot of sudden head-biting-off that I tried to explain that I couldn't help, as if that's an excuse. And it's coming back quite a bit lately because I stopped the pill completely on Tuesday. I tried once already, just before xmas, but it did not go well, so I went back on the 1/4 dose. Then I was ok, but I needed to try going off again. So I'm all agitated. And being off fully makes me quite out of emotional control. That's why I went back on before xmas, I was crying at everything, hardly able to keep from crying in public, and I didn't want to be a wreck at xmas. So far this time I've been ok, but I've not been off it very long yet. I am needlessly teary though, as I noticed when I was watching TV last night. I was about to cry at the stupidest
things. I was flipping channels and came across the show with the medium Char (it's horrible but O and I watch it sometimes) and she was talking with a Dutch TV presenter and it wasn't even that involved, she named some people close to the presenter and said they're watching over her, but there I was with tears fucking popping up in my eyes and an itchy feeling in my nose. Fer chrissakes. Then I was watching a bit of a show about people who get into really bad sports accidents, and the first story was about a woman who got flipped over a railing like a rag doll while racing a horse at Portland Meadows (and she was able to walk again, which is insane when you see the accident) and at the end they were at her stables and it looked so Northwest-y, with the pine trees and some fields and big houses, it looked like the area around where my parents live, and... there come the tears again. It was horrible. And I know that it's likely only the beginning and within a few days I'll be a blubbering mess about anything and everything, so, yay. But I need to try to get through it and see if I don't feel any better eventually. My psychiatrist basically gave me permission to take time off work if I needed it, and said that if work asks what's up, I can say my doctor told me to stay home. Considering how worthless going to work has been lately, I was like "right, free time off! I'll give this going off it thing another try!" So here we are.
I have my 2005 review today with both my old
and my new manager. I'm not worried about it, but I am eager to find out what my job will be like this year and make sure the new manager knows I'm seeking different work to do. Also I would still like to attempt to get a raise. So it's those things I'm looking ahead to the meeting for. Update:
I had the meeting. It went ok. I feel I'm focusing on the negative things a bit too much, not that much was negative, but I guess I didn't feel my new manager is 100% on board with what new roles I can do, though really she was in the end, things have just changed around a bit. It's complicated, but I think it'll be ok. I still don't fully trust the new manager though, she scares me.
Down the street from us is this guy who always makes me so sad when I walk by his house. Almost any time I walk by, he is sitting on his couch, the curtains open, no lights on, only the TV on. He usually is wearing a dress shirt and tie, looking like he just got home, but he is also wearing that in the middle of the day on Saturday, so I dunno. I've seen him eating his dinner while watching TV, and it's usually eaten straight out of the pot. It's very bacheloresque, and all of this would be different if the guy was in his 20s or even 30s, but he looks like he could be in his 60s. It just depresses me incredibly, the whole scene.
The last party of January is tomorrow. So far we've survived, though O barfed
at the last one. It's a housewarming, and it means seeing some old friends that we have not seen in too long, so that'll be good. This one is down in Leiden though, so I'm not looking forward so much to the longer trip home, but I think it'll be a good time.