Reflections #15: Things I’ve Learned This Month (And Make Me Want to Scream)

Dutch Girl in London blog review of the month November 2019

Once a month I always look back on what I’ve been up to in the past weeks. What were my personal highlights? (Or rather low points…) What films and series did I watch? What exhibitions did I visit and which countries did I travel to? Find the answers in my Reflections on November. Oh and put your thinking cap on, because I’ll be asking for your help!

As for the things I learned this month (and want to make me scream)

If you’ve read more of my monthly recaps here on my blog, you might have seen a reference to my cultural travel blog Done That Been There before. Since work has been rather quiet this month (the schoolbook I wrote for is now being prepared to be sent to the printer’s, exciting stuff!), I decided to focus on my travel blog.

screenshot of my cultural travel blog Done That Been There

And with success I might add, because unlike the usual one or perhaps two articles a month, I managed to write no less than three articles for it in November! The website is bilingual so everything is in Dutch and English. I’ll post the links to this month’s articles further down in this blog post.

After all the writing, I wanted to learn more tips on promoting them so people would actually find and read them. So I obviously went online and started to read tutorials and watch YouTube videos on this topic. And that’s when I plummeted into the long and deep rabbit hole and got lost in the technical side of blogging.

I won’t bother you with all the details, but basically, having the bilingual website set up as I have now, actually tricks Google into believing the Dutch version is a duplicate of the English one and therefore ranks the Dutch content much lower in the search results.

Once I discovered that and looked into more details, things quickly spiralled out of control. Having now spoken to several webdesigners, the best option seems to be to run two separate versions, each with a different domain name. This last thing isn’t entirely necessary, but I wasn’t happy with the name Done That Been There anymore.

Link to my article about the best places to see Flamenco in Seville

And this is where YOU come in: I need your help!

I’ve been thinking endlessly about a new website name for almost a week now and all I’ve ended up with are endless migraines ha ha!

So, dear reader, I would really appreciate your help here! Since the website is a cultural travel blog, it would be great if the name reflected that. But I’d like it to be snappy (two or three short words), witty and not contain my name. And I’d also be needing two different names, one for the English version and one for the Dutch one.

Got it? Now you’ve read the full brief, I can’t wait to see what you’ll come up with ha ha!

This November I travelled all around the world

Well, almost. After hubby and I returned from Portugal late October, I actually never left the country again. My only virtual overseas travels happend during the first days of November when I visited the World Travel Market in London. (More about this below.) During those days I had coffee in Indonesia one morning, followed by wine and canapés in Greece a mere few hours later.

Photos of WTM London (World Travel Market London) 2019

When I tried to meet up with someone and I had to give my whereabouts, I answered I was eating my lunch right between Dubai and Bulgaria. Speaking of a decadent lifestyle eh?

Besides a city trip to Manchester earlier this week and my current trip to the Netherlands, I spent most of my weekends this month giving my Dutch-language tours in London. Although it sometimes feels a bit exhausting, especially after a busy work week, it’s often very energising and rewarding when I see people’s enthusiasm.

My first visit to WTM London

Early September I went to my first ever content creator networking conference, called BorderLess Live. You might have read my blog post about BorderLess Live at the time, but in case you didn’t let me just briefly recap. Having never attended such an event before and being a shy and insecure person (yes really, I hide it well online), I was extremely nervous to say the least. But during those two days I learned so much from fellow content creators and met a whole bunch of great like-minded people. I even felt comfortable to talk to brands and tourism boards for some modest pitches, score!

So, feeling inspired and empowered by that great experience, I decided to take my networking skills to the next level. I followed the example of my new friends and registered for a media pass to attend the annual World Travel Market in London.

Taking place in the huge ExCel London stadium, I figured it would be a big event, but boy I really underestimated it all! I spent most of day one mostly attending very valuable presentations and getting lost in the building, trying to get to one stand to another located in a whole different section. By the looks on other people’s faces, I probably had the words ‘WTM novice’ written across my head. That, or the fact that I was actually using the plan of the building and stands.

Will I be returning to WTM London again next year? Probably, but all depends on how my travel blog will develop. And if I’ll have the energy to keep going with it after all the trouble I’ve had with it so far…

This month’s articles on my Cultural Travel Blog

Link to my article about things to do in den bosch netherlands

#1 The best places to see flamenco in Seville, tips from a professional flamenco dancer

#2 Take Five Den Bosch: cultural tips for the Dutch city I went to school in

#3 Personal travel story about things to do in Nijmegen, the oldest city of the Netherlands

Link to my personal travel story about one day in nijmegen the netherlands

In November I wrote the following blog posts on Dutch Girl in London

Dutch Girl in London blog posts screenshots November 2019

  • Growing up in the Netherlands as a Second-Generation Immigrant: A personal and enlightening blog post – some things my friends or hubby even never knew about me! – about what it was like for me growing up in the Netherlands as a second-generation immigrant. From vocab to food to being (un)able to eat with knife and fork, get the (embarrassing) inside info here!

  • Shepard Fairey London Exhibition Celebrating Three Decades of Dissent: In celebration of his 30-year long career, iconic American street artist Shepard Fairey recently returned to London for a special gallery show. In this blog post you can see my photos of his characteristic artworks, including some of the murals he painted in East London.

My London art tips for this month

Having waited for weeks, trying to avoid the busier school holidays, I almost missed the highly anticipated Antony Gormley exhibition at the Royal Academy! I went there last Saturday and was surprised to see people queueing at 10am already. Gormley’s  famous life-size and Insta-friendly sculptures, as well as the sculpture of the baby sleeping outdoors, are obviously the real crowd-pleasers. However, to me it were the more rare objects that attracted my attention, such as his sketch books.

Unlike the last-minute visit to the Gormley exhibition, I was one of the first ones to see the latest Anselm Kiefer exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey. Kiefer is probably my favourite artist and I was both surprised and delighted to discover the exhibition displays such a vast collection of brand-new works.

  • Antony Gormley @ Royal Academy (until 3 December 2019, £18-£22)

Antony Gormley sculptures in his exhibition at Royal Academy London 2019

  • Antony Gormley: In Formation @ White Cube Mason’s Yard (until 18 January 2020, FREE)

Free Antony Gormley exhibition at White Cube Masons Yard 2019

  • Anselm Kiefer: Superstrings, Runes, The Norns, Gordian Knot @ White Cube Bermondsey (until 26 January 2020, FREE)

Free Anselm Kiefer exhibition at White Cube Bermondsey London 2019

  • Lucian Freud: The Self-portraits @ Royal Academy (until 26 January 2020, £14-£16)

Lucian Freud Self-Portraits exhibition at Royal Academy London 2019

My November watchlist: film recommendations and series that are worth watching

It’s funny looking back at October’s personal review of the month as I wrote then that October was great for cinema visits. In contrast to last month, hubby and I have been to the cinema only once this month.

Here’s an overview of all the series and films I’ve seen this month. I’ve indicated my recommendations with a * in the list below. I wrote my more detailed thoughts below the table.

In the cinema

  • Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon
  • *Terminator: Dark Fate

Films (re)watched at home

  • *Dolemite Is My Name (Netflix)
  • *Game Changers, The (Netflix documentary)
  • Laundromat, The (Netflix)
  • Solaris (1972)
  • Stalker

Series

  • *Goliath SE01 (Amazon)
  • *Kominsky Method SE02 (Netflix)
  • *Living with Yourself SE01 (Netflix)
  • *Modern Family SE01 (Amazon)
  • *Parks and Recreation SE07 (Amazon)

The only films I saw in the cinema: Shaun the Sheep and Terminator

Shaun the Sheep: Farmageddon was fun but I wouldn’t recommend watching it in the cinema as an adult. Unless you have kids, you may just want to wait until it’s available On Demand.

Terminator: Dark Fate on the other hand was all I was hoping for. It was the last film from my list with 5 Films to Look Forward to this Autumn and, together with Joker, the one I was looking forward to most. From the preview I was nervous about the overuse of CGI, but this actually didn’t bother me too much in the film. The use of youthification (digital de-aging) did throw me a bit. This latest Hollywood trend seems to become the norm in film-making. Especially Martin Scorcese’s latest film The Irishman appears to heavily rely on this technique.

If you’re looking for an intriguing, slightly disturbing David Lynch-ish series, then I recommend…

Hubby and I are currently halfway through the series Too Old to Die Young by Nicolas Winding Refn and featuring Miles Teller. It’s probably one of the most disturbing, surreal yet captivating series I’ve ever seen. The slow-paced uncomfortable dialogues, combined with the perfectly chosen soundtrack by Cliff Martinez, very much remind me of David Lynch.

This ‘mini’ series (each episode is 1.5 hours long) might be a harsh introduction to the works of director Nicolas Winding Refn. In that case I suggest you start with these two fantastic films by him: Drive and Only God Forgives. Both feature Ryan Gosling.

Other series I highly recommend are Goliath (starring the fantastic Billy Bob Thornton) and also the Kominsky Method (with Michael Douglas). I also urge you to watch Dolemite Is My Name starring Eddie Murphy. Warning: be aware of explicit language.

In preparation to our visit to the exhibition on Russian film maker Andrei Tarkovsky at EYE Film Museum in Amsterdam next week, we watched two of his classic films: Solaris (which was remade in 2002 starring George Clooney) and Stalker. These are highly influential films that inspired so many film makers over the years, but I found them quite a struggle to be honest. However, considering the science fiction Solaris was made in the 70s already, I do have to admit that the cinematography was very impressive.

That’s it for my personal Reflections on the last month.
Tell me, what have you been up to in November?
Best, Zarina xx

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