Goody Two-Shoes

Did you know what I discovered recently? I discovered that I am the byproduct of my parents, more specifically my dad and his incessant “good-bad” and “black-white” view of the world. Even more specifically: the following the rules part. I, Lotte, admit to being a rule-follower. I’ll break them from time to time when it suits me, but on average, you could say I’m a freakin’ goody two-shoes. *sigh* Meow.

What do I mean by that exactly? I mean to say that I’ll try to be considerate of others, even when I don’t particularly want to. I’ll just do it, because it’s “the right thing to do”. Especially when it comes to practical shizzle. Like a couple of weeks ago, I was assigned to a group taking the train and I needed to front quite a bit of money on a Go Pass for the entire group. Not exactly the most fun thing to do, to be honest, and some friends gave me the advice to just tell my program manager that I couldn’t pay for it or something. Not only would that have been a blatant lie – okay, fronting ALL of the cash wouldn’t have been easy to tell the truth, but the Go Pass was definitely still okay – but it just felt wrong. Because… Then I’d just be giving someone else that burden of fronting the cash? How would that be better? It’d be better for me, sure, but it didn’t feel “right” to me.

Of course, I’m human and I make mistakes like everyone. Seriously, I don’t pretend to wear a holier-than-thou sort of crown – though some of my friends have crowned me “drama princess”, I’m supposed to get my little pink crown after I pay the membership to the Drama Club. This, just, as a little side note ;-). Ahem. What was I saying? Ah, yes, I’m no saint, but I do wake up every morning, hoping to do better than the day before. I won’t promise that I succeed in that effort, but I try. Because I believe it’s the “right thing to do”. You’ve gotta try. If you don’t try, then what good are you really? How will you grow? How will you ever have a positive impact on someone or something? And, maybe this is the silliest thing to say so far, but how can the world ever be a better place when the individual never looks beyond himself? For those of you wondering what part of the political spectrum I’m at, let there be no more doubt…

However, I can go way overboard in my trying to “follow the rules”, even to the extent where it gets a little embarrassing… Take the example of my train card. I’ve got a train subscription to get to Ghent every week. Everyone with my type of subscription just takes out the card a little bit, has the train conductor “stamp it” and that’s it. But one conductor told me once to really take the card out all the way and unfold it, this to prevent him “stamping” other train rides (ones I haven’t used yet, meant for future use). Only ONE conductor has told me this ONCE over the course of several months. But now, I take out the damn card all the freakin’ way every single time! I see all the other kids NOT doing it, but because I know “it’s the right thing to do”, I do it anyways?! It’s ridiculous. It’s what a goody two-shoes would do. And I totally blame my dad for it. He’s an excessive rule follower and obviously decided to pass on that quality to me.

Whenever I plan something, whenever I do something, whenever I decide anything… I always take into account the full picture. I decided against going to Peru, because my team wished me to stay with them. I saw two amazing opportunities, both mind-blowingly cool, but I chose my team, because… People matter. And I just can’t look at something through my own eyes. I always try and view the full picture, which includes the consequences of my actions towards others. So, yeah, I did what I considered to be “the right thing”. And I guess I’m pretty black and white in that view.

Maybe I’m wrong to make the choices the way I do. I can tell you that I sometimes wished I’d just do what I’d like to do. But I don’t think it would make me any happier. Maybe I believe in karma and I hope that good things will come to those who try to do good themselves. Maybe that’s too philosophical for a Sunday night. But I’ve been on bedrest for over two days now – sprained ankle, the most ridiculous thing evah!! – and painkillers make me pensive. And Ed Sheeran’s I See Fire is presenting me with a perfect backdrop to write this. You just can’t go wrong with some LOTR-spin-off music.

Enjoy this train pic I made last week: sometimes nature makes me believe in bigger and better things…

"Watch the flames climb higher, into the night."
“Watch the flames climb higher, into the night.”
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Murphy vs. Lotte: 2 – 1

Good evening & welcome back to your favorite TV show called “The weekend from hell!”, where everything that can go wrong, will go wrong! If you want to feel better about your own life, you tuned it at just the right moment! Congrats!

Let’s see what happened at this already sinister sounding episode of “The weekend from hell!”

First off, on my way to the Boondoggle company visit on Friday – a super fancy schmancy hipster cool communication agency located in my former home base of Leuven – my MacBook started flashing. As in: my screen was flashing from background to background and my dock was nowhere to be found. Not a great way to start an already frustratingly early morning, but alrighty then… Once I finally got home, the flashing thing happened again and I took it upon myself to do a little research on the net – Gen Y people, gotta love ’em. Most users said one particular program was interfering with the Mac’s operating system, but that removing said program would probably only be a temporary solution. The flashing would, most likely, return.

So what do I do, besides being a total Gen Y-geek & researching the net like that? Obviously, I contact Coolblue, the online retailer where I bought my Mac and which is famous for its amazing customer service. If anyone was wondering: yes, they do respond within a time frame of 30 minutes. Why? Because they’re f#cking awesome. The only sad part about the exchange was that they gave me the same answer as my research did: “Try resetting your entire operating system and reinstalling just basically everything”. Ah… Yes, the glorious “Weekend from hell!” was starting to take shape.

Since it was already getting late on Friday night – transferring files when you have nothing else but silly little USB sticks, your life can suddenly seem like it’s not worth living (yes, overly dramatic, but as of Friday I was crowned “drama princess”, so I aim to live up to that great honor okay?) – I decided to leave the bulk of the Sisyphean task until Saturday.

So come Saturday, I came pretty darn close to resetting my system until I realized I didn’t know what would happen to my beloved, newly-purchased Keynote? If you don’t know the program: it’s the Apple version of Powerpoint and works infinitely better, I can promise you that. Of course, I contact my favorite help desk at Coolblue and immediately receive the heartwarming answer I was hoping for: “Linked to your Apple ID, so you can just reinstall it from the App store afterwards”. Bingo! Why thank you kind sir…

However… Then I notice the mother of all question marks: what about Microsoft Office? I have only one Office for Mac license and will I not lose my product key by doing this? It’s happened to me once before, on an Acer laptop: suddenly, there was no more Office for this girl. And while Word doesn’t exactly give me the good kind of shivers down my spine, it is a pretty valuable program on any kind of computer. So I check with some of my friends, who then advise me to “deactivate my Office license”, since the chance does exist that I would lose my product key. However, I know of the beautiful bounties of online chat support – Cheers to you Coolblue! – and I contact Microsoft Office for this particular matter, just to be sure. First I’m apparently talking to the “wrong kind” of Microsoft support, the lady just can’t help me so then  she – thank goodness – transfers me to someone who can. Ok, not a particularly great start, but I’ll take it.
But then… Then the mother#cking shit hits the fan, y’know?
“You’d better prepare yourself for losing that product key ma’am.”

YOU SAID WHAT NOW? I buy a house, load it up with furniture, decide to clean my place and you tell me my freakin’ furniture’s gone? WHY ARE YOU STEALING MY STUFF YOU PIECE OF SH*T?! No joke. That’s all he told me. There was no way he could possibly help me and all I could do was, maybe, contact Apple support to see if they could help. Un-freakin’-believable.

Of course, that’s when I told him that, though I don’t blame him specifically – never shoot the messenger, that’s just downright tacky – I did explain to him the values of doing business and how that business always revolves around THE CUSTOMER. Hehe, this is where my marketing schooling has totally paid off in full, because I went into a tirade about how all the Fortune 500 companies of 20 years ago were now no longer in existence and that, if Microsoft keeps this sh*t up, they’d be completing that list fo’ sho’. I didn’t exactly stay in the chat box to listen to a reply, but I sure felt so much better afterwards. Until I realized I still didn’t have a solution to my Office-problem and the hours to still relax and take a breather this weekend seemed to tick, tick, tick away…

Apple Support then: a nice Dutch guy on the phone called me and asked me what the problem was. I explained the situation – my technical support had, technically, expired, but I claimed a “special circumstances”-card – and he completely agreed in the ridiculousness of Microsoft in that moment. So yes, I was starting to feel better. When you’re having a tirade-moment and someone is totally nodding his head, agreeing with you and even adding on some o’ that sweet sugar… Yeah, alright, you show ’em. And this nice Dutch guy – I’m sorry, I must continue to refer to him as “nice”, because he was, and “Dutch”, because he certainly was that too – then told me to go find an external hard drive, empty it out and Time Machine the hell out of my sweet & lovely little MacBook.

Since the only external hard drive I have – that’s still in working condition – is one of 2 TeraByte with only 800Gb remaining… I couldn’t possibly empty it out. Thankfully, I was home and my dad has one lying around the house. So I transferred his files to another hard drive, so I could use that external hard drive for some sexy Time Machining on my own hard drive. You still following? Yes? No? Who the hell cares: it’s hell weekend and none of that matters anyways.

What does matter is the following: I succeeded. Today, on Sunday, I flabbergasted even myself and succeeded in what seemed to take forever! It took me almost 24 hours – and with that I mean actual hours, as in “hours that I’m awake and working on this and not doing something fun, since it’s weekend and all that” – but I freakin’ succeeded in completely resetting my system, getting Office from my Time Machine-back-up, reinstalling every single thing I needed back, retransferring my ever-so-necessary files and returning my dad’s external hard drive, which had all his old files on it again. I SUCCEEDED! Holy moly, right?

As for the score count concerning this blogpost… Well, I do believe Murphy has seriously beaten the crap out of me, what with his flashing MacBook screen and turning Office into a nightmarish hell I couldn’t seem to wake up from. But, I also think I deserve a point for winning the game in the end. I mean like, dude came at me with a baseball bat, but somehow I made it out alive and kicking?? That’s worth something! And as for my MacBook?

Well… Purrin’ like a kitten babe.

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Sleepless desires

I’m tired. I’m so, ridiculously, tired. All I want is to take a nap? And maybe, take a nap that will take up so many hours, so as to not just reduce the dark circles underneath my eyes, but actually take them away completely.

BUT NOOOOO. Probably won’t happen. Tomorrow we’re going on a company visit to Boondoggle in Leuven – awesomecakes cool, have to give it that yes – but we’re leaving on a bus at 7.15 am. Let me repeat that, so it really sticks into the back of your head like a damn mosquito in summer you can’t swat away: a quarter after seven in the freakin’ morning! Oh Lord, have mercy on my soul.

I was too tired this morning, I didn’t even make it to the shower. Instead, I took 40 extra minutes in bed. Blissful minutes fo’ sho’, but now I’m wishing I’d have washed my hair of course. Dry shampoo just doesn’t have the same effect. And when it comes to my hair, I really AM a total girl. See, it’s long. And it’s pretty blond. And it’s deliciously thick. So if there’s one attribute that I appreciate, truly, from the bottom of my heart, it’s going to be my hair. Which is why I love taking care of it. But now, sleepiness has taken over and left me with merely the desire to sleep some more; nice-smelling hair be damned!

However… There are some good reasons for the sleepiness. Well, somewhat good reasons. To be honest, not all classes of the digital marketing bootcamp are equally interesting. When it comes to big data, I don’t know what happens, but my brain turns into a buzzing bee, looking at all the flowers outside and starts zzzz-ing out. I know big data’s important, you can do so much with it. But I don’t see myself totally invested in the subject. Hopefully that will change in the future, but it’s not exactly a very interactive subject and there’s only a certain amount of time my brain will maintain perfect attention. And those classes also still require you to get up on time and be present. Sadly. Ever so slightly. But whatever. That’s not the only reason for sleepiness. Because besides having to get up early tomorrow, yesterday my alarm also went off around 6.30am. Again: WHY GOD WHY? But I can raise my hands up to the sky as much as I want, with as much drama as I can muster… The alarm will still ring religiously.

By the way – and I know I will seemingly jump out at you out of nowhere, but there’s a connection, please just bear with me – did you know you get a pretty nice meal when taking a plane with Brussels Airlines to Moscow? Of course, it won’t happen to you in economy, but dayum… That was a lot of good food. Especially the dessert! That really took the cake – which sounds like the dessert was a cake, which would be funny, but it was some other  kind of yumminess I don’t know exactly how to describe. Anyways, how do I know this? Well, waking up early yesterday was essential to make it at Brussels Airlines, where we had another company visit (see, told you to bear with me!). And something else I know: Brussels Airlines’ CEO is super nice! Like, really, not at all you’d expect. Funny jokes, nice metaphors and all in all a humble man with a big strategy. I for one thought it was infinitely cool. Maybe not as cool as the little Belgian flag stuck in the little cheese in the extra little dish during the fancy lunch at the company…. But a close second. Very close ;-)

To conclude this little foray into my head today, I just want to say happy birthday to panda. Celebrating a birthday is super important – and should happen according to the bday person’s wishes, not your own, as they might not coincide – so I’m going to do my best to make that happen! And we all know… Pandas do it better.

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Subtropic paradise

I like heat. No, wait, sorry… That’s inaccurate. Better to say… I LOVE HEAT!

For some reason, and I don’t know why, but my own body temperature is somewhat lower than that from other people. Instead of a nice and toasty 37°C, I’m stuck somewhere between 35°C and 36°C. Now, I don’t want you to use this as an excuse to call me cold, puh-lease, that would be too easy anyways; an insult to your intelligence even – which is to say “don’t go there, don’t even think it, for I will find out and hunt you down”. But what it does mean, is that my body gets pretty cold pretty quickly. Especially when I don’t work up a natural sweat, then it’s just horrible. Shower days are the worst: streams of hot pouring water just artificially heating up my body, only to have it cool off into the arctic zones just 15 minutes later. Again: I have no idea why this is, maybe I’m an enigma, but it just is.

However… There is a clear and simple solution to this little problem of mine. It goes by the name of “central heating”. And “candles”. Preferably scented ones. In fact, I have somewhat of a ritual going on in that department…

1. I go for a run!
2. I hop in the shower.
3. I turn up the heat to a ludicrous maximum.
4. I light my spring-scented candles.
5. I crawl into my satin sheets bed and hole up there, encapsulating myself with the heat.

And then…. The subtropic bonanza begins. My hair will smell all shampoo-y. (pretty sure that’s not a word, shampoo-y, but alrighty then) My legs will be all soft and smell like mango – some kind of cream from Body Shop does that for me, such a kick! And my room will smell like heavenly spring. Oh, and I’m so incredibly warm! Warm, I tell ya!!! Not cold. Not at all shivery down my spine. No cold hands or feet or nose… No, none of that. Just me and the heat. And it’s f#cking awesome.

So yes, I’m probably a quirk of nature – though I do not believe myself to be alone in my low-body-temperature-&-constantly-in-need-of-heat-seeking ways – but hey: I could choose to bitch about it. Or I could throw myself a woe-is-me pity party. Ooooor… I could revel in my subtropic paradise that I have created in my room. Today I truly understand the phrase “My kingdom is my castle”. So please, trust me when I tell you…
My castle ain’t big, but it sure is freakin’ amazing.

Thank you and goodnight.

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I apply, you apply, we are all applying (ourselves)

Do you know what one of the added benefits of growing up is? Besides being able to make your own decisions, having a valid vote & basically running around doing whatever you feel like? And don’t forget the part where you can go to bed at 4 in the morning and no one will give you crap about it. I mean, really, growing up… #JustBeautiful #SoAwesome
But I’m digressing… The added benefit I want to talk about today: applying for jobs! Ha!

Yes. “Ha!”… In the most ironic tone I can possibly muster. Never mind the time you put in the never-ending stream of cover letters and online assessments, but just the idea of putting yourself out there and getting rejected. Again. And again. And again… Not all that appealing. I mean, if I felt like getting rejected, I’d try the dating scene y’know? I know we’re on the topic of applying for jobs, but, if you think about it: is there anything more humiliating than going on a date with a basic stranger you don’t know from Adam? Dating is an extremely weird process, which is really not integrated well in Belgian culture. I just can’t remain serious when I’m on a date, because you both know that you really don’t know the other person and all you can think of is “Are we going to kiss tonight or not?”, which makes me ridiculously nervous and generally makes me want to start laughing, because I can’t take the pressure of such an absurd comedy. It’s like Waiting For Godot all over again, recapped in an insanely long sentence. But yeah, I digress.

What I wanted to say, is this: I am applying for jobs! And so are all my class mates who don’t have a job yet either – some of them already have one, which is so cool! But for those of us who don’t… Together we are applying. And applying some more. You would think it’s a competition, but actually, whenever someone gets a job, all we can do is be unbelievably proud. Which is, I think, the most amazing thing I’ve ever experienced. Yes, we’re all a bunch of ambitious people with dreams reaching as high as the sky – or even Mars, haha Henkel fun! – but we also believe in each other. We root for one another. And it’s a wonderful experience. It makes the whole applying process so much easier to tolerate, even if it’s still a lot of work and creates a lot of uncertainty.

But besides applying for jobs, we’re also applying ourselves. Today I updated my LinkedIn profile somewhat and I was astounded by the amount of projects I’ve worked on this year. And the year isn’t even over yet. Right now a couple of us – those working in the Digital Marketing & Branding Strategy Bootcamp – are working on a case for Coca-Cola. Besides learning all about teens & students segments, I’ve also learned what “a perfect serve” is. Mind you, it’s not being able to hurl your yellowish ball over the net, while screaming like Maria Sharapova & scoring an ace, though that is one interpretation. “A perfect serve” for Coca-Cola means that you have your perfectly chilled coke, poured in a uniquely designed coca-cola glass.

Do take a look:

Coke

 

I feel like I have really applied myself in creating this amazing Coke.
It was tasty, fyi.

Hangover Day vs. Lotte: 0 – 1

Last night we had the grand Vlerick ball and it was soooo epic! My goodness, the anticipation, the getting ready, the crack house, the walk over, the ball itself… Haha, the fun was non-stop for sure. And the best part: besides being dead tired, I didn’t really get much of a hangover. Of course, it’s physically impossible for me to actually get a headache – nice bonus of being born in my family – except for when I donate blood – which I’ve never done again since that one time… But still, I wasn’t feeling sick at all and I could eat whatever and enjoy a sunny day out with my friends to boot!

So, short recap of last night! It all started with my bestie and how she had fun with my hair. Seriously, I didn’t know it could get…. That big! :’) I have no clue how much hairspray has gone into it, but we’re 24 hours later and it’s still kind of weird to the touch. But it was cool though. And the messy part about it made it possible for me never to have to comb it once all night: it was a messy hairdo anyways. Ha! It’s a little hilarious that I’d be so into “getting ready”, since I usually just go for jeans and a t-shirt. But for one night I got to be a real “girl” ;-).

Next we arrived at the crack house with panda in tow! Okay, confession: it’s not REALLY a crack house. But dude, if there ever was a house I visited that really looked like one… Dayum :’) I believe the kitchen was absolutely the worst. That’s what happens when 5 pigs – oh I’m sorry, “5 guys” – live together. Sheer and utter disaster ensues. But we played some drinking games, had a good couple of laughs and got ready to – finally – go to the ball.

The ball itself was pretty awesome. Okay, it wasn’t so much a fancy room as it was just a room with lots of fancy-dressed people in it, but still… People looked GOOD. And it was cool. And so many wasted people, which always makes me giggle in my head.
Tihihihi. Did that guy just kiss some total strange girl’s head when passing her? And is she looking as surprised as I think she is? Haha! Yup.
Like I said: so many giggles in my head.

However, all good things must come to an end eventually – how to know something is “good” if you don’t experience the alternative sometimes? – and it was bed time. Which was kinda awful, because I don’t know why, but… I woke up after only 5 hours of sleep. WHY? WHY silly brain WHYYYY? Do you NOT see those circles underneath my eyes? Think it’s clear to me… Oh well. That’s when the hangover day – but not really for me, because I actually felt kinda fine – began!

So what did that mean? It basically just started out with my bestie comin’ by, completely dead, going over last night’s events. Though soon we were finding ourselves at the Graslei here in Ghent, with a couple of friends. And it was sunny. Like… really sunny! And that made it the perfect chill day after a long night like that. We just hung out, recapped the previous evening, had some froyo (or McFlurry, but froyo’s so much better, yes!) and took lots of selfies. By the way, for those people who do not know the exact process of taking a selfie: always take 3 pictures. Don’t ask me why. Don’t ask me anything basically – so annoying when people do that, tsk, the nerve! – but just take 3 pictures whenever you take a selfie. These are the rules. I didn’t make them. I just adhere to them. And you should too if you want to maintain your friendships! Just a friendly warning basically ;-).

Anyways, the victor of today’s super sunny hangover day:

Springtime!

Friday baby!

It’s Friiiidaaaaay!

Finally, hurray! Though, actually, to be completely honest, this week must have been one of the most chill weeks since I started my year at Vlerick way back in September. Seriously, half days, a group project meeting of an hour and a half?! So many free drinks by Coca-Cola for working on their case? Talk about “awesome”!

But still, it’s nice to know it’s Friday. It could have been sunnier – the few hours that the sun really shone, we were indoors, listening to presentations with the blinds completely shut; talk about irony – but it was still a great day. I got a lot done: applied for a job at Henkel, I cleaned my place, I showered… I even went for a run! The second time this week already! Ha! Now, I didn’t take a picture in my running outfit – it’s a sight people shouldn’t be exposed to, let’s put it that way – but I did want to show off my shoes. Because… They’re “showy”. I bought them a little over a year ago, because I simply love Nike running shoes and these had that “spring” in them, you know what I mean? You jump up and it seems to go ever so smoothly because of the awesomeness of the shoe. That’s Nike for ya baby. And my shoes also help me be visible when it’s dark out. See for yourself:

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Like I said: “showy”. Well, mostly “flashy”. But most importantly: I’m ridiculously proud of myself for going for a run again this week. For all the amazing classes I’ve been able to attend these past few months, and all the cool people that I’m lucky enough to meet… I sure have been sitting on my ass a lot. And sitting. And sitting some more… (harr-harr)

Did you know that my nickname is panda at school? It’s got nothing to do with me being Asian or anything, or fat – thank God :’) I just love pandas – I’ll introduce Paco, my panda bear, soon enough – but if I’m not careful, I could be turning into one actually. Because what do pandas actually DO? Besides not copulating – and therefore being almost extinct – and eating shitloads of bamboo? Right you are sir, they sit on their ass. A LOT. And that might have something to do with their… How shall I put this nicely… Circumference. Yes, that’s the right word. So since I started Vlerick, it’s been very hard to find time to go get some exercise. And yeah, it does have some consequences.

But thankfully, the sun has been coming out this week and what with these half days I’ve been having: renewed motivation has shown its friendly face! Talking about friendly faces, this next picture is mine, all ready to go out for some drinks with some of my M3 buddies tonight.
Weekend darling, weekend is that time when everything becomes possible and friends are nothing short of priceless.

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