Leaving for London (Luton)

I don’t believe I’m unlucky. There’s no such thing. I believe you make your own luck. But that doesn’t mean that I believe I deserve everything I get. And I mean in the sense that I don’t feel entitled to anything. I’d like some happiness, sure, but I’m not entitled to it. And when something absolutely great happens to me – which doesn’t happen very often, otherwise it wouldn’t be very great – I have trouble believing it. And that’s what’s happening to me now: I’m having trouble believing how incredibly fortunate I am.

In order to explain this feeling of “oh-my-f#cking-god-I-can’t-believe-how-awesome-this-is?!” in an appropriate manner, I’ll start at the beginning.

First off, I was accepted at Vlerick Business School. When that happened, I, as a student, was automatically in the system. Companies from all over the place suddenly had access to my resume. And somewhere in November of last year, I got an email, inviting me to apply for the Best Beer Challenge in Leuven. The Challenge was hosted by AB InBev in March of this year. I had seen people from the company before and decided I wasn’t very interested. But being personally asked to submit my application for a challenge, something that always looks good on a resume? Yeah, sure, I’ll go for it. And it didn’t take long before I was selected to attend.

The second event in my little saga, was in February, before the challenge still. There was a Career Fair at my school and, naturally, AB InBev was present. Seeing as how I was accepted into the competition, I kind felt I was obligated to at least have a chat. Nothing serious. I still wasn’t all that interested in beer. To be totally honest, I don’t even like beer. And I just felt like it wasn’t for me. But then I got to talking… And I was talking to someone who was over-the-moon enthusiastic! She told me lots of things, including the fact there’s a little thing called a “Commercial Traineeship”: lasts 4 months, based in the UK and with a focus on marketing & sales. So I figured… I might as well apply, “who knows right?” When I got to the application process though, I found out I’d missed the UK-deadline. But the one for Bremen, Germany, was still open. Figuring my knowledge of German is quite okay – definitely not at the level of my abysmal French! – I thought “fo sho! I’ll give it a shot!”

In a third step, March came around and the Best Beer Challenge itself was a pretty fun event. I got to know new people, it was an interesting marketing exercise and I really got to know the company much better. I even found out that I had been “short-listed” as someone who they’d like to see apply for the Global Management Traineeship. This was a 10-month traineeship, based all over and much more prestigious within the company. I’d already applied for the commercial one, but after the beer challenge, I figured I might as well apply for the GMT as well. I repeated: “who knows right?”

Fourth, I was quickly rejected as a GMT-candidate, but my commercial traineeship application for Bremen, Germany, was still ongoing. After a long, but fruitful ABI Assessment Day, I was totally convinced that I, in fact, really did like the company. However, because I missed the deadline for UK, I had applied in Germany. And while I love Germany and the German language, my command of that language is nowhere near as good as my English. I can speak pretty okay, but in order to get to know people easily, to perform well in a job… I was pretty sure I’d never make it in the final round. And then… Well, I honestly just got lucky. Because for the final round, I was placed in the UK induction zone, seeing as they could tell my English was way better. It was pretty un-freaking-believable. I still do not understand companies offering their potential candidates better chances at a job, but it’s totally awesome.

Anyways, the final round came and went and I, though I feared it had gone terribly, was accepted. Not as a commercial trainee though… Noooo! As a global management trainee. A position I thought I’d already lost my shot at?! Again: I caught a ridiculously lucky break. And at first I was informed that I’d be going to the UK, but then I was told that it’d be Benelux instead. That… Was somehow a downer, seeing as the UK seemed like this magical land of faeries and unicorns. And up until this point, everything had just been going so stellar… It just seemed ludicrous that I had let myself believe it could have been that spectacular. Not just an awesome company, but also the position, and even the country! But then I figured… I can ask. So… I asked. I asked for the opportunity to go to the UK. And there’s this saying: “ask, and you shall receive”. And guess what: again, a whopping stroke of luck and kaboom, the contract for the GMT position in the UK’s in the mail.

I repeat: I do not believe in luck. I believe you make your own luck. But holy crap, I didn’t do this. I happened to go to a competition. I happened upon a nice girl at a company fair who told me all about AB InBev. I happened to get switched to another country and to another position. I didn’t do any of this?! And yet, I have this crazy-ass amazing job offer now. Something which I would not have imagined, not even in my wildest dreams only a few weeks ago. And I’m having trouble believing it, because I just cannot believe how lucky I got. How incredibly lucky.

There’s one thing I really did though. One, small, but significant thing. I went to the bookstore today. And I got myself a big guide to London :-)



30 Day Health Challenge

Since the start of June I’ve been on my “30 Day Health Challenge”. Enough is enough. Potato chips do not a dinner make. Though I have believed the opposite for many a year, for 30 days I’m going to try and right the wrongs in my life! Well, maybe not all of them. I’m just not ready to give up on Nashville, or any other of my guilty pleasure. They truly do keep me sane. But health-wise, I’m ready for a change!

It all started when I found this silly little 30 Day Ab Challenge on Facebook. 30 days of working your muscles so you can be picture perfect for the summer season. Now, to be honest, I hate bikinis. And I basically abhor any clothing that says “Hey, this is my body. I know it looks fab. Please keep your eyes glued to all the good parts at all times and feel no shame whatsoever.” What can I say? I think beauty is, besides being completely dependent on what culture you belong to, something that fades anyways. So why focus on it? How nice & white my teeth are won’t make me any more appealing. My smile however can. And, to be completely honest, it freaks me out to think of myself as someone people would stop & stare at. I’m not an animal. I’m not in a zoo. Though if I was, everyone knows I’d for sure be a fat cuddly panda eating bamboo all day. Some things in life are just a given.

Anyways, after changing my attendance on “Going” to the 30 Day AB Challenge – which, incidentally, started on the first of June – I got to thinking… I, like, do not cook. There’s a simple reason for that: I don’t like it. Not at all. Not even a teeny tiny little bit. It takes way too long, or at least it’s not at all in proportion to the time you actually spend eating your home-cooked meal. It just feels like such a hassle to me. However, the downside of refusing to cook, kinda means that when it’s that time of day – also known as “dinner time” – I just eat whatever’s ready-made in the fridge. Or I get seriously unhealthy take-out. Or when I’m really feeling lazy, I just grab a bag of potato chips and substitute that as a worthy dinner. I’m not saying it’s one of my more grander ideas, but there it is.

Obviously, now that I’m going for the 30 Day Ab Challenge, it seems a bit ludicrous to me… Trying to be more fit, but continuing on in my downwards spiral of junkfood & sometimes just plain old “not eating”. Perhaps a change is in order. So I’m going for it: 30 days of a more healthy diet. I traded in my delicious Pringles for those tasteless rice waffles. My gorgeous chocolaty cookies have now become the more grainy Grany cookies. There’s skinny yoghurt in the fridge and – check this shit out – vegetables of all things! One of the main rules is to eat at least one piece of fruit each day. Or at least, that’s the goal. Some days though…

Today is just “one of those days”. I’m so tired. The energy levels, which are usually cruisin’ way above “normal human behavior levels”, are completely depleted. And I’ve been in my jammies since 6pm after eating a way-not-allowed-but-oh-so-good blueberry muffin. The jammies-thing was, besides really wanting to crawl into the soft, comforting and enclosed space that is my bed, my failsafe for the day. I just knew that if I stayed fully dressed, there would be a huge risk that I’d go for a run to the frituur. And if a blueberry muffin is bad, then the frituur shall be referred to as Satan, Lucifer, devil incarnate, whateveryouwannacallit. Or at least, that’s what that place is for the next month. So making sure I was glued to my bed, was basically my way of making sure I wouldn’t do that. I know myself too well. I’m lazy as f*ck and once in pyjama-mode, I am unable to go back to normal-human-mode. Only once was my friend able to get me out of my jammies and off to a crazy night of fun out on the town. To this day I am still amazed that she was able to do that.

However, I have noticed a slight hick-up in my 30 Day Health Challenge. And that is the aspect of “what to do on one of those days”???

Seriously. I want pie. Yummy crackers. Potato chips. Candy. Some chocolaty goodness that will put me into a blissfully sweet sugar coma. But my fridge is now stocked with vegetables and non-fat yoghurt. There is water, but no soda, not even freaking juice. Because oh yeah, I also thought it’d be a good idea to try and stick to water as much as I can for the next month!! /Insert Facepalm and Annoyed Groan here. The only other thing I’ll allow in the house is coffee. There are ways to be healthy and there are sure ways of getting me killed: limiting my access to caffeine will do that to me. So coffee and water. But I am craving a good coke. (diet coke, duh) And I just wish my cupboards held anything more enticing than freakin’ rice waffles. Rice waffles? Really? It’s unbelievable how much of a masochist I can be when I feel up to it.

I think the right response in this sort of situation is go to bed early. Just let the sleepiness and the heat of my bed take me over, pull me in and drift me off into gracious oblivion. Tomorrow will be a better day. And there’s oatmeal in the morning. Which, yeah, is slightly better than the carrot I had for dinner – it was a really big muffin you guys. Blueberry delight!