Tag Archives: Travel

Gratitude List: Week Starting September 14, 2015

Like I said on Tuesday, I returned from my parents’ having caught a cold. My irritable bowel syndrome is also out of control rihgt now and I’m very tired. We had to cancel my sleeping over at my husband’s this week-end because he too caught a cold. That being said, there’s still a lot to be grateful about. Time for another gratitude list!


  1. This one is cheating a bit, as it’s about last week. I had a good stay at my parents’ last week-end. On Saturday, we went to an album presentation and on Sunday, we went to a performance by a poet and a singer-songwriter.

  2. The journey home by train on Monday was uneventful. I actually was on time to catch my train at Zwolle, where you only have about six minutes to transfer and the station is undergoing reconstruction. The railway service personnel were great.

  3. I did an okay job at the gym on Tuesday. I actually learned some new exercises on a balancing ball. I still need to blow up my own balancing ball so that I can do the exercises while not at the gym.

  4. I bought some deliciously-smelling coconut shampoo at the town store on Wednesday. My husband says the smell doesn’t last as long as that of the sunflower shampoo I bought at the supermarket a while back, but oh, it’s so gorgeous! I am now looking to buy some coconut-scented shower gel too.

  5. Speaking of scents, the vanilla scent I put in my AromaStream® a few weeks ago still lasts. I have had my AromaStream® on almost everyday this week.

  6. I found out about the book Suffering the Silence by Allie Cashel in a woman’s magazine that I read on Friday. Decided to buy the book and am totally sucked in. It’s not a light read (the book is about chronic Lyme disease) but it’s fascinating. I will post a review once I finish the book.

  7. So far, I’m liking the fall/winter menu at the institution somewhat. There are still meals I don’t like, but I enjoyed the couscous and noodles we had earlier this week. Nobody else liked the couscous, so I fear it will be off the menu soon.

  8. It was my and my husband’s fourth wedding anniversary yesterday. I liked all the E-mails and messages I received acknowledging it.

  9. Though I am not a big fan of chocolate, I liked the creamy chocolate my husband gave me for our anniversary. Its taste went well together with the vanilla scent I mentioned above.

  10. My husband and I went to Domino’s, a pizza place not too far from our apartment, to order takeout. I had a delicious but very spicey chicken pizza. My husband had a slice and found it extremely spicey, so spicey that I won’t repeat the cuss words he used to describe it. 😉 While I did notice there was some spiciness to it, I found it mostly delicious. We also ordered a box of chicken wings and other deliciousness. Can you tell by now I’m a huge fan of chicken?

  11. I have been looking at various online drug stores, originally for the coconut-scented shower gel I mentioned, but I’ve been oohing and aahing at all the goodies they have on offer. I think I’m going to treat myself to a nice facial someday soon. I tried some facial masks at day activities a while back when someone visited there to help us with makeup and such. The experience was weird but good. I’ve also been reading a lot of goodness about facials on beauty blogs and so want to try it for myself.

  12. Speaking of beauty products, I’ve been trying to apply the lipgloss my sister gave me for my birthday. It smells great. I am not yet good at applying it, but will ask one of the nurses to help me someday soon.


What have you been grateful for this week?

Ojo's World
What Katy Said

Vacation #WotW

For this week’s Word of the Week, I was briefly tempted to choose “screenless” again. I left for a short vacation with my husband on Wednesday, and took my computer fully expecting to have Wifi at the hotel. Well, the short story is we do have Wifi, but only one device can use the Internet at the same time and we need to go down to the TV room to have any signal. We didn’t find this out until today, so I was a bit frustrated at first. However, since I ended up being screenless for only two days, I’ll go with the bigger picture and choose “vacation”.

We drove six hours from our home to southern Germany on Wednesday. Because of traffic jams, we ended up driving for almost nine hours. We planned on going to a Celtic museum in Stuttgart on our way to the Black Forest, but we arrived there just after its closure at 5PM. Now we plan on going there tomorrow on our way back home.

On Thursday and today, we went swimming at a large pool. I loved the bubble bath feature. Yesterday, we also visited a mountain and went on a cable car ride up the mountain and then down again after a short walk. Today, we visited a prehistoric village museum near Lake Constance. We arrived just in time for a tour and listened to a very knowledgeable woman telling us all about prehistoric living or our modern-day interpretation of it. My German and English aren’t good enough to remember what she said and translate it correctly.

The vacation certainly wasn’t the healthiest of trips I’ve made so far, despite the swimming pool. I ate French fries three times so far, bought at least three bags of candies, and when we were still hungry yesterday night, we stopped at a fried chicken stand where they had the tastiest chicken legs. Then again, my muscles ache from all the walking and swimming. Oh, and now I’m glad I’m not a travel blogger, for I had to look up quite a few words.

The Reading Residence

Memories of Summer: Traveling While Blind

I haven’t participated in #theprompt in many weeks, but this week’s prompt appealed to me. It is “memories of summer”. My husband and I are currently planning our vacation for this year, which will be in September, and we’ve run into some problems finding things to do that I actually enjoy.

When I still had some vision, I enjoyed camping out, although I probably didn’t enjoy it as much as I remember. I liked going to the beach. My family used to go to Vlieland, one of the Dutch Wadden Islands. Up until I was around eight, I liked it there. I was in fact sad that, from my age nine on, we skipped a few years. That could just be my insistence on sameness though.

When we went back to Vlieland when I was twelve, I had a pretty horrible time and so did my family due to my almost daily meltdowns. I had pretty much lost my use of vision but still clung to what sight I did have. As a consequence, I was extremely dependent on my sister. We went back the next year and it was even worse. I think this may be one reason my parents stopped taking us on vacation after that year except for a trip to Berlin in 2002.

In 2000, I went to a summer camp in Russia organized by the Janusz Korczak Foundation. It was one big disaster. Formally, it was for both blind and sighted youth, but I was the only blind participant in the Dutch group. I was also the youngest Dutch participant at fourteen. I was pretty dependent. The other participants consequently treated me like a chore, and I reacted to it with frustration and tantrums. I liked some of the Russian staff, but the Dutch staff and participants saw me as a pain in the butt. Probably the only reason I applied to go to the same camp again the next year, was that I wanted to fit in somehow. The Dutch participants who had gone with me the previous year were consulted, in line with the Korczak philosophy of having children be judges over each other, and I was turned down.

In 2002, I discovered the International Camp on Communication and Computers (ICC), a computers and technology camp for blind students. I applied to go there and, even though I was honest about my experience in Russia, I was accepted. I went to England in 2002 and to Switzerland in 2003. Particularly my experience in 2002 was interesting and in a way it helped me accept my blindness, along with some other experiences I had that summer. Unfortunately, most such camps are for children and youth only.

I haven’t particularly enjoyed visiting cities. I went to Paris with my grandma in 2001 and, as I said, to Berlin with my family in 2002. While the experience in Paris was okay, I was often very frustrated in Berlin. This isn’t necessarily a blindness thing. I just didn’t like the unpredictability of not having a clue in the morning what we were going to do during the day. I also didn’t really like sightseeing, because, well, there’s just not much I can see.

This is a problem when planning my upcoming vacation. With my husband, I’ve been to Luxembourg, Germany and Switzerlnd so far. None of the experiences were particularly good, but they weren’t bad either. I liked going for walks in nature, but the surface couldn’t be too rough or I’d fall over. I liked trips where it was clear what we’d be doing, such as going on a train into the mountains. In the evenings, I was usually bored.

One of the positive things, hopefully, about the upcoming trip, is that I’ve decided I’m taking my computer. I’m not planning on staring at the screen all day, but at least this will hopefully cure some of the boredom I experienced during the evenings.

mumturnedmom

#AskAwayFriday for June 6, 2014

I’m participating in #askawayFriday for the first time this week. #AskawayFriday is a way to get to know other bloggers. You partner up with anotehr blogger and ask each other ten questions. This week, I’m swapping questions with Echo from Domain of the Mad Mommy. Check out her blog and get to know her through the questions I asked her. Below are the answers to Echo’s questions to me.

1. You’ve been blogging since 2002. How has the blogging world changed since you started?
Well, in all honesty I’ve been doing actual blogging since 2007. Between 2002 and 2007, I kept a number of online diaries. These are much more personal, and with me being on DiaryLand most of that time, there was no way to comment (a commenting system cost a ton of moeny). That being said, when I started actual blogging in 2007, I wasn’t nearly as aware of the blogosphere as I’m now, and kept mostly to the tiny niche of autistic advocacy bloggers. I don’t know whether the blogosphere has changed, but my blogging certainly has. when I started blogging here at Blogging Astrid, I wanted to make my writing accessible to people not familiar with disability advocacy, so I started blogging for a wider audience.

2. You grew up with undiagnosed Asperger’s Syndrome. Do you think a diagnosis would have helped you in your youth?
Definitely. My parents were unwilling to have me assessed because they thought I’d be seen as intellectually disabled. Then again, Asperger’s Syndrome specifically requires no intellectual disability. It’s not always wise to look back, but I think I could’ve benefited from more tailored supports had I been diagnosed early on.

3. You feel very strongly about advocating for mental health. Is it your own experience that drives that passion?
Yes. Besides autism, I have a diagnosed mental illness (borderline personality disorder). I’ve also lived in a psychiatric institution since 2007. I like to advocate for the rights of mentally ill people, because I’ve myself experienced the authoritarian system that psychiatric care still is. I also want to raise awareness, so that people without mental illness will understand what it’s like being mentally ill.

4. You live in the Netherlands, but have you ever traveled outside of Europe?
No. The farthest I’ve traveled is Russia in 2000.

5. If you could visit anywhere on Earth, where would you go?
The United States, definitely. I’d like to someday take a culinary trip to the southern U.S. When I was a teen, I dreamt of living in the U.S., in fact.

6. What is your favorite way to relax?
Hanging out online and writing.

7. What is your favorite song right now?
Take It Easy Altes Haus by Truck Stop. It’s a German country song. I don’t think it’s on YouTube and besides, I have YouTube blocked for now, so can’t go find it.

8. What is the best thing you have ever eaten?
Kofta.

9. Where do you see yourself in 2 years? Still blogging? Advocating?
Hopefully still blogging, if the blogosphere doesn’t disappear entirely. I think as for advocacy, I’d still do it online mostly, but I’d like to expand my horizon and advocate in the real world too. I also hope I’ll have left the institution in two years and right now I’m thinking that wherever I reside then, it’s got to have Wifi. 😉

10. If you could give us one piece of advice, as an adult on the spectrum, what would it be?
Accept others as they are, which doesn’t necessarily mean accepting all their behaviors.