A peek into my life for my friends all over the world!

Sunday, June 17, 2007

Papa: my hero

Spanish version below/version en español debajo
A little over a month ago I dedicated my weekly blog to my mother, as it was mother's day...well this time is Father's day and I decided that I had to do the same.

How to start? Let me put it this way, have you ever had to answer the question of who is your hero? Well, I've been asked that question a couple of times and for me, my hero is my dad.

And I don't mean it in the way that little kids always see their fathers: as the big and strong guy who can make everything well...maybe that was when I was a little girl. I mean it because my dad is one of the nicest persons that I know and he has so many qualities that I value in any person: he's an honest person, true to his word, patient, charismatic, charming, he always tries to see the best in everybody, hard worker, a wonderful friend, husband, brother and of course, father.

When I remember my happy childhood memories he's always there. He came home from work and he would whistle while opening the door! I can remember our Sundays...those were the times when we had more time, he would always take us out for lunch, to the playground, to the beach, for ice-cream...and when we were small those were the days he would bathe us and we loved it! And then at the end of the day (even when I was not that small anymore) he would put Francesca and me to bed and he would tell us a story before bed time. His imagination was endless!

Growing up in a country like Peru things are not like in Europe. Education is not for free and basically the great education, all the endless list of extra lessons, everything we had was due to his hard work.

He's the sweetest person, always smiling, always calming and soothing. Such a nice and romantic person. I'll never forget my last Valentine's day in Peru back in 2000...he didn't only buy roses for my mom, he sent 4 bouquet of roses, each in a different colour...for his 4 "innamorate". (And then you wonder why I'm so picky with men :-s)

So even all grown up now, even when it's the time when we tend to realise our parent's mistakes or faults...I wouldn't change anything from my dad. He's a great guy, he's a role model and he's still my hero. I love you dad! Thanks for everything!

And I also wanted to take this opportunity to wish my grandpa a happy Father's day! I love you nonno!

Version en español (sin acentos a proposito)
Hace un poco mas de un mes le dedique mi blog semanal a mi mama, en vista que fue el dia de la madre…bueno esta vez es el dia del padre, asi que hare lo mismo.

Como empezar? Dejenme ponerlo de esta forma. Alguna vez han tenido que contestar a la pregunta “quien es tu heroe”? Bueno, a mi me la han hech oun par de veces y para mi, mi heroe es mi papa.

Y no me refiero a esto en la forma como los niños pequeños ven a sus padres: como esa persona “grande” que puede hacer que todo este bien…tal vez eso es lo que sentia cuando era una niña. Me refiero a que mi papa es una de las personas mas increibles que conozco y tiene tantas cualidades que valoro y admiro en cualquier persona: es una persona honesta, una persona de palabra, paciente, carismatico, encantador, siempre trata de ver lo mejor en los en los demas, trabajador, un excelente amigo, esposo, hermano y obviamente, padre.

Cuando pienso en los recuerdos alegres de mi infancia el esta siempre alli. Llegaba a la casa despues de trabajar y tenia un silbido particular al abrir la puerta! Recuerdo los domingos…esos eran los dias que consagraba totalmente a nosotras, nos llevaba a preciosos lugares para almorzar, a los juegos, a la playa, a tomar helados…y cuando eramos mas pequeñas ese era el dia en que nos bañaba y nosotros adorabamos eso! Y luego, al final del dia (incluso cuando ya no era tan pequeña) nos acostaba a Francesca y a mi y nos contaba cuentos. Su imaginacion nunca tenia fin!

Al crecer en un pais como Peru, las cosas no son como en Europa. La educacion no es gratis asi que la excelente educacion que tuve y la gran lista de clases extras, todo es fruto de su arduo trabajo.

El es la persona mas dulce, siempre sonriendo, siempre paciente y calmado. Una persona tan maravillosa y romantica. Nunca me olvidare el ultimo dia de San Valentin que pase en el Peru en el 2000…el no solo compro rosas para mi mama, sino que mando 4 ramos de distintos colores a la casa…para sus 4 enamoradas. (y luego se preguntan por que soy tan quisquillosa con los hombres :-s)

Asi que incluso ahora, ya de grande, incluso cuando suele ser la etapa de la vida en que tendemos a darnos cuenta de los defectos y equivocaciones de nuestros padres…no le cambiaria nada a mi papa. Es una persona excelente, un modelo a seguir y es todavia mi heroe. Ti voglio tanto bene papa! Mi manchi tanto. Grazie per tutto!

Quise aprovechar esta oportunidad tambien para desearle un buen dia del padre a mi abuelito. Te quiero mucho nin!!!

Tuesday, June 12, 2007

Long weekend in Valencia

Already last year my friend Stephie told me that she was planning something big for her next birthday...this would include a trip. True to her word Stephie sent a mail during the first week of January where she informed us that this year she would be celebrating her b'day on June 9th in Valencia, Spain.
Of course it was several months in advance, but considering the nature of the cheap airlines, this was ideal...the earlier you book the cheaper it is! I have to admit that I only booked my flight a couple of months ago but I managed to get a pretty good deal and I was ready to join Stephie for her birthday!!!
In the end we were 22 persons flying over to Valencia from the Netherlands, Italy, London and Canada and she rented 3 houses where we all stayed. So all was ready for a really nice and fun weekend!

I took Friday off so first thing in the morning I met Aissa on Schiphol airport and we were both SUPER ready to go! All summery dressed with only summery clothes and sandals in our suitcases!

First things first: the beach!
We were one of the first to arrive, once there we met JB (Belgian friend who lives in Amsterdam), Stephie of course and 2 Canadian friends of hers. And of course the first thing we did is get ready and head towards the beach in Malvarrosa! The weather was great (30 degrees), the water was wonderful and blue, the beach was not too crowded....it was just paradise to lay on my towel and think how great it is to hop on a plane for 2 hours and be lying on the beach in Spain ;-) (it even made me happier to know that when I had left Amsterdam I left a very big thunder storm- sorry for the Amsterdammers ;-) )

In general I was at the beach the 3 days that I was there, at different times of the day. I really enjoyed the sun and obviously the beautiful Mediterranean sea. The water was rather warm- at least for me used to the Pacific Ocean close to Lima that is rather cold- and refreshing. There were some small waves...it was just perfect! And of course now I have a wonderful tan! :)

The house
Aissa and me stayed in the house 3 blocks away from the beach! We were sharing with other 6 girls: 4 Italians, one Kiwi and one German. I have to say that even though I thought it was going to be a nightmare to share only one bathroom among 8 girls we managed beautiful and it was nice to wake up in the morning to the smell of freshly brewed Italian coffee (the Italians were from Naples and of course they brought with them their Italian coffee machine ;-) ).

America's Cup
The America's Cup is the most famous and most prestigious regatta in the sport of sailing, and the oldest active trophy in international sport predating the Modern Olympics by 45 years. The sport attracts top sailors and yacht designers because of its long history and prestige as the "Holy Grail" of yachting.
And we were lucky enough that this year it is being held in Valencia! (the first time in over 150 years that the cup is being held in Europe). The names of the teams are actually the sponsors (big EXPENSIVE brands) who "sponsor" a country. At the moment the "Emirates" team (New Zealand) won the challenger's series and will meet Alinghi (Switzerland) later this month.

The harbour in Valencia has been totally re-newed and re-designed to host the top amazing yachts and all the big sponsors had their own buildings. A really modern and beautiful pier had been also built for the occasion. After going through security you could get into this really great place that had all kinds of restaurants, bars, entertainment, discos. And that's where Stephie's b'day party was held!

The Party
Saturday evening all of us eventually managed to gather in "Estrella Damm" the hot club in the harbour. You could tell it was "the place to be" ;-) There were several Spaniards but there were also several foreigners that were in Valencia for the America's cup.

We had a really fun night, having some chats, observing the different people, dancing to the music, making people guess where we were from ;-) and drinking...Stephie got a little carried away buying Vodka bottles ;-)

The party finished at 3am so we all went to "Dockas" a really massive night club where somehow all those Italian people made us jump a queue of about 100 persons ;-) The club was really rather impressive, it was HUUUUGE....I'm sometimes really bad al calculating but there must have been about 3000 people in that place!

The Dutch people were impressed because the placed closes at 7am....if they only knew how it's in Peru ;-) In the end Aissa, JB, Sander and me were the last ones to stay and we left a little after 5am.

I have to say that I was REALLY impressed with Valencia. It's not that I was not expecting much, I just didn't know what to expect...and I found a really beautiful city. A mixture of old with modern, a really nice centre, well kept gardens, beautiful fountains, stunning churches, pictoresque squares...I could recognise the Spanish architecture from parts in the centre of Lima. Definitely a city to put in your "to go" list...and if you live in Europe it's not that far, several carriers fly there and cheaper than the further northern cities!

The Food
The food was DELICIOUS. A mixture of really nice sea food and fish. Tasteful jamones and quesos. Tasty different kind of paellas. Really good wine...AND so much cheaper than this part of Europe. Enough said! When you'll check the photos later you'll see that I photographed some of the dishes.

Corpus Christi
Last Sunday was the Catholic celebration of the Corpus Christi and in Valencia they started celebrating last Friday evening. We were lucky enough to see some typical Valencian dances and songs that started the Christian festivity in an old traditional way, preparing themselves for the big procession on Sunday. You can view a small video of this from last Friday by clicking here.

In general as you can deduce from all this, a really fun and nice weekend. A beautiful city, some really cool people, great food, wonderful weather...and some photos for you to catch a small glimpse of my weekend!

I took an early flight on Monday morning and I was behind my desk before 12:30. In conclusion, I think I have to go to Spain more often ;-)

And a big thanks to Stephie for organising such a great weekend :) sei stata bravissima!!!

Tuesday, June 5, 2007

My friends: You can't find them on my "speed dial"

I decided that I will write this post on my friends here in Amsterdam. Several of you have sent me some mails in the past months asking about the people that are characters in my weekly blogs ;-)

So I decided that I'd do a little summary of them, after all me being so far from home, it's in them who I rely for everything: we have fun, we have some interesting chats, we give each other advice, they are the ones that are there for the good and the bad times! They are a little like my family in Amsterdam.

And if you want to understand the title of this blog...you should keep reading until the end :)

Let me introduce you to my friends, in no particular order ;-)


Also known as Joostje (pronounced something like "youstye")- adding the "je" at the end of words in Dutch is an endearment, and it means "small"- something like the "ito" or "ita" in Spanish! As you can imagine he was not very happy when I started calling him that way...but then he realised that it was indeed an endearment and I guess he's fine with it as he doesn't say anything anymore

I met Joost through Arnaud (a Dutch friend that now lives in Peru and one of my very best friends-we met through AIESEC). Joost is a really sweet guy, he works in "Rabobank" in Utrecht and lives about a 16 mins bike ride from me ;-) He's one of my best friends here. He's the kind of friend that I speak on the phone weekly even if we don't see each other just to catch up. He loves all kinds of good music, he knows how to party and in general we have several common interests. He's the owner of "Saxy" the boat that you've seen in previous posts cruising through the Amsterdam canals.

He's also the person that I turned to last year when I almost had pneumonia and I had to go to the hospital. I will NEVER forget that!!! It's hard being ill while being far from home. Since earlier this year he's in love with a sweet Polish girl, Aleks, who is turning into a close friend of mine and I'm SO happy for both of them.


Brazilian girl who I met about 2 and half years ago through Yamil (a Peruvian guy that I actually met in Amsterdam). We've known each other for so long but it's only been about a year since we became closer. It started for a mutual love: the BEACH!

However that's how it started and in the past months we realised that we have much more in common. Like the fact that even though we are both South American we are always on time and we do plan things ;-) We both also share a big love to classical ballet and we've been several times to see some really nice ballet shows in the Opera in Amsterdam.

In general a nice girlfriend to spend my time with, share some girlie chats, some coffees, dinner, and discuss about shoes, work, the weather or men ;-)


Also known as "Petter-cito" is my favorite Swede guy (Linda you are my favorite Swede girl!).

Petter-cito and me met at Canon. He's one of the lawyers there and we started talking more when back in 2003 we decided to organise some post-work drinks with a whole bunch of people. Afterwards we used to go out with the whole "Canon gang" to party wildly!

We became closer friends the past 2 years. He's a really nice and sweet person who is also there always ready to listen to me and also ready for some interesting gossip (who says only women like to gossip).

Petter and me share some "ciggy-breaks" at work...he smokes I just enjoy the company and some fresh air. Another thing quite common among us are our "quiet evenings". Every time we've wanted one of those we've ended up in some obscure bar in the touristy part of Amsterdam at some unGodly hour ;-) in a very high inebriated state :-s AND it wouldn't be strange if he would have lost either his mobile phone or his coat (don't ask how many phones and coats he lost last year only)!

Believe it or not my beloved friend Petter is now a married man and I was so happy to join him and his lovely Norwegian wife (Stina) on their wedding last year. They are a great couple! And Petter is a great friend!


I met Carmen back in 2003 during her assessment centre to join the Canon Graduate Programme. I used to work in HR and I did the interview with the personality test. Since I met her I really liked her and she was my favourite among the candidates. In the end she entered Canon and ended up working as a trainee in my department.

Even though her assignement in my department only lasted 8 months we continued our friendship even when she went for a period to Brussels. She eventually came back to Amsterdam driven by love ;-) and a new job at Ricoh.
This Spanish girl and me shared some Dutch classes together and now of course she is almost fluent and I'm not :-s ...she has a Dutch boyfriend, that's a good icentive! We meet each other every other week for some girlie chats and some coffee or dinner.

Plus she's been my hairdresser for over a year. Every couple of months we have a "Chez Carmen" session actually at MY house ;-) where she dyes my hair, we have a nice meal and a good gossip.


Laurent and me met back in 2001 during an induction day at Canon for newcomers. I was in charge for the organisation of that event and I also delivered the Cultural Awareness training. Lets say that Laurent was the most active delegate ;-)

After that day he organised some drinks with the people that joined the event and I joined them. After a month I left for 9 months to London but we kept contact and when I came back to Amsterdam we renewed our friendship.
Laurent is one of the most intuitive males I've ever met. He has a deep sensitivity and he's a great listener. I guess one of the reasons why we used to have really long and interesting chats over dinner. Then eventually by mid 2004 when Gennaro, my previous flatmate, left I asked Laurent if he wanted to live with me.

We've been flatmates since then and we've managed to get to know each other quite well. He's a really nice and caring person, a great photographer and a great friend. I also think that living with him has been a great training for whenever I'll move with a boyfriend ;-)...what is it with men not picking up the towel in the bathroom? ;-)

Geert Jan

Also known as "Geertje" ;-) Geertje was also introduced to me by Arnaud and he used to live with him and Joost for 2 years in the Saxenburgerstraat REALLY close to me.

Back then the "Saxenburgercasa" as they used to call it was my second home...so much that I kept a spare pair of slippers that I would wear whenever I was there. I used to have dinner there at least once a week...these guys used to have a REALLY nice kitchen so I used to LOVE to go and cook there. They of course loved that!

Geertje is a really nice and fun guy. He's the person who will eventually teach Dutch to me...I know it ;0) I like it when he SMSes and e-mails me in Dutch...even if I answer in English. He will also take me to one of those REALLY house parties of which he's really fond of ;-) Unfortunately he's been living "REALLY far" lately- about a 35 mins cycle ;-) reason why I still haven't been in his "not so new home anymore"still we do see each other, we've had plenty of fun and some really nice times together.


Known as Stephie. Stephie is an Italian girl I only met about a year ago. However since the beginning there was a "click" and we bacame rather good friends. This was obviously highlighted by the fact that the Football World Cup took place last summer and both of us watched all the matches where Italy played together until that wonderful final :)

Stephie, a real entrepreneur, knows SOOOO many people and is a really lively girl. I love her spontaneity and the fact that we can make last minute plans for drinks, dinner, a nice chat or a movie...after all she goes to the cinema about 3 times a week ;-)
I think I'm going to leave the list there...and on another ocassion I'll introduce you to some other friends.

Now you must be wondering, why the title of this post. I decided I would talk about my closest friends and this means that I write about the ones that live here, however there's been so many friends that used to live here but have left. Persons that I've bonded with really fast. After all being away from home means that the experiencies you through with these people are rather deep. I remembered Gennaro, Sara, Emma, Linda, Bea, Martin, Arnaud, Bastiaan...these guys used to be in the "speed dial" of my mobile phone. Even though I'm not supposed to be supersticious I somehow thought it was a little of a "curse" having my friends on my speed dial and they ended up leaving...that's why I don't put my friends there anymore ;-)

Thank you guys for always beeing there for me!