EuroTrip 2018 – Part 1 – Amsterdam

Hi guys,

Greetings from Exeter, United Kingdom. Yes for once, it’s not London… Its about 2.00 AM and I am still awake because I woke up from a late nap two hours ago (That’s how you know Uni has messed up your cycle)…

At the start of the year, I promised to post once every month but unfortunately, that has not been the case because of priorities and more importantly because, I tend to write when I feel inspired to and not as a sort of routine.

Anyway, tonight I felt like sharing a post on my Easter break EuroTrip!

Background

In my plans for 2018, I had promised myself that I was going to live for me and be happy, treat myself if I wanted to (of course considering bank account’s status) and not let things happening around me get to me and steal my joy. I decided that safety was longer an option or a word in my life and I was open to adventures. I was ready to get out of my comfort zone and do things I have always thought of doing but was defeated by fear or guts.

I really love travelling but at first I would not be bothered to plan these trips or I felt as though I needed approval (from my parents) before going on crazy trips. If it was not a family vacation which was booked by my parents, I would not bother myself with planing and organising (i.e. visa application, flight bookings, hotel/apartment reservations, attractions and sight seeing plan..).

I would literally give up as soon as the desire to travel somewhere comes because I could not imagine myself doing all the paperwork by myself and simply booking a visa appointment. But this was because I left home at the age of sixteen and before that pretty much everything was done for me. All I had to do in the past was to show up (chuckles).

Making these changes allowed me to travel in April to four countries in Europe. I started planning this since January and by April 1st I was on my way for the first destination – Amsterdam!!!

IMG_3564

I went with couple of friends from University and we lodged at IBIS Hotels in the city centre, which was pretty close to everything. Of course, it was the city centre. The same evening once we got there, we settled in an went out to have dinner.

One thing I did not know about Amsterdam is how expensive it is. Just to have a decent warm meal, you should plan around 25 Euros (just for the main). But trust us students to find the cheap spots and chinese!

The following day started off with visiting museums with one of my friends who equally loves Arts and Exhibitions. On our way we noticed that just at every corner, there were Tulips. And then a bit of research and quick chats around, and we realised that Amsterdam is popular for their Tulips gardens and museums and we were right by it.

IMG_0576

IMG_3802

We visited Rijiks which is the museum of modern arts and Stedelijk Museums. The Van Gogh museum is also pretty popular but you need to book it way in advance as tickets sell out quite fast. Visiting the museums took us almost the whole morning till about early afternoon (1.00pm). There are so many pictures I took but I will just show a few.

IMG_0584

IMG_0630

Managed to get this picture from the Rijiks museum. This is one of my favourite pictures I tool for the entire trip.

IMG_0612

I am that one friend with creative weird poses so I would take 10 000 pictures on the same spot but with different poses. Shout of to my friend a.k.a photographerofthetrip for her patience.

IMG_3474

I love this picture not only because of the position of the cubes and the wall paper but also because it shows my skin tone in its realest everyday state without any lighting, or make up. I really do love my dark skin and I cannot imagine myself a different skin tone.

Next from my time is Amsterdam was visit the canals and just admiring the beauty of the city with it’s numerous bikes (Guys, I think you would never see the number of bicycles I saw in Amsterdam anywhere else. It’s insane. They have parkings (up to 1000 spaces) for bikes).

IMG_0689IMG_3520

As courageous as I am, I found myself asking the boat driver if I could take the picture on her seat driving the boat and she nicely said Yes! So I did. If you wish to visit the city by boat through its canals, just look for the popular cruises called “Hop and Hoff”

IMG_0697

The craziest part about Amsterdam was to go on a swing on a rooftop on top of a tower which is 100 metres from the ground (my old self would have never done that, never). I was so scared and definitely screamed but I am happy I did it. It just reminded me about the common fact that “most of the times, for a lot of people including myself, we let our fears get to us so much that we don’t even realise the strength that lies in us”. We are quick to give up, to say no, to not try and that, actually makes us miss our ‘blessings’ in so many ways.

IMG_3601

The rooftop swing A’DAM Lookout and it is so beautiful in there. I loved my journey to get to the place and experience the swing. First, a cruise, then, building itself which has a lot of fancy things (overpriced for the shops) but really good spot for pictures.

And here we go:

 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

There was so much to visit in Amsterdam and it cannot be contained in just one post and there are so many more pictures and anecdotes I wish to tell you guys about but I guess that would be for another time. I would do a sub post on my recommendations and the things to do while in Amsterdam.

To sum up, this was the mood in which I left Amsterdam for the next stop – Frankfurt.

IMG_0765

Till next time guys.

Much love xx

19 Observations.

NO LONGER A SLAVE TO FEAR

Sexual sin is not like any kind of sin. Typical sins and different from sexual sins because sexual immorality is sin against yourself and own body. And your body is the temple of the Lord, so once you temper with your body, you also temper with the temple of the Lord in you where the Holy Spirit is to dwell in. And if there’s anything in this life as Christians, is that we need the Holy Spirit to dwell in us and never leave us.

Sex is a spiritual thing and not just physical because the act ties souls and is meant for those who have vowed to be tied by marriage.

Society nowadays has created million excuses to normalise our actions and disregard the fact that as unwedded couples (to whom it may concern), to give yourself to a man whom you’re not married to, in the name of “this is the man I will marry or I see our relationship leading to potentially marriage”.

Sex is something that once started, you don’t want to quit. Because it feels good in the moment and you just can’t stop. Even when we pray that we want cleansing, to stop and not give in, we fall back again. Because it’s that one pleasure you want to grant to your selfish self.

But what about God’s will. What about your purpose and His will in your life?

Many at times, some people try to shame others for not being sexually active because at a certain age, you should no longer be a virgin. It’s a “pseudo” crime not to be a part. Society wants to shame those who save themselves and leave them as “not cool”, “lame”, “nerdy”. When the point is really about honouring your body.

Meanwhile the reverse should be the norm in accordance with the holy scriptures. Not judging anyone who is down that path however, I do believe that no one should be put to shame or made uncomfortable in any way because they have made that decision to hold on to their temple and honour their body and God.

With confidence and pride, do not feel ashamed that you have honoured God with your body. Never feel that you need to belong. Remember Psalm 84:10: Better is one day in your courts than a thousand elsewhere; I would rather be a doorkeeper in the house of my God than dwell in the tents of the wicked.

I picked this particular verse to talk to you who is feeling ashamed, you to on whom mockeries have been placed for apparently not belonging; think about who you serve, who you want to please, and where exactly you want to belong. Clearly not the world, clearly not those friends who make you feel ashamed. You do not have to. Just allow God to use you as a device to bless other people, to spread light and the truth. 

freedom-handcuffs-hands-247851

Some people would say, well, that’s because she is not even in a relationship, and so, she can’t feel that temptation.

Well, my response to this is, you don’t have to be in a relationship to feel tempted. In thoughts, in your surrounding, anything can actually trigger you. You can even wake up from your sleep and be horny but does that mean you start giving yourself? So that point is invalid.Sexual sin is not any kind of sin. It’s a sin against your body and that’s even worst than any other sin.

And if you’re one of those who do not think or believe the bible adresses virginity or keeping yourself for marriage, then have a read through these verses.

Once more, this is in no way carrying judgement on anyone. This was simply to a way of giving my view points as I have been having a lot of conversations recently around relationships, marriage, sex and how these different things are addressed in the WORD.

That said, I am in no way perfect. Be active and that’s your decision but do not (try to) label someone and say “he/she is missing out or shame your friends” because xyz… All I know is that the WORD is the truth and we all know this truth.

For those of you whose arguments are: “Ahhh, even God knows the flesh is weak” or “we are all humans” or “shit happens you know” …

Indeed, shit happens! However, I strongly believe that no one wants to stay in “shitty” situations. In fact, I do believe that situations we just classify as “well, shit happens, or that the flesh is weak” are cycles the devil wants to keep you in and until you decide to stop listening to these lies of enemy, until you make a firm decision of getting out of these cycles, then you kind of remain trapped in there.

God says come to me and ask for forgiveness for when the Lord has said it’s over, He moves on and never brings your past life, He makes you a new person in Him again. Do not let guilt or shame distance you from his presence. Just come to him and He’ll give you peace.

Meditate these verses.

“Do not deny yourselves to each other, unless you first agree to do so for a while in order to spend your time in prayer; but then resume normal marital relations. In this way you will be kept from giving in to Satan’s temptation because of your lack of self-control.”

1 Corinthians 7:5 GNB

“Someone else will say, “Food is for the stomach, and the stomach is for food.” Yes; but God will put an end to both. The body is not to be used for sexual immorality, but to serve the Lord; and the Lord provides for the body.”

1 Corinthians 6:13 GNB

“But because there is so much immorality, every man should have his own wife, and every woman should have her own husband.”

1 Corinthians 7:2 GNB

“That is why a man leaves his father and mother and is united with his wife, and they become one.”

Genesis 2:24 GNB

“Each of you men should know how to live with his wife in a holy and honourable way,”

1 Thessalonians 4:4 GNB

“You may be sure that no one who is immoral, indecent, or greedy (for greed is a form of idolatry) will ever receive a share in the Kingdom of Christ and of God.”

Ephesians 5:5 GNB

“Avoid immorality. Any other sin a man commits does not affect his body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body. Don’t you know that your body is the temple of the Holy Spirit, who lives in you and who was given to you by God? You do not belong to yourselves but to God; he bought you for a price. So use your bodies for God’s glory.”

1 Corinthians 6:18-20 GNB

“Avoid immorality. Any other sin a man commits does not affect his body; but the man who is guilty of sexual immorality sins against his own body.”

1 Corinthians 6:18 GNB

“What human nature does is quite plain. It shows itself in immoral, filthy, and indecent actions;”

Galatians 5:19 GNB

“‘And for this reason a man will leave his father and mother and unite with his wife, and the two will become one.’ So they are no longer two, but one. No human being then must separate what God has joined together.””

Mark 10:7-9 GNB

“Each of you men should know how to live with his wife in a holy and honourable way, not with a lustful desire, like the heathen who do not know God. In this matter, then, no man should do wrong to his fellow-Christian or take advantage of him. We have told you this before, and we strongly warned you that the Lord will punish those who do that. God did not call us to live in immorality, but in holiness.”

1 Thessalonians 4:4-7 GNB

“He reflects the brightness of God’s glory and is the exact likeness of God’s own being, sustaining the universe with his powerful word. After achieving forgiveness for human sins, he sat down in heaven at the right-hand side of God, the Supreme Power. The Son was made greater than the angels, just as the name that God gave him is greater than theirs.”

Hebrews 1:3-4 GNB

“But the things that come out of the mouth come from the heart, and these are the things that make a person ritually unclean. For from his heart come the evil ideas which lead him to kill, commit adultery, and do other immoral things; to rob, lie, and slander others. These are the things that make a person unclean. But to eat without washing your hands as they say you should — this doesn’t make a person unclean.”

Matthew 15:18-20 GNB

This is the WORD of the Lord !!!! You choose what you do but do not interfere or speak about another’s choice or way of life. Hold yourself accountable for your own actions.

Thanks for reading!

Laurianne.

Your mind, your will and your emotions

Have confidence that the Lord makes you to lie down in green pastures, which means that He is taking you to a place of rest and stillness in Him: “Be still and know that I am God (Psalm 46:10).”

If you are always running around and don’t have quiet time with the Lord, then how can you receive restoration in your mind, will, and emotions? Modern life can drain you dry if you let it. That is why so many people are emotional wrecks. They are running on empty. But God promises to restore us.

Once you receive rest and restoration in the Lord, then you can walk with Him as He leads you in paths of righteousness. He shows you how to think right, believe right, and live right.

Even though your circumstances may make you feel like you are walking through the valley of the shadow of death, you will not fear because you know the Lord is with you. God’s goodness toward you will be so visible that even your enemies will see His handiwork upon your life. They will see God’s grace abounding toward you.

What is God’s grace? Grace is everything God is and God has made available to you. In old movies about royalty, you see people addressing the King or Queen as “Your Grace” as they bow down. Jesus is “Your Grace.” He gave His very life for you. In Him, you have a new identity as the beloved of God.

“The LORD is my shepherd; I have everything I need. He lets me rest in fields of green grass and leads me to quiet pools of fresh water. He gives me new strength. He guides me in the right paths, as he has promised.”

‭‭Psalms‬ ‭23:1-3‬ ‭GNB‬

In Jesus, you have forgiveness of sin and victory over sin. In Him, you have peace and joy because He left you with both. In Him, you have love and with His love, you are empowered to love your neighbor as yourself. When you consider this, then you see that material things cannot compare with the riches of His grace! Because Jesus is your Shepherd, then you indeed shall not want when you meditate on all you have in Him.

With love

19’s Observations!

Happy New Year 2018

Hi guys!

I know this is coming up a little late but I want to take time to wish each and everyone of you following my blog and reading my posts Happy New Year.

I was away for the summer and of course spending time with family did not really permit me to write a post and returning to the UK … Oh if you’re familiar with the UK system, then you know it’s ‘January Exams’ time. So here are the reasons for the late wishes.

Anyway, this year, I plan a lot of consistency for this blog. More exciting and useful posts and amazing surprises. I will be posting at the end of every week and of  course, if I am inspired to write something, I’ll do so immediately like it has been the case this past year.  That would be my only commitment to this blog for 2018 which is worth sharing with you guys.

Don’t forget to subscribe, share, comment and like.

Once more, Happy New Year!

SETTLING FOR SAFETY

Holla holla!

So for the past couple of days, this topic kept coming to my mind and it left me seated in my room wondering what I actually understood and implied when I evoked safety.

Comment below what your definition of safety is!

This year, I have been in the massive job hunting phase. Not only am I looking for a job, but also, a place to debut a professional career. So my quotidian is basically, school and job applications. Of course I eat and sleep but those two, particularly have become my hobby and daily activities.

Anyway here’s the context.

When I started applying for jobs during summer, I did like everybody else; companies background checks and roles search. To be honest, as a graduate even though you are exposed to several experiences be it academic, extracurricular or professional, you can only have a pre-conceived idea of where you want to be and what you want to do for a living. However, these ideas and plans are sometimes influenced by things that surround us, people who inspire us and who we aspire to be or even experiences that have exposed us to particular areas or situations. In my case, despite some of these factors, I equally considered competitiveness. And best believe me, this has had a huge impact on my choices.

I study and have resided in the United Kingdom for the past three years now (moving on four soon) as an international student. When I came here, I saw, I witnessed and I experienced as paraphrased from a typical Cameroonian quote. I developed interest in certain areas of finance, markets, consulting and entrepreneurship which is still the case today. However, when time came actually start applying, I questioned myself repeatedly about the market. I realised I had to compete with a thousand of applicants from all around the globe and this scared me quite significantly I would say. I got frustrated from the fact that spaces were always limited (and would always be) and that opportunities were not perpetual.

So I stepped back a little and started looking for the less competitive areas. Those I was really certain the expectations would be lower, those I definitely knew not many people would apply to and by the end of my second year at University, I had made a selection of these companies and the roles offered. Little did I know that my analysis was short-term. I had failed to look at it from a wider perspective and consider the different angles.

To me, I was probably making a safe choice.

Fast forward to last month. I do not really know how this hit me but I began to thing again at how safe I would go in life. Is that how my options would be? Is that what I really wanted to settle for? Safety! When this thought came to my mind, I knew it was a sign. A sign that the choices I had began to make or the mindset I was having was probably not the best. Had I come this far in life to finally settle for ‘the safe option’. Had I studied – after getting admission into a Russell Group University (UK’s classification of the American Ivy League) to end up with no challenges, to end up not taking risk just because I preferred safety? It hit me faster and faster as I put more thought into the question.

I then analysed my choices in terms of job selection regardless of competition and how much potential I was about to give up. This opened my eyes even to sectors I had thought and classified before as ‘male field’ and it made me realise something really important.

Life is about these challenges. Now, I fully understand the importance of putting myself out there and stepping out of the safety and comfort zones. Stepping out of zones my mind would not be challenged, where I would not feel energised and stimulated (in every sense of it). I do believe challenges lead to growth and that the competition we are exposed to should only be a booster or motivating factor to even push harder. When you actually undergo this competition, then you know how worthy and deserving you are to be where you are and have what you have.

Imagine being chosen from a thousands of applicants, with different backgrounds, different stories, different experiences. Isn’t that awesome. Does it not feel rewarding. Believe me,  its such a good feeling and sensation. Since I had this ‘meditation’ with myself, I decided to think deeper than what the surface presents and actually pursue a career I am really interested in even if it’s risky (by risk I mean – limited offers, positions, gender dominated) and take the challenges.

Since I eliminated safety from my dictionary (still drive safely haha), I have gained so much and have had so many opportunities. It seems like God was just waiting on me to come to this realisation and make use of my potential and competencies. I have attended way more interviews, assessment centres than ever before and even right from the start, my applications (forms, CV and cover letter submissions) are being retained. Perhaps, I am even more motivated and that comes across in my cover letters, CV or during interviews. I have equally had few rejections but at later stages of application processes. Stages I never expected to get  to before. I learn a lot from these experiences and opportunities and these have given room to so much improvement.

At first, I thought fields such investment banking, mergers and acquisitions, securities, asset management were for a specific type of persons, companies such as GoldmanSachs, Blackrock, Citi, Blackstone, Vanguard (the list continues) only recruited candidates with the  MIT, Harvard, Oxford or Cambridge etiquette. What was I thinking … As long as you possess the skills set required for these positions, as long as you have a strong academic background that reflects your intellectual capabilities and as long as you have accumulated experiences that mould you into a resourceful individual, go for it. The rest will fall into place.

You are worth so much more than what you think. You are capable of doing so much better than what you think. Remember that even with investments, only the projects or portfolios with high risk have greater expectations of returns. Don’t remain too comfortable with your safe option. It’s good to keep your options open and have many plans but at the same time, it’s very important that you put yourself out there, take challenges and get involved even if society makes you feel like that particular sector is not inclusive of your gender, background or path.

No more safety!

19’s Observations.