Een verloren sokje


Elke globetrotter krijgt er vroeg of laat mee te maken:
een liedje dat je altijd luidkeels met je zus meezong tijdens het “cruisin’ in the car”, het moment wanneer je het etiket op een potje confituur leest en plots beseft dat het je eigen taal is, het parfum van je buurvrouw in de bib dat je tante ook altijd als een wolkje omhult.

Je ademt diep in, sluit je ogen en laat je even meedrijven op de herinnering. Soms steekt het een beetje, in het midden van je borstkas, een stukje naar links. Soms tintelt je huid en krijgen je wangen een lichtrode kleur. Soms kriebelt het in je keel, maar hoesten doet het prikkende gevoel niet verdwijnen. Wanneer je je ogen weer opendoet is het beeld wazig. Haastig wrijf je het water uit je ogen, maar het zout blijft aan je wimpers plakken.

Dus antwoord je dan maar ‘ja’ op een namiddag picknicken in het park en hoopt dat de hoeveelheid kaneel op je appeltjes je verstrooidheid niet verraadt.
En je praat en lacht en het valt allemaal wel mee.

Maar als je thuiskomt en je blik op de waslijn valt, voel je je plots net zo onvolledig als de sok die zijn maatje kwijt is en een beetje treurig aan de waslijn bungelt.


Welcome Back!

Hi there, my sweet international internetters!

How have you been doing, lately?

I took a little blog-holiday to concentrate on some other things, like writing my bachelorpaper -I graduated! yay 🙂 – reading a couple of books -what a surprise- and planning my next Erasmus!


Yes, you heard that right 🙂 at the moment I am enjoying the mediterranean life in the south of France, Montpellier, to be more precise.
A pittoresque city not far from the sea, where you can find markets and little vintage shops on every street corner, where people are always ‘un quart d’heure Monpelliérain*’ late and the air smells like citrus and fresh rosemary.

But something was missing…
You of course!
I could not keep this beauty all to myself. So after having dealt with the seemingly endless pile of administrative tasks, I decided it was time to give my favourite dining room a fresh layer of paint. I Brushed the dust off the furniture, hung up some new photos and polished the wine glasses -ah oui, bien sur!- so everything is ready to host an awesome lot of new guests.

I am excited already!

Are you?

Here’s a sneak peek of what the city looks like:

See you soon!


*the “local” 15 minutes

All Roads Lead to…

I left Essen a week ago…

Thinking back feels weird.
I cannot describe how I felt on sunday, when arriving here in Brussels… It was like a million years had passed during the car trip from Essen to Brussels, as if I was thrown into a completely different world and my time in Essen had only existed in a dream.

Hmm.. I guess the lack of sleep also played a major role in how I felt ^^

Still miss it every day, but I adapted to the life here in Brussels more quickly than I thought I would.

Bruxelles, ma belle, ik heb je toch wel gemist…


Maybe it’s because I missed my lovely friends here in Brussels and I was glad to see them back, maybe it’s because I have loads of work to do, maybe it’s because I went home and spent some time with my family…
Most probably it’s because the most crazy friend I’ve ever met visited me on wednesday. Vino’s visit didn’t only cheer me up, it showed me that the world is still as small as it was in Essen, that there are many ways to keep contact with the people you love and that all roads lead to…

Friendship 🙂

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I want to say thank you to everyone who joined me on my Erasmus journey: Thank you to my friends in Essen, to my friends and family who waited patiently for my return and to you, my readers, for letting me share my important and less important experiences.

This is the last article of this blog, but certainly not the last one I’ll ever write.

Keep dreaming, keep making friends, travelling, talking, reading, writing, dancing,…
and most importantly, don’t forget to share your dinner table every now and then: you never know who will come and join you.

x Lien

Young Birds in Stormy Weather

Someone once told me:

“Only when we discover other life outside our planet, we will feel connected to the other inhabitants of our world. Only then we will identify with our fellow ‘earthlings’.”

Is that true?
Do we construct our identity solely in opposition to others?

There is a certain logic in this statement.

I only knew what it feels like to be Belgian when I met someone from another country for the very first time.  I could compare my identity as a Belgian with that of someone else. It became clear what it means to share a geographical region, a government (well, six governments in our case. But that’s a different story), certain habits and ideas, a common history. Therefore all of a sudden I saw the connection with other Belgians in a whole new light. I found out that people can have other ideas about the world than the ones I was used to, things that I had taken for granted were suddenly questioned.

The more people I met the more clearly my identity was shaped. I felt ‘Belgian’, but also ‘Hasselaar‘, ‘Vlaming‘, Western European citizen, European citizen, ‘Brusselaar‘, ‘Limburger‘…
And all these labels indeed referred to differences with other groups and a sense of community within a group. So in a certain sense, yes, my identity is shaped in opposition to others.

But hey, let’s put things in perspective.

Searching for identity also means to define and redefine these labels, because that is what they are after all.
Names that we gave to concepts in order to understand them.

I never labelled myself as an ‘earthling’, because indeed, there is no need to in reference to other life.
But that doesn’t mean I don’t identify as one. Here on Erasmus I met people from all over the world -from Sri Lanka to Italy to Bolivia- and I learned that we resemble one another more than can be seen at the first glance. I never felt a stronger connection to people from other cultures than now.

We are all young people, open to other cultures, open to get to know the world. Let’s try not to forget this once we are out of this dream-like Erasmus bubble and re-enter the ‘real world’.

Let’s get a little sentimental (I am allowed to, it’s almost the end of my Erasmus!)
I love you, my fellow earthlings… 🙂


credits: cover photo Lotte Stockmans

Wanderlust – Interview with Oskar Schuster

There is no word that describes the urgent desire to explore, to travel, to see the world better than the German word ‘Wanderlust’.

IMG_1821My path has led me to Berlin, where I am meeting a very inspiring person for my first interview ever. His name is Oskar Schuster, a young German composer with a warm character and a soft voice.

It is cold when I arrive in Berlin, the snow gives every street a touch of magic. It makes me think of Oskar’s album Sneeuwland (snowland), which I discovered by chance when listening to piano music on youtube.
At first I thought the composer was a Belgian or a Dutchman, because of the Dutch title, but I was quite surprised to find out that I was mistaken. It made me IMG_1895curious to know more about the artist, so I sent him an e-mail and he invited me to come to Berlin.

I am excited and a little nervous the moment I press the doorbell with the name ‘Schuster’. An old wooden staircase leads the way up to the second floor, where Oskar welcomes me in his little appartment.
In the small hallway I am invited to take off my shoes. The wooden floor creaks at some places, the ceilings are very high. Two colourful paintings -art works from his mother, as he tells me later on- contribute to the cosiness of the place.
Apparently we are both a little shy.

‘Would you like a cup of tea?’

‘Yes, please.’


I describe to him how I discovered his music and how I was intrigued by the fact that he had used a Dutch title for his album.

‘Why did you choose this title?’

‘A friend of mine from the Netherlands once told me that she has this imaginary place in her head where everything is quiet and pretty, where she can be at peace. She calls it sneeuwland. I really like this image and also the sound of the word.
Some people even think I am Icelandic, because I have quite some compositions with Icelandic titles. But I use a lot of other foreign languages too, such as French and Finnish.
The reason I do this is because most listeners are not familiar with these languages and I want my titles to leave space for imagination, I want them to pay attention to the sounds and the atmosphere it provokes rather than to search for meaning.’

‘Do you make the video clips that go with your music yourself?’

‘Not all pieces have a music video, but the once that do have, I edited myself. For Valtameri for example, I have used some stretches of little unlicensed IMG_1856films from the 60’s 70’s and 80’s that I put together in slow motion. For Damascus I worked together with a friend. It is a kind of stopmotion clip that I made with an analog camera.’

(scroll down for the links to these music videos! 😀 )

‘You are fairly fond of old things, aren’t you? Analog cameras, old pianos, a gramophone, we can even hear the sound of a typewriter in a couple of your songs. What is the charm of old stuff?’

He smiles when I ask him this question and takes a sip from his tea before answering.

‘I don’t know actually… My music is nostalgic. I want to provide a counterpart for the modern technology, for the modern things that always have to be perfect. I like to work with old things, because they have a soul, they allow you to make something imperfect, even magical in a certain way, because it doesn’t seem to belong in this world.’

A cat is mewing at the door to be let in. Kafka is the name. The silky grey cat walks into the room in a very elegant way and seats itself at our feet.

‘Kafka is one of my great sources of inspiration. Many people only think about dark horror stories when they think about Kafka, but I often think his work is very humorous. His novels are so absurd, they provoke a dreamlike world and that’s what I use in my music.’

‘If you had to name one artist which influenced you the most, who would it be?’

‘That’s a difficult question to answer. I guess inspiration is the combination of many different experiences in life. I think I am influenced by a lot of artists, but probably the most direct influences in my music are Beirut and Yann Tiersen. But also Chopin, which I played a lot when I was 15, 16  years old and the Beatles have left a great impression on me.’

‘Would you like to play a little piece for me on one of your pianos please?’

‘Yes, of course. Which one would you like to hear?’

Matilda is one of my favourites.’



‘In what way, according to you, can art “feed” us?’

‘There are many ways to approach the concept of art. I think that it is different for every one of us. For me personally, art is the way to express myself, to create something beautiful and meaningful. It represents a compensation for something that society couldn’t give: life can be very boring sometimes, that’s why you need music to add some magic. You could even call it a spiritual experience.’

‘Are you religious?’

‘Not in the traditional sense, but I believe in a kind of connecting energy. I think it is important to explain the world to yourself in some way, it doesn’t matter how, as long as you provide some explanation for yourself.’

‘How did you start your career?’

‘I studied musicology at the university of Munich and after that I applied at the university IMG_1869of arts in Berlin, but they did not accept me, because my music didn’t fit in. I don’t regret it, because I think it would have been too academic for me, my art is more a spontaneous expression.
In september 2011 I released my first album Dear Utopia, on which I had been working for two years. In 2014 my next album came out, called Sneeuwland. It is the album which I am most satisfied about. You can hear in my first album that I was still experimenting, searching for my style and I guess in Sneeuwland I have found my own sound. My last album Tristesse Téléscopique came out in september 2015.’

‘Can we expect some more art of you in the future?’

‘It is a dream of mine to once publish a novel actually! Next to music, I also love to write and draw, but for the moment I want to stay focussed on music. There is still inspiration left for a new album…’

‘I am very curious! I have got one last question for you: What is you favourite dish in the world? 😉 ‘

‘I am fond of the Vietnamese cuisine! Tofu, noodles, I love it.’

Adventure of a Lifetime

About letting people in or not at all

About being open

open hearted



About trying



About forgiving

About freedom

About tears and fears

About friendship



someone else

About being young

and how to cope

About stumbling

About understanding

-or at least trying to


About                                                                                     loneliness


About talent and failure

About thank-fulness

cheer- fulness

About dreaming

and realising

and endless pondering over life and all its questions