# DAY 81 OF PROJECT CINLOC

My first ultra sound in Indonesia

There it is. A heartbeat!  A very strong heartbeat that sounds a bit like a techno song. With tears in my eyes I look at the screen. I never knew I could love someone who I’ve never met, so much. My heart is overflowing with gratitude and I squeeze myself to check if this is really happening.

I can’t help it to think about the last time I was lying here, just three months ago. I remember how difficult and painful it was to look at an empty screen while the doctor was making sure my miscarriage was completed. And now I’m lying here again… but this time tears of happiness are leaving my eyes.

We all lose and we all gain

I look at my Sunshine. I feel so much love for this man. I think about all the ups and downs we’ve been through this year. 2018 is for sure a year we will not forget easily. We lost so much but maybe we gained even more. I learned the hard way that all we have is ourselves and how we react to situations, people, words, actions. Every single person is going through something or is about to go through something. That’s life. We all lose and we all gain.

I know that one day I will look back and see the earthquake not as the end, but as a starting point. As the pivot that turned everything around. As the thing that gave us the courage to try something new, something that would turn into something incredible beautiful.

Worst advice I ever got from a doctor

On the way home I’m staring quietly out of the window. My hands are folder around the picture the doctor gave to us. The proof that our little rainbow baby is on the way. I think back about all the things the doctor said and start smiling when I remember his last words before we left the room: “Because you had a miscarriage before…. maybe now…. instead of having sex four or five times a week…. maybe you could have only sex one time a week.”  No need to say that’s the worst advice I ever got from a doctor.

We leave the city and start driving through the hills of Lombok. My thoughts are drifting further and further away. My mind is driving past memories, moments and events of 2018. I start talking to 2018 like she is sitting next to me in the car;

My dear friend…

“I learned the lessons you were trying to teach me. I learned from the pain, from the heartbreak, from the betrayal, from the tears, from the mistakes and from my own shortcomings.

I forgive you for not being the year I expected. I forgive you for being too hard on me. I forgive you for taking good things away and breaking my heart a few times. I forgive you for the painful days and the lonely nights. I forgive you for all the tears you’ve caused and all the battles you’ve sent me.

I love you for all the blessings you gave me, for the times I spent smiling, for the all the times I laughed with the people that have a special place in my tiny heart. I love you for the moments when you made me feel invincible and for the moments you made me feel alive. I love you for all the unique moments we had together, you will always have a very special place in my heart.”

Love Rose

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# DAY 76 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Stunning sunset in Indonesia

I’ve got something really exciting to share with you: Wendy (a super cool Dutch Magazine) asked me if I would be interested to share our Project CINLOC adventures with their readers and…. of course I said yes!

When I started writing daily updates after the earthquake I could have never imagined that it would turn into a (little) job. It’s the first time in my life I share my life so publicly. My feelings, my thoughts, my dreams, my tears, my world.

Thank you for encouraging me to dream BIG!

A big thank you to all the people who encouraged me to keep on writing and to dream big. I remember the first message I received saying “I love reading your posts, you inspire me and I’m sure you will inspire many others. You should consider publishing them”.  I thought it was an incredible sweet thing to say and it made feel warm inside and I didn’t believe a single word of it. But many similar messages followed. After receiving all these words of encouragement the little girl inside me got curious and asked herself; “Would all this people maybe be right? Beside my friends and family, would there be anyone else interested in reading my story?”  

The power of visualizing

I started dreaming and visualizing. In my dreams I saw my story on the cover of a magazine, I saw myself having a coffee with a journalist of a newspaper and one day I even saw my book cover. And while I was busy daydreaming I started to hear this little voice in my head” What are you doing? Do you really think you are a writer? Why would people be interested in reading your story?”

When you think of a big goal or dream that you want to achieve, it’s natural to think of all of the obstacles that will come your way. The problem is far too often we allow these obstacles to become so big in our minds that it inhibits us from moving forward. Luckily I managed to switch off all the voices in my head and to keep on dreaming. And it worked! In the last month…

I did an interview with The Salt Sirens, we got featured in the Jakarta Post, Project Aware wrote an article about us and the cherry on the cake: I become a blogger for Wendy!

Go and chase your dreams!

The older I get, the more I start to enjoy this “dream big thing”. I archived things in life that I never thought would be possible. Every time one of my dreams comes true, it encourages me to dream even bigger the next time. So here I am, dreaming big: Wendy is only the beginning, in a few years you will find my book in the little bookstore around the corner of your house.

So here is my message to you: go and chase your dreams! No matter how big they are, you deserve them. They are made for you. Go and chase your dreams because I love to witness you prove that nothing is impossible.

Love Rose

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# DAY 70 OF PROJECT CINLOC

A Very Good Reason To Visit Wonderful Gili Air

My skin is tanned and my smile is bright. But my chest is heavy and it feels like a whale is sitting on top of my heart. Even in the sunshine my mind is sometimes still full of thunder. They say silent people tend to have the loudest minds.

This week was a week full of emotions. I did an interview with a Dutch magazine and one of their questions was: “last summer there was a big earthquake close to the Gili Islands, could you tell me a little more about this?”. As soon as I heard the question I got a lump in my throat and I could feel the tears in my eyes. My emotions caught me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting them at all! Where was this coming from? I haven’t even been thinking of the earthquake lately.

The day after the interview there was another event that brought back several emotions; a 5.7 earthquake close to Gili Meno. At first I didn’t want to share this with you. The Gili Islands are slowly getting back on their feet and the last thing we need is that people stop visiting our little paradise islands because they are scared. After long consideration I decided to write about it. 

I would like to take this opportunity to tell you the following:

I’ve been living in Indonesia for almost six years. In these six years I’ve experienced more earthquakes than I can count on my fingers. It’s something that is part of living on this side of the world and I’ve never been scared or worried about them and I’m still not! Yes it does bring back a lot of emotions in me when I get reminded of the 5th of august but I still think Gili Air is the most beautiful place in the world.

Before the 5th of August we always laughed when an earthquake happened and saw it as funny little interruption of our daily lives. Now when an earthquake happens I still laugh most of the time and I guess you will do the same when you would be here.Don’t get me wrong, of course there have been earthquakes after the 5th of August that made me cry but please understand that my tears had absolutely nothing to do with the strength of the earthquake and all with the state of my mind and the experience I carry inside me. I’ve been crying after a 3.1 earthquake and slept through a 5.8.

Earthquakes will keep happening in all countries that are situated in the Ring of Fire. The good thing is that the changes are quite small another big one will hit us. And if it does we know exactly what to do ; -) So please don’t be scared or spread scary rumors and come visit Wonderful Gili Air.

Trust me when I say you can really make the difference!

I’m not saying this for me as it will make no difference for me and my Sunshine. Our business will continue to be closed for a long long time. I’m saying this for all my local and western friends that have a business on the Gili Islands and are trying really really hard to keep their head above the water.

Trust me when I say: your visit can make the difference if someone can pay the salaries to their staff or the rent of their shop at the end of this month. The best Xmas gift you can give to the victims of the earthquake is to eat the delicious food in their restaurants, sleep in their beautiful accommodations or book some fun activities like diving or snorkeling. That sounds like a pretty good deal to me. Please SHARE if you agree…

Love Rose

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# DAY 65 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Soil test Gili Islands - Indonesia

I learned another thing today; before you start building a house you need to hire a special company. This special company will send over some nice guys with some very special equipment to dig a very expensive hole.They will take a few samples, hang around a bit, have a coffee and send you the results a week later. I also learned that some people call this a soil test.

Next step: decide on the final roof structure of the new kitchen and make plans for the interior design. Keep you posted.

Love Rose

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DAY 62 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Girl on a swing on a tropical island

Tomorrow it’s the first of December. The last month of the year is waiting around the corner. And I’m more than ready! You see, this year has been nothing than easy for me. This year has been anything but a walk in the park. It’s been challenging. There’s been obstacle after obstacle. And I had to learn how to fight more than I ever did. And that’s why I’m ready.

Because when I look in the mirror, I don’t see the same girl as in the beginning of the year. I see more strength. I see more courage. I see more rimples. I see more gratitude. I see more softness.  I see more focus. I see more love. And I see so much more faith.

I see a girl who is unbreakable. I see a girl who refuses to give up no matter what life throws at her. Go ahead life, bring on this last month. Because I am ready!

Love Rose

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# DAY 56 OF PROJECT CINLOC

An open love letter to my parents

My least favorite day of the year is the day that I need to say goodbye to the people that I love the most. After spending 3.5 wonderful weeks with my parents my least favorite day has come.

Dear Papa & Mama,

Thank you for flying across the world to come and kiss me.

Thank you for holding me into your arms and making me feel safe.

Thank you for carefully opening the door to my little heart where still so many tears were hiding.

Thank you for being my best friends, my greatest mentors, my motivation and my deepest roots.

Thank you for your perpetual belief in my limitless potential.

Thank you for showing me what unconditional love is. You are the living proof that love has no boundaries.

Thank you for loving me when I am not so lovable.

Thank you for lifting me up when I am at my lowest.

Thank you for being my number one fan.

Thank you for raising me with such kindness.

Thank you for believing in me when I don’t even believe myself.

Thank you for teaching me to look fear directly in the face until it backs down.

Thank you for showing me what hard work looks like. For showing me that nothing comes easy, and that countless hours of blood, sweat and tears really does pay off.

Thank you for showing me how to fight for what I believe in. In life, love, and everything in between. For giving me the strength to stand up for myself and expect nothing less than the very best.

Thank you for showing me true love in its rarest form, what it feels like, and how it can extend beyond life’s obstacles and challenges.

Thank you for all the advice, even when I’m too stubborn to take it.

Thank you for being my parents. I’m honored to be your daughter. Without each of you, I’d be nowhere near the person I am – and the person I’m still working on becoming. I give you my word that I will fearlessly chase my wildest dreams. I will let my light always shine bright. I will always be kind to every person that will cross my path, I will never give up and I will never back down from what I believe in.

With as much love as the world can contain,

Rose

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# DAY 52 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Building a new boutique hotel on the Gili Islands

Hundred and two days passed since the earthquake. It’s pretty scary to know how quickly time flies. I stumbled upon this quote a few weeks ago: Wherever you go, there you are. So simple. So profound. It means that no matter where you wander, no matter what’s on your mind, no matter the place or time or circumstance—you are in the present moment. Nothing more, nothing less. Yes, you can look back to what happened. Yes, you can reach ahead and dream for the future. But where you are is here. Right now.

A lot of people have been asking us if we already started building the new Villa Nangka. The answer is: unfortunately not. Before we can start building we first need to demolish all the buildings. And it turns out that taking a building down takes almost the same time as building one. To give you an idea about what we’ve been up to in the last weeks, here is a little time lapse of taking down the headquarters of the Gili Shark Conservation Project.

Celebrate now

Every day I try not to look back at what I lost, and instead dance with excitement about where my feet are planted. I try not to worry over what hasn’t happened yet or what’s to come next. I tell myself: “What if instead of always looking at what you’re doing next, busying your mind with activity after activity, goal after goal, you took a minute to feel proud about the ground you’re standing on?”

Life is about slowing down. Being still. Finding your place in the universe and being okay with that place, even when it’s frustrating or exhausting or beautiful or confusing or somewhere in-between. Life is about being present. About being right here. Try to not look back or look ahead. And just celebrate now.

Love Rose

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# DAY 50 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Follow your passion and be happy

The trick to blending work and play, lies not in what you do, but in how you view what you do. See work as play and see play as important – super, very important. Don’t do what you love, do what you are.

Yesterday someone asked me: “What is the best part of your life on the Gili Islands compared to your previous life in The Netherlands?” I dint even had to think for one second and answered: “That my job doesn’t feel like a job anymore. I absolutely love every aspect of having my own business (besides doing accounting, I absolutely hate doing accounting). Although it can be very challenging to run a business 1) with your partner in crime 2) in a foreign country 3) with a different culture 4) away from your friends and family, I wouldn’t change it for the world.


It sounds so easy right: ‘just follow your passion’. But sometimes in life it’s as simple as that. 

To follow your passion simply means to begin to do what you love or have always wanted of doing, whether it be writing, painting, cooking, traveling, bodybuilding, etc. Screw the self-doubt, the lack of confidence, the comparing yourselves to social media-famous people who have thousands of followers doing what you aspire to do.

Follow your passion because aside from the cliché “lifetime of regret” you are not engaging in that one thing that could make you feel the most alive. Not following your passion is doing a disservice to the world. Hiding yourself prevents you connecting with communicating with others who share your passion. It alienates others who might marvel at your work, or better, become inspired by it.

And even worst, you are doing a disservice to yourself by neatly putting your passions away in a box labeled “things I’ll get to if I had more time, money, or talent,” When really, the time is now because you don’t even know what you are capable of yet. So tell me, what’s your passion?

Love Rose

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# DAY 48 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Father and daughter sharing a burger on the beach

Some days your brain just isn’t working the way you want it to. Some days you don’t accomplish anything. Some days you can’t find the perfect words to string together or find any inspiration. Some days there are no ideas, no words, and no motivation. On some days there is only one solution…. go to the beach with your dad and share a burger and be perfectly happy.

And remember: you’re allowed to give yourself a break. You’re allowed to take a day to rest. You’re allowed to not be perfect. You’re allowed to be human.

Love Rose

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# DAY 46 OF PROJECT CINLOC

Building a new villa on the Gili Islands

Can you believe that a few months ago there was a beautiful two storey villa standing here? Now it’s almost completely gone. Were once used to be the living room is now just earth. I can finally see the ground were we will start rebuilding our dream. It feels like a giant step.

‘Step by step, one foot in front of the other’. It became my mantra in the last months. No one can successfully build anything of great significance if you don’t recognize that your dreams are simply the final result of tiny efforts strung together. Your life is a masterpiece being created with the events that happen day after day.

A Tuesday usually just feels like a Tuesday, or a Wednesday a Wednesday. We consider most days to be single, ordinary days of the week. Yet each day added together creates an entire life. What we accomplish is a direct result of what we do with ordinary days. Those who accomplish extraordinary things aren’t more exceptional than anyone else. The difference is that they make small strides each day.

I wish you all a great ordinary Wednesday!

Love Rose

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