Tell me about yourself?
I’m a happy person and a proud mother of a daughter of almost four years and married to the sweetest (almost sure 😉) man in the world. I don’t take things in life for granted and I count my blessings. Especially on the bad days. I’m very positive in life. With me, the glass is always half full.
Who has been the biggest influence on your life and why?
That would be my mother because she taught me how to be a strong woman and showed me how to carry the world on my shoulders. And Richard, my husband, has inspired me in different ways. From a way of living, to how to see the good things, even when they are bad. He has also shown me how to be happy with the little things in life. How to endure in sports, because in sports it’s important to physically and mentally strong.
What are the most important lessons you’ve learned in life?
To never give up on the things you believe in. If you have a goal, go for it. Not only with your resources, but also with your heart. Keep away from the negative energy of others.
What accomplishment are you most proud of?
I always have hope. In the past, I have had bad experiences in life. From work to my health to the way how people treated me and in love. In each case, it would be easier to stop believing in the good things of life or even in hope. “Those who wish for hope already have the next day”.
Whenever you come to a setback what do you for your comeback?
When I fall I always get up. No matter how bad it is. Get up and think in solutions instead of problems. I go to my biggest advisor. My husband. Even though I know I’m the one who has to deal with the issue. He gives me, most of the times, the tools on how to move on. Falling down is part of life. Getting back up is living.
If you were writing the story of your life, how would you divide it into chapters?
The ugly, the bad, the good and the best.
Chapter one: I never saw myself as a beautiful person on the outside. I never noticed my appearance until I was, round and about eighteen years old. Looking back to that period in my life, I was happy that I had more attention towards my character. That is something I want to pass on to my daughter. Don’t get me wrong. Taking care of your appearance is also important, but in the end, it’s the inside that counts.
Chapter two: There was a time, almost ten years ago, that I had issues with the past. It made me think that I wasn’t such a good person. Well, I did not hurt people, but I had little empathy for the people I didn’t know. For example, I wouldn’t help a person who’s croissants fell on the ground, just because I was fighting my own demons of the past.
Chapter three: There is a song that has the following line in it: “You bleed just to know you’re alive.” It was time for me to feel alive again. It was time for me to become the better person I believed I was, who cares about the world and every person on it. Without judging a book by its cover. To believe in the good side of every person and to treat them like I wanted to be treated. And having that mindset brought me a lot of good things. Things like hope, positivity and joy. What I noticed was; whenever I did something good for someone else, my heart made a little jump. That felt very satisfying! I knew I wanted to keep that feeling and made a promise to myself, to never let negativity take a place in my world again. The bad things you wish for another is the poison you take yourself. Chapter four: The moment I said “yes I do” when Richard romantically asked me; If I want to marry him. The answer, on the most beautiful question, was the best thing I have ever said. My wedding day, on Christmas Eve, was just what I wrote in my diary when I was a little girl… and sometimes it is as if I’m still reading my diary because of the actions from my husband.
What do you know now that you wish you’d known when you were young?
You don’t always get in life things that you think you can handle, but you can handle all the things that you get in life.
How do you define a “good life” or a “successful life”?
A good life to me is to allow the light in everyone’s eyes. Who does good, meets good.
Do you think a person needs to first overcome serious setbacks or challenges to be truly successful?
No, I don’t. And I have the living proof of that. My husband had an easy youth, with zero major setbacks. A nice warm house with lots of warmth and love. My case, my youth, was a complete contradiction. With a single mother who had no job and three mouths to feed. It almost wasn’t living, it was surviving. But here I am and I’m very proud of what I have accomplished.
If you had the power to solve one and only one problem in the world, what would it be and why?
Equality in classes. I believe everything starts with an opportunity.
How have your dreams and goals changed your life?
They have shown me to be strong and always carry on. When my dream, our little girl, became reality on the day she was born healthy, I’ve felt what fear really feels like as a mother. To fail as a mother, to question if the things you try to do good, ARE good (enough), but also the fear to lose it. Because it was too good and beautiful to be true. I’m more phlegmatic in life and realize that every action, has a reaction. So be careful about what you wish for.
What do you do for fun?
I have lunch or dinner with friends, I go to the movies, I play WordFeud and my daughter and I, are very good at laughing together. She’s so funny and has already a good sense of humour. I have date-nights with my husband, while the babysitter is at home with our daughter. On those dates, we talk and laugh for hours and always having a good time. I love to go crazy with him, but he is better at doing crazy :-). I love to play the piano, write poetry, listening and dancing on great music from the 60’s till now. I love to go through a car magazine and I love to surprise my husband with little things or little moments.
What’s your favourite book and why?
There are so many good and touching books, so it’s difficult for me to decide. But I’m going to choose a book that had a great impact on me when I was 13 years old and my world was large and inflatable. In Dutch, it’s called “het onkruid en de bloem” – in English it’s called “Weed and flower” written by Remco Campert. It’s a diary of a teenage girl and it tells the story of how she became addicted to drugs. The feeling that I had when I was reading the book was very intense. From that moment on, I knew I would never do drugs or become addicted. I could feel the pain of the girl and those who loved her and who she loved while reading her story. It’s 27 years ago, but I still know the beginning, the middle and the end of that book.
How did you decide what you wanted to do with your life? How do you feel about that choice?
Experience in life showed me the direction, unfortunately, it’s not always in your hands, but it was me who decided how.
What do you think are your three best qualities?
Positivity, Cheerful, Willing to share.
What are you working on to become a better YOU?
Sometimes you need to distance yourself, from your own life for a moment. To see it all objectively. Not only once in your life, but if you want to be a good person or an example as I want to be for my daughter, you have to do that quite often. It’s always easy to look at your good qualities, but for me, the challenge lies in looking at the things I could do better.
Do you have any special sayings or expressions?
Yes, I do, I love special saying. My favourite two are “Wees de verandering zelf, die je graag ziet” – translation – “Be the change you wish to see in life”. And the one in Latin/Romaans “Nulla tenaci invia est via”. I have that one tattooed on my left arm. I believe in sharing in the world and I wish everybody love, good health and fortune in their life.
What place does religion have in your life?
It’s not very in present, but it has a positive influence in my life. Also in the life of my husband and daughter. I’m a Muslim, but not practical. For example: I don’t eat pork (that’s why my husband and daughter also don’t eat it) but I do drink alcohol sometimes, but the first thing when I wake up, is say “Bismillah-ir-rahman-ir-rahim” – translation – in the name of God, most gracious, most merciful and I pray that it’s going to be a good day for me, my family and to all the others that are very close to my heart. My mother taught us the lesson about religion, but in a free manner and on our own time and place. I believe that’s the way you should learn it (if you have the needs), without any pressure. There are always people who want to discuss the “extreme” part, which I am not, but it’s because of my religion that they want to discuss that part. The thing is, I strongly believe that religion is personal and I can only tell those people, how I live my life, with my religion and not how they have to see or believe it. My husband respects me for that and I love him even more for it, because it’s not his religion, but it’s mine. He told me, that when he made the decision to marry me, he accepted everything in my life as it was at that moment…. and he kept his word, as always.
If you could possess one superhuman power, what would it be?
The power to remove or prevent the hate in the hearts of some people. What a wonderful world this would be!
Who was the biggest influence on your career?
That would be me. Every decision I made was to go forward, I want to have and hold on to the feeling “yes, another day at the office!”. At my current job, I am very happy with what I do and I’m good at it. My mentality is ‘service above ambition’. I do this work with my heart and know my work, just like the back of my hand. I do ask my husband for advice, from time to time, especially when there are changes at work, he’s very objective and smart. But in the end, I am the one, who decides what to do. I will always keep in mind that it’s my life, but I’m not alone, I also have a family. My husband wouldn’t mind, me going to France or any other country for three or five months. But I would not want to be away from my family for so long. Sometimes life makes decisions for you, but it’s my decision to be with them. So I’m the one who makes the decisions in my career.