goodbye 2011

Reviewing the past year from a personal perspective is interesting. A lot has happened, but it's more the small things, not so much big stuff: No change of apartments or moves to other countries, no deaths, split-ups, or broken bones. Well, there was the tsunami and the radioactive disaster in Fukushima, which really troubled me (and still does), but with it came the resolution of the German government (and some other governments) to finally quit nuclear power, so there's something good coming out of the bad.

In terms of travels, I got to know a couple of Dutch and Belgian cities I never really visited before by taking day trips to Delft, Antwerpen, Leerdam, Dordrecht, Hoek van Holland, and Mechelen throughout the year, as well as the famous Keukenhof tulip gardens north of Leiden. We also took a couple of weekend trips to Vienna, Bavaria, Manchester, Frankfurt and Ludwigshafen. No real overseas travels this year - but we're planning to visit friends and family in Madison and Iowa (and possibly New York) in May next year.

I participated in my first real gallery show in Colorado in January and spent a wonderful week there, made some new friends with the other artists, played in the snow and finally got to know an old Flickr friend in person. Fabulous art shows from other people which I visited include Angry at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, a Blauer Reiter retrospective at the Albertina, Egon Schiele and Viennese Kineticism at the Belvedere, James Ensor and Laszlo Moholy-Nagy at the Gemeentemuseum, Life in Water and the Futuro conceptual apartment house at Boijmans, Anthony Gormley's Filter sculpture at the Manchester Art Gallery, The One And The Many at the Onderzeebootloods, the Dutchville installation at the NAi, Eugene Atget at the Nederlands Fotomuseum, the Futureland show on the Maasvlakte, and, yesterday, Marijke van Warmerdam's video installations Close By In The Distance

I also experienced my first Koninginnendag (Queen's Day) in the Netherlands, visited a live concert for the first time in years (Sister Sledge at Ahoy), participated in a rally against cutting cultural funding (Mars der Beschaving, Den Haag), got involved with Occupy Rotterdam, went to a picnic in Amsterdam's Vondelpark to meet up with the people from We Are Numbers, attended the Summer Carnival, and visited a couple of local venues like the Arboretum, the Euromast, Vroesenpark, the famous Van Nelle Factory in Rotterdam's northwest, as well as the new and gorgeous, but highly disputed Essalam Mosque in its south. Took a couple of bike rides around town and beyond, and visited the beach more times than ever before. Also discovered new boats to take, in particular the Aqualiner to Heijplaat, the Waterbus to Dordrecht, and the Fast Ferry from Hoek van Holland to the Maasvlakte. Had visitors from Germany (my family in June and Michael in October), the US (Miriam and Dylan in August), and Austria (Regina in September). 

A map of all gabimatic shots
(according to the EXIF data of my iPhone)
In terms of ailments, it was the first year that my plantar fasciitis didn't give me any trouble anymore (so there is hope for tendonitis after all, even though this one took two full years to disappear), my tennis elbow from last year is almost cured, my arthritic knee has been stable, which means in pain whenever I walk or stand too much, but otherwise bearable, I split my left index finger while taking a fall, but it's almost healed again, and I've been having an inflammation in a shoulder tendon for months already which seems to take forever to heal. Oh, and a nasty cold which basically ate away the last two weeks of the year.

The best presentation I attended this year was by Michael Wadleigh, director of the Woodstock - The Movie and co-founder of the Homo Sapiens Foundation, talking about dwindling resources and sustainability, followed by Brenda Davis' presentation about the health benefits of vegan nutrition. Great movies I saw include Biutiful, Source Code, and The King's Speech, great for different reasons. And memorable books include Naomi Klein's The Shock Doctrine, George Monbiot's The Age of Consent, and Jonathan Safran Foer's Eating Animals.

Photographically, gabimatic took center stage this year. Apart from it I did a few event, architecture, and portrait gigs, some pro-bono work in the area of sustainability, was mentioned in the newspaper in an article about Hipstamatic shots in Rotterdam and sold some stuff for commercial purposes, but other than that there were no serious photographic projects, nor any new photo books (except for one which I made for my nephew Jonah's birthday, but that's private). That may change next year.

I learned a couple of new English words, mainly by playing hidden-object games - among them steed, chalice, trowel, gavel, cauldron, and ladle. This is the stuff they don't teach you in school.

2011 was the first year since 1997 that I lived in a completely car-free household. And I'm loving it. 2011 was also the year that Google+ was released, which made me sing on video for the first time in my life. In its half year of existence, I accumulated over 5,000 followers there. Don't ask me how I did it, because I don't know myself, it just, somehow, happened.

Major financial investments in 2011 included a new camera and a new notebook (because the old one died on me, not because I wanted to). In terms of life(style)-changing experiences, we rediscovered the market as a cheaper, more veggie-friendly and more sustainable shopping venue than the supermarkets. My little world was briefly shook up when I learned I had won a full scholarship for a full-time MBA at Nyenrode (which I, after some consideration, kindly rejected). Joey and I went vegan in September, which requires much more attention towards nutrients, different shopping, different recipes, and more preparation time, but provides you with a cleaner conscience and a load more energy: No more sleepy mornings for this woman! I also got a full-time job in August and a permanent contract in November and made a couple of new friends on the way - and Joey took up her first real employment in the Netherlands in November. And, of course, this blog, which cost me between one and four hours to write, link, illustrate, and promote each day - time newly gained from tomorrow on.

As for 2012 resolutions, there's only two so far: stick with the exercises for my shoulder which the good chiropractor gave me this week, and half an hour of yoga with Joey per day. Other than that, I feel like I'm on the right track with my life anyway. And that is as good an outlook on 2012 as it gets.

As announced, the daily writing will end here. But rest assured that I'll be back from time to time, with the occasional post about what's going on in the world or in my life, what drives me up the wall or what makes me smile. Thanks, again, for listening.

And here comes 2011 in gabimatic. Happy New Year to all of you.


  1. peace, love, and happiness to you.....

  2. Happy New Year Gabi! I've very much enjoyed the gabimatics and blog this year. Congratulations!

    Good luck with yoga in the new year - I've found it really adds to my quality of life. Here's one of my favorite yoga vids (free on youtube!) from yogayak.com - they have many videos of yoga and meditation.


  3. Awww, I have only just started following your blog. I've enjoyed it a lot. Sorry to hear you will be slowing down!

  4. Happy New Year to you and Joey and all those you love. I loved the video.