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Un poco de español

Gosh it´s been a year! This year has been another intense one and I am really looking forward to a three-week Christmas break to ease myself into 2016. I find myself in Spain, what daaa… how did that happen? Well, it all started with a CELTA course, but that’s another story for another day. More interestingly, I have just started a writing exchange with a new friend, to improve my Spanish and her English. Once a week we decide on a topic and write each other a page each. She writes in English and I write in Spanish. We then get together over a coffee,  correct each others mistakes and go on some exploration in Santander. the first topic was ‘ Pros and Cons of living in Santander’. Here it is, for those who read Spanish… (or use Google Translate!)

Pros y contras de vivir en Santander, Cantabria

 Llegue a Santander hace algunos meses para quedarme por lo menos durante el curso escolar y luego ya veremos…
En Mayo hice un curso de CELTA para ser profe de inglés como segundo idioma y ahora estoy dando clases particulares en mi casa y a domicilio. Trabajando de profe aprendes mucho y hasta ahora cada clase ha sido un nuevo reto.

Aparte del reto de mi nueva carrera, hay un reto aún más grande para mí, una guiri en España. Este reto se llama ´choque cultural´ y es un proceso bastante intenso, que pasa a todos los viajeros en los primeros meses en un país nuevo con una cultura distinta de lo que conocen.

Lo que le pasa a mucha gente, incluso a mí, es que en la primera temporada después de haber llegado a un lugar nuevo, todo parece genial. Los pros se iluminan como estrellas y el lugar parece un paraíso. El sol brilla, nuevos amigos aparecen sin hacer ningún esfuerzo y el prospecto de encontrar un trabajo también parece fácil.

En cuanto a mí, los pros de Santander y Cantabria que después de los primeros meses todavía me parecen maravillosos, tienen que ver con la posición geográfica de la ciudad. Me gusta mucho poder caminar a varias playas desde mi casa sin tener que salir de Santander. Además son playas bonitas con rocas y acantilados. Luego, si me apetece hacer senderismo en algún bosque, Cantabria me ofrece el parque La Saja, incluso pueblos antiguos para divertirse un día entero y si quiero montañas, puedo ir a Picos de Europa o varias zonas montañosas espectaculares. Otras actividades interesantes que se puede hacer son visitar a varias cuevas famosas o poco-conocidas, explorar una cantidad enorme de playas, ríos y pueblos bonitos.

Pero como todo en la vida tiene sus contras también, así que hay cosas en Santander y su alrededor que me cuestan mucho o simplemente no me gustan. Lo que más echo de menos aquí son sonrisas. Hoy leí en una entrada de blog de un extranjero en España que aquí sonreír es opcional. Me di cuenta que la diferencia entre los países que conozco, en su manera de expresarse en público, con lo que sigo observando en Cantabria, es muy grande. No me siento nada a gusto en los encuentros diarios con gente en las tiendas, los supermercados, los bares y cualquier lugar con servicio con atención al cliente.

Otro aspecto negativo ha sido los contratos laborales. Me parece que son bastante favorables para el empresario y no toma en cuenta a la empleada. Puede ser por el tema de la crisis, pero desde mi punto de vista falta protección para los trabajadores y parece que el empleador es el rey, sin preocuparse por sus trabajadores.

Para terminar, la costumbre de alquilar habitaciones en lugar de pisos enteros me parece algo extraño y va en contra de mi necesidad y preferencia de sentirme a gusto y tranquila en mi casa. El hecho de no tener control sobre con quien compartes tu casa, me afectaría mucho. Por suerte, tengo un compañero de piso muy majo y no tiene planes de mudarse antes que yo 😉

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Introducing… The Hawea Food Forest

A very cool thing is happening in the small town of Hawea.

It’s the small start of something big.
Of something tasty.
And of something vitally important environmentally, socially, economically and spiritually.

I introduce to you: The Hawea Food Forest, a community project that I recently joined and that I am proud to be a part of. It would be awesome if you felt like ‘liking’ us on our Facebook site as this will help us in our funding applications. Our vision is to transform this piece of public land into a scrumptious and lush edible forest. Imagine a forest, where you can walk around, relax and harvest your lunch at the same time… A place for art to be exhibited, for insects to buzz around and people to socialize, learn and reconnect with the earth.  Come check it out if you’re in the area!

Article in the Mirror



To check out more of my recent drawings, click on doodles!


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Eat, Fast & Live Longer

Here’s another great documentary I recommend. For years I have been interested in the concept of fasting, but so far I have never taken my interest beyond my mind and into doing. This documentary reveals some interesting scientific evidence of the health effects that fasting has on the body. Even without scientific evidence I was already convinced, as people throughout the world have been fasting for ages and my belief is that before the mad rush of modern life, people often had a stronger intuitive knowing to what’s good for their health. Hence fasting was an integral part of life all around the globe.

After watching this documentary I feel I am ready to take the leap and have a go!

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Watch this and reconnect!

I just watched this fantastic documentary on earthing/grounding and now I want you all to watch it and get excited just like me. It talks about the incredible effects of the earth energy on everything on this planet, including of course us human beings. Back in the day we were grounded all the time without having to go through any great effort, just because of the way we lived. We worked the land, touching the soil all day and then we would rest and rejuvenate still touching the earth in our sleep. These days it’s quite a different story. Our new day to day reality has a lot of consequences to our health and the documentary talks about this and how to reconnect and heal your body, improve your sleep and feel great. It really inspired me to start grounding myself more often AND to make a grounding contraption for my bed and for when I am sitting in front of my lap top.  If you get inspired like me after watching this documentary, have a look at the YouTube videos I added for more info on DIY grounding sheets!






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THRIVE: What On Earth Will It Take? (2011)

An unconventional documentary that lifts the veil on what’s really going on in our world by following the money upstream – uncovering the global consolidation of power in nearly every aspect of our lives. Weaving together breakthroughs in science, consciousness and activism, THRIVE offers real solutions, empowering us with unprecedented and bold strategies for reclaiming our lives and our future.” Written by The THRIVE Team

As for me, dAAn… the first part of the movie puzzled me a bit as to where this was leading to… quantum physics perhaps? The middle part scared me to the core, even though I was already aware of the so often called ‘conspiracy theories’ they are discussing. The final part of the documentary offers some solutions to the frightening state of the word’s governing system.

Overall, eventhough the content was in part not new to me, I perceived it as a good reminder as well as a different angle to the documentaries and books I have previously read. For those of you who haven’t watched any of the documentaires I mentioned, I’d certainly watch it!!!

Some previous documentaries, that I liked, on the global consolidation of power are:
The Yes Men (2004),
Zeitgeist (2007),
The Yes Men Fix the World (2009),

Another very inspiring documentary I watched and recommend is One man, one cow, one planet, “biodynamics makes organics work” (2008) “A crucial film on Biodynamics – how Natural Farming methods can improve yields, health and life…” (http://onemanonecow.com/)

“This film is a blueprint for a post-industrial future. It takes you into the heart of the world’s most important renaissance.” (Netflix)

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Bamboo family on display



There they are, standing proudly at De Tuinwijzer in Wognum, The Netherlands, waiting for this weekend when they will be admired,  glanced at and talked about. My neighbor Rody van Doorn is taking over this garden design/maintenance company together with his good friend and to celebrate this moment, an open day has been organised at their showroom.  That’s where my bamboo family is hanging out, happily awaiting their new homes. As for me… just enjoying the calm before the storm. “Huh? What storm?”  I hear you think.  Well, that absurd, non-stop ringing of my phone, those emails flooding my inbox and sky-rocketing blog-comments by crowds of excited people, generously offering me their money in exchange for a bamboo-plant-pillar of course!!!

Ohh… you want one too? sure, just send me an email: daanpino@gmail.com

Bamboe tuincentrum Rody

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The Living Matrix – The Science of Healing (2009)

To Anyone who’s interested in alternative medicine/healing, quantum physics and the power of self-healing… I recommend you to take some time, chill out and watch this movie. I found it very interesting and inspiring.

According to www.thelivingmatrixmovie.com: ‘The Living Matrix – The Science of Healing uncovers new ideas about the intricate web of factors that determine our health.  We talk with a group of dedicated scientists, psychologists, bioenergetic researchers and holistic practitioners who are finding healing potential in a wide variety of new places.’

It’s free online, just click here.

Here’s the trailer:


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Not a solo, not a trio…. it’s a sextet!

Sextet of Bamboo   Sextet of Bamboo   Sextet of Bamboo   Sextet of Bamboo


Still enjoying myself, playing with bamboo. Changing the designs everytime. This one can be placed on a terrace as well as in a garden, because it stands up by itself. Planted with heather, succulents and mondo grass. Very low maintenance and even green in winter. If you are interested in any of my crafts, check it out here and send me an email: daanpino@gmail.com

Until then… have a great day!

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Wall mounted Pallet Garden

Finally I got around to experimenting with something I have had on my mind for a few years now: Pallet Gardens!
There’s a lot of video’s on Youtube about it and I just love the simplicity of this concept. Especially, since in Amsterdam there’s pallets lying around left, right and center. So why not use them to green a wall?
Thanks to my sister’s willingness to let me use her shady backyard to play around, I now have my first prototype. This pallet garden only contains full-shade plants and now my hands are itchy to make one for a sunny spot….. anyone keen?

If so…. send me an email:  daanpino@gmail.com

pallet garden nicole     pallet garden Nicole     pallet garden nicolepallet garden nicole

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Black fingernails, blisters and a smile!

Yesterday Serge and I gave Jan & Hilda’s city garden its finishing touch by putting up an espalier wire system for the young plum tree I planted last week. It will grow along the fence and provide tasty plums to eat. This garden now also contains rosemary, basil, mint and sage, which don’t just smell good but also attract bees and are great to eat. Ohh and very healthy!

The design technique I used was to Design-as-I-garden.
And so I started by removing the giant ivy plant that covered the fence. Check it out in my Gardening in The Hague post on this garden. I then removed part of the fence, to create the feeling of having a bigger garden. City gardens simply have limited privacy, so why fence yourself in completely? The upstairs neighbours will see you anyway!

Then came the circular terrace, which I designed together with Jan & Hilda to get the exact size and positioning they prefer. The entire terrace is made re-using the old bricks, simply cut in half and in quarters. Great suggestion Serge! The low wall surrounding the terrace is made of smashed 50 x 50 pavers. Real ugly when whole, but so good-looking when smashed and stacked!! The old hard wood bridge was demolished and now covers the  concrete slab at the bottom of the stairs. Finally, together with Jan & Hilda I bought a colourful selection of perenial plants, from grasses to flowering plants and a climber for the other fence.

Thanks Jan & Hilda for providing me with such a fun space to transform. I thoroughly enjoyed myself playing in your garden!

Who’s next? If your garden is calling for me… send me an email! daanpino@gmail.com or call me on 0031 634956873

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