Hey there, it looks like you’re interested in knowing more about me which is cool, and you happen to be on the right page for that. If you’ve been following my blog and social media channels for a while already, then you sort of know what kind of person I am, but I can imagine that it’s not entirely clear (besides the sarcastic part, because everyone knows that about me). So let’s get started, shall we? Who is The Dutch countryside?
We’re going to start with the basics (mostly so you guys can wish me a happy birthday each year). My full name is Manon van Schagen and I was born and raised on the 25th of June 1994 in a small village, nearby the city Schagen (I still like to think I’m part of a peerage family because of my last name, it means from Schagen, you don’t need to remember this), called Zijdewind. And before anyone says, so it must be around 50.000 people, right? THAT’S NOT SMALL PEOPLE (yes, I’ve told this story a billion times, can you notice?). Small in my case is 350 people. We have three streets, but my friends like to get me annoyed by saying it’s one street (the difference is huge you guys, three okay? Three).
I’m incredibly happy that I’ve grown up in a place like this with both of my parents (we’re living in the house where my dad was born and raised), my two brothers and my precious cat Tijger. We have a garden and a river behind our house, I learned how to cycle on the road in front of the house with little rivers next to it, learning didn’t go quite well as I drove off the road into the stinging nettles next to the little river. However, me being me, I showed the itchy spots (who were all over my body) with a smile to my friend next doors, via the gardens that are all connected.
Everyone in the neighborhood played with each other, we swam in the river, did competitions that included jumping on our trampolines, running over the dike, jumping into the river and swam about 25 meters back and forth before we ran back to the trampolines. We went on the ice with our skates, found a waterbike which almost sunk but we still went on it (in our normal clothes), had snowball fights on the field of grass in front of our houses, threw snowballs at the passing truck that wanted the remove our snow from the roads thinking they would stop and turn around (I mean we couldn’t use our sleigh on the road anymore… First world problems). We played football on the fields, ate sand, played with worms, climbed trees, sung along with Atomic Kitten and K3 and caught frogs that jumped out of the buckets and tried out the ice on the little rivers in the park that broke and laughed until we couldn’t breathe.
Hearing the birds whistling when you wake up, having conversations with people who passed by with their boats as we lay on the docks, or screaming if they could go faster as we were in the water and wanted more waves with our floating orcas and crocodiles. The endless amount of keys, sunglasses and even key number 13 that got lost into the river, I wouldn’t want to change these memories for the world.
Every day I went with a big part of the village kids to my primary school, Maria school, in the nearby village ‘t Veld, which was an awesome time. The only thing you needed to worry about was with who you were going to play at the end of the day, or what toy you wanted to play with during the morning break. It was a primary school that was small, we had in our final year about 12 kids I believe, but therefore it was great. There were fancy fairs that were kind of fundraisers, a lot of fun but somehow one of the things I remember is the horrible smell of hyacinths there was as soon as you entered the hallway. In a few classes, we got music lessons where our teacher would sing and play guitar, we had several levels of reading books (book nerd here, I went to the highest level asap) and of course, the geographical classes were together with gymnastics, baking and handcrafting my favorite.
We put glue on our tables so that we could make a ball out of it (and the teachers were constantly wondering why the glue was empty that fast, they should’ve had a good look through our drawers) and we put paper in our mouths, made it into balls and threw it on the ceiling not that much later. Disgusting maybe, but incredibly funny, not so much for the ceiling as we kind of destroyed it by doing that and also not funny for the people who walked into the class after us as the paper balls fell down every once and a while too. I cycled every day approximately 10 km, 2,5 one way and during lunch, we returned to home again, so I was already used to cycling when the high school period got here. I remember that one of the final things we did as a class in the last year was making a little tile of what you wanted to be when you were older. The answers varied from being a hairdresser to getting rich and to being a volleyball player (that one was me, well that turned out great didn’t it?). I used to play volleyball, swim, dance and play tennis for the curious people under us.
Wait, so you’re still reading this entire bio? Kudos to you. Anyway, high school. I went to high school in Schagen where I, as soon as I entered a new class with new teachers, always got the comment: ‘Manon van Schagen, so you’re from Schagen to then right?!’ Whereas I answered in the beginning with a ‘no’ and late with a sarcastic yes and an ‘I’ve heard that one too many times’. So I was cycling let’s say around 11/12 km a day in that time and in the beginning I didn’t feel quite in place with the school as I was the only one in the class who didn’t have anyone (I believe) from my previous school in the same class. The first few years took a bit of adjusting and in the third year (I had five years as I did a ‘higher’ education as learning was quite easy for me, the highest one we have is 6 years, the others are 4 years) I started doing theatre where we started in September with thinking about a theme, to eventually perform a 2 hour show in February seven times in four days (for who is wondering, yes I didn’t need to go to school that week so that was obviously a bonus, plus I walked through school on my socks as we were rehearsing on the podium in the cantine). We wrote all sketches, songs and choreographed the dances by ourselves with a bit of help by our director. Good times.
After high school, that I eventually did in six years as I didn’t pass my finals in the fifth year, I went to university in Amsterdam and I’m still studying there as we speak. But I kept living at home since it is really expensive to live in the capital, so instead, I just traveled three hours a day (two hours by train (free travel as a Dutch student throughout the entire country during the week) and an hour by bike) to get to and from uni. It’s weird you know, I’m still studying, Media, Information, and Communication with a direction of editing and media production at the university of applied sciences in Amsterdam, but time has passed by so quick it scares the hell out of me. I finished my two internships and am due to graduate this year and from then I want to take Spanish and Brazilian Portuguese language courses, work a few months and travel (while continuing this blog and updating my Youtube channel), first to South America and then the rest will follow.
I started blogging back in the early days of 2009 but I was so damn scared to share anything with family or friends, no one knew because I just wasn’t ready and because blogging was all brand new. Taking the first big step to start a new blog, years later, and actually, share posts with friends and family is freaking nerve wrecking. While being in uni I still didn’t quite figured out what I wanted to do with it, that was until I went on my own to Berlin for Berlin Fashion Week in January 2014 and to London in June for a few months during summer in the same year of 2014. I went to Milan, Barcelona, and London again in the same year and many other destinations followed in the years after that with Jordan last year as the most impressive country I’ve ever visited. And now it is 2017 and I only just figured out my real direction I want to go to with this blog and it includes a feeling that I had previously lost. I love writing, but I want it to be real and sometimes I felt like I lost that part with not posting enough about my experiences, but I also felt like I wasn’t good enough for it and as I couldn’t do it. However, it’s not like that anymore. With the same blog name, but a new blog design and a huge brain of motivation to learn and to improve I’m now more than ready to do what I was meant to be doing in my life. And you’ll be there with me to follow it all along.
And of course, now it all seems like I was living the perfect life but trust me, it wasn’t all that perfect but my story would be way longer than it is by now and all those sad and angry stories aren’t meant to be on the internet right now.
So that’s that for now, I can’t believe you’re still here and reading but I like that and I appreciate it. Stay tuned for new posts and new inspiration via all my social media channels. If you have any questions or comments (about how to improve my blog design or a request) please contact me via either my social media channels or via thedutchcountryside [@]gmail.com.
See ya’ll later!