Ask Aad

Dear reader,

My name is Adriaan, but my friends call me ‘Aad’. I have been with AEGEE-Groningen for a long time, sometimes I think it might be too long a time. This was the year I was going to take a step back, but just when I wanted out, they pulled me back in. Over the years I got a lot of experience in AEGEE-Groningen and the last few years I spent most of my time as an advisor to the board. Now that I don’t do that anymore (or just on the down-low) I have to use my advisory mojo for something else!

I like to think that I know more than just AEGEE and I would like to share that knowledge, I turned 30 this year and I have seen some things. There are a lot of things that young people have to deal with these days. The environment you inherited is shit, Trump, world war 3 is coming apparently, your memes SUCK, Trump, corona-virus, Trump. Damn, when I was younger things were so much easier. I remember running around outside with no notion of what ‘mobile phones’ or ‘the internet’ was.

Life doesn’t always go the way you want it to go, or it always goes the way you don’t expect it to go. Whatever it is for you, sometimes you find yourself in rougher waters than you ever faced before and all you can do is try to stay afloat. I know this feeling all too well, but sharing and talking about problems is the way to solve them. I hope my advice can help you in some way and otherwise I hope it can make you smile a little bit.

So if you have anything you want answered, from totally serious to complete bollocks, send me your questions!

1) Dear allmighty Aad, will I lose 10 kilos this month? Will my boyfriend still love me if I don’t?

Dear Annelies,

I think these are all the wrong questions you are asking, first of all ‘will I lose 10 kilos this month’ is kind of a hard question to answer. Do you have a plan to lose 10 kilos? How committed to this plan are you? Losing weight is dependent on a lot of things, most importantly on your mindset. Most diets work because they make you aware of what and how much you should eat, not because of the actual diet. The actual change you have to make is a mental one.

That’s why I want to rephrase your question: Do you want to lose 10 kilos this month?  This is already a lot easier to answer, although I can not answer this for you. This is something you have to do yourself. That’s why it’s important to ask yourself: What am I willing to sacrifice to lose this weight? Losing weight means changing your patterns, and sticking to it. Giving up some comfort foods and maybe not eating 12 donuts every day (which will be hard for you to give up).

Now that I countered your questions with questions of my own, the last answer to your last question is simple: If your boyfriend wants you to lose 10 kilos in a month, DUMP THAT HO.

2) Can two people not speaking the same language be in a committed relationship? Here in Groningen -and all student cities- international students date each other and speak English, instead of their mother language. I am sceptical about whether or not that is an obstacle to connection and intimacy. Tell me Aad! I need to know!”

Dear Demetra,

There is a lot to say about relationships, but I will try to give a short answer.

So first of all I would like to say: Yes definitely, two people who don’t have the same native language can be in a relationship. There are a lot of cases that absolutely prove it and I know there are AEGEE-babies. Which also have parents with a different nationality. I hope those babies were born from love, and not from a drunk night, but let us just hope for the best!.

Will it be hard to have a relationship as two people who do not share the same native language? Also definitely, mostly because relationships are based on communication. It’s about sharing your thoughts and feelings, which is easier in your native language than in any other language. Knowing what and how you feel is sometimes already hard, at least for me, and putting those feelings into understandable words for someone else is even harder. Let alone in English! Furthermore, you have a different background than the other person, maybe they don’t talk about their feelings at home or maybe they express their feelings in a way you are not used to. These are all things that can be an obstacle in a relationship, these things might cause you not to feel connected and can reduce intimacy.

Yet, people go against the odds every day and come out on top. Some people might even like the fact that their partner is ‘foreign’, it is something that can excite people and there will be a lot of new things to learn. You will learn about new foods, new music and maybe even learn a new language.

So you see there are good and bad things about a non-native relationship, as there are to most relationships. Because the truth is that ALL RELATIONSHIPS ARE HARD. But, I want to tell you that if you are honest to yourself and your partner about how you feel, I think you can make a relationship work and you can overcome this language barrier. Share how you feel and tell your partner if you are having a hard time, your partner can support you in other ways than talking to you.

3) Help Aad! The world is changing too fast! How was it in your time?

Dear Mark,

Let me take a moment young whippersnapper, I need to recall this time when I was younger and we still hunted woolly mammoths. Those were the days, of course you lose some people every week to sabertooth tiger attacks but that’s life you know? I was scared too when I saw the first cart that was pulled by a domesticated animal and when people started to push this new trend called ‘writing and reading’, but you need to go with the times. It’s actually nice when Frank came with this new invention called fire, it’s quite warm and roasted stuff is the best.

On a more serious note, this world is changing and yeah it’s going really fast lately. You can’t keep up with all the changes to the world, but the most important thing about this is: You don’t have to keep up with everything. Try to compartmentalize your life a little bit and see what things you find interesting or important to keep up to date on. Try some new things every once in a while to broaden your horizon, but don’t go out on a limb to keep up to date with all the twitstafacesnapfortnightgrambooks. Just talk to people about the stuff you don’t know. Other people have other interests and they have been following other things, which they can inform you about. Just tell them that you want to learn about their interests and they can keep you informed on why their new stuff is so important! In turn, you can tell them about your interests and keep them up to date why you think Pirates are destroying the environment with cheap flights.

4) I don’t know what to do anymore, so I hope you could help me Aad! I don’t know how you find a way to travel on a student budget? I feel like I need a break!

Dear reader, good question! But I think you need to send this to: “Ask Mark”.

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