LIFE ON FILM: AUGUST 2016

Sometime early August, whilst on my way back home, I saw an old film camera on the side of the road that appeared to have no owner and no place to go. Sheepishly, I took it on the off chance that it might work. For the whole of last month, I took this little dinosaur camera around with me taking snaps of my life here and there, all the while hoping the camera wasn't faulty and that I might later on be able to see them... and voila! The camera does indeed work and I picked up the photos today and was pleasantly surprised.

I also want to take this moment to say a big HAPPY BIRTHDAY to my boo-thang who will probably read this as he wakes up in sunny California. Hey! Hi! I hope you have the most wonderful day <3 <3 <3 lots of love from zee kitties and me.



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Chris & Shani ft. Shani's party paw

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Party Dog
Shani sunbathing looking very chill

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Waiting at the tram stop on the way to a friend's birthday
cheeky snap before bed courtesy of Chris

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Mr Boo Thang preparing to cook me up some food

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Scoring the total amount of 5 burgers all for free!
drinks with Mike at some never-seen-before hippy location that I cannot remember the name of

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Coffee reggae band live performance as the sun goes down
Chris taking surprise photos while I get ready for the day

PHOTO DIARY: AMSTERDAM

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Last week we took a weekend trip to Amsterdam where we met up with some of Tim's old American buddies, Jake and Joel. Neither myself nor the two overseas fellows had been to Amsterdam before, and I had heard mixed reviews about the place. Needless to say, I was pretty stoked to get a chance to visit, considering the weather gods were forever in our favour and the sun came out to shine 99% of the time.

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Chris and I even came by this crazy cool thrift store where all of your Nike/Addidas/Puma tracksuit dreams come true!

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I'm not sure if it's hugely influenced by the particularly nice weather we had, but it seemed that the people living in the city were generally happier and healthier than the people back in Bremen. Many more smiles, many more bicycles. The service was also pretty interesting... as some of you might know, Germany isn't exactly the best spot in terms of good customer service, so I expected Amsterdam to be better. I wouldn't say Amsterdam had bad customer service, but it was certainly interesting. A bit confused and chaotic, though still trying to smile, at least!

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We had a boat ride through the canals, which was pretty interesting as the tour guide pointed out buildings within the city that I never would've noticed otherwise. Unfortunately for us, there was a city swim event happening, so some of the channels were closed, but it was still pretty neat to see what was available to us.

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On our last evening, we did have a bit of a walk through the redlight district of the city, which was basically exactly what you might imagine it to be. Red lights (duh), exotic dancers, hookers, alcohol, piss, the smell of weed in the air. There were parts of the area that were interesting, and certainly some instances of "customers" that were mildly entertaining, but as a whole I don't think it's as interesting as people might think it is. If you've seen the seedy part of any city, you've basically seen the seedy part of every city.

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I really wish I had more time in the city, as I definitely feel there are parts that I missed out on. Thankfully Bremen isn't too far away (about a 4 hour drive), so hopefully I'll be finding myself back there one of these days and I'll get to visit all the places I didn't have time for this time!

PHOTO DIARY: THE HARZ

unless you're completely blind, you might notice that I've changed things up on my blog, because the old layout was beginning to get a bit rusty. Apart from introducing colour, you can now also find the button/navigation bar above which will give you easy access to things about myself, topics on the blog and easy ways to contact me. The renovation of this lil baby of mine took me an entire day of slaving away in front of my laptop, and I can promise you that I never want to see another line of html coding ever again.

Ok. Right. Onto more fun things.

A couple of weeks ago, Chris and I decided to take a day trip to The Harz, as I was feeling restless and wanted to see something other than the four walls of my workspace and, seeing as I've never been to The Harz before, it seemed like a pretty solid plan. Waking up early to drive to The Harz = not such a solid plan. Apart from leaving a smidgen later than we had planned, arriving to an area full of greenery and actual hilltops (albeit nowhere close to the views in New Zealand), was extremely refreshing.

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We only had time to truly wander around the city of Quedlinburg, which I can only describe as quaint. The pastel colours, the Fachwerk style buildings, the edges of structures peeling off themselves, etc. Walking around the blanket of balmy weather, you might get the sense that the city and everyone in it are all a little older than they'd like to be.

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On our way back home, we stopped by Schulenberg I'm Oberharz, which is essentially a big ol' dam, but mighty pretty. The quietness and the scenery were their own type of perfect, and I managed to snag myself a fern leaf! Nothing quite beats finding parts of home in Germany.

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WHITE FEMINISM IS A PROBLEM

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(white feminist saviours, from left to right: Miley Cyrus, Taylor Swift, Lena Dunham, Emma Watson)

White feminism caters to the white, middle-class, cis women in our society and focuses only on issues that affect those women. It is the feminism we understand as mainstream; centered on body hair, changing your married name and whether or not you can show your tits online. It’s the feminism that doesn’t understand or ignores western privilege and cultural context and how these two things affect the daily lives of women of colour and influence how they experience oppression.

I’m a feminist of colour, which means I cannot disregard the fact that race and gender are so inherently bound together. In order to truly advocate for my rights, feminism must also address the issues that affect women of colour (WOC). Without doing this, it’s straight up white privilege, superficial, I-aint-got-time-for-this feminism and I have a fucking problem with it.

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("free the nipple" campaign aimed towards allowing women to go topless in public)

I’m sick of seeing white women dismiss the concerns of women of colour or to speak on behalf of us (Lena Dunham, I’m looking at you), without once questioning whether or not we wanted (or needed) them to do so. I’m sick of self-righteous claims of inclusivity, which marginalize the voices of WOC who choose to speak out. They marginalize us if we speak out assertively, while disagreeing with them or even fucking speak up at all. I’m sick of them exercising their white privilege while accusing their sisters of colour of divisiveness when we refuse to submit to their racism (Taylor Swift, anyone?). Far too often WOC are told to quiet down because it divides us within the feminist movement, but by telling us to quiet down, our voices and concerns are not heard or dealt with.

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(Nicki Minaj calling out the music industry for its blatant racism, Taylor Swift accusing her of divisiveness)

White feminist attempts to gain equality for WOC in other parts of the world are either superficial or offensive as these white feminists are often unable to look beyond their own narrow worldview. Without being able to utilize anything but their own experience in such issues, these feminists often make the mistake of simplifying problems that are far more complex than they think. Why do we accept white women representing WOC when we have very capable WOC who are willing and able to speak for themselves? Take for example when African American Studies professor Rachel Dolezal disguised herself as a black woman for 10 years, becoming President of the Spokane NAACP while advocating for black rights. While white people can and should join people of colour fighting racism and oppression, to assume that she as a white woman would be better qualified than a woman of colour to lead people on issues that primarily affect them (issues she herself has never had to face), is nothing short of a disgrace and an insult.

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(Rachel Dolezal, the professor who lied about being black until her parents publicly stated that she is white)

We have seen the Ukrainian/French feminist group FEMEN protest topless outside of mosques, with the words, “I am free” written across their breasts. Their main concern being the liberation of Muslim women from the oppression of Islam. They are deciding on behalf of Muslim women what the problem is and how it should be remedied. White feminists do this often – they claim to have the solution and the solution is to be like them. They speak for women of colour rather than listening to them. Forcing Muslim women to go naked or to stop wearing the hijab for the sake of “freedom” and degrading their religion is exactly what white feminism is. They forget that empowerment lies within the choice. By blaming oppression on “backwards” cultures and religions of the East and South, white feminists completely ignore the role the west, including its women, has in the oppression of women around the world. For example, many women in countries such as India or Mexico are poor because of jobs working in sweatshops owned by Western corporations that pay below minimum wage. These economic conditions are a direct result of foreign policy and we simply cannot ignore the fact that the freedoms we enjoy are a result of the oppression we have imposed elsewhere.

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(FEMEN members protesting topless outside of mosque in Berlin)

“white feminism dehumanizes racialized women by ignoring and erasing the voice of women of colour… it passively reaffirms ideas that whiteness and white opinions are the only ideas that matter.” – Truphena Matunda

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(muslim women respond to topless FEMEN protests)

I understand that some women who are reading this are feeling defensive. It can be difficult to feel attacked for something you’re not guilty of doing. However, in the context of social justice, if you’re feeling attacked right now, it’s probably because you’re having your privilege challenged, not because you’re an awful person. If what I’m saying doesn’t apply to you, then it’s not about you, and if it’s not about you, then don’t take it personally. Being a good ally means recognizing when your input is unnecessary and that it can be incredibly inappropriate to demand that marginalized groups restructure a conversation to suit your needs. I am not here to make you comfortable. To expect me to do so is the very definition of exercising your privilege.

You want to believe that you’re saving the world, but you’re not – you’re oppressing and silencing the very people you so defiantly claim to be allies with. If your feminism doesn’t include all women, then I don’t believe it’s feminism at all. And if you’re a white feminist, guess what? You don’t have to be! If you don’t quite understand the concept of privilege, then educate yourself! Use the internet! Get involved in your community; listen to WOC when they speak up about the various problems that affect them. It’s important to recognize the lives of minorities and how they may have very specific experiences that change the way we look at issues under the larger scope of feminist issues.

Diversity doesn’t weaken the feminist agenda. Rather, feminism as a whole has a better chance of achieving its goals when we start having honest discourse about what serves all women, not just white women. True feminism is and always should be inclusive, with the goal of true equality for everyone, with the ways in which sexism, racism, transphobia and homophobia may intersect being at the forefront of our feminist movement.





GREAT WEATHER AND A TON OF FOOD

The weather this past week in Bremen has been fan-fucking-tastic! I even managed to get a bit of a tan, which hopefully will last me throughout those long German winters.

After Chris finished his early shift on Tuesday, we went to the hochschule park by my place with my friend Judith and soaked in the sunshine - he napped, I tanned, everyone was happy.

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On Wednesday the weather was yet again perfectly summery and we decided to have a bit of a spontaneous picnic by the new park/skatepark that we had discovered last week. I tried this new weirdass banana flavoured Mio Mate, which was actually pretty good!

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Chris was able to skate some more too, which is always nice. The park got relatively empty as we had stayed much later than we expected. Had the whole park to ourselves and watched the lightning show, which was expectedly beautiful. It did begin to rain later in the evening, so we had to take shelter in one small section of the skatepark, but that was pretty great in its own way too. Listened to Jimmy Eat World and Wheatus, perfectly proving that we're probably going through some sort of quarter life crisis.

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~ FRIDAY BBQ ~

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We first headed to Eicklingen, where Chris is from, to quickly have some tea and cake with his dad. I baked a pavlova for the occasion, because you can't really beat a good pavlova in the Summer time. His dad loved it, thankfully!

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For the BBQ at our friend Lucas' place, Chris made his signature spareribs, Lucas made his signature jerk chicken and Nane made some kickass lava cakes with strawberries and ice-cream. A whole evening of preparation resulted in an entire evening of food, drinks, sore bellies and lots of fun.

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Nane clearly enjoying the first taste of spareribs for the evening. Honestly, so fucking delicious.

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Last night's feast was incredibly good and I can't believe the amount of food I ate. We all probably ate way more than our bodies could handle, because at some stage during the evening, I woke up from my food coma to find everyone else also going through their food comas. Food comas and food babies make for some very happy young adults.

Happy Saturday to you all, I hope you have a fantastic weekend!