7.28.2016

CONGRATS ARE IN ORDER

Hey guys! I'd first like to thank you all for the kind feedback I've gotten from my previous post regarding White Feminism. I was not quite sure how it would be received by everyone when I posted it, but I've been pleasantly surprised by the constructive criticism and general wonderfulness of each and everyone of you who reached out to extend their warm words. Humbled and grateful.

These photos are from a couple of days back when Chris and I went to celebrate with Tim and Dana due to Tim becoming a certified, 100% civil servant/teacher here in Germany!! For my New Zealand readers, I need to stress how much of a big deal this is. For someone to become a civil servant/teacher here in Germany is a pretty big deal as it assures job security for life, essentially. Which is, ya know, pretty fucking good. So, big congratulations to Tim for this pretty massive achievement!!!!! :D D :D

We celebrated at Dana's place with a BBQ, because BBQs are great, right?

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Self-made moscow mules and another pavlova.

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As for now, this morning has been very slow. I've got a late start, so I've spent the past couple of hours chilling with the cats, reading Bitchslap magazine, editing photos, eating a proper breakfast and listening to some new tunes.

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For those of you who are curious, here's the playlist I've been listening to all morning:

7.25.2016

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.





7.23.2016

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!


7.19.2016

BREMINALE & SKATEPARKS


I've been thinking about the direction of my blog and my writing lately, as I find it pretty difficult to stay inspired compared to my university days, where I was exposed to so many experiences and so many people in such a condensed amount of time. You wouldn't believe the amount of content I have backed up on my laptop, whether that be unedited photos, unpublished articles or unfinished writing ideas. If my editor were anymore of a monster, I wouldn't have a writing job at all, so I consider myself lucky. For whatever reason, I find my writing changing and I'm not sure if that's for the better or not, but I figured the only way to get better is to force myself to do it. Hopefully from now on this blog will be more active and I'll find myself slowly pulling inspiration and experiences from the people and things around me. The world is full of things, after all. Just gotta keep an open eye out.

(If you're wondering, I've also been listening to Joy Division, Morrissey and Frank Ocean for the past 3 hours, so that probably helps)

Breminale ended this past weekend, much to the dismay of the often quiet city of Bremen. For those of you who are not sure, Breminale is some sort of music/food festival that happens every year in Bremen at the Osterdeich, which is by the river. Chris and I went on the Thursday evening that my friend Preet left, because the weather was actually good. I'm talking no rain, no wind, no worries. We went there to see a couple of rappers that Chris knew about and it was all very new to me, but the people were happy and live music is always pretty great, when you can have it. I'm not an expert in German rap, so I'm not going to try and review it, but I can only say that I personally enjoyed the evening.

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random life update: I have the biggest motherfucking mouth ulcer on the side of my tongue and I can't speak or eat properly and it is annoying the fucking shiiiiiit outta me, you would not believe it.

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Some weeks ago on the way back from work, I took the wrong bus and ended up driving through an unfamiliar part of Bremen and came across some newly built public spaces which looked pretty cool. I had the mind to take note of it and a couple of days ago, Chris and I drove there because it was warm outside and it was something interesting to do. We went to a new skatepark and walked around the neighbourhood, which was some kind of strange utopian movie set basically in the not-so-far corners of Bremen. Honestly, you walk around and it's nothing like how you imagine Bremen to be. Very strange, but still very cool in its own way. If you're around, I highly suggest visiting the place because there's lots of sunshine, lots of green and hardly anyone there. For those of you who have kids, there's also a playground.

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We've actually visited the place two days in a row because we enjoyed it so much. Next time there's a sunny day, I highly recommend you going there.

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Til next time, loves.

p.s I know that this blogpost is aesthetically pretty different from my usual, but we're trying new directions here folks in an attempt to stay relevant. Bear with me!

Follow me on instagram @ihatecoffeeee to keep up to date

7.17.2016

WHEN FRIENDS VISIT // THESE PAST WEEKS

before I begin, can we all just take a moment to appreciate this fish? Yes. Thank you.

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A few weeks back, Chris' good friend Holly (or Helge, more officially) came to visit Bremen with another one of our friend's Lucas as he's headed back to Australia (that's Holly, not Lucas. Lucas is staying in Germany) at the end of this month and therefore we won't see him for a year or so. It's always nice to have friend's visit, though I must admit that I sometimes struggle to find things to show them in Bremen as it's not exactly the most lively city. It's a lovely city, just not always so bright-eyed-awake, ya know?

As per usual, we went to Rock & Wurst (arguably the best burger place in town) and stayed there for a wee while before heading to Tim's place, not too far from there. As I remember, it was a Tuesday night and the weather wasn't that fantastic, so our options were limited in terms of things to do and places to see. In the end, we had some beers, walked around the Viertel a bit and ended up at Chris' place where the guys played some fifa.

OH! Our friend Lucas also got my drawing tattooed onto his body, which is pretty insane. It's nice to know that even if he ends up hating me, he'll have to remember me FOREVER <3 Both Lucas and Holly stayed overnight and the next morning Lucas and I cooked up a big breakfast courtesy of Chris' kitchen. ALL THE MAPLE SYRUP IN ALL THE PLACES. Breakfast food is undeniably the best kind of food.



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Last week my good friend Preet from New Zealand came to visit me as she's a wildly talented woman who presented her thesis at a conference in Paris. All the women in my life are insanely wonderful and talented and I'm lucky enough to rub shoulders with them from time to time. She was only in Bremen for a couple of days due to having very limited time in Europe. The day she arrived in Bremen was actually the day she finally handed in her Master thesis (woohoo!) so I took her to Cafe Knigge in the city and treated her to tea and cake and we had a long chat about basically everything I've missed out on since leaving NZ. It was a really great way to start off our day and because Bremen's main attractions are relatively close to one another, I was able to show her everything in one afternoon. In the evening we went to Louie & Jules, another relatively good burger place near the Schlachte in Bremen. If you go there, I highly recommend the pastrami burger!

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The next day, we drove with Chris to Hamburg to brave the rainy weather. For Summer weather, it was really shit, but the rain wasn't persistent and after an hour or two, we were able to walk around rain-free, which was pretty fantastic. Due to the sheer size of Hamburg, we didn't get to see everything, but it was still such a fantastic day with lots of exploring and shopping and great food. We topped off the day with dinner at a great Italian place (Teolino in the Sternschanze area, roughly) and an unexpected fountain display/concert in the Botanical Gardens.

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All in all, the two short days that Preet was here were wonderful and relaxing and like a mini holiday for me also. I'm pretty lucky that although I live on the other side of the world, many of my close friends still manage to visit me and it would be an understatement to say I'm grateful.