These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: JUNE 2020

Ah 2020. The good thing is, I don’t think it can get much worse. Between a huge restructure at work, losing work, the end of a relationship and working out living arrangements, it’s been a challenging month. I’m ok and I’m at peace with the direction everything is moving. It’s always the straw that breaks the camels back so it’s been the tiniest things that set me over the edge, but all in all, I’m doing ok. Despite the challenges and setbacks, I’ve been really lucky to have the support of friends and family to guide me through.

Earlier in the year, when things were a bit out of control, I started thinking ‘ok, just one day at a time,’ but now it’s suddenly July? While it’s important to focus on the now and work on what’s in front of you, sometimes you need to look ahead to take control of what you want in life. Whether it’s booking a weekend away, going to visit a friend or going for a long walk on the beach, balancing now and the future can be difficult but when you get it right, things start to feel normal again.

Working from ‘home’ home

After a big shake up at work, and after working from home for several months, something had to change. So I went ‘home’ home, up to Port Stephens to work for a week up there. It did me the world of good! Being able to finally separate work from my living space, be around family and catch up with old friends, it was just what I needed. Plus, with Mum living somewhere so beautiful, the motivation was certainly running high!

Adventures at home

Elizabeth then came down to Wollongong for a weekend and we were determined to make the most of the gorgeous weather and get out and about. We did the Kiama – Gerringong coastal walk, which is absolutely gorgeous but far out it’s a long walk!

The next day we headed on a little adventure to Bowral. We were lucky enough to find a spot for lunch because damn it was busy. I guess that’s what happens after people have been locked up for a few months, they jump at the first opportunity to get out and about!

I then had a visit from Dad before he moved off to start a new job, and was also paid a visit by the lovely Chloe. Of course, there were a few sunrise walks, swims and coffees in there with friends around the good old lighthouse which in all honesty, is the best start to the day anyone could ask for. Soph and I also conquered Sublime (which I haven’t done in a while) and my calves are still killing me from it! I’m glad I had her there to keep me going.

A surprise

So my friend Steph had a brilliant plan to go and surprise Chantelle down in her gorgeous home in Broulee! So Steph, Jas and I hopped in the car and road tripped down the south coast to surprise lil Chantelle. I think we got her pretty good! The whole weekend was simply gorgeous! We walked along the beach and explored her area, we got coffee and watched pelicans, spotted whales and attempted to ride rip sticks, and then cuddled up by the fire with wine and snacks. We even braved it and jumped in the water for a quick dip! To top it all off, we got a delicious meat pie in Mogo before we came back to Wollongong. It was a much needed getaway and I was so stoked to spend a night away with beautiful people.

Books

A Long Petal Of The Sea, by Isabel Allende
I really wanted to commit to reading books from around the world to learn more about the lived experiences – especially of women- in all corners of the globe. So when I cam across this book, telling the story about the Spanish refugees that boarded a ship commissioned by Pablo Neruda to Chile, I knew I had to learn about this fascinating part of history.

REVIEW: A Long Petal of the Sea by Isabel Allende - The Booktopian

Three Women, by Lisa Taddeo
Yes, yes, YES! A book about women’s sexuality and desire. Enough said. As the name implies, it tells the story of three women and explores their journey to find love, confidence and truth.

Three Women by Lisa Taddeo review — sex in the USA | Saturday ...

How We Disappeared, by Jing-Jing Lee
This is a heartbreaking story of a woman’s experience in Japanese occupied Singapore and the horrendous abuse she endured as a comfort girl. Again, this was a part of history that I didn’t know much about and I was seriously captivated by her story. It’s an incredible book about war, trauma, family and healing and would absolutely recommend it.

Review: How We Disappeared by Jing-Jing Lee – Retrospect Journal

Flicks

The Farewell
This is a must see-film and is a movie I’ve been thinking about for weeks since seeing it. It tells a story of a young woman who returns to her family roots in China who must comply in keeping a secret from her Grandma about her Grandma’s health. It’s a beautiful exploration of culture, tradition, philosophy and family, and it is simply stunning. My question for you is…. would you tell?

Bloggers, Vloggers and Podders

Kara and Nate
I’ve been following these guys for a long time now and I have been loving their vlogs from their trip to Antarctica! It’s been a great way to escape and follow their journey from earlier in the year to the incredible world of the Antarctic.

Quotes

So 2020 has basically been summed up by uncertainty. And as someone who usually prides themselves on being spontaneous, adventurous and willing to dive into the unknown, the encroachment of uncertainty in my ‘normal’ everyday life has been pretty intense. I love this little reminder that uncertainty and challenges bring with it growth and strength.

So, the remainder of 2020 – listen up! It will be better, I will be stronger, I will connect with myself and people around me, I will set goals and push myself, I will go slow and take time to do things that are important to me. Deep breath, let’s do this.

Tacos & Tequila: Week 1 In MEXICO CITY

Mexico, that country that speaks Spanish, is renowned for its tacos and tequila and apparently Trump doesn’t like people from there. That’s about the extent of my knowledge of Mexico before arriving and commencing my studies in its capital, Mexico City. So how did I end up here? Well you may recall that around this time last year, I was completing a short course in La Rochelle, France, with a company called AIM Overseas (you can read about my experiences in France here). And after having such a life changing and incredible experience in France, I looked into their programs to see how I can escape another Australian Winter.

That’s when I came across their program taught at the University of La Salle in Mexico City titled ‘Immigrants, Human Rights & Mexican Society.’ Damn what a mouthful hey! Since I’m studying International Studies with Communications & Media Studies, I’ve always been fascinated, concerned and frustrated with current social and political perspectives towards migration, especially of refugees desperately trying to reach Australia. After finding out that I could receive a second OS Help Loan, I found myself being accepted into the program and on my way to Mexico City to study something that I’m deeply passionate about.

So here’s a look into what happened in our first week in Mexico City!

6176637728_IMG_2034
Taking in the view of a city of 22million

Arriving

Arriving in a new destination, particularly one you’ve never been to before and don’t speak the language, can be extremely daunting. Luckily, La Salle organises an airport pick up. So there was someone at the airport to greet me with a friendly ‘Hola!’ From there, I joined a crew of other students in my program and in the Public Health Program (another AIM Overseas program offered at La Salle), and we filed onto the bus to take us to our new homes. Our ‘Immigrants’ group is staying at a lovely hotel in the funky, safe and colourful neighbourhood called La Condesa. I met my roomie, Rosie from the University of Melbourne. She’s a red head too, so we came to the understanding that they matched us based on our hair colour – but we get along really well so AIM definitely did a great job.

Across our arrival weekend, I met the other students in the program from all different degrees and from universities all across Australia. This diversity, I could tell, would be extremely valuable when it comes to discussing such a complex topic of migration. And to top it off, everyone is like minded and passionate about the same thing as you, so it’s safe to say that everyone is pretty damn cool.

IMG_6998
The colours of La Condesa, our funky neighbourhood

Classes

On Monday morning we were escorted to the university so we could take notes on directions. Luckily La Salle is a quick 10-15minute walk away from the hotel. Monday was our Orientation day where we were given a tour of the university and neighbourhood, we discussed our schedule for the three weeks, took our photos for our student ID’s and had an awesome welcome lunch.

Tuesday, Wednesday and Thursday were quite intense days of classes. We covered everything from Contemporary Mexican Society, Mexico-US Migration Management and Human Rights and Legal Issues surrounding Migration. Tuesday and Thursday afternoon we had our crucial ‘Survival Spanish’ classes where we covered important topics like how to order a beer and make sure you don’t order the super spicy tacos! All of our classes have been taught by extremely passionate and inspiring professor’s making the long days of class very engaging, interesting and informative.

6176687408_IMG_1950
Some of the sites and colours you can expect to find downtown

Professional Site Visits

As much as this course is academic, it is equally practical where we get to immerse ourselves in the realities for many migrants and refugees arriving to Mexico. On Friday, we visited ‘Casa de los Amigos’ and ‘Casa Tochan’, both are houses providing support and accommodation for newly arrived migrants and refugees. At Casa de los Amigos, we were given a tour of their facilities and a presentation going through some of the services they provide these people. They receive migrants and refugees mostly from Central American countries like Honduras, El Salvador and Guatemala, however when we visited they had several refugees from Somalia and Cameroon. It just goes to show that as long as there is conflict and danger, people will go to all lengths to find somewhere safe for themselves and their families.

6174569216_IMG_1738
Outside Casa de Los Amigos

6174569216_IMG_1749
Kindness is a universal language

IMG_7023
After our presentation from Casa de los Amigos

After Casa de los Amigos, we headed to Casa Tochan, a much smaller house, yet doing some pretty incredible things and making a real difference to those looking for support, shelter, food, services and kindness. At Casa Tochan, I met three Honduran refugees, aged 17, 19 and 22. They told us their stories (with the help from a translator) and it was an incredibly powerful, emotional and confronting experience. One of the young boys entire family had been murdered in Honduras and therefore, he was escaping out of fear of being next. It was all very raw and emotional, yet the part that I’ll never forget was when another girl on the program asked how they felt with us coming to visit Casa Tochan. They responded that they were so grateful because it makes them feel like there’s people out there that actually care about them and the situation they’re in. I must admit, I spent a lot of the afternoon wiping away tears from my eyes because I was so overwhelmed with their kindness, hope and strength. The reality of looking someone directly in the eye and creating a bond that transcends language, culture or class is an experience that can never be taken away and to those young boys that I had the absolute honour of meeting, I will never forget their bravery.

6176650448_IMG_1766
The mural painted in the common area at Casa Tochan

IMG_7032
Our group and awesome tour guides

IMG_7028
A mural on the street near Casa Touchan painted by migrants. This bird is the national bird of Honduras and it represents the freedom they’ve gained from spreading their wings.

Other Events

Friday afternoon we were treated to a salsa class, a fun way to lift spirits and get in a good work out. For anyone thinking that salsa is all about the skirts, you’re wrong. Be prepared to sweat!

This weekend was a hectic weekend of soaking up a lot of culture and history. On Saturday we headed to the famous Pyramids! Walking among thousands of years of history sure was memorable. On the way back to the city, we stopped at the Basilica de Guadalupe, the second most important Catholic religious site, the first being the Vatican.

IMG_7139
Rosie and I conquering the Sun Pyramid

IMG_7236
The Immigration group & Public Health group after galavanting all around the Pyramids.

IMG_7159
The 1st and 2nd Basilica de Guadalupe. Because of the ground it’s built on, the buildings are actually sinking, meaning that not many buildings are straight. But it sure adds character.

6174643536_IMG_1917

On Sunday we were completely immersed in the hustle and bustle of Mexico City and given a tour of downtown. We visited the Cathedral, the old palace with murals by Diego Rivera (OMG fan girl!) and Templo Mayor. To add to the craziness of downtown, there was also a really popular football match on where they had big screens everywhere!

6176687408_IMG_19396176687408_IMG_19636176687408_IMG_2020

6241772880_IMG_1696

One of my very good friends actually lives in Mexico City. His name is Victor and we met when he came to Wollongong on exchange in my first year. 3.5years later, he was showing me around his home town, complete with tacos, tequila and pulques. Being reunited with old friends is definitely one of the best things about travel and I’m so grateful that he’s been able to show me around such an incredible city.

IMG_7156
Victor and I

Well I honestly don’t know where times gone. 1 week down, 2 more to go. One thing I’m really realising is just how fortunate I am to be given such a unique opportunity of studying one of our century’s most complex and urgent movement of people, in a country that is so heavily involved in the process, whether it be sending, receiving or simply a transit for people, Mexico and immigration go hand in hand. In the 1 week I’ve been here, I’ve learnt more about Mexico City and Mexican Society than I have in my whole life and I’m quickly learning that there’s much more to this incredible place than tacos and tequila (yet still very important).

[You can follow my adventures on Instagram @aworldlyaddiction]

 

The Thing No One Tells You About EXCHANGE

So somehow time has flown so quickly that it’s been 3 months since I had to say au revoir to Montreal and finish up my exchange (if you missed what I got up to – you can check it out here). So now uni has started (we’re somehow in Week 4?!), life back in Wollongong is in full motion and exchange feels somewhat of a dream.

Everyone always talks about how amazing exchange is. How it’s the best time of their life. How you’re going to make friends for life, drink too much, see wonders of the world, get your Instagram popping and how it’s going to change your freakin life! And all of this is true, and these are just some of the many reasons that I encourage everyone to seek the opportunity to study abroad and travel.

But in all honesty, I wasn’t prepared for the complete confusion, doubt and insecurity I faced at home and within myself when I returned to Australia. I’ve heard about reverse culture shock before, and I’ve lived away from home before and I knew something like this was coming… but it still smacked me in the face.

Whilst I know the following thoughts are natural and silly, at the time I was dealing with these thoughts, the stress and anxiety was real. My biggest fear was surround my friends.

Was I going to lose my friends that I’d just made in Montreal? Would they still be interested in my life back in Australia? Would they make time to talk to me? Would I make time to talk to them? Would my friends back home accept the new me? Would they even notice that I’ve changed? Would I even have my old friends back home? 

These (thankfully) were all dealt with and overcome when I saw my friends back in Australia again and I was overcome with happiness, gratitude and joy. Plus, being able to FaceTime and Snapchat my friends back in Montreal, it reassured me that these friendships are strong and real. And it actually made me appreciate them even more – the fact that they care about my life over here and they’re willing to put in the effort to keep in touch and keep the friendship alive.

My other concern was about my identity and personality, leaving me asking ‘who am I?’ I slowly saw myself, my ideas and my values change over the course of the time that I was away. I was exposed to problems and issues I’d never heard of, listened to stories of strength, injustice and survival, changed my core values, altered my ideas… all that cheesy stuff associated with going through a life changing experience. And you’re determined to hold on to it all, bring it all to your life back home and just be a freakin awesome changed woman.

But the reality is that you start to adjust back to your old life, old routine and old ways, and you can’t help but let some of those ideas go. You almost get trapped in between 2 versions of yourself, and you’re not really sure which one is the real you, or the one you want to move forward it. I guess everyone has these types of identity crises throughout their lives, but it’s especially apparent when you return from an adventure overseas.

So how do I move forward? Where do we go from here?

I think I’ll continue to romanticise my exchange, always giving me fun, beautiful and exciting memories to look back on. But my goal is to channel that feeling. The feeling that anything is possible, that anyone can be a friend, that your day could take you anywhere and that life is freakin beautiful. And I just need to accept that not everyone shares these ideas, but I can’t hold back who I am or what I want. I’ve got to remember to be fierce and do what sets my soul and heart on fire… chase and create that feeling.

 

 

 

 

 

 

These Are A Few Of My Favourite Things: NOVEMBER

November has been a rollercoaster!!! I finished up with uni for the session, moved house, went back home, have been working (nearly) full time, been in a global march and back and forth between Sydney countless times. And despite being free from uni work (for now) – I still had very limited time to blog! One of my favourite things to do and I couldn’t even take a few hours out of my day to do it! I was doing so well with my stats and working on growth – and then life just happened and suddenly it’s December (would someone mind filling me in on how that happened?). Anyway… despite having signed up for a summer session at university and basically working full time, I’m committing to blogging at least once a week. I pinky promise. OK, so let’s look back on the month that was November…

Sculptures By The Sea…

I had such an incredible time exploring the beautiful coastline of Bondi Beach with my housemates. It was a gorgeous day spent with gorgeous girls. We topped the day off with some retail therapy so it was a pretty awesome way to spend a weekend. You can read more about Sculptures by the Sea here. 

Moving House!

As uni came to an end for the year – so did our contract at uni accommodation. Lucky for me, my best friend and I moved into a share house around the corner (complete with a queen size bed and a pool).

Mumford and Sons Festival!

Held in the Domain, Sydney, Mumford and Sons not only brought themselves (gods) but a number of other artists like Meg Mac, Jake Bugg, The Art of Sleeping and The Jungle Giants to play in the city. Unfortunately the weather was less than perfect – but we still rocked out in the rain along with some new found Italian friends.

11988416_1182375478444132_4760330503989665202_n
Galavanting around Martin Place. 

My Sister Came to Visit!

I absolutely love my family, so you could imagine how excited I was when my little sister came to visit! It was one of the last times I got to spend time with her before she jetted off on her adventure to South America.

12240160_970409946348613_4164931345305609785_n
My sister and I at City Beach in Wollongong

The People’s Climate March!

What an incredible experience!! Being a part of Australia’s largest Climate March to date! It wasn’t just in Australia, but towns, villages and cities around the world with people from all walks of life marched for Climate Action for Climate Justice. You can read more about the People’s Climate March here. 

Visiting Home

There really is no place like home. Luckily I managed to squeeze in a little weekend trip to beautiful Port Stephens. Better yet, I got to show one of my Norwegian friends around and watch him absolutely lose it over pelicans and koalas!

Love Yourself

It’s not a recap unless there’s a song to go along with all of it! And it’s definitely Love Yourself by Justin Bieber. Sorry if I’ve accidentally become a Belieber but if he keeps producing music like this… I can’t help it!

Well – It was a great month but December is definitely a favourite of mine so I’m pretty excited to see what’s in store!

 

 

A Girl in Many Worlds

Sourced from http://images.toywizard.net/0001/barbie-R9912-basic-asst.jpg
Sourced from http://images.toywizard.net/0001/barbie-R9912-basic-asst.jpg

Transmedia Storytelling is the communication of a story across various platforms such as movies, social media, comics, video games and books, each of which explore a unique part of the story. When all different stories from all different platforms are combined, we have a more detailed and thorough understanding of the text as a whole. (, 2011).

Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2Zagr98fpzY/TEafyCW2ZVI/AAAAAAAAAlM/8TnqiMxWUqM/s1600/BB.JPG
Sourced from http://3.bp.blogspot.com/_2Zagr98fpzY/TEafyCW2ZVI/AAAAAAAAAlM/8TnqiMxWUqM/s1600/BB.JPG

Mattel’s Barbie Franchise, is an example of transmedia storytelling due to the many unique platforms, ideas and concepts generated. The original form was a doll, designed for children to dress and roleplay. Generated from the Barbie doll was a whole world. There are various characters (Ken, Skipper), which live in different worlds (Fairytopia, Under the Sea) which are developed by various technology platforms (website, movies). Where people are used to consuming multiple aspects on a daily basis. (Jenkins, 2003) They are all interconnected and tell different parts of a worldwide story, relying on collective intelligence to produce a world in which everyone can immerse themselves.

Sourced from http://img.wonderhowto.com/img/33/70/63493530208432
Sourced from http://img.wonderhowto.com/img/33/70/63493530208432

Because of the restricted nature and current hype of Tinder, it would be difficult to generate storytelling transmediality. However, using some imagination, there is definitely potential to create an encyclopaedic aspect of Tinder. Perhaps a movie of what occurs after someone is matched? Or a television series of different characters and their interaction with others because of Tinder? Perhaps the ‘swipe’ action could be adapted into other media technologies like Facebook or on television. There are already various Youtube videos which outline people’s unique interaction with others and many memes have been generated.

Sourced from http://smashmoose.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3tufz6.jpg
Sourced from http://smashmoose.com/wordpress/wp-content/uploads/2013/11/3tufz6.jpg

Transmedia storytelling “is a fantastic spine around which to build a more intensive interactive experience” (gauravonomics, 2013), in which it is expected more company’s and individuals will need to embrace in order to maximise audience engagement and participation. Personally, I am drawn to things which contain Transmedic Narratives because I feel apart of the action and accepted within a wider community with similar interests and values. It allows me to immerse myself in another world which I can access anyway I want, anywhere I want, which in today’s consumeristic society, is the expectations. 

References

Future of Engagement #7 : Transmedia Storytelling, People’s Insights Annual Report, MSL group, http://gauravonomics.com/transmedia-storytelling/,  written 11/03/2013, accessed 15/04/14

Henry Jenkins, Transmedia Storytelling, MT Technology Review, http://www.technologyreview.com/news/401760/transmedia-storytelling/, written 15/01/03, accessed 18/04/14