Friday, February 27, 2009

Just Some Conversation


It is 2 in the morning and I still can't sleep. I don't know what it is really. Maybe my body refuses to completely adjust. I guess all I can do is go with the flow...

This week has been interesting. On Thursday night I went out with the international gang. And I really enjoyed myself. My friends know at home that I am not one to go out often. I was told by my friends one time I went out that sometimes I would have to leave my politics at home. I think this may be true! (And yes, they share most of the political views that I have). It is so hard for me to leave my politics out of anywhere! I am such a political person. And I kinda don't like to say political. I just believe in equality with such a fierceness. I don't think thats political. Well, we all know that it is. But it isnt. But I think their is a difference between being politically passionate and being politically annoying. Maybe theres not a difference, just a fine line. I don't mind crossing that fine line but I don't always want to be on the annoying side. I find myself wondering whether I should say what's on my mind or not. Sometimes I feel like I further "other" myself when I do so. If someone makes a comment and I find myself correcting them, it makes the atmosphere uncomfortable and theres always that eery silence. I think that silence is necessary but not all the time. When someone says..."Oh, that is a man's drink." and everyone it my moment to say something? To bring up gender inequality? When someone says something is gay and the conversation goes that my time to interject and correct them? When someone mentions America helping in WWII and how proud I should that my time to mention the way Blacks were treated during this time?

It's those instances where the conversation isn't political but a comment is made and I just can't help myself. And then I get the silence. And lord knows I am a talker. Any progressive person has wondered these things. And I don't think theres any harm in choosing your battles, I think its the only way you can preserve your fire. I don't think any moment of education or correction is a waste, but I think people learn better in different ways and sometimes I wonder if I am wasting my breath by bringing up serious topics while people are trying to enjoy themselves! LOL. I am sorry, this all sounds so crazy because somewhere inside I am screaming ABSOLUTELY FUCKING NOT! But I don't know. Really. Sometimes I hate to be that lil informative gray cloud!

I guess I bring this up because when I go out...I can't help but to make certain observations. Race, class, gender, sexuality, etc. All of them. I don't drink much so its not like the alcohol affects my ability to analyze situations in a middle of loud club. lol. And I think its just who I am. I think I am that person that can't leave certain personality traits at home. But I cannot hang up my Blackness or my vagina and I cant leave my class or sexuality at home. So why leave my political opinions and perception of the world at home?

I just think its interesting that even though I am confident in my beliefs and who I am and who I am on the road to be....that I find myself questioning my place in social settings as well as my comments. But I guess I am not with my..umm...what is I am with a group of people, from different countries. So no, it is not surprising that I am questioning. Questioning is always a good thing.

I will try to go to bed now.

Friday, February 20, 2009

Took Myself Out to Eat

Oh. Oh. Oh.

I took myself out to eat for lunch today. I figured..why not. I have had a rough week. My weekend starts on Thursday night because I have no classes on Friday. So I decided to take myself out to eat. At a nicceee restaurant. I wanted Italian. I went to Don Salvo. Oh me, oh my. Was it amazing. I am telling you. I spent 20 pounds. Which is about 30 dollars. I can't believe I spent 30 dollars on myself for a Friday lunch but whhhaatteevver. It was lunch and dinner as a matter of fact. I had Patate Cipollate, Pollo All Aglio, Misto Di Legumi....and thank God the food was also in English. lol. So I had sauteed pototoes, fresh veggies and this garlic and white wine breaded chicken that was sauteed. Man, I'm telling you. How in the hell have I been getting by with Olive Garden???

It was such a nice restaurant. The server put the napkin on my lap. Which I thought was so nice. lol. She was italian so she had a beautiful accent. The glasses were perfectly clean. I ordered my food. She then brought out the bread and butter and olive oil and vinegar. Haha. I tried to dip my bread in vinegar and olive oil. Then I found the butter. Such a fool. lol. And my food came out on separate plates because the potatoes and the veggies were not included in the main dish. The main dish was so freakin pretty! I wanted to take a picture of it, but then I realized 1. I didn't have my camera and 2. That is so classless. lol. Well, at least at a nice restaurant it is. But the kicker is that...their are waayyyy nicer restaurants than this one. And in Akron, you have like...what 1 or 2 restaurants that are like this one. Like Crave, which is where I had my going away dinner at. I wish their were more restaurants like this one at home. We have so many chain restaurants! Ack.

I was having a rough time with the food here when I first came. And actually, I am still not that big of a fan of English food. But I am getting better with the tastes of the food. I just realized actually tastes good without preservatives and such. Because that's what it is. They don't put unnecessary shit in the food. Americans put food coloring in food just to make it pretty whereas the food here in Wolverhampton is the color it should be! I am finding food that I like. That tastes that heaven. That's what my lunch tasted like today. Heaven. Heaven dipped in rich olive oil. Mmm. Even the butter on my fresh baked bread was free range! Free range butter. If you don't know what free range is, just google it.

I just wanted to share this experience with you guys. I don't think I will eat the same when I get home. I just can't. I am going to try to eat at nicer restaurants when I get back. And rarely. And cook at home with food that comes from fresher places. And also more free range meats and dairy and free trade food. I think the next time I go out I may try an Indian restaurant. I don't like Indian at home but I think the Indian population is the second biggest in this city so I am excited to try some authentic Indian food.

Okay, I gotta get some work done.

Monday, February 16, 2009

Feeling Good

Helllooo. All.

So, today I had planned a post about how great things were going and how much I am finally beginning to get into the swing of things. And thennnn I checked my email and someone from Akron, Ohio who studied abroad in Wolverhampton emailed tell me really that I am being negative. And what was funny was that she had only read one of my posts, my first one. Which to me, just isnt really reflective of my actual feelings about studying abroad because I had only been here for like a week and I was NOT feeling good or anything close to it. So, I get all ready to feel bad until I realized that I shouldnt! This blog is for me to share my experiences about studying abroad. Sometimes they will be negative, and sometimes they will be positive. I had a reeallllly rough transition. I think its because I was already stressed before I came and then mix together stress, not sleeping properly, not eating properly, being in a new surrounding and you just have a mess. So if their is anyone else that feels I have been negative...oh well. This is what you get when you read a blog. MY EXPERIENCE. Not, some happy collective study abroader experiencer where everything is supposed to be lollipops.

But like I said, I am feeling pretty good today! So yay.

So, why am I feeling better? I have had 6 hours or more of sleep for the last 2 days. That is enough to be happy about. But I also have had good meals. No junk food. And I alllsssoooo exercised today. So I really feel good and energetic. I got some work done yesterday. I finally feel into the groove here. The weather is so beautiful today. I went to Bath on Saturday and that was a great experience. I have been trying to stay positive and take care of myself. Its crazy, you just cant be in a stressful situation or a new one and not take care of yourself. I have to eat properly and get exercise in order to feel good and get things done. It's just the way its works. I have gotten so better about the food. Oh, and I must clarify something. Before I do, I must say I never think people that don't know me are reading this blog, so I guess I need to stop assuming that. Okay, so my opinions of the food here are more than just some dumb American who just wants American food. I am a picky eater. Anyone who knows me, knows that. At home, I send things back alllll the time. If I dont like food, I throw it away. That is it. So my discomfort with the food here is less about it being from a different country and more about ME being a weird picky eater. But anyways. I have been cooking lately and I just feel better. I made tacos last night and I am making some sauteed chicken and a baked potato tonight. Yummy!

I love being with people from different countries. It does make me see the things that I do that are very much associated with being an American. I will stick with the food thing. Example. My housemate is alllwwaayysss saying something about the food that I throw away. Actually, they all have seen me throw away massive amounts of food and complain about food. And my one housemate has this (annoying yet lovable) thing where she says...what about the children in Africa. Sometimes I feel like pulling out my hair when she says it, but I must admit something. I am way too comfortable with wasting food. People here eat their food...even if they dont like it. WOWWWWW.

Because thats how they were raised! But even though I wasnt necessarily raised to waste food my culture doesnt necessarily look down upon it. American culture is so...what am I trying to say is centered around everyones likes and dislikes. If you dont like this, throw it away, send this back, yadda yadda yadda. We're so comfortable with throwing things away and demanding things that we like cause...damnit we deserve it. If we dont like it, we complain. Cause we are supposed to like it. I have seen so many people not like their food and eat it. It really does amaze me. I havent seen anyone send anything back. Anything. My two housemates from Holland and Belgium are just amazed at how much food I waste. They said they were raised to eat everything. And the stereotype that is most known for Americans (other than fast food, and yes Americans...unfortunately we are known for our fast food) is that we want everything big and in massive amounts. We just cant get enough and we cant have things big enough. That is not something I can say I am proud of. I think it goes hand in hand with my waste of food. Oh, theres always more where that came from and oh who cares and yadda yadda. I always think their is more and I hardly think about the people who struggle...and NOT in Africa, shit in America! I think these are the subtleties that will change my behavior in the long run.

I am starting to really appreciate the European way of life. And of course, I will not say that this is every European country and alllll Americans are this or that. But being around my housemates just brings out the things that I do that I could possibly change. Things that I think I get from my larger culture. The first thing to be noticed is my wasteful habits. So I have already looked at my eating habits and my spending habits. Theres no telling what else I will learn to appreciate!

Thursday, February 12, 2009

Can't Freakin Sleep!

So, I cant sleep. I have been tossing and turning for the last 3 days. Yesterday night...I got in the bed at 3 and did not really sleep until 6. I just kept waking up and tossing and turning and getting caught in the damn sheets, then looking at the clock thinking...what is goin on here. I mean. Is it possible that my body is still rejecting the time here? Because 5 and 6 in the morning is like 12 in America and thats when I would usually go to bed. But not for the months before I left. I mean, its 2:40 in the morning and I could just as well be outside walking about. I can't sleep. I just cant sleep. It is driving me crazy.

Then, I decided I would read Young, Fabulous and Broke by Suze Orman and check out my financial ish and that just made me want to jump off a bridge. lol. I mean, Suze knows how to make you feel like crap and so does this economy. I need to exchange about 1000 dollars for living expenses, and I will get 700 back. So annoying. And thats just for today. Aint no telling what it will be like when I actually do it. Then when I get back home I have to pay for stuff like housing. And my car is broke. I am not feeling good at this moment. I cannot believe that I did not get that stupid freakin visa. Anyways. I am babblin right now because I am tired and broke and I just want my stuffed cow that I left at home...I knew I should have brought my stuff cow. I love Mr.Cow. Damnit.

Tuesday, February 10, 2009

A Long Convo with a Llyods TSB Advisor

I opened up a Bank Account in England. Because I am tired of the fees that FirstMerit hits me with. I got my card in the mail today so I called to talk to an advisor (what they call them) about activation and such.

So I get this young man...forget his name...maybe it was Craig or maybe Dave. I don't know. Anyways. He notices my accent and he asks where I am from and I say Ohio. He says cool. Blah Blah. He then asks why I am in Britain. I tell him for school. He asks me what I am studying. By the way, I am thinking to myself, "He sure is trying to have a conversation instead of talking about this debit card." But I am like whatever. For some reason people like Ohioan accents round these parts. Haha. Anyways. I am just going to break this down. So imagine us kinda talking over each other. And of course, I cant remember everything that was said. But this was the majority of it:

Advisor: Oh what are you studying?
Me: Well, I am taking a lot of classes. I have a major and two minors. You know what that is?
Advisor: Oh well, yes, the major part.
Me: I will get a major degree in Social Work. B.A.S.W and then two minor degrees. One in English and the other in Women's Studies.
Advisor: Oh...Women's Studies...what exactly is..umm..that about?
Me: Well, you knoowwwww. Gender Inequality, Sexism, Gender Roles, Discrimination, Racism, Oppression, all that good stuff.
Advisor: Ohhh! Well, I was about to say...I thought it would have been a bunch of woman sitting around talking about how much they hate men...
Me: Oh. HA. HA. no no. Not that at all. Theory and research and all that good stuff. And if that was so it would be Men's Studies. Riigghhhtt. Well, its about gender really. Ya know.
Advisor: Oh no, that would be just a bunch of men sitting around watching videos.
Me: Oh. Ha Ha.
Advisor: you dont burn your bras do you? ohh haha I'm just joking with you.
Me: Oh well hey, how do you know I don't burn my bra? Maybe I want to burn my bra. Yaaaa knoooww.
Advisor: Oh haha. Yea. Just joking.
Advisor: Oh yeaaa. Well, How are you liking Britain so far?
Me: Welllllll...the food isnt that great but youu knooww. No No. Just kidding. Everything is great.
Advisor: oohh haha haha. All Americans are mouthy huh?
Me: Well of course! haha
Advisor: Just joking. Just Joking. hahahahaha.

Then we actually got into my debit card business. Our conversation about what I am doing here was longer than the actual business I called about! But he was not about to just make those comments and move along.

Why is it that Women's Studies constantly has to defend itself? Even seriously or jokingly. And really, even when people laugh their way through their comments it doesn't make it any less of an insult. Because no one is like....ohh hahaha. Sociology you say..what is that about..just a bunch of sociologists sitting around and blah blah blah. Probably a bad example but whatever. Its incredibly annoying. Its condescending as well. I have to defend Women's Studies all the time. Its like I have an entire monologue ready for people questioning Women's Studies. When I tell people that I am a Women's Studies minor and that's what I plan on getting my Ph.D in, I commonly get..."oh, is that a bunch a woman sitting around talking about men." Yes, absolutely. Because when women get together, that is all we can talk about. That's our existence. MEN. That is all. No scholarly research. We give out degrees to women who can sit around in an academic setting and profess their hatred for men. Um...and most importantly, MEN can and are in Women's Studies programs. Give me a break. Really.

And the part about Americans being mouthy was just funny. If anything, HE was the mouthy one. 21 questions...sheesh. But I probably should have kept the "bad food" comment to myself...what can I say?! I am just me. It's rare that I don't say what I really want to say.

Sunday, February 8, 2009

Getting Work Done While in Another Country...

Seriously. I hate having to do work. Why? Why must I read and write? Just because I am in college! lol. Put no, really. It is so hard to concentrate on work to be done in class when you could be in another city or you could be meeting people from another country. I had a great time last night when I went out with some friends. I did no homework the entire day. Even right now...what am I doing. Not homework. Okay, so lets just talk about what I have to do.

I have to read The House of Mirth before Tuesday. Grr. I have to read some chapters in Film Art. I have to do some questions for Sex in the Eighteenth Century and I have to umm..shit. That aint a lot to do. haha. It feeeeellllsss like too much though. Really. Especially because I have to catch up on film art stuff. Maybe I feel pressured to get a start on some of these papers that will be do. Maybe I need to stop stressing myself out. I am okay...right. Right. Yea. For sure. I am okay. Um..I will be back later to talk about some pretty interesting things.

Friday, February 6, 2009

1:30am Saturday

For the first time, I think I am a tad sad. I guess, I just miss my friends and my way of life. But I also miss familiarity. I have always had a problem with that. I do not think that I am having a problem making friends. Although that was my first concern, it turns out I am a likeable gal. lol. I just feel a lil bit homesick but I dont like to use that word. Its too general. I mean, life is the same everywhere. You take care of your responsibilities, you find something you enjoy and you find love. Thats it. And that love is not just romantic love. I am talking about friendships mainly. Human bonds. I think thats the key to every single life. Its universal. So, I am trying to get into that groove. It's just hard. Because even though I have made some connections, I still find myself doing things alone. Either because I don't want to bother or because its something I think that others wont have interest in. Most importantly, what saddens me is that I am constantly being unproductive online. Right now I think that I am being productive, but when I am just on facebook, looking at peoples pages...that's a problem. I think that's a really big problem in our society. Our generation. Our production level is slowly decreasing. My desire to read books is becoming smaller and smaller. The Internet is instant gratification. You click and your on. I think that's why other generations may be calmer and more patient than us. I am not one of those...wait, yes I am...


Sorry. It is true. I think somethings being lost. Like even with email. I love writing letters to people. But who does that anymore? Everyone is me. Email me. The excuse is that email is quicker but so what. I mean, people lived without email for a long period of time. Are we too busy of a people to put some pen to paper? Do we need to spend every waking moment of our time to be up on the latest gossip and make money that we can live without, while ignoring the pleasures that are timeless. I am just saying. I hate to be a romantic. Really. But somethings missing. We're losing some things that I think should be cherished and preserved.

Wednesday, February 4, 2009

The Exchange Rate (Yadda Yadda)

So, I just feel the need to talk about the exchange rate. It drives me nuts but I knew what I was getting into before I got into it. The exchange rate was a little bit better when I first got here. So just to show you, I will demonstrate what I bought today and how much it really cost me. Because I am bored. lol. Anyways. I went shopping today. I needed some basic Mary Janes. Last week I went to A New Look and bought some cheap lil tiny heeled things that I wore once and they sucked and made my feet hurt and they did not look cute on my feet. So I decided that I would invest in a nice pair that would last me longer. And I am glad I did because the ones I got today are so cute! Anyways, off topic.

So. I got a pair of Black Mary Janes, some shoe shining stuff, a hair flower, 2 packs of tights (4 pair all together), a pair of socks, some earrings, the movies Fame, The Color Purple and Little Shop of Horror. It all cost 77.87 in pounds. The shoes were 52 and the rest of the stuff was 26 (Asda is so cheap!). So today I really paid $112.60. Thats 34.73 to the wind. I just think of just tossing it to the wind. Wallaaa. "Here's my money wind!." Plus I pay a 3% fee to even use my credit/debit card. The exchange rate is great now cause it was worse, but that's still a big difference! I put 200 pounds on my Asda shopping card for February's groceries and household needs. But it really cost me 289 dollars! And once again, the 3% charge I have for using my credit card abroad. The Wind is getting rich!
So when I shop, I have to make sure its stuff I will be using often here and stuff that I cant get at home. Also quality stuff. I find that if I try to buy super cheap stuff it either breaks or I buy a lot of it but when I invest in nice stuff I will buy less, it looks nicer, and it lasts longer. So that's what I have to keep in mind.
Okay and here is another pic of my shoes. I love them! Such cute detail. Tootles.

American Literature Class

So, I must admit that I have been slacking as far as this blog goes. I have 2 long entries and nothing else. I really could be talking about more of the experiences that I have been having at the University of Wolverhampton. Today, right now at least (because I may have another entry today) I will be talking about my experience in my American Literature Class.
So, the classes here at Wolverhampton are once a week. And the class can last from 2 hours to 4 hours I believe. Which just drives me absolutely insane. Have you sat in a 3 hour class? Gosh, its ridiculous no matter how enjoyable the subject matter. Anyways. Today I had American Literature from 9 to 11. I took this class to get a British perspective on American Literature but that's just ironic because I hate different perspectives. I just have to come out and say it. It's weird, but I find myself annoyed in this class. Really. And I think it's the American in me. Being an American is not all negative. But I do think theres a certain persona/personality that comes from being from the most powerful richest country in the world. You think you know everything and your opinion is gold. When really, it isn't. Mine isn't. I was humbled today. Even though I still believe what I said. I guess I should just tell ya then explain myself.
Today we read "The Gilded Six-Bits" by Zora Neale Hurston. We are in the African-American section of the class (which pisses me off but to the credit to this professor we do read Toni Morrison later in the class so Black literature isn't totally marginalized) and I love the Harlem Renaissance. It's my favorite period. If not for the Harlem Renaissance we wouldn't have the great authors we have today. To make a long story short I disagree with his interpretation of the short story. Period. I think it's too in depth and naive. If that makes any sense. I think its a simple love story with a lot of symbolism. A man and woman are in love and have a routine in their life (even if this routine seems sexist, we have to put the story in context) and its interrupted by Greed. Evil. But the professor believes that the relationship they have is like child and father and he treats her like a little girl and that its about debunking the stereotypes of Blacks at the time. I can see where he gets this from but I disagree. But why on earth do I have to proclaim this! Everyone does not need to know that I disagree and I don't need to correct him so he gets his interpretation in line with mine. Its ridiculous. I asked for the British interpretation of American Literature and I got it. I am not there to teach them and I am not there to be praised. It is as simple as that. But I complicate things with my ego.
It frustrates me. Because of course, I came home and I researched different analysis. Who am I kidding, I researched analysis's that supported my own interpretation and theres plenty of them. But Literature can be interpreted in so many different ways. I just felt so uncomfortable after I made it clear that I disagreed. It was definitely not disrespectful but it brought negative attention on myself. I need to quiet myself. Quiet my ego. No one can say what's what about any literature except the author. And I am not Zora Neale Hurston. And may she rest in peace.