Thursday, 11 June 2015

An Update from Asia

Phew. I am currently in Bangkok, Thailand. Since leaving Dublin on Sunday, I've been to Dubai and Hong Kong, before sweating our way here. I don't really want this to be a travel post, because it's not really fair to judge a place on a two day stay (is it ever fair to judge a place as a tourist? Hmm.) Instead, let's have a little catch up! I have a hotel room brewed Nescafe in my hand, and Avengers playing quietly in the background.

It is HOT. Dubai was around 40 degrees, which is by far the hottest temperature my pasty Celtic skin has ever felt. Hong Kong was only a little colder, and the sun here in Bangkok is relentless. It makes it very hard to do anything, and yesterday we spent a really lazy day walking around the Wat Saket Temple, swimming, and watching movies in our room. We are spending our third night at Mandarin Hotel tonight, and it's the fanciest lodgings I have ever had, all for the price of a UK Travelodge.

Celery, pineapple, carrot and lemon. Getting some vitamins.

spinach pizza
Spinach more like TWINach!!

I think all of the cities so far have fulfilled my expectations, with beautiful natural countryside and frantic, humid city centres. Though we are managing public transport quite nicely, (and constantly feeling spoiled to speak and read English) I'm glad we're not doing week-long stints in each place.

I email my dad every day. Growing up, I didn't leave the UK until I was a teenager on school trips. I suppose my parents held the belief that if you can't afford to travel securely, you don't travel. (That and my dad's fear of flying!) That collides head-on with the 'get up and leave it all behind' mantra that propels many of my favourite films. It's the gap year attitude, the budget on a shoestring, the hostel anecdotes. And as much as I do think travelling can be done on a budget, my own mindset and anxieties rely on knowing that a taxi can be taken from the airport when it's 1am. That I can be picky about the restaurants I eat at (I am finding this trip very not vegetarian friendly argghgh.) I suppose I've just been thinking a lot about how money talks, and how you have to be a certain type of person to tackle the haggling of taxi fares that's required here, to not be taken advantage of. Also, this isn't to say I am free to be frivolous with money, believe me when I say I have edited my CV and applied for jobs whilst here. There's also the pressure of what am I supposed to be getting out of this? whilst in a culture-shock place, because I don't ever buy anything when I travel. No souvenirs, no new clothes... so it leaves you feeling like you have to do the expensive tourist activities to see a place through the eyes it wants to be seen. My God, I can ramble when I'm jetlagged.
Finding Buddha
Clearly thinking about how he has to spend a WHOLE MONTH with me

Our meet ups have been lovely, and there will be a wonderful (hopefully) video on Sunday.

I'm currently reading Stoner by John Williams and I haven't made my way through too many pages because my eyes are always sleepy, but I really like it so far.

I'd love to hear your thoughts on any of this!


Wednesday, 3 June 2015

Thoughts from a 'Gilmore Girls' Obsessive

As many of you may know, I dedicated a year of my life to watching every single episode of Gilmore Girls, start to finish. The show, which I'd previously seen in disjointed order over the years, got me through countless essay deadlines, wedding planning, and lazy Friday nights. I've been meaning to curate some of my feels since finishing the show a couple of months ago. This will contain a few spoilers so tread carefully!

gilmore girls

1. There will always be someone out there who drinks more coffee than I do. The first ever line spoken in the show is Lorelai Gilmore begging Luke for more coffee. Way to establish your running themes, guys.

2. An OTP will find you in the end. Anyone who actually supports any of Rory Gilmore's relationships is someone to be very dubious of indeed. But, eventually, I realised that *spoiler* Lane and Zack's relationship was the main one I was invested in. They supported each other, accepted each other and dealt with whatever life threw them. And they were also carefree, creative types and I love that.

3. But if I had to choose... I always disliked Dean. He didn't respect Rory and her interests and later, his whole marriage plot and all its repercussions didn't sit right with me. As for Jess... he had issues and that relationship was both manipulative and abusive. Logan? When Logan drops that line about Rory not having to pay for anything because she lives with him, I noped so hard I rolled off my couch. HOWEVER. The glimpse we get into the life of 'adult' Jess and his hip bookstore is so positive. If Rory had to end up with one of the three, it would be Jess. All uncomplicated and prioritised and bookish.

4. Melissa McCarthy, forever and always. If you watch Gilmore Girls late, it's easy to forget the first season aired in 2000. YEARS before 'Bridesmaids' and the reign of Melissa McCarthy. But watch her throughout the seasons as Sookie and find someone with sharper comic timing or more charisma. I am so pleased with every new movie I see her face in. Sookie is the character I most relate to, believe it or not.

5. Watching interviews of Lauren Graham and Alexis Bledel is a disastrous idea. Because they are not the Gilmore girls. I once watched an interview in which they admit to having no idea what most of the references they speak in mean. Accepting them as real-life people is totally illusion shattering and just plain bad.

6. As is reading criticism of the show. Watching things critically is an excellent skill to have. But so many of the anti-GG articles on the internet are just over the top, craving views and provoking fans. The main one that gets under my skin is that Rory is too clean-cut, too mindlessly worshipped by the people of Stars Hollow, too perfect. I see that, to an extent, but I think anyone who has watched every single episode can plot her flaws and her imperfections. I think the shared history of Lorelai and Stars Hollow is given in just enough detail (without any dodgy flashbacks) and someone like me who grew up in a tiny town can appreciate that if a young, hardworking, caring mother turns up with a kid and no money, you as a community are going to become their family. The people of Stars Hollow adore Rory. But you know what? They also adore Lane. My favourite moment in the WHOLE show is when Rory is saying goodbye to Lane on Lane's porch, and they give each other the support they always have. One: white, career woman, college graduate. The other: Korean, a wife, a mother. Neither of their lifestyles is shown as the 'better' option. They're both flawed and perfect and anxious.

7. I want to meet Amy Sherman-Palladino. Amy created the show. She wrote, produced, directed and did so much more. When the last season rolled around, she made certain requests from their network and they refused to fulfil them, so she left. David S. Rosenthal replaced she and her husband Daniel for the last season. I want to meet her and thank her for such incredible television, but also find out what her vision for the last episode was. This is one of the main reasons fans want some sort of reunion to happen; we need to know how the true heart and mind of Gilmore Girls had planned.

8. Spot-the-cameo is a very rewarding game to play whilst watching Gilmore Girls. Community's Danny Pudi shows up in Yale's newsroom all fresh-faced later on in the show. Seth MacFarlane ruins a perfectly good episode in Season Two. Victoria Justice, Jane Lynch, Norman flipping Mailer... the list goes on.

9. I want to be Paris and Emily combined. The one liners those two came out with over the years. I think Paris is so underrated, and a solid representation of a college student. Remember when she cuts Logan down: 'You offer nothing to women or the world in general'. GOLD. As for Emily, what a brilliantly etched character. I once had to pause the show and cry with laughter because Emily said the following:
Richard: Only prostitutes have two glasses of wine at lunch!
Emily: Well then buy me a boa and drive me to Reno because I am open for business.

10. It never ends. No, not in a JK Rowling throwing a new plot twist in every 2 months way. But in a 'hear Carole King on the radio and tear up' kinda way. The entire cast (almost) and Amy are getting together THIS MONTH for a panel in Texas. LOOK. I honestly don't think there will be a time I can resist going back to this show. And don't be surprised if I name my kids after its characters. Seriously.


Recent: 'Watching The Entirety of 'Unbreakable Kimmy Schmidt' in a Day'

Monday, 1 June 2015

This Is Where I'm At | June

June used to be spent waiting, waiting. And though I remember doing absolutely nothing during childhood summers, and actually really enjoying going to school, the feeling of winding down and spending entire days watching movies with your newly-chilled teacher remains so nearby. And then June became a month of 'study leave', a time where I perfected the art of coffee breaks and played The Beatles' 'Don't Let Me Down' on repeat. During my last year of high school, my final exam was on May 22nd, and I flew to the USA on May 25th. I got away. One of my favourite places on the internet, Rookie, has an apt theme of 'Getaway' for this month. Editor Tavi Gevinson published her ever-inspiring monthly editor's letter today, and she talks about all sorts of inspiring things, mainly getting rid of suppressive people in your life.

I continue my getaway tradition this year, heading to SE Asia, Australia and New Zealand later this week.

Except, this year, summer is not a temporary break from education but it's the beginning of SOMETHING ELSE. I can feel my heart rate start to quicken so I'm going to reflect on May.

A month of votes. I voted for the first time in the place I live now in the General Election, and two weeks later waited anxiously as my dear neighbour Ireland voted in a Marriage Referendum. Waiting for results is something that perhaps doesn't end when you finish university.

I spent a huge majority of this month in a library, or hunched over a desk searching for a sentence, a page, something that I didn't bother to note down eight months ago. I felt exasperated at how the education system works, but blessed that I've always ended up on the 'right' side of it. I finished my dissertation and dedicated it to the thoughtful, original and creative. I aspire to be all of those things.

I took final study breaks to Brighton and Belfast's Heroes of Youth Awards. And at both, thought about how inspiring it is to be surrounded by inspiring people. People who exude kindness. People who are good at their jobs.

And my final class EVER rolled around and I tried to absorb every sight, smell and sentence, but as I was warned, it ended quietly and humbly, each person scuttling back to their respective corners of study. I have learned so much. But May has reminded me that I will never be content with having one thing. And maybe all my previous getaways were conversational ammo so that when I can't talk about what books I'm studying, I can talk about the places I've been. In May, I decided I still have so much (maybe too much) faith in the internet, and that I'll invest here for as long as you'll have me. I resolved to upload weekly videos. I fixed this blog and joined new communities because of it. I launched a Patreon because I believe creating is valuable, somehow.

I think the next few months will be difficult at times, and the temptation to getaway will always be there but the opportunity mightn't always be so available. I feel strangely nervous about this trip - I've never travelled so far for so long, and there's the little voice in my head that knows how much money I could earn if I knuckled down to a 9-5 job for the summer. Ew.

I usually like to wrap these up with some sort of conclusion, but I am all concluded out, friends. Writing and packaging a piece of writing in the exact way that the person reading it wants gets really draining. So let's just leave this one a little up in the air. June. The month of my mother, the strongest person I know.

Currently listening to awful, terrible country music that I won't even name. I saw Mad Max and Age of Adaline in May, both were bloody brilliant. Perfect for £3, 2 hour getaways.

Yours, tired


Recent: 'This Is Where I'm At | May'