Posted in Blog

New Years in Vienna

Now that I’ve finally finished my module and have a couple of weeks off, I can FINALLY write a post about my new year’s in Vienna!

We spent our stay at the Vienna Inn Apartments, which we found on booking.com. Unfortunately it wasn’t the best place we’ve ever stayed, however, the location was perfect and it was good enough to lay our heads down for a couple of nights.

I’ll start with NYE, which was our first day (we arrived on the night of 30th).

We woke up quite early so that we could see as much as we could. Vienna is such a beautiful city, with tall, magnificent buildings gazing down upon the pebbled streets and alleys. We took the tram into the city centre (it’s so easy to get around the city!) And travel is also really cheap.

Mozart himself!

We visited Mozarthaus Vienna (Mozart’s Apartment) (I had heard that it was quite small and on first glance you think that everybody was wrong, however many of the rooms were not actually part of his original apartment; for the purpose of the museum, many of the other apartments had been opened up to accommodate all of his possessions from other places he had lived, as well as all tourists who come to visit. He’s not one of my favourite composers, however you can’t deny how talented he was and it was incredibly interesting to read about how hard he worked to get where he was, leaving the security of his family to chase his goals because he truly believed in this talents, attaching himself to the right people (bit of a hustler LOL), whilst working incredibly hard at his craft to become the legendary prodigy he was and still is today.

The streets outside in the city decorated in lights, truly magical. It was during these celebrations I realised that for the first time in ages, I was smiling at people in the street. I felt so comfortable around these strangers, which is not a feeling I experience in the streets of London; London can be a fairly isolating city anyway, but it can be incredibly intimidating when you are a minority or “look different”.

After leaving Mozarthaus Vienna, we popped into this lovely coffee house called Café Hofburg, for coffee and pancakes. It was incredibly luxurious and I felt rather underdressed in my ripped jeans and doc martins!


Every year the city holds a massive street party that begins in the day and goes on into the early hours of the New Year’s Day. (They also hold a masquerade ball for New Year’s but unfortunately it’s so exclusive that the tickets were a little bit out of our price range!) The party includes stalls with food and drinks – including mulled wine (which was actually probably the best I’d EVER had!) – and live music. Around the city centre there were about three stages with bands playing. Another one was playing waltz music on a sound system and had a dance floor attached for people to join in some ballroom dancing (there’s nothing like hearing the Viennese Waltz in the streets of Vienna!).

After drinking too much mulled wine and still hours away from midnight, we realised that we were freezing and in need of shelter. We found a lovely restaurant called Café Rathaus, a welcoming restaurant with a 1940s décor and incredibly welcoming staff. The waiter who served us asked the chef to cook us a vegetarian meal of cheese toasties, fries and salad as there wasn’t any veggie options on the menu. We spent HOURS in here, staying warm, eating an incredible amount of food and getting even more drunk on red wine. So much fun!

We managed roll ourselves out of Café Rathaus just before midnight! At midnight, there was the traditional countdown followed by an insane fireworks display; I think we actually came into 2019 a little late because the announcer on the stage messed up the countdown and it fell out of sync with the fireworks setting off, so everybody in the crowd was like whaaaaat is going on? LOL. But we all had fun welcoming in the new year regardless. Again, I guess being drunk influenced this, but everybody was in merry spirits, happy to be around people, dancing with one another and greeting each other – even before the clock struck midnight. I’ve spent new year in the streets of London and again it is a very different experience.

We got back to the apartment incredibly late but as New Year’s Day was our last full day in Vienna, we didn’t want to waste it so even though we were hungover, we got up relatively early to make the most of the day. The problem was, although we wanted to do some last minute sightseeing, we needed to refuel first and unfortunately because of the holidays, many restaurants and cafes were closed. Which shouldn’t be surprising when you think about it, however many had forgotten to update their websites so were advertised as open on New Years day, only for us to rock up to a shut building. We eventually found a Vapiano’s which I’m pretty sure I’d heard lots about so suggested we eat in there, opting to choose it over the alternative option which was Maccy D’s. I will regret this decision for the rest of my life: Not only is the food awful; as this was our first visit to a Vapiano’s we had no idea how it worked and nobody explained it to us. You know how every time you rock up to a Nando’s they always ask if you’ve been before? Because if not they’ll explain the process of ordering food to you? Not at Vapiano’s. We were thrown this card and moved along, so we had to Google what to do with it and what to do from there. The perk is that after you’ve stood in a queue for 30+ minutes to order your food, if you’re having pasta they cook it for you there and then at the cooking stations, but this means that the wait is just even longer and you end up watching your dinner companions eating two pizzas in the time it takes just for you to get your one bowl of pasta. The pizzas are also freshly made and cooked to order and they use a similar device like many big chain restaurants in Central London where they give you a device to alert you when your table is ready, but in this case the device tells you when your pizza is ready. And boy is it cooked! So much so that the crust is inedible and the rest of it tastes like cardboard.

WORST… PIZZA… EVERRRRRRRRRRRRRR

There’s just no logic to the service; there is absolutely nothing on the tables so you have to search the building for stuff – no signs and no staff to point you in the right direction either. Needless to say, it was a stressful experience and we will NOT be going back!

Thankfully the rest of the places we went to for food were miiiiiiiles better! On our first night, we got into the city quite late and decided to pick up a pizza from a takeaway place on the way to our apartment, which was much yummier than the Vapiano’s version. The following morning, 31st, we found a great café for brunch. On our final night we found this amazing Japanese restaurant, Restaurant Kosu, for dinner, where the staff were so lovely and accommodating to my very limited German (I did manage to get by for a lot of the trip, but had to rely upon my German girlfriend to help me remember certain phrases). The food was incredible and the restaurant has a lovely ambience. Speaking of learning German, I actually used Duolingo in the months running up to the trip to learn (it’s a great app, you do a bit every day and it keeps track of what you’ve learnt and sets goals for you to achieve based upon you progress).

Dessert at Restaurant Kosu. YUM. Mocci (rice cakes) filled with dark chocolate


I did get a cold on the final day; although it is a beautiful city, it’s also a VERY cold one! I actually had to by a new winter hat on our first day there, because my one from home just wasn’t cutting it (probably didn’t help that I’d just had a buzz hair cut done, leaving the back of my head exposed to the winter winds, even through a woolly hat!) and was quite proud of myself for being able to communicate with the shop assistant, which is an improvement from my visit to Berlin a few years ago.

New hat! Unfortunately you can’t see my awesome new hair cut underneath

After our disastrous Vapiano’s brunch, we took a walk to the Mumok, a modern and contemporary art gallery with some incredible abstract pieces. One of my favourite exhibitions was Film and More, a history of Austrian film using the work of Kurt Kren and Ernst Schimidt jr. in contrast with each other to explore the language of film, which was actually one of my modules during the first year of my undergrad studies, so it was great to revisit that theme. My other fave was Photos/ Politics/ Austria, an exhibition taking you on a visual journey through the history of Austria using photography and mainstream media items. It was especially fascinating to see how history repeats itself around the world. Of course, the gift shop was a hit, however it’s quite awks to carry loads of stuff back home (London) with you when all you brought along was a carry-on bag 😦 so I opted for self-control over splurging.

Vienna, is by far one of my favourite cities. I was actually really sad to leave and not because I don’t like London (as much as it seems like I’ve been bashing it quite a bit in this post, I will probably grow old in London and draw my last breath on the tube in London (LOL), that’s how much of a “ride or die bitch” I am for this city. But, Vienna really did take my breath away.

Posted in Blog

“I’m Half Dutch and White, Hear My Tears”… URGH [We DO NOT Love Holland, Pt2]

My previous post on Amsterdam was quite a hit! Even with Lovers Canal! (Yes they read it LOL.) I’ve been in contact with them regarding my complaint. I’ve also had messages from many people of colour regarding their negative experiences while in Amsterdam. They’ve all had very similar experiences, therefore they have found my post not only interesting to read in that times have not moved on culturally and intersectionally, but also they also found it therapeutic to share the experience.

And then I received this on my facebook page:

I’m half Dutch and I completely disagree with what your saying. Your making assumptions on a whole nation from one experience, and personal this really offends me as I’m proud of my heritage. You are entitled to your opinion but maybe you should think a little bit more before you write such damaging words as your judging the majority on the minority group you have unfortunately had to deal with, which is awful and I’m sorry you went through that.

Ok first of all:

This girl is best friends of somebody I used to be friends with and she grew up in South-East London… NOT Holland but London, and she still lives in SE London therefore, she doesn’t know Holland or the culture. She knows LONDON.

Second of all:
YOU’RE not YOUR you dumb bitch. If you’re going to send me a message, check your grammar. There are more, but this one offends me the most.

She also clearly doesn’t know how to read, because I didn’t judge my experience on one experience. I lived there unlike you, you dumb bitch.

Third of all:

Proud of your “Dutch Heritage”

So you didn’t read the piece then did you, you dumb bitch, because that would make you a massive racist!

So you’re supposed to be an adult, who cannot spell and you’ve also confirmed everything I believed about the Dutch!

And here’s my final question… what was your goal, you bum?

What was your goal in telling a highly educated Black, disabled woman and her highly educated Transgender girlfriend, who were both subjected to SO MUCH harassment and witnessed SO much discrimination against their minority groups that they’ve been put off going back to that country, about your white feelings and your white tears?

That you haven’t lived in, but the highly educated Black woman has, just remind you LOL

Thank you and good night!

XOXO

Posted in Blog

When Will It End?

Sometimes, I don’t know who I am anymore.

Some days I wake up, work on MSc, do some blogging, etc etc. Yes, I’ve got it together!

T1bfikb

But then, some nights, my anxiety is through the roof and I cannot shut my brain off, while some days it’s completely silently dead and I cannot move, so I stay in bed all day – on days like today, where I slept my life away.

I’ve gained weight because I’m no longer as active as I used to be, and I’m not vocal about it bothering me, but it does bother me, especially when I used to be bulimic. I fantasise about making myself sick, but I can’t because I have to cling to to those stupid pills that stop the seizures. So I just watch the weight gain every morning in the mirror instead.

I’ve spent an entire week arguing with my employer, trying to arrange an afternoon to collect my belongings from my old desk. I have nothing that belongs to them, because when they escorted me from the premises like a criminal for standing up to racism and disability discrimination, I was instructed not to take anything with me, so they have everything of mine and I have nothing of their’s. With the dire state in which the education system is in, I had to buy my students stationery to use in my lessons, so I spent a fortune on supplies which I had to leave, and which have been sitting at my old desk since May. My employer have spent a week at first trying to convince me that I had already collected the supplies (I haven’t), and then refusing to set a date. This was supposed to be the job of my Union Representative, who was far too lazy to do his job. At four in the morning on Wednesday, I finally emailed him and told him to do his job, and now I’ll be going in on Monday to collect my things.

These people are sick. 

Oh, and my Union Representative also sent me a copy of the Settlement Agreement I was forced to sign, (legally binding me to keep schtum about the name of my employer, as well as stopping me from suing their asses) with a coffee stain on it. When I pointed this out to him, he apologised, claiming that he hadn’t noticed before he posted it to me.

The coffee stain to me, was a visual gesture of what these people think of me, of how poorly they value me as a person.

Which is fine, because I feel exactly the same.

However, I still have to live with the damage. I’ve now moved to an area in London where my two nearest tube stations have no step free access, so if I have to travel during my postictal state (post-seizure), I’m screwed. Last week, I went to The Pink Floyd Exhibition at The V&A Museum, (aaaaamazballs by the way. I cried at it’s celestial-ness!), however I had to change at Green Park station. For anybody who lives in London, and has regularly done the interchange at that station, or even encountered it a few times, you’ll know it’s a lengthy process. Even at my fittest, I’d avoid it just to save time! Last week it killed me. I had to do this journey postictal (the tickets were pre-booked and non-refundable) and I’m currently at my unfittest. It was worth it for the exhibition, however I massively paid for it, both mentally and physically for days afterwards.

I’m trying to get over the mental damage, however knowing that there may have been a different outcome if I had been white, is a bigger pill to swallow than any of my anti-depressants or AEDS.

Self-care is so important. Yesterday, while lying in bed and feeling rubbish about doing so instead of research for my latest assignment, I stumbled upon thread about self-care on Twitter. Such simple steps: 

  • Getting out of bed (always a good start!) 
  • Drinking water – it is so important to keep hydrated, not just when you have epilepsy and you’re on AEDs, but also when your mood is low
  • Doing something other than what you HAVE you do – so we’ve just moved, and I’ve been putting off unpacking for ages, because of my MSc. Yesterday I decided to just put some music on and unpack. A flat full of boxes is so unhealthy for your mental health anyway. It’s like living out of a suitcase but worse! 
  • Take a shower. So after all of that unpacking, I was pretty sweaty anyway. Again, I put some music on really loud, had the bathroom door open as I was home alone and took the longest shower I’d EVER taken. It was glorious! Back in the day, before I was ever in a relationship, I would go days in bed, without showering, never changing my underwear, festering in my darkest thoughts. Not good. If you’re too weak to stand, treat yourself to a bath – you fucking deserve it you beautiful biatch ❤️
  • Read a good book. The best thing about not being an English teacher anymore, is that I get to read whatever I want, because I’m no longer constrained to the curriculum! Glorious! At the moment I’m reading Assata Shakur’s autobiography “Assata: An Autobiography” which I highly recommend. One thing I’m also trying to do, is getting into a routine of reading in bed, in order to calm my brain down. 

Anyway, these are just my suggestions, mixed with some I’ve come across. Life is tough, but we can’t give up right? 

XOXO

Posted in Blog

#Radiohead #Manchester: For A Minute There, I Lost Myself….

On Tuesday 4th July I travelled to Manchester to see Radiohead play at Emirates Old Trafford Cricket Ground.

I travelled alone.


My partner isn’t a crazy enough fan to pay £72 to see them play live, plus the £87 for the return train ticket, plus the £36 for the hotel room, plus the £25 for the official tour t-shirt.


Lol.


To say that I was apprehensive would be an understatement; I was excited because Radiohead are probably my all time favourite band, I’ve only seen them play live once in 2008 and the experience left me feeling so high, my feet didn’t touch the ground again for days after. However, I couldn’t shake off the uneasiness… Speaking of which, I was sat next to the most restless traveller I have EVER come across! In fact, I blame her for my seizure because sitting next to her and watching her fidget so constantly stressed me out to the max!

I’m still having daily seizures; I can still barely walk; I’m finding it difficult to stand for long periods of time, and on the train to Manchester Piccadilly as I felt the aura consume me before the complex partial seizure came on, I understood how reckless I had been.

But the inevitable had happened now and I was in constant contact with my partner so somebody knew where I was if anything did happen.

“Are you well enough to go to the gig?”

I did feel a sense of relief when it happened.

I did also fear that it could happen again at any moment.

I was reminded of the unpredictability of my disability. When my partner asked me if I was well enough to carry on, my response was that I had to.

When I did get to Manchester, I did feel a sense of achievement.

I’d done it, all on my own, even with a frazzled mind! And I thought that the euphoria would carry on into the gig but unfortunately it didn’t.


The sound quality for a start was weak – in comparison to the warm up acts, this was surprising and disappointing.

The crowd wasn’t warm: metaphorically or physically. I’d actually moved into the crowd against my better judgement because it was so frickin’ cold (I’m a southerner!) but this left me constantly on edge that if I had a seizure I wouldn’t be safe. I don’t know how to explain it… I’ve been to gigs on my own before, and never felt so uneasy like this.


It was strange.


It wasn’t all doom and gloom – the visuals were incredible. They played “You and Whose Army?” where screens were consumed with only Thom’s eye, staring you down. That song has been my battle cry many a time.


And of course getting to see Thom move across the stage (I’m a sucker for his dancing!) was awesome! 

They also played “Pyramid Song”… a song I’ve sat and sang to myself in my room in my mother’s house, so many years ago….


This trip reminded me that I can be independent. 

This past year I’ve really lost myself and believed in so many lies that have been thrown at me. I’m also loving that my partner is finally getting to see the real me again – the woman he fell in love with so many months ago, before the bullies got into my head.


Even if it unfortunately wasn’t THE best gig I’ve ever been to, it was definitely great to take some time away for me, because for more than a minute I did lose myself but I’m slowly reclaiming myself back. 

 In the uber to the hotel, the driver was astounded that I’d travelled all the way from London on my own and I couldn’t wipe the proud grin off of my face. 

The hotel was amazeballs by the way, I highly recommend it! Oakfield Lodge Guest House