Tuesday, 2 February 2016

A Hope Perspective



I have been back for eleven days and I still don't know how to answer the question 'how was Calais?'. It feels weird describing it as good considering the reason I was there. Yes I did have a nice time meeting new people and there was a strong sense of camaraderie. But at the end of the day it is a horrible and desperate situation. 

If I had to summarise what I saw and experienced in 'The Jungle' with one word it would be hope. Just a never-ceasing hope despite the dire situation. Everyday hundreds of people face perilous journeys in the hope of a better life for themselves and their families. Even after facing death and loss they still have hope. This hope is so evident in the camp. 

However is also hard to come away from this situation without being angry. It is hard to meet twelve year old boys who have lost their families and are living in a 2x2 shelter and not feel bad about how little your government is doing. The fact is that there are fellow humans living in these horrible conditions so close to our doorsteps and our politicians, the decision makers, do not care. I am angry and sad and disillusioned. 

Sunday, 31 January 2016

January Playlist

source
I spent a lot of January either travelling by train or alone in my house, I've listened to a lot of music.

Space Oddity - David Bowie
This Must be the Place (Naive Melody) -Kishi Bashi 
Death with Dignity - Sufjan Stevens
Easy - Commodores
Problem/Regulate - Hozier
Ooh Ahh (My Life be Like) - Grits ft tobyMac
Hurt - Johnny Cash
Wherever, Whenever - Mundy
Rocket Man - My Morning Jacket
Silk - Dustin Tebbutt ft Thelma Plum
Big Yellow Taxi - Joni Mitchell 
Can't Help Falling in Love - Elvis Presley 

Sunday, 3 January 2016

2016 \\ Reflections

This time last year I wrote a post about the changes I wanted to make in 2015. I like looking back at the things I've achieved over the year and also I have loads to look forward to in the upcoming year.

In 2015 I became myself, I'm still not 100% there but I am closer. I started to understand my place in the world and the way that I can impact the world in a positive way. I am just one person but that is not something that will hold me back. I have met so many passionate people this year, people who want to change the world and not for selfish reasons. I have grown deeper and more mature in my faith. I have friends that support and push me to grow closer to God and to be the person He says I am. My ideas for my future are changing and I am not sure what I definitely want to do but that's not important. I am studying things I am interested in and I love the town I study in. I travelled to new places and really went out of my comfort zone. I was stubborn and this negative trait helped me do incredible things. It was also a really hard year at times. My mental health was the worst it has been since I hit the bottom a few years ago. I am naive and worried about admitting I have mental health problems. But I know they aren't my fault and that so many people face the same battles that I do. It got so bad that I jeopardised my studies but I got around it whilst nearly driving myself into the ground. I analysed my relationships and realised that some people are toxic and that I have no responsibility to be there for them. Even if they are your mother.

In 2016 I turn twenty-one. I also start my third year of university and my grades will count towards my degree. 2016 is the year it all gets serious and I am scared but excited. Later this month I am going to Calais to help in a refugee camp. I understand that donating money may be more helpful but I want to go there to show them that they are loved and respected. I am visiting Rome with my best friend and getting to see all the important monuments I have studied over the past year. I move into a new house with someone who loves the same things as I do. I am going to write more, both here and poetry. I will sing more and not care if I am not in tune. I will continue to build on my relationship with God and let it shape me into a better woman. I am going to put effort into my relationships because I really do have amazing friends. I might finally become organised and stop procrastinating. I am going to focus on my mental health and recognise when it's bad again. I am going to admit I am not perfect and enjoy my imperfect life.




Saturday, 12 December 2015

Dressember



DRESSEMBER IS A COLLABORATIVE MOVEMENT

LEVERAGING FASHION AND CREATIVITY

TO RESTORE DIGNITY TO ALL WOMEN.



You may have seen my post about doing the Walk for Freedom with A21 the anti-human trafficking charity, this December I am supporting them once again. The idea of Dressember is that you commit to wearing a dress everyday of December, all thirty-one days. In doing so you raise awareness for women and girls who have been trafficked and don't have a choice in what they wear.

Believe me wearing a dress everyday is hard and there are times when I want to put on a nice comfy pair of jeans but I resisted that so far. For me the challenge will be wearing a dress on my upcoming days of hiking during the holidays, I will probably wear jeans. The idea is that you wear a dress even when it's inconvenient and you don't want to. This really is hard and I have a lot of respect for women. On cold and windy days, which in St Andrews there are many, wearing a dress is a horrible experience. When the wind blows your skirt up and everyone can see your knickers, you lose a little dignity. But that's why I am doing this challenge.

There are thousands of women all over the world who don't get to decide what they wear. Their dignity is not under their control. They are exploited for their femininity. We wear a dress to stand for the inherent dignity of women. 

You can follow along with Dressember at dressember.org and on instagram as @dressember. You can also follow the Just Love UK Dressember blog, a different member from groups all over the UK is posting each day about why they are doing Dressember. The posts so far have been really good and we've nearly reached our fundraising target!


I'll update this post as December comes to an end. Just two weeks in and my thoughts and views are already changing.


(picture is from @jennakutcher on instagram)

Thursday, 3 December 2015

Everyday Emily



Travelling
As mentioned in a previous post I spent a couple of days in Brussels and it was so nice to get away from university and explore a new city. On the back of that very short trip I came home and immediately booked flights to Rome! My degree is ancient history so I have just spent the past year learning about both the Roman Republic and the Roman Empire, it will be nice to see some of the places I've read and written about. I have been to Italy once before (Sorrento/Naples) and I loved every part of it. I am very excited to go with my best friend and spend our time eating pizza and gelato whilst surrounding myself in history. I am also going in March so it will be a nice time to relax before deadlines and exams! 




Being thankful
It's not surprising considering I am Scottish but I have never actively participated in a thanksgiving meal before, this all changed this year. We had chicken instead of turkey and it was more like a roast dinner but it was still a lovely evening. I was reminded of how many amazing and kind people I know, and how lucky I am to call them my friends! 



Mental Health
This isn't a very cheery thing to write but it's been a really huge part of my life recently. These past few weeks have been so difficult for me and I have finally worked up the strength to admit how I am feeling and get help. It can be hard to ask for help especially when mental illness is so often overlooked. However one counselling session later and I already feel better. It's definitely going to be difficult and it won't be perfect but I will feel better and I cant wait. 




Embracing life
Today was weird, but also incredible and exactly the reason I love St Andrews. My friend and I were stopped by an older gentleman on the street who asked us where the best place to get coffee was. We replied with a really great social initiative cafe and chatted to him on the street for another ten minutes. Fast forward two hours and two cafes. This random stranger asking about coffee is a professor at a really good university, started a charity and is designing a new college! A chance encounter on the street is now one of my favourite memories with my friend and I now have a really great contact for the future. This tiny town is my favourite place in the world. 

Saturday, 21 November 2015

This Is Empowerment || Krochet Kids Intl.


Lately I've been thinking about ways I can be more ethical in my purchases, Krochet Kids was a company that kept popping up on my radar so I took the plunge and bought a beanie. 

edited with Krochet Kids  x VSCO 

Krochet Kids Intl. is a non-profit company founded by three friends who wanted to create gifts that gave back by empowering the ladies who made the products. I am inspired by their vision and ethos towards giving and helping people. They focus on helping people in the now and allowing them to support themselves. Their website is filled with great graphics showing how this approach changes lives, the children of the ladies are eight times more likely to go to high school and the ladies are 25% more likely to have a say in important decisions. These changes are important and will only continue to increase. 


One of my favourite features of Krochet Kids is that every item is signed by the lady who made it. Rosmery Shupingahu thank you for making my beanie, I love it! You can actually go onto their website and leave a thank you message for whomever made you item which is such a lovely idea. 

I think it's so easy to forget that fellow people were involved in making our clothes. Especially when you think of cheap labour and sweat factories, you would much rather not think about those behind the clothes. BUT it is our responsibility as consumers to think about the horrors of cheap clothes and products, someone always loses and it is never those in charge. I've been trying to buy more ethically recently which is hard as a student living in an expensive town. However, after purchasing from Krochet Kids I'm looking for other companies that can be held accountable and help those making the products. 


I've already put the standard tee and the arizona on my Christmas list! If you're looking for stylish, cosy and responsible Christmas presents I wholeheartedly recommend Krochet Kids!!.



*I am not being paid or sponsored to write this post, I genuinely recommend this brand*

Brussels

I recently spent a couple of days in Brussels. I was mostly busy doing work things but I also got a chance to explore some of the beautiful city. Here are my photos;