What Do You Think About Pink?

I am usually not a fan of pink clothes. It’s always seemed to girly and junior for me. But pink fashion is everywhere. On the trees and now even on me. It is so funny how a trend can make you look at something you thought you didn’t like. Then it’s been updated. Or reworked, styled differently and all of a sudden you are on the pink train pulling into pink station. I may have just defined a fashion victim. But all style should evolve and leave some leeway for interpretation. Or maybe I have spring fever.

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I started by saying I will abide a dusty pink. A muted rose. More taupe than pink. Then all of a sudden I am eyeing and lusting after hot and bubblegum pinks like a 5-year-old Disney princess.

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I love how this photo is blurry. Because life is blurry and so was my aversion to the color pink.

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Babe You Got This

Vienna does this magical thing every spring. It’s like you dropped a whole bunch of hallucinogenics and the sky turns blue. The grass is green again. Flowers start blooming.You litreally hear birds chirping like you are starring in your own Disney movie.  Coming from a country without real seasons. I can only compare spring in Vienna to maybe what was like seeing color TV was the first time.

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And you know you have survived another winter which is like a real life version of the game of thrones threat. It’s a weird transition. You filled with joy and outside becomes a pleasant thing again. But it’s like sudden bang. Then you don’t trust spring. Is it really here? You keep checking your weather app to see if tomorrow is really going to be 19 degrees. Can I wear sandals at 20 degrees?  What if it gets cold again?  Can I really trust this? Can i finally feel relaxed and breathe sunshine?

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Basically if you are a warm weather expat Winter in Vienna you are in survival mode. You start counting the months left to warmer weather like a retirement from the worst job ever. March is the hardest month for me. My vitamin D level must be dangerously anorexic. I feel like I have made it through the worst of the winter. My flight or fight response. Is to fight the winter like a very cold lion warrior. But come March I retreat to flight like a an anxious poodle with an excited bladder and anxiety issues. I surrender very non graciously usually in a hysterical puddle.

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But then Spring finally comes and I finally feel like myself again. I start to feel that connection to earth and nature. I want to hug strangers and dance naked.It is literally akin to what I imagine is bi polar. (undiagnosed) thank you! It is a really beautiful rebirth but its a very stark contrast.

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I havent looked this happy since September!!!!! I picked up this shirt at H&M on the super cheap last week. Babe you got this. To be interpreted as in an empowered “I have this on lockdown” or as in “Please pay for dinner lover”. Take your pick I am going with the empowered version! I am going to ride this magical dragon of spring. Renewal. Rebirth. Sunglasses & skirts.

In the infamous words of Robin Williams-

Spring is nature’s way of saying, ‘Let’s party!’

 

 

 

Confessions Of A Hypochondriac-Who Lives Overseas

Confessions of a hypochondriac who happens to live in a foreign country

So true story a few years ago I had been having the sorest throat imaginable. The kind where it hurts so much all you want to do is eat ice cream and curl up in a ball and sob for your mother. So after a few days of pain I head off to my fairly fluent English-speaking GP Doctor here in Vienna. She took one look at my throats and says very bad angina. Pronounced an- gee-na. I start to panic. What the fuck is in angeena? Is it fatal. I start searching my brain for a translation and come up with angina. As in an- gine-a. Kinda like vagina but drop the V and add a N.

I think ANGINA I think has vaguely something serious to do with my heart. What’s wrong with my heart it’s my throats that hurts? Is that a symptom of some bigger problem?

I ask her again what do I have? She tells me she doesn’t know the English word. She writes me a script for antibiotics and a sick note. Shakes my hands and dismisses me from her office.

I leave completely confused feeling out of control, alone and feverish. It wasn’t until I read my sick note and notice the word strepdocockal something did I realise I had strep throat.

Seeing a Dr at the best of times is a struggle for me. I am not the kinda hypochondriac who gets every test under the sun. And wants second opinions. I am more the avoidance type of hypochondriac that puts of  pap smears for years. Have managed somehow to not get blood drawn in 10 years. 

They call it white coat syndrome.

I have had a few health issues in the 5 years living in Vienna Austria. From basic sinus infections to hip bursitis. And it had been incredibly challenging to navigate a completely foreign health care system.

When I have something wrong with me medically. It helps my anxiety to be given all the information and feel like I understand it. I need a patient and understanding dr.

And TRUST me when I say Austrian dr’s are not known for their bedside manner.

The solution sometimes is to bring my partner to dr appointments. And while it’s incredibly helpful to have a translator. It’s also really un empowering. It makes me feel childish and dependant.

I had a friend who had to get her first mammogram here in Austria. Now a mammogram especially your first one can be completely harrowing. Even if you don’t suffer from any form of health anxiety. Maybe back home you would have your older sister go with you to the appointment. Or perhaps you have a lovely family doctor that you trust to walk you through something like that.

But being an expat you have to put your big girl pants on and fly solo .

Your thinking why don’t I just speak better German ? But when it comes to my health and perhaps a medical emergency where I don’t want t have to search for words. If I am already at the doctors or hospital or optometrist I am usually feel sick and scared.  I don’t want to leave my health down to  grammatically a margin of error.

Here are my biggest tips I have learnt on how to cope with accessing health care as an expat.

Try to find an English fluent dr. They all say English fluent. But look for a dr that has studied medicine abroad. Or a native speaking dr. (The only problem with this is most of these kind of dr’s seem to be the private kind) So consider getting private health insurance or paying out-of-pocket.

Find a fairly fluent pharmacist who can communicate with you on how to take any medicines. When. With food. Not food and any possible interactions.

Lean on your expat friends. They are all in the same boat. Some have been here longer. Know a good Orthopedic or a great gynecologist. They are your sisters from another mister. They are happy to support you.

If you do suffer from health anxiety be honest and upfront with your dr’s. Ich habe angst. Tell them they need to add a little more reassurance and understanding to your appointment.

And just be kind to yourself. And take pride you have the strength to live abroad. A lot of people couldn’t. Or wouldn’t. And here you are getting mammograms along with your schnitzel.

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woman.. whoa-man

I have been thinking a lot lately about feminism.

Debating in my head about what it means to be a woman who calls herself a feminist. To be honest I spent most of my life not really thinking or questioning this.

It wasn’t until I moved across the world. Lost a career. It wasnt until I was neck-deep in a new culture and a different family without the security blanket of a 9-5 did I ever really think about womanhood. It wasnt until I gladly traded in my old job for a new experience did i ever think about feminism.

I make a small amount of money working from home. But it is my partner  who makes the lions share. That provides the essentials like rent and food and shiny shoes. And things that cost money.

I have a very supportive partner. We both come from the school of love of “What’s mine is yours” But this relationship dynamic can be at times very unnerving. The play of power and identity. We both consider ourselves mostly nonconformist beings that somehow ended up living this very traditional gender conforming relationship.

I am the worst housewife ever. I hate cooking I let laundry pile up and have dust bunnies. If cleaning the fridge and being a housewife was my job I would have been fired a long time ago. It’s dull ,lonely , un-fulfilling and relaxing.

While I am not forced by a domineering controlling husband to stay at home. I am an expat in a foreign country. Stuck in a horrible job market with a set of skills that don’t seem to translate. I fold socks and it feels like a chore and never a job.

So here I am a poorer and uglier version of Betty Draper can I still dare  “Call myself a feminist?

But I do call myself a feminist. 

I want to feel independent. I want to be busy. I want to have some authority. While it’s not 1960 and woman’s rights have come a long way. I think – we think we are independent. We work. Pay our own bills. We make our own money. But often less money than men in the same position make. We as woman keep asserting ourselves and reaching.

But I believe the problem is now more subtle. Like a cancer. Its society, power, media, gender norms that seem to keep poisoning womans rights and highlighting and stereotyping women. What they should be. How they should act. etc

Being an expat in a very traditional catholic country I have seen with my own 2 eyes these outdated traditional gender roles being played out.

Woman in Austria are more mildly mannered. Men may cook now but it’s always the woman who seem to clean. Woman are way quieter. They act more feminine than I am used to. They don’t seem to yell or fart. Or scream or shout. They laugh quietly. Step more lightly. They eat & sip delicately. At first I mistook this as old-world manners until I looked further & recognised the men werent behaving like this.

I was raised by a strong woman. The grounded kind. She didn’t apologise or explain. She never wore heels and rarely used make up. Apart from maybe “don’t sit with your legs wide open” piece of advice. There was never another thing I can remember her telling me not to do for the reason I am a woman. 

Here in Austria in 2017. In a western world european capital city. I am constantly used to seeing shock on people’s faces. For just being nothing more than my ordinary self. And saying something to them unexpected.

I get a lot of “Did she just say that?” She swears a lot. That Carmel is crazy. She is loud. She is outlandish and forward and perhaps vulgar.

The faces looking back at me sometimes can make me feel bawdy & ill mannered. Uncultured and unsure of myself.

I sometimes think should I be quieter? Should I not live and eat and laugh and swear and yell with gusto just because I am a woman?

Whats with this whole woman need a little mystery thing? Maybe I should shut the door when I pee at home in front of my partner?  

Why do we have to fucking hide ourselves from men even the ones we love?

Why do woman now wax or shave their vagina’s bare. Not talk about tampons. Or menstruation. Why do we have to hide any sides of ourselves from anyone ? 

 I just want to be free to be me.

I guess that’s what feminism means to me. I want the same rights not only in the workplace but in everyday life.

I don’t want to be judged. I don’t want people to think I am a tomboy because I think poop stories are hilarious. I don’t want to be labelled loud. A bitch. I want to fish. I want to contour my cheekbones. Wear high heels. I want to go dress shopping and then camping.

I want to say whatever I want to say. As loud as a man. When ever I want to.

All I want is to be unapologetically me. So in honour of international women’s day just to be themselves freely. Unapologetically.  Nothing less than just themselves. I want all women to feel as free as a man on the subway with his legs wide open. And never feel bad about it.

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DIY Crystal Wire Ring

I love crystals. Not as much as diamonds but not far off. I even wear a crystal most days in my bra for extra energy and positivity. My favorite crystal is by far the quartz crystal.

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Quartz is a powerful stone. It is used for psychic protection because it counters black magic and protects from negative energy. Quartz is also very useful on the third eye chakra.

It is an excellent all-purpose crystal healer stone. It is said to amplify healing energy. I don’t know how much of this applies to me but wearing crystals even in my bra remind me to be positive and open to the goodness in the world.

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Some great hippie dippie tips on crystals.

When choosing a crystal. You must let the crystal choose you. What do you feel magnified to when choosing the stone? That’s the crystal often for you.

To cleanse a crystal I place it under luke warm water and leave in sunlight to dry a few hours.

Before wearing hold it in your hand or close to your heart and bless the crystal and imagine positive energy. Love. Whatever it is what you are needing.

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So  needless to say I have quite a few crystals lying around. So I decided to get crafty and make a wire wrapped ring. I watched a few tutorials online and then just decided to wing it.

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I used some thin jewelery wire and wrapped it around my index finger for ring size. I then proceeded to just twist the wire in any which way I kind of felt like. For the base of the ring I constructed a round flat circle by coiling the wire and used a superglue to hopefully hold the ring a little more securely in place. I then wrapped the wire as tightly as I could around the crystal and used a pair of everyday pliers to tuck away and knot the remaining wire.

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The results I think are beautiful. I wanted something organic, unpolisihed & raw looking. I just hope the crystal doesnt wriggle its way loose too soon.

Heres hoping for an abundance of crystal healing, positive good vibes.