Other things I’ve observed #2: Racism. What’s that?

Hello!!!

I am from the south of the U.S., so I am more than familiar with racism. Believe it or not I have had people tell me to die, guys tell me they want to date me but their families aren’t fond of them dating outside of their race, I’ve been stared at and mumbled about, and a number of other things and all because I am Black, whether you choose to believe it or not. I haven’t gotten any of those since I’ve been in London. Yes, I lived in the south for 22 years and I’ve only been in London for 4 weeks, but that’s enough time to get a feel of a place and I can ensure you that there is a lot less racism here than in the States, at least towards Black people.

I’m accustomed to having men of all races flirt with me, but not as openly as they do here. If a white guy flirted with me back home it’s likely to be privately or via social media, whereas a white guy here will stop me in the street surrounded by his friends to tell me how attractive he finds me. I get looks all day from men of all nationalities. It’s refreshing so refreshing to not be reminded of my race. I love being Black and I am proud of who and what I am, but that doesn’t mean I want to be constantly reminded of how I look. I’ve experienced so many looks and so much discrimination back home that it feels like I’m wearing a sign that says, “Hey. I’m different from you so feel free to act weird.” There’s none of that here.

I also see interracial couples and biracial children everywhere here. I’ve had people stare if I was out with a white guy at home, particularly older people. It’s no big deal in London and makes me feel like this is where I belong.

Cheers,
Karyn

 

Other things I’ve observed…#1 : Where are all of the Black hair products? Seriously…

Hello!!!

Although London is an amazing place filled with amazing people and amazing things, it is lacking something tremendously important to me: my hair products. I cannot begin to tell you how much shedding I experienced my first week here. Coconut oil is amazing, but it doesn’t solve every issue.
I have natural 3C, 4A hair. For those of you who are not familiar with hair textures, my hair is extremely curly and needs as much moisture as it can possibly absorb (which is a lot). Coconut oil and olive oil are my go to products when nothing else is near, but my holy grail products are Cantu leave-in and Eco-styler gel. I can’t seem to locate either of those or any edge control here. It’s been a long month!
I’ve asked multiple women where I would be able to find black hair products and I get the same response every time. They all give me directions to some place over the river and through the woods. It’s tragic! Thank God I have patience when it comes to my hair. I’ve had to turn to using Nourishing Coconut Milk conditioner as a leave-in and massaging coconut oil into my hair everynight. I massage oils into my hair a few times a week back home but I also have my go-to conditioner there, so I had to go the extra mile with coconut oil while in the UK.
My tip to anyone with curly, coily, or some other type of extremely textured hair: BRING YOUR OWN PRODUCTS WHEN COMING TO LONDON. I’ve watched so many British girls on YouTube who use the same products as me, but for some reason, I was not able to locate any while here. Actually, I did come across some ORS edge control when I was in a rougher part of town, but that’s unacceptable. I should not have to travel into the ghetto to seek hair products that are suitable for me! I need you to step it up London! There’s no reason for my hair to suffer when my classmates are able to simply pick up their shampoos and conditioners from our local Boots. Shame! Shame! Shame!
I’m so excited to get home and wash my hair and SOAK IT in my Cantu conditioner!!!!!!!!
Cheers,
Karyn

What I’ve observed about British Media #1

First things first, I’ve noticed the British are a lot more into paper copies of the news than Americans.

My favorite thing to read: Short List

I’m an entertainment and gossip news junky. Short List is the go-to magazine for events that are happening the night of the paper and the weekend. It is available on every corner on Thursdays. The most recent issue has The Maccabees on the front cover. They are also on the first page of the magazine, consuming most of the table of contents with an advertisement promoting their concert that was that night at 6:30. There is always something to do in London and this magazine helps me to always be aware of what’s happening.

I appreciate Short List because it’s like a newspaper converted into a more manageable form. There’s everything from the best pubs in town to feature stories to upcoming festivals and events. This magazine seems like it caters to men, but I haven’t seen one that appears to cater to women. I am interested in the festivals and news about pubs that are included so I enjoy reading the magazine although it has a masculine feel.

 

 

 

 

Cheers,
Karyn

Cultural Visits: Imperial War Museum

Hello!!!

The Imperia War Museum had exhibits ranging from fashion during the 1940’s to the Holocaust and the War in Afghanistan. My favorite exhibits were the War in Afghanistan 2014 and the A family in Wartime exhibit.
The War in Afghanistan 2014 exhibit took me into the daily life of a civilian during the war and the damages that were caused to their homes and communities. I also got to learn how journalists and the British Army were striving to improve the country in years to come. Most said it would get worse before it starts to improve, but they all have faith that a better Afghanistan is coming.

The A Family in Wartime exhibit was about the Allpress family and taught me how they coped with evacuation and rationing along with other difficulties during the war. There are also reconstructions of rooms from the 1940’s and a dollhouse size model of the Allpress’s home. There is a quiz section of this exhibit that is built into the walls. It’s pretty low to the ground so I assume it was created for children, but I participated anyway. It was filled with interesting facts like how there were no bananas imported into London during the war. There were also shortages on teas and other goodies, so things such as teabags were reused.

Below I’ve posted a few of the pictures that I took while exploring the museum. Enjoy!

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Cheers,
Karyn

MUST READ: Cultural Visit: The London Zoo: Lunch With Lemurs and Escaping the Creepy Guy Who Followed Me There…

Hello!!!

I finally got to go to the zoo!!!! I’ve been trying to go the entire month I’ve been here, but I’m usually exhausted after class and my weekends were spent doing cultural visits.
I was supposed to go with a classmate from the program, but he decided to get plastered like so many of the students do. I preordered my ticket, so it was either go alone or waste 25 pounds. I love going places alone, but there are a lot of creepers in London. I almost predicted what happened on my journey to the zoo.
So I get off the tube and as I’m walking along the sidewalk a bus zooms by and splashes me! I am completely soaked at this moment (and a little embarrassed), so I call my friend back home and tell them about it. I also noticed that a guy was walking at the same pace as me so I slowed down and watched him. He began slowing down as well and kept looking back at me. I was so freaked out at this point, but I really wanted to go to the zoo and I was on the phone with my friend in the middle of the day, so I wasn’t extremely alarmed.
We reached a crosswalk and the guy finally said hi to me. I said hi back and he took that as an invitation to have a conversation (Dear God help me). His name was Lenny and it was his day off work. He figured that we should have coffee since I wasn’t doing anything (I told him I was just walking about) and he had a free day. I declined….multiple times, but he clearly didn’t understand the meaning of that word.
He kept saying how he would do anything and that I was the most beautiful woman he’d ever seen, so I told him I have a boyfriend and that the friend I was on the phone with at the time was actually my boyfriend. He didn’t care.
I eventually got the chance to run away from him after being stuck at two crosswalks together (the longest moments of my life). I looked back and he was still talking to me. I was paranoid my entire time at the zoo. 
 
But that didn’t ruin my excitement to see the babies!!!!!
 

 

 

kangaroo!

 

Llama lunchtime!

 

There’s a hippo named Thug at the London Zoo! lol
This tiger was not impressed by the visitors.

 

Interesting. I’ve been more aware of products that use palm oil. I’ve completely given up Kit-Kat Bars and Maybelline Mascara along with a number of other products because they contain palm oil.

 

This gorilla was putting on a show, but he didn’t look very happy about it. It broke my heart and I left that exhibit.

 

Aquarium!
I found Nemo =)

 

This giraffe was in time out. All of his friends were outside. He looked very unhappy.

 

This was the entrance to the cave of nocturnal creatures. Pretty dramatic lol

 

Lunch with lemurs!!!

 

 

This lemur was bossy lol He kept swinging over my head as well.

 

They all fought over this corn. Clearly, this one won.

 

 

 

Fancy lemur.

 

Show off!

 

The kids kept calling this little buddy “King Lemur.” I thought it was hilarious. When He came out all of the other lemurs ran away from the food, so maybe he is king.

 


The zoo was one of my favorite adventures while here in London. All of the animals gave me a much needed energy boost and inspiration to continue my studies to become an animal rights lobbyist. 
 
 
 
 
 
Cheers,Karyn 
                                                  Follow me on Twitter for more frequent updates. 
 

Class Visits: Twickenham Stadium and the Thirsty Bear

Hello!!!

This is the last class visit and was one of my favorites because I got to visit Twickenham Stadium and something SUPER exciting happened to me while I was there.

The grass really is greener on the other side when it comes to this stadium.

The grass is mown daily weeks before the World Cup and it takes two men to go up and down the field twice each, which is about 7 miles per person. What a workout!

 


What I learned about Twickenham and English Rugby:

  • The English Rose is the symbol of the English rugby team.
  • The Rugby World Cup is the 3rd largest sporting event in the world.
  • Twickenham Stadium is the most famous rugby ground in the world.
On to the highlight of my week:
Prepare yourselves…
The most exciting thing that could possibly happen at an empty rugby stadium in England happened to me….
I sat in Prince Harry’s seat!!!!! And unknowingly….what luck!?!
=)
I took a picture of the seat number for proof!!!

Anywho, that made my entire week! I was very pleased with myself afterwards.

Other interesting things I discovered while at Twickenham: 

This ball looks like a bludger! (The balls from Quidditch)

 

Painting of the original players of the English rugby team. Notice how everyone’s uniform doesn’t match. Sometimes matches were random and unplanned.


locker room

 

locker room

 

fans who post pictures online during games get their pictures added to this wall!

We met with Robin Ray, a former British Studies Program student who decided to live in London after attending the program in 2008. She is now married to a Swedish man and is moving to Sweden. She’s just traveling everywhere!

She explained how she moved from Mississippi to London and discussed her career in digital marketing. Ray also encouraged us to monitor our friend’s list and who we are following on Twitter. Potential employers can see all of your online relationships, so it’s best to keep everything presentable. you should probably delete it if you are questioning it. I have happily deleted multiple people on Facebook since our meeting with her. It’s so refreshing!

Class Visits: South London Press and Schillings Law Firm

Hello!!!

My class visited South London Press and spoke with Beverly McCulloh about what it’s like to work in print for a smaller organization. We got the visit during the paper’s 150th-year anniversary, so I feel that the editor was a bit pumped and excited to give us a tour of the newsroom.

There is a staff of 12 in editorial plus freelancers and part-time staff. Walker mentioned that the paper is doing great on Twitter with around 20,000 followers, but the paper’s website is suffering tremendously because the owner of the paper is an older gentleman who is just catching on to the technological advancements of society.

This surprised me a lot. I often here the exact opposite for newspapers. Many of them say that all of their traffic is online and they have a hard time selling copies of the print edition of the news.

 

We headed over to Schillings Law Firm after a quick lunch break and spoke with Joell Rich and Charlotte Watson about media law principals. They are both specialists in reputation and privacy. More specifically, Rich specializes in revenge porn cases.
We spoke about likeliness, the royals, tabloids, and the differences between UK and US laws when it comes to satire and other topics related to possibly sabotaging one’s image. We were also offered tips and given guidelines to being responsible journalists.
Guidelines to responsible journalism
  1. Gravity- The more serious the charge, the more the public is misinformed and the individual is harmed if allegations aren’t true.
  2. Of public interest
  3. sources
  4. verification
  5. status
  6. urgency
  7. comment
  8. gist
  9. tone
  10. circumstance
Cheers,
Karyn

After Class in Oxford: Great Food and The Great Hall

Hello!!!

My teacher gave us time to wander around Oxford after visiting the Oxford University Press so, of course, my first thought was to head over to Christ Church to see the Great Hall from the Harry Potter series. I was running low on data so two classmates and I grabbed lunch and took the time to download makes so that we didn’t get lost. We ate at a place called Four Candles. It was pretty good…for British cooking. (I haven’t really enjoyed the food over here lol)

We wandered around for a bit and bought souvenirs after eating. Many of the Oxford University hoodies and t-shirts were over priced. so I only bought two of them.

The three of us headed over to Christ Church after my classmate Julie (the shopaholic) wrapped up her spending spree.

 

 

Standing on the same steps as Daniel Radcliffe! Cool!!!!

 

 

We also wanted to see the library from the Harry Potter series, but it was a guided tour and cost way more money than I wanted to spend, so my classmate Amanda and I wandered around Oxford a bit more and Julie decided to chill out in the grass at Christ Church.
I ended up eating lots of sweet: Mint chocolate chip gelato, carrot cake, mango iced tea, which was literally mango syrup and cold tap water (a.k.a. diabetes), the works.
We finally settled at a coffee shop and just talked until it was time to catch the train back to London.
It was a pretty neat trip.
Cheers,
Karyn

Class Visits: Oxford University Press

Hello!!!

Tuesday morning my class met bright and early at 8 o’clock in the courtyard to head to Oxford for the day. Thank God for the 40-minute train ride into the city because I needed to catch up on sleep.

The meeting at Oxford University Press only lasted about 20-30 minutes. We viewed a gallery of archives and antiques from the history of the press.

 

Printing Press!

 

Press slate.

 

Model of printing press at Oxford

 

Alphabet stamps.

What I learned while at Oxford University Press:

  • The first book printed in England was in 1476. The first book printed by Oxford was in 1478. Just two years later!
  • There are 6,000 copies of the dictionary made a year.
  • The press closed the print shop down in 1989 and turned to India for printing because it was cheaper. Oxford is now just a publisher.
  • It took over 50 years to create the first dictionary.
  • A word should be around 5-10-years-old before it goes into the dictionary.

I also spoke with our host about moving to England and where would e the most adorable places to live. She was really sweet and helpful.

Want to see what else I did during my trip to Oxford? (It involves Harry Potter!)

Cheers,
Karyn

The Phaaaaaaaaaa-tom of the Op-er-a is there…inside my mind!

Hello!!!

I just got in from a performance of The Phantom of The Opera at Her Majesty’s Theatre in Trafalgar Square, and I’m absolutely satisfied!

I’ve been trying to get tickets to a performance of this show for weeks. I had a bit of an obscured view and an annoying group of tourists sat in front of me, but the actors were skilled and talented. The Phantom’s voice was a bit flat at some points, but overall it was a fantastic performance.

The set and costumes were the most impressive part of the show. There were statues of demons attacking angels lining the stage and lots of fog and candles for the river scenes. My favorite scene was the Masquerade. The costumes were loud and spunky and it’s such a catchy song!

There was also an adorable guy sitting behind me who came to the show with who I believe is his grandfather. The man dropped his ice cream spoon and I told him I could get it as he reached to pick it up (late as usual…but I didn’t think he’d want my hands on his spoon) and he joked (I couldn’t hear him so I awkwardly ignored it). We then began pointing out how the people around us were rude because they continued taking pictures, although the usher yelled, “No photographs in the auditorium after the show has begun.” I felt a little sorry for her. People have no respect for each other.

The old man, the guy and I awkwardly made eye contact a few times after the show as we were shuffling out of the door with the crowd. (Maybe I’m just the one who’s awkward.) My friend Ashley and I took a detour, so we headed out a few people ahead of them.

As we were heading to the tube, we were almost hit by a bus and harassed by a begger…just the usual.

Now it’s super late and I have a big day of shopping at Portobello Market tomorrow! I’m off to lip sync to The Phantom of the Opera album until I fall asleep.

Cheers,
Karyn