Author: MissBehaving

♥ Coming to terms with the impending death of a grandparent ♥

After 21 years of being fortunate enough to not have had to deal with the death of anyone close to me, I have recently been told that my eldest grandfather may only have a couple of months left to live. Yep, this is a fun one…

So I am currently in the library attempting to study for my final exam next week and thought maybe writing down my feelings would help to ensure that when the time comes I am mentally prepared. Of course, I’ll be devasted but I suppose I am lucky to have a warning. Coincidentally, my master’s degree in Medical Law and Ethics has introduced me to the medical world and the concept of death. I was so reluctant to choose modules relating to the ‘end of life’ at the beginning of the year as I branded it ‘too depressing.’ However, I quickly changed my mind when I realised that this reason was ridiculous! The module was popular and controversial (just like me! Just kidding – I am not popular,) and I am delighted that I changed my mind and did a module called Ethics at the End of Life. Basically, it taught me to grow the f*** up and come to terms with the bleak reality that we’re all going to die. Or even worse, end up in a Persistent Vegetative State. That sounds really depressing (and word of advice: have a think about what YOU would want in such a situation and consider signing an Advance Directive, or at least tell your loved ones clearly,) but I do think the module gave me a more positive outlook on death, and whilst some of my modules made me decide I want to be healthier and try to live to 100, this one forced me to contemplate the harsh reality of life. People will die. People you love will die. YOU will die. AND THERE AIN’T NOTHIN’ YOU CAN DO ABOUT IT!

I did some coursework on ‘ageism’ in healthcare and whilst my initial reaction to the question of whether resources should be allocated using age cut-off points was in favour of such policies, my view rapidly changed as I thought more about the meaning of life. Who has got a right to tell you when your time is up? Who has got a right to tell you how to live, or not live? In reality, whilst I started eating vegetables with the intention of living until 100, my grandparents seem to have rather different perspectives. They claim to have done all they have wanted to do, and seen everywhere they have wanted to see. I have no doubts that in my grandfather’s lifetime he has seen it all – he was a doctor in the British army, has lived, worked and travelled all over the world, and lived long enough to know all of his grandchildren when they are old and mature enough to really get to know him and spend time with him. He’s even stuck around long enough for the birth of his first great-grandchild! All whilst having Type 1 diabetes since his 40s.

I’m sure most people out there have been through a similar loss (or losses) before so maybe this is deserving of an eye-roll. Poor me! 21 and has all grandparents and has never experienced a huge loss! I admire everyone who has been through such things and managed gracefully. This is me trying! Though when the day comes I really have no idea if I will be mentally prepared or glugging a mixture of wine, snot and tears… I think with a touch of spirituality, an ounce of weed* and as much time as possible spent with my grandparents I should be able to make it through this with a grateful smile, a stronger family and ideally…. a training contract?

 

*Don’t smoke weed kids. Comedic effect.

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Random story: The One With The Tattoo Hiding

Right, so if you’re ever reading this Mum or Dad… stop. Stop reading! Go and do something else. Please?

So I’m going to have to disclose that I have a (small) tattoo of a treble clef on my bum to tell this story. I got a matching one to my sister, not just because we’re massively into music but also because the symbol is made up of the first letters of my brother, sister and my names. I can’t exactly show you as that is too much effort, but trust me on that one. Anyway, the parents know now but think I got it after my first year of university. So when this story is set I was under 18 and basically would have been in a LOT of trouble. Anyway – tattoo, cameras, parents, trapped on a boat… buckle your seatbelts.

So we were on a family trip on a Mediterranean cruise (yes, I’m aware that I have an amazing and blessed life.) Each evening there was some form (if not forms) of entertainment going on (sidenote: go on a cruise – they’re amazing.) So one night my sister and I were going to go to the ‘Adult Game Show’ whilst my parents went to watch a pianist elsewhere, but before heading there we broke out into a huge argument over some major betrayal (not really – it was over hair straighteners.) (I need to stop with the brackets.) Anyway, I stormed off to the game show like a strong independent black woman that don’t need no man. As I waited for the show to start in a sea of strangers, I spotted my sister on the opposite side of the stadium-style hall. I don’t think she was close enough to see my evil glare, but I was hoping she’d feel it. Good old teenage angst. The show began.

The presenter walked out onto the stage with the camera crew, announcing that the game show would be filmed to screen and made available to buy on DVD (probably for mad amounts of money, can I use this as an excuse to complain about capitalism? Not really, but why not. Always complain about capitalism.) Anyway, he said that the audience would be split into five sections, and a male and female team captain would be needed to act for each team. He began by asking the section to my left. Then, he moved on to my section. WHY THE FUCK NOT. I ran down the steps (did I mention the stadium-like style thing?) and climbed over the barrier onto the stage. “MEEEEEEEEE!” shouted 16 year old me. I wasn’t even meant to be there at this Adult game show. Whoops #fuckthesystem. As he moved round the sections, my evil sister (jk) witnessed my badassness from across the room. What did she do? DECIDE TO TAKE THIS FIGHT OUT ON THE STAGE. It was on.

So basically (this is where I’m going to struggle) the game involved different things being read out by the hot presenter (Abel mi Belle,) which then each section/team had to produce and take to the back of the stage to the presenter and cameras. Some examples include… three men in bras and lipgloss, or a woman wearing green that can do the splits, etc. The team that got there the fastest would get 5 points, the second would get 4 points, the third would get 3, and so on. Does that explain it well enough? Because the male and female team captains of each team were on the stage already, it was obviously faster if one of us could do it as we would get there faster. And this was war.

‘A FEMALE WITH A TATTOO BELOW THE WAIST!’ Abel mi Belle announced. We legged it. We hitched up our nice dresses. We showed Abel mi Belle and the camera our tattoos/bums. I’m not sure which of us got there first or if we got there at the same time, but we beat the others. Anyway, we didn’t really think much of it, to be honest. We carried on the game and it was hilariously fun. I think my section got 3rd place and I got a bronze medal (but I still beat my sister!)

By this point, straighteners had been long forgotten and my sister and I proceeded to go for a sober dance at the pool party on that night. I actually remember the strange sensation of being aware that people looking at me as we wandered round. Then a few people started to approach us. ‘You’re the sisters with the matching tattoos!’ a Spanish lady exclaimed. Over that night, people kept smiling, waving, asking to see our tattoos again and a couple asked for photos with us… -.-

It kind of puts a downer on your 15(5) minutes of fame to have to worry about people recognising you when you’re with your family. And how to explain any incidents?! The next day was a sea day (meaning the boat was not stopping anywhere that day) meaning we had a full day trapped on a boat with my parents and the possibility of people coming up to us ‘matching-tattoo-rival-competitor-sisters.’ To make matters worse, the game show was being shown on the TV on a loop ALL DAY. We had to distract them from TVs, hide remote controls, and prevent my dad from buying the DVD when a waving ‘fan’ cause us to confess that we acted as team captains. We managed, though! Now maybe one day they’ll read this… fingers crossed they don’t! If you do… it’s a joke.

‘A CHRISTMAS JOKE!’ https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=KJ38jTQcO1k

 

 

Random story: The One Where I Fell Into A Lake

It was a beautiful summer’s day in London. The sun was shining, the cider was flowing, the water in Regent’s Park lake was glistening. Birds were singing, people were dancing. Literally, people were dancing for some salsa session under a beautiful marque. Am I setting the scene well enough yet? Basically, imagine a perfect post-exam day in the south of France (not England.) With lots of colourful flowers everywhere. To top things off, I was hangover free on this spectacular Saturday afternoon! A group of us strolled down the grass to sit by the riverbank, as you would when you’re on pretend holiday in the south of France. As we relaxed in the hazy heavenly warmth, a pedalo in the distance caught my (mildly intoxicated) eyes. To my surprise, it came closer and closer towards us and the steep river bank, clearly not intended for docking purposes. ‘We’re trying to get people on our boat and no one has done it!’ exclaimed one of the men dressed as a sailor. The two sailors had fancy glass champagne glasses in their hands, a champagne bottle and two empty seats behind them. Without missing a beat my sister’s boyfriend jumped up and leapt onboard. For a few seconds, time stood still. My heart leapt. ‘I will regret not getting on this boat for the rest of my life,’ I thought to myself, with more profoundness than I’d ever experienced at any other point in my 21 years. Just when you’d think I’d used up my wisdom-ration for the year, I even passed my phone to my friend. I stood up. I stepped forward. I fell.

So there I am, on this beautiful summer’s day, in Regents Park lake past my waist, scrambling onto the back of the boat which had moved about a metre whilst I had been… faffing, frankly. The many, many people on the grass looked on. I managed to get onto the boat, minus a shoe. You would think that this is a story I look back on and cringe with embarrassment… but you would be wrong. Very, very wrong. In fact, I think it might have been one of the best days of my entire life. Not only did the sun dry the clean, clear water from my clothes and ends of my hair (just kidding – the water was gross but I made it out infection free,) but the sailors pulled out two more glasses out of their rucksack and kept refilling them with champagne as if I was an elegant queen, not some shameless student alcoholic that had just fallen into a lake to try and get free alcohol. We had a wonderful half an hour or so, swapping seats to help peddle, knocking into young teens on romantic dates, laughing, drinking, baking in the gentle heat…

When it came to the end of our fairytale adventure, we returned to our starting place… The Place Where I Fell Into The Lake. My sister’s boyfriend hopped off and I followed. The two sailors decided to also hop off and abandon their boat, as cool free spirits that get dressed up as sailors and get a pedalo with champagne and glasses and strangers would do. As one of them stepped off the boat and onto the bank, the boat moved backwards slightly and… SPLASH. The lucky audience got to witness our second fall into the lake. He was sort of hanging onto the bank with his arms, with his legs on the boat, with his torso forming a bridge over the water. At this point, I really should have asked him to find my shoe. We had a good laugh and a group photo so we could all document that day. Not that I’ll ever forget! 10/10 – would do again. Also, walking home with no shoes on in London was surprisingly absolutely fine. Only a few funny looks from small children…

WINNING! KCL TO DIVEST FROM FOSSIL FUEL INDUSTRY!

YAAAAAYYYY!!!!

Okay. So I’m a week later than I wanted to be with this post… but the satisfaction still hasn’t died down!

After a couple of months of protesting weekly in creative ways to put pressure on King’s to divest from the fossil fuel industry… we have won! After decorating the campus, going on fasts, spraying walls with chalk-based paint… King’s College Climate Emergency (KCCE) have succeeded! We staged an occupation last Tuesday (I’m glad I got to do one before my student life is over) until we had a meeting with the Vice Principle to put the agreement into writing and go over our demands…

KCL, KCCE and KCLSU have agreed upon the following points, subject to confirmation by the College Council:

1. King’s College London students continue to demonstrate their commitment to creating a better world.

2. We are agreed that divestment is just one aspect of dealing with the imperative urgently to reduce greenhouse gas emissions.

3. We will pump-prime new research to underpin this ‘carbon free’ delivery.

4. We agree that King’s College London will have divested from all fossil fuels by the end of the year 2022

5. King’s will be ‘carbon free’ by 2025, but this is dependent upon having options without significant financial impact.

6. King’s will increase its commitment to investments with socially responsible benefits from the present aim of 15% to an aspiration of at least 40% by 2025.

7. Regular progress towards delivering these targets will be made, including a formal annual report on progress.

So… I know this will not bring climate change to a halt (which would be ideal) but it is one small win, and similar action at LSE and UCL has already escalated this week. Campaigns for this cause have been going on for years without concrete results, and I consider myself to be blessed to be in the right place at the right time to play a part in staying on the right side of history. (Which, ironically, is probably by being pretty left…) The campaign would not have been successful without the incredible dedication of Roger Hallam, a KCL PHD student putting his ‘political activism’ degree to good use. He went on hunger strike for 14 days (FOURTEEN DAYS!,) took control of planning and press releases and made dealing with KCL staff a pleasure simply by having been a nice, friendly person to them in his time at the uni.

So, I have learnt several things from my experience. At first, I was extremely reluctant to engage in any ‘civil disobedience,’ however as the cause gained momentum I wanted to show solidarity to the other, more determined and braver protesters. Whilst I avoided painting on walls, I set off several smoke bombs and volunteered with two others to deal with security at the occupation (fortunately and surprisingly, they came in being lovely and asking us if we needed anything!) Learning about the law in my degree has taught me to steer clear of any risk of being on the wrong side of it… but now I question whether this is always the best approach when an injustice can be prevented. Speaking up is sometimes the only solution, and taking part in something bigger than yourself is truly touching. Being surrounded by like-minded people determined to contribute to making the world a better place has undoubtedly encouraged me to continue bettering myself by campaigning, volunteering, doing charity work and partaking in any other ways that I can spread the love! Not only have I met people with whom I hope to keep in touch with for a long time and made memories to last a lifetime, but I have learnt that in life you probably will be surrounded by many (if not most) people who don’t believe in you, or what you believe in, or have any faith that significant changes can be made with some chalk, flowers and cardboard signs. They can! Stay woke xxx

Oh yeah, and I made it into The Tab before my student days are over. Occupation… check! Tab mention… check! Challenging the establishment… check! Saving the world…….okay, still a long way to go with that one.

http://thetab.com/uk/kings/2017/03/08/kcce-taken-old-conference-room-24-hours-12512

Sidenote: The occupation took place in The Old Committee Room at the Strand campus… which felt like we’d stepped straight into Dumbledore’s office. It was probably the poshest room I’ve slept in (curled up on the floor in the corner!) The room is covered in photos of old King’s headteachers. We played ‘Find the Brown Person’ and all lost.

King’s College: Don’t be a fossil FOOL! DIVEST NOW!

I am angry and determined. I’m a ‘snowflake’ and ‘naive.’ There is a lot to be proactive about right now and whilst we may not be able to do much about Trump the C***’s presidency, we are in one of the best cities in the world to stand up for what is right. But I’m going to try (TRY) and focus on one issue here. It’s an issue that as a student, paying £9000 a year or more, we ought to be speaking up about!

So I just googled (ecosia-ed, actually) King’s sustainability and environmental policies and… they do exist. King’s CLAIMS to recognise ‘it has a responsibility towards being sustainable and protecting the environment.’ Funnily enough, sustainability week starts very soon! Yet for some reason, King’s still invests into an industry which, as we should all be aware, is DESTROYING OUR PLANET! For 30 years, the university has been investing student fees into the oil and gas corporations. Freedom of Information request made in 2013 revealed that the university invested over £8 million in fossil fuel companies (including Shell, Exxon Mobil, Rio Tinto, Centrica, Petro China, and China Petroleum.)

Why? Why is one of the top universities in the UK, if not world, still turning a blind eye to the severity of the situation? Why is action not being taken as fast as possible?  Why are others still failing to follow in the footsteps of Glasgow and SOAS (University of London)? Now, many in the UK have announced divestment plans. However, King’s only agreed to ‘phased divestment’ several months ago and progress seems extremely slow despite a recent survey showing that 96% of King’s students, support divestment from ALL fossil fuels NOW. I suppose we shouldn’t be that surprised that these colonial institutions are more concerned with profit than ethical responsibilities. Hell, even governments are not prioritising such issues. But surely, with levels of pollution being at the highest and most dangerous level yet and with three-quarters of the arctic now melted… you would think (or at least I would think,) that such well-educated bright young minds would be eager to do what they can to encourage sustainability and put pressure on our university to meet its ethical responsibilities.

King’s College Climate Change Emergency is a group set up to achieve just this, and I was proud to attend today’s rally, calling for direct action, at the Strand campus. Whilst campaigners have tried a variety of conventional channels over the years, such as peaceful protests, King’s are still failing to act fast despite the importance of such action for the planet, students and the reputation of the institution. Some activists sprayed removable statements such as ‘Divest now’ on walls of the uni in washable, tried-and-tested chalk-based paint. Foreseeably, some students disagree with this action despite the protesters turning up with an enormous bag of cleaning products. They also happily began to wash the walls and were stopped by King’s staff.

Now, I can try to understand the frustration of some. I attended SOAS, one of the most politically active universities in the UK (and the first in London to announce plans to fully divest from fossil fuels in April 2015.) There, students are vocal and active about causes they are passionate about, usually whether they see themselves as being directly affected or not. Sometimes, some students do take things too far when engaging in serious vandalism and disruption of other students and their work. However, this was rare and ultimately it was a blessing to be surrounded by active, compassionate individuals who dared to act to make the world a better place. Generally, the student body are willing to take whatever non-violent direct action necessary to ensure the institution lives up to its promises and responsibilities. Here is a snippet of the 2015 statement: ‘In June 2014, SOAS agreed to freeze all new investments in fossil fuels, while the question of divestment was investigated. Oil and gas equities currently stand at £1.5 million. In order to implement the divestment plan, an ethical investment criterion will be added to SOAS’ Ethical Investment Policy and the School’s Gift Acceptance Form and due diligence procedure for philanthropic gifts will be amended. The School will also continue to comprehensively collect data across SOAS to establish its carbon footprint.’ Professor Paul Webley, Director of SOAS at the time, said: “SOAS is proud to become the first university in London to divest and we hope more universities will follow suit. Divestment from fossil fuels will enable SOAS to fulfil its responsibilities as an ethical investor, while continuing to ensure that the School’s investments deliver a financial return. This is in line with SOAS’ commitment to environmental sustainability and an important part of the transition towards renewable energy, which SOAS takes very seriously as an institution. As the harmful social and environmental impacts of climate change becoming increasingly clear, these initiatives ensure that SOAS is doing all it can to show leadership on this issue.”

For environmentally-aware students across the globe who do not believe that climate change is all one big ‘hoax’… PLEASE do what you can to encourage your university to divest. The issue is an urgent one. With Brexit, Trump, and climate chaos, the peaceful prosperous future we all want is seriously threatened. We need to start fighting NOW! We may disagree about how to best achieve this goal, but let’s focus on being proactive and showing these institutions that we will not allow them to act like corporate monsters if we can help it. These are our institutions, and we should be able to be proud of studying at them.

Don’t stop believin’

After a three year relationship with my high school sweetheart, it took me well over a year to have had spent enough time in my own wonderful company and be fully ready to be emotionally available to any male, no matter how beautiful inside or out! I was thrown into the single girl world of tinder and weird guys at bars only to realise that to find your prince you have to wade through many many frogs… that or I am just really fussy. I am still not at all sure which. Regardless, I had my best first date today and think it’s one worthy of a permanent record! And I didn’t swipe on him on tinder, I clicked with him in REAL LIFE!! So old school 😉 Let’s hope my prince doesn’t revert back into a frog (LIKE THEY ALL DO!)

Brexit? No, you BrexTITS! BREMAIN!

In the past few weeks, I have had too many drunken rants and sobs over the current EU debate that is taking over the UK like the immigrants, chaotically running across our borders because it’s the best country in the world and they are selfish animals. For the sake of this article, I am going to refer to these monstrous, hateful, too-hardworking people as ‘expats,’ just for giggles. Because we all know that they are not expats, they are immigrants, and only true English citizens are awarded the honour of the term ‘expats.’ As if Brits could be immigrants. Madness.

I should probably stop with the sarcasm before all of the Brextits think that they have another one on their side! Not that they’d fully embrace me anyway, with my brown skin and all. I am British though, so some of them may accept me because we all know that to be accepted and (those that are capable of it) loved as an equal human being, you need a beating heart and a British passport.

God save our Queen? That’s all fine and well, but please God, save our moral standing too. I may have a British passport and I am very grateful for that blessing in a world filled with Trump-supporters and hatred. I still feel like an immigrant moving back after 15 years! I was an immigrant in Spain too, with my immigrant British friends, all living in the sun and eating tapas and celebrating the opening of a Waitrose as we practiced our Spanish. I didn’t see all the lovely Spanish people glare at me with hate, or put up signs encouraging hostility, or calling for change for fear that I will steal their jobs with my dirty, foreign hands. Oh, sorry, ‘expats’ as my British friends called themselves.

Looking back, I am appalled at the ignorance and hostility that underlines the Brexit arguments. People, and even some relatives close to me, turn their noses up at these expats (the bad kind, not the good kind) that have done nothing but try and make a better life for themselves. And who can blame them? We have the internet. We have planes. We are living in a globalized, international society which to some, exists only for the economic benefits it brings to them and disappears when it means that Sergio got chosen for that gardening job over our cousin, because he was willing to work later and spoke better English, init. ‘THEY TUK ARE YOBS’ we will yell in protest when our cousin can’t get smashed because Sergio stole his beer money to feed his family. Selfish bastard.

Guys, if you are one of these people swayed by these arguments that immigrants are having a negative impact on this country, I highly advise you turn on the TV and watch Benidorm, or Sun, Sex and Suspicious Parents, or any one of those shows that show Brits enjoying themselves abroad (there are many.) Please get a 40 minute glimpse at what British people abroad are like and realise that that behaviour is not confined to that 40 minute show, or even the whole series, not even the Costa del Sol, but to Brits living overseas EVERYWHERE. You know the stereotypical red-skinned, beer-in-hand, suns-out-belly-out image you conjure up in your head out of nothingness? That image is not out of nowhere. It’s way too real. So many brits that live abroad do live like that, and maybe it’s because they can hide behind their British passports (oh wait, no they can’t, they’re slightly too drunk and fat) but for some reason far too many make no effort to learn the foreign language and expect to be spoken to in English! Maybe it’s because the foreign language is just that… foreign. Good thing they are too drunk on cheap foreign alcohol to realise that there, they are also foreign. So yes, turn on the TV (or make a quick trip to Barcelona whilst it’s still this easy) and then go and have a chat with Sergio down the road and you will soon realise that you’d rather have more in common with these immigrants than those expats.

Or maybe the term ‘expats’ is used for Brits because they too face hostility from crazed nationalists still living in the past set on our little island being a superpower, and they have disgraced our nation and no longer deserve the privilege of being in our little xenophobic community. Expats, like an ex-boyfriend or an ex-employee. ‘YOU DON’T EVEN GO HERE!’ Maybe, who knows at this point. If people keep behaving like this, they probably will tackle the overpopulation issue as they will simultaneously be stopping people from migrating whilst also disgusting non-racist, well-educated people and forcing them to flee. ‘More money for the few please, that’s all that matters. What are those migrants doing on that boat? They better get off it so I can sell it! No EU safety regulations either please, what about our profit?!’ Maybe it’s actually a really clever, well-thought out plan! Shame there won’t be enough doctors to save them when they run out of people to hate on and start attacking each other, or when they have a heart attack because they allow their food industry to get into the state America’s is in. Maybe they are right. Maybe we should build a Trumpesque-style wall around our island, though we might as well hire Sergio to do it because that’s effort.