Home is where the Birmingham is.

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I will always love my home town. Now I am in England I  am lucky enough to go back regularly. More than I should when trying to build something in a new city alone. Birmingham is where my heart is. I will defend it to the death. It has a bad reputation. Which I wish to show is undeserved. This photo is one of my favourites. We have much park space in Birmingham, contrary to the incorrect assumption by many that Birmingham is a concrete, industrial wasteland. This is one in my native  North Birmingham.  I want to show the world that there is much more to Birmingham than it’s industrial past and the architectural oddity that is the soulless shopping centre, the Bullring. Here is my first snap shot. Birmingham through the eyes of one who knows and loves it more than so.

Nostalgia, you don’t know what you got til it’s gone.

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What is it about nostalgia that makes you appreciate something more when it has passed than when you have it right in front of you? My photo was taken in Istanbul, a place I lived in for 10 months. A place that I loved to hate. A place that I didn’t realise I loved until nostalgia kicked in. Now it is a place I long to return to.

The grey of the cities over development was often stifling, however, the ugliness of the buildings meant that the colours of the flora were appreciated more than ever.

These were no exception.

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Single Lady meets Big Smoky City

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What to do when single and alone in a new and relatively unknown city? This is the question I find myself asking. However, my problem here is not that I have to ask this question. Rather,the problem is my lack of care. I do not care that I am alone. I do not care that I am 29 and alone. I do not care that in my evenings I come home from a draining day at work to an empty bed. That I uncluter the morning clutter to make way for the evening clutter. Proceed to cook myself something vegetarian, because I am living on a student food budget with a proper job and also aware of environmental and ethical implications of meat consumption. I then sit in front of my laptop to regale in an episode of Grey’s Anatomy, happy that at least I am not suffering from one of the many disasters that inevitably befall the ailing cast members that I have come to know and love like untenable best friends. Then to an uninterrupted sleep wherein I dream of whichever student is tormenting me the most. Year 9 you will not get the best of me!

So what to do about this predicament? Am I supposed to care that my evenings are spent alone. I live in one of the trendiest, hipsterish parts of London. Aren’t I suppoed to like go out and get friends who wear all black and sit in cafes with no signs in front of them because signs are like so capitalistic and right wing in our fancy million dollar house neighbourhood where we out priced those previous hoodlum tenants to something more befitting of their ilk (there’s no place like Essex).

So here I stand wondering where I get a jack thingy to build my electronic drum kit so that I can actually unpack my unsightly black bags and make this look like home. Thinking one day I will go to Wilkos and buy those storage boxes I so desire. Buy a rug so as not to acknowledge the tired, worn grey carpet the landlord thinks is acceptable ofor a £650 a month room. Alas! Instead, I get drawn in, by whatever dramas Grey’s has for me. Whatever escapism I can get on my lovely double bed. Inhabiting the pillow next to me, my book, for it has that space as it is the one thing that brings me down from my Grey’s high to the land of sleep.

Here lies, single almost thirty something female. Too lazy to text her tinder dates. For her whatsapp is only reserved for those she makes rave plans with on the weekends. Instead of looking for a husband so she can get knocked up before her ovaries stop working properly, she fills her time with racy American dramas, knowledge and sometimes the work she brings home. More fool her for not minding having the bed to herself. Does she have no shame?

 

But seriously, am really thinking there is something wrong with me. Must get on meetup group and meet similarly aged people who like doing civilized things and not raving themselves into early graves on the weekend and snogging younger guys they will never speak to again. Will get on meetup.com. Sharpish.

Tarragona, In Photos

A summary of my time in Tarragona, from a new project of mine.

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I have always had a love for photography, my first foray with a cheap disposable, my mother still marvels at how I used to snap everything. From loved ones to the seemingly mundane view from my bedroom window. I have always been fascinated with time, how it passes, how it cannot be retrieved. I still see photography as a way to cheat time. Life being a series of moments once passed that we cannot get back.

When I photograph a place  I try to capture it’s essence and how it made me feel. Tarragona is a place I lived in for almost a year, a small Catalan (not Spanish!!) city, built on ruins that are a reminder of it’s history as the capital of the Roman empire in Spain. These photos may not do justice to the beauty of the place. It is stunning. It does however, so something…

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9 Easy Ways To Not Let Other People Ruin Your Day

My article for Thought Catalog…. written in the midst of a stressful time, when everything was getting me down. Because my most recent year abroad, living in Tarragona as beautiful as it is, has not been all sunhine and beach parties. My (I can now happly say ex) job was the kind that gets worse when you thought it couldn’t possibly. See this as a positive way to deal with that stress.

Thought Catalog

Day-ruiners are a bitch. You know the ones, your boss at work, that friend who has let you down one too many times, that guy that isn’t texting back, that job that you hate…. In this thing that we are so lucky to have called life many day ruiners exist, challenges that test our resolve, tolerance and often our claim to sanity.

Perhaps many of the following are self explanatory to some but for 28 years I have been going through life dwelling, worrying and generally letting day ruiners do just that. Now I’ve taken my days back. Because they are the only ones that I have got. 

1. Do not contact your day-ruiner (unless it’s life or death).

Goes without saying really doesn’t it? But on those occasions when a person has a power over your emotions,often the best thing we can do is to cut contact, as when…

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On starting again. Catalan Style.

So my new story starts here, in sunny Tarragona, the sun  and the chill of the spring time sea wind on my face. From Istanbul to Catalonia I am on the road (over 6 months on) to finding and truly knowing myself in a new country and for the first time living abroad alone (last year I was con relationship).

My shaky flight into Reus airport felt like an ominous warning of things to come. A never ending blanket of black cloud engulfed the airport, making the descent a rattling, tumultuous one complete with screaming children throwing up on themselves and what felt like a death defying lightning strike. I was greeted at the airport by my new boss (or jefe en espanol) and delivered to my new home, greeted by a young looking friendly landlord who almost set the kitchen on fire lighting the large gas stove top.

Unlike Istanbul as soon as I arrived at the place, it felt like home. Akin to meeting someone on the first night and feeling like you have known them for many years. Sometimes things just, fit.

My first weekend was spent navigating the streets, trying to make my way down to the beach in vain, (Tarragona’s Miracle beach is right next to the train tracks which annoyingly do not have a bridge to cross over therefore there are only two points of entry to get on to the bloody thing), my ignorance leading me to a not so impressive end of the port.

One of my first observations in my new home, was that the afternoon siesta is actually a thing. Note my disappointment at leaving my apartment after a much needed lie in to find my new home a ghost town. Shutters down, streets empty. Even the Spar closes during siesta, the one time I am free to go shopping. Makes sense.

Its funny now, looking back at how different things looked back when I first arrived. At how the eyes of experience make the streets take on a different colour. These well worn streets I traverse on a daily basis once induced wonder, with a shine that perhaps can only be appreciated once they eventually become familiar and you look back and remember how wandering them made you feel.

After a school year in the big smoke, Tarragona was just the sort of place I needed to go to clear my head and reduce the resulting stress induced trauma inevitable when  living in the crazy that is Istanbul.

My photographs here remind me of the thoughts and feelings of those first few days. A new beginning in more ways than one.

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Rasnov Fortress Romania in Photos

To be able to say that I never got bored after visiting this monument four times in four weeks says a lot. Not only is it an impressive piece of history preserved, it is also situated at the top of a hill with incredible views of the always breathtaking Transylvanian fauna. Situated in the county of Brasov, Rasnov is definitely worth passing through if you are in the area.IMG_3531 IMG_3542IMG_3556IMG_3558 IMG_3560 IMG_3567IMG_3569 IMG_3575IMG_3576 IMG_3584IMG_3559 IMG_3561IMG_3541