The Post I Nearly Didn’t Post.

In case you’ve been living under a rock, today is International Women’s Day. In the light of this, I wanted to write a post about my experiences with inequality as a woman. But that has turned out to be harder than expected. As someone who’s gone from school straight to uni, I can’t really talk much about being paid less than men or having less opportunities than men. I’ve never actively noticed it playing a role in my life. The one thing, however, that I can talk about is sexual harassment.

I don’t know how to talk about this, and I definitely don’t want to. I’m writing this half thinking that I probably won’t post this. I won’t post this because I’m scared of what other people will think of me. I won’t post this because I’m scared that people will think that it’s not big deal because it happens to everyone. But the real reason why I won’t post this is because I’m ashamed.

I’m ashamed that when exiting the tube, a middle aged man who’d been staring at me put his hand on my bottom. I’m ashamed that without so much as a “hello” some drunk guy in a club tried to grind on me. I’m ashamed that I gave my number to a guy in the street just to get him to go away because he wouldn’t take no for an answer. I’m ashamed that a guy in the train station sat down next to me, and then two minutes later was trying to kiss me and followed me around the station for the next 15 minutes as I tried to escape from him.

These unwanted encounters are experienced by many women in our country everyday, but they still fill me with guilt and shame. Was that my fault? Did I do something to encourage it? Were my jeans to tight? (Not that that should matter…). Why am I the one the feels ashamed when I’ve done nothing wrong? I’m fed up of feeling ashamed. I’m sick and tired of wondering what I did to cause such a reaction. But the truth is that these encounters are not my fault.

If you’re reading this and you’ve experienced similar things to what I have, regardless of your gender, please know that you’re not alone. There are so many of us, and it’s okay for these things to upset you. You don’t have to tell yourself that it’s not a big deal. Please don’t feel ashamed or like you have to hide what has happened to you. The more we speak out about it, the more we can do to tackle it.

Lots of love,

Abi xx

Advertisements

3 Apps that will Change your Life – University Edition

This is the first year in a long time in which I haven’t had January exams, but knowing that lots of my friends back at uni have had to has made me think about uni, exams and organisation. Today I want to share with you 3 apps which have really improved my time at university, and I wouldn’t particularly like to live without!

RefMe – I hate referencing, but this app really makes it simple. All you have to do is select your referencing style and add the information into the form or the IBN (with newer books you can just scan the barcode!). This app then formats the information into footnotes and a bibliography which you can copy and paste directly into your essay from RefMe’s online website. I used to find referencing really stressful, but honestly now it’s not half as big a worry!

Scanbot – Scanning documents at uni can be a real pain. This handy app’s in-built camera focuses in on the document you hold it over, before snapping a photo that it turns into a pdf. On year abroad I feel like I’ve had so many documents to scan and email for different things, and this has literally been a life saver. I’ve not tried this yet, but I’m thinking that it might be a winner when I’m not in the mood for lugging a bunch of library books home for the sake of a couple of quotations!

Quizlet – Maybe this is the language student in me, but I need notecards pretty much constantly. They’re so helpful for learning new vocabulary. All you have to do is add what you want as vocab onto Quizlet via your phone, computer or tablet, and then it’ll be available on all 3. For me, that’s amazing when I’m waiting for or on public transport. And my favourite thing? As well as normal flashcard mode, the app gives you a game or two that you can play with your flashcards – and I’ve found them to be a bit addictive!

What are your favourite apps for uni? I’m always on the hunt for more!

Abi xx

Christmas Catch-up: The Highlights

Hello there! I’m back in Germany now so I thought I’d do a catch up post about some of my highlights from Christmas in England before I get back to my usual schedule of Sunday night Year Abroad posts.

#1 – Arriving back in England. My sister and dad picked me up from the airport, and my sister welcomed me home like this! I think we got some wierd looks, but it was so funny!

I’m just looking for the picnic…

#2 – My parents’ birthdays (Their birthdays are next to each other!). Both days consisted of a birthday breakfast, presents, cake and a meal out which was lovely but hectic. Normally my sister and I bake the birthday cakes together, but since I was so late back, she did them by herself. You can see from the photos that she definitely didn’t need my help!

Last year I ended up propping my cake up with cocktail sticks… I think she wins.

#3 – Christmas Eve is always a highlight for me. It’s last minute preparation day for my family. We bought a few last presents, picked up the turkey, a pork pie and the vegetables, and bought some flowers to decorate the house with. Sometimes I actually like Christmas Eve more than Christmas Day itself, the excitement in the air is so tangible and all the little jobs put me in such a good mood!

IMG_6227.JPG

Matching pyjamas and a tourist pose – nailed it!

#4 – Christmas Day! We started the day with stockings, possibly one of my favourite traditions, before breakfast and church. I love going to church on Christmas Day. It reminds me what Christmas is all about, and since I hadn’t heard any carols the whole time that I was in Germany, carols at church were really exciting for me! After church we got our Christmas dinner ready. Turkey with lots of trimmings to start followed by Christmas pudding which my dad pours brandy over and sets on fire. I couldn’t believe how brightly it burnt this year! We also opened presents and watched the Queen’s Speech and Doctor Who.

It’s our tradition to decorate our christmas cake. This year we went with snowmen having a party!

I can’t believe it actually glowed like this!

#5 – My boyfriend Thomas coming down to visit for a couple of days. We rarely get to see each other because of me being abroad this year, so it was amazing to see him again. Long distance can really suck but sometimes it makes seeing each other again even better! Whilst he was there most of mum’s side of the family came down to visit too. We had lasagne, caught up and chatted which was nice. Oh, and we watched some American football – which the Falcons won!

GO FALCONS! #riseup

#6 – Visiting my grandparents in Great Yarmouth. We only really get to see them 3 or 4 times a year, so it’s really great to do and even better considering we went out for a carvery!

#7 – New Year’s Eve in Manchester was great fun too. This year I spent it with a bunch of my best friends, play games and eating and drinking, which to me is a perfect way to spend an evening. After being away, seeing close friends again is something I appreciated so much more.

Lemme take a selfie.

#8 – Time spent in Manchester. Whilst in Manchester, as well as relaxing and just hanging out, we had a bonfire with s’mores and Thomas and I went on a date night. We went for cocktails, followed by a long bone tomahawk steak, which is basically a huge 2 person steak – so delicious! Since we don’t see each other, and therefore get to go on dates, very often, it was so nice to go on a fancy date before I headed back to Germany.

img_6360-1

Entering the long bone tomahawk steak…

My dinner date, oh, and Thomas…

Well that’s it, I’m back in Germany now. Normal year abroad blogposts will resume next Sunday, but I thought it’d be nice to write a catchup post before I get back into year abroad mode.

If you are one of those lovely people who pray for me, please thank God that I’m actually feeling fairly settled now after a rocky first couple of days and please pray that I settle back into my school routine, especially as my timetable will be changing again soon so I’ll have to get to know a whole bunch of new classes!

Until next time,

Abi xx