The battle against femininity

So often in life when we meet someone new, the first thing we ask is “so, what do you do”. What we are really asking is:

* How much money do you make

* What is your status on our social hierarchy

* Are you more important than me

Shouldn’t we care more about who we are, without trying to automatically put a label on each and every person we meet. I find this very prevalent amongst other women, i feel that if my reply is:

*  Iam a supportive partner to my boyfriend

* A successful household manager

* Hopefully one day an amazing mother.

That these answers will be viewed as insignificant compared to Miss:

* Lawyer

* Doctor

* Academic

Why is this? Is a woman who dedicates her life to her family worth less than someone else? Is our contribution to society measured by the pay check we receive at the end of each month. Im sure if i really asked a corporate woman she would tell me that her wage and job title dosn’t define her. She may love:

* Deep sea diving

* Pottery

* Astronomy

But are these the first things offered up when meeting someone new? No, also they are not the first things asked. Have we as women fought so hard for equality with men outside the home that we have lost sight of our identitys? Im talking about our real identities, not our labels. Are we going to scoff or think less of our peers that choose to stay home and be the emotional backbones of their families. I personally don’t want to live in a world like that, we should celebrate the emotions, dreams and goals of our fellow women. Who are you or I to deem that ours are more important than hers, hers, or hers. I want to live in a world that has equal pay and recognition of men and women in the work place, that celebrates femininity and encourages all paths.

Iam a proud stay at home girlfriend (hopefully soon fiancé lol. Iam proud to make my partners life at home less stressful and easier as he goes out to bring home a wage.

Most women say one of two things when talking to someone like me that stays home. Either “Oh, that would drive me insane, doing NOTHING all day or “Oh that sounds nice, lucky you getting away with that”.

Both in turn undermine that woman’s role. Why do we do this? more importantly, why do we accept this? The fight of our mothers, grandmothers and their grandmothers, and in turn us and our daughters is not so that we HAVE to be.

* Lawyers

* Doctors

* Academics.

It was and is so that we have the RIGHT to choose with freedom what we feel is right for us. With no restrictions in relation to our gender.

How lucky am i that i can choose to be a scientist, a hairdresser, a mechanic or chef, how lucky am i that i can choose to be who i have.

How sad is it that we as women do to each other exactly what we have fought so hard against. We create inequality for ourselves and to each other within our own sex. We scorn femininity unless it is sexual power used to achieve goals, we patronise mothers and celebrate proffessionals.

Iam personally going to make an effort to do my part in this new battle.

So i ask today, who are you?

Volunteering – disillusionment

So today as i prepare for my big move, i decided to have a quick look on Google for some information about doing some volunteer work once i get to Bangkok.

Iam a fully qualified childcare worker and thought it might be nice to lend my skills and time here and there.

I was absolutely shocked at the first 5 or 6 websites that came up, under the guise of providing a rewarding experience, they ask you for up to £1000 for you to go and ‘help’. I understand that most of these places will be including the cost of food and board for overseas volunteers as they certainly don’t have unlimited funds…

What i dont understand is the exorbitant prices! If i was looking to go to Bangkok purely for the purpose of volunteering, not only would i have to pay for flights, but also pay a large sum of money that could buy me a very decent luxury holiday.

To me, it feels like the whole ethos behind volunteering is overshadowed by organizers seeing an easy way to make money, but this in turn deters people like me, who simply would like to just come in and help. The attitude seems to be, ‘how much can we get from you’.

I can see why people have a very biased view and simply don’t bother, which is a shame, as potentially skilled people may be able to offer far more value than £1000.

I realize the importance of donations and funding to these places, and i definitely know that donations are critical to their survival. It may just be, like most things in life, the approach changes everything in one’s perception.

I for one have left my search with a list of places i wont be going to see, rather than ones i will.

I shall keep up my search, and certainly dont think that these few sites reflect all charity organizations in Thailand. I was just disappointed and a little bit shocked.

Volunteering seems harder than getting a paid job in the field Iam qualified in!

The Life of A Monk

Youthful banter, wizened smiles, dusty bare feet and rolls of cash…..

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Being in Thailand was such an eye opener, it forced me to shed all pre conceived ideas about the Buddhist culture and what i thought life as a Monk would be like.

There were so many interesting contradictions that i noticed while wandering the streets of Chiang Mai. I was resting my feet and sipping a mango smoothie by a fruit stand and past me walked a group of Trainee or Junior Monks (Samanera).

They wore bright orange robes and had dusty feet in basic sandals, all this a usual sight, when one of the young boys, probably no older than 12, pulled out a massive roll of cash.

It was the most surreal sight, and i couldn’t help but watch as he casually unrolled a few notes and then tucked them away somewhere in the folds of his robes. This became something i saw wherever i went, Monks of all ages walking along holding Ipads and the latest cell phones. What a contrast to my envisioned picture of serene elderly men sitting cross legged in a Zen garden.

Thats Thailand for you though, the minute you think you have it figured out, it never fails to surprise!

We went to a beautiful mountain Temple, many, many steps up a steep winding hill. It was Chinese New Year, so everyone was out in their finest, making the pilgrimage to be blessed and pay homage to their religion. I have never seen such an awe inspiring sight, gold covering every inch of the ornate decorations, candles everywhere!

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I peeked around the corner into a room where maybe 30 people were kneeling at the feet of a Monk, receiving their blessing, he was waving damp reeds in the air, occasionally bobbing a small child on the head and giving a cheeky laugh. It made me laugh to see such a clear expression of his sense of humor in such a reverent and serious setting.

This is a photo captured of the moment.

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The Land of Smiles…

This blog is going to be a bit of a mish mash, travel, life as an expat woman and some food and beauty discoveries..

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Thailand, whats the first thing that comes to your mind when you think about this country?

I have to admit, for me it was visions of elderly men preying on young Thai girls, seedy bars and chaotic markets. Then my partner and I decided to go for a holiday to Bangkok, and travel through to Chiang Mai and Pattaya.

We loved our holiday and had some interesting times, like being driven for 40 minutes into the mountains by a taxi driver that misunderstood a restaurant address, and nearly walking into some dodgy massage parlors with my mother.

Pattaya was amazing, the resort incredible but we all came to the conclusion at the airport on our way back to England that while we enjoyed it, we probably would never return.

(Unless i wanted to undergo some sneaky cosmetic procedures)

Lo and Behold, my partner gets offered a fantastic job opportunity two weeks after we got back from our holiday. Where you might ask? yes, you guessed it, Bangkok!

So now all of a sudden we are throwing away coats and mittens in favor of insect repellent and sun-hats, selling furniture and planning for our big adventure.

Nerves are setting in, but i have been doing lots of research into the life of an expat woman in Bangkok and there seems to be lots of groups that meet up and do different activities depending on interests,

So my plan is to throw myself into our new life, experience everything this beautiful, noisy, friendly country has to offer, and to document what happens along the way.

Blunders and all! 🙂

The Land of Smiles