Pugs, Road Rage, Jennifer Lawrence, Nutella

So I read this article the other day about how to get more traffic on your blog and one of the suggestions was to make a Facebook page for it. I asked our followers what they would like to see us write about and our friend Camille proposed that I write about pugs, road rage, Jennifer Lawrence and Nutella. Together. You’re welcome, Camille. I want to write about them all together, but first I would like to address them individually, as they all deserve individual attention.

Pugs

tumblr_mcl3vjApjo1r3ip8io1_500In some social circles (k, all of them) I’m known for my love of pugs. It’s a lifestyle choice. I was talking to my friend Clare on the phone the other day while she was at a dog park with her pooch Grizzly and she told me about the adorable pug she met there. She couldn’t help but notice that both of his owners were wearing “Pugs Not Drugs” t-shirts and she exclaimed that she finally understood that pug ownership really is a way of life. I’m not sure when my pug love started, but it has only grown stronger over the years. I think it’s because I have a lot in common with them: asthma and a tendency towards overheating, overexcitement, and drooling (What?! I’m a sleep-drooler…get over it). Here’s the catch, and this is really sad so I’m sorry if you cry…

I’m allergic to dogs.

Yep, there it is. I can never have a pug. Okay, you might not be crying but I am. I think we get the point. Moving on. (If you want to read more about my love of pugs, check out my former post)

Road Rage

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I could- and very well may- dedicate an entire blog to my horrible road rage. Eights (see Enneagram explanation post) can be easily identified on the highway. If you look over at someone getting cut off and that person appears to be stroking out and is gesticulating wildly (which technically I guess you wouldn’t be doing if you were having a stroke, but whatever) throwing their middle fingers (oh yes, both of them) around at anyone who cares to look and then tries to murder the person who just cut them off, chances are you’ve got an Eight on your hands. I once read in an Enneagram book that said Eights feel most in control when they are out of control. Examples being speeding, drinking, dancing, fighting, what have you. So road rage is just kind of par for the course with us. I feel like this part may have just lost me a few friends…

Jennifer Lawrence

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Is the bomb. I also think she’s an Eight, so naturally I love her. She says weird stuff, she trips on her dress at the Oscars, she gets pictures taken of her smoking a joint on a hotel balcony in Hawaii. Basically, she doesn’t give a shit. And I love her. (Sorry for saying shit).
Watch this adorable interview that JLaw did with Lynn Hirschberg for W:
http://video.wmagazine.com/screen-tests/jennifer-lawrence-screen-test

Nutella

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There’s actually not a lot for me to say about Nutella except as it relates to my allergies. I’m pretty much allergic to a million things. The short list includes: all nuts except peanuts, shellfish, melon, kiwi, bananas, beans. I might as well be allergic to fake cheese, too, cuz I hate it. My point here is that Nutella is a hazelnut spread and thus I cannot consume it. But I think it looks absolutely delicious and even though those Nutella commercials are totally misleading people into thinking it’s healthy, I’m sure it tastes fantastic.

 

Now the request from Camille was that I would talk about all of these things together, so I’ve come up with the following short story: I’m in the car with Jennifer Lawrence because we’re best friends and are about to go out for a night of fun together where she tells everyone we meet how awesome I am and how it was really my love and constant friendship that gave her the courage to pursue her dreams of becoming an actress. But I digress. We’re in the car, just the two of us and our pug, Dobby. Dobby goes everywhere with us as a security detail. You can imagine that he is incredibly loyal. And adorable. So even though we’re best friends, Jennifer Lawrence is adorably forgetful and when I say I’m hungry, she hands me a little Nutella sandwich that she has wrapped up in her purse in case of emergency drunk hunger. Without asking what’s in it (just play along), I scarf the entire sandwich down and realize that my throat is closing up. So much for our night of fun- we need to find the nearest hospital! But of course there is traffic and my homicidal rage comes out. Then we get into a massive car accident because I tried to get back at the person who cut me off in the first place and everyone dies except Dobby. The End. Now you know why I’m not a creative writing major.

Love,
Ahn

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Celtic Confidential: Ireland

Hi Friends!

Sorry I’ve been a little absent lately. I actually had to write some papers and do some schoolwork. Crazy, I know. Sitting in my room and writing 3,000 words on conflict in Iran was especially depressing because two weeks earlier I had been traveling around beautiful, wonderful, stunning, fantastic Ireland. Ireland was amazing. I love Ireland. When can I go back to Ireland?

Ok, I kind went off the deep end there, but a large part of my heart is somewhere in Dublin, Cork, and the Cliffs of Moher.

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I have always wanted to go to Ireland and had a romanticized vision of it in my head, developed from various books, movies, songs, pictures, etc., for my entire life. At the risk of sounding too cliche, it was everything I imagined it to be.

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Colleen, Greer, and I landed in Dublin, checked into our hostel, and met Drew…or at least I think that was his name. Drew is an important part of our Ireland experience. Drew was an American also staying in our room and nicely introduced himself. We began chatting with Drew, or rather Drew told us about himself, and found out that he was planning on going to law school in Ireland and was currently working for the EU in Prague. Drew then informed us that his traveling buddy disappeared the night before because he had gotten so drunk, he began chasing a French man around in the hostel and then the hostel kicked both of them out, leaving them on the street for the night. The drunk friend then got into a taxi and drove off, never to be seen since. Drew luckily ran into a nice man who let him sleep on his couch outside of Dublin.

…Weird.

Drew had a plethora of other strange and kind of boring anecdotes, like how he learned how to speak perfect Czech while in Prague, had lived/traveled to 20 different countries, and worked in a Northern Virginian restaurant that I have never heard of. Apparently it’s the most popular restaurant in NoVa…go figure. As a NoVa native I should really go check it out, except I’m pretty sure it doesn’t exist.

Drew also tried to instruct me on Irish politics. Thanks dude, but I’ve taken a comparative politics class or two. Basically this guy was either a pathological liar or a huge know it all and show off. Either way, he began to wear thin on our nerves and we attempted to go out to some pubs without him, but unfortunately he managed to tag along.

It wasn’t until Drew tried to lead us into a part of Dublin that did not have one pub or sign of life anywhere that I began to get suspicious. He had been here two days, why didn’t he know where to go at night? What if he was a serial killer who lured dumb American girls with his cute looks and seemingly impressive travel log and knowledge? I had “Silence of the Lambs” images playing in my head as I whispered, “He killed his friend” to Greer while walking around Dublin with this fool.

Luckily he was just a lonely traveler who was directionally challenged and nicely bought our drinks, but that’s just a glimpse into the scary places I go to in my mind. We ended up only staying out in glorious Dublin for about two hours before we hit the hay, but it was an interesting introduction to the excitement of Irish night life, which really is defined by live bands and Guinness.

The next morning we woke up in the wee hours of the morning to take a day tour to the Cliffs of Moher.

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This was, by far, my favorite part of my short trip in Ireland. The Cliffs were indescribably beautiful but luckily I have pictures!804006_4609501446896_1678292091_n

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How amazing is that? We also got to see Burren National Park, which is a really unique coastline of limestone in a special formation called “clints” and “grikes”. It’s kind of hard to describe, so here’s a picture:

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The next day we traveled to Cork, the Rock of Cashel, Blarney Castle, and on the final day we explored further into Dublin, where we saw Trinity College and the Book of Kells, the Old Post Office, the National Library, and the Jameson Distillery. Our nights, of course, were filled with Guinness (which tastes completely different, like liquid gold, in Ireland), pubs, and Irish music. Colleen even found this great free Irish dancing show with an amazing traditional Irish band.

Trinity College Library

Trinity College Library

Blarney Castle

Blarney Castle

At the edge of the Cliffs of Moher!

At the edge of the Cliffs of Moher!

Dublin

Dublin

I could post pictures for days, so I’m going to stop myself now, but seriously, go to Ireland. Just go. There is no way this blog post could ever do it justice, so you have to go. It’s magical and the Irish are exceptionally kind and welcoming. I almost didn’t get on the airplane back to London because I could feel my heart breaking just thinking about leaving Ireland. The spirit and culture in Ireland is incredible and it was a truly wonderful trip.

Ghrá,

Hahn

Since it’s clearly not spring outside (there’s about half a foot of snow here in mid-MO), watch this fab video from 500 Days of Summer to put a little spring in your step 🙂 Submission recommendation courtesy of my roomie Cam. Love, Ahn

E.B. White

True dat, Mr. White. Love, Ahn

Why Do I Feel Guilty For Being a Feminist?

I’ve been thinking a lot about feminism lately, and every time I do I come upon a problem, shameful as it is to admit, that I think might be true for other women as well: I feel totally guilty. Half of me is like “yeah,why  DO I feel that I have to submit myself to objectification?!” and then the other, most likely culturally indoctrinated part of me feels guilty to be associated with that other taboo f-word. I have a feeling that if/when most men my age read this they’ll roll their eyes. WHY?! I almost started out this post by saying “sorry that I’m going to go on a feminist rant,” but then I stopped myself. “Rant,” connotes that what I’m about to say probably shouldn’t be said, at least if I were a polite. But then I think “why do I have to be polite? Why is that an expectation for women?”

Then I was going to start this paragraph by saying that I’ve never been like most girls. I stopped myself yet again. Who are “most girls?” And what are most of these girls like? Why? Are “most girls” really one way or another? Is there any way to empirically prove whether most women are one way or another. And then the fact that I just said “one way or another” means that I’ve drawn a dichotomy in my head that people either act a certain way or they don’t, and that one of those actions is preferable. I’m driving myself crazy. Over spring break, I commented to one of the men on our trip that many men get offended that I cuss a lot. No offense to this person, but he commented, “Yeah, that’s definitely kind of a turn-off,” and given my experiences, I can safely say he’s not the only one.

It seems that men in our culture are taught to believe that they are above manipulation and so therefore social constructs do not apply to them. They can’t be put into a box, or labeled, or stereotyped and so they can’t be taken advantage of, because that’s not becoming of a “real man.” What if men started opening up to the realization that they are being played just as much as we are? Would that finally changed things? Do we need to change the discourse from “feminism” to “genderism” and focus more on the ways in which we are taught to display gender. Whether you “like” sociology or not (a lot of men I know don’t), you have to admit that from the time we were born, we were instructed by the world around us how to be our gender to the point where we no longer question it. This is, I believe, where the problem stems from.

I just read a really great article on Cracked.com today entitled “5 Ways Modern Men Are Trained to Hate Women” and if you want to read it (you should), you can find it here: http://www.cracked.com/article_19785_5-ways-modern-men-are-trained-to-hate-women.html. But the author (a man, I might add, because that seems to add legitimacy to these claims) lists these five ways that men are actually manipulated by our society to view women as inferior (Not that only the points are the author’s, the commentary is my own):

#5. We were told that society owed us a hot girl. I know that lots of women would say that in their experience, they would agree with this. If you’re a guy, and you just disagreed, really think about it. Have you ever encountered images or people or television that has sent the message that you deserve to get laid and by someone attractive?

#4. We’re trained from birth to see you as a decoration. Open a magazine. Any of them.

#3. If my grandparents are reading this, then I’m sorry, these are Derek Wong’s words, not mine, but #3 is: We think you’re conspiring with our boners to ruin us.” … aka, Why Do You Think the Garden of Eden Story Has a Snake.” I read an article the other day (and author, if you’re reading this I’m sorry I can’t remember you or else I would cite your work!) that suggested that we do both women AND men a disservice by pandering the idea that “all boys want is one thing.” Are we not teaching boys, just as much as girls, that sex is what boys should naturally want from women?

#2. We feel like manhood has been stolen from us at some point. Wong uses the example of the Miller Lite commercial in which one of the actors states “we’re going to have to take away your Man Card.” Many men feel like if they let down their guard, then somehow their manliness will get swiped from them. And if you’re a REAL man, you wouldn’t let this happen to you. Thank god for this commercial, men have now been given permission to drink Miller Lite AND be real men at the same time. Dodged a bullet on that one.

#1. We feel powerless. Which implies that power is a masculine virtue and women, but not men, can feel powerless. Thus, men serve as their protectors. What if women don’t actually need protecting? Does that automatically deny men all of their other good qualities? I think not. Newsflash: women have always been able to take care of themselves, but to greater or lesser extents, society told them that they either couldn’t or shouldn’t. So this is not some new development, just a new awareness.
At the end of the day, I just want to know: why do men (and women) get so annoyed with the idea of feminism? Is it too threatening? Why does our society shame women and men into saying that they oppose feminism? And I guess I also want to know if change is possible. Are we so complacent that things will never be different? If I take a historical tack, I have to say that the answer is no, but I also don’t know what it will take for enough people to get angry about gender inequality and that makes me sad. If you’re reading this post, first of all thanks. Secondly, if you’re reading this and you disagree with me then fine. All I ask is that you start becoming aware. If you start to question behavior that you have always assumed to be innate or natural and therefore, unchangeable, think again. We can go from there.

Thanks for reading,
Ahn

“There’s a beast in every man and it stirs when you put a sword in his hand…”

Games of Thrones is hands down one of the most well-crafted shows on television. Gorgeous is honestly the best word I can use to describe it, in all possible ways. Cinematically, the scenes are beautiful and like something out of a dream world (and there are many dream worlds in the series) and the characters are multi-dimensional and just… perfect. I have been waiting anxiously to see the trailer for the third season and finally I saw it this morning on ESPN. Oh the joy!! If you watch this and don’t want to get HBOgo immediately so you can watch both seasons before the third season release then you just plain crazy. Do yourself a favor and watch it 🙂 And to all you people who think “I hate sci-fi shows with made up worlds,” I used to be one of you. I was wrong. Don’t be dumb.

Cockney Confidential: Salisbury, Stonehenge, and Old Sarum

I’m supposed to be finishing up internship applications and writing papers, which I’ve been pretty good about doing until now. Yesterday and today I have been furiously getting research and writing samples done, but I must take a break. I must. I went for a beautiful walk (it was raining all morning, but it cleared up this afternoon) around Winchester for a little bit and now I need to write about something other than oil in Iran or whatever you write about on internship applications. I’m also Skyping with Ahn and Lys later, so that will be a VERY welcomed break. This hasn’t been my most exciting week/weekend in England, but chores must be done whether you are abroad or not, sadly enough, and the work I have been putting off to travel and explore is quickly catching up with me.

A more fun time in England is when we took a day trip to Salisbury, Stonehenge, and Old Sarum.  Salisbury a medieval city, not too far from Winchester. Outside of the city lies Stonehenge and the ancient city of Old Sarum. Random fun fact that I didn’t know until I came to England: In the UK, a place is a city if it has a cathedral, otherwise it’s a village. Cool, huh?

We arrived and immediately got on a tourist-y type bus that took you to all of the historical sites surrounding Salisbury (Stonehenge, Old Sarum, and the Cathedral). Our first stop was Stonehenge.

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This is me being INCREDIBLY cold in front of Stonehenge. Look at the paws that used to be my hands.

Stonehenge is a neolithic structure dating back to as far as 3000 BC. There have been a lot of conspiracy theories involving Wiccan beliefs, as well as extraterrestrial, but scientists believe that this was a burial site and that the stones were imported about 100 miles away and built on this site. I’m not going to lie, this is about as far as my Stonehenge knowledge goes because IT WAS FREEZING., like, REALLY COLD. There was no guided tour and it was literally too cold to hold the hand-held audio guide up to my ear. We kind of stopped and listened for about 30 minutes and then quickly walked around it and got back on the bus. Stonehenge is a neat site and I recommend it, but it doesn’t have a lot of substance to it. You’re pretty much there to look at the rocks. What was really interesting and fun to see was Old Sarum:

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Old Sarum is the earliest settlement in Salisbury and is on top of a large hill right outside of the city of Salisbury. Scientists believe that people lived there as early as 3000 BC and was used as a fort against the Vikings. When Salisbury Cathedral was built near the river, the cathedral at Sarum was demolished in 1220 and people began moving closer to the river and to the developing city.

The trench surrounding Old Sarum and Salisbury in the distance.

The trench surrounding Old Sarum and Salisbury in the distance.

The ruins of the cathedral in Old Sarum.

The ruins of the cathedral in Old Sarum.

We spent about two hours at Old Sarum. If you’re going to Stonehenge, then you have to see Old Sarum. It is an awesome site with some amazing history. There was also wine tasting at the gift shop, so we were all over that.

Our final stop was Salisbury Cathedral, which has the largest cathedral spire in the United Kingdom, standing at 404 feet. I believe this, because I really couldn’t get a shot of the church in its entirety on my iPhone, which was frustrating.

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The cathedral also houses one of the four original copies of the Magna Carta, which was nifty to see written in Old English, as in, I figured out it was in Old English after realizing that I couldn’t understand what I was reading. Don’t make fun of me.

It should also be noted that this was Greer’s first trip on a train. She loved it so much that she asked me if it would be weird if she skipped the trip to Salisbury and rode on the train all day and I told her that it would, in fact, be weird.

If you ever come to England I highly recommend a trip to Salisbury, but make sure you don’t skip out on Old Sarum! It’s a hidden gem!

Ok, back to work.

Love,

Hahn

Some Midterms Support from England

My friends at home are going through midterms, which really sucks (sorry guys). Luckily I have the smartest of smart friends and while I know the work and stress may be overwhelming, I also know that Ahn, Lys, Ahl, and all my other friends will succeed and conquer and get all of the A’s! Huzzah! Seriously, they’re some of the smartest people I know. 

Here are some classic “4” angsty and overly dramatic words to help with midterms, written by a true 4, Victor Hugo:

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During midterms or finals I think: “At least I’m not Fantine and dying of TB.” Except, wait, sophomore year I actually had latent TB. Whatever. Anyway, the point is soon midterms will be over and you will be able to relax by the beach and blast “Starships” by Nicki and I will miss you all! While I don’t really miss midterms week, I miss sitting in my apt living room with my roomies drinking coffee and furiously studying (or pinning, Facebooking, or anything besides studying). You can do it, I believe in you!!!

Looooove,

Hahn

Cockney Confidential: That Airplane Ride with Young Greer…

I am avoiding cleaning my room. It’s disgusting, my room. Clothes and empty bottles of water are scattered throughout the place. I’m not cleaning it though, because I’m a slob. Seriously, ask anyone who has ever lived with me, Ahn, Alyssa, Alex, my mother. They would say something along the lines of, “Hannah is a beautiful and wonderful person, but her room is gross.” Or at least that’s what I assume they would say. ;]

Anyway, I mentioned in a previous blog post that I would tell you about my airplane ride across the pond with Greer. Many of our friends texted us with messages that basically read, “Have a great time and safe flight, don’t kill Hannah!” or Greer, whoever was receiving the message. Greer also informed me that our seats on the plane were permanent, so that if I was mean to her, she would kill me. If that’s not incentive to put on a friendly smile then I don’t know what is.

It was memorable to say the least.

We got to the airport mid-morning after an early morning of desperately running around my neighborhood picking up prescriptions and doing some very last minute packing. Last minute freaking out is how I operate. My mom came home after spending a few hours at work and then took us to the airport. I started to cry when my mom hugged me goodbye and so did Greer. That was kind of weird, but sweet at the same time. My mom isn’t one for sentiment so she responded with: “Ok, I’ll see you in 3 months…so, get on the airplane…Greer, honey, why are you crying?” It was actually really hilarious.

Then we got on our airplane to Raleigh which was pretty uneventful except Greer was freaked out because the airplane was small. Unfortunately, I had begun to feel a little queasy, and fever-y, and clammy. So I pretty much slept all the way to London. All 7 hours. On a plane. I could not keep my eyes open, unless Greer was poking me to wake up, which she did a lot. Why? Because Greer needed someone to talk to. That’s why.

In Greer’s defense, it does suck to not have anyone to talk to on a 7 hour flight and I know I was super crabby, which wasn’t fun. Sitting at Heathrow for four hours while we waited to be picked up by the university was even less fun. I think the most Greer and I said to each other during those four hours were: “I’m tired.”, “I’m thirsty.”, “Yeah, me too.”, “I’m really excited to be here, but I think I need to throw up.”

It was a gem of a time, I tell you. We both just felt horrible and I’m sure we looked like the living dead. I had also been freaking out the entire time because I had more than one bag and I was scared they wouldn’t let me on the bus to Winchester, but then everyone else had six so I felt better.

It was kind of a rough start to our adventure, but luckily we got over that quickly. As soon as we saw our other friends and got on the bus to Winchester, things started feeling better and all of the excitement of studying abroad washed over me again.

Cockney Confidential: At the Uni

I have obviously been quite remiss on keeping up with the blog while I have been abroad. I promised a separate sister blog entitled “Cockney Confidential” but I couldn’t for the life of me figure out how to create a separate page on “Hahn and Ahn and Ahn”. It’s a lame excuse, but it’s an honest one. Since I haven’t been keeping up with posting about my travels I thought I would write a series of blog posts on the highlights of my trip, starting with where I’m studying, Winchester.

Winchester is in the south of England, in the county of Hampshire, about an hour away from London. It is a city full of history, as it was the ancient capital of England before 1066. It’s insane to think that I am living somewhere that has been inhabited hundreds of years before the United States was even an English colony. The history in England is so rich and plentiful that I often find it overwhelming. I almost always have to read the Wikipedia page on a certain area or historical site because the tour guide couldn’t fit all the historical details into one tour.

Winchester is home to a stunning cathedral, which was built in 1093 and many ancient kings, royals, and famous English figures, including Jane Austen, are buried there.

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The University of Winchester is, of course, where I am studying. It’s a university of about 6,000 students and so far, it has been a wonderful experience. There are some cultural differences when it comes to classes and teaching styles, but otherwise I am finding my classes to be very enjoyable and interesting. It has been great hearing British perspectives on global issues and experiencing British “uni” culture.

One difference has been the interaction between the students and the professors. Students address all of their professors, or tutors as they call them, by their first name and have quite a chummy relationship with them. While that is true to an extent in the United States, I find that there is more of a professional factor at American universities between professors and students. I was also shocked to see students strolling into class late and simply getting a cheerful “Hello! Welcome, take a seat!” from the professor or not getting unceremoniously kicked out of class for not knowing the answer to a question or doing the reading. As a matter of fact, it is common for students to simply tell the professor that they didn’t do reading and the professor simply pushing back lecture to the following week. Insanity, I tell you.

There are also three bars on campus, but I have absolutely no complaints about that.

Love,

Hahn

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