UK Bound – January 2016

This week confirmed my future.. my VISA was approved.

On Thursday morning I was frantically refreshing the courier tracking page to see if the package had arrived. My sister was at my house (I begged her to wait around  for my package). They had emailed on Monday saying they had “made a decision”. Not knowing the outcome was painful. Then I got the call. “It says you have been approved for some.. ancestry thing” my sister said.

I was ecstatic. Also terrified.

My back up plan was to tour Europe, spend a couple of weeks in London and then go to Australia. I have heaps of friends there, it is close to home and the money exchange is much better. I know practically no one in the UK, my money will be halved and it is on the other side of the world. Of course – this makes it a lot more exciting!

Now that this is actually becoming real, I have a shit load of things to do. Get a job, find accommodation, get decent winter wear (otherwise I won’t last a day) etc. The job market is going to be a lot more competitive over there considering there are 8.5 million people in London alone.. double the amount of people in New Zealand. This is just more of a challenge to make myself stand out more. Also – my dream job of becoming a dog walker could actually become a reality with that many people.

This is the start to a new adventure in my life. I am so fucken happy.

 

Film – La vita è bella (Life is Beautiful)

Yes this does contain spoilers.

So I have just recovered (from crying my eyes out) and felt the need to let out more emotions – hence this post.

I’ll just give a brief “summary” of the film (but you really need to watch this masterpiece if you haven’t already)

When the movie beginnings it has this charming comic vibe. It starts of with Guido (played by the genius Roberto Benigni) an optimistic, impulsive man meeting a “princess” who falls into his arms. Guido takes any chance he can get to see her – often in impromptu crazy scenarios. His character is very care free, happy and seems to appreciate his life (even through tragic events). Eventually him and Dora (his princess) end up together.

Flash forward a couple of years and they are married and have a beautiful son Joshua. Sadly, it is now 1945ish and Guido and his son are Jewish. On Joshua’s birthday they are abruptly taken away to a Concentration Camp. Not wanting to traumatize his son Guido decides to use is skill of improvising to give his son hope. He tells his son they are about to enter a game, and if they earn 1,000 points they will win a real life tank. The film gets (obviously) a lot less comical and a lot more intense despite Guido’s optimistic barely faulting. At one point to keep up the game ruse he bravely pretends to speak German and translate’s what a guard is saying and explains the “rules of the game” – it is heart warming but also heart breaking as fuck. Throughout their time there Guido does everything in his power to bring happiness to his son and his wife ( as they are separated he finds ways of sending her messages they are alive).

Earlier in the film he is a waiter and befriends a doctor who happens to come into the camp (on the Nazi side) the doctor invites Guido to be a waiter on a special evening for the Nazis. Guido (and myself) assume the doctor is going to help him – he even mentions to his son they may leave “the game” early – but the Doctor turns out to be a ignorant cunt. In a tragically powerful scene, the Doctor begs Guido to help him solve a riddle – and you see for one of the first times Guido lose faith as he realizes the Doctor isn’t going to help him.  I have to mention another powerful scene that I can’t get out of my head because it is that powerful; Guido is walking back from waiting at the dinner, his son falling asleep in his arms, after just losing faith because of the doctor, and still manages to try focus on the positive whilst he is talking to his son about how it may all just be a dream and he may wake up with his wife the next day in their home. He then walks forward through the mist and in front of him is a enormous pile of dead bodies. Guido is silently horrified and then slowly backs off back into the mist to find his “dorm”.

On their last night, as havoc is breaking lose, Guido tells his son they are in the lead but Joshua needs to hide for one last night and takes him to a secure hiding place. When Joshua is safe Guido tries to find his wife. He puts a jersey over his head to disguise himself onto the woman side. He is then caught and a solider takes him away. They pass by where his son is hiding, and although he knows he is on the way to get shot, he makes eyes contact with his son for the last time, winks, smiles and walks away playfully as if it is all a game. Then he gets shot. In the morning the Joshua comes out of hiding and sees a big tank coming up and thinks he is won and is eventually reunited with his mother.

I haven’t cried so hard in a movie in years. I honestly did not see it coming. I was convinced that Guido would survive and they would all be reunited and have a happy ending. It was painful to watch but such an amazing film.

The title “Life is Beautiful” is very misleading yet accurately spot on. Roberto said that the title comes from a quote by Leon Trotsky, who when he was about to be killed saw his wife in the garden and wrote “that in spite of everything, life is Beautiful”.

And I think this film teaches us that. Have hope and be optimistic because life is beautiful in spite of tragedy. Joshua got through one of the most tragic situations happy because of his amazing courageous father.

The director and writer (I told you Roberto Benigini was a genius) had the great mix between being light hearted and intense as fuck. It is a film that will stick with you. It even won 3 Oscars which is amazing.

5/5 Stars for this film.

#IStandWithAhmed

A budding inventor Ahmed Mohamed (14) decided to build a clock for a project. When he decided to take this clock to school he was accused of making a bomb which landed him hand cuffed him and taken to a juvenile detention.

Yes.. This really happened.  (video to him talking about this issue (www.youtube.com/watch?v=3mW4w0Y1OXE).

All he was doing was following a passion and inventing a clock and he is treated like a criminal. There is something seriously fucked up with this.

I understand America has a lot of issues with their school shootings (because they do not want to get rid of their precious fucken guns) and maybe on edge; if this boy had been acting shady then yes you could investigate BUT HE WASN’T. Ahmed was showing his teacher the CLOCK. Calling it a CLOCK. Yet he ends up in custody..

People are speculating that the reason they jumped to the conclusion it was a bomb is because he is a Muslim. Which sadly makes sense and even more sadly would not surprise me. Honestly, how fucked up is society that a boy JUST BECAUSE OF HIS SKIN COLOUR ends up in such a sinister situation. This just shows how much society needs to change. If people are linking being a Muslim to being a terrorist – then there is  no hope for humanity. You guys, we have been through this before and so many innocent people suffered. Look at World War 2, Jews were targeted and people treated them like vermin criminals and millions were killed. Now being a Muslim is becoming a crime. This has to stop before it gets worse. Humans are Humans. Yes there are some shitty ones but that is not confined to one religion/race/gender. A 14 year old boy shouldn’t be scared to invent something because he is a Muslim. Treat every human with respect and kindness – it really isn’t hard.

One good outcome is this story went viral and awesome humans started the hashtag  #IStandWithAhmed. Even President Obama tweeted praising the boy for being into science. I am so glad Ahmed gets to see all the support he has.

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I hope this situation doesn’t put Ahmed, or any other person, off inventing in the future. We should be encouraging kids creativities and passion. I hope there is justice for Ahmed (i.e a scholarship at the very least) because this kid has a bright future.

Bucket List

I have so many things I want to experience, I decided to make a Bucket List here. (I do also have 30 activities I want to do before I am 30 – which will be the first 30 listed here). I will be updated this list whenever I get an idea into my head.

  1. Live in a foreign country.
  2. Write a book. It might not be read by anyone other then me, but I want to finish one. 
  3. Go to Burning Man.
  4. Throw a Coin in the Trevi Fountain
  5. Witness a Miracle.
  6. Conquer a Fear.
  7. Run a Marathon. Right now I can’t even run for 2 minutes.
  8. Become fluent in French.
  9. Go Bungee Jumping & Sky Diving.
  10. Fall in Love.
  11. Attend a protest I am very passionate about.
  12. Become successful at something.
  13. Walk in Central Park.
  14. Pay off my Student Loans .
  15. Get down to my goal weight. Pretty much get in great shape.
  16. Write a Script for a Tv Show
  17. Become good decent at one sport.
  18. Volunteer overseas.
  19. Climb a Mountain Even if it is a small one.
  20. Change someones life. In a positive way. 
  21. Learn to cook.
  22. Stay somewhere without modern technology. Either camping or in a cabin. 
  23. Help organize an event
  24.  Become comfortable in my own skin.
  25. Sing at a karaoke bar.
  26. Get high legally in Amsterdam.
  27. Swim with Sharks.
  28. Be good at Yoga. Right now I can’t even touch my toes. 
  29. Sleep under the stars.
  30. Have a moment so perfect that I cry of happiness.
  31. Have a job (even a once off) as a Dog Walker
  32. Visit Hever Castle The birthplace of Anne and Mary Boleyn 
  33. Spend a night in a Castle
  34. Go on a Safari
  35. Be an extra on TV or a Film Something in the background as I cannot act
  36. Publish an Article
  37. Jump of the Sky Tower
  38. Visit Every Continent Currently visited 3/7
  39. Go Paragliding
  40. Visit The Anne Frank House
  41. Dive between the Continental place in Iceland
  42. Visit the Roman Colosseum in Italy
  43. Visit the Moulin Rouge in Paris
  44. Go to the Stonehenge
  45. Go on a Ghost Tour
  46. Visit the Wizarding World of Harry Potter
  47. Meet J K Rowling
  48. Go on a boat ride in Venice
  49. See the Northen Lights
  50. Attend a Movie Premiere
  51. Meet Russell Brand

Ashley Madison Cheating Scandal

The topic of the past week(s): Ashley Madison Cheating Scandal. Everyone is giving their opinion so here is mine.

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Life is short. Have an affair. Wow. What a tag line. I also love the fact that they still have  “Over 39,285,000 Anonymous Member!” and the “Trusted Security Award”.

I had never heard of Ashley Madison before this scandal came out.  But essentially this is a website bored/unhappy/idiotic married people (or homewreckers) can go on and organise an affair. As horrible as this is, it is pretty smart idea, infact it made around $115 Million Dollars last year. But money is NOT worth all the pain this website would cause. My advice: Don’t be a jerk to make money. 

A group of concerned people (or people who get a kick out of exposing people) “the Impact Team” decided to hack the website and took some customer data. They told Avid Life Media (the smart yet awful people who run the website) to take down the site and another site Established Men (A site to hook beautiful gold diggers up with a sugar daddy – yes pretty much prostitution) or they would release the data. As both websites remained up they lived up to their word and exposed a load of people.

Was is wrong for the hackers to do this? Well it was illegal.. but I kind of want to applaud the Hackers. Karma as been served. 

I have no issues with two consenting adults engaging in meaningless kinky sex IF you are both single OR in open relationships – go for it! Hump away. BUT if you have made a commitment someone – don’t betray them. If being faithful is that difficult you have a problem okay so SORT YOUR SHIT OUT. Talk to your partner, work out the issues, have an open relationship or separate. Cheating may feel like a good temporary distraction but it won’t make you happy.  No one likes cheaters. Don’t be that person.

I have zero sympathy for the cheaters however I feel very sorry for the partners who are going to get hurt by the information released. Now is a good time to remember The Truth will set you free. That doesn’t mean it isn’t going to hurt like a mother fucker but sometimes you need to go through the pain to find happiness. They can leave their cheating partner or they can resolve their issues.

And as awful as cheating is and as much as I have just bashed all the cheaters people make “mistakes” and bad choices. Learn from them. Instead of being a shitty person – become a good person. Earn their forgiveness or at least let them go so they can be with someone who will cherish them. Life is too short to have an affair when you could find a place of happiness.

Wellington on a Plate – ATA Rangi Winemaker’s Dinner

I am a very lucky girl. On Thursday I had the most amazing night at the Ata Rangi Winemaker’s Dinner event which was part of Wellington on a Plate.  Note: I apologise for the sub-par photos I took from my iPhone – one day I will get a good camera!

It was 5:41pm on Thursday Night. I had just finished a detox (The Saturday before I was at a Birthday Party filled with Chocolate Cake, Pizza and Wine and I couldn’t have anything – it was torture!).  I was just about to start making my dinner when I got an AMAZING tweet:

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I was over the moon. Within an hour my mother and I were at the Museum Hotel where the Hippopotamus Restaurant is. Now I have heard a lot about Hippopotamus – it is one of the top restaurants in Wellington. The restaurant is beautiful!  C’est magnifique! Also, as a bonus it is a French restaurant and I love anything French.

On arrival, we had the 2014 Ata Rangi Sauvignon Blanc this was my mothers favourite wine of the night she loves a good dry Sauvignon.

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After enjoying the beautiful view of the harbor we were seated. They have a few large tables so you sat next to different people. We had a lovely couple across from us, they informed us this was the best event of Wellington on a Plate!

The first course was Le Sashimi de saumon “a ma facon” served with 2010 Ata Rangi Craighall Riesling

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I love Salmon – so this dish was perfection although I could of done with Wasabi. The Riesling was stunning. In my opinion this was the best food and wine match of the night (although they were all wonderful).

The second course was  Poitrine de porc confite, tortellini a la langouste, Bouillabaisse et puree de mais served with a 2011 Ata Rangi Lismore Pinot Gris 

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The pork belly was amazing and mixed with the sweet corn puree was heaven. I wasn’t a huge fan of the Cray Fish so my other ate mine (she adored it!) The Pinot Gris was okay, it was quite dry in my opinion but it was very popular amount others on the table.

Now to my favorite wine of the night I could of drunken the whole bottle 

The third course was Filet de dorade poele, coques de Cloudy Bay, langoustines sautees, perles de safran et sauce Homardine served with 2008 Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay 

I didn’t get a photo of this course because I was distracted by how fucken divine the Chardonnay was. It was probably the best wine I have ever had. Sadly, I was left heartbroken when we discovered the 2008 Ata Rangi Craighall Chardonnay was no longer available. The Snapper was brilliant, everything in that dish worked well. 10/10 – Best course of the night.

Next was the Confit de cuisse de canard, magret pele, pomme a la tomme, saute de petales de choux de Bruxelles creme de haricot blanc et served with 2009 Ata Rangi Pinot Noir

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I love a good Pinot Noir – did not disappoint. The Wine and the Duck were marvelous together. My only complaint would be the disappointment over having one Brussel Sprout. As they are my favourite food I was sad. This was probably the best meal of the night.

Fifth Course was a Ossau-Iraty, petite poire pochee au vin rouge, compote de poire epicee et gougere served with 2010 Ata Rangi Syrah

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So funny thing about this meal, my mother and I both thought the long white item was the poached pear – then I bit into it and figured out it was Cheese! My mother later commented “Hm. This pear tastes like cheese” … I just had to laugh and explain that it tastes like cheese because it was cheese. Everything on the plate went so well together – I am envious of chefs who can create dishes that work!

Sixith and final course was Jardin d’Argumes served with the Ata Rangi Kahu Late Harvest Riesling 

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A perfect wine and dessert to end the night. I hardly ever eat dessert, and before Thursday I hadn’t had sugar in a long time but “Candied citrus, white chocolate mousse, matcha genoise, hibicus jelly, chocolate crumble and gin parfait” Perfection. Dessert wines are often good, the Riesling was the perfect match.

I highly highly recommend anyone who hasn’t been to Hippopotamus Restaurant to go. Their chefs are brilliant and the waiters are excellent. It was an enjoyable evening from start to finish. Also check out Ata Rangi’s wines – http://www.atarangi.co.nz/, they are definitely in my top ten now.

And although Friday was a pretty painful day at work –  I am so grateful for Wellington on a Plate for choosing me as their winner! I am glad I got to take my mother out for an amazing time.

Till next time xx

Shauna

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The Future 2016

Since I was a little girl my dream has been to travel. As I got older and reality stepped in I came to realize that you need money to travel the world. My friends who grew up in England had so many wonderful stories of travelling I decided the best idea would be to move there and travel. As the years have passed and life kept happening, my dream seemed further and further away. I didn’t have enough money, I had to finish my studies, I was scared and making excuses. But now AFTER ALL THESE YEARS I am finally going!

On 11th January 2016 I will be saying by to New Zealand and Hello to England. I finally grew some balls and booked the ONE WAY ticket. I will be doing a 24 day Tour of Europe before I settle in. I have had people tell me not to do a tour before I go BUT fuck it this is what I wanted to do.

Words cannot describe how excited I am. Or how nervous I am. I have no friends nor family over there. I will be truly alone. I still have 6 Months.. 217 days.. but there is a lot to do between now and then. Saving, VISA etc. At this point, I am planning on moving to London for a year or two. But this will be the first time in my 22 years (well I will be 23 then) that I will be free to go with the flow. I honestly have no idea who this will turn out – I might fail and be back home in 3 months. Or I might find my place in the world. But if you want to do something you should do it. 

The one part which is certain is the Winter Spirit tour of Europe. It is going to be amazing. Cold, yes. But wonderful. My favorite destination is not Paris (surprisingly) but Amsterdam. Anne Frank has been one of my role models since I was a child. To be able to go to The Anne Frank house will be amazing. I am also very excited to go to one of Amsterdam’s famous Coffee Shops.

I have a feeling 2016 might be the best year yet!

Is Russell Brand a Hypocrite?

Hello Hello

Today, has been a mildly interesting day. I went to work. Laughed. Looked at photos of the Met Gala (Beyonce is a queen), I got a little disappointed at the Royal’s naming the baby Charlotte (Personally, I wanted it to be something out there… like Beyonce). There was an Earthquake near Paupa New Guina, thankfully no one seems to be hurt. I also lit a very nice smelling candle which I got last year at a Breast Cancer fundraiser (http://www.breastcancercure.org.nz/cure-shop if anyone would like to buy one, they smell amazing and the funds go to a good cause). Although the topic I have talked about most today is Russell Brand. 

I adore Russell Brand. His type of Comedy is my favorite! He is absolutely hysterical. I think his movies are great. I also think he is a very sexy man. But above all things, I love Russell’s is passion for activism. Russell has proven his devotion for creating a change even if some may not like his eccentric ways, Russell has done some great thing. He has tried to help raise awareness to drug addiction being a mental illness. He has joined protests to help create change. Russell is also the host and creator of The Trews (True News, it is on Youtube and I think is very informative). 

One subject he is well known for is for him wanting to create a Revolution. Russell, like a lot of us, is sick of the way things are.

The Rich are being greedy mother fuckers and, with the assistance of the Government, are getting richer by avoiding tax, creating policies that only benefit the selected few, mean while normal folk are getting poorer and more people suffering. Russell Brand has done an AMAZING job at talking about this and bringing information to light. I highly recommend you watching The Emperor’s New Clothes.

Russell has been very outspoken for is his stance against voting. COUNTLESS times he has said people shouldn’t vote. He once said

I have never voted. Like most people I am utterly disenchanted by politics. Like most people I regard politicians as frauds and liars and the current political system as nothing more than a bureaucratic means for furthering the augmentation and advantages of economic elites. Billy Connolly said: “Don’t vote, it encourages them,” and, “The desire to be a politician should bar you for life from ever being one”… I don’t vote because to me it seems like a tacit act of compliance

So today it has come as a big surprise to his Trews viewers, fans, haters etc that he has now urged people to vote for Labour.

At first, although I was a little shocked I didn’t think much of it. It may be because I am not from England so the vote actually has nothing to do with me; or that, although I agree the Government is corrupt and it needs changing, I believe in voting. Then I proceeded to read the comments of his YouTube video. 60% of the comments are people angry at Russell for promoting voting, some stating he was a “sell out”, others speculating this was is agenda and all these videos had been a ploy to sell his books, movie etc (Why would anyone go through all the effort, not even he is that crazy!). 30% of the comments were just regular haters hating on Russell (They obviously have no lives). The other 10% agreed with Russell’s new views. The media then got into it calling Russell Brand a hypocrite. So it got me questioning Is Russell Brand really a hypocrite? 

I decided to message a friend who also loves Russell brand. She said very wisely “Are people not allowed to change their minds?”

Well, when I was growing up I loved Coke (The drink not the drug). Yes, I heard it was bad but I was ADDICTED. In my teenager years I was drinking 1 litre a day. I thought it was true love. Then when I was 19 I read some pretty horrible articles about how horrible coke was for you and I decided to take a break of Coke. I thought it would be a couple of days before we were reunited but I felt so much better switching from Coke to water that I never went back to drinking it, infact I cannot stand Coke. I changed my opinion on the drink. This does not make me a hypocrite. No one has called me out for it. No media outlet has dedicated articles about my choice not to drink coke.

As Russell explained in his video he has learnt a lot of politics recently. In 2013 he could not see a way that voting for a Government could help since they never listened to other 99% since they were controlled by the 1%. But now, Russell has had more information, met the leader of one of the parties and developed some hope that maybe voting in Labour could help bring change into the future. He is making an informed decision to vote for the party. He isn’t selling out or hurting anyone. He is a man using his voice to bring change to make the place better EVEN if it takes him down a pathway he didn’t plan on ever going down. I admire him for opening his mind and listening to other points of view. This does not Russell Brand a hypocrite. 

Everyone has a right to an opinion and a right to change it. Even on small matters like drinking Coke.

Growing Up

When you are young, the world is black and white. You see the world through your eyes. Innocent eyes. People are either good or bad. Your parents are right (most of the time). Then once you get older and start becoming a teenager and you develop your own opinions and views. You think you know who you are, your friends are always right, your parents are wrong (most of the time).

At 14 I thought I was an adult. I thought I knew it all. I knew who I was, what I wanted and I understood everything. I had such strong views in my black and white world. I made a lot of bad choices and I missed a lot of opportunities due to the fact I was so stubborn. I only saw my point of view.  And although made mistakes, I also learnt new lessons. The world started getting more and more grey. People become both good and bad. Life isn’t as easy nor as hard as it looks. I too started to change. My mind is so much more open. I try to understand people, even if their decisions are ones I can’t agree with. It is okay. Everyone is different.

Heraclitus said “The Only Thing That Is Constant Is Change”.

The constant change in ourselves and the world is all part of us growing up. Life is constantly evolving and improving. This is why growing up is so important and exciting.

In 10 years, I will be rolling my eyes and choices I made in my 20s. I will want to go back in time and tell myself “Girl.. you should not have gone there”. But all those mistakes and life lessons are going to keep me growing to become a better person. So don’t be afraid to live your life. Don’t be afraid of making decisions which might not be the right choice; one day you will be thankful you did.

Bonjour et Bienvenue

Salut, Je m’appelle Shauna.

When I was 14 I was lucky enough to go on a school trip to France. I visited Paris, Lyon and a few other places and fell inlove with the cities, the culture and the language. Of course, I couldn’t understand the language but I vowed to become fluent and live in Lyon for a month when I was older.

The trouble is

1) My French is just as bad now as it was at 14. Oui, I know the basic basics, Bonjour, Merci, Au Revior, Je ne sais pas.. but I still cannot hold a simple conversation.

2) I am still stuck on the otherside of the world in New Zealand.

However, in January of 2016 (my gawd that sounds a long time away), I will be travelling to the otherside of the world. The destination is London but I am hoping (if I can grasp French in time) I may be able to extend my stay to France for a month.This gives me around 8 months to learn French.

8 months sounds like a good amount of time, but considering I have been speaking English for 22 years and there are still words I do not know.. this is going to be a hard journey.

What will this blog be about? Most Importantly to keep me on track with my learning the language. I will start including French into the posts, different topics I am learning etc. Also, I want to learn more about Europe (specifically France for now) which includes the History and Culture. I also want to learn and write about Travel which is a broad topic which ranges from saving, to Ideas, activities etc.

How I am starting this voyage? Well as most people who are learning a new language, I am using DuoLingo. A great site (also an APP). I have also brought some books. I will be looking out for French Classes in my area and of course be using the resources found on the internet.

One day, I will be able to watch a French Film and understand it without the subtitles (or so I can dream!)

Au Revoir. A bientot!