22.3.15

Filling our lungs with sea air



We spent a day breathing in grey and salty air along the Yorkshire Coast, stopping first in Robin Hood's Bay for a quick 'splash' in the freezing cold water and a big cup of hot chocolate and then nipping over to Whitby for some freshly-caugh-freshly-cooked fish (haddock!) and chips. We took a meander up to the Abbey and pottered around the town just enjoying the break from screens, books and general university stresses.

On a small(ish) life update, I've accepted an offer to study for my masters at SOAS, I'll be doing 'Human Rights Law' and will (fingers crossed I get the grades they ask for) be moving back home to London this summer. Phillip is waiting to hear back between other London universities and options in Berlin, so we are unsure if we're about to face another year of long-distance or whether we might both be in London. 

At the moment I'm working on my penultimate piece of writing for hand-in and then it's just the dissertation left. I have finished all classes, no more undergraduate seminars, workshops or lectures again!
I'm looking for as many postgraduate funding options as I can so if you happen to know of any do let me know, all paths are being followed on that front! 

It's just Phillip and I at home at the moment, our housemates have gone back to their respective countries (Luxembourg/Norway!) for the long break we have over Easter. We'll be heading to Germany soon and will be celebrating Easter with Phillip's grandparents as has become tradition for the past four years, this will be the fifth! Tonight however we are eating steak (!!!)

I've been taking ballet and pilates classes again and am really beginning to notice that I'm feeling a lot more positive and less melancholic or fatigued which is good.

I can't promise there will be bounds of posts in the next couple of weeks whilst I wrap up this degree, but come summer I should be back on board ship!

Take care to all who are reading and thank you for reading!

Ailish

19.2.15

On weather and needing a kick

So my good friend Sarah (do you remember her? This gem from last year) she's on the other side of the world in New Brunswick, Canada. At this very moment she is existing amongst piles and piles of snow. I mean snow, I mean serious, real, snow snow.

This is what it looks like:

credit
I'm a million times jealous. I don't know what it is about weather extremes, but what I do know is that I want them, I really need something exciting with the weather to happen - I feel it'll help me out of a rut - probably bullshit. I do want it to get so cold that we get so much snow though. Or at least a consistency with some sunshine and blue skies... anything but just grey-in-grey-out. I probably shouldn't be saying I want extreme weathers - I am likely endorsing global warming over here by announcing that. I'm not - we gotta take care of this planet!! There is something about snow though that just stops the everyday from being so 'everyday', so mundane! I like a bit of drama, I want to have a bit of a struggle to open the door in the morning and to have to shovel away mountains of snow - or to clamber through it (with my padded warm clothes of course) before I can get out (I'm also totally aware of the naivety of this comment... But please, let a girl have a romantic-snow-imagination... just today!)

February in Yorkshire (combined with the stresses of the final year of uni) though, that's a whole other matter (I just wrote January here by accident before deleting it and remembering that we're more than half way through February by now... that's saying something about my general feelings at the moment.) There's no chance of any more snow or probably even any more sub-zero temperature days in this neck of the woods - and it's frustrating.

It's been a funny few weeks of ups and downs. I was accepted onto my top choices for Masters programs at SOAS, King's College London and UCL - these were major ups for me (more on this to come).
Last week though, Phillip battled a nasty cold - & I accused him of having a serious case of 'man-flu' - but I spoke too soon. I have it now too, he's feeling mostly back to normal thank goodness, but I'm now on day four. I think perhaps yesterday was my 'peak' day. I'm feeling a little better today, though still feeling rather stuffy and peaky. All my apologies have gone out to Phillip over my man-flu accusations - it's really a pretty nasty little kicker of a pre-spring cold. All in all we've both been knocked out for almost a fortnight and it's reflected in our moods and general spirit.
It's not just us, it seems (and is so) that everyone has a lot of work to do (myself included) and I know a lot of us are feeling pretty wiped out and lacking in energy (or enthusiasm... something along those lines)

So, I'm needing something to pick me back up, a kick or something. (some snow would do the trick, I'm sure of that)

However, looking on the bright side, February is almost over, and I'm hoping there will be some days of productivity to come - that will help all our moods too I should think - we're a house full of busy heads at the moment, but we all have lots of exciting things to look forward to and I know for sure this is just a brief slump!

In order to counteract the lack of 'extreme weather' we get over here in York, out of our kitchen window we are blessed with more often than not, some really beautiful sunsets. Here's a parting one from last week:

my own.


More writing (and jolliness) to come soon!

Ailish

31.1.15

A new space

Today I thought I'd tell you all about a new project I've been working on lately...


As a bit of a follow-on from Ailish Goes, I have decided to create a whole new space where I can discuss other issues that are not to do with travel/lifestyle/misc. bits & pieces.
Ailish Goes will remain more of a personal blog and will continue to be updated 
on the sporadic basis that is currently is.
Ailish Scoops however, is going to (hopefully!) become more of a space for commentary and thoughts on current affairs and human rights issues.
I wanted to have a seperate space to be able to express some more important thoughts. Over the last year or so there has been the odd post on Ailish Goes that seemed to not quite 'fit' with the rest of the theme of my blog - nice photos, travel thoughts, general musings & nothing too important. The reality is however, that there is another side of me that I want to show, but I want to do it in an appropriate place.

I hope that maybe some of you will pop by to have a look and maybe engage/leave your thoughts on articles, it would be amazing if we can get a little conversation going on - this is something that I personally feel should happen more with blogs -  there is so much potential!

If there is anything you would like to see or discuss, please let me know! 

Either here or there, Ailish.

26.1.15

Headspace


Have you guys tried Headspace?
I'm just about finished with the free ten day trial pack and am considering paying for full membership.
The idea is to carve out ten minutes of your day to make yourself a little more mindful. To take a breather, to focus on yourself and to switch off from the grind of day to day life through 'mindful meditation'.
I've had a lot going on lately, from postgraduate applications, to essay/dissertation writing, meetings and generally exhaustion from 'life planning' - what will I be doing this time next year? Needless to say it's left me continuously tired and to be honest, a little anxious and worried about things.
A couple of friends of mine had been using it and suggested it to me, and I've not really looked back.
(though, I did it solidly, every day for 8 days, and then took a 5 day break - and I noticed the difference)
Today, I went on to do day 9 and tomorrow will be my final day of the first block.
I would recommend trying it (no affiliates here!) if you feel like you are getting overwhelmed with life, be it big or small things, or, even if you're perfectly happy and content it is a great chance to just have a few minutes to yourself each day to pause and reflect.

17.1.15

"we who seek justice will have to do justice to others"

M.K Gandhi credit here

I read through Gandhi's Hind Swaraj or Indian Home Rule today and was struck by one line which read: “we who seek justice will have to do justice to others”. I found this a particularly poignant quote in regards to how we so often find ourselves asking for justice, presuming justice and seeking out justice, yet, in order to gain it we must afford others the same treatment. I suppose it is also about giving others the time and space to express themselves before making a judgement of them - treating people well, and giving others' opinions and beliefs the respect and consideration necessary to allow us to live in harmony with one another.

15.1.15

Baga, 150 or 2000?

Credit: Amnesty International - DigitalGlobe
Just over a week ago, the offices of Charlie Hebdo in Paris were brutally attacked by Saïd and Chérif Kouachi, two French Muslims protesting against the magazine's depictions of the Prophet Muhammad. The brothers shot dead 12 people and wounded 11 more. It would be hard to come across somebody unaware of the attack, who hasn't seen or posted a 'Je Suis Charlie' declaration, an expression which has quickly come to epitomise "I am free, I am not afraid". Whilst the media attention is overwhelming (and rightly so) it does beg consideration of the powers of social media and the lasting impact of such immediate global outcry. Is it really helpful, can it make a lasting change? Perhaps, but online campaigns can also be the 'all and everything' for one day and completely gone by the next.

What about a Twitter sensation which was forgotten? On April 14th 2014, 276 girls were kidnapped from Chibok Government Secondary School in Northern Nigeria by the terrorist organisation, Boko Haram. What followed was a global campaign to #BringBackOurGirls. Individuals as well as public figures got involved, making it one of the largest Twitter campaigns of 2014. Yet, nine months later, 230 of the girls are still missing and despite the viral hashtag the publicity of attacks and kidnappings in Nigeria has rapidly declined.
Last week, around the same time as the Charlie Hebdo attacks (3rd-7th Jan.), Nigeria was again victim to Boko Haram. It would be no surprise if you had not heard of the massacre until Monday, Tuesday, or even until today, Thursday? There are unconfirmed claims from local authorities that up to 2000 people have been murdered in Baga, a town in the northeastern state of Borno. Yet confusion is ongoing, there are suggestions that the number might 'just' be around 150 fatalities. How can there be such a significant discrepancy between numbers and why is nobody asking the right questions? Who is not being transparent? the international media, the Nigerian government? Something is being hidden and covered up with this incident. 
In a world of constant communication, of viral hashtags and of non-stop questioning, it seems out of place that there are no real answers on what has happened in Baga, over a week later.
I understand the hype over the Charlie Hebdo attack. I think the power of the media and individuals to stand together and support against violence is wonderful. The problematic aspect comes when one massacre is 'valued' by the international community over another. 
The France attacks were a threat to Western values of freedom of speech. Of course the reactions were as strong as they were, it was too close for comfort - physically and emotionally. Nigeria in contrast, is further away, it is behaviour which some people may simply 'expect' of a country on the boundaries of civil war. Have we become numb to African massacres? Is it something we are so accustomed to that it no longer warrants any -or very little- coverage? 
I like to think not, but I do believe that the media coverage of the Baga massacre last week was disappointing.

In the satellite images of Baga at the top of this post, the red indicates healthy vegetation. The first image was taken on January 2nd 2015 and underneath is from January 7th. 

Finally, what about those 230 girls, they are still missing? 
#BringBackOurGirls
#WhatHappenedInBaga?
#JeSuisCharlie

14.1.15

To the Bay

Hello and Happy New Year!
A week after all the celebrations, we packed up the car and went off in search of some sea air and fresh starts. We found it in the form of good friends, plenty of wine and a little quaint Yorkshire village... Robin Hood's Bay.
There are going to be some changes around here in the coming months, not any drastic 2015 resolutions, but some different content and some re-evaluating of Ailish Goes (...elsewhere?), but for now, here is a roll from our lovely long weekend by the sea, a great start to the new year - blowing away the webs of 2014...


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