Log in

No account? Create an account
Sauntering Vaguely Downward [entries|archive|friends|userinfo]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat

Serious Business | Flickr
Bounty Information | Wanted Dead or Alive: Mad Scientess Nanila
Deeds of Derring-Do | Full of Wild Inaccuracies and Exaggerations

Day 115/365: Promotion time! [20180425|10:30]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , ]
[the weather today is |proud]
[with a hint of |Dance with Me - Underground Sound of Lisbon]

(Vienna travelogue on hold for Important News.)

As of today, we are no longer Dr Nanila and Dr Bloke. We are Dr Nanila and Professor Bloke. \o/

For those unfamiliar with the UK academic system, here is the US equivalence: Lecturer == Assistant Professor, Senior Lecturer/Reader == Associate Professor, Professor == Full Professor. The bloke has just jumped over the middle step(s) and gone from Lecturer to Professor. Also, he's not yet forty. So this is a rather noteworthy achievement.

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1148617.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkpKa 2.0|titrate

Day 114/365: Vienna: Day 4: Dancing horses and photography [20180424|23:01]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , , , ]
[the weather today is |accomplished]

In the morning, we walked over to the Hofburg palace, which houses the Spanische Hofreitschule, or Spanish Riding School, where the Lippizaner stallions perform. Granny wanted to watch the morning exercises, which are much cheaper to view than the full performances, although you cannot book seats.

We were amongst the first in the queue and so we ended up getting very fine seats on the lower balcony. I was impressed that Keiki and Humuhumu maintained interest in the exercises for a full hour. Each set of horses practised only for half an hour, to avoid straining them. A little film was shown about the birth and development of the horses as they took their turns around the sandy floor. Keiki was fascinated by that, particularly the way the horses changed colour. Humuhumu got out her drawing pad and pens from her Rainbow Dash rucksack and did some drawings, which I later realised were based on the architectural flourishes inside the building.

If you’re wondering why there are no photos, it’s because all photography and filming within the building is forbidden.

The grandparents wanted to stay and watch another round of exercises, so I took the children to the cafe to wait for them.

+4Collapse )

After lunch and a rest, the children and I went out again to take a long tram ride over to the Kunst Haus Wien, one of Hundertwasser’s buildings, and a fine gallery. I have seen a couple of outstanding exhibitions there, one of H.R. Giger and the other of street photography pioneer Saul Leiter. The exhibition at the moment is the work of Finnish photographer Elina Brotherus.

Kunst Haus WienCollapse )

We took the tram home again, satisfied with the day’s adventures.

Once the bloke had returned from the conference, we ventured out into the night in search of a quiet drink.

The grounds of the Hofburg were exceptionally attractive by night, and also oddly deserted.

+2Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1148171.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkpKa 4.0|titrate

Day 113/365: Vienna: Day 2 baby monkey + Day 3 [20180423|20:22]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , , , ]

Day 113/365: Vienna: Day 2 baby monkey + Day 3

I forgot to post the baby monkey from the Tiergarten yesterday. What an oversight! Here is the baby monkey.

Clinging to Mummy’s fur while she strips leaves from a branch.

+1Collapse )

We got going slowly on our third day in Vienna. Everyone was still pretty tired after spending all of the previous day walking around outside in the sun.

Humuhumu used the wooden shape kit in the childrens’ room to create this flower.
Keiki added the finishing touches - “more green”, as usual.

After getting dressed, we embarked on our tram stop tour of Viennese parks. A selection of photos from our favourites is below the cut.

+++Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1147985.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkpKa 2.0|titrate

Day 112/365: Vienna: Day 2: Schoenbrunn + Tiergarten [20180422|23:01]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , , , , ]
[the weather today is |exhausted]
[with a hint of |h2g2 series 1]

Humuhumu colours in a castle in her colouring book. Keiki looks through his green 'noculars at his toys on the table (green dinosaur & tentacle). The Schoenbrunn Palace, summer residence of the Hapsburgs, is in the background.

We spent our second full day in Vienna in the grounds of the Schoenbrunn palace and the Tiergarten (Zoo). Our first stop after disembarking from the U-Bahn at the Schoenbrunn station was the cafe, to refuel with coffee and cake.

+++Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1147657.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkpKa 6.0|titrate

Day 111/365: Vienna: Day 1 [20180421|22:58]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , , , , ]

View of the Rathaus (City Hall) from the windows of our Viennese flat.

On our first full day in Vienna, I put the telephoto lens on my dSLR and took a few shots out the windows of our flat.

+++Collapse )

The first ice cream photo [Day 101] was taken on our walk back to the flat.

Later that afternoon, we had a walk through the Museumsquartier, where Keiki and Humuhumu said hello to the ducks outside the Leopold Museum, who remain blissfully ignorant of the sign which sternly reminds the public that animals are not allowed in the fountain.

Keiki and Humuhumu pull silly faces in front of the fountain. The Mumok (modern art museum) is in the background.

+1Collapse )

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1147395.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkpKa 8.0|titrate

Day 110/365: Friday's Unscientific Poll: The Craggy Island Barge [20180420|10:31]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , , , ]

A canal barge named Craggy Island
Canal barge named Craggy Island, with the correct Father Ted titles colour scheme and everything.

Poll #2080622 What's in a [canal barge] name?

Is "Craggy Island" the best name ever for a canal barge?

Down with this sort of thing
Careful now

Day 108/365: And now for something completely different: a cheerful PokéGo post [20180418|17:06]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[the weather today is |pleased about this, anyway]

Screenshot of a shiny pink Ampharos.

On Community Day, when I was back in the UK I caught a shiny Mareep straightaway, and jumped for joy because I had just acquired enough Mareep candies to achieve the full evolution cycle. And now I have a beautiful shiny pink Ampharos in my backpack. Huzzah!

From a PokéGo perspective, it was fantastic being in central Vienna, where the Pokéstops are as dense as forest trees, during the Spring event. I managed to evolve a number of Hoenn region Pokémon, and I got a Moltres from doing Field Research. Hat-tip to the bloke for helping me with completing sequential curveball throw tasks. I’m very pleased there’s now a way to get Legendaries without having to battle in difficult raids, which would require interacting with other people. (That’s just not my favourite aspect of playing any game!)

That said, the reason I’m making this post is that when I got to London this morning, I found that [personal profile] kaberett had popped a Snorlax in a local gym. I added my Alakazam, and fed the Snorlax a few berries. Seeing a friend’s Pokémon is not quite the same thing as seeing said friend, but it still put a big smile on my face.

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1146812.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.

Day 107/365: Immigration (inspired by the Windrush story) [20180417|13:21]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , ]
[the weather today is |fuck this]
[with a hint of |welcome to the state where the politics of hate shout loud in the crowd]

[Warning: contains swearing]

For context: Today's news features a story about the UK's Home Office threatening to deport a generation of Commonwealth citizens who came to the UK decades ago and were never issued with what is now required paperwork. The UK government is now making out that it is all a terrible mistake, cannot possibly be their fault, rather than a direct result of the increasingly hostile immigration policies it has been introducing for the last eight years or so. I am particularly incensed by Theresa May's "apologies", because the rules being used for the deportation orders were implemented by her when she was Home Secretary. These policies are not just hostile toward illegal immigrants. They are hostile toward all immigrants.

I say this as someone with direct experience of those policies. I came to the UK in 2004 on a domestic partner visa which cost about £300. I became a citizen in 2013. Indefinite Leave to Remain, the immigration exam and the citizenship fee cost me £2200. But it was not just the financial cost of legal immigration that ballooned during those ten years. When I first arrived - in London, which admittedly gives one a warped perspective on how much of a melting pot the rest of the country is (top tip: most of it isn't) - I experienced a good deal of stress. Most of the stress was cultural. I learned to navigate social cues, try to make friends, figure out the bus routes, cook with different ingredients, speak in the correct vocabulary, smooth out my accent, apologise constantly, etc. The cultural stress diminished as time went on. However, there was an element of stress that got worse the longer I stayed, and that was a direct result of the increasingly bureacratic, rigid, and expensive visa renewal process.

It took four weeks to switch from the domestic partner visa to my first Tier 2 (employer-linked) visa. I swopped to an HSMP (the now-defunct Highly Skilled Migrant Programme) visa as soon as I could, and from there to a Tier 1 visa (now inaccessible unless you're a millionaire or City banker) because it gave the holder the flexibility to work for any employer.

By the time I applied for Indefinite Leave to Remain, the waiting time for a visa renewal or switch was a minimum of six months. Perhaps that doesn't sound too bad if you've never been through the process. Let me tell you why it is that bad.

You cannot apply for a visa renewal until you're within six months of the expiry date of your current visa. The chances are, therefore, that your visa will expire whilst you're waiting for the renewal. You are, magnanimously, allowed to continue working at your current job while you wait for your expired visa to be renewed, and you'd better pray you don't lose your job during that period because you can't apply for a new job until the renewal comes through. Even if you are not particularly at risk of losing your job, allow me to assure you, it is deeply fucking stressful to go to work every day knowing that you are entirely at the mercy of your employer in order to remain legally in the country.

The Home Office has your passport. For six months. Obviously you cannot leave the country during that period. You can't travel for work. (This was a pain in the butt for me more than once at my job). If, heaven forbid, one of your non-UK-based relatives has the audacity to become ill or die while you're waiting for your visa renewal, you cannot go to them. Or rather, you can, but you have to somehow get the Home Office to answer a plea to return your passport. When they do, this will invalidate your renewal application. You will have to start over. Now imagine a scenario in which you are five months into the six-month wait. Your visa is about to expire. You have to arrange and attend a funeral for one of your parents. Then you have to return to the UK, hope that you'll be allowed back in, return to work, and resubmit your 150-page visa renewal application. And wait another six months, five of which will be spent working on an expired visa. Oh, also, one of your parents has just died. That doesn't sound stressful at all, does it.

This is all deliberate. The visa application system has been crafted to be convoluted and unwelcoming. The Home Office has been under-resourced to deal with the volume of paperwork it requires immigrants to generate. If you do manage to navigate the bureaucracy, to fill out the right forms and afford the fees and complete the path to settlement or citizenship, the experience leaves you permanently scarred. The feeling that you are second-class, that because your citizenship was earned rather than inherited, it is somehow still precarious and worth less than a native-born person, will never leave you. Not even when your children are born UK citizens. I know because I live this daily.

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1146233.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.
linkpKa 15.0|titrate

Day 105/365: The Friday Five on a Sunday [20180415|20:45]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , ]

  1. Has the weather where you are finally started acting like spring is here?
    The week before last, at the start of April, I would have said no, as temperatures were unseasonably low. I spent last week in Central Europe, where daytime temperatures stayed firmly in the mid-twenties Celsius and the skies were clear. That definitely made it feel like spring. It's rather cooler in the UK, but still mild. The daffodils are out, and that makes it feel like it's properly spring now.

  2. Do you have any special spring activities or outings planned?
    We've had our Easter holiday trips now (to the castle, and to Vienna), so I feel like we've already completed our "special" spring activities. We do need to plant our veggies, probably the weekend after next.

  3. Have you started wearing different clothing appropriate to spring?
    I swapped from my wool coat to my waterproof mac last week, and that always makes it feel like spring has arrived. I've stopped wearing my tall boots with my jeans as well.

  4. What signs of spring are manifesting around you?
    The daffodils, as previously mentioned. The lambs all seem to have been born in the farms around us. There are a lot of mating beetles in the garden, and we've seen a few hardy caterpillars emerge. I need to fill the bird feeders tomorrow and see if we can attract more of the seasonal migrants.

  5. Are there special foods you enjoy preparing and/or eating in the spring?
    I feel that the foods I stop eating when the weather warms up are more indicative of the arrival of spring. Like stews and roasts and chilli.

This entry was originally posted at https://nanila.dreamwidth.org/1145804.html. The titration count is at comment count unavailable.0 pKa.

Day 103/365: Friday's Unscientific Poll: Mozartkugeln v. Manner Wafers [20180413|19:22]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
[Tags|, , , , , , , , , ]

I can't hear you, I've got Mozartkugeln in my ears
Humuhumu to Keiki, at the Kunst Haus Wien cafe: "I can't hear you, I've got Mozartkugeln in my ears!"

Poll #2080422 Mozartkugeln v. Manner wafers: Fight!

Which is the superior stereotypical Viennese treat?

Manner wafers

For reference:
linkpKa 7.0|titrate

[ viewing | most recent entries ]
[ go | earlier ]