Photography, Travel

Bali on Film

In the middle of August, my best friends came down to Singapore and stayed with Kyla and I but we decided to take a detour into beautiful Bali. It was a year and a bit since we were all together and what better place to do it than on an island? Here you will find some of the photos from our days that were taken on the 35mm half frame.

Enjoy!

Ubud

Uluwatu

 

Andrea x

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Photography, Travel

Grainin’ Greece

Hello, world.

In the midst of sorting out all my photographs and editing new ones here and there I have re-discovered my film photos from Santorini and Athens.

I have shared these images with my people on social media, but never on this platform. As always, some are better than others but I think they do capture the moments.

Greece was the second country Kyla and I went to on our “Europe” trip circa Summer 2016 and we basically spent the 24h of our days together. Personally I enjoyed Athens a lot more because it provided a variety of things to see, do and appreciate whereas Santorini, although beautiful, became a routine and we like spontaneity.

Nevertheless, I’m sure you’ve seen multiple photographs of the blue waters and white architecture that the world associates with the greek islands, but here’s my little take on it.

Enjoy.

 

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Something a lil different: Here are some shots of me by Kyla, my personal photographer and best friend.

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-Andrea

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Personal, Travel

The 3 Things I learned in Africa.

It’s currently 4am on a Sunday morning and for reasons I can’t explain on the internet, I am awake.

I’ve been away from Africa for a week now and although what I left was a luxurious (not very gap year) holiday in Zanzibar, it had been a month since I left my placement at Ibaako Primary school in Busesa, Iganga district, Busoga region, Uganda.

A mouthful? Wait till you get to know about the other 13+ tribes.

A little background info:

I left Singapore at the end of January to start a 5 month adventure in East Africa, starting with a school placement as a primary school teacher in Uganda. This would be followed by some travelling in Uganda itself, Kenya and finally, Tanzania, which will be the subsequent posts after this one.

I decided that before we delve into the beautiful photos of the children and scenery of of various parts of my trip to East Africa, I should write a reflection on my experience and share with whoever wants to read this; the 3 things I learned in East Africa.

Lets start with:

1. Gratitude

Coming from a more than comfortable home meant that growing up I had everything I could ever want given to me; shoes, bags, rainbow coloured pens, billabong skater shoes. You name it, and I could probably get it. One of the perks of a. being the youngest in the family and b. the only girl.

Although I had my fair share of family issues and hardships during my childhood (it may not seem like it but for those who know, you know), what some of these kids have to go through made all my problems disappear. And the best part? They always have a smile on their face coming to school.

Who else remembers dreading that first day back after summer or christmas holidays? Walking into class – you were happy to see your friends, yes, but studying? Oh hell no. Why would anyone look forward to that? I was 10, you were 10, my students were 10.

I never expected any of them to jump with joy about the thought of coming into school but when I walk into the classroom, their eyes light up and they scream “Good morning madam, we are primary 4.” and I will say “Good morning and how are you?” and they would reply with “We are very well thank you madam.” This always made my day.

Most of them had just come back from Christmas break, which would mean they were working for their parents, most likely, and if not, playing the whole day or just doing nothing. But now they had to put on their uniforms, which we all know were never made to be comfortable, pack their books and report to a slightly damaged looking school in the middle of nowhere.

Uganda has this programme called the U.P.E, which was established in 1996 that states that :

“Under this programme, the government commits itself to providing primary education for a maximum of 4 children per family. In order to comply with Uganda’s constitutional requirements on affirmative action in favour of marginalised groups, 2 of the 4 must be girls, if a family has children of both sexes. In addition, if a family has a child with disability, he or she must be granted the highest priority in enrolment under this programme.

The government pays the school fees for the children. It also provides grants to be spent on instructional materials, co-curricular activities like sport, and the management and maintenance of utilities like water and electricity.” (http://www.eenet.org.uk/resources/eenet_newsletter/news4/page7.php)

This is called progression. And yes, the government does pay school fees for the children. But there is no water in this school. And there is no electricity. Some schools do have them, yes, but not the one I went to.

I’m telling my story and my experience and if anyone else has a different story, please tell yours so please – take this all in with a pinch of salt because I’m just explaining what I saw and felt first hand and it may be different for other people.

One problem with this constitution is that most of Ugandan families have more than 4 children so they have to choose which children go to school and more often than not, it’s the boys that get priority.

This already creates an unequal divide amongst the number of boys and girls in the school that I taught at. Although in some classes, it is more equal, the total number will always have around 2x more boys than girls.

I hope you can envision what kind of environment and competition the children, and especially the girls, in this school are facing.

If not, maybe this can give you a better picture:

Most of my students didn’t have any shoes, but they still ran for their life when they played football or track – Rocks? Hot ground? Sand? Who cares? Sport = happiness and they will give their all for what they like.

Some didn’t have enough space in their books – so they would write on their covers.

Their pencils? Always down to the nib. Have you ever used your pencils until they ceased to exist? Because I don’t remember doing that.

Their pens? If they ran out of ink, they would just use their saliva to “create” more ink from the leftovers that were stained on the sides of the tubes and voila, new pen.

The care that they have for their things, because of the simple fact that belonging to them made it their responsibility, put 10 year old me to shame. It made me think – how much of my junk do I really need? Now i’m not about to throw everything in my room away because having things is part of the society that I grew up in and I honestly do not think this trip was not supposed to “change” me but instead, teach me that what I do have I should be thankful for.

2. Time.

Something about the Ugandans, or East Africans in general – they like to take their time.

Now this can be interpreted in a negative way, where people could complain all the time that nothing happens as fast as it should and yes, sometimes it can be frustrating, especially when you have somewhere to be or you’re stuck in a hospital for 4 hours (another story for another time).

But in my opinion, I find it somewhat beautiful. Before you call me a dreaming hippie, hear me out.

Time is precious. I think we can all agree on that. We can all also agree that as we get older, time seems to pass by like the cars on an F1 circuit. Bloody. Fucking. Fast.

What the East africans like to do is prioritise time spent with the people that they care about above time itself. I’m not saying that they’ve figured out a way to slow down the clock so that there are more hours in a day to do things… But what they do do is take their time with the people that they spend time with, because the interaction that occurs between themselves and the other people is more important than the hours going by.

Of course in this day and age we need to always be hustling because the fight to succeed is getting more difficult day by day, but taking time for the ones that you care about should always be more important than school, work or even time itself.

Time will never be given back so I guess what I’m saying is that I’m starting to learn how to give my time away.

3. Love.

There are various types of love. We have familial love, love for our friends, infatuation, lust, head over the heels in the clouds kind of love, forbidden love and the list goes on and on and on.

The kind of love that I felt in Africa was more of a community love. In the village that I was living in, everyone seemed to know everyone but adding on to that – instead of just a casual wave, people were actually genuinely interested for your well being. I’m not talking about a short 5 minute conversation where small talk is passed back and forth and then you both walk away.

I’m talking looking after your children because I understand that you have to work and what yours is mine. That kind of love. People in the community seemed to look out for one another without wanting anything back in return. The teachers treated me like I was one of their daughters and the children treated me like I could have been one of their older siblings.

Comparatively, in Singapore, unless you actually know the person well enough, people walk by each other everyday with their headphones plugged in – ignoring everyone else and their destination is the only thing on their mind. Which is understandable because in such a busy city, you have to keep hustling and you think there’s no time to stop and talk to anyone.

But I think we could all benefit from a few conversations with strangers once in a while, right?

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Travel

Summer Escape: Malta

 

And the reminiscence begins.

Post-IB, my friends and I decided to embark on a 6 week holiday around Europe. Our stops; Malta, Athens, Santorini, Tuscany. This is the first part of the 4, and I’m working on a video for you lovely human beings too.

My best friend, Kyla, and I finished IB 10 days earlier than our friends, Toni and Olly, who we were travelling with. We spent it packing up the rooms that we’d lived in for 2 years, binge-watching Netflix while everyone else was still going to class/starting their exams and spending any other free time doing all the sport that we’d neglected during exam time. Oh and, a lot of naps in between.

Once everyone else was done with IB, and equipped with only the necessary summer essentials, the four of us set off on an early morning flight from London to Malta.

We did three things in Malta; party, sleep and beach. In a cycle. Constantly. We stayed 10 mins away from a little beach, which was incidentally next to the clubbing centre of Malta; St Julian. Many nights were spent hunting for the best music in a club, running away from creepy men, getting my wallet stolen………etc. you get the gist. Most of the photos that I took were taken in daylight, because I’m a firm believer of enjoying the moment instead of capturing it. So just believe me, when I say I had a lot of fun. Here are some to start off with – the beach near our house + snaps from the neighbourhood.

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Next up on the agenda: Water sport. Most of us hadn’t tried “Stand-up Paddle boarding”, otherwise known as SUP, so we decided to give it a go. I was decent for around 10 minutes before life took over and the falling began. I ended up swimming and pulling my board or “surfing” on it instead of actually standing up…but it was still fun. Tiring, yes. A work out, yes. But fun.

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Yes, the person in the water is me. I wasn’t lying when I said I didn’t have balance.

I will interrupt this beautiful serene and blue travel photography with some (blurry) photos of some of our night adventures. They are pre photos, and in a lot of them I seem to have a beverage. I’ve kept the best in private, naturally.

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On to more adventures. We are now in Valetta, which is the capital of Malta itself. The architecture here is very italian-like, and the language itself, maltese, sounds like a mix between Italian and Arabic. This might have something to do for it’s location; in between Sicily and North Africa. Just thought I’d mention that…

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Next up: the beach party. You know we had to do it. We got there late though, and missed the one act we wanted to see; lost frequencies. We also left halfway to go and eat dinner. Which is why we missed the act. But damn, that was some bomb-ass pizza. Honestly? We still had so much fun chilling, then getting hype on the european music that we didn’t completely understand. So the 30 euros were still worth it.

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The beautiful couple 🙂

The end: we decided to take a break from all the partying because it was putting a dent in our livers, and our wallets. We explored a few more beaches, tanned a lot, and even managed to include a visit to the Blue lagoon. Which some of us ended up being sick at because of the boat….but it’s okay. The view was worth it.

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I hope you enjoyed my edits/a little chat. Next up: Athens, Greece.

See you next week.

Andrea x

 

 

 

 

 

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Travel

Un Viaggio

Ciao! Or hello. Whichever.

Last month I went to Italy, with one of my best friends, Kyla. If you follow me on my instagram/snapchat, you’ll know who she is. We see each other way too much.

We stayed in the outskirts of Pisa. The only problem is – neither of us can drive. Transportation was really limited. The only form of wheels we had were bicycles, and the train station would’ve been 45 minutes away. Luckily, a family friend was around and offered to take us to and from the station (Thank you Christina) so we managed to get 3 day trips in between our lazy-stay at home-chill-netflix-revision days. We went up to Pisa, Florence and Siena on three separate days. (Siena was by far my favourite, maybe because I’d never been before.)

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We decorated the room with fairy lights to create a cosy atmosphere ooolalaaaaa

First up, Pisa. We did the oh-so-touristy things, such as pizza, gelato, and climbing the leaning tower. Oh and did I mention it was Valentines day? Well, for us, Galentines day. Embrace that single life, ladies.

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We had a few lazy days in between – here are some examples – a bike ride down to the grocery shop for our FOOOOOOD. And a lovely vegan meal prepared by yours truly. It was yummy and meat-eater approved.

After a few lazy days, we decided to go up to what I call the capital of culture (except it’s not the actual capital of Italy but let’s just pretend) – Florence. Here we roamed the halls of multiple art galleries (including the famous Uffizi) and it felt as if culture was seeping into my bones from the walls. There was art everywhere. The walls had art on them; inside it was magical, outside it was street. The paintings were so rich with colour and so old. It all soon became a blur – things were starting to look the same and you start to understand the patterns within the walls.

After the Uffizi, we also ventured up to the Boboli Gardens, where there was another art gallery on display indoors in the Pitti Palace, where we see rooms decorated in luxurious colours and jewels. I wasn’t allowed to take photographs in there that day so there’s just this sneaky selfie I took of us in one of the mirrors up there ^^^. The highlight of the trip was definitely seeing the Duomo, which we saw both at the beginning and the end. The intricacy of the doors and the building itself was impressive and under the glow of the sunset, it was truly a sight to see.

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The streets of Florence were also pretty – it was raining hard that day so my phone was kept safe in the trusty pocket of my oversized Winter coat but some snaps were taken here and there.

And of course, the Ponte Vechhio, where lovers write each others’ names on locks, women and men buy expensive jewellery from the rows of shops that line both sides and – tourists who give in to the traps left by sellers of nick nacks.

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You guessed it – a day of rest. Next stop, Siena. Now, this was a new experience for both of us because I’d never been to Siena before, did not know what to look for (although it was pretty obvious once we got there) and had no idea where the good restaurants were. But we survived. It was the longest train ride we had to take – an hour and a half. But the sun was shining, there was a cool breeze, everything looked beautiful even inside the train cabins and the wait was worth it.

The first stop – Piazza del Campo. This is where the Palio di Siena, a medieval horse race, is held twice a year. You can read more about it on wiki, I haven’t seen it for myself but I am dying to. We then climbed the tower which overlooks the city – the Torre di Mangia, and had a mini photo shoot up there because the view was mind blowing. We also made friends at the top – a South African public school teacher and a group of American students on exchange.

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After almost hyperventilating because there were no barriers and someone could have fallen…………..we decided to head down to search for food before making our way to the Cathedral, which was next on our list. The Cathedral was the prettiest I’d seen so far in Italy, it had a slight gothic feel but with intricate (as always) designs throughout the church as well as a chance to climb to the roof. (Which we are all about, as you can see.)

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Oh, I also have a thing for tiled floors. Look at it. So. Damn. Beautiful.

We ended our week with a bang. A fuse broke. Our electricity ran out. It was winter. Our gas was diminishing. How was I going to feed the both of us???? Luckily, there was just one day left before we had to head back to school in forever rainy England. Here’s a picture of some pasta that I made to finish this travel post. I hope that maybe these photos have made you consider Italy as your next travel destination? I adore the country, so maybe you will too.

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Andrea x

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