I’m A Fat Girl And I Hate It

Someone I went to school with writes on the struggles of being fat, having mom issues, and trying to love your body.

Thought Catalog

I am a fat girl, and I hate it. I hate the way boys will only fuck me with the lights off, and I hate when they offer to walk me home once the whiskey wears off enough for them to realize that the rolls don’t stop at my perfectly formed 38DDD tits. I hate going to bars and holding my friends drinks while they flirt with new men, only to be interrupted from my angry daydream by whatever friend of theirs gets lucky enough to be on “fat girl patrol” (don’t be fooled, this is really just a ploy to get my pretty friend home alone without me noticing). I hate the way the servers look at me in the cafeteria at school when I ask for “just a little more broccoli,” as if broccoli is what got me to look like this. Most of all, I hate when…

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In closing

Hello hello!

I am breaking my longest hiatus from posting in a while.  And it is just to tell you that this blog has reached its terminus, more or less.  My year as a student is over.  I’m living a varied life looking for jobs and worrying about my future, and hopefully soon my life will be consumed in working life here in London.  I feel more settled here and so the things I do feel less like things the world will want to know.  Really, I do a lot of the same things, but my focus has moved away from this blog- that’s the truth.

If I experience something particularly interesting, I leave it in the trails of the interwebs via this blog.

However,if you want to keep reading things I write, head on over to Birkbeck’s Student Magazine The Lamp and Owl digital version which I have just begun writing for as a regular columnist on feminist and lgbtq issues and events.  Yipee!

Goodbye for now, dear readers.

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Getting a job is challenging. Getting a job that will sponsor your visa is Hard.

My full time job right now is trying to find a job that will sponsor a Tier 2 visa so I can stay in the country.

If it was just about getting a job, I would already be set.  But I need to get a specific kind of job that the Home Office has designated as fit for sponsorship.  And no, shelving is not one of them.

I have found pitfalls and setbacks, stumbling my way through this process.  So, I want to share my experience in hopes that others can use what I have learned to make their process easier and more efficient.

It wasn’t always this hard.  Until 2012, anyone who finished a degree in the UK could get a Post-Study Work Visa to work in any old job for up to 2 years.  This visa option was revoked because of a tightening of immigration policy (I smell a conservative government).  Now, unless you’re skilled in a STEM field, generally super-skilled, or a member of the Commonwealth, options are limited to a Skilled Workers visa, which I am seeking, an Entrepreneurial Visa, a Temporary Worker Visa, or leave to Remain with Family.  Damn Canada!

Until a couple weeks ago, I was applying mostly to jobs in academic administration and libraries.  I had an interview for an Events and Administrative Assistant position that went very well, however, I found out the same day I didn’t get the job.  So I asked for feedback. Always ask for feedback.  What could I have done better? I got an email saying I had a great interviewing style and they loved my answer about what makes a good event.  I could improve on my story about dealing with problem clients by giving an example with direct closure to the problem, but overall, really good. So…Why was someone else better than I was?  Well, they weren’t, exactly.  Two positions were open. Only one was filled; and they opened the role to external applicants.  If my interview was so good, why couldn’t I fill it?  During the interview, there was one point of tension. Then it was there again in my feedback email, the first point: VISA.

They did not believe they could sponsor a visa for this position.  Ok, so it’s my own fault.  I assumed any job meeting the salary requirements that required a degree would be eligible for sponsorship, and, moreover, that employers would know the rules and take responsibility for knowing whether they can sponsor a candidate.  Not so.  First, I heard that they needed to advertise extensively, to conduct a Residential Labour Market Test, in order to even consider sponsoring for the position.  I at least knew better than that. Because I am legally in the UK on a Tier 4 Student Visa, employers are (THANKFULLY) exempt from any criteria of the Labour Market Test.  In other words: They do NOT have to prove that no UK citizen could do the job and I am the only person able to fill it.  They can treat my hiring more or less like any other.

That interview was a stepping stone.  I learned.  Now I know what I have to do.  I have to know my visa options and requirement inside out so I can recite them to potential employers.  Employers are thinking about your fitness for the job; you don’t want them worrying about how to legally grant you a new immigrant status.  Know what they have to do, if the job absolutely meets the requirements, and make it sound easy.  Offer to help.  If you get the job, it will be worth it.

Things to know:

  • If the company/organisation has a license to sponsor Tier 2 Visas. The current list of licensed sponsors in the UK is here.
  • The skill level of the role for which you are applying. It must be at least NQF Skill Level 6.  Check here.
  • The salary. It must be at least £20,500, which can include London Weighting.  Some positions require a higher salary, and some allow for lower.  Check the above documents for the specific role.
  • Cost of application. For an employer to provide one certificate of sponsorship, it currently costs them £182.  Take it out of my salary if you must!
  • Is the role on the shortage list?  These are mostly STEM positions (Nurses, High-tech techies, physicists, chemistry teachers, etc.).  Unfortunately, nothing I’m applying for or *could* apply for.
  • What are your personal responsibilities?  Can you meet them?
    • Here is general information for you to know about switching to your Tier 2 Visa and here is an extended version.
    • To switch from a Tier 4 Visa, you must have proof that you have passed your degree and received it from an accredited UK institution.  A transcript will do, but you must have your final marks.  Know when you will get your final marks. It’s 11 November for me.  Your institution is accredited is they could sponsor your Tier 4 Visa, so, basically, you’re good to go if you’ve been here legally thus far.

The information I have provided applies to people looking to switch from (any?) visa to a Tier 2 (General) visa. I think it’s applicable if you want to apply from overseas without a visa, but for that there are more requirements…like the Labour Market Test. I also think it applies to all the Tier 2 sub-categories, but do double check.

Basically, read through this and all its links over and over.  I do commend the UK government for having such accessible, organised web pages providing visa information.  Maybe they *do* want us to stay?!

Best of luck to anyone looking to stay in the UK after graduation!

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Cornwall!

Since I handed in my dissertation, I have enjoyed and dismayed coming home to find that I have no commitments of my time, nothing I have to be doing in particular. Of course, much of that time is now filled with job searching. I filled it with some wonderful leisure as well.

I *finally* had the chance to go on holiday (VACATION in American, yes in caps as well), so Dilan and I booked a retreat to St. Austell, in Cornwall, the southwest corner of England. Took the 4-5 hour train from London Paddington to St. Austell on the morning of Friday the 3rd and returned Sunday evening.

View of St. Austell from the train station

View of St. Austell from the train station

We did a lot while maintaining a relaxing pace. We stayed at Arches Bed and Breakfast. Breakfast was great, host was great. I highly recommend it- as long as you don’t mind a 10-15 minute walk from the town centre/bus stop/train station. I had poached duck eggs for breakfast on the second morning! Nikki, the host, gets all her eggs from a local farmer =) Duck eggs taste pretty much like chicken eggs.

View from outside Arches BnB

View from outside Arches BnB

On Friday, we ventured to the “picturesque port-town” of Charlestown, allegedly used fairly often as a filming location.

Galleon ship in Charlestown

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We got dinner at a highly recommended restaurant, Wreckers. My dinner was NOM very good. But Dilan’s portion of their “famous fish and chips” was a pathetically small piece of fish in a big piece of batter. Famous for overcompensating?SAM_2298

The next morning we got up for a Brewery Tour at the St. Austell Brewery.  Nuthin’ like beer before noon!  St. Austell focuses on cask ales, which tend to be lower in alcohol content and more mild tasting.  However, I gained a slight appreciation for cask ales.  They had a surprising variety- amber ale, a wit beer, ipa, double ipa (take that with a grain of salt), and others- and I could see myself drinking them over a long evening of beer and conversation.

Fermentation!

Fermentation Capsule. The froth looks delicious.

Fermentation tanks, St Austell brewery

Old wooden fermentation tanks

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Old beers!

After the brewery and a nice wander around the little town market, we ventured out to one of the top tourist attractions- The Eden Project.  Built in a clay pit, it’s home to Mediterranean and Jungle Biomes and interactive educational installations that foster knowledge of the earth, agriculture, local farming, and global sustainability.

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The Harvest Beer Festival was on at the Eden Project, and guess who we saw?!  The head brewer of St. Austell Brewery! We heard about how he became the brewer and got to sample even more of St. Austell’s beer.

The next day we stored our suitcases with Nikki, and trekked south to the Lost Gardens of Heligan. The gardens are a 300 acre estate that were once nearly lost to the embrace of vines after their desertion in 1914 due to the War.  Fortuitously rediscovered just in 1990 by two men on a Sunday walk, one a descendant of the Tremayne family who purchased the Heligan Manor in 1569.

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The Giant’s Head. Mud sculpture by local artists.

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Nearly extinct blue-fir trees of some variety from the dinosaur age. They were replanted and fostered on the Heligan garden plot.

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There were two litters of piglets! Squeeeee!

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I would like to be a pig.

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We capped our adventures in the small fishing village of Mevagissey.

Mevagissey sign

There was a free museum of the town history and a small aquarium along the water.  Cute shopping, beautiful views across the water, and cliff walks.  I thought Mevagissey was far more picturesque than Charlestown with it’s charming rows of houses set in the cliffs over the water.  We got seafood at a pub, savored creamy Cornish ice cream, and called it a day.

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When we got back to St. Austell town centre, it was deserted.  (Almost) Everything was closed.  That’s a small town on a Sunday for ya!  Luckily, we didn’t have much time to waste before catching our train home.

We returned refreshed and revitalized.  I sure needed that.

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The end is the beginning is the end

No, not the Smashing Pumpkins song; just a catchy title.

It has been nearly two weeks since I handed in my Master’s dissertation. I have many feelings about this. It was certainly a relief and a proud accomplishment- duly celebrated. It was stressful, hard work, and long hours, but, whaddya know, I already miss it! I missed it the next day. It filled my life. I had a clear goal that gave me direction. I had a commitment, something I had to do everyday- which I scorned at the time yet mourn for now. And it was fascinating! As I was polishing the last bits of my paper, I was thinking how I can’t wait to continue the research. So many more questions to answer, and to ask! I want to be a feminist cyborg expert. While in the process of writing, I fled from the thought of doing a PhD anytime soon, or perhaps anytime at all, but now I’m giddy at the thought of more research. Finishing a project is really satisfying. It left me invigorated to keep going, inspired to do more research. It made me remember why I love this stuff- this stuff being academia.

You may be wondering what I was writing about, anyways. Well, my final title was: “Cyborg Politics: Gender and Posthuman Subjectivities.” Appropriately broad. I wove feminist cyborg theory and posthumanist theory with ideas about technology and the body– and read the differences in the representation of the cyborg in Robocop (1987) and Robocop (2014) in light of that. Technology has changed society and changed life; that is indisputable. The ways in which it has…some are obvious, like the fact that we can call someone across the world through a video feed at the drop of a hat, or have deaf ears replaced with implants to do the hearing for you, but some are subtle. Many are subtle, as the subtle ones are so easy to miss within the routine of everyday life. Some of these more subtle changes, I argued, are in how technology has changed the way we imagine our bodies and think about ourselves, our subjectivity. If you want to read more about this, I highly recommend Anne Balsamo’s “Technologies of the Gendered Body: Reading Cyborg Women” for starters. If you want more, you’ll have to read my paper 😉 and/or check out my works cited list to sate your curiousity.

It has been incredibly pleasant to have a break, despite my pining for further research. I’ll post again soon about the genialities I have borne since my finishing.

Best wishes to all!

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Filling In: The last weeks of my dissertation and Open Houses London

Ok, ok, I’ll take a break from working on my dissertation and update my forsaken blog.

Lately, I’ve mostly been going to the library, rummaging notes, editing, and trying to think up ways to motivate me to focus instead of reading this awesome webcomic I recently got into (and have since have nearly finished…), Questionable Content. I recommend it for everyone, though it probably most appeals to people like me, especially around my age.

But Open House is an event that happens in London just once a year. I missed it last year because I was busy settling in, and I couldn’t forgive myself for using the ‘busy’ excuse two years in a row- YOLO- so I had to go. Open House is a free event to showcase London’s architecture and get people to explore buildings they might not be able to otherwise explore. I was going to meet up with a friend to see the skyscrapers, but the queues were terrible (no surprise, London) so we skipped. Maybe next year I will plan to queue early.
Dilan and I first went to 20 Triton St, Regent’s Place Estate where we saw giant art installations and got a tour of Lend Lease HQ. Lend Lease is a BEAUTIFUL office. I want to work there just so I can be there. Part of the company’s purpose is to fit buildings to achieve a high level of occupational health, so of course the office reflected this. They use their office to experiment with space as well. They had a stand-up meeting room (great to stretch your legs instead of sitting down all day!), multiple meeting spaces with nice comfy couches, and many flexible spaces with a variety of seating and tables. I loved that the whole place was full of plants! Yes, green is good. They have a rooftop terrace where employees can grow veg and bugs can find a home in their bug wall.
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And they gave us free tea, cookies, and fruit. We have to like them.
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Next we ventured down towards Covent Garden to see the Freemason’s Hall, a meeting place for the Masonic lodges in London. SAM_2261
I always thought the Freemason’s were a creepy, sexist, cult, and after my visit, I’m not wholly convinced otherwise. Sure, they masquerade as a normal, Christian-symbolism-loving group where men can go to “build character” and “forge ever-lasting friendships.” But how they do this remained obscured. I picked up a pamphlet on “What is Freemasonry, anyways?” and learned basically the vague things I have already mentioned. There were a lot of adjectives, but not many verbs; we’re not sure exactly what they *do*. Whatever they do, they’re quite well funded. The building was pretty. Here’s a peak of the ceilings:
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Oh wait, I did learn one thing they do! Drink! I think it’s an old white boys club where they get drunk, “learn bravery,” and have orgies, I mean, “forge ever-lasting friendships.” Why else would they be so secretive if not somewhat ashamed of what they do? This is their giant rum-punch bowl:
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This weekend there was a French Market along the high street by my home. What a lovely surprise! I love that with London you can expect random, international pop-ups. I got cheeeeeeese- the smoothest Brie I’ve ever had, Munster, and Blue-, pastries, and a crepe. Nom. Treats.

Nutella nmmmmm

Nutella nmmmmm

Now wish me luck as I forge through the fires of finalising my fffffdissertation! It is due this Friday. WAH!

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Happy Labor Day!

Happy Labor day to everyone in the States, and a happy belated Bank Holiday (twas last Monday!) to my fellow residents in the UK. Scheduled days off are something to be thankful for.

Since I had to work today, I decided to treat myself to something from one of the nice shops I always pass on my way to work. I chose The Life Goddess– a greek cafe-deli that gave me the impression it was a healthy or gourmet-minded shop. The Life Goddess did not disappoint. I chose a nice looking pastry called a Bougatsa. I had no idea what it was, and discovered it’s a totally delicious and satisfying custard-filled pastry, not at all overly sweet.

This is what it looks like. mmmmmm. I didn’t take a picture, so here’s one from the Internet. Thanks, Internet, you’ve really got my back.

This was a lesson in surprises and trying new things. I urge you to do something different today– perhaps try a bougatsa! (Trust me, you want to).

In other news I have less than 4 weeks until my dissertation is due and I finish my Master’s degree. Time flies. Crunch time.

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London Craft Beer Festival

Last weekend, Maria and I took a day off from dissertation work to indulge in the wonders of British craft beer!  We volunteered and then attended the London Craft Beer Festival on Friday.

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Glasses set up to hand out to the beer-comers!

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I helped people put on those pesky wristbands and directed them to retrieve their glasses so they didn’t wander to the libations without a chalice.  We were able to take a break for half off food. I got absolutely delicious steak and chips with a lovely aioli, which I believe was from the Ginger Pig. We also got to run up for samples when the entering masses thinned.  I thought the time passed quickly, chatting with fellow volunteers, watching tipsy people meander out more talkatively than they wandered in, and before I knew it, it was time for our break.  We strolled along the canal, Regeant’s Canal, which runs from Paddington to Limehouse, and found our way to Victoria Park.  It’s a big park.  We saw some people wrapping up a party with two dogs, and one…pig? Is that a pig?

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Nope.  Just a really fat chihuahua.

Then it was time again for beer!  For volunteering, we got into the £35 festival for free 😀 The festival had about 24 brewers.  All great, many London-based.  We tried every brewery 😀  There was also a Flemish festival across the street that piggy-backed on London Craft Beer.

Me trying to take a selfie with the photo background of Flanders to win a trip!  Wish me luck.

Me trying to take a selfie with the photo background of Flanders to win a trip! Wish me luck.

There, we tried four delicious Belgian beers (mmm I love Belgian beers) and watched a cooking demonstration of a fancy take on steak and chips.  Aaand we got to try amazing steak and onion rings battered with Duvel batter, with a side of very nice honey mustard sauce.  Westmalle’s two trappist ales are still some of my favourite Belgian beers.  The main hall had a very fun band with like 8 people– I wish I remembered their name!  It was a fantastic time, with many great beers.  One of my favourite beers was from Partizan brewery– which I hope to visit in Bermondsey (South London) soon.  It was their Mango and Black Pepper Saison.  Saisonnnn.  We had an IPA from Green Flash that was really nice as well- yummy malty flavours.  After we had all the beer there was to be had, we again took to the streets and slipped our way home on the beguiling Night Buses.

 

 

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Silly Library

The following is a collection of shelf marks that have brought me giggles throughout my hours of shelf-tidying in Senate House Library.  I hope they bring you giggles as well.  Books can be funny sometimes.

A personal favourite.

A personal favourite.

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Yob is British slang for a young ruffian. It’s boy spelled backwards, because it’s the opposite of what respectable boy should be, tut tut!

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I hope you're ready for the...CUP WAAAARRS!

I hope you’re ready for the…CUP WAAAARRS!

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Jam on dat Ass.

Jam on dat Ass.

Martin Freeman! Ok I'm stretching it here...I get bored at my job sometimes...most of the time...

Martin Freeman! Ok I’m stretching it here…I get bored at my job sometimes…most of the time…

Ta web cam is watching.

Ta web cam is watching.

This was in the toilets. The fading written texts reads, “Dyslexics of the world, untie!”

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Esprit!

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Existential books… How am I not (myself)?

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Much tit.

 

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Escape the Academy: Militancy and the University

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