My Thoughts on Events of the Past Week

I decided to write a post on my thoughts about ICE Detention Centers doing forced sterilization on immigrant detainees, and Ruth Bader Ginsburg dying. It’s been one hell of a week even with COVID-19 and Black Lives Matter going on as they have been for months now. I have been sheltering in place for six months now thanks to COVID-19 running rampant (see one of my previous posts about COVID). It’s been months since Breonna Taylor, George Floyd, Ahmaud Abery, and other BIPOC youths who have been murdered and the fight for justice continues.

I spent a lot of time thinking about what I want to say on these subjects. As a US citizen and a Third Culture Kid, I feel it is my duty to answer for the atrocities committed by my passport countries. This is in no way a form of bashing my passport countries. As a TCK and/or expat, you are a representative of your passport country/ies. Therefore, when your passport country/ies are at fault, it’s a reflection on you. I learned from living in different countries to be clear on whether or not you support your country/ies actions. People from other countries will judge you based on where you come from and what your country does, especially if your country’s actions affect their country.

As an aspiring author, I know there is a convention to not take sides. In this case, I am breaking with convention because times have changed and transparency is more valued. I see a trend happening of people being more conscious of the things they consume. Whether it’s media or material goods, people want to know where those things are coming from. Additionally, it is getting to the point that we can’t NOT talk about those things (double negative), if it hasn’t already got there. So, I will say this outright: I welcome any polite, educated discourse on differing views, plus any insights anyone has to offer. I love to hear people’s stories and perspectives, particularly any cultural factors. However, if you intend to troll or simply yell at me, please don’t. I will block you. If you wish to leave quietly, please do so. I wish you well.

Last week, nurse Dawn Wooten did a press conference to admit publicly that ICE detention centers in Georgia are doing forced hysterectomies on immigrant women being held there. I wanted to say first of all, good for her! I completely believe and support whistleblowers and I want to take some time to talk about them. Other whistleblowers come to mind: Dr. Mona Hanna-Attisha, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford, Colin Kapernick, Roger Mark Boisjoly, and even me. Yes, I have been a whistleblower too. I am not ready to share my story yet, but I was a whistleblower on sexual harassment once. People who revere certain whistleblowers often comment on how they are so brave. When I was a whistleblower, my family and friends told me I was brave. After a while, I hated being called brave because it felt fake. I was terrified of blowing the whistle and only the people closest to me could see that. A friend reminded me what FDR said, “Courage is not the absence of fear, but rather the assessment that something else is more important than fear.” I felt better when she told me that. I have more empathy for why people say whistleblowers are brave because it’s hard to put yourself in a whistleblower’s shoes if you haven’t been in that situation yourself. 

Best Quote About Courage

Around the time I was dealing with my whistleblower situation, Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford testified to Congress about Supreme Court nominee Brett Kavanagh’s history of sexual harassment. I can bet my bottom dollar that she was petrified of having the eyes of the world on her and risking so much, but she never showed it. After all, the word “emotional” has negative connotations when applied to women. Dr. Christine Blasey-Ford had to be calm and logical in order to be taken seriously, while Brett Kavanagh could act like a child having a tantrum, and get away with it. I could tell Christine Blasey-Ford was as terrified as any other woman who has been in her shoes and is openly talking about a heavy subject like sexual assault! I saw a video once of a Black footballer telling his story of why he started kneeling during the US national anthem in protest of the police killing Black youths. I can’t find that video now, otherwise, I would post it! He was among the first to start kneeling, and he talked about how he was scared of what could happen if he did kneel. He was a new player and his career was at stake. I cried because I could relate to the fear on a personal level. Part of me was saying, “Thank you!” It’s time to see whistleblowers as humans and not robots. I will say something later on in this post about courage.

When the news broke that Dawn Wooten had exposed the ICE Detention Centers doing hysterectomies without patient consent and the shock had worn off, I felt a sting inside me. I felt worse knowing the doctor performing the hysterectomies is NOT a board-certified gynecologist! I know that physicians are required to be licensed if they work in different states, but not required to be board certified! Sounds to me that the law needs to be reformed! Additionally, this doctor has apparently committed Medicare and Medicaid fraud! For those of you overseas who don’t know what that is, feel free to ask me. When you find out someone is guilty of committing eugenics, you wonder what else that person has done that’s equally heinous.

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez called ICE Detention Centers concentration camps in 2018, and I believed her. Trump’s hateful rhetoric was emboldening authorities to do unethical acts, and this was no different. Of course, you hear about families being separated, and squalid conditions in the detention centers. Part of you wonders whether it has gone any further than that and if it has if someone will say something before it’s too late. I often wonder how many world crises (African slavery, Indigenous genocide, Nazism, Apartheid, or any other human rights abuse) could have been averted if even just ONE person with clout had stepped up to say, “This is not okay!” Because of my wondering this, I admire Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez for calling the ICE Detention Centers what they are and that there is an Abolish ICE movement. 

I admire anyone who speaks out against injustice, from microaggressions to full-blown attacks. I speak out too because the more people who do, the better things become for everyone. I mean everyone too because if you improve your country, you improve relations with other countries and those other countries benefit from your country’s good deeds. There seems to be this hope that when enough people do their part to make their country a better place, it’s enough to avert acts like eugenics. Sometimes, that hope ends up wrong, and it’s hard to live with. The best you can do when it is wrong is to own it. I often wonder how a situation like this will affect the actions of authoritarian governments. Heck, the Nazis took the idea of eugenics from the US before, so there’s no telling who will take that idea next! This is precisely why citizens of a country need to own up to the problems in their culture, even if it doesn’t affect them directly. You have no control over a foreign country’s action in response to your own country’s action. Additionally, Trump is trying to make unconstitutional things happen in the US by praising dictators and their heinous actions and controlling the media. 

In this age of social media, our lives are in the spotlight and the need for accountability is even greater. Think about technology at the time of WWII. People were still writing letters, and telegrams were only used in an emergency situation. Early computers were being developed, and the news took a long time to reach people compared. Now, the Information Age means people can get news in real-time, and that can affect people’s actions much quicker. It’s interesting to see global patterns in activism thanks to the Information Age and it gives me hope to see more people around the world openly disagreeing with oppressive systems and being able to do so in real-time. 

Then, Ruth Bader Ginsburg died. As if the news of eugenics wasn’t bad enough. I was hoping she would last into next year after the inauguration of the next president. I sometimes wish she had retired around the time Congress was still confirming Obama’s justices and that she hadn’t died with the worry on her mind for the future of the US. And, Moscow Mitch being the slippery psycho he is said the same night she died that there will be a new justice as soon as possible. Ruth Bader Ginsburg’s granddaughter stated that her grandmother’s dying wish was for the position to be filled after the inauguration. Seriously Mitch? No respect for the dead? The grief, shock and fear I have seen on social media remind me of the day after Brexit and the day after the 2016 US election. It’s like, “What do we do now? Is there any hope?” I feel like it’s NSFW: Not Safe For Women here, and it’s not exclusively because of The Notorious RBG dying. There are lots of things here that don’t make me feel safe here as a woman, and the death of a feminist legend and what it means confirms that. I can’t wait to get out of here! Apparently, it is said among Jews that a person who dies on Rosh Hashanah is a person of great righteousness. It can’t be a coincidence that she died that special night.

NSFW has a new meaning!

Alexandria Ocasio-Cortez did a video on Instagram the night RBG died and I felt a lot more hope with her encouraging people to vote and organize. It was clear she was tired, but she was there for her supporters and constituents when they needed her the most. One tip AOC gave in her video was to turn fear into fuel. She opened up and told stories of times she might have looked brave, but she was genuinely scared. That reminds me of what I just said about being a whistleblower and feeling scared. She said “Courage is not a present tense emotion”, and it was another special moment for me! Thank you, AOC! I love you and wish I could vote for you! I’m glad she has tremendous support in her district and that she was re-elected, despite having a few challengers to try to unseat her! 

There are a few things that I have found consoling while grieving for RBG. I have a DVD series with the Great Courses on the history of the Supreme Court, and it’s oddly comforting to learn. It is steeped in corruption, but it can have moments of brilliance. Of course, the moments don’t make up for a broken system. It’s been a while since I have seen On the Basis of Sex, but I love that movie! I hope I can see it again soon. How many of you know that RBG has a praying mantis species named after her? Yes, it’s true. Apparently, a species of praying mantis is normally identified through male species and this species was identified through the female species for the first time. Additionally, the species looked like it was wearing the lace collar RBG has as her signature look. That species was destined to be named after her! I love RBG’s quotes too. I do what I can to apply her wisdom in my own life and it was hard to pick one or two when I was creating a photo, but I settled on these two. Her quote about men taking responsibility for raising the next generation is what I use to judge all men.

Two RBG Quotes

I am not saying RBG was perfect. She has done rulings that I don’t agree with because they were detrimental to certain groups of people, and ultimately, she was part of a corrupt institution. I can see there are many Supreme Court justices who are intent on keeping that institution corrupt. My Mum calls it the Supremacist Court, and it’s becoming clear how true that is! If there is another corrupt justice on the court, the US is going to have to answer for more atrocities! After all, justices dissent for the next generation. Yes, RBG said that!

Here are my final thoughts on these heavy subjects. Before I became a UK citizen, I found myself apologizing on behalf of the US for their actions that were detrimental to other countries. I learned to do that when I was 11 years old and 9/11 dragged the UK into the Iraq war. As an expat, you get dragged into international relations between countries, whether you like it or not. Heck, I find myself talking about Brexit a lot these days as well as what’s going on in the US! People around the world don’t care how you have voted or where you stand. They care about results because the results are what affects other countries.

When I became a UK citizen, I learned that adopting a country’s nationality means adopting everything about it from its history to its international reputation. You adopt the good and bad, and it’s a big responsibility. It’s not something you think about when you’re a native-born citizen of a country, especially if their education system doesn’t turn out responsible citizens who can think for themselves. Thinking for yourself is the best quality you can develop because it helps you see the good and bad in your country more clearly. Plus, you can recognize if you are just being told what to think. I started to apply that same thinking as a US citizen because that’s my birth nationality. There was no rule that said I had to do that as a native-born US citizen, but I still wanted to do that. After all, innocent people around the world are hurt by the actions of the US. The US citizens deciding those actions have clearly not gone through the same process of owning everything about their country, and I think if more people did, the US wouldn’t be in the mess it’s in now!

What are your thoughts on what I just said? Agree? Disagree? Why?

Rachel McAdams

I have fallen in love with Rachel McAdams during the pandemic! A while back, I was starting to find out more about Canadian actors/actresses, singers and other popular artists. One thing I have found is that getting in touch with popular culture in a country is great for getting to know the county better. Plus, it can be a good conversation starter with a native! When I moved to London, the internet was not as common as it is now, so I had no way of knowing what was popular. Kids at school definitely “took the mick” as the Brits say. Now, I don’t intend to get caught out. I love Michael Buble too, but that’s a whole other post!

Here’s what I have seen Rachel McAdams in so far, and my personal thoughts on each of them. Overall, I have really enjoyed them and want to see more!

Warning: Contains spoilers!

CW: Number 7 contains violence against women and kidnapping.

Number 8 contains murder and military violence.

Number 9 contains sexual violence.

  1. Slings and Arrows:

I started my Rachel McAdams kick with this tv series! She plays Kate McNab, a 19-year-old acting apprentice, who you first see playing Moth in The Dream. A stroke of fortune has her playing Ophelia in Hamlet. Apparently, the series was supposed to be about Kate’s career progression in the New Burgage Theatre Festival. After the first season, Rachel McAdams’ career took off and she had to be written out of the series. I was sad that she wasn’t staying through the whole series, but they made it work. I’ve seen the series three times now and it keeps getting better!

  1. Mean Girls:

Rachel did Regina George around the same time as Slings and Arrows! No wonder she had to be written out of the series! I have seen this movie several times, but I had never really paid attention to the actress who played Regina George. I knew she was 30 when she did the role, which was totally amazing to me! When I saw the interviews with the actors in the special features a long time ago, I could see that Rachel McAdams loved the role of Regina George! She listed all the wonderful things about the role and you could just feel her excitement! Nowadays, there are so many memes for Mean Girls all over the place and it’s a timeless classic! Here’s my favorite meme at the moment.

Source: Face

Anyone who knows me knows I have a love-hate relationship with the movie. I went to a historically women’s college and at the best of times, it was amazing. At the worst of times, it was a scene right out of that movie. Some of the students still hadn’t grown up and it was like, really people? I think the thing that gets to me the most is that everyone remembers that October 3 is Mean Girls Day, but nobody remembers the line, “You have GOT to stop calling each other sluts and whores! It just makes it okay for guys to call you sluts and whores!” I get it that sometimes slurs can be reclaimed, but in this instance, I don’t believe in reclaiming slurs that degrade women because misogynistic men still get away with using them. I think women need to accept that slurs against them cannot be reclaimed. Full gender parity has not happened yet, and I fully believe it’s not going to happen if women keep using slurs against each other, but that’s another tangent. Rant over. Next.

  1. The Notebook:

I confess I had never seen The Notebook before this summer. I know there was a lot of hype behind it and it has produced that classic kiss in the rain scene. Other than that, I never had any interest in the movie. It wasn’t until I heard Rachel McAdams was in it that I thought, “Well, that makes a difference!” I ended up really enjoying it. Of course, there were things I found creepy, especially since I’m a modern woman and thanks to #MeToo, sexism in Hollywood is becoming apparent. Not to mention, it’s becoming clearer how Hollywood has influenced young men by normalizing creepy behaviour. Other than that, I do think it’s a special kind of romance movie. I especially like them showing Allie and Noah’s relationship when they are older because you don’t see many elderly couples being romantic in movies. It should be more common because there is something special about it.

  1. About Time:

Another sweet, romantic Rachel McAdams movie. She plays Mary, who is an American living in England. The English setting provides a real depth to the movie and there are no stereotypes of either the English or American cultures. Of course, the best part is the time travel and how it works with different life situations in the movie. I think it teaches us a lot about making the most of your life.

  1. Game Night:  

I know they say don’t judge a book by its cover, but this title was exciting! I like playing games myself, plus I took Game Theory in my last semester in college and really loved it. I figure any plot involving games is going to be great! The overall plot is that a game night turns into an actual mystery when one of the guests is kidnapped. It’s a comedy thriller, so it’s not too scary. Rachel McAdams (Annie) and her co-star Jason Bateman (Max) carry the movie! They play a married couple who live games, not just play them. The only thing that annoyed me about the movie was using the stereotype that English people are smart and also the actress who was supposed to be English had the PHONIEST accent!!

  1. Midnight in Paris:  

Rachel McAdams (Inez) stars alongside Owen Wilson (Gil). They are an engaged couple travelling to Paris, and Gil is clearly in love with Parisian culture. I love seeing movies with writers in them now that I’m blogging. As a Third Culture Kid, I can totally relate to falling in love with a culture and throwing yourself into it. I found myself cheering on Gil and facepalming whenever Inez or her parents did anything that makes all Americans look like an embarrassment overseas. I knew Inez and Gil were going to break up before it even happened. I realized that the term Karen can apply to Americans travelling overseas and acting in a way that makes US expats cringe. Rachel McAdams’ played a Karen and did it beautifully!

  1. Red Eye:

This movie should be shown in every women’s self-defence class! Rachel McAdams plays Lisa Reisert, a hotel manager who works in Florida. She’s flying back to Miami from Texas after her grandmother dies and meets Jackson Rippner (Cillian Murphy) at the airport. At first, things seem innocent, but there are warning bells going off. It turns out that Jackson is from a domestic terrorist organization that wants to murder an important figure at Homeland Security, Charles Keefe, who is staying at Lisa’s hotel. Jackson kidnaps Lisa while she’s on the plane and makes her put Charles Keefe in a vulnerable room or he will get his hitman to kill her father. Lisa does everything she possibly can to get people on the plane to notice the situation. When she doesn’t succeed, she attacks back. She uses anything at her disposal as a weapon and doesn’t stop until she knows she’s safe. At the same time, she saves her father, Charles Keefe and his family.

  1. State of Play:  

Rachel McAdams plays blogger Della Frye at the fictional Washington Globe. When a congressional aide dies in a mysterious death, Della pairs up with reporter Cal McAffrey (Russell Crowe) to investigate the shady circumstances. Congressman Collins (Ben Affleck) who the aide worked for is investigating PointCorp, a private defense contractor that has questionable practices using ex-military personnel. Della is nearly killed by a former soldier who works for PointCorp, and Cal is injured while they are doing the investigation. Cal’s impartiality is questioned because Collins is his friend and his wife was Cal’s former lover. Eventually, Collins is arrested for his involvement in PointCorp while also investigating them right when the Globe releases their story.

  1. Spotlight:  

I saw this movie when it first came out, but haven’t seen it since. Still, it’s a memorable movie about how the Boston Globe exposed the priest pedophilia within the Catholic Church. Rachel McAdams plays Sascha Pfieffer, one of the reporters working on the stories. Sascha is a lapsed Catholic who is torn between the ethics of her duty to expose the truth and her relationship with her Catholic grandmother.

I’m glad that Rachel McAdams has been in movies that talk about the importance of good reporting, especially today when it’s becoming clear the effects of fake news. I’m looking forward to seeing more Rachel McAdams movies and shows!

What I’m Doing While I Wait to Move

Yes, I have chores to do to prepare to move. However, this time, I have had a lot more free time than I did before. Maybe that’s due to the pandemic, but also I think it’s down to experience. I love that though! That means I get to do more Self Care because this pandemic is mentally draining.

I have been on lockdown for almost SIX months now and I’m reaching the point that I don’t want to have to stay at home so other people can be reckless about their safety. This isn’t just me complaining that life is unfair. This situation really IS unfair because people being reckless means the good ones have to lock down for even longer. I have to remind myself that if I don’t get COVID-19, it will all be worth it. I think my previous post Pain, Fire and Other Moving Upheavals summed it up pretty well. Also, since my last post, it is still smoky from the fires. I’m still safe though, thankfully. I got another couple photos of the sunset from last night, and the smoke still gives it a certain redness.

Another sunset during fire season

Life’s not all bad though. I have found some fun things to do, like games. Cards Against Humanity has been the most cathartic game during the pandemic because sometimes, I have been downright frustrated with the world! I have been playing some other games online, and they are Minesweeper, Mahjong, and Scrabble Go!

I have been on and off with reading right now because my books are packed. However, I will always love the feminist poetry of Lang Leav and Rupi Kaur, and I hope to take their books with me. I love that they write about immigration as part of their poetry. Women are affected by immigration in a different way than men. I will do a post about their work sometime and what it means to me.

I’m continuing to watch movies with French subtitles where possible to brush up on my French as well. I am also learning the differences between French French and Canadian French. Watch this space for a post about French dialects, because it’s not the first time I have had to contend with them! I’ll do another post about English English, American English, and Canadian English sometime soon too.

The best thing of all is I can pursue the things I have wanted to do. I have been wanting to write a book based on my life with immigration and growing up in different cultures. Now, I can start doing that. The pandemic has shown me that I really love writing and I want to pursue it wholeheartedly. I also want to turn my passions into my profession and have the money and freedom to be able to pursue my life goals and deal with any problems that arise. The Dalai Lama once said, “Man surprised me most about humanity. Because he sacrifices his health in order to make money. Then he sacrifices money to recuperate his health. And then he is so anxious about the future that he does not enjoy the present; the result being that he does not live in the present or the future; he lives as if he is never going to die, and then dies having never really lived.” He has many great quotes, but this one resonates the most with me.

Additionally, certain things depress me about the world. For instance, I don’t want to work someplace I have a moral issue with. I have become more of a conscious buyer lately. I love to support businesses that have certain values I believe in. Whether they are green, black-owned, sustainable, feminist, LGBTQIA+, to name but a few, I love knowing that my money is going someplace with shared values. Also, as a woman myself, I am aware of the struggles women face in the workplace, mainly because I have experienced a lot of these myself. The idea of getting a job and facing these issues again feels like a drain of my resources. Don’t get me wrong, I know I will need to get a job at some point until I can finally be my own boss, but I intend to work part-time so I can put the time and effort into my own enterprise. Writing my book is a part of growing my own enterprise. I don’t want to give away too much about the rest of it, but watch this space!

Since I am looking to do my own enterprise someday, I wanted to learn more about leadership, particularly for women. So, while I am waiting to move, I am doing a course called Women’s Leadership: Inspiring Positive Change. It’s very informative and gives me a lot of hope. Women are typically subjected to a lot of double standards in this world, thanks to bias, both conscious and unconscious. This course has shown me there are ways around these double standards, and how you can make things work in your favor. There’s a long way to go to break the glass ceiling, particularly for women of different ethnic and racial groups. To all the women fighting these injustices, particularly those from different backgrounds, keep it up! I believe in all of you! A rising tide floats all boats and someday, I believe women will rule the world!

Just wanted to shout out to all my supporters and followers at this time! You are the people who make me feel like being my own boss someday is not only possible, but it will be worth it! Love you guys and big hugs!

I make a point of finding joy and/or hope in the most random things. Last weekend, I made a lemon chiffon cake with my Mum. I made some raspberry jam to go in the middle. The lemons and raspberries came from my Mum’s garden and they were to die for! My Mum decorated the top with rosemary flowers and our remaining raspberries.

Lemon Chiffon Cake with raspberry jam and Rosemary Flowers

When I look back on this time, I think what I will value most is my burst in curiosity. I have been exploring my TCK identity a lot more with writing for this blog, my column, and starting a book. Curiosity leads to creativity and I’m glad to see where that has taken me. Additionally, I need to be patient for moving because I really can’t wait to leave! I want to stay long enough so I can vote. Hopefully, it will be enough to change who is running the country! 

Let me make it clear though. I don’t believe in Biden or Harris. I think there could have been a better Democratic candidate. It’s hard to believe in the Democrats when they keep running the same old same old middle of the road candidates that kiss up to big businesses and screw the population. Okay, rant over! I just hope that there will be more public pressure to make lasting changes to the US. I especially hope more and more people pay attention to the Black Lives Matter movement!

How has the pandemic changed life for you? Feel free to share in the comments!