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Ready for My Close Up

If you follow my Faceboook page, you may have seen me posting about the fact that I was modelling last weekend. But I figured you guys wouldn’t want to hear about that.

Kidding. Course I’m going to blog about it. It was excellent.

So frequent readers may remember my friend Maddie. On this blog, you’ll have heard about the travelling we’ve done together, like Bucharest, Berlin and Prague. But this time it’s a blog post based in England. In south London to be exact.

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Maddie and Kyle looking very professional.

Maddie’s doing an MA in fashion and as a fashion student she has to create a final collection. And how else to show off a final collection but with models. Now, as you may be thinking, I am not a model. But part of the inspiration behind Maddie’s collection was the idea that clothes should be able to be worn by anyone, rather than just models. Radical, I know. So she asked friends to model, and I am one of those friends.

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Who wouldn’t want me to model?

She also asked our friend Beth who you may or may not remember from my Grand European Adventure, parts 2, 3 and 4 and so after I finished work on Friday, me and Beth headed down to the Big Smoke to pretend like we know how to act in front of a camera.

On Saturday, it was all hands on deck as there were some last minute clothes fittings. There were five of us in total who were modelling. Me, Beth and Maddie, who you guys already know, as well as the very lovely Lucy, who has actual modelling experience, and the fantastic Rosie, who you can read more about here at her blog. Me, Beth and Rosie submitted ourselves to Maddie and Lucy, who were far more agile with a makeup brush, and eventually we were all primped and preened and ready to kick ass.

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Lucy had a steady hand and make up skills.

That first day we did a standard photoshoot, with a white backdrop and some excellent pouting. The photographer was Kyle Jones who you may remember designed the Facebook banner for my Facebook page. An excellent photographer, film maker and graphic designer who’s just moved to London and also happens to be the brother of one of my university housemates. But I’m totally unbiased. Seriously, he’s good at what he does. Check him out here.

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Kyle really liked this picture. I impressed a photographer with my photo off a phone, guys. 

While I felt like an idiot in front of the camera, I felt like less of an idiot than I had at graduation in a motorboard, so that’s good. Maddie’s clothes were a) amazing and b) super comfortable. Putting my own clothes back on was really sad, though I was far less concerned that I was going to spill something on them or rip them or something.

Maddie pouts

Photo credit: Kyle Jones

When in doubt, pout.

On the Sunday, we were filming. That’s right. We made a video too. Maddie’s collection is called Where is May Morris? and focuses on the erasure of women in the design industry. Therefore, she decided that in the video we were going to be a guerrilla girl gang, in a feminist den.

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Pink spray paint is a lot of fun.

Making the den was ridiculously fun. There were heels and nail polish every, as well as books and weaponry and generally everything you need to smash the patriarchy. Good times. And when we’d sufficiently made our den look kick ass, then we had to film. We did various things. Planned our next moves on a map with a knife through it, painted nails, read A Vindication of the Rights of Women by Mary Wollstonecraft. All kinds of stuff.

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I have so many photos of the den. It was so cool.

Oh, and Rosie gave us a crash course in how to fight LARP style. LARP, for those unaware, stands for Live Action Role Play and you get to attack people with foam swords. (Obviously this is a very brief summary. For more, you should check out Rosie’s blog). And so, in wonderful clothes, and with Kyle greatly amused by our concern about hitting each other, we learnt how to kill. Well, I suppose hit would be a more appropriate verb.

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Rosie hacked a plant to pieces at our encouragement.

Eventually though, the fun was over and we had to give back the clothes and head home. Not before we’d taken apart our feminist den. It was a truly great weekend. Maddie’s made some incredible clothes and I’m really glad that I got to help her out.

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Maddie was very happy with us.

If you want to know more about Maddie’s collection there are posts on the UCA MA Showcase 2015 Facebook page, or come to the exhibition of all of the students’ work between 18-23rd September at The Rag Factory, 16-18 Heneage Street, London, E1 5LJ. If for nothing else, to laugh at me pretending to be a model.

I leave you with the nerve wracking video of Maddie spray painting a professional camera.

#WhereisMayMorris?

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Week long Valentine’s

Monday I was in work. This is a foreign concept to me, seeing as Mondays are my day off. However, I was asked to join class 3/4c at the Freizeit Zentrum (remember it from a couple of posts before Christmas?) to learn about animals in winter. Twas very interesting, and I learnt that a boar pelt is more bristly than soft, and that a deer pelt is the softest thing ever. Even more so than a rabbit pelt.

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I drew the line at touching the dead baby snake.

However, the kids managed to wind me up more than usual, and seeing as it was my day off, and I didn’t have to be there, I left early. Well, they say never to work with children and animals. The rest of the day was spent fairly productively. I applied for work experience, figured out what I should say about Valentine’s Day and produced worksheets for tutoring.

Tuesday, of course, I was at work. In the first class, I talked about Valentine’s Day then supervised as the kids made Valentine’s Day cards. In the second, I was greeted by four pupils who wanted to sing a song. Then the teacher turned up and said they good. So we were treated to a rendition of Lieder, a song that has been everywhere during my year abroad to the extent that I went and bought the CD. They were learning about directions which gave me flashbacks to year 8 or 9. Gehen Sie über die Brücke (Go across the bridge) has stayed with me ever since.

Tuesday evening I did not go to the BC Café meeting. Instead I stayed home nursing a horrific headache and skyping my grandparents. The latter was great, the former not so much.

When I rocked up to the bus stop on Wendesday, I was confronted with this fantastic piece of engineering. I have not stood under that bus stop since.

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Behold, the wonders of German engineering.

(Yes, that is a stick propping up a bus stop)

At school, the teachers and I was very confused about where I was meant to be, and ended up in two English lessons, talking about Valentine’s Day, and then in two English lessons I’m not normally in, helping to teach about clothes. Or ‘clothe-ses’ as the teacher began by saying. The day was rounded off by yet another round of Valentine’s Day Card making.

Tutoring was interesting seeing as Victoria was ill, so it was just me and Luka. We worked our way back through the names of the continents, some names of countries and then moved onto languages. I may have been mean and put dutch in there. But he did really well, and told me all about his plans for the holidays, which was really sweet.

My two hours on Thursday were not spent in uselessness! There was no maths test, just maths work, which meant answering questions about what they had to do, and then, when the teacher went out the room, keeping the quiet. And telling them to do work. Apparently they think that I won’t notice them swearing at each other if they do it in the midst of rapid German. 1) Kids are never as sneaky as they think they are and 2) they were swearing in English. So that went well for them.

Fantastically, I got a package from home on Thursday. I’d asked Dad if he could send me a couple of Valentine’s cards to show the kids and gravy granules, because I’d run out. Making excellent use of the remaining space in the box, he also sent me a stack of English chocolate. Though, I’m not going to lie, I was more excited about the gravy than the chocolate.

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Dad knows me well.

Thursday afternoon the nice man at the internet shop asked me if I’d considered getting normal internet as opposed to 3G, because I’m at that shop a lot. Awkward. Trying to explain that there is normal internet but I can’t access it because I’m not enrolled at the university is bad enough in English, never mind in German.

In other German encounters from Thursday, the power went in our kitchen. Now, I’m a grown up. I know to check the fuse box. Thing is that only helps if you know where the fuse box is. I did not. And nor could I find it. And nor was there anyone else in my flat. So I did the sensible thing and went to the site office. But because I don’t know what fusebox is in German, I couldn’t just ask where it is, and as I began with ‘the power’s gone’, next thing I know the guy’s promising to send an electrician type person over as soon as everyone’s back from their lunch break. Happily, Therese came home before that and was like ‘the fusebox’s here’. To her eternal credit, she didn’t make me feel like an idiot for not seeing it, though honestly, it’s in the hall – I am an idiot for not seeing it. This meant I then had to go back and tell the guy that no electrician type person was necessary, because I am an idiot, but thanks to my flatmate, it was all sorted.

Friday was the last day of school, before half term. In my first lesson the kids ran through a play about Snow White (in English) for the millionth time. For the last five minutes or so, I explained Valentine’s Day, but they were so not interested.

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Behold the extent of a lesson on Valentine’s Day.

In contrast, my second (and last) class of the day were a delight, and spent most of the lesson diligently making Valentine’s cards, all of which were presented to me for inspection. One of them was even given to me. I also got given chocolate by the head teacher “because it’s Valentine’s Day”, which was really sweet of her.

After buying lunch with the rest of the staff from a takeaway, I headed home, stopping only to buy flowers, because flowers are fantastic and if I didn’t buy myself some, I’d never have any. This evening Beth is rocking up to Ilmenau to cause mayhem and havoc…I mean, to visit me for a few days, which is all kinds of awesome. However, I should probably tidy my room and stuff, so I’ll leave you with a selfie.

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Way too excited that I put flowers in my hair.

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And now the weather…

I asked my boss for the next 8 months, aka the headteacher at the school I’m working at, whether there’s a dress code, and as it turns out there’s not. Most people wear jeans, which excellent news for me, bearing in mind I live in my jeans. Jeans and dresses, that’s me.

However, in Thüringen (the state I’m going to be living in) it apparently gets cold in September, and it can be snowing from October. This is somewhat disconcerting, bearing in mind in England we’re lucky if we get snow at all. So I have gone on a mad dash to buy warm clothes.

This means I’ve been trying on jumpers in shops without air conditioning while it’s still warm, because the weather’s suddenly remembered it’s still summer. Which is even less fun than it sounds.

But I’m more excited about Germany now. The prospect of real snow in a country where they can cope with snow is making me look forward to it, for the first time in a good while. And the collection of jumpers piled around me is making the fact that a week on Sunday I’m leaving for a far flung place more real. And more than a little warm.