Saturday, July 29, 2017

Copenhagen

I recently went to Copenhagen to attend the 2017 CutieBPOC festival, a gathering for and by Queer and Trans Black folks and People of Color. This is my third year attending and, as usual, it was a beautiful, healing, wonderful, amazing, positive, helpful, lovely experience. It really hits me every time how open and happy I get when I don't have to worry about being the only weird Black or brown queer in the room.

After some initial scheduling difficulties, I arrived on the second day of the festival to attend a couple of workshops. The workshops were great and surprisingly physical. I think, however, the main reason I go to the festival is just to commune with the fam. This time was especially great, because I got to see people I've known for years now and really felt a sense of community. 



This lovely mural surprised us on the way from one of the festival venues to the other. 


Copenhagen wasn't the best, weather-wise, but it was still an interesting place. After the festival I went around the harbor areas and took a few pictures. 


I'd heard about this Ai Wei Wei piece, but didn't know that there was also an installation in Copenhagen. 


The changing of the guards. It's quite a funny little country, Denmark. 


Apparently, this church isn't really that old, but I took a picture of it anyways. It reminded me of Berlin, kind of.  


This was the party on the final night. Such a good vibe, beautiful people, and an overall great feeling. The only thing that I could count as somewhat negative was that I got really sick due to the rain, lack of sleep, and general activity. I can say, though, that it was by far one of the most joyful experiences I've had this year and I don't regret a single second of it. I can't wait until next year!

Sunday, April 30, 2017

New York City


I recently went to NYC for the Easter break (mostly) for a conference. It was A LOT. I'm still processing...actually, I'm just posting this blog because I'm going to Lausanne next week and won't have any time in between now and then to do anything other then prep for the multitude of things I have to do beforehand.  




I visited the American Natural History Museum and it was pretty legit. I also visited the Brooklyn Museum, which had a beautiful Georgia O'keefe exhibit and a wonderful exhibit on Black feminism. Unfortunately, I didn't get any pictures of that because I lost my phone...


Just walking around in New York was nice, even if everything was soooo faarrrrrr


I really enjoyed the name of this restaurant (hi, mom)



Central park! I saw so many fun people from disparate parts of my life (high school, choir convention, undergrad, Berlin, internship) I also met some really cool new people at the conference, which had the counter-intuitive effect of reminding me of my tenuous relationship with Lugano and small cities in general. After answering the question "What's Switzerland like?" a few times, I was really confronted with answer: "....less than ideal." Oh well, I shouldn't complain. I am lucky to be here, after all. 

Saturday, March 25, 2017

Neuchâtel



I went to the beautiful, historic University of Neuchâtel this week to attend a conference called "Interdisciplinary Perspectives on Discrimination in the Context of Mobility and Migration". The paper I presented is to become a chapter in my dissertation, but still has a looooong way to go before I get there. I was hoping to get some insight into what I could do to translate my theoretical framework into empirical research. The comments that people made were helpful, and I'm hoping to make that transition fairly soon.



Other than attending the conference all day, some of the conference participants and I walked around the old part of the city, which was cute and quaint, much like Lugano. Also, like Lugano, Neuchâtel is located on a lake, with the University some 50 meters away from the shore. It was all very nice to take in after 48+ hours of stress and anxiety about my presentation. I have to say, the French part of Switzerland seems more relaxed than the Italian part. Now, I have a couple days to recover after the arduous, late-night journey back to Lugano. I think this experience marks the beginning of a turning point in my PhD journey.





Friday, March 17, 2017

Hamburg

Last weekend I went to Hamburg for a doctoral colloquium with the topic "Postcolonial perspectives on United Nations research". It was an interesting format; each paper was presented by a discussant who was not the original author, and then opened up the discussion with their own questions and comments. The paper that I co-wrote with a friend from grad school was about the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN and their role in the reproduction of racial and ethnic inequality. The whole thing was quite long, but very stimulating and productive.


On Friday, we had a keynote speech and then a post-colonial tour of Hamburg. The main thing that I found interesting was the information about Germany's role in colonizing various countries. Often, I think people aren't aware that most people in Western Europe had (and have) to do with the exploitation of countries that make up the Global South. 


The colloquium was held on the campus of the Universität der Bundeswehr Hamburg, which is a military university. It was kind of a strange place to hold a colloquium with many young scholars critical of the UN and national institutions in general, but it was nice nonetheless. I stayed in a very spartan single room on campus, with showers down the hall and lockable compartments in the community fridge. 


Representatives from the  DGVN (German Soceity of the United Nations) were part of the organizing team, so it had the official German feeling that one tends to have at these sorts of things. 

I found the quote chosen for this bag hilarious. "We're getting closer with climate change to the 'point of no return'". This is the kind of advertising that they want to do with their merch....ok.


I ended up returning to Lugano not very late, but for some reason I was still utterly destroyed on Monday. It was all I could do to come to work, go to class and take notes. Afterwards, I ended up heading home early and trying to recuperate for the week ahead. I'm really looking forward to this weekend, when I can do nothing for a couple of days. I have a conference next weekend as well, so I'll probably need the extra sleep!



Sunday, January 29, 2017

Urbino

For the last few days I was in Urbino, a small university town near the eastern coast of Italy. I went in order to attend this meeting that we had for an abroad semester for a Master's program that my boss and I coordinate. I took a lot of pictures, because the place itself was beautiful. 

This was a room in the building where we had our meeting. 


The restaurant where we had lunch on the second evening


The street from my hotel to the main square


The church near my hotel  (note the snow)


The view from a window in the Palazzo Ducale


One of the "apartments" in the Palazzo


The road on the way back to the bus station

It was a very productive trip, in terms of the MA program. We had to take a bus and three trains to get there, so the days before and after were pretty much all spent with travelling. It made me think about what it must be like to live in a university town. Obviously, Lugano is very different. Now, I'm back and ready to start a more prolonged period of working and furthering my progress in the PhD.  

Monday, January 23, 2017

First post of 2017

This winter break, I decided to push my vacation back a few weeks. After working through the holidays (and actually being fairly productive), I headed off to Berlin as I am often wont to do. It was cold and snowy. 

I did manage to go shopping and eat some food and see some people BUT around the halfway point of my ten-day excursion, I got really sick. I guess it wasn't unexpected...the indicators were all there: very little sleep + very low temperatures + and running around a lot = sick me.  I was then restricted to solitary confinement in my (very generous and amazing) friend's apartment with the following view:


The last couple of days were okay, as I managed to heal up somewhat. Still, a sizable chunk of my vacation was spent cursing misfortune and drinking lots of tea. Oh well...


I noticed that this time in Berlin I didn't have as much fun as I usually do. It could be chalked up to the fact that it was -8° for a while there and that I am not a winter person. I think, though, that it had to do with the fact that I left a year ago and felt the same amount of groundedness and presence after four days that I would have had if I had stayed for the entire year in Berlin. I noticed also that with the lack of distraction in Lugano, I've grown and changed a lot since I moved here. The people in Berlin have been enjoying Berlin (something that I'm probably more than a bit jealous of) but personal development isn't necessarily part of the city's energy. 
I think being in Lugano is probably exactly what I need to be doing at the moment, even if I'm not having the most wild and crazy time. I'll probably take a bit of a break from Berlin as well. I went back four times last year...and this year I have a lot of conferences and travelling and whatnot. It all makes sense, I guess.