Happy Lunar New Year🎊

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祝福亲爱的大家新春快乐,健康安好,幸福吉祥,万事如意!🎊

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Talking to herself

The room was dark like midnight, save for a crack in the curtain. She was propped up, half committing to get fully in bed. There was a pause. The ceiling looked black too. She spoke and directed the words to herself.

“I’m talking to you. I know it’s weird to be doing this out loud. No one else is obliged to care for you so you have to care for yourself, okay? We can do it.”

Good luck 世界。

Discrimination at the University of Oxford

My latest project is a video focusing on discrimination at the University of Oxford. The video is sort of split into three parts. Disclaimers, talking about my personal experiences of discrimination, reading out accounts shared with me of other students’ experiences of discrimination at the University of Oxford.

The video goes live at 4pm GMT. Click the link above to watch, and please do consider sharing it.

If you decide to make a video talking about discrimination at a renowned educational institute, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Xinyan ☕️☕️

Korean Spicy Noodles Challenge + Q&A

This Christmas I filmed a ‘Question and Answer’ video with the help of my younger cousin. I did this alongside the ‘Korean spicy noodle challenge’.

I actually decided to use the noodles as the topic for one of my Korean essays. If you haven’t heard of them before, basically there’s a brand of noodles that has become known for its spicy flavour. A few years ago there was an online trend of eating the noodles as part of an eating challenge. Once the trend went viral outside of Korea, the company actually tamed down the level of spice by a bit, but foreigners still find it spicy lol.

I talk a bit more about the noodles in the video, but on the whole its quite a fun video of me answering questions and slowly succumbing to the suffering from spice🙃 As my blog audience still probably doesn’t know me too well, I think you can definitely see another side to me from this video. Enjoy~

Click here to watch the video, or scroll up. Don’t forget to ‘like’ and ‘subscribe’!~

If you try 불닭볶음면 (Korean spicy noodles), good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Xinyan.

 

How to help a friend in need💜

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Let me clarify what this post is before we get into it. I want to share a ‘method’ I created for supporting a friend who may be depressed, uninspired or in some low mood. I’m simply sharing one tip that I have used in the past. It therefore goes without saying that there will of course be many other things that you could do to help a friend in need besides what I am sharing. Primarily letting your friend (or whoever it may be) know that you are there for them or being willing to listen to whats on their mind is quite important). However without further ado…

I had a close friend who sometimes experienced low moods. Once I wanted to gift them something so I prepared what I will be sharing in this post. In short, the gift is a glass bottle full of hand written notes that your friend can reach for when they need some cheering on. I made this gift a few years ago but came back in contact with it recently. I’ve been thinking it would be nice to share with you guys incase someone finds it helpful and also because my ‘life advice’ posts seem to be something my readers enjoy.

When I made this I went to a home store and bought a cute vintage glass bottle with a lid. You can use any container, but a small glass bottle would work quite well. Ideally something see through would be good because we want to make something with visual impact. When your friend sees the gift it will be a nice visual reminder that they are cared for, even when they’re not in low moods.

Feel free to decorate the outside of the bottle how you see fit. I tied a silver ribbon around the neck and looped a pink ring through the ribbon. I drew some stars and signed the bottom of the bottle using a pink coloured Sharpie pen (basically a permanent marker). I also wrote a short cute message on the inside of the lid. You could perhaps stick some stickers on the bottle (but obvs not too many if you want it to remain see through). I would probably pour some glitter inside the bottle too😛

The notes for inside the bottle are the most import part of the gift. The key is to making them effective is to personalise the messages. I’ve kept aside some of the neutral (non-personal) messages that I used so I can share them with you a little later. Depending on who you’re gifting it to the tone of your messages will of course change. You might write notes mostly with an uplifting tone for a friend who is sad; or notes telling your friend things you like about them or sharing happy memories you’ve had to remind them that they’re loved; or maybe just prompts for random things to do for someone who is in a bit of a funk. Some of them can even be random doodles and drawings. 你自己看看吧~You can figure that out for yourself, but I personally think it’s best with a mixture of different types of messages. After all your friend might not reach for the gift for the same reason each time.

The photo at the start shows some of the notes I included in my bottle. I used various mediums to write on. Cute sticky notes (memo pads), different coloured paper, a page from a desktop calendar, be creative! Try using different coloured pens too~ I also threw in some random objects that fit into the bottle to add more variety. It makes the gift a bit cuter and less medicinal yknow. Objects I used includes a mini multicoloured dice set (I phrased it like that because ‘mini dies’ looks weird lol), a random wheel from a mini toy skateboard, a (new) earring stud, and some small hearts I coloured and cut out. I’ll now share some of my more ‘neutral’ messages with you incase you need inspiration:

  • I copied out the link to a YouTube video they find funny.
  • ‘简单才能快乐’ a phrase I really like and taught them in the past. It can be translated as ‘simplicity is the key to happiness’.
  • ‘Don’t forget to floss!’.
  • ‘It’s okay not be okay 🙂 ❤ <3’
  • ‘PLAY THE WHISPER CHALLENGE’.
  • ‘Merry Xmas in advance! Have fun~’.
  • ‘Get tickets to see a band’. (You could switch ‘band’ for ‘show’, or something more specific).
  • ‘Call a friend you haven’t spoken to in a while’.
  • ‘Write down 3 things you’re grateful for from your day today’. (See if this is appropriate).
  • ‘How much sleep did you get last night?’.
  • ‘Visit a hipster café!’. 😛
  • ‘Go on a treasure hunt!’.
  • ‘[Inspirational quote].’
  • ‘Are you still #TeamAndroid?’.
  • ‘Make the best paper aeroplane the world has ever seen!’.
  • ‘Play with Lego’.
  • ‘Don’t overwork yourself!!’.
  • I folded a fortune cookie I got (lol).
  • ‘Have a bath…with a bath-bomb! (Lush has got your back for this)’.
  • ‘Go to a park for a while’.
  • ‘Try and do an hour of Insanity. I dare you…’ (It’s the name of a fitness workout).
  • ‘Visit a museum’.

So there’s quite a long list of short messages you could use/edit. I’ll share a few more that are slightly longer for variety sake. Remember the key is personalisation and variety.

  • ‘Did you have a long day today? I’m sure it was productive. Make sure you take care of yourself’.
  • ‘Empty this bottle for a while and keep a rose in it ^.^ P.s. Flowers need water (I know from experience) #RealOsmosis’.
  • ‘Your birthday may not have passed yet but let me say happy birthday in advance! If it has passed, then I’m sorry if I couldn’t say it in person. I hope you have an amazing year continuing to be your amazing self ^.^ ‘.
  • ‘What’s the date today? You should set yourself a challenge to capture an interesting moment of your day on camera! Am I making sense? xD Go and explore the world! Take your phone/camera and capture something great! :)’.

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I’m aware that this gift is not going to fully save them from their sorrows, but I know that sometimes people need something they can quickly turn to in moments of feeling low. How ever your gift is used, I’m sure your friend will appreciate it and that it will help them even slightly; which really is good enough💜 I have other ideas that I could share with you and I’m thinking of writing something on self care, let me know if you’d like to see that! x

Lastly, if you’re reading this to help ‘a friend’ and are maybe experiencing low moods yourself, let me tell you as an impartial voice that whatever you’re feeling is valid ❤ Please try to talk to someone about what you’re going through. Click here for a list of a few numbers you can call to talk to someone confidentially if you’re in the UK. Also feel free to contact me by commenting on this post (it doesn’t go public till I approve it) if you want to talk to an outsider or if I can maybe give you advice with whatever going on. You got this 💜

If you try to help a friend in need, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼,欣妍 – From Xinyan.

P.s. Happy New Year~ https://www.instagram.com/p/BsD5Ot_hzOo/

Three Threads Make a String

 

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‘Ghost Dreamer’ – Something I wrote when I was younger.

I love writing. Well I used to love writing.

I guess I keep it up through this blog, but I used to be more engrossed in creative writing, like poetry and short stories. I fell victim to perfectionism and eventually stopped completing my stories but used to orally retell them to family. My aunty who I didn’t see as one to be interested in a child’s silly hobby was quite a fan of my writings which was high praise for me at the time. I noticed back then that most of my stories would end with the protagonist being killed. It was not an intentional common factor but it was an interesting realisation. I did recently post a very short story on here which I prefaced by saying that my stories often hold dark narratives. I wrote it in Chinese and then translated it into English, click here for the English version of the story, and here for the Chinese version.

I didn’t think I had ‘dreams’ till I reflected on it recently, maybe I could share them with you one day because I think it’s quite interesting. Regardless of whether or not I’m in an extended ‘writers block’ phase, it’s still one of my dreams to publish a book. I have three and a half in mind. The title of the first book is the same as that of this post, I’ll get back to that in a sec. The second is a bit tricky because the nature of the novel is not something I am allowed to openly discuss and so I could only write that anonymously. That being the case I don’t think I’d write it at all. Lastly, the ‘half’ book would be something like an advice/reflections book. A friend of mine very eagerly told me that one day I should publish an autobiography. She was fascinated by some of the things I told her I had done recently, as well as the intersectionality of my identity and the unique situations that can arise from it, and some of my world views. I don’t know if I’m grand enough for an autobiography or if having one makes me seem like I value myself higher than I do, which is why I would for now rather write something articulating my thoughts on certain social issues.

Back to the title of this post. I thought I’d give you a brief synopsis of the first story I’d love to publish one day. Let me know what you think. [TW: Death, neglect, substance abuse].

The novel would be split into three sections with individual chapters for each section. Part one focuses on a young girl. Since birth her parents did not appreciate her and neglected her as she grew up, often leaving her home alone with little provisions whilst they went out to work. The girl would usually sneak into her neighbour’s house during the day to play with the children next door. When her neighbour’s were due to move home, the girl ran away from her parents and was fostered by her neighbours. After moving to a new city with her new family, things seem to be going well for once. One night the girl overhears her foster parents discussing their financial situation. They said that having an extra child in the house causes a strain they did not anticipate and they didn’t know what to do. The girl felt like a burden and tried to relieve her stress by going for a walk the next day. During her walk she sees a baby in the middle of the road about to be hit by a bus and runs to save him.

The second part focuses on a ‘stressed woman’. I didn’t get to develop her narrative too much, but in short her failure to keep down a job turns her to alcoholism. She has a young toddler son who she does not take care of properly and sometimes screams out her frustrations to him. On a particularly distressing day she takes her son in a car seat and goes on a manic drive. As she sobs in hopelessness she begins to blame her son for her failures. She takes out a gun from her glove compartment and contemplates using it. She pulls up to the side of the road and brings the car seat out with her. She places the seat in the middle of the road as she prepares to use her gun.

The final section of the story interlinks the first two, and explains the reason behind the title name. The girl from part one sees a child being left in the middle of the road and runs to save him as a bus approaches. She manages to shield the child with her own body, however in that brief moment the bus could not avoid them. The girl is killed by the direct impact of the bus, and the baby could not withstand it either. He died too. The mother of the baby witnessed everything from the sidewalk. It suddenly hit her that two lives were lost due to her actions. People start to crowd and tend to the children. Amidst this, the woman is filled with guilt and points her gun to her head and takes her own life. The pool of blood is now more red than the bus itself.

 

So that’s my story. Not a true story I should add. It’s very dark but I was proud of it at the time. Tell me what you think.

I linked this story earlier on but if you did not get a chance to see, take a look at the English translation to a short story I posted not too long ago entitled, ‘Unsettling Bridge’. Just like in the story I just summarised, I noted earlier that the protagonists usually die at the end of my stories, however I left this one (Unsettling Bridge) open to interpretation. If you have read it, what do you think happened?

If you want to publish a short story, good luck 世界。

此致敬礼 – From Xinyan.

P.s: The photo I added at the start is taken from a story I found on my old laptop. Again its a bit dark lol but I think it’s really cool because I wrote it when I was a lot younger.

跟姐的感言

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你们还好么?在我最新英文版的文章我又说了我想更好的向你们自绍。我是大概四年以前建这个博客的,可是一开始的时候我不想让大家知道我真实的身份所以我总是会利用我中文名字‘欣妍’来写文章。如果你想更了解我中文,英文,和其他名字的意义你可以点这个文章去看看。

昨天我终于跟我在牛津伊斯兰学生团体群里见到的一位朋友见面。我很激动才能跟她见到因为她是我唯一的在牛津城市认识的中国穆斯林女孩。现在我就叫她姐姐。我们昨天去了英国很又名的一家咖啡馆,聊了几个小时。我们聊了很多深刻的问题,包括我们的极限身份。回到学院以后我很想写许多文章,可是这次我就给你分析姐在她微信圈里发的话。

下面都是姐写的:

【“Good Luck,世界。”
有个在西方常被用滥的句子,叫“世界之大,有多元可能性”,不论走在哪里,我都常被某种人吸引。他们不拘禁在自己的圈子里,游历四方;具有多重看似矛盾的身份,敢于做少数;同时又有担当和责任感。这个我仨月前就在FB上认识的姑娘,终于在今天下午正式出现在我面前。“姐姐!”她开心地喊出来。
我不惊讶很多白人学中文,也本不应该惊讶这个孟加拉裔戴头巾的英国姑娘能从11岁就开始学中文,以至于我们今天下午的对话大半都用流利中文进行。

“我既是英国人,又是孟加拉人。有时候觉得挺挣扎,因为正是因为前一种人的存在,才有了后一种人(英国殖民历史对于南亚大陆的影响)。至今,我经常被认成是非英国人,仅仅因为我的肤色。”
“也有朋友对我说,难道巴基斯坦和孟加拉国不是一个国家吗,我其实还挺生气的。‘当然不是啊,我们是两个不同的文化!’”

“我是穆斯林,但是什叶(伊斯兰中的少数教派,世界范围内,包括牛津,大部分穆斯林属于逊尼)。什叶真正让我认识到为何要遵守某些宗教规范,但正是因为它是少数,所以很多什叶不敢‘出柜’(告诉他人自己的什叶身份)。”
戴头巾是她自己的选择,从很小时侯,她就问妈妈能不能戴头巾了,妈妈直到她长大后才允许她戴。然而戴头巾并没影响她对于时尚的追求,她热爱色彩,常常穿不同的颜色在身上,明亮地散发热量。她热爱韩流,毕业论文将探讨被韩流影响的中国青年。

在同学们为各种华丽实习机会趋之若鹜时,她拿起相机,走上牛津街头,记录那些无家可归的人的故事,“家对于我来说是如此重要的存在,我无法想象没有家的我,会是怎样”;牛津是一个很“白”的学校,很多人问她是否受过种族歧视,在回答了太多遍之后,她想,干脆做个视频,收集牛津人受到各种各样歧视的故事,一起展示给公众。“我的记忆力很差,想做的事情很多,于是想趁现在快点记录下来,怕我自己遗忘,也怕被世界遗忘。”

姑娘是少数中的少数,但她并未因为而被边缘化,而是为自己的身份而骄傲,并且不怕‘出柜’。“我想让让更多人看到我们的存在。”坚定而有力。

姑娘中文名欣妍,牛津本科中国研究大四,有自己的博客,YouTube频道,FB主页,Ins直播。“我对一切创作都感兴趣。”(图片来自她的博客)

希望她洒下的种子,在各处都能发芽。❤️】

如果你想在博客“出柜”你的身份,我祝你好运。

此致敬礼,欣妍。

 

另外姐发给我:孟子曰:”舜发于畎亩之中,傅说举于版筑之间,胶鬲举于鱼盐之中,管夷吾举于士,孙叔敖举于海,百里奚举于市。故天将降大任于是人也,必先苦其心志,劳其筋骨,饿其体肤,空伐其身行,行弗乱其所为,所以动心忍性,曾益其所不能。人恒过,然后能改。困于心,衡于虑,而后作。徵于色,发于声,而后喻。入则无法家拂士,出则无敌国外患者,国恒亡。然后知生于忧患难与共,而死于安乐也。”

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