Monthly Archives: December 2011

We’re like cakes in a sense.

I have never been a big fan of chain e-mails telling you all sorts of crap like “If thou do not obey immediately and forward this straight away, thou shalt be inflicted with unspeakable harm all thy days.” But some of those chain e-mails contain quite good stories and for that reason, I take out the chain aspects of them and forward them on to somebody who will appreciate the story.

One such e-mail was entitled God’s cake and the basic message in it was that in order to make a good cake, its imperative to include the different ingredients. Eggs, flour or baking powder may not taste good in their raw form or by themselves, but you can’t make a proper cake by just including the sugar, coco, icing, butter and sprinkles. They all taste nice, but they wouldn’t make a finished product. And we are like that cake. Having just good experiences in your life will never form you as an individual and therefore God use any bad experience you may have in the recipe of making your character, or to make you become like that amazing cake.

The e-mail made a big impression on me. So much so that even though I received it over three years ago at least, I still reflect on those words. And cheesy as it may sound, I have to stop every now and again and thank God for every hard time I’ve managed to come through with my good spirits and whits intact. Yes, a couple of things have scarred me probably for life, but like baking powder which tastes yucky (someone dared me to try it when I was little) the way those things have influenced my life have given me certain truths and wisdom I wouldn’t and couldn’t have obtained otherwise.

So I’m grateful for being a cake! I hope it’s either lemon or white chocolate and raspberry coz they’re my favourites. Mmmmm.

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Blindness, dating, romance and how to attract blind people.

Through the years, I’ve had my fair share of questions about blind people in relation to dating and romance and so I’m going to write a post addressing some of the most common questions both me and a lot of my fellow blindies have received. I hope it solves a few mysteries for you sighted people out there.

A very common phrase people like to use if they don’t know me very well and we’re talking about who’s good looking and who isn’t is “I guess you’ll just have to go by personality.” Yes and no. Obviously when you’re blind, you’re gonna have to have a certain knowledge about people without seeing them, but you don’t necessarily get those from interacting so much with them. Hearing someone’s voice, observing what they are talking about or perhaps get an idea of their physique by holding an arm or shaking hands as well as their voice can be enough to know that you fancy them. Smell is also important.” I’m sorry Mr Fit body Soft voice, but you aint showered in ages, or you don’t use any interesting aftershave or cream to make you smell interesting.” So going away from personality, which obviously is important whether sighted or blind, physique, good smell and nice voice are things a blind person will go on to determine whether they like you or not.

I’ve also had sighted men ask how they can attract a blind woman. Blind women are the same as any women out there, so there’s no one answer to that question. But like sighted women, blind women appreciate a man making an effort with their looks. She may not be able to see your ketchup spotted t-shirt, mismatched trainers or that pen mark on your right thigh, but if she somehow gets to hear about it from a friend who happened to see you on a date, she won’t likely be impressed with you. So making the same effort as you would with a sighted woman is essential. Smell nice too. No need to use the entire bottle of Hugo Boss, but enough that she may want to come closer to smell you a little more?

As for women attracting blind men, the same rule goes with the looks. Ladies, if you’d use make-up dating a sighted person, do it for the blind man too. My experience with blind men is also that they like it when you wear something which shows off your shape a little. I may be generalizing, but seeing as we’ve had to rely on feel to get a good impression of things, feeling up places which perhaps should be avoided on the first few dates isn’t necessary to feel the shape of someone’s body and determine whether you’ll like it or not. A hug or holding an arm reveals more than you may think. We pay more attention, without actually paying attention to the fact that we pay attention.

Another experience I have with blind men, is that if he is a normal functioning and independent man with good social circle and job, do not mother him to any larger extent than you would mother a sighted man  We women tend to mother men a little too much sometimes, and I know my blind male friends claim sighted women can be a little to over the top.

I have also heard, and I can very well believe this, if a blind man’s sighted friends say that his girlfriend is ugly the blindy well may break up with you. I don’t know if the same goes for women, but I have never broken up with anyone because of the way they look and neither have I believed, have my blind girlfriends.

So in short, if you are trying to attract a blind person, or just want to know the answers to those questions, the answer is, do exactly what you would do if the object of your fancy could see. Not just in terms of behaviour, but also in taking care of your look. It’s got to do with respect more than anything.

Finally, if a person is blind, what’s better. Blind or sighted partner?

Being with someone sighted is a hell of a lot more practical than being with someone who is blind or even at times partially sighted. However, aside from the practicality of sight, being with a sight impaired person has some advantages too. Flirting with a blind man for me at least, is a whole different thing to flirting with someone sighted. A blind/partially sighted man knows what it means to be visually impaired and understand me on my terms in ways the majority of sighted people wouldn’t do unless they knew lots of VI people or have it naturally within them to understand those things, but the latter is rare. I for example, don’t automatically understand what being deaf must be like, because I don’t know a lot of deaf people, so I find myself asking similar questions to what a sighted person would ask me and in flirting situations, that can be a bit of a turn off at times.

I find it hard to be with sighted men because I personally haven’t met a sighted man who would allow me to go about my daily life and business in the way my blind boyfriends or exes have done. They never feel funny about me preparing their dinner for example, whilst the sighted dates I’ve had made sure I never lifted a finger when they were around.

There is a reason a lot of VI people end up together and I believe that a big part of that reason has to do with common ground, understanding and acceptance. Having said that, couples in which one is sighted and one blind or partially sighted do exist, though unfortunately they tend to be in the minority and it tends to be sighted women with blind or partially sighted men.

But really, there is no better or worse. If you find the person who loves you and is ready to take you on your terms and let you be who you are, visual acuity doesn’t matter at all.

Blind, partial or sighted, your comments would be appreciated on this.

Update: Since I wrote this post, I have been very fortunate to find love myself. I have shared
My own romance story
here.

10 things I dislike about the UK

In my previous post 10 things I love about the UK

I gave a list of things I love about the UK and this title is self explanatary really. I’m going to list 10 things I dislike about the UK. Don’t take the list too seriously though if you’re one of those people with zero sense of humour. If you do find it funny, feel free to giggle to your hearts content.
1. The difference in class. This was actually a fairly big shock to a girl like me, from a socialist country where class mainly is a political idea. For being a wealthy Western country, there really is a big difference between rich and por to a greater extent than what I expected.
2. The drinking. I love the pub culture, but there seems to be alcohol at every social occasion here, even during the week. Maybe my body has a problem with regular alcohol consumption, but drinks after work with colleagues, or meals with friends during the week accompanied by alcohol always left me feeling sleepy, a little depressed and sometimes hung over, all of which puts me in a bad mood. I do drink, I just need to keep it to a minimum and never two days in a row if I can help it. How boring I am! But, knowing this, I am good at playing drunk when I’m sober. But is all the alcohol really necessary?

3. Bureaucracy. Every country has it, but it seems that England has brought this too a whole new level! I’m in the middle of selling my flat and I still don’t know who I’m doing business with. Is it the estate agents, the sollicitors, someone acting between the sollicitors and estate agent? someone who oversees the work of the sollicitors and the other sollicitors I never knew existed and the buyers sollicitors and the estate agent? or is it simply Bob? I think we can rule him out perhaps, whoever he is, or can we?………

4. The crowds. This is more applicable to London than anywhere else. I remember first coming to London on holiday at the tender age of ten and exclaiming: “Dad, people are running into each other and they’re not blind!”

5. Carpets. They are everywhere and I don’t like them because they are unhygenic, collect dust which I’m allergic to (It’s true,) and they often smell damp. It’s been a while since I’ve seen one in a bathroom though at least.

6. The weather. It’s almost always too windy, too rainy, too cold, too humid, too something. And summer? I think that was a phenomenon of the past. 2006 if I recall correctly. The humidity mixed with cold temperature also makes dressing to keep warm difficult and the cold penetrates your layers. But on the nice days, there’s no place like a British park!

7. Coldness and anonymity. Again, this is a London thing. I have lots of friends, but I have never felt so lonely as I have in London. And though people are nice enough, there are too many who always hurry and/or are rude. London life also seem to suck the time out of you. “I’m sorry I haven’t been able to meet up with you recently, it’s London life,” is quite a common phrase between Londoners.

8. The British cuisine. Fish and Chips, stake and kidney pie, Cornish pasties are not quite my idea of a gastronomic “Must experience” but desserts, or puddings as the British say, like trifle is not so bad. I still haven’t tried a spotted dick……

9. Imperial measurements. Stones, pounds, ounces, feat and inshes, there’s something sweet and old-fashioned about them, but they make me feel kind of stupid because I don’t grasp them. They’re not nice round number like their metric counterparts.

10. The Jeremy Kyle Show. Need I say more? If there ever was to be made a TV ad for this show, I can imagine it would go a little bit like this: “Unemployed and never intend to get a job? Want to make sure the anti depressant business are still going good? Or like to get reminded that your life isn’t so bad after all? Then why not tune in to the Jeremy Kyle show. Which of these 10 guys are the babies father, why Lill chose to become a prostitute and the mother and daughter who share the bed of one man are just some of the exciting stories featuring in the next edition. Tune in on ITV and ITV2 on weekdays.”

It took me a lot longer to write this post than the previous post. So basically my conclusion is that there are many more positives than negatives about the UK. No place is perfect, but just like looking for a partner, you need to find a place you like despite its faults. And should I ever be given a great opportunity in London in the future, I’d definitely take it. For as I’ve said previously, you can’t live somewhere for so long without it becoming part of you.

I’m hoping to write similar posts in the future about other countries I know well.

10 things I love about the UK

The date of my leaving is approaching. When I eventually made the decission to return to Norway in October and just wanted to pack my bags and go, the wait felt like an eternity, but now that I only have 15 more days, I think they’re going too fast.

So I’ve decided to make a list of 10 things I love about the UK. They’re not in any particular order.

1. The diversity of cultures. I love how I can walk down the street in any fairly big British city or town and hear a different language at every street corner as well as having the choice of food and music from all over the world. Now I’d hate living in a place with only one culture and language!
2. Audiodescription. In case you don’t know what that is, it’s basically having the bits in a film or play where there’s no dialogue described to you through a pair of headphones, a technology enjoyed by blind or partially sighted people. I’d never seen this before I came here and needless to say I’m hooked for obvious reasons. They even have it on TV!

3. The pub culture. Going out to a pub almost anywhere in the UK, you can almost always be sure to end up making new acquaintences. People in pubs are often happy and talk and in pubs boys can talk to girls without necessarily having sex on their mind and vise versa.

4. Teatime. Ok, so most people nowadays don’t really do 5 o’clock tea in dainty China cups with rose patterns, but I have done it a couple of times in cafes and once even in Harrods. There’s something very soothing about the sound of cup against saucer. And even though I don’t really like scones, a small piece with jam tastes good in the right setting.

5. Dungeons and ghost stories. I’m sure most countries have some tradition of scary stories and cold dungeons, but every time I’ve been on some sort of ghost, or ancient life type of tour here, I’ve also been very impressed and the guides always managed to make me scream, something I don’t do easily.

6. Fudge. MMMMM. Just go in to one of those small sweetshops with homemade candy, ask for fudge, take a bite and get lost in the deilicious sweetness. The best fudge comes from Jersey, but I’ve had good fudge in London and Edinburgh too.

7. West End Musicals. In London you really can find all the classics and I never get enough of musical theatre.

8. Excellent crime, thrillers and detective TV series. Most people I know both in and outside Britain cannot resist a good British crime. Prime suspect anyone? Or is Inspector Morse your cup of tea? (Twinings of course) There are also a great number of brilliant authors too from those of older literature such as Shakespear and Dickens to present ones such as J K Rowling and Ian rankin.

9. London shopping. Everyone flocks to London for Christmas shopping and for a good reason. You can get almost everything here.

10. The parks. I love sitting down, or walking in one of UK’s many parks when the weather is good. Sometimes even feeding the ducks pigeons or having a picknick with good friends.

11 (I was only gonna do 10 and I won’t change the title) But I can’t not mention how much great music has come from here. The Beatles and Phil Collins to Tinie Tempah and Ms Bratt. The music reflect the cultural diversity.
Watch out for my next article about things I dislike about the UK.