Writer’s Block: terrorism, politics and humanity.

Do you ever have that feeling when you have lots to say but aren’t sure how to channel it?

Or you go to write and you feel paralysed with fear?

I was a mix of both last week. I had a serious case of writer’s block.

See, a lot has been happening. Both around me and in my life.

The London attacks happened. The first near my place of work. The second near my home, and my go-to for date night.

It feels like the vibe around everything has changed. The Grenfell Tower incident happened most recently and has caused serious shifts in this mad city.


And me? Between work, my personal/professional development course and social stuff. My creative pursuits felt a little lost.

But I’ve still been in and out and have accumulated some questions:

Like how is it suddenly ok that Snapchat has an actual story dedicated to the London Bridge attack!?

Since when did I become scared of my own expression!?

Abstract and poles apart, but two questions that have been on my mind for the last couple of weeks because, somehow, the world does not feel the same as it was a week ago, two weeks ago, a month, whatever.

The night of the second London attack, I was coming home from a course weekend and it was the most surreal thing to be so happy after a long day and read there had been another attack. And just up the road from me.

I felt weary ticking the box that I was safe on Facebook and messaging my family that I was ok again (it’s about the fourth time I have ever had to do this) and then a call waking me up at 1am from a distressed friend from out of town. It was such a surreal parallel situation to be in.

Social media, which in my opinion had been getting a little too superficial for my liking, suddenly took it up a notch.

From the time of the Manchester attack to the General Election, I began to, on one hand, fall back in love with social media but on the other, be completely shocked by it.

Since when was it ok to dedicate a Snapchat Story thread to these incidents!? Kids use these apps. Terrorism is not a trivial vlog.

Since when did we decide to take it upon ourselves to be personal journalists and physically record this stuff!?

I went to the London Bridge memorial the Thursday after the attack to meet a friend.


Just before we left – and just after I had voted – we had this short interaction on Twitter.

Me: “How about London Bridge Grind? Although I feel a bit weird going there after Saturday.”

Friend: “Best reason to go there”

I was nervous. And the little voice in my head was screaming “NO!” But I hopped on the tube anyway. On the other side, I took a deep breath.

Now let me tell you, I’ve been blogging for four years. I take photos of EVERYTHING. But I could absolutely not bring myself to take photos of London Bridge memorial. It was too vivid and too personal. It felt disrespectful and I was actually kind of shocked that people were taking photos and then not taking the time to be with the space and give wishes.

Within two minutes of standing next to the flowers and gifts, I was in tears. The photos. The skateboard with messages for the Spanish guy. The signs to stay strong. It was deeply moving. All I felt was overwhelming emotion. I’m not even sure which one. And so I was so astounded that anyone could just snap a picture and keep walking.

My friend was right – I hope he doesn’t read this, ha! I was reminded that the strongest thing to do was to be brave, have courage and move forward. Collectively and individually.


I love people and London city more than I have ever done before.

I believe in my goals and myself as much as I believe in others. I trust myself and I trust others.

It’s interesting how you need a little dramatic nudge to get you going again. Like you become a little too complacent and the universe pokes you hard to wake you up again.

How do you deal with writer’s block?

Han x

Han Meets Quarter Life Crisis!?

This is partly satirical.

I always scoffed at the idea of a quarter-life crisis. “Really?! Breaking down and feeling lost in your twenties?!  What a concept!” My eighteen year old self would mock.

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*Me at 19 (Paris 2012) – hope you enjoy the massive trendy side bang…

Then graduation hit and the reality hit. The wider world is nothing like uni. You don’t get to see all your friends in the same place – particularly as the majority will move across the country or out of the country entirely. You wonder if any of those people were friends in the first place and, to be honest, the idea of staying in for the night with your cat (I don’t have a cat) suddenly seems much more enticing.

Tax, pensions and national insurance, once something you could laugh off, now hit your salary very hard. And if you’re working from an agency, say goodbye to another cut of your precious dollar. I think of the clothes I might have actually been able to afford, *cry face*.

The career path, more like winding treacherous mountain track of uncertainty. At 16, I worked my butt off in various roles to increase my skills and all through uni. At 24, I have those skills but employers don’t know what to do with me… So I’ve taken to bumbling in and out of various roles in the hope for an in to the ‘right’ department. However writing my CV this week has made for some tough calls and once where my CV looked pretty squeaky clean and steady, it looks as confused as I did ten years ago having to start choosing my career!

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*Back in the day when all I had to do was jump in a pool for a crazy pic to get a job (2015).

An evening. I sometimes question if being ambitious really is a good thing as evenings are no longer a relax with a glass of red occasion. But extended working hours in the hope of fulfilling a couple of childhood dreams. Seriously, if I could go back and tell my school or uni self to start sooner and stop wasting time… Ughhh! Or what if I was just a little less ambitious and all that I needed in life was to go to work and have a couple of glasses of bubbly while sitting on my sun deck in my bean bag – I’m totally jealous eyeballing my neighbours right now…

Ok… Sigh of relief done.

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And how about the positives?

I can move around anywhere I want with no notice. Well, maybe a little work and house notice I mean I still pay rent, bills and have the work Chromebook on my chest of drawers… But the freedom of choice is there. I moved to London because I wanted to pursue creative opportunities and meet my own in-crowd. I could have stayed where my salary was steadier and house prices cheaper. Instead I took a massive leap of faith, which, at 24 is going to be a great choice I am sure. No success story is complete without a little struggle, right?

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*Seems befitting to put a Brazil (2013) pic in here.

Love life. While I miss the hours you could spend with your crush/person you were dating while in education, discovering what adult relationships are about is actually much more interesting and wonderful. Sure I’m sad I don’t have more time sometimes – or money (last time I mention money I swear!!!), facing the world with someone is so much more fun than hiding from it with them. You both have a little more freedom to go places and they don’t still take their dirty washing home for their parents to do…

Self-development. Personal and professional development is becoming increasingly more popular with twenty-somethings as companies begin to favour those open to taking on feedback about themselves and their performance. Being someone who has always been open to the idea, I am beginning to see the long term benefits of having taken on self-development coaching in my early twenties as my past crap is being removed from my life and I can get on with creating exactly the life I want – when I have found out roughly what that is. Many people I speak to on my current programme tell me they wish they had completed it at ‘my age’ and while I am not the youngest in the group, I can tell it’s going to set me up well. It’s uncomfortable but the benefits are MASSIVE!

Anyway! Rambly post from negative start to hopefully a positive finish.

Do you think quarter-life crisis is a thing!?

Han x

*My last day of exams (June 2015).

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#HanMeetsLondon: broke in the city and dating.

London is a fast-paced city. Work moves fast, life moves fast, and dating is – you guessed it – also fast. People tend to fall into two very general categories, the date and ditch or serious and (we would hope) committed. There doesn’t tend to be a comfortable in between when it comes to a love life in the Big Smoke. People are here for a purpose, and love does not tend to be high up on that list of purposes. It’s not negative, it’s just fact. You’re in London now, it’s a whole new planet!

However just because it is different doesn’t mean it has to be difficult. Even on a budget, dating in London is one of the most exciting places to be. Cocktails and fine dining on rooftops are not everyone’s cup of tea after all.

  1. Know your budget. Know your worth. Just because there is someone else sharing your life does not mean you have to break the bank. Sure, London is bloody expensive, but what makes it special is the amount of alternatives. As long as I can sit/cosy up to my date, I am just as happy in Block (Shoreditch street food) as I could be in Sushi Samba (rooftop high-end restaurant in Bishopsgate).
  2. Get creative. I hate first date dinner dates. It’s like interviewing someone. I prefer adventures and experiences. I used Instagram to find out about a small gig/EP launch in a yoga studio in Richmond for one of my dates. It was a hit and miss that could have potentially been a big flop, but it turned out to be precisely what was needed. Again, it depends what you are looking for in a date. But if you are like me and want to build something experience do just that. They build memories that you can begin to share with someone.
    Instagram is my main source but I am also signed up to a couple of other newsletters such as BoxPark (which regularly host free events) and Design My Night. Other good sources are Time Out and Eventbrite (search London and any other search term such as ‘music’).

  3. Know what you want from your dating life. Like I said before, London dating is fast and so it is important to know what you want. And then stick by it! One of the most common things that happen is someone meets someone in a bar, they have a passionate night and then one is left heartbroken because the other doesn’t want anything serious. Remember, both wants are valid! But I highly recommend staying strong to what you want as this will get you the person who you are (hopefully) looking for.
    On the other hand, if you are still unsure, London also makes for the perfect place for you to find out what it is you are looking for. Living in a big and varied city, pretty much anything goes.

So you see, while you may think dating is not possible with a London lifestyle, it most certainly is if it’s what you really want in your life. It requires an honest conversation with yourself about what what you are really looking for, but every person and every relationship is different. So be bold and be brave.

I am happily dating someone right now and if I had listened to convention or given into the ‘no money conversation’ I would be in a very different place – and probably beating myself up that I let money get in the way like that.

You deserve the love life you want, and money does not need to get in the way of that.

My final piece of advice for people living in London and dating is: to have the conversation. Communication is key, but as you will repeatedly hear, people come to London to move forward their life/career goals and it is important that both parties respect that. But also that you don’t loose sight of those too. That was one thing I’d say I was worried about, because I have always been a goals-driven woman. Some honest communication solves that however and life goes on.

What is your favourite thing to do on date night?

Han x

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Liebster Award

So a couple of weeks ago I was nominated by the lovely blogger and fellow Coconut Queen, Chelsea Hodges for the Liebster Award!

What I like about this tag is that it encourages connection with bloggers that I would not have known about otherwise and across oceans.

It’s a chance for you, dear readers, to get to know me a little better and also for other bloggers to connect.

Thank you Chelsea for nominating me and apologies for the tardiness!! Here goes:

Post 11 Facts About Yourself:

  1. I live in London.
  2. I have lived outside of the UK twice.
  3. I speak four other languages at varying degrees of fluency.
  4. I am a Sagittarius.
  5. I have practiced different types of dance for as long as I can remember. From ballet to samba.
  6. I am left-handed.
  7. I LOVE Mexican food.
  8. I am a wine snob – South American reds for the win!
  9. I always buy a copy of Vogue when I go abroad.
  10. The only other country I have travelled to where English was also the first language, is Scotland. Travelled mostly to Spanish speaking countries…
  11. I have been doing self-development since February 2016.

Answer the 11 Questions Your Nominator Asked:

  1. What made you start blogging? I have always loved writing but I started an actual blog to document my Year Abroad (a compulsory year for a languages degree) in Brazil.
  2. What is your favourite part of blogging? Seeing my ideas come to life and the online creative community.
  3. What’s your favourite food? Enchiladas!!
  4. What is your dream job? Business owner and writer (realistic); actress (pipe dream).
  5. What was your favourite subject at school? English.
  6. What is your biggest fear? What comes with success.
  7. Morning bird or night owl? Morning bird! I cannot sleep past 7am!
  8. What’s your least favourite part of blogging? Bots 🙄
  9. What post are you most proud of? Probably when I wrote about my self-development journey last summer.
  10. Do you have any tips for a beginning blogger? Oh I have many tips, but the most common thing I hear is that people want their first post to be perfect. It won’t be! So my advice is: just start!
  11. What’s your favourite social media to promote your blog on? Twitter for sure. The support on there is a-mazing!


Nominate 11 Other Bloggers

  1. This Last Moment
  2. Bunnies Are Magic
  3. Amy Ameldi
  4. Cook With Amore
  5. Grace Hebditch
  6. Alys George
  7. Smart World Citizen
  8. Charlotte Phillips
  9. The Girl On The Move
  10. John Sennett
  11. Nusha Blog


Ask Them 11 Questions:

  1. What inspired you to begin blogging?
  2. What motivates you to keep blogging?
  3. Who was the first blogger you followed?
  4. What is your blogging message?
  5. What is your favourite app?
  6. Do you plan to blog full time?
  7. What is one blogger cliché that bugs you?
  8. What is one piece of advice you wish you had been given when you started blogging?
  9. If you were an app, which one would you be?
  10. Which camera do you prefer to use for your online work?
  11. Did you have any misconceptions of blogging before you started?


Let Them Know They’ve Been Nominated!

Want to join in? Pick a question and tweet/comment your answer!

Han x

Han Meets Pinktrotters

 

Tuesday 1:03pm – One Block Down (Milan)

Don’t you just love it when you can make connections further afield? And discover such incredible people and stories.

Pinktrotters was born from the passion to create a safe network for women to travel. For women to connect and create lasting friendships. Based largely in Italy, it has become an incredible success across the country and created a whole new community for women.

I first discovered the company around autumn 2015 when I went looking for a travel subscription box for women, just out of curiosity. Then by February 2016, I was able to make my first event at the Lucy Choi shop in London.

Here I not only bought my first pair of designer heels but also met my gorgeous friend Amy who I ended up planning a trip to Milan with a year later!


We met Eliana (above) on her lunch break the second day of our visit.

One Block Down was literally like stepping off the Milanese streets and into Shoreditch. Walls with signs saying ‘Coffee lovers only’ and ‘Meet your matcha’ and the freshly squeezed juices keeping cool in the refrigerators. Not sure what was more hipster: the fact everything was in English (remember we were in Milan) or that it took up a third of a shoe shop…


*Such blog. Very fashion. 

Ideal location for convos about start-ups though, amirite!?

It was wonderful getting to know a likeminded person with goals, ambitions and passions for innovation and the unknown. We talked business, travel experiences and general loves.

Connections like these are what keep me motivated and #InspiredBy the world! People with ideas who want to make a positive difference to people’s lives and create a refreshing one.


Later that day we were super happy when Eliana joined us for dinner and cocktails along the cancel in Navigli where we talked upcoming creative projects and giggled over Bumble – let’s face it, it had to be done… It amused me either way!


What rounded the trip off perfectly for us was staying in the Pinktrotters flat space where we got a sneak peak into the operative side of the business, shush! Pink-inspired and a creative buzz in the air, I definitely recommend you host your event in this space! It is the perfect evening space.

Check out their Air BnB page here too.


Milan was absolutely gorgeous and it was the perfect place to begin building our connections.

What one action could you take to connect abroad?

Han x

 Ps. thank you Amy for being my intern (aka photographer, props holder, concept designer etc). 😂

When in doubt, just add sparkle!

It has been a mad month. Setting out plans for my future while holding down a normal job and commuting to and fro. Looking after yourself can be easy to neglect.

So when I was invited to a manicure at Backstage Beauty, it got me thinking just how perfect a little treat for myself could be. Especially with Fashion Week season just getting started at the time as well.

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Ensconced in luxury, the tiny little salon resides in Mayfair and boasts a varied and impressive portfolio. Rushing between work and coaching commitments, I had enough time to get a spruce, shellac and I believe a proper setting gel.

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I was super happy with the result and it has lasted about two weeks and various situations. All that’s left is three days in Milan and it will have served its purpose.

 

I was left feeling super glamorous – it helped hopping straight into a black cab for my next appointment as well #ohsolondon. I am normally not a sparkly beauty person, but for nail polish I make the exception. What’s better than a little reminder of your awesomeness? A little sparkle!

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Check out Book Your Lifestyle for more information on Backstage Beauty and for your own ‘sparkle’ treatment.

What is your favourite way to treat yo’self?

Han x

 

 

Han Meets Strikes

So for anyone who works or lives in London, you will of course have experienced some form of the tube strikes.

Believe it or not, this isn’t the first time I have experienced strikes. I lived in Brazil in the lead up to the Football World Cup 2014 – I can happily blame the state of my dissertation on football, and not in a good way.

I have heard and sort of been affected by strikes here but it’s never been too much of an issue. Monday was a very insightful day for me however… And it went a little something like this.

  •  I left the house, I was feeling productive.

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  • Oh! My local tube station is closed. Wow! There really must be a strike. I don’t really want to go home, let’s go on an adventure!

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  • Arrive at alternate station down the road, this is fun, but lol at classic me wanting to have an adventure on a strike day.

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  • “Next Eastbound train will arrive in three minutes” – Great! In London time that’s on time anyway!

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  • (Half an hour later) Wow! So half the stations are closed including all the major ones… Boi I sure hope Liverpool Street is open. I’m already having to walk to Shoreditch.

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  • Boom! Liverpool Street is open! On to Shoreditch, it’s been a while since I discovered a new place to work.

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  • Made it to the Ace Hotel! Wow it’s super trendy. *Goes about business*

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  • Looks at clock and realises it would probably be wise to get going before rush hour. After all, it did take twice as long to get here.
  • Half an hour later “I HATE the Circle and District Lines!!” No matter how hard I try, I somehow still end up getting on the wrong train. I ended up further east.

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  • Gets on next District back west. I have to be on a call in twenty minutes and I am still out at Tower Hill… I better not be late.

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  • I jump out at Monument – because I have no idea when I will next get the chance – to ask the nice man for his recommended directions. He tells me my best option is to get a bus…!? Are you tripping!? There’s a strike going on, EVERYTHING is gridlocked, I actually want to get home tonight and you’re telling me to get a bus! No thanks!

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  • 3:01pm: I am somewhere under Mansion House, my call got disconnected and I have no idea when I will be allowed out of this tin can. WTF!? How can you suspend so much access for a human being!? This is ridiculous!

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  • *Several stops go by and we’re still not getting off anywhere* Look, I get it, you people are upset because some big bad people cut your jobs. Get mad but don’t take it out on us!? We got **** to do! This is not good for my productivity… I have commit –  WHY THE HELL CAN I STILL NOT GET OFF THIS TUBE!?

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  • At Earl’s Court: ok, so I’ve missed my call. Now what!? I could walk 40 minutes to get home, but just to check I’ll ask the nice man what he thinks.

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  • “Go to West Brompton, and get the Overgound”. Wait. What!? The Overground has been open all this time…

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  • FREEDOM IS JUST AROUND THE RIVER BEND!!

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  • Oh my god I think I might make it home before rush hour!

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  • Finally out on the other side of the barrier. I get home like:

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It was an experience, that’s for sure and watching footage of the strikes was crazy!

So for a first timer getting caught up in strikes, here are a couple of tips I bequeath unto you:

  1. If you can avoid the strikes – no matter how much you wanted to take on an adventure – avoid them! Productive day over travel stress trumps in my books. And I love a good adventure!
  2. Trust your instincts. Just because a person wears the official badge doesn’t mean they know best *all* of the time. I am so happy I stuck to my guns and got back on the District Line, then asked for advice again as I would have probably gone to Hammersmith and got a bus – and that would have meant another couple of hours of unnecessary travel.
  3. Planning is key. Don’t be naive and check if you will be affected. Download Citymapper and also have the TFL website open to search for updates on each station. This helped me a lot.

 

Got any other advice? Care to swap tips?

Han x

What are you #InspiredBy?

One thing I hear from a lot of people is “wow you have a blog! I’ve always wanted to  start a blog, but I don’t know what to write.”

I speak to a lot of people who want to make a difference and they have ideas, but they don’t know how to – or if they ‘should’ – take action.

So my first question is: why do you want to blog?

I chose to blog because I have always loved writing, I love tech and I love documenting my life.

Second question: do you want to blog to make a difference or for fame?

Well you know what I’m going to say to that one. So the alternative question is: are you being true to yourself?

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*Working a digital literacy conference circa 2015.

So, if you have answered these questions and you are sure that blogging/vlogging/being a digital influencer is your thing, the next question is: what are you inspired by?

2016 has been an, ahem, interesting year.

More and more people want to contribute their voice and their time. Whether that is to help others, motivate others, inspire others or make a difference.

For me, from my own small space in the world, I am committed to inspiring others to make the difference they want to make and live their best lives. Whether that is becoming the next campaign.org leader or buying a house in Marbs. I want to inspire you, dear reader, to fulfil on your dream.

I want to start a conversation. Some action.

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And that’s where I am looking at you, yes you, dear reader!

Do you want to make a difference? Do you have a digital idea or campaign that you want to connected on?

I want to start working with you!

 

I need:

*a photographer.

*digital influencers of all shapes, sizes and specialties to be photographed, attend the event and share the message.

 

What do you get in return?

Networking opportunities, skills experience and exposure.

 

Drop a line to hanmeetsworld@gmail.com if you’re interested or have any more questions!

Let’s make 2017 a bold one! 

Han x

Han’s Top 3: London Food On The Go (Big Brands)

Having worked in central London in varying roles for the last nearly three months, I have become used to rushing for food. In between meetings, interviews and generally just forgetting to wake up in time.

So starting with the big names – and the bigger prices – here are my top three favourite chains to grab a quick bite:

1.Pret A Manger

Starting at the top, you cannot go wrong with a Pret soya cappuccino and pain au raisin in the morning. It’s quick, it’s light and sets you right up for the day!

Plus, in central London there’s pretty much a Pret on every street corner. No really, in Leicester Square and Warren Street alone you can see two on the same street. For a long time I wanted to work in an office close to a Pret but central London takes it to another level!

2. EAT

If you have a little more cash to splash, I highly recommend grabbing lunch from EAT. My favourite is the chilli con carne. And you can never go wrong with one of their matcha lattes (again, I recommend with soya milk and maybe some vanilla syrup).

3. Benugo’s

Now the reason I say Benugo’s is because it somehow pops up EVERYWHERE! Waterloo station, Covent Garden, even in offices – and they still give you ‘buy nine coffees get the tenth for free’ cards….

A good place for fresh food.

 

As I’m writing this I’m just about to dash out for the day! I wonder which one I’ll end up at…?

Where’s your favourite place to grab a quick bite?

Han x

Han Meets Lingo Buddies

If you like practicing other languages and raising money for great causes, then Lingo Buddies is the event for you!

Hosted on this occasion at Made in Brasil, Chalk Farm, my typical Friday night was spent drinking raspberry-chilli caipirinhas and speaking not just Portuguese but Spanish as well with a group of (then) complete strangers.

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But I have to say it’s probably one of my favourite ways to meet people.

Sure it got a little bit easier after the second and third caipirinha, but it was super fun to have more meaningful conversations.

It always surprises me how much language brings people together. After spending a few hours with a couple of people, I felt like I’d known them forever! For example, you begin with talking about the language, then asking how you learned it, then speaking about it’s differences, before getting on to talking about year abroads and living in the country itself and the culture…. You get what I mean. A conversation about language leads to deep conversations pretty quickly.

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In a world of tension towards other countries, it’s these little gatherings that give a little hope.

Raising money and awareness for the Migrants Resource Centre, Stephanie Caiger-Watson did an awesome job of putting together the event!

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For more information on how you can get involved in the next event, check out the Lingo Buddies website and Facebook page!

Looking forward to the next one!

What other languages do you speak?

Han x