Discovering Dublin

To start off simply, I LOVE travelling. If I am not working or going out with friends, I’m most likely abroad somewhere! Travelling can be really tricky at times espiecally finding the right location, knowing how much to spend and planning an itinerary. A lot of thought goes into travelling! So I thought why not share some of my insights into travelling so hopefully if you do go to anywhere I’ve mentioned, you’ll know exactly what to do!

8:00am: Arrival 

We arrived in Dublin finally after catching a super early morning flight. Best thing for a day trip whether we like our sleep or not is getting to the destination early so you have more time to spend!

From the airport we got the bus 747, tickets are super cheap (around €3) and the drivers are really nice that they will even shout out the stop you need to get off at so you don’t get completely lost!

8:45am : Breakfast at Bewley’s Grafton Street

FOOD GLORIOUS FOOD. Honestly, the options were too many! Typically, as a British you would have thought we would venture out from our ways however we went for a traditional breakfast of scrambled eggs, sausages, bacon, the whole works! It was founded in 1840, so you could say the dubliners have grown up loving it! Besides from the amazing food, architecture and coffee, the authentic vibe makes it feel like home 🙂 You have to go to Bewley’s if you’re in Dublin. It’s a crime not to!!

11:am = Guinness Storehouse

A pre-booked tour at the Guinness Storehouse where you can make yourself your own pint of Guinness whilst watching the history unfold of how Guinness is produced and manufactured. I mean.. when in Dublin, do what the dubliners do, right?! After all, Guinness is THE most popular drink in Ireland. Although personally, I can’t stomach the drink as it’s so strong, tasting the Guinness fresh in the factory was a much more pleasant experience than I imagined!

You need at least 2 hours at the Guinness storehouse which may seem like a lot but there are 4 floors to conquer whilst you are there! So make sure you leave yourself enough time to look around. Admission is €18.50 and the storehouse is open daily from 9:30am-7pm (though the last entry is at 5pm).

Lunch

You guessed it! Back at Bewley’s Grafton Street because we just could not resist!

2:30pm = Whiskey Tour (Premium)

The only reason why this tour was made premium was due to the fact you get given a free whisky glass to take home. Honestly, I am not a whisky lady myself but it was fun listening to the history of whiskey and learning about the different tastes and as an individual which type of whiskey you’d lean more towards. Safe to say 4 glasses of whisky later I was definitely feeling the taste! Tours run every 30 minutes and start between 10:30am-17:30pm. Admission is €23.


3:15pm = Trinity College Library

Ireland’s most famous college and similarly resembles the library in Beauty and The Beast. The most famous fact is the Book of Kells, a ninth-century illuminated manuscript is kept here. It is also the largest library in Ireland and dates all the way back to 1592. The tour lasts for about 30 minutes and admission is €14.

3:45pm = THE TEMPLE BAR!

Super touristy and ridiculously priced but it is a must-see in Dublin, even if you just have one pint!

Dinner – Local Pub!

A cute pub that makes great Irish food and to our luck there was also live entertainment with kids performing irish dancing! We opted for a pasta although not irish-y was still divine.


24 hours definitely does not do justice to Dublin, however it is a great place to visit even just for a day and I’d thoroughly recommend it! I will definitely be coming back for a longer stay!

For more holiday pictures, search #vijexplores on instagram! 🙂

Love Vij x

The caste system: the past, present and future?

I was debating what my next post should be about and I thought why not talk about something I highly disagree with, that still lives on today within the tamil community…

The caste system.

For those of you who do not know what I am talking about, I will delve a little deeper.

The Caste system is the world’s longest surviving social hierarchy. This system is complex and is dependent upon the ancestors within the family regarding social status. A person is born into their caste and remains that caste until their death. He or she cannot change caste. There are three types of castes systems in Sri Lanka for the Sinhalese, Sri Lankan Tamils and Indian Tamils.

At the top of the caste for Sri Lankan tamils are the Brahmans. They have sacred routes and tend to become priests as they represent the highest purity within the caste system. Next caste is Vellaler which is my caste and represents at least 50% of the population in Sri Lanka. We are considered to be the landlords meaning we can own land as we are of a higher caste. After this are the cultivators and fishermen, however within this subgroup there are multiples castes laying within. At the bottom is where the ‘low caste’ people are and have occupations in labour such as agricultural work.

Now this may sound old and backwards, however the frightening thing is this caste system still exists. Previously, higher caste people only married within the same caste; for example: Vellaler people only married vellaler and if they did not, they were seen to be a disgrace to the family and were more likely to run away in order to marry. I say previously although many Tamils within western countries are still adopting this same mentality that only someone of a higher caste should marry within that same caste.

Within love marriages, it is still seen today. As a born and bred london tamil, I have found that in order to find a suitable match that everyone will agree with, we must hand out an application for the male to fill out to then send off to the family.

These questions consist of:

  1. Where are you from in Sri Lanka? (Tamils pretty much know by the area you are from, what caste you are)
  2. What caste are you? (Just to make sure you are not of a lower caste living in a high caste area which is possible)
  3. What is your job occupation?
  4. What do your parents do? (Because if your parents have a crap job, it will then be reflected badly on their family)
  5. What do your siblings do? (Because if your siblings are not well-educated then this will also be reflected badly)
  6. Do you smoke/drink? (Because what will the family think if he drinks too much and cannot handle it?)

Bearing in mind in order for the family to accept he must pass ALL questions in order to move to the next stage of the interview which is meeting the family and sussing out his character.

In this day and age where same sex marriages have been legalised, interracial marriages are more common and society is multi-cultural. Why are Sri Lankan Tamils living in the 21st century and being modern yet their mentality is still living back home?

If we do not look at horoscopes for love, why do we look at caste?

Do not get me wrong quite a few Tamils have adopted a modern attitude and to you, I admire you for dropping your traditional values and adjusting to the times. To those who still have not adjusted, THERE IS STILL TIME TO CHANGE!

Within the tamil community, there is a sense of pride of who you get married to. If there is a chance your pride can be tarnished and people will talk about you then the answer is no. This is also seen within the occupation that your children have which is why most asian parents want you to do either medicine, law, dentistry or engineering.

There is no way my kids are growing up in fear of bringing the wrong guy home and not being able to marry them due to the fact it may bring shame to the family.

The future? I hope the caste system does not make it into the future. By far it is the worst system to be ever created and I pray that in my generation no one will follow this.

Your 21st century modern London tamil

Vij x

 

I got my dream job!

I know it has been a while but honestly you know when life catches you off guard and it’s just busy busy busy and there is absolutely no time to rest? Well yeah, that has been the case.

I was pondering on what should my next blog post be on and I thought I’ve written about my graduation so why not the next step? A JOB!

Yes I have somehow managed to get a job *standing ovation by every tamil aunty and uncle*

To be honest it got to the point where I was genuinely looking for a job just to be able to respond to all those aunties and uncles who have constantly been pestering me at every family gathering (which happens often) about what I’m doing with my life. Apparently, working at Debenhams wasn’t the answer they were looking for…

Before starting my degree, I looked at career prospects because for once I was being smart. I always knew the first step was I wanted to become a medical sales representative. Yes, I am Penny from big bang theory except I don’t flirt with the doctors I see….well I try not to.

I always thought it sounded pretty cool. You know free company car, don’t pay for petrol, free insurance, get paid to drive around all day, flexible, get to travel occasionally. I mean sounds like the perfect job right?

It is pretty chilling to be honest, apart from having to hit targets everyday and sometimes coming across nasty people. It is competitive. But which job isn’t?

I mean my company puts me in 4*/5* hotels just for training purposes with a 3 course meal and free alcohol. I basically roll home after having put on at least a stone in just drinking. How many stones I put on just from eating? Lets not go there..

I didn’t become the doctor every asian parent wants their kid to become. But considering how hard it is to get into this sector when I’m the rookie and all my colleagues are 38+, working for one of the biggest pharmaceutical companies at just the age of 22, I’d say I’ve done pretty well with myself! And having being able to afford to take my parents on holiday for their wedding anniversary (which they were pretty ecstatic about), I’ve made them proud ..

Not only that, I have most of my family members gossiping about the fact I have a good job and how I am succeeding in my life.

So I guess now the only thing left for them to complain about is my skin colour and weight so I guess we all good?

Over and out

Vij x

10 things that I regret the most

I know I’m young but there’s already a few things I regret quite a lot and I’m sure most of you feel the same. This list will probably grow as I get older which is only normal. Some of you will probably read this and say ‘she’s only 21, how is she regretting things already?’ Well sometimes you live too fast and to be honest..shit happens.

So here it goes..

  1. I regret trusting certain people who have shown in the end they weren’t worthy of trusting…even family

This is a BIG regret because the saying of blood runs thicker than water is absolute rubbish lol. There are some friends I have who have been way more loyal to me than family I have known since birth.

2. I regret not going out more during my 2nd and 3rd year of Uni

Coming from a strict asian family, tamil to be specific. It’s hard to get out the house. It’s not a big regret but I mean I do miss the freedom I had, to do what I want, when I wanted so I wish I used it more.

3. I regret hurting someone I cared about

This one is pretty self-explanatory. We all go through bad phases, I guess this was my one.

4. I regret the amount of people who I let treat me as a pushover (in the past)

This is an old regret, I haven’t been a pushover since I was in school but on a few occasions it has happened recently so it’s still a learning curve for me.

5. I regret not listening to my closed ones who knew what was good for me and what wasn’t

Also self-explanatory. People on the outside perspective tend to see things you don’t see so I wish I listened to them.

6. I regret being influenced by my friends and not going for my gut feeling

This one I still have trouble with at times, I am not good at making decisions so I’d rather someone make them for me which I need to stop doing, because it is my life I need to start making my own decisions.

7. I regret not taking more risks

I have always been the one out of my friendship group to not care what other people think and have no shame. But there was a time I wasn’t like that so I regret not becoming this person quicker than I could have.

8. I regret wasting time & breath on petty things/people.

That is all.

9. I regret going above and beyond for some people

I’ve learnt to not do things for people who clearly don’t care/won’t do the same for you. Treat people as you would like to be treated only goes so far for me..

10. I regret not standing up for myself when I should’ve

In this day and age, you have to stand up for what you believe in otherwise you will never be able to live life. Regardless of the situation I always stand up for myself now. Yes I may come across as sarcastic and rude (which I will not deny that is me, deal with it) but at the end of the day its me myself and I gurlll.

I do trust less easily now but I guess that’s not a bad thing is it as the famous saying goes ‘trust no one.’

I am always constantly referred to as an unemotional person. My sister even has me saved on her phone as ‘Iron Lady.’ But I feel that because of this I am no longer prone to getting hurt which is better. If you’re lucky enough to get me to put my guard down, then you’ll probably see I’m not all bad. Due to my emotionally unavailable nature I can easily take risks now , my best friend even referred to me as an asian version of Lady Leshur because no fucks are given with both of us.

Although I have all these regrets, because of them I have transformed into a better person who I am proud to be. You live and you learn right?

Vij x

Strolling in Sri Lanka

There was a long period where I didn’t really go on holiday because of education and we didn’t have time, then ever since last year September it’s been constant holidays!

I’ve just got back from the motherland for my cousin’s wedding which I was there for a total of 3 weeks. Honestly, if you haven’t gone to Sri Lanka before I thoroughly recommend it.

Spent 2 weeks in Jaffna where my mother and father are both from, however due to my father being Hindu and mother being Catholic staying at their houses are both very different lifestyles.

During the first week of my stay was the biggest chariot festival in Jaffna known as Nallur festival. It was my first experience and was definitely one to remember! Every day was a different festival more or less. Started off with Saparam which basically was the turning on of the lights. Followed by Poongavanam which was honestly amazing as seen in picture 2. Last but not least was Jaffna thair which was so PACKED. I’ve never seen so many people in one space. The smashing of the coconuts, people carrying the God on their shoulders, it was a sight I’ll never forget. For my dad it took him back to his childhood days when he used to carry the God effortlessly, he carried the God for one last time for old times sake.

Now started the wedding preparations.. In the Sri Lankan culture you have certain rituals which have to be carried out before the wedding. In the lead up to the wedding, each day is something different. Ponnurukku, long story short the bride’s family came to the house to eat and then the groom’s side went to the bride’s side to eat. After this, decorating the house and venue commenced as well as family pooja’s at our home temple of Sri Venkatesa Varatharaja Perumal.

At this temple is a bit of ancestry as there is a gold lion statue which was actually donated by my great great grandad and can still be seen there today!

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Then came the wedding – colourful, traditional and vegetarian. Overall was a good day!

After this, some days were spent at my mothers’ house in Mirusuvil where meat was allowed. We visited my grandparents house which has now been converted to a hotel. The views here was mesmerising.

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From Jaffna we headed to Colombo, the city of Sri Lanka. Beef curry, seafood (which is so so fresh) , mutton curry and chicken curry, you name it …I was eating it. I also lost my Poker and Roulette virginity at Casino Marina and turns out I’m actually pretty good at gambling. Not sure if that’s a good thing or a bad thing…but hey I won 4000 rupees! They also make their cocktails pretty strong so if you’re looking to get completely wasted, Colombo is your place. The beaches such as Mount Lavinia are something you see on Google images, truly breathtaking.

Whilst in Colombo, there was a Buddhist festival known as Poya which is a public holiday. Dressed in white I went to a buddhist temple for the first time and it was definitely an experience. Buddhism is a religion that branches off from Hinduism, so in many of the temples you see pictures of Ganesh. Within the temples are beautiful gold buddha statues as well as lots of flowers..so if you ever go to Lanka make sure you check out Gangaramaya temple!

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I didn’t get to really explore Sri Lanka this time round however we did go on a little tour around Colombo in the car with my cousins. There is a place called the arcade which actually used to be a mental asylum in the late 1800s but is now a reformed shopping centre filled with restaurants, bars and shops. It’s architecture is beautiful and has a british feel to it.

Despite the controversy you must go to Pizza Hut when in Colombo because it is honestly way better than the Pizza Hut in UK. I had punjabi mutton and hot & spicy and it was so fresh, tasty and not that expensive!

I will miss my niece constantly asking me for my phone to use my snapchat filters, catching up on all the tamil movies I haven’t watched in the past decade, making late night nescafe coffee with my cousin and MILO! Also spending time with my ‘new’ canadian cousins who are the best thing to come out of Berry!

Hope you enjoyed this little sneak peek into my holiday

Ciao

Vij x

Don’t let me down

‘Don’t let me down’ is by far a phrase I’ve heard TOO many times before. Whether it is trying to impress your parents, your co-worker, your boss or even your boyfriend/girlfriend.

One thing I learnt is that although they may be telling you not to let them down, those same people are the ones not lifting you up. As my friend wisely put it, they’re an enemy of progress.

Recently I graduated with an upper second class within my degree of Pharmacology. It was the best results day I’ve ever had! Every results day was the same cycle on repeat, never getting the results, crying with the hope that would fix everything, coming back to the same school I hated where I knew they would be an obstacle in my path to success. I was told Science wasn’t for me and that I should quit and focus on something else. My biology teacher once put it that ‘I wasn’t smart enough and I was only going to get a D for the subject.’

The school I went to was the opposite of what they were supposed to be. A great school. Most teachers had their students which they loved so the rest of the students were deprived. Other teachers cared more about whether your skirt was at a particular length or if you had too many earrings in your ear. Don’t get me wrong there was a minority of wonderful teachers who were always positive and made sure I was doing my best at all times. There were others who were constantly belittling you even from as soon as you walked into the classroom.

I remember vividly one teacher told me I should read more when I asked what a particular word meant. Are teachers not supposed to teach anymore? Educate their fellow students as well as being positive role models.

We were even told off for ‘segregating’ ourselves, although the whole year formed their own groups anyways. We were told to mingle and stop being too loud. I didn’t realise school could be such a prison? Those same people who told my friends and I we would not be going to University and on to better things, are the same people who have been proven wrong today as I have BSC (Hons) in SCIENCE attached to my name.

So I would like to say thank you for constantly demotivating me during my school years because without that I would not have been so motivated to prove each and every one of you wrong. Just remember if you put your mind to it, you can succeed in anything and everything you do!

Vij x

The difference between boys and men

Before I start, I’m going to state one thing. This post is going to be highly controversial so I suggest if you are a bit on the emotional side and are a ‘menist’ then please don’t read this blog post.

I believe in traditional values, I guess most girls do. We all have that dream where we want to walk down the aisle in a big white dress (my one is Vera Wang) and see our soon-to-be husband standing there, maybe slightly tearful on how beautiful we look that day.

The question is, who is that guy?

Nowadays there seems to be an increase in boys being dickheads, mind the french. I wish we could go back to more simpler times where there was no social media, us girls not getting jealous over our boyfriends liking prettier girls instagram pictures or guys not trying to slide into other girls DM’s.

Is it just me or are most guys that you come across nowadays are in fact terrible listeners. They always try to one up on you most things. It’s a constant battle of ‘but I did this’. Quite frankly, their maturity levels are almost on par with an 8 year old boy. I’m not saying that girls are any better, some girls are the worst I know that. But I just feel like guys don’t try enough to get the girl they want anymore, compared to older times. Once they’ve ‘secured’ the girl, they feel they can treat her in whichever they want because lets be real, she’s not going anywhere is she?

You also get the guys who are too full of themselves who think replying to someone is beyond them. Why get a girls number and talk to them for a few days to then blow them off sooner or later because you got bored? That’s what you call..a boy.

I’d like to say with age, boys get better but I’ve noticed through family and friends…they don’t.

So what is the difference between a boy and a man?

A man is someone who you can trust, who will be there for you; emotionally, physically, mentally and financially (if need be). He is someone you can depend on, rely on. He will listen to your problems and I say really LISTEN not half listen because he’s thinking about FIFA in his head or food. He will make you feel good on the inside and out and you would be happy to even call him your boyfriend, fiancee or husband. He will not lie. And last but not least, he certainly would not be a roadman.

Ladies, if you’re lucky enough to find such a man at a young age, don’t listen to what anyone else has to say. KEEP HIM. Because trust me, they don’t come often but when they do it will be amazing.

Yours truly,

Vij x

The struggles of growing up brown in a place of non-browns

So my real name is Vijithaa, but everyone calls me Vij or Viji (which I thoroughly deteste). I was born and bred in York in a town called Market Weighton which most people normally haven’t heard of and I now currently reside in Essex. I think that’s where the name ‘thatasiangirl’ came from because I’ve always lived in an area full of caucasians and being the only brown person I feel that’s how they may have referred to me if not knowing my name.

I’ve always wanted to write blogs but something to do with education was always in the way e.g. GCSE’s, Alevels and finally University. Thankfully, I am done with Uni and can now sit on my ass and worry about how I do not have a job nor I do not know what I am doing with my life but hey, at least I will have my blogs to write, right?

This first blog post is going to be about how I grew up.. As I mentioned before I was born in York and I lived there for about 5 and a half years. I had the whole yorkshire accent and to this day, I still cannot pronounce certain words such as yoghurt (pronounced yor-gurt) or yellow (yal-low). I was kind of bullied by some boys in my class because I was brown and small but it was never really that bad until I came to Essex.

Essex is stereotypically known for its fake tanned essex girls who go to Sugarhut and Kosho and think they’re all ‘ard’ as well as saying OH MA GAD in every sentence. There are a few of us who are not like that by the way, however I can be guilty of sometimes say omg in a typical essex accent. Including Market Weighton school, I went to a total of 4 schools. Moving around was hard because whenever I made friends I then had to leave them and make new ones, so I always felt like a bit of an outcast.

The first time I was subjected to racism was actually when I was with my friends walking through tesco car park at the age of 7 and all these boy teenagers were sitting on the wall and my friend turned around to me and said ‘OMG he called you a paki’. To be honest, at this point I was too young to even understand how that was offensive and my response was to laugh and say ‘but i’m not pakistani?’

From being called paki to our house getting egged every halloween to ‘oh look she’s going to bomb us’ on my 17th birthday in Romford, I’ve basically had it all. But you know the best way to overcome bullies like that? It’s by not caring, not listening to the ridiculous BS that some people come out with because they’re so uneducated or ignorant to the fact we now live in a multicultural society and they don’t realise that the cheeky indian they are ordering on a friday night would not be available if it was not for us non caucasians coming into England in the first place.

I always struggled with my identity of being a British Srilankan and never really embraced it. Now, I’m proud to say I am british and yeah, I’m tanned because I’m originally from Sri Lanka and I can speak another language which I can put on my CV so for those of you hating, you can get on ya bike or jog on.

Over and out

Vij x