26 Mar 2010

A New Era Has Begun!

Posted by PastryPrincess at 23:51 4 comments Links to this post
Hello from London everybody! This is a news round-up to let you know what I've been up to and how my first day at Le Cordon Bleu went! I'm very sorry there won't be any photos today but you've to know things have been crazy around here...!!! I don't have internet at the hotel and the internet issue at my future apartment still has to be figured out, too. It might take a while and therefore posts etc might be a good bit delayed and all but I will do my very best, I promise!
( Right now I'm sitting in a McDonald's at Paddington Station because they have free Wi-Fi, bless'em! )
A girl's gotta eat...
Thankfully my flight went smoothly after all albeit the strike and I got here fine. The Goodbye from my family was obviously sad and the fact they're on holidays in the States now hasn't made things easier...
Right after my arrival I met up with my future room-mate and co-student, Sarah, and I'm happy to say I don't regret my decision so far, she's lovely! ;) It seems like we have loads in common.
We went around looking at places and I wasn't happy at all. Finally we decided on a nice flat and had to quickly take it off the market and I found the whole legal side of things quite intimidating. There have been so many complications and it's been wrecking my head, uuggh. We obviously need to move in asap as in NOW and everything took much longer and was a lot more complicated than we'd hoped. Such a hassle. I had no idea you needed so many documents and it was all so difficult and strenuous. One big problem for me was that I didn't have internet to do all the filling out of forms online and that I badly needed my dad to help me with things and he is in a different time zone and on holidays. He did everything he could though although we had a hard time sometimes. Tomorrow we'll finally sign the contract, get the keys and will be able to move in. Hopefully. Please God! I want to have this out of the way because there is so much other stuff to consider, figure out and think about. Like the internet thing...
Lovely crayfish baguette with capers from "Paul's" Pâtisserie
Seriously though, I haven't had a quiet minute ever since I touched down and school hadn't even started! I'm glad I've Sarah by my side so I don't have to go through all of this by myself. Too bad she isn't in my group at school, oh well...
On Wednesday we met some of the other girls from school for lunch at TGI Fridays in Covent Garden and it was very nice. Somehow I expected there would only be about 20 people starting Le Crdon Bleu with me but it turned out we're actully 100! Can you believe it?! Only 23 are doing Le Grand Diplôme like me though, we're the badass, hardcore people, haha.
Sarah and I also found a bit of time to walk around Oxford Street for a tiny bit and I bought my professional scales I need for school and some gorgeous Pierre Hermé macarons at Selfridges. ( Coming soon! ) Then we went for an all you can eat buffet at Mr Woo's in China Town. They have a nice selection of things and it's very good value. I definitely had too much Chinese food! Ouff.

Day 1: The Introduction

This morning Sarah and I made our way to LCB where we were given our amazing, massive knife and utensil kit first of all. Then we received to big bags full of our uniforms and course manuals and shedule. Now I'm the proud owner of 3 chef jackets, 2 pants, aprons and towels, my knife kit, a silicone mat and my course manuals as well as my student ID with security card. Too bad I gave them a passport picture I look like an idiot in and not a nice one, eekk.
Turns out we're all devided into groups of 10 and obviously I would have like to be in a group with Sarah and another girl I like but I'm not and no, I can't change groups. Apparently there's specific reasons why certain people are in the same group... aaaahhhh.....huh?! What kind of reasons?! I'm in Cuisine group C by the way and there's only 3 other girls and the rest is all guys and only one of them is doing the whole same thing as me. Maybe there's some more girls in Pâtisserie...
First of all they explained the difficult looking schedules to us and I realized I will be a very busy girl and will have classes on Saturdays. There's 4 periods a day and you can have up to 3 I believe which means you'll have a break at some point but sometimes only 10 minutes. That means that apart from a free period or so I'm gonna be in class from 9am in the morning until 10pm at night on a good few days... just imagine! Intense! Which is exactly what the chef, my mentor for Basic, explained. It starts of easier and they will slowly but surely put the pressure on. Superior is supposed to be very hard and intense and generally some people crack and cry and all that. A wee bit scary, especially because I have twice the workload as most people! Oh gosh. The chef was nice and funny though and later on another student who's about to start superior was able to calm my worries by telling me it's fun and doable after all, pppphhhh! If she can do it, I can too!
The director welcomed us and she seems to be a very nice lady and I generally really like the athmosphere and attitude of people at LCB. Except for that one stressed-out girl at reception, oooyyy. There also were refreshments and delicious, freshly baked and still warm croissants, yum. They were prefect and I will learn how to make them, yay!
After the introduction we got our lockers for all our stuff and tried on our uniforms. I had to exchange them because they were too big. After that we had an hour of lunch break which Sarah and I used to get out knife kit engraved with our initials. We were told to get all our stuff marked and we were smart enought to go to the place before everybody else did! That way we didn't only get an extra discount on top of the LCB one (they have many partner places where we get discounts!) because the guy liked us but our knives were done very quickly and we were able to pick them up right after class and put them back into out lockers so we don't have to carry them around.
Actually, if we want to carry our kits around we always need to have our student IDs with us, otherwise we'll get into trouble with the police. Basically we're deathly weapons now, ah hahaha! ;P The engraving look absolutely amazing and every single tiny item is engraved, it's great and made me feel so proud! All this gorgeous equipment and it's all mine and so professional!
When we took our kits back to school we decided to look at every single item more closely and I actually managed to cut myself straight away, eejit that I am! Haha. Proved Sarah wrong who thought the knives weren't actually sharp... Ouch.
My kit was missing a couple of big knife guards but I was eventually given one while I was sucking on my thumb to stop the bleeding. Ooops. Nah, wasn't that bad really but very typical of my clumsy klutziness!
Anyway, after our lunch break we were split up into our groups and met our mentors i.e. one of our teaching chefs. He answered all of our questions; I asked most of them... and some answers where even more intimidating. It's gonna be very intense, that's the same word I have to repeat over and over again in this context. I will be more or less living at the school basically, will have very long hours, up on my feet all day, having to get used to all the hard physical work and will have to do well at the same time. Wow. Every single tiny thing will be graded and I can never fail. That's quite scary. Besides I wanna try my best to get one of the merit medals, hehe. That might be wishful thinking though, now that I know more about the reality of things.
We were given a tour of the school which I had already done when I visited the school with my boyfriend in December. Then there was a fire evacuation drill because apparently the sensitive smoke detectors set off the fire alarm a lot and we'll probably have to evacuate a good few times during our time at LCB. Come on, it's a culinary school, things are bound to get burned! ;)
Tomorrow I will be in school from 9am until 4pm, doing a food saftey and hygiene course with an exam at the end. An exam! They're getting right down to the nitty-gritty but this certificate is essential for obvious reasons. Still, we're thrown in at the deep end because I will be in school until 10pm on my first actual day, Monday, too! Hardcore.
Well, today after school I bought my safe, non-slip kitchen shoes and just like all the bare essentials such as a duvet and pillow from Ikea I will have to move all this bulky stuff from my hotel to the apartment tomorrow... Hopefully everything goes smoothly, please keep your fingers crossed for me in these stressful times!

I will try to keep this baby as updatet as possible and will eventually put up pictures. Please bare with me while I don't have internet and am still trying to wrap my head around things. It's mental! I will try to write things down everyday about what I'm doing at LCB, it's just that I don't know yet when I'll be able to post it all. Thank you for your understanding and I can't wait until I can finally show you things I made and learned and FYI... I did bring my good camera solely for that purpose! ;)

This is it. My life is changing drastically. I'm an official Le Cordon Bleu student now. Wow. Amazing. Scary. Overwhelming. Extraordinary. Intense. Exciting!

22 Mar 2010

London Jitters

Posted by PastryPrincess at 20:12 0 comments Links to this post
No, I haven't fallen off the face of the earth... I'm still very much here and yes, I feel bad! I haven't posted anything in 2 weeks even though there would have been plenty to blog about. Oooyyy. Perhaps I shouldn't have told you about all the great food that's still waiting to be blogged about because now you've expectations and I'd hate to disappoint them... I will eventually get around to post everything I promised, it might just take a wee bit longer than I anticipated.
 That's me going "Oooops!"
 It's just that I was in the mighty grip of jetlag and mighty it was indeed. Lasted for a whole week too, eekk! I was exhausted all the time and wanted to pass out randomly all throughout the days. My boyfriend must have been slightly irritated; he'd come especially to see me for a week and what does his girlfriend do after not having seen him for 5 weeks? Pass out at inconvenient moments, be a bit cranky maybe and generally in ever changing odd moods and perhaps even more crazy than usual. It wasn't me, it was the jetlag!

Not that my boyfriend is totally innocent either...! You know, you've to blame him! I was trying to be a good aule' blogger, had serious intentions of posting and even started to write... about Korea... but then he always distracted me. He wanted to be entertained and as I was already only of limited use I felt I had to make it up to him. Besides the fact that I was obviously happy to have him around because I did miss my ball & chain! ;-)
So when he'd left again I was convinced I'd get cracking but oh no. First my sister needed entertaining because she had felt neglected and then the whole London related moving craziness began. Oh boy. I hate it. I'm a relaxed person and I hate to get all stressed out. Which is exactly what happened eventually when I realized I pretty much hadn't got anything done at all while my bf was around and time was running out. Last minute stuff is usually my thing and while it's totally ok to chuck half your wardrobe into a suitcase half an hour before you've to leave the house to go to Australia, it's a different story when you're more or less moving.

On Friday I decided to get my hair done and I was quite pleased with the results. I'm pretty blonde now and felt like my light had been switched on when I left the salon because I felt so bright and shiney. This feeling was enhanced when my sis and I ran errands in town (or more like tried to) and I put the brightest red lipstick on at the department store. I tried all the colours of the rainbow (did you know purple is in fashion now?) and went for the Hollywood Marilyn Monore-style red lippy. Yeah, it's been fashionable for a long time already but somehow I'm not mad into lipstick and never gave it a try even though I like my make-up. It looked cool I thought. Very flashy. People were staring at me when I walked back to the car or maybe I just hallucinated.
You can make up your own mind because I felt my new look called for some self-portrait photoshoot.

Seems fun so far, right? Well, at that point I didn't know yet British Airways was planning to go on strike and my flight's not confirmed and still in danger of being cancelled. Yikes. Neither did I know basically every hotel in London was gonna be booked out because apparently it's one of the busiest 2 or 3 weekends of the year as there's some exhibition going on and Easter's coming up. 6 million people descending on London, every hotel booked out, me clueless. Thank god a nice man at the hotel I wanted to stay at enlightened me and organized for me to find other accomodation as obviously his was booked out too. Now I'll have to share a bathroom with 2 other rooms...erm...eewwy. Hopefully it will be okay! It's only for a few days until I find a place anyway.

I've decided to rent a flat with one of the girls doing the same course as me. First I was a bit hesitant because I've never actually met her but she seems lovely and like we have a lot in common. It's a good feeling not to have to go through all of this all by myself! Finding a decent and not too expensive apartment in London can be a bit like Mission : Impossible... at least the British Pound is very bad compared to the €uro at the moment which is brilliant for me! I'll be able to do some serious shopping, yeeehaaa! Finally. My Australia budget will be well-spent on Oxford Street.

I searched the internet and found some really nice looking places at reasonable prices. Buttttttt. There's always a but. They could be too good to be true. A scam. Dodgey. Argh. Most people don't reply as quickly as I would like them to and those who do make my alarm bells ring. How would you feel if you received the exact same messages, the very same down to every single typo, from a different e-mail address and under different names for another flat? It's always the same story, some guy with a slightly weird name wanting to rent out his flat because he was relocated to a different city or even abroad because of work. They all want you to be serious about their places before they'd fly out for you to view the apartment. Erm... how serious can my intentions be about a place I've never actually seen yet?!
I did some research and there's so many scmas out there it's scary. I know what to look out for now though and I'd never sign anything without consulting someone else first anyway. Neither would I ever hand over any money if I haven't seen the apartment and until I've signed the (checked!) contract. No, no, no. And you shouldn't either. So many scams! Apparently a common trick is to be told to transfer money to a friend via a bank called Western Union and to show the landlord the recipt to prove you have sufficient funds. Never, ever do that. Western Union is fraudulent and all the scamsters need is the tracking number from the receipt and they've access to all your money.
Scary stuff. Especially because I don't have someone I know with me and my family will be on holidays. The last time I moved, my boyfriend had sorted everything out and all I had to do was give him the rent money and move my stuff into my lovely new apartment. That was nice. He had to deal with everything because I was abroad, viewed all sorts of shit holes and found a great place in the end. I think I never thanked him enough for that. I loved our little place and I miss it. Just like living with him, it was great fun. Soon again, right? Hopefully he'll follow to London later this year...

To up my bad-assness I did a self-defence class with my sister on Saturday. At first we couldn't find the place it was supposed to take place at because we had been given a wrong location. We walked around for half an hour but coincidentally eventually found the gym. We had a really good time and it was good fun. It was only an introduction and we didn't getto do all the stuff I would have liked to learn because there was kids too and obviously there are some things and moves which are inappropriate for children. The guy I practiced the kicks, chops and punches on was a really buff big guy. Which is good I guess because it prepares you well and you've to work harder. I totally went for it so the instructor told me to leave his man in one piece, ah haha! Guess I must have been doing something right.

The class taught me a lot and although many things are kind of obvious reactions to an attack, you wouldn't necessarily think of them. I learned how to get out of many different dangerous situations and although I was only too aware men often have an edge on women strenghth-wise it showed me how to still outdo them. It was an empowering experience and that's probably the main thing. If you feel confident and strong, you give off an don't-mess-with-me attitude and people won't even try. Apparently just fighting back in whatever way and not surrendering leads to 80% of those people not actually becoming victims and averts a calamity. If an attacker realizes you scream, kick and punch they won't even want to try and take things further. Not that I'd ever wish to put my moves to practice! I'd like to learn more though and I'm gonna look for a proper self-defence course in London; I enjoyed it. It's a great outlet for built-up aggression, too! ;)
I'm gonna leave you on a more peaceful note. Spring has come, have you noticed? The weather is milder and I've spotted the first crocuses, daffodils and snowdrops and birds have begun chirping again. It's been a long and hard winter, 4 months of snow and ice! About time spring finally came around the corner. The air has changed and there's this nice, fresh scent which reminds me of Easter and you realize nature isn't dead after all. Hopefully I'll be able to smell this kind of spring air in London too and not just city smells. This is where my adventure begins... wish me good luck!

9 Mar 2010

Good Bye Down Under!

Posted by PastryPrincess at 14:36 1 comments Links to this post
My 4 weeks in Sydney have come to an end... Tomorrow morning I'm leaving Australia, next stop Korea for a night's layover.
Although I won't be here to eat some more delicious food, I'm far from done with telling you all about it!
Still to come:
  • Cupcakes
  • Bill Granger's restaurant Bill's
  • Contemporary Thai Food
  • Viatnamese Phó
  • more Australian Treats
  • Baby Cakes
  • Passion Fruits and Australian Produce
  • Fudgy Brownies
  • 3$ Tacos
  • Sushi Overkill
  • Bill's Part 2
 AND ... ultimate food porn ... drum roll, please ...
  • Adriano Zumbo's Pâtisserie Extravaganza !!!
Oh wow, I still have a lot of work to do, don't I?! I so told you I was being a good foodie doing thorough research! ;) Maybe I will find some time on the trip but I might just as well be too exhausted... We'll see.

I ended my trip with a final day at the beach ( sun, at last! ) to touch up my tan as best as I could and had another deep-fried Mars Delight. Hehe. Too good to resist! My friend's a convert now, too. Yum.
My trip was a once in a lifetime experience didn't turn out to be what I expected to be honest and I will tell you all about it soon. I've realized a few things, good and bad, had great fun and frustrating moments, got to try delicious food, was bored, made new friends and walked around a lot...

Now it's onto bigger and better things and I was hopefully able to recharge my batteries for the busy times ahead. I can't wait and I'm looking forward to spending some quality time with my loved-ones now. 
Guess what I'm bringing back as souvenirs? A stuffed-animal koala? A boomerang? An didgeridoo even? 
Erm, come on now... you should know better by now! Whose blog is this after all? 

D'uh! ;)

8 Mar 2010

Mardi Gras and Morning After Breakfast

Posted by PastryPrincess at 09:17 0 comments Links to this post
Ooopsy-daisy. I'm in trouble. People are already giving out to me for not having updated the blog satisfyingly often this past week. I'm sorry! I'm only starting to realize I have a new "responsibility" now, not that I'm complaining... I absolutely love that there's actually people reading this who care enough to kick my but when I start to be neglectful of my blog-duty, hehe. Speaking of all those lovely peeps visiting my lil' corner of the web, thank you so much for your comments! Much appreciated! Totally made my day. Fact. You're such sweethearts, what you had to say put a huge smile on my face! Thank you! Oh yeah, keep those comments coming, please... ;)
Honestly though, I've been so busy eating all this delicious food that I can't blog as much or as fast as I eat! If you think about it, it's all really just research for posts. That's right. Hard work! I'm basically slaving away for you, my dear readers, so don't give me a hard time. Ah, it's such hard work! Phhuuuiii, I guess I'll have to have a piece of brownie for that. Purely for research purposes, obviously. I did a pretty good job talking myself out of this, didn't I?! Tsehehe. Even I'm impressed with myself.
Check out those names! 
To make up to you guys this is gonna be one mightily big, long post. I'm warning you! You asked for it! It’s about time I finally tell you all about Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras in Sydney. There were events for a couple of weeks but I’d say the big Parade down Oxford Street on Saturday night a week ago was the highlight.
A week before that I had gone to the Gay & Lesbian Day Fair, actually believing I was going to a big market. Sure, it was a market of some sort but it mainly consisted of stalls advertising sexual health, equal rights and all types of different gay clubs and organizations from Gay Olympics, Gay Nudists to Gay Chess. You name it and it had a gay equivalent at the fair.
The athmosphere was relaxed and happy, everybody enjoyed themselves and it was all for a good cause. It should be like this all the time. Okay, so maybe it would be a tad inappropriate if queers paraded around in speedos and thongs at the office, chanting "Blowjobs are a boy's best friend"... I thought it was hilarious though!
I have a thing for trannies and I don't even know why. Possibly because they're like over the top women, always out there, self-confident, strong and full of fun, living life in technicolour. Some ladies could definitely use a dose of glitz and glam sometimes!
My friend and I had decided to dress up for Mardi Gras, go to the parade and then hit some gay clubs later for a good old party. Gays definitely know how to have a good party! I didn't have to think about what to wear for long because as it happens I'm the proud owner of a rainbow-coloured, leopard-print vest top that just screams Mardi Gras. Teamed with a fluffy tiara, some angel wings and more glittery slap than I've ever worn before and I was good to go.
To say Oxford Street was busy would be an understatement. The route of the parade was closed off and the sidewalks were filled with people standing on stools to get a better view. We went to Taylor Square where the parade was supposed to end and therefore it was probably the most crowded place we could have picked.

It took us the whole 2-3 hours the parade lasted to work our way from the last to the front row. My pint-sized friend had a bit of a hard time seeing anything at all and hadn't it been for the lovely gay couple standing next to me and pushing me into gaps to take pictures I wouldn't have been able to see much either. The beginning of the parade was a bit slow and lame but when it had picked up, boy, it was a celebration indeed!
"Queens" indeed!
Unfortunately there was this group of obnoxious Germans standing right next to me who thought it was appropriate to light cigarettes in the middle of a massive crowd and I was just waiting to get burnt so I could give them a piece of my mind. There was this one particularly annoying guy who kept shouting at people because they didn't party hard enough in his opinion and he was frustrated he wasn't standing in first row. Tough luck, sweetheart! He kept jumping up and down, bouncing into me for a good while until I had really had enough, pushed him and told him to eff off. To my bad luck his friend had copped I understood German and so he pursued to give me the most offensive abuse in German for the whole first half of the parade. Against my nature I decided to completely ignore him instead of taking him on big time and he got so unbelievably frustrated that I didn't give him the satisfaction of reacting in any way or leaving altogether that he eventually disappeared and I was finaly able to actually enjoy the parade. Although I didn't react he was impossible to ignore as he kept shouting into my ear and it took me all my willpower not to smack him in the face. Just that he would have probably enjoyed it in some sick way and therefore I had chosen the right path by pretending he didn't even exist at all. He did manage to ruin my enjoyment of the parade for a good while though so I had all the more fun when he'd finally vanished into thin air.
When I told friends about it later on they were surprised I didn't tell the nearby officers who probably would have removed him but I didn't know that! Another lesson learned I suppose... I'm pretty certain I wasn't the only person he annoyed because he kept making homophobic remarks and actually had the impertinent audacity to tell that lovely gay couple to stop kissing and keep that for home. The cheek of him! He musn't have been aware he was at a flipping gay parade! I really despise people like him!
Enough of negativity now and back to the peaceful, happy light-heartedness of the parade and its colourful, creative and flamboyant costumes and floats. The more outrageous and fancy, the better! There was a lot of naked flesh, sequins, feathers, glitter and daring floats like a gay jesus / pope on wheels and a mobile S&M studio where tied-up slaves got spanked.
Typical and up-beat gay music blasted from the speakers, everybody joined in singing YMCA, the mood was celebratory and we had a great time. It was almost impossible to take proper pictures though as we were standing where tv filmed the parade and interviewed participants and therefore there were too many people blocking the view. Little smart-arse that I am I also completely forgot about the night setting on my camera.... at least I know why my fuzzy pictures aren't exactly up to par now.
After the parade we saw many other on-lookers who had made an effort dressing up and it was clear to see this celebration was definitely a big deal.
Funnily enough my friend and I never made it to any gay party but ended up at a friend's farewell party at Cargo Bar in town instead. Albeit having taken off my wings and tiara I still very much looked like a tranny (all that was missing was a pair of socks shoved down my knickers and confusion would have been perfect...!) and probably stood out a good bit at this place where everybody was dressed preppily as if they had never even heard of Mardi Gras. It's not like I didn't have fun but I'm sure to have missed out on Mardi Gras madness at some crazy gay club. I guess I will have to make up for that once I'm in London!
Understandably I was suffering from a hungover day-after-low despite not even drinking - ever... That's what high-heels, lack of sleep (3 hours!) and too much body glitter can do to you. I felt very old and worn-out. There, I said it. I'm getting old. I can't just party all night anymore and not feel the consequences the next day... Eekk.
In order to revive my limp and exhausted body and mind I decided to go to Bondi Beach after having walked around Elizabeth and Rushcutters Bay. I had wanted to go to busy Gusto's for breakfast for a while and decided this was the perfect time for a pick-me-up afternoon breakfast. 
Causing a bit of confusion with the poor, new waitress when ordering my food I finally went for Toasted home-made Granola with dried fruits and nuts on yoghurt, tropical fruit salad, some other porridge-style yoghurt with something mixed-in it, possibly oats and mixed berries.
To go along with that I had a slice of toasted Berry Banana Bread smothered with butter.
While I sat outside at the counter on the sidewalk it started pouring down, perfectly reflecting my mood. I was lost in thoughts and enjoyed my delicious late breakfast which was very filling indeed.
The thick slice of Berry Bread was dense, rich, moist and had a strong banana flavour to it like most of these kinds of bread have over here. You can really get this stuff in every café all over the place and I like it.
I really enjoyed the home-made granola with fresh berries and tropical fruit salad, it was very reviving and yummy. My only complaint would be there was too much yoghurt and too little actual granola. I guess the reason for that is that yoghurt is cheap'n cheerful whereas they have to mix and toast the granola from scratch which is quite work-intensive. Still, I paid for it and I want my money's worth. 
At first glance I wasn't even able to make out the granola under the big pile of berries and yoghurt. Not that I'd ever complain about too many berries or too much fruit! You'd have to be crazy to do that.
I mixed the whole lot until it didn't look quite as appetizing anymore but it was good and all the different components were well-distributed and complemented eachother. 
I'm a bit fussy when it comes to mixing stuff... ask my family and poor boyfriend! I'm known to snatch cutlery out of people's hands to mix their food for them because I can't stand the sight of them munching on a bit of dry rice or pasta without sauce. I simply can't help myself...
When I got back to the flat I did more boring grown-up stuff that made me feel pathetic and old, also known as doing laundry. Yaaaaaaaawn. At least I spiced things up by walking down the street in my Snoopy pj's when I had to get coins for the laundromat. How hardcore am I? Nothing says young and hip like strutting your stuff in pink nightwear...

2 Mar 2010

All Love Is Equal

Posted by PastryPrincess at 02:00 2 comments Links to this post
No food today, just an important message.
Sydney is a gay capital. I've never seen so many gays in my life! Especially because the annual Gay & Lesbian Mardi Gras is on at the moment and it's been a lot of peaceful fun. If you see two cute guys walking their dog down the street chances are they're gay. That's just how it is over here, they're out and proud and I love it! For some reason I'm fascinated by the gay, lesbian and transsexual community and I've wanted to have a gay best friend ever since the days of Sex and the City when Carrie and Stanford gossiped about boys and fashion - fabulous!

The gay rights movement is a cause I strongly believe in and I wished gays all over the world were as accepted and integrated in society as in Sydney. How can you judge a person solely based on who they fall in love with? Love is unconditional, it doesn't care about either age, race, colour or gender and it should be celebrated in any case. Particularly in these times where people die in natural disasters and people lose their possessions in the financial crisis, never mind the on-going wars and poverty in different parts of the world. If love were all that's left at the end of the day we should be happy and should surround ourselves with our loved-ones because when it comes down to the nitty-gritty they're the most important part of our lives...

Do you make a difference in loving either men or women? Do you not love your mother & father, brother & sister, girlfriend & boyfriend, male & female friends the same way and not differently because of their gender? I know I don't differentiate and why would I, we're all people and we all want to love and be loved back. I could just aswell have turned out to be gay, it's 50/50 and I wouldn't be a lesser person.

Maybe I'm this liberal and can be this liberal because I'm not religious... who knows. The bible and any other religious document can be interpreted in any way and for any cause and if people want to underline their statements, no matter what they might be, they will find a way of twisting and turning the message of these documents to make them fit their purpose. Therefore I won't even try to get into the whole deathly sin versus love thy other debate because it's pointless. Make of it what you want because no matter what I say I won't be able to change your mind if it's already made up one way or the other.

But what I can do is ask you for respect. If you think you can't accept the life choices other people make even though they don't necessarily concern you - who cares what you do behind closed doors after all? - the least you can do is show some respect, the same respect they offer you.
Ignorance is the root of all evil, I really believe that. People start wars and hate campaigns out of ignorance, meaning out of fear of the unknown. Race, religion, sexuality, you name it. Of course things we don't know anything about intimidate us because we don't know what to expect and we all like to control what's happening to and around us. The only way out is education and information to lift this cloud of ignorance that's fogging our view.

Take stereotypes, clichés and pre-maturely constructed mindsets for instance. Those clichés make people believe that most gays are flamboyant, lesbians are butch, they're promiscuous, take drugs, spread aids and try to turn around heterosexuals at every chance they get. What a big pile of rubbish! Look around at the people near you, anyone of them could be gay and do they look like it? Probably not. I'm not denying that there are flamboyant and butch gays or those who are a bit slutty, go clubbing and take drugs. There's always two sides to a coin and there are heterosexuals behaving the same way, too. I'm trying to open your eyes for the other side though, the one with people like you and me, people who are in a loving, committed relationship or looking for one, who want families, who are part of society and who want to have the same rights as heterosexuals and why would we deny them that?

It's a fact that there has been homosexuality since the beginnings of mankind and even before. As long as there's been love, there's been gay love. Just think of ancient greeks... if it was socially acceptable and out in the open literally thousands of years ago, why would we want to go back to being backward? Did you know that even animals can be homosexual? It's scientifically proven and only shows once more that heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality are eq uallynatural. Homosexuality is here for good because it's not a choice you make, it's the way you were born and so people might aswell come to terms with it, once and for all. It's nature!

Nobody bats an eyelid anymore when an old git marries a young girl who could be his great-grand-daughter. Or if somebody gets married and divorced for the umpteenth time. Or if a couple marries drunkenly or even high in Las Vegas. Or if young teenage girls in the Middle East are force-married to their uncles or traded for a few camels or an African head of tribe has 27 wives. I'm not joking. If you're a drug-taking, abusive, antisocial, not tax-paying convict for example you certainly can get married and you've all rights in the world.

So why do you not have those same rights if you're a responsible, hard-working, committed and all around good person just because of whom your in love with?! There's something really very wrong with that. You aren't able to influence who you fall in love with, do you? If you do have that talent then good on you but as far as I'm concerned it's unheard of. I don't care why I love the people I love, I'm just happy I do. Love is great, there can never be enough love. No matter what kind at all. All love is equal, just think about it. That's all I'm asking for. Inform yourself before you make up your mind and put yourself in other people's shoes. That's something we all should do much more often anyway...
Be open-minded! Welcome to the 21st century.

Equal Love = Equal Rights.

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