Tulip Country

“You like what you see?” he said, pressing down toward his crotch as the others laughed, all five of them now cornering us. They were drunk. Scottish men in Kilts touring Amsterdam for a football match and who thought that they can celebrate the win by visiting the Red Light District at the same time my friend from Canberra had asked me to join her.

“I told you I didn’t want to come here,” I whispered, feeling the tension quake through my veins, mostly from anger. People often think my hands shake from fear, but it is far from that, shuddering from the pressure of controlling and suppressing my indignation knowing that it might get me into more trouble. Read More

Self-Compassion Vs. Self-Pity

I have made a terrible mistake.

There is a difference between self-compassion and self-pity. It is easy to mistaken our egocentric self-pity as justifiable when we act out and behave inappropriately. These theatrical responses are generated because we feel we are not being heard or seen, just like we yell when we think no one is listening. Anger – even sadness – both enable a sense of empowerment when we feel confused and isolated. Read More

Before The Cock Crows, Thrice You Shall Deny Me

I am proud of the Australian judicial system, particularly their independence and separation from political and other corrupt powers attempting to influence decisions. Law is to serve people, to ensure justice and my passion for this righteousness was the reason why I studied human rights law. I have never been more proud then when I heard that Cardinal George Pell, Australia’s most senior Catholic Church representative and now former prefect of the Secretariat for the Economy for the Vatican once making him one of the most powerful religious figures has been found guilty of sexually abusing young children. What does this precedent now mean for not only all the victims of sexual abuse but also for Catholicism? Read More

South of the Nile Delta

I think I have made a serious mistake, I thought to myself as I was crammed into a mini-van on my way through the Sinai Peninsula with two other women, both from South America. It wasΒ deep into the evening and there he stood at the van entrance, his eyes gleaming at me suspiciously as he held my passport in one hand and an AK47 in the other. My heart was racing, my mind thinking about the reality that it was just three girls surrounded by all these men. We could get dragged into the desert, raped and murdered and no one would ever know. Kidnapped, maybe sold into sexual slavery! Read More

The Rose City

“Make sure,” he said, pointing out into the middle of the bus, “to not give in, okay!” He was one of those tour guides where I was not entirely sure if he was honest or just believable because he spoke with confidence about things we knew nothing about. It seemed as though anything he said – even if it was absurd – must be true only because he said it loudly and with a firm expression. He was the expert after all. “No one in Jordan steals!” was one such comment. Read More

Sarah Bernhardt in Copenhagen?

An early morning terminal, a bleak sight as I walked not-so-quietly with my suitcase clank-clanking down the empty hallway. It was only moments ago that I waited for my luggage to appear on the baggage carousel, the last person standing with me sighed gleefully after his black suitcase with a blue ribbon suddenly appeared on the conveyor belt. I quickly whispered to myself, “what am I going to do?” Even the lost property office was closed. Read More