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Nov. 18th, 2007

Kitty

Research Madness, highs and lows

Ok this week had its up and down......

All but 1 of my interviews fell through, at the moment, I have 2 interviews that is it. This makes me very very sad, I had 4 lined up before Berlin, 3 of them canceled and I found 1 more. So as of right now, I have an HIV+ activist and 1 AIDS Consultant from a hospital.

My lit review is almost done, I wrote a letter looking for volunteers in Dutch (thanks to my Dutch teacher), I have research questions formed. My report is due on 3 Dec 07...

I went to the shooting range with a friend and had a lot of fun.....

I went to an underground queer party and saw a few bands performed

My research advisor is finally being a little helpful regarding my research by providing me contacts

I am starting to adjusting to Dutch Life and starting to feel like I am dutch, the sad part, I am leaving Amsterdam in 3 weeks (8 Dec 07)....and heading back to the states in 4 weeks (17 Dec 07)......

Lastly,I recently created a new identity at a gay club, since I was bored saying I'm a student studying sex for a living in Amsterdam
Kitty

Berlin, gay sex capitol of Europe

Ok Finally it took a week but here is a post about my trip to Berlin. There were three reasons why I went to Berlin last weekend: 1) Berlin has been named the capitol of gay sex in Europe, since I studying European culture and sexuality, this is another field study for me. B) there is no race system in Germany since Hitler's time, I wanted to see how do people interact, since as many of you know, i have a big interest in race and C) I desperately needed to get out of Amsterdam, my research and needed to relax and party.

My trip to Berlin was quite an interesting one. So Friday morning, my flight suppose to leave at 10 AM, so I woke up at 7 AM to get my ass out the door to be at the airport by 9, guess what?? my flight was canceled and KLM did NOT send me an SMS to my phone telling me. So they did not put me on the next flight, but the flight after that, which is the 5 PM one with a stopover in Paris... So Ellen and I were like ok, so we went back to Amsterdam to kill time, I went to the public library to do some research. So 4 PM we got to the airport, oh look our flight has been delayed to Paris... due to "technical difficulties." We did not leave Amsterdam until 8 PM, missing our flight to Berlin.... So we had an unexpected night in Paris.....

We met a girl named Lexie from Seattle who was on the way to Italy to visit her boyfriend. And we hung out at the hotel together, which was pretty cool..

So we arrived in Berlin at 9 AM and it was fun. We stayed at a gay bed and breakfast, which I thought was the center of the gay area as they advertised, but they were wrong.. so so wrong... Also Ellen and I think the host went through our stuff when we were gone, my underwear was moved from one location to another and Ellen and I concluded that the host had a thing for me and we don't want to know what he did with my used underwear after our first night there.....it's quite sketchy..

I went out clubbing a lot. On the first night, I went to SchwuZ, one of the oldest gay clubs in Berlin. It was hot.. they had a cafe in the front and the club downstairs int he basement. the club had 4 dance floors ranging from techno to pop. There was a very mix gay and lesbian crowd... well more like 30% lesbian, 70% gay. I noticed that worldwide that gay men usually dominate in these venues, sorry my lesbian sisters..... :( I left SchwuZ at 4 AM to head over to the kitkat club at 5 AM, this club was highly recommended by everyone I talked to about Berlin. The Kit Kat club is famous all over Europe and even beyond because of its unique concept bringing together very good techno / trance music to decadent, bacchanalian, sexually uninhibited parties. There was a strict dress code and there were 3 dance floor and an outdoor area with a pool, but the pool was closed since it was cold.. There were sex going on everywhere in this club, a lot of it were mainly on the dance floor. I never thought there would be a place where sex is so liberal. This club really pushed my boundaries and I think that is what this trip and doing sex research is about, pushing boundaries. I had a great time at this club. On my second/last night in Berlin, I went to a club called GMF, it was quite hard to find since 3 different maps told me 3 different things where this club is. GMF is a very nice club, it had 2 dance floor and it is located in an office building. the club took over the 12th and 15th floor of the office building. I made some friends there and we talked about various things, mainly sexuality and German culture. I thought Amsterdam would be very liberal about sexuality, it is to some point, but Berlin is way way more liberal in my opinion.

I explored a bit of German history through museums and a self-walking tour. I learned a lot about the history of the Berlin wall, the political parties around it and how people lived (work? gender roles? sex ed?) during those time period. On my last day, I did a bit of a walking tour using my guidebook on the historic sites of Berlin. I wish I had time to go to all of them, but I went to a few.

My last highlight, I had dinner in the highest cafe/restaurant in Berlin (207 Meters) and saw all of Berlin while it was SNOWING. I came to Europe hoping to escape the Snow, but here it is...

Nov. 15th, 2007

Kitty

wow

wow i spent $1171.74 USD in 2 hours.... scary. I am going broke...

i have a lot to update regarding research, trip to berlin and more, but will do that later, 3 am now.. must sleep

Nov. 4th, 2007

Kitty

Only in Amsterdam

Ok last night I went to see a gay leather sex show, since I have never been exposed to it and I don't know anything on leather and would like to learn a bit to understand. So yeah I decided to pay the 7 euro cover to go to this leather bar. THere were quite a few shows and the party went all night and all morning (11 PM to 12 PM/noon)... I left at around 7 AM since I was tired...

Well one of the shows I saw was a Master FTM with a vagina and a enlarged clit dominating his slave who was male (the parts down there). I didn't know what to think of this when I saw this on stage, it started off as the slave sucking the master so we didn't see the vagina/enlarged clit and he moved.. and my jaw dropped. I mean I didnt' know what to think of this... I really really didn't. This really challenged my idea on what I thought was hot to the gay community, everyone there loved it.... I enjoyed the show.. but yeah... I was thinking, I think only in Amsterdam the playing of gender and sex like this at a bar would be acceptable... It was hot.....

Last night was fun, I met some Gaysians, which was pretty cool. And I met a boy from Italy, Marcellino, and we talked all night. He kept buying me beers. He is 28, works in IT and just visiting a friend in Amsterdam. We ended up exchanging contacts since there is a possiblity I might be doing Italy and he is a cool guy to talk to, we talked a lot about the Catholic Church and sexuality, mainly homosexuality. It has been a while since I had an intellectual conversation in a bar.

Overall a great night and oh yeah I have never seen the center dead before until you see it at 7 AM on a Sunday morning.. I broke my promise and had McD since THAT WAS THE ONLY THING OPEN.. it was barely open, it was closing when I got there but Marcellino and I was able to get food before the door closed.... lucky...

Well I gotta go do some research so I can do this again tonight, the closing of Leather Pride..

Nov. 1st, 2007

Kitty

Sucess!!!

Classes are over as of today, I am happy about it. I took my Dutch final today. I froze up during my oral exam and I did I did ok, i did ok on the written, and did very well on reading comp. My oral exam was interesting a few arkward silences, we talked about My mommy, Amsterdam, the cute boys in Amsterdam, my trip to Istanbul, My hobbies, clubs that I like and the type of boys I like. I was teased about this by my Dutch teacher... I keep saying "y" instead of "en", both of them mean "and" but y is espanol and en is in Dutch. I don't know what language is what any more, I have been reading some health reports that was written in Spanish for my Health Report. So yeah, I am so confused on what is what now.

After the exam, i went for a drink with Ellen and really debrief.. but no that wasn't the end of my day.. I had a 2 hour lecture on sexuality theory.. it was the last class thank god, I am so not a theory person. I realized that I like methods more...

Tonight I went to a discussion on conflicting identities and I realized something identity mean something tottally different here. It was at a feminist salon and was organized by a few students in my program. this is a topic that I hold close to my heart, I mean look at me, gay, asian... etc... my idea of conflicting identities was challenged a bit and I challenged others.. it was a good discussion.. and best of all free vegan food lol....

Now I have the remainder of the time to focus on research.. 1 month to research and write a health report. oh joy.. The first part of my lit review is due tomorrow.. not fun.. i am so behind on this....

Oct. 30th, 2007

Kitty

Final Exam

I can't believe the program is winding down. My Dutch final is on thursday, i am debating if I want to take the course off pass/fail or not with UConn. So far I am doing very well in Dutch, but I am concerned about my final on Thursday. I think I am going to keep it on pass/fail just to be safe.

I am doing research for my report right now. I have all the journal articles needed and I need to hand in my literary review on Friday via e-mail. I'm not looking forward to reading all these research. And coming up with a literary review. Everyone else is handing a theory portion of their ISP, but I don't have a theory portion for my health report. I am pretty nervous right now about this research since I basically have 1 month to get this written and researched. I need to focus on this literary review and come up interview questions by this weekend. Today I sent out e-mails to get list of names to contact for interviewees, so hopefully I can get a list by the end of this week to contact people soon, since Dec aka World AIDS Day is coming up soon and everyone is busy with that.

I have been having a few issues with my host lately and indeed I have to leave the house on Friday mornings by 9 AM and be gone for 3 hours for the next few weeks (5 weeks, so basically 4 fridays.. one of them I will be in BErlin for). I am trying to figure out what I will be doing and that means I have to be in bed early on Thursdays....

Basically that is it for updates. I need to go to do some translating for Dutch now and then working on my health report.

I am looking forward for classes to be over since I tend to learn more independently... And I want to get this research done and guess what more time for the bars and to go out to meet more Dutch friends...

Oct. 27th, 2007

Kitty

Self-Sexuality Learning

I learn a lot last night at the bar about Dutch tolerance and sexuality. Last night, I went to a bar event that was a fuck contest. I heard about it and the concept really puzzled me. So I decided to go to it. You are given fake money and you give it to the porn star that you like the best and the more they fake money they get, the more they get paid by the bar. So yeah, the guys are actually fucking on stage. I had a chance to talk to two of the porn stars over a beer sitting at the bar and they lived interesting life.

I also learned about darkrooms. I did not go in one and I think one day before I leave Amsterdam, I would go in one. Not to have sex or hook up, I’m just curious. How dark is a dark room? The reason why I brought this up is because a lot of guys kept trying to get me to go into the dark room with them. One guy stood out for me and he scared me. He wanted me to fuck him in the darkroom without of a condom. We sat and talked about this a bit. He basically proved my thesis on AIDS optimism. He felt that with the wonderful HIV treatments out there, it's not a worry about contracting it. It has to do also with the free healthcare system here (insurance covers everything 100%). He was like my age, somewhere between 18-23. This really really scare me. He told me that he always go back there and he get fucked randomly by all these guys. Usually he has about 9-12 guys fuck him a night either with or without, he doesn't know. This really really scare me. I told him that I work in the HIV/AIDS services industry and I told him side effects are horrible. That it is true that there are a lot of new HIV meds out there but there are a lot of side effects that will make you sicker. I guess in this day and age the stigma of HIV is not here as much anymore.


In addition, I realize the racial stereotypes also come out to Europe. I see a lot of young asians being with old rice queens and a lot of them hit on me. They were very aggressive and dominating. I have no interest in them and they kept pushing. So I told them to fuck off in Dutch. Thank you Dutch class to learn this. I dealt with this in the US, basically Asian gay sexuality stereotypes and it annoys me that it is also here in Europe. Stereotype: Asians are bottom and they love old white men...... I definitely don't fit in that image.

Oct. 25th, 2007

Kitty

Pressure is On

Ok the pressure is on.. Classes end a week from today and then it is all my time is dedicated to working on my health report. My lit review is due a week from tomorrow and I am behind.... and right after that I have to come up with my interview questions and interview... I am doing 10 interviews, 5 HIV+ men over the age of 35 and 5 HIV services professional.   I am doing this while studying for GREs and looking at graduate school. Once I come back to the US my first stop is taking the GREs. There are a few schools I want to apply to that has a deadline of December 31st, that is very early... so I am going to try to reach this deadline...

There seem to be a interesting image on Americans being rich, when the American dollar is worth nothing here (1 USD=0.69 Euro, it used to be 0.71, but now it is .69)... I recently had an encounter with a 17 year old, he came up to me and started hitting on me which is fine... and then he asked how much am I going to pay him to have sex with him and I busted out laughing. I asked him what makes him think I have money being in my early 20s and all. HE has a perception that Americans are rich and I laughed. HE kept pushing himself on me trying to get me to pay for sex and I showed him my wallet with only 5 Euros in it and he left.... I don't quite know where this image comes from. I also can't believe he is escorting at age 17... it is weird. And I told him I wouldn't pay for sex anyhow and usually the people who pay for sex are the older guys wanting young meat.....

Lastly, I have been thinking of a certain guy from home.. I met him a few weeks before I left and I like him.. he has been on my mind lately... but I haven't been talking to him :(  I wonder does he still like me...

Oct. 15th, 2007

Kitty

Croatia

12 October 2007 - 04:46
Title:6 Americans, 2 Croatian in a car
Current Music:Soulja Boy - Crank That (Soulja Boy) [Torrent-Tatty] (™ ColliPark - Interscope)
Current Mood:Annoyed

The first 2 days in Croatia is an interesting one. the boys here are very very cute and nice. I am drooling a lot over the guys here. Race is a big factor here, it's majority white. there are like 3 black people here and a small community of Chinese people here who just moved here. People (the society) do not accept Homosexuals or black people.


I have met so many people through my own excursion and the SIT Croatia group (AKA SIT Balkans). They are pretty cool. I learned a lot of things about the people in my program and I noticed more about all the drama... the good... the bad... and the ok...... there seem to be a lot of trash talking going on (which also include trash talking about me and the people I care about) and I HATE it. My philosophy is, if you have a problem with someone, tell it to their face. We are not in high school anymore, so be adults and just comfort the person. I am learning more, who are really my friends and who are just pretending to be a friend. And I noticed that people in my program uses one another for things, basically befriend someone for their own personal gain. I am starting to hate this. I guess the longer you are around people, you see their true colors. I just pretty annoyed at this right now. We are a group of 16 people, this should not happen, but it does.

Well I have met many nice Croatian boys and girls and made a lot of great friends. Tonight I went to a club called Global, the only gay club in Zagreb. It was ladies night and I never thought I had so much fun. there were a few gay men there which I interacted with. I got to know many of them very well. We talked about different issues from what is it like being gay here to how does one find a sense of community. Being gay here is not illegal, but since this is a Catholic country (90%) it is very anti-gay. This really reminds me of high school a lot. the fact that I went to a Catholic High School and all. I really learn a lot through firsthand experience. Heck Global, is a very discreet gay club, they have rainbow stairs, not a flag like the usual clubs do. the stairs are very discreet and I did not notice them until someone pointed it out to me. We got a ride home from a lesbian I met, Tina. She is very nice and she thinks I am nice too. She called me her brother, which is pretty funny and she told me to come back tomorrow so she can introduce me to her gay male friends. Dyke night is fun and all but there are not many gay guys. But that is where the title came from, 6 Americans total and Tina and her friend all fit in this tiny car. It was funny. Overall I had a great drunkard time. I don't really like the fact that alcohol is a part of the European culture since I have been drinking quite a bit lately. And also, I have been smoking a lot lately. And I think it is making me a bit sick.


We also had a lecture today. The lecture was on a topic that I am passionate about, sexual education. I learned about sexual education in Croatia and the movement around it, between the abstinence-only education to comprehensive. Currently there are no sexual education program intact, but there are movements to get ab-only education into the system and there is a group to try to prevent that from happening. It is pretty cool learning about the movement, but it is fairly new.... I am grateful that we have org like Advocates for Youth back home with a strong movement towards comprehensive sexual education.

I also brought a Build a Bear cow and named her Kim, after Kimloan since I do miss her..... It was so cheap, it came out to be about $7 American, which is very cheap.

I am starting to get a bit homesick, since UConn Homecoming is coming up. I really miss the competitions that we have. For those of you with the RC, you better win 1st place this year. Last night I was watching old lip-sync videos and I kinda teared up a bit. I do miss UConn...... the scary thing is, there was ALOT of less drama and more unity in the group than my study abroad group. I did not think that will happen.

Well it is 5 AM now and I have class in the morning. So I am going to attempt to go to bed. Night :)


13 October 2007 - 13:00
Title:Rape as a War Tactic
Current Music:Britney Spears - Gimme More [Torrent-Tatty] (™ Jive - Zomba)
Current Mood:Happy

Yesterday was an interesting day. I felt it was a women studies day, indeed it was. The first half of my day wasn't that great. I was very upset at many things and was not ok. I admit I was pretty bitchy and to those friends who stood by me and definitely gave me some space, thank you so much. And if I was mean to anyone, I am sorry. After getting in at 05:00, I woke up at 10:30 for class at noon. I sat through a pretty boring lecture at the center of women studies. She talked about everything, I kinda knew already about Eastern Europe on Feminism. I dosed off and my classmates made fun of me. There is actually a video of me dozing off, thanks Yitka ;). Something that cheered me up was we had Mexican Food Croatian Style for lunch, that was hottt....it wasn't REAL Mexican, but close enough. Our night lecture was something really touching. It was on Bosnian women who were raped during the war. I felt very emotional learning about this. But at the end, I was a bit upset, but I am not going to let it get to me. Someone in our group has a big interest for domestic violence and out lecture ended at 19:30 and we were running a FEW MINUTES LATE because of the Q&A. Some people in the group made comment that really rushed the person. This really make me upset, what right do they have? We all want to get out of here, but if someone has an interest on something, they should have the right to ask questions. I feel this is very disrespectful to the group, I mean we all wait for one another and suppose to be supporting one another, but clearly this is not happening. After that we went to dinner.

I went off on my own after dinner, since I needed to be away from the group and this actually made me feel much better. I met so many people from being alone and Croatian people are very nice. I went to a bar first and made some random friends and met up with Frank (from UC), a girl tried to asked if I had a girlfriend or not (yes this was a straight bar), which was funny. She was cute, but um.. yeah I like guys...After that, I met up with the SIT Balkans group. This night is a night to remember. We crashed a party. We went to a place called the Saloon and there was a private party there. One of the Balkans girls say we're from New York and we are looking for a place to party and smiled and flirted a bit and guess what... WE GOT IN!!!! The party was for a windsurfing movie and invitations were based on facebook only. I found the facebook party funny. At the party, I looked around and it was all very very very good looking people and we were underdressed, but oh well. I made some contacts and drank some more. After being there for a bit, we all headed to Global, the gay club. I met up with the friends I made last night and made new ones.

I also met a very cute Croatian boy, Philippe. He noticed me at the bar with some friends and he asked if I would talk to him privately and I said yes. There was a lounge area at this bar and we just talked for like an hour about boys, queerness, interests, career goals. I learned that this Philippe is a law student who is 20, graduating in a year, loves the movies and clubbing. He does a lot with film and he hates chocolate and alcohol. He would not let me get another beer as we talked. After talking to Philippe for an hour, I felt I should get back to my friends. I don't want to abandon people. The funny part is the Philippe’s friend was hitting on my friend, Matt (a guy in the SIT Balkans group that I was with). After that, we danced until around 05:00 and we got kicked out since it was closed. So we just sat outside of the club and talk. I also experienced some drunkard Croatian songs (see facebook for videos).. it was pretty fun. Got home at 06:00 via tram and passed out.


I also noticed a trend on questions, everyone I met knows I'm an American (they are also curious on my Asianiness, since there aren't many Asian people in Zagreb). They keep asking, why am I in Zagreb? They felt it is random. I really like it here. The people here are so nice and friendly. From being at the bar for 2 nights, I have made so many friends and were invited out to many places. I told them I study sex for a living and I am just very interested how queer people live and how they live in hiding. Like one of the guys I met, Bruno, he was telling me how he has to wear a mask, since he plays football (Soccer) and is a huge fans. But when he is at the games, which he loves, he feels very uncomfortable since there is A LOT of anti-gay comments and he definitely hides the fact that he is gay.

But anyhow... Last night was a very great night.. I can't wait for tonight. which will prob my last night going out...But to end on a bit of a sad note, Global, the only gay club in Zagreb is closing down at the end of the year.


14 October 2007 - 23:47
Title:Gay bashed!
Current Music:Zac Efron - Bet On It [Torrent-Tatty] (™ Walt Disney)
Current Mood:Happy

Yesterday and today were great. Yesterday was a bit of an emotional school day for me. Lunch was pretty interesting. I went to lunch alone, well I went to a place where I knew the waitress. I met a lot of the football fans and was invited to a game for free, but I decided not to go. I drank with them and they tried teaching me the Croatian Anthem, which didn't go so well. They made fun of me, which was cool. We all had drinks and it was a cool lunch event. After lunch, I had a lecture on Homosexuality and Croatia. One of the thing that Marko, the presenter showed us was the first gay pride in Belgrade and how people were bashed. It was very bloody. That made me cry, it brought me memories of the past. The way the presenter put it was it is basically the US in 1969 (Stonewall) right now for them, which was pretty cool. MUST SEE VIDEO


After the lecture, I had coffee with Matt and we talked. Matt is a very cool guy and I like being around him. Dinner was pretty interesting, we had a group dinner to talk about the week. I thought and reflected about this trip, the lectures, the people, the life.... it was a great experience. I went back to the hostel afterwards to nap, since I am pulling an all nighter party again.


The club was packed last night. There was no room. I went with the SIT Balkans group. I danced with Matt the whole night. I feel a bit close to Matt. One thing that was funny that as Matt and I danced, some guy came up to me. He asked "Can I help you?" I was pretty drunk at this point, so I was being very cocky.

The Guy: Can I help you?
Me: Depends, what can you help me with?
The Guy: I don't know, *looks over at Matt* I can help you too, I can help both of you
Me: I don't know... I wonder do we need help? *looks over at Matt* Do we need help?
Matt: No, I don't think we need help
Me: Nah, we don't need help
The Guy: Sorry to bother you

That was very funny. I really like Global, I feel very connected with the people there. Everyone is so nice and I have made great friends. I ended up getting home at 05:45, which wasn't fun. I was supposed to be in the main square to go hiking at 09:00 (which means leave the hostel by 08:15, that so didn't happen. I slept until 13:00, which felt great. The last few nights I have been partying it out and staying out to 6 AM. But I learned a lot.... Being out at the bar was worth it, even from an sexuality academia perspective. I have learned things that I would have never learn in lectures, personal experiences. The people I talked to, straight or gay, inside the gay club and outside, I learned so much about being gay in this society, I learned a lot of gender roles, I learned a lot about the culture.


Today was a lazy day. We had nothing schedules. I woke up at 13:00 and just hung out at the hostel. I met up with Matt today again. I hate that everything is closed on Sunday. Matt gave me a mini-tour of gornije grad, which is the nice part of town. And we walked through the mall, where everything but 1 cafe was closed. That was weird. We had coffee and said our good-bye and promise to keep in touch online and such.

I also broke my rule. Before I went abroad, I told myself, no American products or companies, except for soda (coke/Pepsi). I had McD for lunch today before meeting up with Matt, since it was fast. And I brought a big mac for dinner, but did not ate it. After hanging with Matt, I figured everyone went to dinner. So I brought a Big Mac for $3 USD and headed back to the hostel. I ended up finding out I was wrong and I had a veal steak with Mushroom sauce that was to die for... And went out for ice cream (banana and Chocolate Hazelnut is not a good mixture). I am not looking forward to leave tomorrow and I have to be awake in 6 hours to be out the door by 7. I was debating on going to global tonight, but decided against it, since I need sleep......

Lastly, I am sick now. From smoking so much and not getting much sleep, I smoked HALF A PACK OF CIG in one day on this trip and I was in smokey bars/restaurants/cafes. Croatia is not a friendly place for those who are smoke sensitive. I am not smoke sensitive, but I have never been exposed to this much smoke since I started smoking. I have quit and started again but I haven't smoked this much for ages. I discovered that there is a Dutch version of airborne and I am so getting that.

Oct. 8th, 2007

Kitty

Pure Happiness

Steve from home surprised me in Amsterdam.. about 24 hours before he arrived to AMsterdam, he e-mailed me saying he will be in town.. So I have been hanging with him. I miss home and yeah seeing him really comforted me from my homesickiness....and as always, Steve always gets me in trouble haha.........

last night, we went out and caused trouble... that is all I can say... tonight will be the same...

Tomorrow I am heading off to Croatica for 6 days, one of the things I am studying which I am passionate about to study is rape as a war tactic, croatian women were raped as a war tactic...I am excited... well off I go to pack

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