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Let’s give one of our International SITStah’s, Aviane a warm welcome. Hailing from Trinidad and living in London, Aviane is a graduate student who traded in the corporate word of heels for flip flops. She writes at Life in Heels and Flip Flops. You are going to love her!
Tell us about your blog.
Well, Life in Heels and Flip Flops is not my first blog. I started blogging in 2002 actually, but back then it was a private and more personal blog.
I started this one only last year. I was using Facebook notes as a means of expression, and I realised my friends were also being entertained – a lot. I love writing and though I don’t really fit into a niche, like mommy blogger, dating blogger or wife blogger, I think I am a great hodgepodge or as Trinis would say “a wicked callaloo” of interests.
My blog is basically about my life and my experiences and I somehow find the fun in the most mundane activities. The name speaks to my life when you think about where my feet have taken me – starting from the stomping of heels along corporate hallways during the week, to flip flops (and platforms and cute sandals) on evenings, weekends and vacations, when I relaxed, to my life as it is now – unemployed expat student superstar!
What made you decide to give up the high heels and corporate world for flip flops?
It was not an easy decision. I was a communications professional in the financial sector and I had a relatively comfortable existence. But I always wanted to cap off my education with my Master’s degree and with my workload and my discipline (poor), part time study was not really an option. I also, at that point, was a bit overwhelmed and maybe a bit burnt out, and this opportunity came at what I believe to be the right time for me personally and professionally. Coming into this situation as a “mature” student (can you believe over 22 is considered mature these days?) was also a bit amusing.
Funny thing is, I did not truly give up high heels for flip flops. In reality, I gave it up for boots, sneakers and low heeled shoes! I think I can only wear flip flops in London maybe 3 weeks out of the entire year. Cold toes are not fun!
You grew up in Trinidad and Tobago but now live in London. How have your experiences in such different places shaped you?
London and T&T are similar in that both are great melting pots of different cultures, and it is really an opportunity to learn more about each other and move away from being culturally ignorant.
At the same time, London is very different as well. First, to say the weather takes some getting used to is the understatement of all time, especially for someone from the hot and spicy Caribbean. It is horrible, but you really have to dig deep and find ways to cope.
Being Trini, I come from a people with the long established reputation of being fun and friendly. There is a tremendous joie de vivre about my people that they definitely do take everywhere. Not saying Londoners are not friendly and fun, but the approach and maybe the level of openness is very different. There is definitely no brazen friendliness here like back home, where people meet in a taxi or bus as strangers and leave as partners in crime, friends or just happier. So after a few unanswered good mornings and a few dirty looks, I put aside my natural inclination to be friendly among “strangers” here in London.
London is also very fast-paced, very different to Port of Spain, which can be both good and bad. It’s great for business, and it is one of the reasons I chose to study here cause the experience in marketing and PR here is unparalleled. Yet, this pace does not bode well for personal connections and human interaction. Dating, for example can be a virtual nightmare and one I care not to relive in my blog.
My circumstances are also very different here so with no job and no salary, in a very expensive city, I have had to readjust my spending habits (no shopping trips, no splurging, lots of bargain hunting) and I really have come to appreciate the things I took for granted back home – like Haagen Dazs and regular movie nights.
What are your favourite things to blog about?
Travel blogging would be at the top of my list! I love blogging when I am exploring somewhere new. I am nowhere close to being a REAL travel blogger, but I both come from, and currently live in beautiful places. I think there is something exciting and interesting about every place you go to, even if it does not make some travel site’s Top 10 list. From a new pub to a new exotic location, it gives me motivation to make plans to go somewhere new as often as possible, and as far as my budget would allow.
I also love fashion and beauty trends, and anything that screams FABULOUS, so I enjoy writing about them in my own blog, as well as reading hard-core beauty blogs. And finally, I am a people watcher, so I am always observing the habits of people around me and they can often be great fun to recount to readers!
How has your education played a role in your blogging?
Between my professional experience and school, I have a real appreciation for branding and promotion, which for those who are keen on taking their blogging to the next level, are key. I have not really had the time to focus on my blog as more than a creative outlet (yet) with my course load, but maybe when I do ease into life again, I can focus a bit more on such stuff.
In essence, my blog really is my outlet away from the heavy stuff, so I think the “other” education I am getting here in London – as a student of life – has a major role to play in my blogging. It keeps me always aware and alert for interesting things and people around me, which I can later write about, keeps me always amused and appreciative of my many blessings, and reminds me that my perspective is just one out of millions.
My super fabulous trip to Florence, Italy was also my last proper vacation: Love hearing about traveling. Even if it’s not always roses.
One of my favourite London memories: I’d say being in a T-Mobile Commercial was pretty memorable, too!
A phenomenon here that really REALLY irks me: Shopping in Pyjamas! Don’t do. Just don’t.
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