Culture: The Sun – Living with our Star


Hi everyone!

How are you all doing? Are you looking forward to the weekend? I will be in Paris from Friday, so I am hoping for good weather and more photos to share with you on the blog :). Last Sunday, I visited the Science Museum’s exhibition – The Sun: Living with our Star. It has been running for a while and will continue until the 6th May 2019. For those who haven’t yet checked it out, you still have plenty of time!

Science Museum

I have not visited the Science Museum in South Kensington, London in many years. It is still one of the coolest places. It is a huge space and covers a vast range of topics. For those that don’t have a chance to visit London anytime soon, they have improved their digital resources and it is now possible to search and explore over 250,000 objects online.

Last Sunday was glorious. The weather was just perfect which is unheard of at this time of year, it was around 15 degrees Celsius and the sky was beautifully clear and blue. I managed to capture some pretty awesome shots outside and the lighting in the beautiful entrance hall.

The Sun: Living with our Star

The exhibition focuses on our nearest star – the Sun through objects, interactive videos and imagery. It is an in-depth study, starting with how it has been worshipped through history and how it is the centre of how time is measured on Earth. One of the coolest displays was a game on how to read sundials – this might sound silly, but I have never learnt how to read one, so now I know which I think it is pretty cool! Despite it being made for kids and we all now have watches and phones which tell the time…maybe in an apocalyptic scenario it might prove useful.

The exhibition then moves onto the next room to explain how the sun can impact our health. From being used to prevent/cure diseases such as Tuberculosis in Victorian times to the invention of sunlamps in the 1920/30s, through to the societal shift after the War, where people started to enjoy the healthy sun kissed looked and the rise of skin cancer since then. I spent a lot of time in this room as there was a lot of information dotted around and some vintage advertisements from different eras.

You can’t help to notice the “fake” beach setting with gold palm trees and some random deck chairs located right in the middle of the room. Guess it is made more for kids and potentially an Instagram moment?! I did appreciate; however, the constant background noise of the sea and seagulls; made me think that I need to plan a trip to the seaside soon!


The exhibition then moves on to how humans have been trying to harness the sun for energy. Given that I work in the renewables industry, this section was probably my favourite. It was awesome to see the beginnings of solar energy. Surprisingly, the use of fossil fuels and how it will eventually run out was already considered by the engineers of the Industrial Revolution, yet several hundred years on, we continue to use these pollutants as our main source of energy [Rant over]. One of the interactive exhibits was to try and bounce “sun rays” into a solar panel and light up a central light. It stumped me a bit, but I challenge anyone else to give it a go!

The final room of the exhibit explains the dangers of the solar storms caused by sunspots, with a focus on a storm in 1859, also known as the Carrington Event.

I knew nothing about this or the impact it would have on us today given all the technology we have. There is a very good video which explains the phenomenon in the exhibition, admittedly, made for kids, but very interesting nonetheless! There is also a game to try and save the Earth from future sun storms, I also challenge anyone to get full marks (I got 4 out of 5…clearly I was too risk-averse!).

The exhibition ends with a large room with awesome footages of the solar flares and sunspots. A vivid reminder of how small we are in comparison in the grand scheme of space and within our solar system.

Overall, it was an extremely informative exhibition and took me around an hour to complete. I highly recommend it for families as it is more catered for children. However, that is not to say an adult won’t enjoy it too (like me!). The exhibition gets a solid 3.5/5 pineapples!

I hope you enjoyed the little science snippets of the day as it is slightly different from the usual art and culture on the blog. I would love to hear from you, so do leave a comment below!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken

Art: Diane Arbus & Kader Attia

Hayward Gallery

Hi Everyone,

How has your weekend been so far? It has been a really exciting one for me – my boyfriend and I went to our first house viewing! It was an awesome experience and I think we might have found our dream home. It is a new build and the developers were looking to transact quite quickly. Unfortunately, it looks like getting enough money together would be a bit of a problem (understatement) but I guess that is the same for most young professionals in London. We hadn’t planned to be looking so early as we wanted to build up a deposit in order to buy a home, therefore it continues to be a 2020 goal. The home was beautiful, but timing not so much.

Anyway! This was not what you were here for, so let’s get back to our usual 🙂 I managed to see some art last weekend and there is a lot more planned for the next coming few weeks. Remember, if there is anything that you would like me to go and review in London, please do leave a comment below!

Hayward Gallery does it again!

Hayward Gallery in Southbank is one of my favourite art galleries in London. I have come to love the brutalist structure and the vast ceilings within. I was very excited when I first found out that the latest exhibition is on photography. There were adverts all over the tube and I knew I wanted to be one of the first to see the exhibition. It will be open until 6 May 2019, so you have plenty of time to check it out! The only downside was that no photography was allowed, so you will just have to enjoy my written prose instead 😉

Kader Attia – The Museum of Emotion

Admittedly, I didn’t realise that the exhibition was for two artists. I hadn’t heard of Kader Attia before so was slightly surprised when I entered the exhibition to find a concrete brick was in the corner, suspended by a clear line rather than photographs! Attia grew up in the banlieues of northeast Paris. The first room of the exhibition was dominated by a projection of La Tour Robespierre (The Robespierre Tower) (2018) – I really recommend you spend the time to watch the 2-minute video as it is a close up of a post-war housing estate. The endless windows and concrete capture and provokes the viewer to consider the gap in the living standards between the wealthy and the poor.

Attia’s work, personally, was difficult for me to enjoy. Through art, he really makes the viewer explore powerful emotions and topics. It was definitely “heavy” viewing, with Room 2 focusing on large scale and intimate photos of Algerian transgender sex workers. In Room 3, which I found to be really weird, explored the politics of Western museums. He seemed to mock old methods of display – such as a stuffed cheetah in a vitrine. This is probably something you still see in the Natural History Museum in London today, however, he would then randomly includes a magazine within it or a contemporary “African” mask of his design. I couldn’t comprehend whether he was just trying to be smart or just provocative? The room did make me feel really uncomfortable but maybe that was exactly what has trying to do?! Honestly – not sure!

Room 5 is just one huge installation – The Repair from Occident to Extra-Occidental Cultures (2012). This room was super eerie and unsettling!  Particularly, when all you can hear is the constant click of the slideshow projector in the corner. It resembles a museum storeroom with shelves of various books and busts of African design. Some of the books are displayed upright as if in a bookstore, whilst others are bolted together to the shelves. All the book covers touch upon war, medicine, and African art. The purpose of the art was to contrast Western societies on how they seek to erase marks left by injury or trauma, compared to more “traditional societies” such a those in Africa who may have revered body modification such as facial scarring. It really isn’t for everyone….

Attia’s exhibition ends with video installations Shifting Borders (2018) which comprised of several large screens playing three separate videos and random chairs with prosthetic legs – super freaky! I didn’t sit through all of the videos as I would have been there for hours, but one, in particular, looked at the 1980 Gwangju Uprising in South Korea. It is not an easy watch and because I didn’t know much about the historical event, I thought made it even harder to watch as I didn’t really have enough time to process.

All in all – heavy viewing. I really didn’t enjoy it but not sure if everyone would feel the same?

Diane Arbus – In the beginning

I was pretty relieved when I could climb the stairs and move to Diane Arbus’ part of the exhibition in the Upper Galleries. Street photography is much more up my alley.  Diane was born in New York City and this is where she took most of her photographs. I think she captured the best era: 50s and the 60s.

The exhibition features more than 100 photographs, the majority of which are vintage prints made by the artist, drawn from the Diane Arbus Archive at The Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. More than two-thirds of these photographs have never been seen before in the UK. – Southbank Gallery

The exhibition was not organised chronically and there was no set route for visitors, so naturally being British, people tried to line up and follow an S line around all the pillars lol. Diane is a legend in street photography and she explored various different subjects. From “every day” adults and children on the streets to others considered “outsiders” such as midgets, circus freaks, giants and, transgenders. My personal favourites are the very up close portraits where the subject is gazing back at the camera.

Here are just a few of my favourite images:

Recommended

Though I struggled to enjoy Attia’s artwork, I personally recommend going to the exhibition to see Diane Arbus’ photography because a Google image search really does not give any of the photos justice! It is a great opportunity to see her pieces all under one roof.

I would love to know what you think of the exhibition. Do you have a favourite photographer? As always, would love to hear from you!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Thought of the Day: Interdependence

Hi Everyone!

How’s it going? Since it is the weekend, you know you are in for a long read on the Pineapple Chicken Blog; so please sit back and relax with a hot drink 🙂 Today’s thought of the day is the concept of interdependence. This follows nicely from my previous blog about change and how I am trying to understand/look at my current relationship from a different perspective.

What is interdependence?

I started reading “7 Habits of Highly Effective People” by Stephen Covey, admittedly, I have not gotten very far as I am finding it quite a difficult read, or possibly I am not in the right mindset for it? I might have to give up and try something else before going back to it. However, before I give up, I wanted to consider the concept of interdependence introduced in the book.

Covey explains that there is a Maturity Continuum which starts at

  1. Dependence – needing others to get what you want. This is the attitude of “you” – you take care of me, I need you.
  2. Independence – free from external influence and support. This is the attitude of “I”. I can take care of myself. I don’t need you.

The third and highest level in the Maturity Continuum is interdependence. … We live in an interdependent reality. Interdependence is essential for good leaders; good team players; a successful marriage or family life; in organisations. Interdependence is the attitude of “we”: we can co-operate; we can be a team; we can combine our talents. – Stephen Covey

Why is it so important yet so difficult?

I recognise that interdependence can be very difficult, it is often easy to revert back to the stage of independence because it is SO MUCH easier to manage one’s emotions and expectations; being selfish and not having to take into consideration someone’s feelings is a freedom. Regardless of how difficult it is, research shows that “Good relationships keep us happier and healthier. Period.” – Robert Waldinger (see video below). Therefore, the data suggests that it definitely worth investing time into relationships. What holds me back is that is is a lot of hard work, but why is this the case?

Alfred Adler, a world-renowned philosopher and psychiatrist, stressed the need to understand individuals within their social context. He recognised that:

All Problems are Interpersonal Relationship Problems

This is definitely extreme, to say the least, but it does put the focus on the difficulty of moving up the maturity continuum. If you really think about it, what negatively impacts you the most? For me, a fight with my sister or my boyfriend has a significant impact on my positivity and wellbeing. There have been times where it is all I can focus on, regardless of how busy I am at work or have other things to do to distract me – it can be all-consuming.

Another book I started reading (and yet to finish) is The Courage To Be Disliked: How to free yourself, change your life and achieve real happiness by Ichiro Kishimi & Fumitake Koga. This was the book that first introduced me to Adler and the theories resonated with me. For those who interested, there are bloggers who have also neatly summarised his theories.

What can I do?

I mean it is all well and good knowing that interpersonal relationships are important yet difficult. What can we do about it? What should I work on to have a happier relationship with others? I think a lot of it boils down to emotional intelligence. ( This topic is important/large enough to have its own future blog post!)

Alder states that you must separate your “life tasks” and do not get it mixed up with others. If you can’t control what other people think of you, why worry about it? For me, this seems to slip back into the concept of independence, which is at odds with what Stephen Covey encourages. Alder also believes that it is important to work on “self-worth” before being able to contribute to others.

Adler’s three pillars: Self-acceptance, confidence in others, and contribution to others reinforce each other in a positive feedback loop

I have yet to finish Stephen Covey’s book and interdependence is tackled under habits 4 to 6 out of the 7, as the first three also works on the “self” – you starting to see the loop?

  • Habit 4 – Win/Win
  • Habit 5 – Seek First to Understand, Then to Be Understood
  • Habit 6 – Synergize

I am going to keep working at these habits and let you know how it goes. A great summary can be found here if you want to skip the book and straight to the key learnings.

Thank you for making it to the end. I would be interested to know whether you are familiar with Stephen Covey’s book or Alder’s theories, as always, I would love to hear from you and your experiences, so please do leave a comment below 🙂

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

Thought of the Day: Change

Hi Everyone!

How has your weekend been so far? I am taking a chilled Sunday today, originally I had planned to go to the Science Museum, but I had recognised that I have done a lot of socialising this week and it was starting to take a toll on me. For those who have followed me for a while are aware that I am an introvert (it is also in my tag line!). I love seeing my friends and I live for genuine and deep meaningful conversations. However, eventually, I crash and need time to recover and recharge my batteries.

As mentioned in my previous post, I have moved in with my boyfriend, and I have started to find alternative ways to get “alone time” as I no longer have my own room. Today, I wanted to write about change and how that can impact one’s mental health. The below is purely my experience, but I wanted to share how I didn’t manage the big change of moving with a significant other, and how I think I would have done it better (if there was a next time). Today’s post will be a long piece, so sit back and relax 🙂

Change (2)

Change Management – why is it all business?

I recently completed a people manager course for the company I work for. It was very interesting because we spent half a day on just the topic of managing change. If you google “managing change” there are 6.13 billion search results but if scan the first page – it is all in relation to organisations. I can understand why organisations/psychologists have spent so much time and effort in developing theories in this area. However, if you try to google “managing personal change”, you will find that it is all about how to change behaviours or skills.

This is disappointing/frustrating because I strongly believe that big changes in my personal life have a larger impact on my personal wellbeing and mental health than compared to work; such as moving away from family, a heartbreak, a loss of someone close to you. Do you feel the same?

Therefore, I want to explore whether these “change theories” are applicable to my scenario: moving in with my boyfriend and whether this can be helpful for you for any future changes in your life.

Change Curve

Copyright Moss Warner
Copyright Moss Warner https://newsfeed.mosswarner.com/change-management-communications/

This might be quite familiar to most people;  the change curve was originally developed by psychiatrist Elisabeth Kubler-Ross for grief, but this has been applied to change management in organisations. I believe that this can also be applied to other forms of change in our personal life:

  • Shock – when we first discussed the topic of moving in, I definitely went through a stage of shock. I was extremely excited by the thought, but it is so different to how I was living, and there was a shift towards panic  – what if it doesn’t work out? what if we break up from this because we actually can’t stand each other? Do I want to give up what I have now? Am I prepared to commute? 
  • Denial – There was a period of time where I dragged my feet. Given we had talked about it for so long, my boyfriend was wondering why I had not moved in 2018, he kept asking when are you moving in? Give me a date. I was in a state of denial.
  • Acceptance –  Despite loving the idea of moving with my other half, I recognised that it was the right choice and also inevitable if we want to positively move forward in our relationship (marriage, building a family together, buying a home etc.). When I set the date – 1st Feb – it was clear the change was real. Looking back, I did not realise that I was very frustrated by the whole process of moving. I didn’t even know how to begin packing. The constant dread whilst going through my stuff and wondering whether it will fit in the flat. During this time my boyfriend was completely supportive and just said pack everything and we will worry about where to put it later. This added to the frustration because I was not wired that way – I want a place for everything. I didn’t want clutter. I had accumulated a lot of stuff in my lifetime and I knew that I had to #konmari my belongings and truly ask myself what I loved and should bring. There was A LOT of tears and worry.
  • Experimental/Decision – There was no experimental part to the move given that I had set a date and everything just got moved in. There really wasn’t an opportunity to put my “toe in the water”. I think this added to the shock, however, I think I am comfortable in the Decision stage where I have accepted the reality of living without my sister and with my boyfriend and we are slowly finding the right rhythm between us.
  • Engagement – onward and upwards! (Hopefully!)

The change curve is important because I think it is necessary to recognise the various stages of change and the emotions that come with it. Before, completing this exercise, I did not appreciate the significant impact of the change on my emotional/mental health.

If I had an opportunity for a “do over” I should have taken time to understand my feelings and not try to power through it all. Understanding that I did not need to feel guilty when I had become “frustrated” or “angry”.

Communication is key with change and I should have worked with my boyfriend to manage this change properly.

If you are interested to learn more, here are a few more links on the Change Curve:

Implementing Change

John P Kotter is a name you will hear often on the topic of understanding and managing change. He developed an eight-stage change model and written books – ‘Leading Change’ (1995) and the follow-up ‘The Heart Of Change’ (2002). Let’s see if it is useful for my situation and whether I could have managed it better.

  1. Create Urgency – the idea is to develop a sense of urgency around the need for change. In my example, I believe that this was created and this was through communication with my boyfriend and him giving me pressure that this is something that has to be done quickly for the good of our relationship. What is important about this stage is the need for communication – you need to get all parties involved to start thinking and talking.
  2. Building a guiding team – get the right people in place with the right emotional commitment, and the right mix of skills and levels. For my example, I believe that my boyfriend and I did have the right emotional commitment, but not necessarily the right mix of skills.  I should have considered hiring a “professional” man in a van and moved everything at once, rather than driving and doing it all in bits and pieces, which added to my frustration with the change.
  3. Create a vision for change – When you first create change, everyone will have an opinion or idea. It is important to create an overall vision and strategy. Everyone needs to understand why they are doing something and their role in the change process. This was a particularly easy stage for my boyfriend and I given that we know the ultimate goal was to move in with each other.  However, I don’t think I communicated that I required emotional support from my boyfriend. Unfortunately, during this time there was a lot going on his personal life as well and I did not want to add to his list of things to do. However, it is important that I need to also recognise my needs. I think it would have been useful to involve him in the process of integrating (i.e. my stuff in his space and him knowing what I have done to change in his home) so he was part of the “vision”.
  4. Communicate the vision – Talk about the vision and address peoples’ concerns and anxieties, openly and honestly. This ties very closely with Stage 1 of the process, people need to understand the change and it is communicated where the end goal in. As you can see, communication continues to be important throughout.
  5. Empower Actions – remove obstacles and enable constructive feedback. Again, communication is key. Having those open conversations on what you think is working and not working was extremely important for my boyfriend and I. By actively asking him how he felt about me moving in, what he has liked so far, what has annoyed him and what could we compromise on, has made this process a lot easier to navigate. He did the same with me, so we can try and reach a point of equilibrium asap!
  6. Create short term wins – set aims that are easy to achieve. I think this is very dependent on the situation, but measurable targets are important and tracking against those targets gives a sense of satisfaction that progress has been made. I definitely need to think this through a bit more: potentially making a meal together at home together and spending a day together at home could be my next targets.
  7. Build on the change – real change runs deep. Quick wins are only the beginning of what needs to be done to achieve long-term change. I am currently in only week 1 of living together. The long term change is ultimately living together in harmony before we move again to an eventual family home (fingers crossed).
  8. Anchor the changes – Last, but not least, make continuous efforts to ensure that the change is seen in every aspect of your life. I have not yet told all my family about the move in (do they really need to know?). Though this is daunting, I think it is important as this will embed the change and people around me understand the change. As communication is key, it is important to talk about the change and process to others.

For more information, here are some handy links:

Personal Change Management

Thank you for reaching the end of this long read. I hope you have enjoyed the post but please note that what I have written is no substitution for professional help if you are dealing with a significant change in your life. I just wanted to discuss and consciously understand the change that is happening in my life.

Do you think you can apply the change curve and change management models to your personal life? As always, I would love to hear from you.

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x

For those are looking for another deep read, my boyfriend has posted a deep and meaningful post here.

 

Travel: Rotterdam

Rotterdam 2019

Hi everyone!

Happy Friday! What wonderful things have you planned for this weekend? Or will it be super relaxing focusing on self-care? Either way, I am very glad that I am finally back on the blog. For those who had seen my recent post, the blog was on pause because I was moving in with my boyfriend!! Thank you for all the well wishes from friends and readers – I was extremely grateful for all the messages.

I am not going to lie, the past week has been a bit of a rollercoaster! I had forgotten how stressful moving can be and I do not think I managed my own expectations and the change appropriately. The move in day coincided with one of the most sociable time of the year for me because of Chinese New Year and as a result, this has meant I have not actually spent much time in my new home.

HAPPY LUNAR NEW YEAR. 

May the Year of the Pig bring everyone good health, positivity, good luck and prosperity!

I am really excited to share with you my weekend away to Rotterdam with my sister.

Where we stayed

The James Hotel is a three-star boutique hotel. It looked like it had been newly renovated, with a sleek contemporary design. My sister and I shared a twin room, which was luckily upgraded to a larger room. I was extremely chuffed, however, we realised a large room does not the size of the bed changed! They seemed to be particularly small, which was a bit odd. I would recommend others to book a king size bedroom instead of twin beds.

They also seemed to have sprayed quite a distinctive “perfume” into the rooms, so if you have a sensitive nose, this might not be the place for you.  Despite this, it was conveniently located around good restaurants and the shopping district so there was a lot to see! I would recommend the hotel mainly for the location, cleanliness and friendly staff. (3 out of 5 pineapples)

Museum Voorlinden

The raison d’etre for going all the way to Rotterdam was to visit Museum Voorlinden. Noted that museum was actually nowhere near Rotterdam but in the Hague; and that my sister and I decided to fly all the way to London to visit this place – you can imagine how high my expectations were.

I was actually blown away – I had such an amazing time that I would fly back to Rotterdam just to see what other exhibitions they might hold in the future. Currently, they have two exhibitions, in addition, to their permanent collection:

  1. Less is More (until November 2019)
  2. Armando (until 10th March)

I highly recommend the Less is More exhibition, I have taken a few pictures of my favourite pieces (check out my Instagram feed) including Alicja Kwade Trans-For-Men 8 (Fibonacci), 2018. Brilliantly curated and just shown in such a wonderful space. The architecture of the building meant that there was a wonderful light flowing into each room.

My sister and I really wanted to see Leandro Erlich’s Swimming Pool which specially designed for Voorlinden. As the museum was not crowded, we managed to have at least 20 minutes taking photos with this wonderful art piece which would have been IMPOSSIBLE in London. This piece of art was such a tranquil space, so much so that I was wondering how I could have my own little pool at home so I could have a zen room hehe 😉 (It continues to be a dream).

I had a wonderful time – flying to Rotterdam and going to the museum really made my trip! (5 out of 5 pineapples)

Tip: If I was to visit again, I think I would stay in the Hague, there is a lot more to see and I found it much prettier than Rotterdam. 

What we did

  • Markthal – This is a food hall very conveniently close to the shopping area in the Cool District. There are a variety of stalls ranging from seafood to Indonesian food to Tapas. There is something for everyone, however, it did get very crowded in the evening. Personally, because of all the choice, it was very difficult to decide on what to have. I recommend going there with a cuisine or dish in mind, or you might end up wandering aimlessly like me. There was a dessert shop which sold Poffertjes – these amazingly buttery and sugary mini pancakes. They were SOOO GOOD – definitely try some whilst you are out there! (2.5 out of 5 pineapples)
  • Cube Houses – I am not sure why this is a recommended destination on most guides for Rotterdam. These are located right next to Markthal, so whilst you are there, why not go to see it but don’t expect anything special! (1 out of 5 pineapples)

Where we ate

  • The Fish Market – very chilled out vibes and an extensive seafood menu. Everything was very fresh and well executed. The portions were also very large, so I recommend ordering to share, or if you can go with a big group that would be even better! 3 out of 5 pineapples
  • Dudok – turns out there are few Dudok cafes in Rotterdam/Hague. There is one about 3 minutes from our hotel. We went there for breakfast on Saturday morning and it turns out that everyone else thought the same idea. Super popular with a mixed crowd. It was slightly odd that people seemed to have cake and coffee in the morning, but I could understand why because the apple pie is to a must try! 3 out of 5 pineapples
  • Restaurant Napoli – it was a cold weekend so wanted a bit of comfort food. This small little Italian place was SUPER busy, that we were only able to get a reservation on Saturday for 8:30pm. Delicious comfort food particularly if you are in a pasta mood – highly recommend this bustling restaurant. 3.5 out of 5 pineapples
  • by Jarmusch – American style diner that is super popular for brunch – great pancakes and had an awesome veggie breakfast. Expect there to be a relatively long wait, but was a great way to start the day! 3.5 out of 5 pineapples. 

Until next time

Rotterdam is filled with so much more to see. I didn’t even cover 20% of the locations I had on my google maps. I would have wanted to spend more time in the Hague, so next time I think I will stay there. The weekend trip was a great taster of what Rotterdam has to offer. As mentioned previously, I would go back just for Museum Voorlinden so I might use that time to wander around this more, and maybe not in winter because it was constantly raining whilst we were there!

Have any of you been to Rotterdam before? What do you think I should do next time whilst I am there? As always, I would love to hear from you!

With Sweet & Sour Love,

Pineapple Chicken x