Welcome.

Dear readers,

Hello! My name is Saniya More, and I am a second year student at Syracuse University. I am double majoring in broadcast and digital journalism and international relations. I am also minoring in Spanish.

I started blogging when I was 15, and have kept at it ever since. Writing is how I best express myself. I write about a variety of issues and don’t really have a common theme. I like to think that here is where I can express my thoughts on my experiences and perspectives.

Scroll through the menu and take a look at the different things I’ve done (upper left corner).

I hope you enjoy exploring my mind space!

Saniya More

05/20/16

Bonjour Paris! My weekend on French soil

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This weekend, I went on a 3-day weekend trip to Paris with Syracuse University London. It was a trip packed with sightseeing, aesthetic photographs, delicious food, and some interesting encounters.

The trip began in less than favorable circumstances– I had to wake up super early to get to the station to make the Eurostar. I (obviously) fell asleep on the train and was rudely woken up when the train began crossing the English channel and the pressure in my ears took a dramatic turn. Things got better when we came out on the other side and I caught my first glimpse of the beautiful French countryside.

Our train came into Gare du Nord, Europe’s busiest train station. The facade of the building has been preserved so well, it is truly remarkable.

The first thing I saw when I came out of the station (and popped on my sunglasses because the weather was simply phenomenal) was the French flag. I’m not talking just one lone flag waving in the wind– the red-blue-white striped symbol was everywhere I turned, on the top of important looking buildings, busy public spaces, small local shops, you name it.

In many of these locations, the French flag was joined by the European Union flag, which honestly just felt like a slap in the face after coming from post-Brexit-referendum London (though I did see a poster that read ‘Flexit’, and I have yet to understand what that was about).

The rest of the day passed by in a blur. We grabbed food (roasted chicken with delicious mashed potatoes), checked into our hotel (I got my own room), and then took a 3-hour long walking tour around Paris (without the ‘s’). It was an admittedly tiring and long tour, but it personally gave me a sense of the city which made things less overwhelming. Things got a lot better after we had the chance to grab some ice cream (caramel nougatine for me)! During the tour, we walked around the Cathedral of Notre Dame and gazed at the towers where Quasimodo once fictionally lived. We had the chance to go to a souvenir store where I splurged on three photo prints of the city (for just 2 euros!!). It should be mentioned that I collect prints in every city I visit– it’s a new travel habit I’ve picked up during my time in Europe!

After that, we hauled our tired feet to a meeting spot, where we were told we had an hour to grab some food and rest. We then did the most touristy thing ever– went on a hop-on, hop-off bus. It was another amazing way to see the city, the people and the Tour Eiffel (!). We passed key locations like Moulin Rouge, the Arc de Triomphe, the Louvre pyramid and more. We finished at around 9:30, and I went straight to bed.

We spent the next day at Versailles, where we visited Marie Antoinette’s estate, the Château de Versailles, and more. This was where I had my first strange encounter with a fellow French man.

In the morning, before we visited the estate, we had the chance to walk around a market and get some food for a picnic we’d all be having later in the day. I (obviously) picked up some croissants with my friends and some other delicious food. I also wanted a crepe, so we went to a perfectly normal-looking crepe seller in the middle of the square. He spoke to us in English, and I bought a nutella and banana crepe. When the seller handed the crepe to me, I asked him if he could pack it up for me. He immediately said, ‘You’re Indian aren’t you?’ A little surprised, I said yes. He then proceeded to rant about how Indians can never make up their minds about anything, always changing what they wanted at the last minute. He generalized a population of 1.2 billion people in less than a minute. The strangeness of the entire thing was that he was saying all of these offensive things in a very happy and polite way. I considered not paying for my crepe but decided I wouldn’t do that because I didn’t want to cost him business, no matter how offensive he had been.

Still shocked from what had just gone down, my friends and I returned to the meeting point and explored the beautiful Palace. The entire estate is the definition of grand and luxurious and made for aesthetic photographs too (I obviously have up-ed my Instagram feed game).

In the evening, we had more free time to explore, so a few of my friends and I decided to spend the evening at the Eiffel tower. We took a train to the station. While waiting for the train, I went through my second (extremely) strange encounter.

I had a large bottle of water with me because I constantly need to hydrate myself. My friends and I were just talking, hanging out at this station when a perfectly normal looking man in a black coat came to us. He said something in French, but I told him we didn’t understand. He then turned to me and asked if he could have a sip of my water. This was obviously a little weird and suspicious, so I refused. He said ‘alright’ and walked away. Seconds later, he came back, and asked if he could give us some advice. Intrigued, I asked him to please tell. He said (and I quote), ‘Next time someone comes up to and asks for a sip of water, you should give them the entire bottle because you never know what they’re going to have in their pocket.’ !!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Being the stupid person that I was, I thought he was talking about money, so I boldly asked him how he could be so sure I didn’t have anything in my pocket. He was extremely surprised by this and walked away. It was easily the most absurd conversation I’ve had on this continent.

After that, we went to the Eiffel Tower, where we had a delicious dinner (more roast chicken!!) and watched the tower lights show. It was beautiful and so relaxing to sit on the grass and just enjoy the lovely weather. I got home quite late that night and was so tired I collapsed into bed.

The next day, we had the chance to go around the city some more. We visited the Grand Palais, I took a boat tour (best 14 euros I have ever spent), and went to Les Invalides, where we visited the Musée de l’Armée and Napoleon’s tomb. (A little note on the tomb: so, so, SO magnificent but a tad bit extra when you realize it was all just for one small coffin in the center of the structure. Still, it’s a remarkable piece of architecture.) We then boarded the buses, collected our bags at the hotel, and went back to the Gare du Nord. I was exhausted!

My verdict? Paris was a beautiful city that should definitely be visited at some point in your lifetime. However, I don’t know if I could live there. This is a gross overgeneralization, but it was hard for me to connect with the people there. There was also a huge language barrier because the French love their language and don’t like using English as much. Regardless, the Eiffel Tower is amazing, and French gastronomy lives up to its name.

Thank you to Syracuse London for this fantastic weekend!

See my Instagram and my soon to be updated photography page for more pictures!

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The United Kingdom will begin leaving the EU on March 29: Week 10

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The Daily Orange does not allow reposting of material. For this reason, each blog post will contain a link to the article I wrote, along with more personal insight. Click here for my column.

Other thoughts and experiences:

  • This week was rather uneventful for me, primarily because I was sick for most of it. However, I did manage to experience some cool things.
  • I went to Cardiff, Wales for a day trip on the weekend. It was a beautiful city, and the main thought I had while coming back on the train to Paddington was, ‘Why have I not been able to learn Welsh yet?!’ It was a beautiful, sunny day and I was able to see the magnificent Cardiff Castle, among many other attractions.
  • I caught a show of Shakespeare’s A Midsummer Night’s Dream at the Old Vic. It wasn’t my favorite production, but it was my first Shakespearean theater experience so it was definitely an interesting experience. My favorite thing about the set wasn’t its unconventional muddy ground, but rather the large mirror on the stage. Because of the mirror, the audience was able to see the expressions and movements of all the characters, regardless of where they were sitting.
  • I can officially make a cuppa tea that doesn’t poison others! I learned from my supervisor at my internship this week, and it was a super cool experience!!! Also, the amount of tea I drink (which was none originally, FYI) has increased exponentially. When in Rome, I guess…

How the United Kingdom deals with one of the world’s biggest problems: Week 9

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The Daily Orange does not allow reposting of material. For this reason, each blog post will contain a link to the article I wrote, along with more personal insight.

A little introduction;

Her heart races as she hurriedly side-steps the masses of people in suits and ties on the train platform. She must catch this last train to school to get to her first lecture of the day on time. With a step onto the train, she breathes in a sigh of relief as she is enveloped by the people already inside. And then she hears it– a bored-sounding man delivers the third security announcement she’s heard in the last thirty minutes: report any suspicious activity you see and be alert at all times.

As the man finishes his security announcement, the girl grabs onto a rail just in time as the train begins to move. She selects the next song on her Spotify playlist and watches the darkness outside. It’s just another day.

Click here for my column.

Here’s to all the Women

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Happy International Women’s Day!

Although the world is not even slightly close to hosting a completely gender-equal society, I like to think we are getting there, one day at a time. It sucks that women still have to fight for a say, to get that promotion, to get paid just as much as their male counterparts. It’s a pity that women have to work hard twice as hard as men to be respected, despite their glorious credentials and experiences. Above all, domestic violence against women, negative portrayals of feminists, and objectification of all sorts are still very real issues that we are dealing with today.

But women have never given up. In the last century, we have grown stronger, tilted the balance scale in our favour, made our voices heard. So this International Women’s Day, here’s my message to all the beautiful ladies out there.

Here’s to all the mothers, who brought us into the world and gently told us society would place us into boxes, objectify us, abuse us because of our gender, but that we had to keep our head high and continue living brilliantly.

Here’s to all the career women, who fight everyday to gain respect in the workplace, who accomplish amazing things to enhance our society, who cross new boundaries to break gender roles, stereotypes, and bias.

Here’s to all the family women, who manage families, look after their partners and children, make a house a home, pass on important values to the next generation about what it means to be a good human being and live a healthy, productive life.

Here’s to all the women in school, who continue on their quest of knowledge even when it feels like the whole world is crashing down, who strive to educate themselves despite knowing they will certainly face obstacles down the road because of their gender.

Here’s to all the women struggling for equality and respect, who are recovering from horrible treatment and relationships, who challenge the norm and aren’t afraid to be themselves.

Here’s to all the women. 

 

England has one of the world’s largest healthcare systems, but that’s changing fast: Week 8

Picture from Mirror: http://www.mirror.co.uk/news/uk-news/thousands-doctors-quit-nhs-protest-6790624

The Daily Orange does not allow reposting of material. For this reason, each blog post will contain a link to the article I wrote, along with more personal insight. Click here for my column.

Other thoughts and experiences:

  • This weekend I went on an SU London trip to Brighton. Brighton is a little seaside resort in East Sussex that has lovely cobbled roads, lots of corners and alleys, and a lovely pier. Unfortunately, the weather wasn’t all that great, but throughout the day it got a little less cloudy and it was nice to walk on the English coast. Fun fact: the beach didn’t have sand, it was pebbled instead. I also had my first plate of authentic fish and chips (sorry London, but I have yet to be impressed by you). We also visited the Royal Pavilion, which is a truly majestic piece of architecture. It was a lovely day. For pictures, check out my Instagram.
  • Since I haven’t written much about my internship– it’s going great. I love working in the office every Tuesday and Wednesday, and I can definitely see my writing improving. If you’re interested, take a look at the Stylus Life website, where I publish news stories twice a week. You can even sign up for our newsletter!

London’s many ethnic communities make it a global hub : WEEK 7

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The Daily Orange does not allow reposting of material. For this reason, each blog post will contain a link to the article I wrote, along with more personal insight. Click here for my column.

Other thoughts and experiences:

  • I visited Leicester this weekend to see a friend. It was a really nice experience, I got my first taste of residential life outside London! The bus ride to and from London was also beautiful. (side note: I nearly missed my bus!)
  • I visited an airplane-themed club with my friend. It’s called Gate 38, and it actually looked like a plane from the inside (down to the plane windows, seatbelts, and bar table in business class!).

Stereotypes and my trip to Bristol & Birmingham: Week 6

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The human mind has always been very good at placing things into boxes and categorizing the world as it sees it. One of the repercussions of this tendency has been the formation of stereotypes which generalize various cultural groups of people around the world. Brits are certainly no stranger to preconceived notions about their behavior and lifestyle.

We all know the basics: the classic British accent, the constant questions about where they’ve had a “cuppa tea” with the Queen or their rudeness and inflated pride. I can’t deny not being a stranger to all of these generalizations — before coming to the country, the stereotypes I am so familiar with shaped my expectations in many ways.

Stereotypes aren’t as bad as people make them out to be, because I think they’re a great way to track how well one is immersing themselves in the local culture. Throughout my time in the United Kingdom, I’ve disapproved many stereotypes in my head through experiences and interactions I have had with the people here. Obviously, some stereotypes have remained very much intact (hint: it starts with t and ends with a, and is great with scones).

The overlying problem with stereotypes is that some of them, despite being true, just can’t be held valid for such a large population of people. Like many other countries, the U.K. has many dialects and ways of speaking. However, unlike what I have experienced in other parts of the world, every group of people in the country is starkly different from the next one in ways that go deeper than mere way of speaking.

This weekend, I visited Bristol (an SU London day trip) and Birmingham (with friends), where I spent two days filled with sight-seeing, talking to locals, visiting markets, and further exploring the British culture. What amazed me the most was how different the two cities are from each other, not just in structure and layout but also in the way people interact with each other and carry out their everyday lives.

As our tour guide in Bristol said with a laugh, many Bristolians care deeply about how beautiful their city is. Aesthetics are so important that in the few ugly parts of the city, artists have painted over dull, gray buildings (we even saw a Banksy!) and cleared dirt on old structures to etch pretty patterns on the walls. This is probably why it’s no surprise Bristol has been named the best city in Britain to live in several times. Besides this, Bristol comprises a creative and cultural people that prides itself on its classical architecture, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, and its world-famous cider.

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On the other hand, during my time in Birmingham, I observed how most Brummies are super friendly, helpful people who are genuinely interested in what you have to say. At one point, some friends and I found ourselves lost in a rather quiet part of the city, but made friends with two waitresses in a tavern (who also admitted there was nothing to be found where we were). Many of the Brummies I interacted with struck me as very honest and blunt about the way they felt. They were not scared to speak their mind.

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A weekend outside London pushed me to challenge the many of the cultural assumptions I’ve always imagined the Brits having. There is no such thing as a British accent- this country is home to numerous dialects and ways of speaking. Every city hosts a different kind of population, and at every corner you will encounter a new face. I’d like to say I’m en route to understanding this country a lot more than I did a month ago.