An Inspirational Woman

There are a lot of women in my life who inspire me ever day. Like my mum, a very lovable Belfast bred woman who isn’t afraid to share her opinions. Which is something that I admire about her. She is witty, creative, kind and just a well-rounded woman and mother.

As much as my mum is an inspiration to me, it isn’t who this blog is about.

The Past

Born on 21st August 1932 and adopted by Elizabeth and James (Jimmy). Jimmy a former solider in the Horse Regiment during the war, who later in life took on shipyard work to make a living for his family and Elizabeth who became an invalid during an accident in her late 20’s. The pair lived in Bruce Street sandwiched between the Dublin Road and Great Victoria Street.

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They also had two biological daughters Grace, who moved to England and Annie who went to Scotland because their parents couldn’t look after them. Years later Jimmy and Elizabeth adopted 4 girls. Margaret (Maisy), Elizabeth (Lilly), Annette (Netta) and Pearl.

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The woman in the photo above is the woman who brought my mum up to be the person she is today. My Granny Pearly. Who met my grandad Gerry when she was 14 in a video arcade in Belfast. From the night they met my granny says that she never looked at another man again.

Pearl and Gerry decided to keep their relationship as secret as possible from their parents because of their different religious backgrounds, Pearl being a Protestant and Gerry being a Catholic. One-night Pearl fell off the back of her friends motorbike on her way home and had to go to hospital to get her wrist checked. A couple who had seen the incident drove Pearl to the hospital while her friend told Gerry what happened, who she was meant to meet up with later that night to tell him what had happened to Pearl.

Pearl left the hospital with her sister Lilly who took her home to find that in the kitchen her father and Gerry where sitting together in the same room and talking! After a nervous Pearl left the kitchen to walk Gerry out, they thought they had gotten away with her father not knowing that Gerry was a Catholic. However, Jimmy knew from the moment he met Gerry that indeed he was a Catholic and didn’t try to separate the two as he got on with Gerry and knew he would be good to his daughter and that she loved him.

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Pearl and Gerry married on the 27th May 1949 in Great Victoria Street Baptist Church. Pearl aged 18 and Gerry 22 at the time…Pearl had worked in a handkerchief factory in Belfast… Pearl and Gerry went on to have kids…. Gerry’s father disowned him…2 sons and 3 daughters… on Sunday 8th August 1971, they were put out of their house…the house had been ransacked…. the family moved to Lisburn…

As you can see, I’m still trying to piece together the information about my granny’s life. So much happened to her and my family throughout World War Two and the Troubles in Belfast.

The Present

Pearl recently fell in her house trying to mop the floor and ended up breaking her pelvis. After a couple of weeks in Hospital and a few more weeks in a rehabilitation home she could go home. The family did what they could to make her life at home easier for her, but it was obvious that she wasn’t happy and kept telling us how her memories were being ruined because of all the changes to her house.

To help the family out I would go to her house and cook dinner for the two of us. I then thought… I know nothing about my granny and her life. I started asking her questions, ‘Where did you meet Granda?’ ‘How many siblings did you have?’ ‘where have you worked?’ simple questions that expanded into story after story about her life.

I decided to write this blog about my granny, as I do think she is an amazing and inspirational woman. She is witty, intelligent, kind, and caring but I also want to let people know that its okay to ask questions.

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Get to know your grandparents, you parents, aunties and uncles, anyone. Because what you hear and find could surprise you. Asking questions can:

  • Help us to acquire knowledge
  • Help us to eliminate confusion
  • Help to allow someone else to feel special/important
  • Help to strengthen a relationship

If you take anything from this blog post, I hope that it is to help encourage you to ask the people around you about their life and be inspired to listen and take on the stories they tell you. to remember what their stories for them and to pass on their legacy which is exactly what I tend to do with my Granny’s stories.

Aimee Orr is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: LinkedIn: aimee-orr Twitter: @aimeeorr13

 

 

 

Dealing with an Addiction

When you look at these postcards what do you see or feel?

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I see adventure, memories and I start to feel excited.

I’m sure that when you read the title of this blog you were going to be reading a hard hitting, fact telling and emotional story about a drug or alcohol addiction, but I’m sorry to perhaps burst your bubble, that my addiction is traveling.

Perhaps calling it an addiction is bit much, its more of an obsession or a passion.

I first started noticing my obsession when every other Facebook status, tweet or Instagram post was from profiles that talk about traveling. Whether that be a video on the top 5 reasons to visit Iceland, to a stunning picture of a scenic destination or just someone writing about their travels to Mexico. This was going on for a while, and then I started searching the cost of flights or hotel prices to a certain destination that found its way onto my social media feeds. Which would then involve me signing up to the likes of travel and hotel compare sites for the best deals and being bombarded everyday with emails from the likes of:

  • Booking.com
  • Hotels.com
  • Secret Escapes
  • Airbnb
  • Groupon
  • Wowcher
  • Oasis Travel
  • Jet2City Breaks
  • Jet2Holidays

The list goes on. (Feel free to use this list for your next travels)

Not only does having emails after emails from the above list trigger that there might be a problem arising, but I also have a profile with every single company and every single company has an app for smartphones being the 21st Century, which obviously means I have them all on my phone. I recently had to buy a new phone with more storage because I couldn’t bare to delete the apps from my old phone.

I noticed recently that a way in which I try to go on an adventure is finding a comedy show or a music concert that I want to see and finding out if there is a way that I can see that show or concert in a different country rather than seeing them locally in Belfast.

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I have thought about my experience of having a travel obsession and have decided to list a number of reasons that show how I am obsessed with traveling. Please use this to your advantage when diagnosing yourself.

  1. Your Travel list is very long
  2. You are a member of every travel company or compare site
  3. There is no better feeling than when the plane or car takes off on your new adventure
  4. You start planning your next trip on your current trip
  5. You get restless if you don’t have a trip planned soon
  6. You get super excited when your plane or hotel is finally booked
  7. TripAdvisor and travel blogs are your go to read
  8. You get almost as excited about planning the trip as actually going
  9. Your phone is full of travel apps
  10. You go through security at any airport on autopilot (no pun intended)
  11. When someone tells you, they’re going on a trip you instantly want to know every detail
  12. You often feel the need to butt in and offer your travel planning expertise
  13. Your phones camera library is like a Travel Channel on steroids
  14. Any photo on social media that you stumble upon becomes a new place you will have to visit in the future
  15. You always have a half-unpacked suitcase laying around
  16. Every trip no matter how close to home becomes an adventure

My travelling is certainly not up to the standard of those Instagram posts that we all see. Due to being a student and definitely not having the funds to go to the amazing places that I want to go to. For me a good traveling adventure is even just staying a night away in Belfast, or out to Enniskillen, Dublin or even Portrush. My most recent trip was to Lusty Beg Island. It was very last minute and I got the deal off Wowcher. I had an amazing two nights away being carefree and  having no responsibility, being able to do what you want and having no one question what I’m doing.

Which is a nice change considering I do live with my parents. Also, being able to make memories with the people I travel with. I don’t travel to boast about where I am or what I’m doing, and therefore I find that I don’t put a lot of my photos on Social Media, I prefer to have them for myself to share with close friends and family and to keep the memories close to my chest.

I find that having such an obsession not only can be exciting and fun but can also be distracting in jobs and when doing Uni work. It can certainly bring tension between the people I want to travel with and myself, as I am constantly tagging them in holiday competitions on Facebook or under videos of places I want to go. It can be hard because the people I’m tagging possibly don’t want to go or can’t afford it while I just keep gong on about the places I want to see with them.

I sometimes drive myself mad with it, as when I have something in mind I obsess over it until I am told its not going to happen or I find somewhere else I want to go and obsess over it.

I have a tone of places I want to go and see, and I hope that it won’t be long until I’m back on a plane or in my car and taking that next adventure. the video below is 100% my travel bucket list…for now. check it out:

Aimee Orr is a final year BSc in Communication Management and Public Relations student at Ulster University. She can be found on: LinkedIn: aimee-orr Twitter: @aimeeorr13