$pending all my money$

This week I really exceeded my budget with maybe $500, probably more. I know travelling is expensive and I try to shut it out, but it still feels pretty bad. I keep reminding myself that I have saved up for this trip for a long, long time. Or at first I didn’t know what I was saving for. But now is time to spend money. I was sick of earning.

When I started planning this trip I wrote in a roller derby group on Couchsurfing about my plans. A woman in Cincinnati said that if I would pass by her part of America I could come stay with her and her wife. I had no plans what so ever going to Cincinnati, but thought it’d be a nice experience – and also it was on my way from Detroit to Nashville where WFTDA Championchips are held next weekend. So I planned my trip with that route in mind.

But my boyfriend got a scholarship to study for two months in Seattle at the University of Washington. And that made me to a short detour to the opposite side of the country. I had told myself that I wouldn’t go visit him, that we were gonna meet up after world cup in Dallas and that I could go two months without him. After two weeks I started missing him so much I had to buy a really expensive flight ticket Cincinnati-Seattle-Nashville.

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Downtown Cincinnati seen from Newport, Kentucky. But Downtown wasn’t all that fun. The best parts of the city (that I saw) were problably North Side, where I stayed, and Clifton, where the univeristy is situated.

This made my time in Cincinnati shorter than I had planned, but I still could fit a lot of stuff in. Emily Joy/Sk8 Crime picked me up on Sunday night. On the Monday I walked around for maybe five hours in Downtown Cincinnati. I have never been cat called so many times in my entire life before. One man even asked if I sold sex. Not that people should ask you that if you were revealing clothes either, but the only skin I showed was my face and my hands. Apart from that my first day in Cincy was nice. I even walked across a bridge to Kentucky (Cincinnati is situated in Ohio). In the evening Sk8 Crime, who just retired from Ohio Rollergirls (in Columbus, 2 hours away from Cincy) took me to a practice with the Cincinnati Battering Rams, the men’s roller derby team. The coach was Tink, one of team USA:s players (still men’s derby). I felt like the worst skater in the bunch, as I have been a lot during this trip, but I keep comforting myself with thinking I’ve only done this for two years and before that I had never even stood on a pair of quads. I also felt the need to explain to everyone that we don’t have skating rinks in Sweden and that roller skating really wasn’t a thing before derby came.

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Tink, Sk8 Crime, and I. Sk8 Crime said she would gladly come to Sweden and guest coach my league (probably other leagues aswell) as long as we pay her ticket. She sold the idea by saying ”I used to skate for Gotham”. But as a Swede I think skating with a top 20 WFTDA team is pretty cool as well. She is also a very lovely person – so who’s up for collecting some money to get her to our side of the Atlantic?

On the Tuesday I walked again, to the university district; it really was like a college movie, greek letters on fraternity- and sorority houses. I planned on taking a nap before we were gonna go out and have dinner, so I went back to the house early to find out I had locked myself, and my hosts, out. That little misfortune cost me 90 dollars and before we were in most restaurants had closed. It was a long time since I felt so embarrased over myself.

Early next morning I hopped on a flight to Seattle to see my boyfriend. If I update this blog again tomorrow I might actually catch up to where I am on this trip. I don’t know exactly why the restistance of writing is so big, it is probably due to me writing in English and it’s way harder than writing in Swedish. But also that I keep myself busy doing fun things.

xx

Vulvo

Annonser

Theatre Bizarre

On Saturday 18th of October we attended Theatre Bizarre – The Illusionists’ Ball in Detroit. I had been looking forwards to it since Abby first told me about it in the Facebook chat like two months ago. There were 4 000 attendees on eight floors with different concepts on each floor. My expectations were high, but the party exceeded them. At 4 am when the party finished I felt like it had just started. If you have seen Eyes Wide Shut – that is the feeling I had throughout the whole party. Except it wasn’t that scary.

Real cameras weren’t allowed inside, so all the photos I’ve got are just crappy mobile phone photos. And i’ve also been very lazy with using my real camera even when I am allowed to use it. But seeing these makes me want to take better photos.

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I came to Detroit knowing I had to fix a costume. I soon decided I wanted to be a sugar skull/skeleton. Finding a costume for a halloween party isn’t very difficult in USA. This skeleton onepiece I bought at ”Party City”. A store just for parties, and since halloween is coming up they had a huge halloween section. I wanted to buy everything. Why don’t we have party stores in Sweden? But since my make up skills aren’t the best Abby’s and Kaje’s friend Monster did my make up before the party.

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Me and Abby outside Monster’s house just before we left for Theatre Bizarre. Around 7 pm.

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Abby and Kaje about when we came to the party. Kaje’s working shift was just over. The three of us all volunteered at the party. Kaje worked with security, Abby was the boss of the facility ghouls (people who cleaned the floors) and I worked in the photo booth. My job was basically to take drunk people in fabulous costumes about three metres to where they were going to be photographed, and then walk them three more metres to where they were handed their photos. Super easy – and fun!

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The fountain ball room. This photo is taken in the beginning of the party, the later it got, the more packed the room got. The DJ:s played very Detroity electronic music and there were lot’s of dancing. At around 2-3 am I just sat there and watched people dance. The little mermaid Ariel and her boyfriend Prince Eric was especially interesting to watch. I don’t know what substance the boyfriend was on, but he had way more energy than people  normally do after 6 hours of partying and danced very energetic. He was a good dancer aswell. Ariel sat on a chair with her smartphone, looking tired and sick of Prince Eric, who never stopped trying to get her to dance. She never danced with him though. I almost went up there because I felt sorry for Prince Eric and wanted to dance, but I didn’t dare to.

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The fifth floor was ”the sex floor” with burlesque performances and a room called The Fistitorium. Even though I enjoyed the burlesque performances there is something about stripping, no matter what form it comes in, that I don’t like. I know burlesque is supposed to be a feministic way of taking control of your own body, but to me it doesn’t feel a 100 percent right. But as I wrote before – I still enjoyed it. It just left me with dual emotions.

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This is the Fistitorium. My camera couldn’t even find focus when it came to this room. I didn’t see anoyone have actual sex in there but apparently people had. I saw spanking, crucifixion, people hanging in meat hooks and an old, weird looking, man in a cage giving people foot rubs. Kaje said there were people shooting up in there aswell, but I only saw BDSM.

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Since we helped carving the pumpkins we figured we could take one of them home with us after the party. Abby’s and Kaje’s pumpkin had been stolen from their garden so they needed a new one. I got the job to carry it since my outfit was already dirty from (someone else’s) piss. Since it is a one piece the top part was hanging/lying on the floor when I went to the bathroom. When I zipped it up again it was all wet…

With this belated blog post about the coolest party I’ve ever been to I just want to say – if you are ever in Detroit around halloween – look it up – and go!

Since the party i’ve been in Cincinnati and now I’m in Seattle. I’ll have to write another post about that later. I don’t feel it fits very well in this one.

xx

Vulvo

Once upon a time in the history of roller derby

In Sweden a historical event in the world of roller derby is taking place, the first ever game in the Swedish series of roller derby is being played between Vasteras Roller Derby and Dock City Rollers. In the meantime I am situated in Detroit, an important place in the history of international roller derby, I have found out.

It seems like half of the roller derby players in Sweden started because of the movie Whip It with Drew Barrymore. Turns out bits of Whip it was recorded in Detroit and that one of the girls who I scrimmaged with the other night – Racer McChaseHer – is one of persons who taught Drew Barrymore to skate.

The Grand Prix Madonnas, the Detroit Derby Girls hometeam I scrimmaged with has been undefeated in the home league two years in a row. My hosts Rock’em Shock’em and aNOMaly are and have been members of that team so I promised I would write that. Sadly aNOMaly has retired from roller derby due to an injury.

Another historic roller derby thing I’ve experienced here is that some of the guys from DETRiot who I scrimmaged against wrote the first ever draft of the WFTDA rules.

Apart from that I haven’t done very much skating in Detroit. We went to the scrimmage on Tuesday and were supposed to go to league practice with Detroit Derby Girls on the Wednesday, but Rock’em had to work late so we instead went to The Masonic Temple to carve pumpkins for the giant freakshow party we’re attending tonight.

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I can now put professional pumpkin carver on my resume.

The Masonic Temple is also where Detroit Derby Girls plays bouts. It’s probably the coolest bout venue in the world. It looks like something out of a Batman movie.

IMG_6995The Masonic Temple – home of The Detroit Derby Girls and Theatre Bizarre

The most part of this week I’ve spent sight seeing with aNOMaly and Tallulah, while Rock’em has been working. Tallulah is their daughter. We’ve visited General Motors headquarters, eaten amazing barbeque, looked at beautiful autumn leaves on Belle Isle and looked at majestic abandoned buildings. Detroit really has a post apocalyptic vibe.

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The conservatory on Belle Isle with aNOMaly and Tallulah.

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Tried to make Swedish meatballs, but they rather turned out as meat patties. Still tasted good though.

We’ve also hung out with their friends in Fabolous Ferndale, the gay capitol of Michigan. Accordning to Rock’em about 60 % of the inhabitants are gay. Last night we went to a totally gay garden party at ”The Lavender Lounge” (that’s what the people who live there calls their house). After that we visited a haunted house and I walked through it with a girl (maybe 10 years old) who was so scared she hugged me like she was my koala baby for the entire time. After that we went to one of those bars you see in movies where someone who is depressed and lonley goes in and orders whiskey after whiskey. Only here noone was depressed and people sung karaoke. I wasn’t drunk enough to dare singing though. Regretting that now a bit now. Next time maybe.

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The girl (whose name I sadly forgot) who rather hugged me for the entire haunted house than her own mother.

Lots of love, your Vulvo

Made it to Detroit

Before I went on my journey I had a conversation with my great friend Elsa about travelling by bus in USA. She said: wear a big hoodie and sit next to the Amish people. On my bus ride I wore the hoodie I brought only because of her (but that have come in super handy – great travelling tip), but I didn’t find any Amish people until I transferred in Cleveland unfortunately.

Now that the bus ride is over and done with I am not afraid of the Greyhound buses anymore. It felt super safe and the 14 hour ride went smoothly without delays. I shared seats with a young Spanish talking mother and her toddler. The mother tried talking to me in Spanish many times during the journey. Since I don’t speak Spanish I had to use google translate on my phone to communicate with her. It didn’t go very well so we settled for sharing some snacks. That was about the most dramatic that happened during the bus ride.

The second I came to Detroit things started to get a little more dramatic though. To begin with there was an old, mentally ill man at the bus station who started every sentence with ”HELLO! Hey man, oh man, get over” and then went on and about how he had three sons, one of which were a murderer. He wasn’t scary until he started yelling ”whore” and ”slut” after a female security guard.

Right when that happened a bus with prisoners rolled in. I don’t know if they were on probation or if they got out of jail but they wore the jumpsuits (not the orange ones, the beige ones) and a whole bunch of super dressed up girlfriends greeted them with passionate kisses at the bus stop.

2 minutes later my ride and hosts came to pick me up. We did a quick tour of Detroit before heading to their place where I fell asleep. And then we went to DETRiot men’s derby first ever scrimmage. I played with Grand Prix Madonnas, one of Detroit Derby Girl’s home teams against the men. And we won!

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United Nations of Skate

A month ago I wrote in the Facebook Group ”Skate NYC” that I was coming to New York and wanted to hang out and skate and that I was interested in trying out aggressive quad skating. A woman called Angela wrote ”if you come to Philadelphia, I’m your girl”. So I decided I wanted her as my girl and we started planning a little gettogether which she soon named United Nations of Skate since we were gonna be skaters from Puerto Rico, China and Sweden. After a whole lot of planning me and Irene (the whole Ilene thing was apparently a joke) finally hopped on the bus to Philly on Friday morning to hit some skate parks.

We started off with some quick sightseeing. ”This is an old builiding, and that is a big building” Angela told us before she took us to the Museum of Art with the famous Rocky stairs so I could run them. Sightseeing was over in maybe 30 minutes and then the skating began. We did three parks on the Friday. The coolest one was the FDR Skatepark, which I had never heard of before, but apparently is famous and is playable in one of the Tony Hawk video games.

Please keep in mind this is my first time ever in a ramp.

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FDR skatepark.

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FDR Skatepark. When I saw this photo of me I understood why we call a mullet a ”hockey haircut” in Swedish.

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Angela Lopez and her husband Yamil in The Cellar, a small indoor skate park. Angela is ofcourse representing GBGRD.

On the Saturday we were supposed to go to New York together to skate some parks, but it was raining so instead I got the chance to hang out with Angela and her family. She has five kids – the oldest is 19 and the youngest is 1,5 years old. Angela told me her life story and I feel that I want to write a book about her, but i’m not gonna tell it here. It’s her story.

Instead of skating in NYC I went to a party with my host Misfit Kitteh and her colleagues. But first I treated her to a mani pedi (as you do in New York). Such a weird and luxurious experience for a Swede to have that done, calf and neck massage was included. Feeling all pretty and pampered we went to a roof top party in Williamsburg with the Manhattan skyline as a backdrop. What a wonderful cliché.

Yesterday I met up with my first host in New York. My friend Lina Michal, who was in Europe when I was at her place. We went to Coney Island and it was everything that I wanted it to be. I’m not even gonna write about it, but just post some of the photos for you to see for yourself.

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Tonight I am leaving New York for Detroit. After many worries about how to get there I decided to take the Greyhound bus. It’s a 14 hours long bus ride and I’m sure it’ll be an interesting experience. I’ll sit close to the driver and pack everything that has a personal or monetary value in my skate bag and sit with it in my lap for the entire trip.

I haven’t been updating the blog as much as I would have liked to do. I’ve been super busy experiencing things. So if you feel that you need more from me you can always follow me on Instagram, or watch the photos from there on the left side of the blog. I’m gonna try to write more often though.

Kisses and hugs,

Vulvo Amazon

You look like a homegirl

Today, when I was on my way back to Brooklyn after skating LES Coleman Skatepark with my new friend Ilene, a man in the Subway said to me: ”you look like a homegirl”. I had no idea of what a homegirl is, but I decided it was something good. I looked it up later and yeah, it was good. According to Urban Dictionary a homegirl is: ”a girl who is a friend to the end no matter what goes down you know SHE GOT YOUR BACK”.

Americans are super friendly, even weird hobo strangers in the subway. Basically since I got here I’ve felt like everyone I met was my homegirl. I know some people say that American friendliness is fake, but even if it is – it is so much better than European unfriendliness.

I made my first American friend on the flight. He started talking to me on the airport because I was wearing my Stars and Stripes-shirt and reading Jack Kerouac’s on the road, like the total freak I am. Then the seat next to mine was free, so after a while he came and sat with me. Being the way I am I always get a little suspicious when strange men wants to befriend me, but this one was genuinely nice. He made sure I got all the way to my Bushwick home. Thank you Rahul.

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Who wouldn’t want to befriend this cool traveller?

My first day in the States was monday, I met up with my friend Swede Hurt, who recently moved from Stockholm to New York and plays roller derby with Gotham Allstars. Together with a friend of hers we walked the high line and hung out in Williamsburg. A really nice first day. On the Tuesday we hung out again, had breakfast and went to Five Stride Skate Shop to fix my skates and get her new plates mounted and after that I headed to a skatepark in Chelsea to try aggressive quad skating with Ilene Ching, a woman I have found on the Internet (for this trip I have found so many women/homegirls on the Internet – I love it). Let’s just say that the Pier 62 Skatepark was a little too aggressive to me. I felt dizzy just looking at the skaters there. Ilene and I were the only roller skaters, and apart from us there were one other girl there. She really made an impression on me. Her name was Ramona, she was 20 years old and had just moved to New York from Massachusetts. She wasn’t as good at skateboarding as the other skateboarders there and that is what made her so cool. Because she just went for it. I was standing there thinking ”Oh no, It’s too hard, they would look at me and think I am bad”. Also she seemed very nice and friendly and came up to us and started talking. I wasn’t nearly as brave as her when I was 20, I probably still isn’t.

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Ilene shredding in the Pier 62 Skatepark in Chelsea

Since I was still jet lagged on the Wednesday I woke up really early and planned on getting stuff done, but instead of doing anything I just walked around on Manhattan with a really heavy skate bag on my back. Luckily Swede Hurt was there to save me again. We met up and skated along the whole western side of Manhattan. 16 km along the river. Such a great thing to do. I would recommend anyone visiting New York doing that by roller skate, longboard, bike, inline, walking, whatever really. It’s a great way to see the city.

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Swede Hurt somewhere on the west side of Manhattan. And me right where we finished our ride, at George Washington Bridge.

After our long skate I headed straight back to Bushwick, repacked my skating bag and went on a three hour long practice with Suburbia Roller Derby. It was so much fun, they were all my homegirls and I came back to my place at midnight completely exhausted and excited. I was so excited I couldn’t sleep so when I got up this morning to move to Williamsburg and go skating in the Lower East Side Coleman Skatepark with Ilene I had probably only slept for three hours.

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Practicing starts with Suburbia Roller Derby’s B-team Backyard Bullies.

But my skatepark premiere went pretty good. I even got a bit of air when I jumped. Ilene said that if she wouldn’t have known better she wouldn’t have thought it was my first time :D. At noon the parked filled up with too many dudes on skateboards so we took a stroll in Chinatown, ate really good food and I had bubble tea for the first time of my life. That was an exciting experience.

Tonight I’m going on a roller derby practice with the Long Island Roller Rebels, so I am keeping myself very busy. I’m enjoying it, but I might have planned a little too many things. Maybe I’ll have time to sleep some in Detroit next week.

Lots of love from Vulvo

Why Vulvo Amazon?

I am officially on my way. Vulvo Amazon’s Wonderful Journey has begun. Since I have so much time to kill at Arlanda Airport I’m gonna try blogging from my phone.

Since nothing really interesting has happened yet I thought I’d write about my derby name: Vulvo Amazon.

It’s actually my second derby name, at first I called myself Sigge Stardust. Sigge is a Swedish ”men’s name” and what my family used to call me as a kid. But I didn’t feel very original with the name (not so much Sigge, my teammates still call me that, but the Stardust part) and when I saw that another Swedish derby players took a similar name I decided it was time to change.

Back to Vulvo Amazon. Volvo is one of the most (if not the most) well known Swedish exports. The model Volvo Amazon which was released in 1956 is a especially famous. I’m no expert in cars, I am not slightly interested in them but this one I (and most other Swedes) know of. Maybe because of the Svenne Rubins song ”En gammal Amazon” (an old Amazon).

The company Volvo is originally from my hometown Gothenburg. So I thought the name had a local touch when I’m both abroad and in Sweden. An amazon is a female warrior (do I even need to explain?). And a vulva is something I was born with. Also my derby number is 56, and that worked well with the car being released that year although the number of the model is 121.

Kisses from Arlanda
Your Vulvo

Skatin' USA