About Angelina Souren

Selfie, 18 November 2021

Menu

The first thing that I should tell you about me is that I am the long-term target of sadistic stalking. 13 years and counting. It includes extensive hacking, lock-picking as well as the theft of a great deal of my postal mail. It’s left me financially ruined, depressed and exhausted as well as generally distrustful of people. It’s included animal cruelty, apparently just to hurt me, to spite me. Behind it are people who are good at smoke and mirrors games and at hacking. Other than that, I don’t know. DID? NPD? Asperger’s? (Or is it just merely or mostly Portsmouth’s peculiar insularity? How on earth would I know?)

It’s had serious consequences for my life, including deprivation, and the physiological stress of it all has taken a toll, along with the stress of living in England with its massive poverty and excessive inequality, as well as the isolation. I can joke often and smile a lot, but if there is a harsh and terrifying reality happening in my life underneath my cheerful veneer, then that reality does not disappear just because I want it to go away and just because I don’t like the perpetually angry and miserable person that I have become. I need proper nutrition. I need to be able to heat my home when it’s cold and be able to shower. I need toilet paper to not be a luxury. I don’t need hate and hostilities from people around me – anonymous or not – and I don’t need sabotage. Because you simply can’t function on more than a very basic level otherwise.

So that’s why I am now doing my best to prevent that others end up in the same kind of situation. I was an easy target because nobody knew me. I was one of those nameless anonymous migrants, one of those people who always lie about their professional backgrounds and whose diplomas were purchased on the internet, ha ha.

This has just scared off many of you, I bet!

Still there? Thank you. Keep reading.

I am a catalyst. That appears to be my inescapable role in life. Perhaps that’s because I am highly conscientious.

The more I tried to avoid this fate by running away from it, the more often I faced it, often at great personal cost.

So now I often deliberately push. And sometimes I nudge. You could say that I am like water, sometimes gentle and unobtrusive, sometimes loud and forceful.

I am one of those problem-solving types. Because we love solving problems and love making things better, we can be perceived as focusing on the negative. But that’s on you! Me, I love spotting problems because I see them as opportunities.

Still not convinced?

Then consider the following.

The greatest benefits do not come from people who agree with everything that you say and do. Yes-men – and women – always nod, never shake their heads in disagreement. Surrounding yourself with your clones hampers your growth and potential.

However, the way our brains work, though, someone who challenges someone else’s firm beliefs will often be experienced as unpleasant and possibly even threatening, certainly initially, wrote Oxford neuroscientist Kathleen Taylor in her book “Cruelty: Human evil and the human brain.”

Though I often fail miserably and am in no way perfect, it is usually my overall aim to help improve harmony, health, mindfulness, well-being and inclusivity, and benefit people in all sorts of ways. But you can’t get people to take notice and start improving things, if all they do in response is nod in agreement to what you say, in other words, if you are too “agreeable”. You usually have to shake them up a bit before they will take any action and set out to change their environment. (This is why for example diversity training often has little effect.)

You can download my resume: here.

My main background is in the earth and life sciences. I’m a geologist and marine biogeochemist, to be precise. But there is a lot more to me than meets the eye at first sight. (Keep reading.)

This photo shows me shortly before I moved to England. I am standing on a river vessel near Arnhem in the Netherlands, holding a glass of wine during a social get-together with a group of people from Arcadis. (I remember that I was very sleepy, probably had been up late working on a project, though I don’t remember at all what it was. I don’t think that anyone noticed how sleepy I was.)

I am not into consumerism. I am not into status symbols and appearances. I am a feminist, by which I mean that I don’t see women as flawed human beings. 

What I also often am is a bridge-builder, a mediator, for example, between groups of people who have trouble understanding each other, such as scientists and non-scientists.

And I love learning. Without continuous learning, life would become pretty boring, wouldn’t it?

Before you discard me as a bookish desk jockey type, well, not only are geologists and marine scientists rarely bookish types because they carry out geological fieldwork in remote locations, spend long months at sea and go to places like Antarctica and Greenland, I actually used to work in tourism and hospitality in Amsterdam before I became a scientist.

Picture a scene like Victoria station at rush hour and me working in the middle of it, interacting with people from all over the world, ranging from Wallace Arnold tour bus travellers, famous jazz musicians and writers and singers (folks like Chet Baker, Dola de Jong, Juliette Gréco, the Dave Brubeck quartet),  Russian chess champions (I managed to get a poster signed by Max Euwe), international basketball teams, Italian tour bus travellers, often grumpy people whose flights were delayed and who were all given rooms by the airline, film-related folks (I can confirm that Sean Connery was a really tall guy), airline crews, lots of random people from countries like Japan, Israel, Argentina, the US, the UK and what have you who were just as important as the famous people and the various people working for all sorts of large firms that had their offices nearby (such as the computer firms Burroughs, IBM and Tektronix but also British American Tobacco). Or picture the tourist office at Amsterdam Central Station. And did you know that I was part of the organisation specifically set up for the broadcasting of the UEFA EURO 2000 championships? We initially were based at the stadium but relocated to the RAI before the start of the matches. 

Okay, now you know that I cannot possibly be as “stuffy” and “impractical” as perhaps you had unconsciously assumed. Still not convinced? I was the eldest of three, my mother developed breast cancer when she was around 30 (misdiagnosed), passed away at age 42 after it had metastasised beyond rescue, and my dad had a severe borderline personality disorder (a diagnosis that did not exist yet in those days). I learned to be very practical from a young age. My two siblings also run their own businesses; they both help people create warm welcoming homes, each in their own way.  

I quit my job in my mid-twenties to enrol as a full-time student in earth sciences and turned myself into a geologist and marine biogeochemist. I am now based in England, within London’s commuter catchment.

I have also lived in the US and I clicked wonderfully well with the American spirit as well as with Florida’s climate. I had anticipated the opposite, so that was a very pleasant surprise.

Living in Florida got me into hands-on bird rehab. To grow roots in the local community, I called around for suitable volunteering opportunities and Lee Fox’s facility was the first that called me back. Lee Fox was (and still is) well respected and cooperated with for example NOAA. She was later also involved in the Prestige oil spill cleanup in Europe. Even my avian vet in Andover had heard of her, to my surprise. I adopted two non-releasable quaker parrots in 1994. They taught me a lot. In recent years, I have rehabbed a few pigeons. Rehabbing is like being a detective. You observe and research what you see iif your experience does not tell you what it is. That stopped when I adopted my version of the lockdown puppy, a slightly handicapped pigeon who arrived in the middle of the UK’s first lockdown, with only about 50% of her feathers left. Mrs Tweetie Pie. You might not expect that but she is often as opinionated, entertaining and inquisitive as a quaker parrot. She’s more mellow, though, and also quite a snuggle bug.

How I got to where I am now after first working in tourism and hospitality in Amsterdam? (That was the Amsterdam Tourist Office, followed by what was then a Crest Hotel – owned by the Bass group – and later became a Holiday Inn.) 

When I realised that working at a hotel was not something I wanted to do for the rest of my life, I had myself tested extensively over the course of a few days to see if I had any weaknesses in order to help me choose a career. (I selected an agency, called them, told them what I wanted and asked them how much it would cost to have them assess me.) They also determined my IQ (133) and my interests. I can basically do just about anything, and would do very well in the legal realm, which I had been told before. I was also tagged “not the social worker type”, with which I agreed. This likely has improved somewhat since then, but I am still not exactly the social worker type.

That agency suggested environmental science at Wageningen University for me. Instead, I picked a similarly highly multidisciplinary related field that reconnected me with an old hobby (collecting rocks, so that’s mostly geology, crystallography, petrology and mineralogy). I applied, enrolled in the earth sciences program in Amsterdam, quit my job in tourism & hospitality and ended up spending a large portion of my life aiming to turn myself into a full professor with my own cutting edge research group. Marine biogeochemistry. Planet and environment stuff, in other words. Earth and life sciences. I find that kind of thing highly enjoyable.

I became self-employed in 1997. 

Below are a few selected bits and pieces, with links in RED CAPS. They turn grey when you’ve visited the site in question.

ACADEMIA.EDU
Amazon and Barnes & Noble
    • Author
AMSTERDAM AMERICAN BUSINESS CLUB
    • Member April 2003 – end 2008
APHA, NAM, STAT, etc
    • 2020/2021: Various NAM/APHA webinars that count as CE, including topics like health disparities, all related to Covid-19.
    • 2020/2021: Various webinars (STAT, Petrie-Flom Center, Digital Digest, My Life My Say, Food Foundation etc) about topics such as also the food situation in the UK, disabilities and health disparities, also often related to Covid-19 at the moment
Geochemical Society (US-based)
    • Newsletter editor Dec 1998 – Feb 2010
Law (English): HarvardX Law School (EDX), pro se/LIP (UK) etc
    • From Trust to Promise to Contract 2015  HLS2x (Charles Fried) (introduction to contract law, 89%)
    • Bioethics: The Law, Medicine, and Ethics of Reproductive Technologies and Genetics HLS4X (I. Glenn Cohen)
      This course started out with only about 200 students – one of which was me – and now there are over 85,000 which I consider a very good sign.
    • I’ve dabbled in a few other EDX courses, but the only other one that I also really dove into was “Humanitarian Response to Conflict and Disaster – HarvardX – PH558x”.
LinkedIn
NIMF Foundation (Network for women in science and technology)
  • Board member and member of many committees; co-organiser of two symposiums; panel member for a later symposium – 1988 -2004
ResearchGate
Royal Netherlands Chemical Society
    • Board member Environmental Chemistry (and Toxicology) Section Mar 2001 – Sep 2004
Taking the Lead
    • Advanced Learners Course 2010-2011 (Take Part)
    • Member Portsmouth Environmental Forum Mar 2009 – Aug 2010 (dismantled)
Toastmasters International
    • Member Toastmasters of The Hague Apr 2003 – Jul 2004
Udemy
    • Bioethics – the ethics of everyday life (also available on Thinkific)
VU University Amsterdam
  • Entry qualification: Atheneum-B with great distinction (1978)
  • MSc with distinction (earth science, 1993)
  • Additional diploma for research in chemical oceanography (1993)
  • Two certificates for evening courses at the Netherlands School for Journalism (1993)
  • Followed by four years of PhD research (marine biogeochemistry) for universities in the US (USF) and the UK (Plymouth/Southampton)
  • Self-employed since October 1997 combined with continuing education (courses and workshops)
Various other organisations besides KNCV (#12421) such as Dutch KNGMG, American Society for Microbiology (#55207518), GAIA, women on the web (Nl) and American Geophysical Union
  • Former member for 10 to 20 years; I eventually let go of my science-related memberships after I moved to the UK

I also was a member of the Solent NHS Trust for a while, but I never attended any meetings and never really got to find out what it was all about.

I spent a huge chunk of my life as an adult in the city of Amsterdam. Before that I lived in the city of Leiden for a while, where I studied “German language and literature” at Leiden University for one semester. I was an ace at languages, but my heart was with the sciences.

My standard fees

£65 per hour, £300 per half a day (4 hours), £500 per day, £8,000 per month (exclusive of 20% VAT, if applicable, and exclusive of expenses such as for travel and accommodation).

They say that one image speaks louder than a thousand words so let’s toss in some photos.

Me at a rehearsal in Bristol in 2009, shortly after I moved from Southampton to Southsea. Southsea is part of Portsmouth, a dense city that is mostly located on Portsea Island off the south coast of England. I looked much better than I sounded that day in Bristol, partly owing to a turquoise fibre deftly stuck onto the pad of my A that day. It made all the notes below play off too of course; the sequence of the main notes is BAGFEDC so the air that reaches the lower notes has passed the slightly leaky A when it gets to them and with so many other players around you, you can’t hear yourself play (maybe not if you’re a pro, but I was a self-taught beginner). But the conductor (Orphy Robinson) could and he moved us around until he had identified me, poor guy. He said nothing (but I suspect he discussed me with the composer because the latter seemed to recognise me – I had a blue strand of hair at the time, I think – and he seemed to want to say something to me and then maybe changed his mind). I found out what was going on when I got home. I sounded horrible! I knew it wasn’t me so I methodically started checking all the pads. The next time, the conductor said “sounded good!” to me. Phew.

This image above exemplifies far too much of life in England, where I’ve been since the end of 2004. Bullying, hacking etc of random strangers is too easily shrugged about, misogyny is rampant, the law is often seen as something that only fools abide by, child sex abuse is quite common too and many people here actually seem to consider cruelty cool, the government often setting the tone. Where does that come from? And is it really all as black and white as it seems? I wanted to know and explored it in one of the books that I wrote.

Nope, I never wanted kids. And I never wanted to be an obedient doormat. I’m a boss. Deal with it. 🙂 I saw at a young age that women who went their own way led far more interesting lives than most other women around me. It also dawned on me pretty early that not taking the well-trodden paths is risky and can be highly challenging but is often also immensely more rewarding and exciting.

Also, before anyone in England starts yelling the usual stuff about class privilege and entitlement, I am going to have to stop you right there. Only England has that class thing. My parents had little more than a primary school education and I’ve had to figure things out on my own. In my highly egalitarian country, a large proportion of the population is well-educated. Relative to the English, Dutch people live in prosperity. The massive deep poverty as a result of the excessive inequality in the UK does not occur in my home country. Low pay is mostly an English thing.

Want an example of the latter? A Dutch friend and colleague of mine in Plymouth once calculated that, in England, she had to work 60 hours per week to make what she would make in the Netherlands in 25 hours per week. Ah, the crazy things we foreigners do for love. Because this woman moved to England to be with her English partner. He tossed her out one day, called her right before she was about to give an important presentation to tell her that he was not going to allow her back into the house when she came home from work. Thankfully, it led her to the guy who became her present partner and with whom she now has a happy life.

This includes promoting awareness that greater socioeconomic equality benefits all segments of society and that discrimination is not a matter of hate and not mostly limited to factors like skin tone, nationality and gender. Many other elements, such as income, age and hair colour, can trigger it too. But we all have much more in common than separates us…

Once upon a time, before I had learned how to start a car, I took a flying lesson in one of these (Fuji FA-200 Aero Subaru).

Before I had learned how to start a car, I took a flying lesson in this type of aircraft. It took me hours to get to this particular airfield, but it was worth it. I would have loved to get my flying license, but I realised that the logistics were against me. I subscribed to aviation magazines and looked into getting into a professional flying program but in my home country, my less-than-20/20 vision prevented that. I eventually let go of the idea of becoming a pilot.

As I explained above, I later decided to start indulging in the earth sciences. The step is not as huge as it may seem to some. Flying too requires some science knowledge and geological fieldwork is a great deal of fun, in spite of the many frustrations it can also bring.

The earth sciences contain all the sciences, require you to travel and speak several languages, and involve computers, desk research, lab work as well as field work. It hardly gets any more multidisciplinary than that. Multidisciplinarity used to be frowned upon, but that changed big time later. My Albarracín fieldwork report contained a section on the redox chemistry of iron.

I ended up in marine (biogeo) chemistry – yep, the metals; mostly the rare earths – because I hung around after a lecture on chemical oceanography one afternoon. I had skipped that morning’s events because I was not feeling well, decided to attend the afternoon, and after that class, I was invited along on a tour of the clean labs. “We are looking for someone who can continue this work.”

Doing fieldwork in Sweden (while based in Amsterdam). The year was 1989, I think. I lost that coffee thermos at the end of 2010.

In Sweden, doing geological fieldwork (same day as the previous photo).

One of my fieldwork areas in Spain (1980s).

Equipment I worked with (ID-TIMS, ion chromatography)

My flamenco shoes… I danced briefly before I moved to the US, at Wladimir Dance Studios in Amsterdam, with flamenco dancer and dance instructor Inés Arrubla: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=z8BYGbIHHTk

Me emigrating to the US on 2 January 1994, with two cats. The others in these photos are siblings and friends. Location: Schiphol.

Me emigrating to the US – with two cats – on 2 January 1994, my siblings and a bunch of my friends sending me off.

Me emigrating to Florida on 2 January 1994, when I was 33.

That’s the photo taken for my university ID in Florida in 1994. I was 33 and having the time of my life.

Beach cleanup in Florida with the marine science department (1995).

I convened an AGU conference session in Boston in 1998 and met up with a friend after the conference. Before the conference, I stopped by at WHOII was based in Amsterdam then and had become self-employed.

Plymouth, right after I gave my talk at PICO-III (after I had first interviewed Keith O’Nions in Oxford for The Geochemical News).

MC Nieuws editorial team meeting at WUR in 2003 (me on the right).

Photo taken during a post-doc course (chemical speciation) at WUR (SENSE Research School), September 2002.

Me taking photos of myself in a mirror at 6 or 7 am after having “worked” all night as an extra for the film “SuperTex” (with Stephen Mangan and Maureen Lipman).

Yep, I was an extra for TV, film etc for a short while, in Amsterdam. I gave this rarely worn dark-green ballgown to a charity shop in Portsmouth a few years ago. (A pity, in a way, as I’d had it adjusted to fit me.)

This is me (on the left), at our annual Environmental Chemistry symposium shortly before I relocated to the UK.

Boat trip near Arnhem with Arcadis Elements team in 2003 or 2004 (me on the left, holding a glass of wine).

That’s me on the left, as a former homeless woman in Portsmouth in early 2011, receiving the “Taking the Lead” course certificate from the mayor. My (almost exclusively foreign) income had tanked after I moved from Southampton to Portsmouth and so I lost my home during the course. I was 50 then.

All over the world, people were losing their homes at the time because of the subprime mortgage crisis in banking.

I, however, had become the target of, well, let’s call it extensive bullying of all kinds, often sadistic. It didn’t stop after I lost my home. It got worse. The locks to my flat got picked frequently and my flat sometimes got vandalised, for example. There has also been extensive hacking.

The phenomenon is known as sadistic stalking in the classification of forensic psychologist Lorraine Sheridan. While it’s not exactly a laughing matter, this is why I became an inclusivity and diversity maven. I started reading up on personality disorders and about neurodiversity, among other things. How could I not?

That said, I also live in a very insular island community with a peculiar culture. Portsea Island is known for these characteristics within the UK; it was mentioned in a TV documentary but I was unaware of this when I decided to relocate to here. The atmosphere here can be pretty hostile and English culture is peculiar enough to begin with, for foreigners like me.  

It turns out that I perhaps am a subject in someone’s strange illegal experiment in the style of Philip Zimbardo (along with “half of Portsmouth”?). Trying to see if I could be turned into an evil person. A very angry person? Yes. A person who sometimes spouts very angry and evil-sounding words? Yes. An evil person? Hell no.

Earlier I was attacked in Southampton, by the way, within what you can probably also see as a community bullying or gossip context. Because why on earth would strangers around me be okay with being attacked? I wrote about this and other experiences in my book about otherisation (“Is cruelty cool?”).

For those of the locals who still believe that I am making up my professional background, here are a few links to publications that have my name in it: