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Friend Friday: 10 things

me without teeth

This week’s friend Friday is slightly different in that there are no questions. Instead, we’re each telling 10 random facts that people might be surprised to know about us. Because quite a few people have started following (hello!) since I last did one of these memes, and probably don’t know anything very much about me at all, I’ve decided to do it slightly differently and tell you all things that lots of people probably do know about me, but are a bit more interesting than anything I could come up with that nobody knows.

Here we go:

1. I was born in Luxembourg, but I’m not Luxembourgish, and my spoken Luxembourgish (yes, it’s a language, look it up on Wikipedia) is pretty rubbish, and my written Luxembourgish non-existent. My parents are both German, so German is my mother tongue and I went to a European school in the German ‘section’, as it was called. But I’ve never lived in Germany. I have lived in Scotland for eleven years though. If I was to say what my national identity was, I really wouldn’t know. If anything I would say I was European, because that’s an umbrella that covers all my countries. To be honest though, national identity doesn’t matter to me and other parts of my identity (being a city dweller, an educated socially progressive person, being part of a settled couple for example) are much more important to me.

2. My favourite type of holiday are city trips. I like going to a world city for a substantial amount of time (at least a week), staying in an apartment rather than a hotel, and exploring the neighbourhoods and bars/restaurants/clubs. It’s a bit like living there when you’ve just moved there. My favourite city ever is Berlin, I’ve been there 6 or 7 times now and will keep going back. I’m not so into backpacking holidays, or tour holidays where you constantly move location. It’s not even so much that I miss creature comforts, it’s just that I like having a fixed base.

3. I love tea. All kinds. I drink gunpowder green tea at work, black tea with orange juice at home, and black tea with milk when out. My favourite teas are Darjeeling and a super expensive green tea with a Chinese name and a smoky flavour I get from a local tea shop. One of the guys in that shop has properly dedicated his life to tea and talks about it like it’s wine. I’ve had several 20 minute conversations with him purely about tea, and I hardly said anything, he just kept talking.

4. I used to be properly obsessed with indie music. I’m not obsessive any more, and I don’t have time to listen to as much music as I would like to these days, but I have kept a music listening habit where I will get a new album then listen to it over and over until either I feel I really know it or I get sick of it, them move on to something else. At the moment I have Broken Records, Erland and the Carnival, Agnes Obel and the National’s debut as my new albums.

5. My undergrad degree was in Human Geography from Edinburgh Uni, then I did a Masters by Research in the same department. I had initially planned to do a PhD as well, but I quickly realised that the life of an academic wasn’t for me, and thankfully I managed to get a social researcher job at the Scottish Government before I finished my Masters, so I was never in the position where I had to choose between doing the PhD and temping. I fear I may have chosen the PhD.


6. My Masters was on ‘Constructions of Britishness in New Labour migration policies’ and I still do a lot of work on migration policy in my job now. Its quite a depressing thing to work on, and I will rant endlessly about the uselessness of the UK Border Agency given half a chance. Sufice to say that I will not react well to anyone having a go at migrants in front of me. I consider myself a migrant and the fact that noone minds me being here, basically because I’m white and super integrated and probably pass as Scottish if I don’t speak too much, just goes to show that other kinds of prejudice are never far from the surface. Did you know that about half the illegal immigrants in the UK are Australians who’ve overstayed their visas? But noone is suggesting a crackdown on that, are they!

7. I have always voted Lib Dem, but I won’t be doing that again. Watching Nick Clegg defend a budget that goes against every single thing they campaigned for in the election makes me sick. The Scottish Parliament election is in May and I haven’t decided who to vote for yet.

8. I’ve been vegetarian since I was 11. I really think I should be vegan, but I’m too selfish. I have my tea with orange juice and my oats with soy milk, but I will never again try and make a vegan béchamel sauce and I continue to bake with eggs and butter.

9. I do a lot of yoga. I originally started doing Iyengar, and a couple of years ago I started doing Ashtanga as well. I think the two complement each other really well, and I would never want to choose. Though I do think it’s better to start with a slower, more technical form to get familiarised with the poses before starting more energetic ones like Ashtanga and Vinyasa Flow/Power Yoga (which I also did for a while but didn’t like). Many Ashtanga folk do seem to be quite gung ho about doing things without being properly prepared and if noone ever shows you properly what the things to think about in a pose are, it’s easy to get in the habit of doing it wrong, and pulling random muscles in the process.

10. I really fancy Ewan Macgregor. I liked him even in his emaciated Trainspotting 1980s junkie style. He’s made some atrocious film choices, is hopeless at accents and I wasn’t big into all that motorcycling around Africa business, but I’ll forgive him anything because he’s just so amazingly attractive.

There you are! Visit here for a round up the other posts this week.


Comments on this entry are closed.

  • poet 29 October 2010, 12:44 pm

    Hallo, schön, mal mehr über dich zu erfahren! Ich bin auch gerade am Hinterfragen einer Uni-Karriere, und ich wette, der Tee heißt Lap Sang Sou Chong (unter dem Namen wird er jedenfalls in Kalifornien verkauft, ich mag ihn auch sehr)! Yoga möchte ich eigentlich auch mal wieder machen…

    Liebe Grüße,
    die Poetin

  • Rad_in_Broolyn 29 October 2010, 1:00 pm

    Thanks for sharing all these things. I'd love to hear more about the migration policy stuff you do, as I am interested in this as a future research topic myself.
    Those picture of youngster Franca are just precious!
    I love Berlin, too. I haven't been back since 2006, but I am dying to go. How do you guys rent apartments during your stay? (The person I usually stay with now has a partner who doesn't like me around).

  • Maven 29 October 2010, 1:33 pm

    I love this post! So interesting, esp the bits about your work. And you were just the cutest little girl ever.

  • Courtney 29 October 2010, 2:13 pm

    I love hearing about what everyone does outside of blogging!

    Growing up my favorite country was Luxembourg. I liked the fact that it was a microstate.

    I especially love when they talk about politics! Your job seems very interesting–I'd love to see you post more about it!

  • northwest is best 29 October 2010, 2:44 pm

    Very interesting, thanks for sharing! This tea man sounds like my kind of fella.

    I agree on Nick Clegg. One of my friends lives on the same road as him in Sheffield. Well, I say live, but Cleggover's not really welcome in the neighbourhood these days.

  • Between Laundry Days 29 October 2010, 2:51 pm

    I loved reading these, Franca! You are such a lovely writer, and I always feel like I get to know you so well in your posts, but you don't often reveal these kinds of things, so it was delightful to read. And suffice it to say that you were an ADORABLE child. 🙂

  • Ife' 29 October 2010, 3:07 pm

    fabulous answers. Thanks for sharing 🙂

    On the vegetarian vs. vegan issue… Well, my mom was a vegan and is now a vegetarian after getting some advice from a holistic nutritionist. Basically, she told her that she wasn't a political vegan, then it wasn't recommended for women. Protein is essential for healthy hair, skin, bones etc. So basically my mom now eats yogurt and cheese, and occasionally drinks non-fat milk. She still can't bring herself to eat eggs.

  • La Historiadora de Moda 29 October 2010, 3:29 pm

    Thanks for sharing so much, Franca! I love learning more about some of my favorite bloggers. I never knew you were born in Luxembourg before today!

  • emilyknits 29 October 2010, 4:01 pm

    I'm with you on the vegan thing, with all the will in the world I just can't (won't?) give up dairy… x

  • Veshoevius 29 October 2010, 4:35 pm

    Nice to read your 10 facts.
    Thank you for pointing out this from your line of work on migrants too
    "Did you know that about half the illegal immigrants in the UK are Australians who’ve overstayed their visas? But noone is suggesting a crackdown on that, are they!"
    Doesn't surprise me at all. The reverse is also true – Brits and Europeans getting off planes and overstaying their visas in Australia probably make up the largest group of illegal immigrants yet Australians protest more about refugees who come in illegally on boats.

  • sacramento 29 October 2010, 5:41 pm

    How very interesting. I am also a multicountry vegetarian.
    I am Spanish, my husband English (I tought Spanish in England and English in Spain).one of our daughters lives in Berlin, so we spend one month every year there. You could say we are also European.
    I am soooooooo glad to have found so much more about you.
    Un abrazo fuerte.

  • Marissa 29 October 2010, 5:51 pm

    So nice to learn a little about you! You were one adorable kid!

  • Shallow Mallow 29 October 2010, 6:37 pm

    Great to find out a little more about you 🙂

    I am veggie as well but wouldn't want to go vegan either. How would I survive on visits to the home country if it wasn't for cheese while everybody offers up the sausage assuring me it 's only "a little meat" LOL
    I do wear leather shoes and belts though – so I am a happy little hypocrite 😛

  • KT 29 October 2010, 7:21 pm

    Love this post and your longer answers that allow your readers to get to know you better! Such a great take on this week's theme. – Katy
    PS Have you ever tried Ginger Peach Tea? It's one of my favorites. So soothing.

  • ClosetConfections 29 October 2010, 8:44 pm

    Very interesting facts you shared about yourself. I enjoyed that. I'd like to get PhD as well someday, most likely either in Organizational Psychology or African American Studies. We'll see…


  • Alli XT 29 October 2010, 10:33 pm

    Great post! Love the photos of you as a little one too.
    RE: vegan bechamel, have you ever tried the post punk kitchen reciper? It's pretty good (if you have the strength to mass up tons of raw cashews).

  • Veronica Darling... 30 October 2010, 12:34 am

    I love love love seeing you as a child! xoxo

  • ana b. 30 October 2010, 6:40 am

    Fact Number 10 alone makes you my internet friend for life, I think, Franca. And how gorgeous are you now and as a kid! Those blonde curls!

  • Franca 30 October 2010, 1:20 pm

    Thank you all, I'm totally overwhelmed by all these comments! Thank you! and a few first time commenters too – I'm following you all now!

    I guess I never really talk that much about myself, my work and my background in my posts – I never really know how to fit it in and worry that it will put people off!

    poet – nee, Lapsang Suchon ist es nicht. Nicht ganz so rauching und schmeckt mehr gruen (if that makes sense). Ich habe solchen Tee nur ein einziges mal sonst getrunken, und zwar welchen den ein Freund von mir aus Thailand mitgebracht hat!

    Rad – I'll email you!

    nwib – I bet he's not!

    lfe (eboni?) – I think it's perfectly possible to be vegan and get all the protein you need through tofu, pulses etc, just a lot of planning and commitment. Lots of (most?) omnivores don't get all the vitamins and such they need either. I'm really just vegan because I like the flavour of all diary products and eggs. And cakes!

    Veshoevius – yes! There's this new policy in the UK just now where the government want to stop all non-EU migration. A large part of the public love it, but that's because they think non-European means Pakistanis and Nigerian, and not American or Kiwi! I wish politicians actually had the guts to stand up and educate people and challenge some of these racist attitudes! Instead it's all appeals to 'common sense'.

    Alli XT – no I haven't, what's in it? The one I made was made with margarine and lots of mustard, but still just tasted overwhelmingly of unsweetened soy milk.

    ana – I wish I still had the curls!

  • Fuyume 30 October 2010, 2:30 pm

    im a member of the labour party lol i too used 2 quite like the lib dems bt dont anymore xx

  • Terri 30 October 2010, 5:19 pm

    Yes, I'm a new enough member that I knew NONE of this about you. Applause to your answer about immigration policy. I am so tired of hearing many Americans knee jerk thoughts on the same issue. They don't know their own personal history or that of our country. I think this would be the first time I've come across any mention of politics in a "fashion" blog. I applaud you for that.

  • Diana 26 November 2010, 6:39 am

    You are equally adorable then and now. I had no idea what you studied in school, and I was obsessed with indie music when i was younger, too. I went to a concert 3-5 times a week. Then adulthood happened.