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.