Wow, my first blog award.  Thanks Michelloui over at The American Resident for tagging me!  She said such nice things about my blog that I'm a little bit at a loss as to how to thank her, except to say, you should definitely go check out her blog!  She's a mom and an expat living in the UK in an old pub house with quite a story!  She shares tips on all subjects (weight loss, blogging) and shares tidbits about her own life as well -- like -- she climbed down a drainpipe out the castle where she once lived (story here) -- anyone who did that is pretty much extraordinary in my book!! 

I'm currently reading her blog from the beginning (as I do with every blog I come across...more on that below), but send her some love back if you have a moment, will you?  And now...on to my award.
There are rules. I am to send a link back to the home page of the person who awarded this to me, I am to list seven things about myself the blogging community may not know and I am to list 15 recently discovered bloggers, send the award to them and let them know that they too are stylish.  I probably can't do 15 but I will definitely do a few!

The seven things:

1) I am an obsessive researcher.  Actually very few people save my sister (who is also an obsessive researcher) and the Canadian know this about me. (I can assure you, it comes in handy when getting a Ph.D.)  Even with every day items not related to academia, like Meyer lemons.  I probably spent 2 hours scouring the internet for lemon and meyer lemon recipes to make for the food swap. Also, this is why I read blogs from start to finish -- I can't help myself, I love research!!  I could say more...but you know, it gets boring after a few sentences. 

2) I secretly wish I were a spy.  When I was a kid I wanted to be a spy, a pilot, a journalist and a veterinarian.  Since my B.A. is in Mass Comm/Journalism, I learned enough about the industry that it sort of lost its luster for me.  The veterinarian thing I grew out of pretty quickly.  The pilot aspirations stayed around for awhile (when other girls had pictures from Tiger Beat on their walls, I had F-14 Tomcat photos plastered all over the place.)  My eyesight is just rotten though, so piloting is out.  The spy dream, however, hasn't really gone away.  I wrote my M.A. thesis on covert propaganda and spent days in declassified records of spy operations.  Heaven.
The F-14. Drool. (Click photo for attribution)
I still want to be a spy!!!
3) I almost became a doctor. The M.D. kind. I am constantly researching (see #1) and identifying/diagnosing strange ailments (mostly my sister's, her husband's and the Canadian's -- my sister and her husband acquired dengue fever in a remote village in Mexico and I was on the phone researching and diagnosing to see if they needed medical treatment).  I also love to research natural healing remedies and treat most of my ailments with some sort of combination of tea and acupuncture.  My grandfather was an eye surgeon and his brother was an internist so the medical DNA runs in the family, but after talking to a lot of doctors, I was dissuaded by all of the post medical school drama (tens of thousands of dollars in liability insurance, hospital managers dictating treatment rather than the physicians, insurance companies denying needed procedures etc.) it just wasn't worth it.

4) All of the art in my house is original.  On my very first trip to Europe I came home with the crappiest souvenirs which I completely loathed after about 20 minutes and then threw them away.  So I decided that instead of cheesy junk, I would make one large art purchase and bring home artwork as a souvenir/memory of my travels.  Those pieces coupled with the gifts from my incredibly talented artist friends (see the My Favorite Things page for their art), are all hanging all over my house.

5) I really like felons.  That is to say, I have worked with/sat on the board of directors of a non-profit that transitions felons back into the community after incarceration.  I prefer to work with groups and individuals that are the most marginalized, the most persecuted, the most shunned by society.  Felons tend to fit the bill, especially those trying to make a life after a felony conviction -- most people don't want to hire them or live near them.  I love it and I'm inspired by it -- and believe me, there's nothing cooler than having a chat with a guy who used to run a pretty large gang organization.  Felons rock, won't you hug one today?

6) I am not afraid of public speaking but I am paralyzed with fear by cockroaches.  I taught for five years, have given tons of presentations, sat on real fear of public speaking.  But, a tiny (or worse, huge) bug that doesn't even bite causes me to turn into a shrieking banshee, screaming for the Canadian to come kill it and remove it from my sight.  Thankfully in five years in this house I've only seen two roaches but one those of times a roach put in an appearance when the Canadian was away.  It is indelibly printed on my memory how I was trying to get it (after I had sprayed it) with a piece of paper, while explaining to myself that there was nothing rationally to be afraid of -- all the while my body is shuddering, and I'm gagging and almost in tears.  You should also know I have no fear of spiders, snakes, or mice.  Only roaches.  

7) I always knew I'd marry a foreigner.  I just didn't envision a Canadian.  In my head I *knew* that I would never marry an American.  I'm not sure how I knew this, but American boys were just so...American.  I liked the different cultures and sort of assumed I'd end up with a lovely Englishman, or a spicy South African, or maybe a hot Australian or a delectable Frenchman.  Note, Canadian was not on that list.  Nothing against Canada or Canadians -- I love both!!  A lot!!  They just never really crossed my mind before I met the Canadian...
And now, five blogs you should follow (on Twitter it's Follow Friday so this is perfect!)

Not From Around Here -- A Minnesota girl moves to the UK for a job.  She loves her sister as much as I love mine and she always has great posts that engender lively discussions (her Dear So and So are wonderful!)

Le Fabuleaux Destin de Brenna-- Sassy pants English teacher living in France with gorgeous photos of her travels

Is there such a thing as too much cheese?-- a lass from Oz who lives in the south of France with her marathon running boyfriend.  She's a teacher and her posts are refreshing and hilarious! (She also loves books as much as I do...)

Sara in Le Petite Village-- J'Adore Sara and her adventures in Le Petite Village -- she has a fabulous cast of characters that often make appearances in her post, not the least of whom is her dog Fifty!  (She's been tagged before, but I think it's time for another time around the block n'est pas?  We want more!)

International Woman of Mystery-- I love her posts, they are little novellas and some of them (like the countryside post), are stuck in my head for days after I read them...spicy and awesome!!

1/22/2011 05:55:50 pm

This was a good list about you! I also used to want to be a spy (secretly, of course) until I had my daughter. Im not afraid of cockroaches but they are probably the only bug in the northern hemisphere I really really REALLY hate. I would never have become a doctor--I need more sleep than they get!

Thanks for joining in!

1/24/2011 11:45:49 am

Awww... thanks! I'm very honored that you read my blog and have given me an award. I will definitely accept it but it might take a couple weeks as I'm off to London this week.

I am SO AFRAID of cockroaches. I hate them so much. They made me crazy when I lived in Costa Rica. They were so big! At night you could hear them scuttering around. And did you know the old ones actually fly? Talk about the worst thing ever!

And you know what? I always knew I would marry a foreigner too. I'm just waiting to meet him. :)

Thanks again for the award!

1/24/2011 11:09:02 pm

Thanks for thinking of me! I'm touched and you've cheered me up (hot water has broken in my house... washed my hair with ice water today. I'm currently miss cranky pants).
And I think the charity work with felons is fantastic! xo


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