Comment to this post, and I will list seven things I want you to talk about. They might make sense or they might be totally random. Then post that list, with your commentary, to your journal. Other people can get lists from you, and the meme merrily perpetuates itself.
I got mine from the wonderful !


Childhood
It was alright, really. I feel a bit like I'm talking to a therapist when I start talking about my childhood, but nothing traumatic or terrible happened. I gained 5 siblings throughout said childhood, which doesn't exactly qualify as traumatic, but does qualify as unusual. So I'm quite good at holding babies correctly and supporting the head, although I'm yet to change a nappy. I grew up in three different areas (Colchester, Bicester, and Worcestershire), but they got progressively better. My parents (well, my mum, really) had about the right level of strictness and wouldn't let me play with toy guns or have a TV in my room, which, in retrospect, I think was bang on.

Books
I still read quite a lot, although nowhere near as much as I used to. My dad's a publisher, and my mum, before I came along and ruined everything, was a librarian. It wasn't until I visited the homes of normal people that I realised that we had an insane number of books, even for a large family. One Christmas, I received 30 books. And I find them really hard to get rid of, because I do read them over and over again, and I'm not that picky, either. I think it's sometimes important to read fairly rubbish books. I've never thought of reading as at all pretentious, because I don't often read 'difficult' books- I usually avoid the classics. But some people have reacted to my reading habit as though it's pretentious, which is a bit sad. I'm currently reading 'Depths' by Henning Mankell. IT'S ALL ABOUT BOATS. BOATS AND MISERY.  

Being British
I had no real concept of Britishness until I went to live in Germany aged 20. Till then, it was just what was on my passport. But although I'm against the idea of patriotism, I can't deny that there are certain aspects of my personality that exist because of my nationality- or at least because of my upbringing, and I was brought up in Britain, so indirectly because of my nationality. I don't answer the phone by saying my surname, for example. I spent a lot of time thinking about whether I've accidentally offended people (this worries me a lot, especially with people I like, and ideally, I'd like a signed certificate from everyone that says 'Katie, it's fine, you've never offended me', but that's a little bit far-fetched), and become very angry with queue-jumpers.
That said, I sometimes feel like a bit of an outsider, because there are things that are quintessentially British that I've got no concept of- cricket, tea with vicars, Anglicanism, fish and chips (I've never eaten fish). And because I've got a crazy Dutch surname and half of my family's anglo-Irish, which complicates the whole thing. I feel that if I had a personality change and became a flag-waving Brit, I'd be a bit of a fraud, since half my family fought the British for a thousand years, and the other half just didn't have much to do with them. BUT I also can't go the other way and deny all Britishness because I was born here and grew up here. EXISTENTIAL CRISIS TIME.

Your Year Abroad experience
Hardcore stalkers can go back in my blog to September 2008- June 2009 to see all the drama that went with this, but in a nutshell: I was a language assistant in a tiny village in north-west Germany for six months. I really loved where I was living, in the nearby city of Oldenburg, and I liked whatever teaching I got to do, but ultimately I was thoroughly miserable because most of the English teachers had no idea what I was doing there and didn't exactly make me feel welcome. And I had to get up a 5.30am 4 days a week, which wasn't fun. But then I went to Amsterdam to work as a trainee translator for 4 months. It was a really good company (we got beer on a Friday afternoon), and although with working full-time, I didn't get to see as much of Amsterdam as I'd have liked, it was still worth it, and looks quite good on the old CV too. I haven't been back to the Netherlands since, although I'd really like to.

Annoyances
Haha, just pick any of my blog entries at random! Being treated unfairly, and especially being treated unfairly because of my personality (I'm very reserved with people I don't know and very quiet, which makes people occasionally think they can get away with being horrible), that's annoying. David Cameron's face is annoying. The British public transport system. People who spit in public.

Dylan the woodlouse
He's on Twitter now, you know. Dylan's my bad-tempered attention-deficit woodlouse from IKEA. He gets very grumpy when he's been away from his best friend/fiance Otto too long. Some have suggested that I'm taking all my worst personality defects and projecting them on Dylan, although that can't be true. He has three children- Luke and Constance (the Twins with No Arms or Legs) and Uncle Bob, and two god-inklings, Otto's little daughters. This is all, from a psychiatric perspective, entirely healthy, because I love Dylan, even if I am nearly 24, and if he ever went away, I would be devastated.

Your greatest quality
Oh, now. I'm way too British to be able to identify my best quality without having a breakdown. I like the way I can identify language relatedness with slightly above-average speed, and I'm really good at picking up a handful of coasters and knowing, without looking, how many I'm holding (I learnt so much at the coaster factory). And I'm really stubborn, which some people see as a) negative and b) at odds with my personality, but I quite like my stubbornness.

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