Liebster Award: a bit about me

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Bonjour tout le monde. TheFrenchTurtle has kindly nominated me for the Liebster award! Feel free to check out his blog about integrating with the French and preparing to do the TAPIF program.

For those of you who have never heard of the Liebster Award, here is what it consists of, as concisely summarized by TheFrenchTurtle:

  1. Post 11 facts about yourself.
  2. Answer the 11 questions posed by your nominator.
  3. Nominate 5 new bloggers.
  4. Pose 11 questions to the nominees.
  5. Notify the nominees

So here we go, then.

Part I: 11 facts about me

  1. When I was seven, I had a friend who had a keyboard at her house. I would come over and play and play, and not want to do anything else. So that Christmas, I asked Santa to bring me a keyboard. On Christmas day, I found out that I was getting a keyboard. But that’s not all I found out. This boy that I was in love with also told me that Santa did not exist.
  2. In middle school, I was set on being a surgeon.
  3. But I secretly want to be a film director.
  4. I love to paint, but I don’t think I’m good at it.
  5.  I am easily inspired.
  6. I keep a little black agenda calendar thing where I jot down what I do each day. It’s a way to keep track of things (and also to give meaning to my life, I guess).
  7. I love games. I grew up playing outside with my neighbors, and playing video games with my brother, and I even took chess lessons when I was in 3rd or 4th grade.
  8. I look up to my brother for doing what he wants, when he wants and not giving a damn if anyone is watching. He is possibly the most authentic creature I’ve ever met.
  9. I think the stage is a mystical, magical, transformative place. But I also think it can be a sad place. Sometimes after performances I would come home and be sad for no reason.
  10.  I’m majoring in linguistics and French and minoring in Spanish.
  11. My grandma is one of my favorite humans on the planet. She is the lightest, brightest, most positive person I know. She doesn’t wish bad onto people. She tells us not to be angry. She stresses the importance of love and family. She can make a home from a house. She is resourceful and works wonders with her hands. I want to be like her.

Part II: 11 questions posed by my nominator

1. Where is the most bizarre place you have ever traveled to?

They don’t call Berkeley “Brezerkeley” for no reason. I have not traveled much of the world, but Berkeley, California sure is a special place. It is known for its driven and often radical students and it’s peace-loving, love-spreading hippies. Homelessness here is a lifestyle choice for quite a few. I feel lucky to have spent my undergraduate years in the Bay Area, and I am happy to have another year left at this place that is “très particulier.”

Today I was on campus enjoying the sun, writing, drinking my tea, watching the people go where they go, and feeding brave squirrels. It was peaceful. All of a sudden, I heard the growing sound of metal music. At the moment I looked up, I saw a tall skater zoom under the Sather Gate on his board. That’s Berkeley in a nutshell.

2. What languages interest you (other than French)?

Oh if I could, I would speak every language on Earth. But, alas, that is not possible. I grew up speaking Russian at home. When we immigrated to the US from Azerbaijan, my brother and I learned English. In high school I began studying Spanish, and in college I fell in love with French. So of course, all of these are interesting to me. I would like to learn Japanese, actually. Or Mandarin. Or Swedish because it sounds cool. Or Arabic, because it looks cool.

3. What is the first thing you notice/look at when you meet someone?

I notice posture. I also notice where people look when you are talking with them. Eyes. I notice eyes.

4. What is your pet peeve?

I am irritated when people stand behind me when I do things. And while I am ok with noise when falling asleep, I cannot stand when people are loud in the morning when I’m trying to sleep. (I must sound horribly mean, but those are pet peeves of mine).

5. Where do you plan to be in five years from now?

Oi! One thing I learned was this cliché: you never know what life will throw at you. Just expect change. Maybe even with open arms because it will force itself upon you.

When I started studying French, I never thought I would be able to go abroad and live in another country. Now I want to go back. In five years, I hope to have traveled more. I hope that by then, I will be fluent in French and Spanish, fluent enough to train to be a simultaneous interpreter. Yeah, that’s where I’d like to be in five years.

6. What is your favorite beverage? (juice, soda, wine, liquor, you name it).

Tea and coffee.

7. What was the most happiest moment in your life?

There are a few happy moments I could think of. One recent happy moment went like this: I decided to go alone on a morning hike. I went up the hills behind campus, about a 15-minute walk from my house. I would go there often, especially in my first year of college because my dorm was at the foot of these hills. Well, this one Saturday, I went up, and found something I had never seen before. Hanging right in front of me, facing all of Berkeley and San Francisco was a swing. A swing! This one event made my day. I swung on it for about an hour listening to Feist and watching the morning turn into day. Now, I don’t know if this is the absolute happiest moment of my entire life, but it did make me pretty darn happy.

8. Do you have a favorite word?

Yes: utopia.

9. Who do you find inspirational?

I’ve always found Regina Spektor and Vanessa Carlton inspirational. They are both singer-songwriters who are well-read, well-spoken, and who are creative thinkers. I’ve listened to them for years. I’ve listened to Vanessa since I was in 7th grade, and in a sense, her songs have shaped parts of my life. There are memories to which I would attribute certain lyrics and melodies. They are inspirational because they made my life pretty.

10. What was the craziest thing you did during your childhood that resulted in a punishment?

Well…this story involves a car, a hammer, a tree and two dumb kids.

My brother and I were about eight and ten, respectively. We lived in an apartment in West Hollywood, where all the other Russians and Slavs lived. There were always kids in our backyard. We would run around, play tag, climb trees and roofs and tease each other. Well, one time, my brother and I saw a hammer in the trunk of one of our neighbor’s cars. I have absolutely no idea why, but we decided to open the car and take out this hammer. Not knowing what to do next, we decided to hack up the bark of a tree as if we were some kind of environmental workers. Yes, ironic, I know. Well, needless to say, we got berated by our parents. I think we had to stand in opposite corners and not go outside for a while.

11. Cat or dog

Dog. Always wanted one. Never had one. And I can’t wait to get one (or two).

Part III: the nominees. Way to go ladies!

  1. caitlingoestochile
  2. hannahgoestofrance
  3. californiaoverseas
  4. dailyfrancofile
  5. anarrowabroad

Part IV: 11 questions for the nominees

  1. Any super power. Go!
  2. What would your six word biography be? (ie: Out of time, I’m so behind)
  3. Do you remember your first day of school? If yes, what was it like?
  4. What’s your most memorable travel anecdote?
  5. What is something that someone told you that completely made your day?
  6. What’s something you’ve done on a whim and never regretted?
  7. What is one thing you will never be tired of?
  8. Why did you start a blog?
  9. If you had the chance to spend a day with a fictional character, who would it be?
  10. What’s something new you learned this week?
  11. If you were a pirate setting out on an adventure, who would be on your crew? (real or fictional characters)

Well, there you have:  11 facts, 11 answers and 11 questions. Thank you, everyone!

Oh and here is one of those brave Berkeley squirrels I mentioned earlier.

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