This week is all about our Top 10 Facts.
1.) I own around 500 books altogether.
Although that number includes textbooks, travel guides and dictionaries, most of my books are novels. I inherited most of my gran’s books (or rather, saved her books as she can’t read anymore and doesn’t want them to get pulped), and some of my parents’ childhood favourites are on my shelves as well.
2.) I’m multilingual.
I’m a native German speaker and thanks to a bilingual upbringing, consider myself a native English speaker as well. I can read and speak French reasonably well (although I need to practise more with my French bestie), and know rudimentary Spanish (but enough to survive a 7-week work placement on the Galápagos Islands in Ecuador). Because I am so interested in languages, I have also completed introductory classes in Dutch, Afrikaans, Maori, Swedish, Italian, Mandarin Chinese, British Sign Language, Ewe, Twi, Czech and Swahili. In most of those I only remember a few words, but I do my best to brush up on small talk before trips and learn a few words in local languages, as this can be a very effective ice breaker.
3.) Most of my favourite TV shows are British.
I love British quirkiness, humour and drama. My favourite shows include Sherlock, Doctor Who, Life on Mars, League of Gentlemen, Black Books, Hardware, and Jonathan Strange & Mr Norrell. I’m into detective stories, always have been, and some non-British favourites include The X-Files and The Mentalist. Well, and Gilmore Girls. I’m not into American sitcoms, though, with the exception of How I Met Your Mother. I cannot stand German acting – way too wooden.
4.) Fanfiction is my Guilty Pleasure.
Well, the story isn’t over until you’ve run out of fanfiction. I not only read but also write fanfiction. Most of it is just for me, but I did publish a novel-length Sherlock fiction called The Bravery of the Soldier about John Watson’s military past. I came in the Top 10% of the Inkitt Fanfiction Competition. I’m quite particular about the fandoms I read and write for, though. At the moment, that’s Sherlock, Doctor Who, The Mentalist and Life on Mars. I stay well away from the smut, though. I’m more of a “whump-your-darlings”- kind of girl. Have you tried to apply the same methods and tricks as Sherlock Holmes or Patrick Jane? I’m fairly confident I could do their jobs by now if they were real – reading and writing fanfic has given me valuable lessons regarding the human psyche and I even picked up one or two sleight of hand tricks. Thinking like an already established character is harder than it sounds. I do write original stuff as well, especially as part of NaNoWriMo, but fanfiction is good practice! And despite having already read 49 novels this year, I’d put money on the fact that I’ve read more in fanfiction than traditionally published formats.
5.) I’m a planner girl.
Being organised comes with being German, and last year I really got into Midori Traveler’s Notebooks. I now own 3 standard size notebooks (2 original Midori in Brown and Camel, and a Raydori in London Red), as well as two Field Notes sized ones (a River Song’s Diary, and a henna one). Field Notes is my preferred size, and I always carry notebooks with me. Mainly a calendar, book lists, my blog schedule, fitness planner, story ideas and a blank catch-all. I actually sell standard sized inserts in my Etsy shop LifeInNotes.
6.) I used to have a hedgehog as a pet.
My sister rescued a hedgehog several years ago from being run over on the street outside our house. So she took him to our l.arge, enclosed garden, nursed him back to health and let him roam. When I took over her flat, I also took over the care of the hedgehog (i.e. feeding, and removing ticks). Unfortunately, we had a very warm December in 2014 (one day it snowed, the next we had 20°C) and he came out of hibernation and eventually died from exposure when the temperatures dropped again. His name was Cactus.
7.) I love learning.
I’m a firm believer in the fact that your school report says nothing about your intellect. Since leaving Grammar School, I have completed a B.A. (Hons), I’m about to finish an M.A., and I’ve taken dozens of online courses through Coursera, FutureLearn, and other MOOC providers, including getting a Diploma of Social Media Marketing, and Certificates in Global Health & Humanitarianism, Literature & Mental Health, Superheroes in Popular Culture, Holiday Rep, and Theatre & Globalisation, among many others. In the last 2 years I’ve completed around 35 courses, which I treat as extracurriculars. A lot of them were geared towards my interests of journalism, cross-cultural communication, literature, film-making, theatre, and languages, and an Introduction to Australian Literature course actually gave me the spark I needed to find a new passion and a thesis topic which my professor is urging me to expand into a doctoral thesis once I’ve handed in my MA thesis later this summer.
8.) I have been to 34 countries and counting
I have lived for more than 6 months in Germany (born & raised), the UK (6 years), and New Zealand (exchange year). I have studied in Germany (Primary Grundschule Yorckstrasse & Grammar School Gymnasium Schwertstrasse), New Zealand (Waitakere College – 6th & 7th Form), the UK (University of Central Lancashire – B.A.), and the USA (University of Nevada, Reno – Summer Session). And technically France, as my grad school Horizons University is French but I study for my M.A. by distance learning. I have worked or done work experience in Germany, the UK, Ghana, South Africa, Australia, and Ecuador (Galápagos Islands). I’ve travelled overland from South Africa to Kenya (Cape Town to Nairobi), into the Australian Outback from Adelaide to Alice Springs, and across the northern United States & Canada from L.A. to NYC. I’m a backpacker through and through, and love camping, Overlanding, and road trips. I’m not an all-inclusive holiday type of girl, and neither do I sit by the beach or pool. I’d rather travel around and meet the people and see the country.
9.) I love it when people genuinely smile
You can tell immediately whether a smile is real. It lights up their entire face, their eyes sparkle and wrinkle and it’s infectious. Proper, sunshiny smiles are hard to come by, I think. So here’s to the optimists, and goofballs, and charmers who can brighten your entire day. Couple that with a wicked sense of humour, creativity, appreciation for the Arts, intelligence, sense of adventure, and the ability to rock casual outfits as well as a three-piece suit, and I can’t be held responsible for my actions.
10.) Some of my favourite quotes are from literature & pop culture.
They include J.R.R. Tolkien’s “Not all those who wander are lost“, and Doctor Who’s “We’re all stories in the end. Just make it a good one.” I could probably cite literature, theatre plays and TV shows all day. I love it when a book or a show can make you pause to let a quote sink in, because someone somewhere and somehow found the right words to express what you feel or that resonate with you so profoundly that they affect how you see the world and yourself in it.