Tuesday, 16 April 2013

Nice to meet you

I've been lucky enough to collect a lot of new readers and followers recently: hello everyone!  So I thought it might be a good idea to introduce myself to those who are new to the blog (with apologies for those who have been reading for a long time, or who know me IRL).

1. Do you have a middle name?
Elizabeth, which I have always liked a hell of a lot more than my actual given name.  All previous attempts to become 'Beth' or 'Lizzie' have ended in failure, sadly.

2. What is your job?
I'm an English teacher in a middle school, which is a bit of a cushy age: no GCSE pressure or coursework marking at the upper end; no having to toilet train kids or teach them to read at the younger end... just lots of nice kids (and a few rotters) in their fascinating and fun early teenage years.  I complain about my job a lot (and especially on days when I end up working 12+ hours), but I know I'm very lucky.

3. What is your dream job?
If money was no object, I'd be a permanent student; Manchester University's MA in Gender & Sexuality would be first on my list.

4. What do you look like?
I'm allergic to photographs of myself so you'll have to content yourselves with this description: big boobs, indie fringe, dyed red hair and permanently awkward expression.

5. How tall are you?
Well, I say that I'm 5'4". But I'm actually 5'3". Perhaps even a tad shorter. I have total body dysmorphia when it comes to height: in my mind, I'm a completely average height and some days I even feel tall. But... I'm really quite tiny; a fact I'm having to come to terms with as The Boy is well over six foot.

6. Who is your all-time favourite musician/band?
As I said in my recent music Q&A, Smashing Pumpkins are the band that have endured the past twenty years of music fandom.

7. What is your favourite song at the moment?
My guilty pop pleasure at the moment is Stay by Rihanna and I'm still massively into last year's Eurovision winner, Euphoria by Loreen.  Actual decent songs that I'm not ashamed to have on my iPod are Retrograde by James Blake, Next Stop by Bleached, and my biggest obsession at the moment: Other People by Beach House.

8. Do you participate in sports?
Until reading is designated an Olympic sport, no.  I go to the gym regularly and I walk a lot (at least five or six miles around town most weekends, as well as 'proper' hikes), but organised sports are not for me.

9. Favourite book?
Eek, that is impossible to answer!  Two recentish book Q&A's - one here and one on What Hannah Read - might go some way to listing favourites, but I could never narrow it down to one.  That'd be like choosing a favourite child.  But... if I was forced to narrow it down, it'd be Jane Austen's Persuasion for best classic novel, Jhumpa Lahiri's Interpreter Of Maladies for favourite short story collection, and Song Of Achilles by Madeline Miller as my top novel in recent years, just edging out Hilary Mantel's Wolf Hall.

10. Favourite movie?
I did a movie Q&A on Louise's blog, which mentions all my favourites.  I think Dazed & Confused or The Station Agent take the number one spot though.

11. Favourite colour?
Blue - from baby blue to teal to navy, I love every shade.

12. Favourite perfume?
L'Occitane Ambre is amazing, but it doesn't last long on me (no perfume does, in fact. I think I have very pourous skin).

13. Favourite holiday?
Definitely my train journey across America in July/August 2011, which I blogged about at the time.

14. Favourite place?
Portland, Oregon. Everyone who knows me is no doubt sick of me harping on about it, but I fell so in love with this amazing, alternative, funky city in the Pacific Northwest. It breaks my heart a little every day I wake up anywhere but there. Otherwise, Hebden Bridge in West Yorkshire for its independent shops and beautiful views (and proximity to my family).

15. What countries have you visited?
Erm *scratches head*... The Netherlands, Canada, USA, Germany, France, Czech Republic, Hungary, Spain, Italy, Iceland, South Africa... I think that's it.  This year has been - and continues to be - a crazy ride of European trips.  By the end of the summer I will have been to The Netherlands five times, plus Germany, Macedonia, France and Belgium.

16. How do you think other people view you?
Difficult question!  I think people tend to think I'm clever - cleverer than I actually am, in fact, possibly in part because despite living in the North and then the Midlands for the past 28 years, I have a rather cut-glass accent.  I possibly come across as aloof and cold, when actually it's just crippling shyness combined with really low self-esteem.  And I know that those closest to me find my inability to talk about my feelings difficult to deal with; I can seem as if I am quite emotionally closed off.  On a more positive note, I think people also see me as adventurous and independent, well-read and creative.

17. What is your biggest regret?
I try to live without regrets as much as possible, because it seems like wasted energy. I'd rather concentrate on making better decisions in future than kicking myself for ones made in the past. That being said, though, I do kick myself for the years I wasted in my early twenties, pining away for an emotionally unavailable, idiot boy.

18. Which person gone from your life do you miss the most?
The people I've been friends with who have passed from my life for various reasons.  I've had a couple of 'friendship breakups' and, although it's definitely for the best that they ended, I miss those people often.
19. What is the most valuable piece of advice you have ever been given?
My mum told me to buy a house, which was a great piece of advice (the financial help she - and my dad - gave me in getting a deposit together didn't go amiss either!). 

20. What five things can you not leave the house without?
- Lip balm of some description - my current fave is Burt's Bees Pomegranate;
- My iPhone;
- A book (or, increasingly and to my great shame, my Kindle);
- A mini hairbrush to keep my recalcitrant fringe in place;
- A pair of earphones, to shut out the outside world and better allow me to retreat into my misanthropic shell.

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