1.) I have been to 19 countries, but there are dozens more I’d love to see.
2.) I love scrapbooking and wish there were more scrapping supplies available here in Taiwan.
3.) Misused apostrophes drive me crazy.
4.) As a kid, I was always creating imaginary friends. I had plenty of real ones, but the imaginary ones were just too fun to give up until at least junior high. I had dogs, cats, a horse, a mummy, and a woolly mammoth, to name just a few.
5.) I love poetry. “Sonnet to Science” by Edgar Allen Poe is one of my favorites (and not because I like science. Click on the link to read the poem if you don’t know what I mean).
6.) I grew up without a television, have never owned (a working) one, and never want to. I believe that TV is responsible for many of society’s ills.
7.) I used to be a HUGE Star Wars fan. (I still enjoy it, but I’m no longer quite as crazy about it.) I saw Star Wars: Episode I in the theater seven times (and I still have all my ticket stubs!). Here I am (second from the right) with my siblings right before we all went out to see it together.
8.) Morning glories are my favorite flowers. I dream of someday living in a house with a yard, and having different colored morning glories growing over the fence all the way around.
9.) I used to have the best climbing tree in the world in my front yard in Nairobi, where I grew up. With a little imagination, it became a castle, and I spent hours at a time in its various rooms. Once I brought a bag of books and a picnic lunch and spent the entire day up there. I loved that tree like a dear friend, and it felt as though I was leaving a friend when my family had to move away.
10.) The first time I read The Giving Tree by Shel Silverstein I cried because it hit so close to home. Okay, actually I cried the first few times.
11.) The best teaching experience I ever had was when I taught in a one-room schoolhouse in Nabire, Indonesia for a year. There were six students in five different grades. Unfortunately, I was too inexperienced a teacher to really know how great I had it.
12.) I lived in Kenya for fourteen years and never got malaria. I finally came down with it in Indonesia. Not a fun experience.
13.) Indonesia has been my favorite country since 8th grade (four and a half years before I first went there).
14.) I love most soups, but split pea soup is my least favorite food. I’m convinced it bears a more than coincidental resemblance to swamp sludge.
15.) I rode on the back of a rhinoceros once. Here’s the proof!
16.) My first job was at a dog grooming parlor called the Poodle Puff. It was okay until I was attacked by a German shepherd. With blood streaming from my face, hand, and arm, I had to be rushed to the hospital for stitches… on the day I was supposed to get my senior picture taken.
17.) When I was a kid, I used to think I was going to run an orphanage when I grew up. My friend Hannah and I even drew floor plans for it.
18.) I’m not at all convinced that dragons never actually existed.
19.) One of my dearest dreams has always been to write a book that gets published.
20.) At various times, I have studied French, German, Spanish, Greek, Swahili, and Indonesian. Now I only remember enough of most of them to confuse me with my Chinese.
21.) My senior year of high school was by far the worst year of my life (and that had nothing to do with #16).
22.) One of my favorite treats is a mug of hot Kenyan chai (tea cooked with equal parts milk and water, plenty of sugar, and spices like cinnamon, ginger, nutmeg, mint, and cloves). I often have it on Saturday mornings with a jam sandwich, and dunk the crusts in the chai.
23.) I also really enjoy nai cha (cold milk tea; very popular here in Taiwan). It comes in all kinds of tasty flavors – a few of my favorites are caramel, hazelnut, green apple, mint, and ginger. In recent years I’ve gotten into green teas, too – especially pomegranate, passion fruit, lemon, and pineapple.
24.) For my 16th birthday, my dad took some friends and me camping at Lake Nakuru National Park in Kenya. Some monkeys broke into our boxes of supplies and stole my birthday cake.
25.) I’m not the kind of person who normally loves to shop a lot (I don’t do malls), but I really enjoy the Shui Nan Market here in Taichung. I go there almost every Saturday. (Take a look at my blog post about it here.)