36 random things about me

1. When faced with "What's your ethnicity?" questions in survey forms now, I write in "New Zealand European".

2. Having lived in Invercargill for one year I think it's one of the most livable cities I've ever been to.

3. I have never been able to perform a sit-up without having my feet weighed down first. Even in my top physical condition during late teens (when I was competing in national track and field trials and exercising 6 days a week), I could not do it. There is something about the layout of my abdominal muscles or how I'm conditioned to using them, but... I can't do it. I have to have my feet weighed down.

4. I spent my 20's with an uneasy premonition that I wouldn't live to 30. It changed soon after I had a child, at 26. Now, at 33, I intend on sticking around a while longer.

5. I don't use Facebook. Sometimes it makes life more awkward, but for the most part, I think it has saved me hours (upon hours, upon hours...) of time otherwise gone to waste.

6. Almost my entire wardrobe is from charity shops.

7. Same for furniture: aside from technological devices and some kitchen appliances, our house is filled with items either bought second-hand or built ourselves.

8. I can sew and even own a sewing machine. I think my sewing teacher from middle school would be very surprised to hear that.

9. I grew up in a bilingual family: I spoke Russian to my dad and Estonian to my mom. My dad didn't speak Estonian - they communicated in Russian between themselves.

10. Having said that, I can hardly speak Russian now, although having been fluent in it. I still understand everything that's being said, but not having spoken it for about 13 years the speaking ability is almost gone.

11. I think in English now. When writing in Estonian, I am "translating" sentences in my head from English to Estonian, oftentimes ending up with incorrect wording: Estonian words, but in an English word order.

12. My phone's ringtone is set to a Finnish folk song: Loituma's "Ievan polkka"

13. I have held such a variety of jobs in such a variety of locations that most of the time, when applying for anything, I choose about 4-5 to go on my resume and don't even mention the rest. These include: handling sled dogs in Alaska and Svalbard, office temp-ing in a law firm in Estonia, selling hiking gear, editing skydiving videos in New Zealand, dog sitting in Finland, managing websites, writing articles both freelance and as part of an editorial team in a daily newspaper, washing dishes, glacial guiding, sorting laundry, doing reception in a conference centre, planting watermelons, pruning grapes etc. I see myself as... capable, if need be.

14. I have never been drunk. I've tried alcohol, but I've never liked the taste.

15. I have never had a miscarriage, as far as I'm aware.

16. I have a low tolerance for sleep deprivation. I can comfortably sleep 8.5-9 hours each night. Anything under 7.5 and I get very grouchy, very quickly. I have voluntarily stayed up all night only once (plus involuntarily once when I was giving birth) and it was not pretty.

17. I am considering getting New Zealand citizenship (I am eligible for it), but first I need to figure out the legal framework around Estonian stance on double-citizenship because I wouldn't actually want to give up my Estonian citizenship, yet.

18. My family holds three different citizenships: I am Estonian, my husband and son are British, my daughter is a New Zealander. Going through international passport checks is bound to be awesome.

19. I hold two Bachelor's degrees (law & journalism), have half-finished a Master's programme with no intention of continuing it (journalism) and currently work towards National diploma in quantity surveying. In an ideal world I'd study architecture instead, but unfortunately architecture is not compatible with my life choices at the moment, so quantity surveying will get me close enough.

20. I have green eyes. None of my children do - theirs are blue.

21. I prefer British English when writing, but I don't mind other people using American or Australian instead.

22. I am familiar enough with most Kiwi colloquialisms.

23. I like blue cheese, mussels, mushrooms, pickled vegetables - all sorts of foods which as a child I found offensive-tasting.

24. I consider New Zealand a home. I feel I fit in.

25. Of my four grandparents, only one was originally Estonian - my maternal grandfather. The others came from: maternal grandmother from Russian Ural foothills, both paternal grandparents from Ukraine. (By the way: that maternal grandfather who, himself, was born in Estonia didn't end up having any family in Estonia. All of them fled prior to Soviet invasion and ended up as refugees in Australia, but my grandpa couldn't go - he'd been recruited into army at the time.)

26. I have nocturnal catamenial epilepsy.

27. I have only once seen another human die.

28. As a child I was very boisterous and frequently ended up in trouble. My grandfather said that I should've been born a boy instead, and I sort of agreed with him - it probably would've been seen as much more socially acceptable given my behaviour.

29. I am looking forward to living in one place long enough to form close, sustainable friendships. At the moment my closest friends are across the globe and we keep in touch via phones, e-mails and letters, and rarely see each other face-to-face.

30. I am currently working on writing a new chapter for my Alaskan book, due to be re-published around April next year.

31. I was pleased to take my husband's last name when I got married because it made me almost invisible on Google - there are thousands of people with the same name. Also, it meant I could stop having to spell it out to people whenever someone asked me my name.

32. I sleep with brushed cotton sheets on my bed all year round, including heat of the summer, because both me and my husband passionately dislike the feeling of polyester against skin. Even a lot of our wardrobe (I mean pieces that go against skin) are made of natural materials, where practical.

33. I don't own a smartphone. I don't intend to, either, for the next two years at least. My phone calls, sends text messages, has a clock, timer, alarm and does most things I need it for. Its battery last about a week. It'll do.

34. I like efficiency and dislike waste. I regularly get rid of items not being used often enough. Most of the cupboards in my house are minimalist and organised enough that if I died and someone had to go through my stuff, I wouldn't be embarrassed by any of it.

35. I dislike cut flowers. I don't mind other people having them in vases if they want to, but I don't want anyone gifting me any cut flowers - it seems both a waste of a plant (once cut, it'll die quickly) and waste of money (they're so expensive!).

36. I used to love Kalev's white chocolate with blueberries and friends regularly sent me bars of it abroad. Now that my tastes have changed I don't like them any more, and when I receive bars in mail I usually gift them to other people and try to slowly get the message out there that I'm no longer the biggest fan of the stuff. I don't even like it enough to want to eat it any more...