(Always remember that you’re unique… just like everybody else! …)
I practiced Taekwondo for three years
From the time I was twelve until I was fifteen, I earned up to my dark navy belt in the Korean martial art, one rank below a first degree black belt. I look back on those formative years with a great deal of fondness – It did wonders for me and for my self esteem. I could break boards and spar with the best of them. I learned about self discipline, how to push myself further than I ever thought possible, and to expect more from myself. These lessons have served me well, well into my adult years.
I can curl my tongue in three
This recessive trait is not exactly useful (unless you count the ability to gross people out at will useful… hmmmm), but at least it’s something that sets me apart from the rest. If you have no idea what I’m talking about, and if you dare, click here to see me curl my tongue in three!
When I was younger, I wanted to teach deaf people
The ability and the desire to teach and interact with people has always come naturally to me. When I was in the fourth grade, I happened to come across a book about American sign language in a used book store, and attempted to teach myself the signs. I ultimately abandoned the endeavor, however, when I was unable to find anyone to practice with. Kind of a shame, I wish I hadn’t given it up. I still know the ASL alphabet and also remember some key signs, but don’t really know how to apply them to form coherent sentences (as the overall syntax of ASL is different from that of the English language). In any case, my ESL students have gotten a kick out of it when I have taught them to fingerspell their own names in sign language.
One day, I hope to master a third language
I’m a strong believer in the expression that to learn another language is to gain another soul. One of the very few things that I lament from my privileged childhood is that I grew up in a monolingual home (which is especially unfortunate when you consider that between the two of them, my German and Polish grandparents spoke a total of seven languages!). The top languages on my “to-learn” lista are Portuguese or Korean. Portuguese because there are many Brazilians living or visiting Buenos Aires, and I just love the way it sounds – So exotic, so nasal, so… Brazilian! I guess my two trips to Belo Horizonte as a teenager also have something to do with my fascination with the language. My desire to learn Korean comes from both my experiences with taekwondo as well as the nearly five months that I spent living in Seoul. Although I was never able to take any Korean classes while living there, I was still able to learn Hangul and how to phonetically read and write the language.
I love, love, love random trivia
Did you know that the Empire State Building has exactly 6,500 windows? Or that the reason cats are said to have nine lives is because three was considered a sacred number in ancient Egypt where they worshipped cats, and three multiplied by three is nine? Or that William Shakespeare was born in Stratford Upon Avon? Or although hamburgers don’t contain ham, they got their name from their city of origin- Hamburg, Germany? You get the point. It’s odd- I can’t tell you with absolute certainty my blood type, but I can pull the most random facts off the top of my brain and insert them into just about any conversation, which either intrigues some people or makes them look at me like I’m Sheldon Cooper. In any case, my knack for remembering dates, events, and people is a quirk that I am particularly proud of (and one that serves me well as a teacher!).
I have an unexplainable fear of (almost) all dogs
I can’t quite put my finger on it, but I find nearly all dogs to be menacing, intimidating, and prefer to simply avoid them at all costs. Yes, even little ones. I guess I could trace at least a part of this fear’s origin to my time as a girl scout, when I got chased out of my share of yards, who knows? Their loud barks and their sharp canine teeth simple scare me sh*tless. I’m undoubtedly a crazy “cat lady” to the core.
When I was a teenager, I wanted to be like Madonna
Fingerless gloves? Check! Crosses? Check! Fishnet stockings? Check! Cone bra? Not exactly. When I was in high school, I practically worshipped the Queen of Pop. I found her confidence and her sense of both style and perfectionism to be fascinating and something that I wanted to emulate in any way possible. Why her and not Eleanor Roosevelt, you may ask? She made being smart as well as sexy the epitome of cool for me. Granted, dressing like Madonna as a teenager caused me some very unpleasant situations (let’s just say haters gonna hate!), and looking back on old photos, I wish that I had covered up a bit more. Nevertheless, I guess your teenage year are the time for making erroneous decisions, acting crazy, and discovering exactly who you are and who what kind of person you want to be. A laughable era indeed, but ultimately no regrets.
I have a book from that I made filled with quotations
I guess this factoid goes hand in hand with my love of trivia. I love to read and to talk with people, and often hear several pearls of wisdom along the way. When I was a teenager, I started collecting these quotations together and writing them down in a blank book. They range from silly to serious, from topics like love to faith to integrity and creativity, from speakers like Nelson Mandela, Mark Twain, John Lennon, and Benjamin Franklin. I’ve always believed that truly brilliant words spoken or read at the right time can make a deep impact on a person. Which quote is my favorite? That’s like asking a mother who her favorite child is. I just can’t say! 🙂