About Me


1) Home Improvement Ninja asked:
What is your earliest memory, and what feelings do you associate with it? It has to be something you, yourself, remember, not something someone told you about. For instance, one of my earliest memories was when I was 3 and was running on the beach and ran over some discarded charcoal from a barbeque. They took me to the hospital and I remember seeing everyone panicking and thinking that I had done something wrong.

I had a hard time with this one. I don’t have a good memory, so the things I remember from my childhood are mostly just snippets. Truthfully, if I was going to recall one of the things that I remember from when I was young, it would have to be a recurring nightmare I had. The bedroom I shared with my older sister was right off the living room, and in that room was a big, black wood stove. In my recurring nightmare, I would walk into the living room, climb on top of the wood stove, and then jump off. And of course I would fall, and fall, and fall…never to reach the bottom. Or I would reach the bottom just as I woke up. You know how that goes.

2) RA asked:
I’ve gone through your massive book list from last year, but I didn’t know where to start! If you could select three top favorites from last year’s reading, what would they be?

I read back through the list (when I look at it now, even though I know I spent a massive amount of time commuting last year, it’s still hard to grasp that I read so many books), and chose five that jumped out at me.

Kicked, Bitten, and Scratched: Life and Lessons at the World’s Premier School for Exotic Animal Trainers, by Amy Sutherland
First They Killed My Father: A Daughter of Cambodia Remembers, by Loung Ung
Never Let Me Go, by Kazuo Ishiguro
The Sex Lives of Cannibals: Adrift in the Equatorial Pacific, by J. Maarten Troost
River Town: Two Years on the Yangtze, by Peter Hessler

How’s the knitting going?

Jen taught me how to knit when I met her earlier this year. A week later I went out and bought some yarn and knitting needles. I could remember how to do the actual knitting, but I couldn’t figure out how to get it started. I checked out a knitting book from the library, but I never opened it and finally had to return it. Since then, nothing.

Have you had any fun vegan (or otherwise) cooking experiences lately?

The only cooking I’ve done in the past few months has been helping someone else, not anything solely by myself. Yes, this is sad.

And, because, I have to – if you could have a superpower, what would it be?

The ability to make myself invisible. How interesting (and yes, possibly destructive) to know what goes on in a conversation you otherwise wouldn’t have access to?

3) Rambler asked:
Do you feel the online zandria is much different from the offline one?

Not necessarily different, no. I do feel like the “online Zandria” has caused the “offline Zandria” to be more open in general and take more chances. Having a blog has inspired me to do new things, and has also held me accountable (like the monthly updates I do for my 101 Things list). Most importantly, having a blog has allowed me to meet people from all over the world that I never would have met otherwise.

4) Mikkie asked:
Having lived in both Europe (The Netherlands) and the US, how do you think they are different and how would explain these differences?

The Europeans I met seemed to know more about what was going on in other countries than we did — more so than a lot of Americans tend to know about their neighboring states. There’s more emphasis on learning multiple languages, which I admire. There aren’t as many huge warehouse-type stores, and not as many choices on typical grocery store shelves.

How would I explain these differences? The U.S. is a relatively new country, so we don’t have the same kind of history as these other places. We became a superpower and took advantage of this status. There are probably a lot of other factors too, but that would require too much thinking and I’m tired. (Does that sound like a typical American thing to say? I once wrote a post on that subject when I was living in Amsterdam, and almost three years later it’s still a popular search term for people getting to my site.)

5) Alynda asked:
What’s one thing in your life that you are proudest of doing/accomplishing?

There are a couple of things that stand out: when I took the initiative to spend a semester abroad during my senior year of college, and pursued/received a partial scholarship to help defray the costs; being brave enough to quit certain jobs when I knew they weren’t going anywhere; and trying new things, like moving across the country.

But, even though a college education is pretty common these days, getting my bachelor’s degree stands out in my mind as the thing I’m proudest of accomplishing. I went on hiatus for a few years after completing my freshman year, then went back to school while continuing to work, where I supported myself financially and made mostly straight A’s at the same time. Aside from an aunt on my mother’s side, I’m the first person in my immediate family to have a four-year college degree. I’m pretty proud of that.

(This is the end of the questions that were asked on the original post. Thanks to everyone who participated.)

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  • Reply Nadine August 15, 2007 at 8:45 am

    I’m still thinking about that book title “the sex lives of cannibals”.

  • Reply homeimprovementninja August 15, 2007 at 10:42 am

    This Q&A thing was a good idea. It’s like listening to the director’s commentary on a DVD.

  • Reply Rambler August 15, 2007 at 10:44 am

    Hey thanks for answering my question.. nice to know the positive things that blogging has brought in you, and I have to admit, its the same with me too

  • Reply Sijbrich August 15, 2007 at 10:49 am

    I also enjoy reading your answers. Like RA, I was amazed and overwhelmed by your booklist from last year. I also have read “First They Killed My Father” and “River Town” and loved them both, so I will definitely be adding your other top recommendations to my “To Read” list. Although I’m a little wary of “The Sex Lives of Cannibals” one. Is it dirty and/or naughty? That sounds like a really funny question.:-)

  • Reply lisamoon August 15, 2007 at 11:46 am

    i appreciate your openness and am curious to do a similar exercise on my blog. may your day be filled with smiles and joy! lisamoon

  • Reply mikkie August 15, 2007 at 1:47 pm

    Thanks for the answers! I just now read the ” typical american” post and it made me smile as well as think.

    For sure I’ll have some American students this semester so an open mind will be very necessary.

    I’m really curious about the books, definitely some titles there I would not pick up if I had not read them here.

    And yes, ” the sex lives of cannibals” ? what a brilliant title!

  • Reply Dana August 15, 2007 at 3:29 pm

    I enjoyed reading over all of the interesting questions and answers, everyone thought of such good ones! I’ll have to tell you sometime about my recurring nightmare I had when I was younger, seems we both had that experience!

  • Reply Aunt Cathy August 20, 2007 at 2:45 am

    I hope the author of ‘Sex lives of Cannibals’ already had his/her foot in the publishing door when they came up with that title. Could you imagine trying to sell that idea to a publisher? Did you happen to notice how many other times that book had been checked out prior to you???

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