It doesn’t pay to have a ‘holiday’ from blogging! In just a few short weeks, five or more people have ‘tagged’ me in the ‘five things you don’t know about me’ meme. While I kept up a bit of reading there was no time for writing….but a lot of time for groaning….”no, not again!” So, I’ll start my 2007 blogging with a bit of 2007 frivolity – and hopefully stop the tag stream to me 🙂
So, in very short points, here is my humble contribution:
1. We ‘tag’ students new to Australia, or born of non-Australian parents as being of ‘non-english speaking backgroud (NESB) or speaking English as a second language (ESL). Not sure where I fit in this, except that English was my third language, but is now my primary language. My parents came to Australia post WWII, and for the first 10 years of my life I lived in different immigration centres around QLD, NSW and VIC (father being in a senior position), playing with kids who spoke dutch, german, and a host of other european languages other than english! As a pre-schooler, I was the ‘party trick’ – adults would speak to me in Hungarian, German or English, and I would reply accordingly, quite fluently. Sadly, I am now only fluent in English, due to my parents desire to have me grow up ‘Australian’. They switched to speaking english at home when I started school. Now I don’t understand German, I can ‘hold my own’ as a tourist in Hungary, and as an English speaker I am the target of many family jokes as my ‘hint’ of ESL background results in me regularly mixing my metaphors.
2. Being excruciatingly shy, and an only child, my life was lived in books, inspite of the fact that I could not learn to read at first. I can still recall the utter frustration and embarrassment of that maze of letters in the John and Betty readers that my peers could read aloud when called upon. Entering Year 2 (third year at school) I decided this was enough of feeling stupid! I vividly recall sitting on my bed with my pile of Golden books day after day, trying to work out how to read, and eventually ‘cracking the code’ myself. I am sure that reading instruction at school gave me some keys, but it was the search for patterns in meaning that opened the world of reading for me.
3. Once reading, I could not stop. My local public library despaired of me in Year 6, as I had read everything in the junior library and I was given permission to join the adult library. I spent all the following years reading virtually nothing but science fiction. Even during my BA years, with a major in English, Science Fiction was my main fodder. A big mistake, and one I will only have time to properly rectify when I retire! However, it seeded my passion for technology, learning in new worlds, and the need to embrace change as quickly as possible. I am a trekky, and of course, I subscribed to the SciFi channel the day it was released on cable in December06. For me the world is finally starting to catch up!
4. I remain fascinated by new things, and cannot tolerate boredom or the lack of opportunity to explore and innovate. I own and read an eclectic range of books. I prefer to change jobs rather than keep doing the same thing. I love working with people and kids in different environments and like to ‘mix and match’ different things. The best combo was when I took a year off to do full-time study for my first Information Science degree – I also took on being the Manager of the Western Youth Symphony Orchestra at the same time. (I only studied music formally myself till the final year of High School, but to the surprise of my teachers managed to score ninth place in the public exams in the state of NSW in my graduating year).
5. I’m embarrassed to say that I don’t have any interesting anecdotes to tell anyone, but I am fascinated by the passion that came through in other peoples points about themselves. I remain a country girl at heart – and tolerate life in the ‘big smoke’. I have never ‘run with the crowd’, and prefer to stand aside and ‘observe’. I love country Australia, but wish I lived in the UK, or Europe – even for a short burst – because Australia is so far away from everyone else and half my heart is in Europe! Reading, music, and technology will always remain central to my intellectual and recreational activities. My favourite author right now is Nicholas A. Basbanes ( Patience & Fortitude; A Gentle Madness; A Splendor of Letters) and his wonderful books on reading, libraries, and booklovers, and the permanence of books in an impermanent world. From the Preface of A Splendor of Letters:
Over time, communication across the generations has typically come by way of the written word, carried out in a striking variety of ways and recorded on an astonishingly rich medley of surfaces, the impulse always being to make contact and to give an account of ourselves – which, it turns out, is the point of the exercise .
Our technological world has simply added to the ‘rich medley of surfaces’!
PS. As for opportunities missed? Why on earth didn’t this ‘five things’ meme include a recommended technorati tag? I would have liked to track them further afield! I’m not going to tag anyone as I have come into it quite late in the piece.