I've been tagged three times in two days, by the lovely Meg, Gem and Susannah, to share eight facts about myself that I haven't already shared here. I feel as though I've bared my very soul here, but there must be eight things that have have slipped under the radar...
1. When I was a wee girl my parents were missionaries in Papua New Guinea. I spent a year as a pre-schooler in Wewak, one day scaring my mother half to death when she came out on the veranda to find me exclaiming in delight at the sight of a huge boa constrictor snake.
2. I'm godmother to two extremely special boys - the first is Archie, the son of my super-cool and totally alive cousin Marc (18 months ago when he was diagnosed with Grade 4 Glioblastoma Multiforme brain cancer he was told he had a 3% chance of living until now...) and the second is Atticus, the son of my friend, super-talented movie director and full-time mother Reina. I look forward so much to being part of their lives as they grow. One day I expect them to take care of their wrinkly, wayward godmother, so I plan to put in the investment now!
3. I love "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and like to take Buffy as an inspiration for fantasies of myself kicking evil ass all over Afghanistan and the world.
4. I grew up on a dairy farm and I love cheese but I can't stand milk. No allergies, no lactose intolerance, just cannot stand the smell or the taste of it. I drink my coffee with soymilk and take my cereal with yoghurt. I've no argument with icecream, mind you, nor any other dairy product. Just milk. Who knows what repressed memory from those early days in the cowshed may be behind this very random and irrational distaste, but I do not take milk. No, never.
5. On that theme, I'm a fussy eater. Most people who travel as much as I do become pretty flexible about their eating. It helps to avoid starving, especially some where like Ghor where the only veggies in the market this week were tomatoes, onions and potatoes. But I am not flexible. I don't eat meat if I can avoid it (except seafood - an uncommon sight in the Hindu Kush), I insist on soymilk for my morning coffee, I eat only sugarfree cereals and try to avoid white bread, pasta and rice. It's madness in this country, but it makes me feel better so I ship food up from Herat (boxes of fruit and vegetables) and even placed an order with Organic Kingdom to have a box of organic brown rice, quinoa and flax seeds delivered to me via the APO address of the military base this week (I am slightly shame-faced about this indulgence and feel I must point out it is the first time in 18 months).
6. I like to go to bed early and wake up with the sun.
7. I'm (not so) secretly vain about my hair. It's naturally a shiny dark brown and it goes curly on humid days (i.e. never in Ghor).
8. I used to be a bit of a fitness nut - I taught step aerobics at the local gym, ran with a Marathon club every Sunday, did 21km races for fun and trained with my fabulously fit and smart friend Wendie six days a week. Here in Afghanistan the opportunity to run almost never arises but instead I've discovered yoga which takes care of my body, mind and spirit, can be done anywhere anytime and requires no equipment making it perfect for a modern gypsy.
And the bonus number 9. I dream of being a marine biologist, I love scuba diving and sea turtles and I go on annual pilgramages to dive spots where I have a chance of being in the water with a manta ray or a whale shark. One day I will volunteer on a marine preservation project for a summer.
PS: If you follow the Buffy link you'll get to a totally cool (read: very silly and time-wasting) "Which Buffy character are you?" personality quiz.