Recently, I was named, among others, as a recipient of the Liebster Blog Award by fellow blogger (and full disclosure here – my father) Michel Augsburger who writes Our House in Provence. The award – German for Darling – is designed to highlight smaller, less known blogs with fewer than 300 followers – I definitely qualify for that! Although there is no obligation, recipients accept the award with the intention of passing it on or paying it forward to 3-5 other bloggers that they feel are deserving of wider readership. The rules for the Liebster Blog Award are simple enough:
- Thank and link back to the person who presented you the award
- Give 11 random facts about your self
- Answer the 11 questions presented to you when you received the award
- Write 11 questions for your nominees
- Present the Liebster Blog award to 3-5 other bloggers
Eleven random facts about yours truly…
1. Like my father, I too have dual citizenship in both the United States and Switzerland. When my children are older, they will have the option to apply for Swiss citizenship.
2. I left high school after my junior year and entered directly into a small college outside of Chattanooga, Tennessee. When I tried to transfer for my last two years to a university in south-western Michigan, I was told that I couldn’t be accepted because I did not have a high school diploma – despite already completing two years of college. I went back to my high school history teacher to take a summer course of government (the only class I needed to get my diploma) and the following June, I was issued a high school diploma, graduating class of 1998. The next year I received my BA in English from Andrews University, graduating class of 1999.
3. I spent my sophomore year of college attending a small school about an hour outside of London. I fell in love with the history and the culture of England and spent way more time traveling and sightseeing than I ever did studying. And although I have been back to Europe a few times since, I have never made it back to England; it is definitely on my list of places to travel.
4. I took a year off of school between my sophomore and junior years of college to teach in the Marshall Islands as a student missionary. I, along with my very good friend (and sister-in-law through marriage), and three other gals lived on the island of Jeh in the Ailinglaplap Atoll. The island was about 5 miles long and only a 1/2 mile wide at its widest point. We taught elementary and high school students and received quite an education of our own!
5. I decided to go back to school for nursing soon after Avery was born. By the time I had finished my prerequisite classes and was accepted into school, I was pregnant with Caedon. I began school in the spring of 2008, completed my first quarter and then Caedon was born in August. I was back in school by the end of September. Looking back, I’m not sure how I went through nursing school with a toddler and a new-born. But I did and nursing is the best career I could have chosen for me and my family.
My nursing class, end of first quarter May 2008
6. I love to read. I can usually be found toting around a book with me where ever I go, just on the off-chance that I might have a moment to read, even if it’s just a few paragraphs. I would rather read than watch TV or shop. Currently, I am reading The Crowded Grave by Martin Walker.
7. I used to be fearless. Nothing used to faze me. I can’t really say that anymore. The clearest example of this is when Avery was 18 months old, we were in Paris for a few days before heading back home after visiting family in the South of France. Alvin had never been to Paris before and wanted to go to the top of the Eiffel Tower. Avery fell asleep on my shoulder just before our ascent to the top. When we emerged on the top platform of the Eiffel Tower, I was frozen in fear and couldn’t move from the wall. I was terrified of being too close to the edge, of something happening. So after waiting in line for hours to get to the top, we stayed probably less than 10 minutes! This type of irrational fear has never happened to me since, thankfully!
8. I used to be a fairly picky eater. I was good with the basics, but anything even slightly exotic was too much for me (i.e. artichokes, beets, mushrooms, and a myriad of other items I could name). When I was pregnant with Avery, I decided that I didn’t want my children to have the same food issues I did, so I worked very hard to overcome them. I have been fairly successful. Both of my kids are willing to try any number of things. I eat a wide variety of foods, as well (except yogurt – yuk! I need to chew my food, people!)
9. I don’t like wine. There I said it. I live in Sonoma County and I don’t like wine. Sorry – actually, I’m not really even sorry. I’m not that much of a drinker to begin with, but I do like the occasional cocktail – mojitos, margaritas, etc.
10. I love the rain. I love that our winters in Sonoma County are rainy. I love a good thunderstorm with lightening – it’s actually one of the things I miss most about not living in Maryland any longer.
11. I love flowers, fruits, and vegetables. I love the idea of growing them in my garden… unfortunately, I was not blessed with a green thumb, or any green fingers for that matter. I have been able to sprout an avacado seed as well as a few apple seeds, but planting an entire lush, verdant garden and seeing it thrive through the season is beyond me.
Answers to the 11 questions I was asked:
1. If you could have dinner with anyone in the world, alive or dead, real or fictional, who would it be and why? My top choices would have to be Annie Dillard (and even Bill Bryson, for that matter) because I am in awe at their attention to detail and the little things in life; Jon Stewart and Ellen DeGeneres not only because I would be guaranteed to spend the evening with a stitch in my side, but because I like their honesty; and Christiane Amanpour because I am inspired by the stories she has given voice to over the years.
2. Describe the circumstances under which you met your spouse. Alvin and I met through mutual friends at university. Although I don’t remember our exact first meeting, I do know that he took so long to ask me out that I finally had to tell him to call me so we could go to dinner.
3. Name your very favorite restaurant; where is it located and what kind of food do they serve? This question is proving more difficult to answer than I had initially thought. As with most of us, I have different favorite restaurants depending on what type of food I’m in the mood for. Of course, my first choice for a hearty, satisfying meal is always Bistro Des Copains, my father’s French bistro in Occidental. When I am in the mood for great Indian, I go for Torch of India in Santa Rosa. The curries are top notch! But for the perfect date night, my go-to restaurant is Willi’s Seafood & Raw. Specializing in small plates meant for sharing, the menu is a mix of East Coast style rolls, Latin American skewers, and wine country classic cooking. Pair that with a great list of seasonal cocktails and your night is made.
4. What is your favorite dinner meal or “comfort food”? Comfort food, for me, is a place, not so much an actual dish. I enjoy a home-cooked meal by my father hands-down over going out to dinner almost any night of the week and especially when I am in the mood for comfort food.
5. Who is your favorite author? I would be lying if I didn’t say that I love Jane Austen. And while Pride & Prejudice is a great book, I love Persuasion. It is such a simple sweet love story and I like to think it was Jane Austen’s attempt to rewrite her own life story. But, as I mentioned above, I love to read and I love finding myself ruminating over a book recently finished several days later. Some other authors I am currently into are Susanna Kearsley, Karin Fossum, and Martin Walker.
6. If you could live anywhere in the world, where would that be? I have been fortunate to live in quite a few different places around the world; I hope to try out a few more places in the future. But for now, I love living in Sonoma County. The kids go to great schools, Alvin and I each have thriving careers and my family is here as well. My parents live a mile away from us and my sister and her family are about two miles away. We are so fortunate that Avery and Caedon have such a close relationship with their grandparents and their cousins.
7. What is your favorite movie of all time? Who has just one favorite movie? Again, it depends on my mood… I love the Bourne series, French Kiss, Love Actually, The Shawshank Redemption, Shakespeare in Love, and Roman Holiday. I could go on, but these are the first that come to mind, so I will leave it at that.
8. Tea or coffee? Both. I love a great latte or cappuccino in the morning or before I head off to work. But if I am out to dinner or just relaxing at home, I can often be found with a steaming cup of PG Tips (milk and sugar, please).
9. What is your guilty pleasure? Well that’s an easy one! I love chocolate – milk chocolate – and there is something about Cadbury chocolate. I love Easter for the express reason that I get Cadbury Creme Eggs and Cadbury mini eggs. The rest of the year, I indulge in my guilty pleasure with a bar of Cadbury Fruit and Nut. My parents are kind enough to bring home a few bars of Cailler chocolate from France, as well.
10. Are you a morning person or a night owl? Well, I hate to be confusing, but both. Since I work nights at the hospital, I am a night owl. It doesn’t bother me to stay up all night as long as I can get quality sleep during the day. When I’m not working, I generally am up by 7 a.m. Over the years I have found that if I can have even 10-15 minutes of peace and solitude in the morning before the kids get up, I have a much better day.
11. What would be your dream job? If I were to go back to the very beginning just after finishing grad school, I think I would have liked to try my hand at book publishing. I just didn’t have a good sense of what I wanted to do with my degree at the time. Things have a way of working themselves out, though and I am very thankful that I had the opportunity to go back to school for nursing. I worked very hard to get through nursing school, so the fact that I am working as a nurse in a hospital is pretty close to achieving my dream job. I would like to specialize in a certain area, but am not sure yet what that area is. Since I am baring certain parts of myself on this post, I guess I should come clean and say that I would like to write a novel. I have one rattling around inside, but I just don’t quite know how to put the pieces together yet. Maybe one day…
So drum roll please… I am nominating the following blogs for the Liebster Award: Can You Stay for Dinner?; WINEpiphany; and a blog I stumbled on to recently: My Life in Scotland.
My questions for you:
- If you didn’t have to work, how would you spend your time?
- What is one thing from your past you wish you could go back and change?
- Favorite time of day? Why?
- What is the most romantic moment in your life thus far?
- What is your theme music – you know, the song that plays in your head when you think you’re doing something epic?
- Your perfect day would be spent…
- Dog, cat, or other?
- If you could learn another language through cultural immersion, what would it be and where would you learn it?
- What book are you reading right now?
- What is your comfort food?
- What is your favorite form of travel, i.e. boat, plane, train, car, etc. and why?
Thanks for reading. I hope you enjoyed.