Behold! Below are the answers to the questions you asked me in the past few days! Thanks to those of you who bothered to post one! Enjoy!
P.S. As chosen at random, Lori is our lucky winner! You are about to enter a world of chocolate previously unknown to you my dear!
How do you handle putting your career on hold? And the frequent moving?
And to lighten things: Which Sex and the City character are you?
Oh Lori, what a group of questions. I’ll take it in parts.
1) How do I handle putting my career on hold? In some ways, because my career itself had barely begun when we took off on this adventure, I didn’t have as much to lose. I didn’t have a clientele built up, a position to hold on to, a cause I was deeply involved in. I imagine that if I had spent that last 6 years working on my career instead of traveling for David’s career, I would be much more hesitant to enter into this lifestyle without any idea of how long it will go on, because, frankly, I have no idea how long this will go on. Also, I remind myself that even if I don’t begin my career in earnest until 30 or later, I still will be working for decades and traveling this much, spending so many hours with Dave, and being so relatively flexible will be a thing of the past. I also truly feel that while I may be missing out on my career or furthering my education, there is literally nothing work-wise that I could love as much as Dave loves hockey. And since there is an expiration date on his ability to make a living this way, regardless of how unknown that date is, I am happy to support him in doing something he is truly passionate about. Finally, I really do try to live without regrets, since how things are is the only way they could ever be, but I do think this time away from my ‘career’ as a social worker has given me a chance to realize that the momentum of college after high school, grad school after college and work shortly thereafter did not give me a lot of time or distance to reflect on whether that is what I truly want to do. Even though my student loan payment seems to feel otherwise, I think when we do settle down I will be making a change in direction, and I don’t know if I would have had the perspective or inspiration to do that if we weren’t living this way.
2) How do I handle the frequent moving? Both very well and not well at all. On one hand, I am an expert at packing everything I need (and more) into two suitcases. I am well-versed in all airline policies on dogs as cargo, on the customs requirements for dogs into most European countries, and I choke down a sleeping pill on every long haul flight. I am good at living simply, since we live in apartments furnished by the team and don’t bring any housewares or decor of our own, and I am flexible in ways I never thought I would be. On the other hand, I get extreme anxiety about things like travel glitches, the dogs under the plane, and being far from home. I also get a bit frustrated…the cycle of making and then leaving friends is a wonderful character-builder, I’m sure, but it gets a bit old. It’s hard to feel close to people you know you probably won’t see after 8 months, and it’s hard to feel close to people you left back home when you are barely around. Again, I tell myself this is not a permanent lifestyle, and I feel really lucky to have a chance to not just visit a country (or three countries, rather) but to actually live in them for a time and get to know things a vacation would never reveal.
3) What Sex and the City character am I? I once heard that everyone is supposed to be two of the characters combined, in which case I guess I would be majority Miranda and a bit Samantha. Miranda in the sense of her no-nonsense attitude, her appreciation of intellect and her role as the brutally honest friend in her group; I am not Miranda in the sense of her career ambitions, feelings towards babies, or tendencies towards weird haircuts. I am Samantha in that I truly believe women are much more powerful than most of us are ever inclined to act, that we are and should be treated as equals to men, and that life is a hilarious journey not to be taken too seriously; not Samantha in the sense of promiscuity and a 1980’s wardrobe.
If you could go back and talk to your 16 year old self, what would you tell her?
Oh Abby really! You know this is a question that could be answered with 6 hours of conversation on an L-shaped sofa! But really, it’s a great question. My 16-year old self would really need a talking to. I would start out with these tidbits: stop trying to straighten your hair, it’s never going to happen; if you must bother with men at all at your age, spend your time and energy ONLY on men with whom you can truly be yourself, but focus mostly on your female relationships; feel great in a bikini; study harder, even though you don’t have to; enjoy high school a little more, but take heart knowing college is going to be AWESOME; don’t bother with grad school; don’t pierce your nose.
If you could go back 5 years and tell yourself something in only two sentences, what would it be?
Two sentences?! Are you trying to hurt me Elizabeth?! You know how hard that is for me. Let’s see if I can muster it. Hmmm…5 years ago I was 23, about to finish graduate school, and on the cusp of embarking on this whirlwind with Dave. I would say to her:
Things are about to get weird. Just go with it.
I know you enjoy your nature walks, furbabies and Dave’s happiness in his career; but besides that and the love of food and travel what makes you most happy in your current country/city?
You know me too well, Christina! So besides all those things, what I like best about Oslo, Norway? I enjoy the city itself, in terms of size, public transport and its geographic location on the sea. I would also say, truly, that belonging to my book club and having a small job makes me feel a lot more engaged in this particular place. I also enjoy the Norwegian tradition of eating candy, they even consider a Kit Kat like treat to be some kind of energy bar while cross-country skiing! So wise.
What do you miss most about Marquette?
GREAT question, Stephanie. There are so many things to miss about Marquette. So many of the most important people in my life live there, the trees, the shops, the food, every single one of my best memories growing up, the friendliness of strangers, the sense of community, even exclusivity, of those who live there and know how special it is. But none of those are what I miss most.
It’s the water. Water. My god the water. Sure, here in Oslo there is the sea, as seen from inside a fjord, and it is really beautiful. But never in my life have I ever felt a connection to water like I have to Lake Superior and I know I never will. I miss the smell of it, the sight of it, the way we center our lives around it. It’s the water Stephanie, and I know you know what I mean.
What’s your most favourite thing about your lifestyle? And does it change depending on what country you are in?
Firstly, I love how you spell ‘favourite.’ David spells it that way, too. I’m going to try to do it, but it will seem false just like when I go ‘G’day!’ or ‘Riiiiight?’
Secondly, my favourite thing about this lifestyle is, ironically, not working. I know I’ve moaned a fair bit about not pursuing my career, but I’m no dummy. I don’t work full-time now, but I have of course in the past. I realize that working, even when satisfying, is hard and tiring and can be boring. I plan to work for several decades after all this, so I take time to appreciate sleeping in, working out, not answering to anyone besides David the tyrant. That man needs coffee in the morning, or else! Not really, but you know what I mean.
Now, this DOES change depending on what country I am in, very wise of you to ask that follow-up. Here in Norway, all this spare time is filled more easily since we live in the capital city and I have found expat friends and a tiny job of my own. In Germany, on the other hand, I lived in a very small village with no expats that weren’t hockey players, no chance for even a part-time job, and a bit less…shall we say, culture. I did, however, have a lovely girl named Hilary to drink unnatural amounts of wine with, and a gang of tall, dancing German girls. So don’t worry, I found a way to spend my time.
Lizzie asked David:
Dave, why is the “deke” (triple or otherwise) special in hockey? Or is it not special and Gordon Bombay is a lousy has-been?
As dictated by David to me,
“First, the triple deke in Mighty Ducks is ridiculously stupid. And in fact that whole movie made me mad as a kid, because it’s nothing like hockey. Secondly, ‘dekes’ are important to hockey in terms of beating defenders and the goalie. But they are done at full speed, as fast as you can, not in some kind of slow-motion, like going to the right for two seconds, then the left for two seconds. That doesn’t fool anyone, goalie or defenseman. In most cases, your deke is going to be left, right, quick at full-speed and that’s enough room to make a play, take a shot or in a best case scenario get by the defender. In terms of dekeing the goalie, sometimes you can make a deke and “burn” the goalie and have him slide out of the way. But in most cases you are just making a quick move to create an opening to shoot the puck. For the most part, as you advance and hockey gets better, individuals dekeing out the whole team, as in Mighty Ducks, is rare and passing the puck to advance it is what typically happens.
As for Gordon Bombay, if I remember correctly, he blew out his knee. We’ve all been there, with injury problems, so I can’t judge and call him washed-up, he is just doing his best with these kids for their hockey future and to help fade the memories of a career cut short. Sidenote: I believe he teaches them life lessons as well.”
What has been your favorite purchase of all time? (And don’t say your dogs…we know, we know!)
This is really, really difficult! After a bit of thought, I think I’d have to say a blanket we bought on a day trip to Innsbruck, Austria in 2006 while visiting some friends in Bavaria. At the time it seemed a bit pricey, but now I wish I would have bought 5…it comes everywhere with us and keeps me so cozy! (pictured below)
If the world were to end and you could only bring one book for the future of humankind to read – what would it be?
What a beautiful question Aisling! You know how I do love books! I let myself ponder this question for a while before taking to the keyboard to hammer out an answer, because ‘To Kill A Mockingbird’, ‘Poisonwood Bible’, ‘Everything Is Illuminated’, and ‘A Light In the Forest’ all came to mind. But for the future of humankind I might have to say that my recent favorite ‘Eating Animals’ by Jonathan Safran Foer might be a good pick. It could provide perspective on the way we let our relationship to food, animals and eating degrade to the point that we have begun the process of destroying the environment, entire breeds and species of animals, and the very sustenance we require to go on living.
If you could eat only one thing for the rest of your life, what would it be? How is your movement to veganism going?
Even though I eat pretty basic foods in nearly same order nearly every day, it’s very difficult for me to choose one food to eat forever! In the end I have to say potatoes, since I love them so dearly in nearly all of their forms. Mashed, baked, wedges, au gratin, twice-baked, french fried, hashbrowned.
As for the veganism, it’s coming along. Let’s just say, I’m not a vegan when I am in Rome. It truly is a struggle, mostly against habit and convenience. Cheese is still my main struggle, although I do anticipate having more variety of substitutes and alternative foods when I am back stateside, but milk, butter, and eggs have been easier to get rid of. Honey, sadly, is still too big a temptation for me, a spoonful in my green tea is so delicious. As Dave transitions away from different forms of meat bit by bit, I find myself feeling a bit more pressure to walk the walk.
EDIT: I’ve added an answer to the question of a late-comer! 🙂
What single childhood moment to you cherish most?
I still can’t believe you are a parent Nell! Does that mean that I, too, am getting older?
I don’t think I could pinpoint one specific moment, but I would say going to camp with my family would be my best childhood (and adulthood!) memory. For those of you not from where I’m from, by camp I don’t mean summer-camp, I mean cottage, cabin, lake-house, whatever you call it where you’re from. Where I’m from, we go da camp, eh!
Whether it was winter or summer, and even in my teenage years when the lack of phone or cable made me a bit cranky, camp was always a fun, lazy, adventurous place that was just our own. I am totally comfortable there, in camp clothes, eating camp food, doing camp things. I want to go there now!