Some girls are made of adventure, fine beer, brains and no fear.
If you were to make a ‘recipe for you’, what would it contain? What are the essential ingredients that make you who you are?
I read the above quote and laughed as I related strongly with the latter description of adventure and fine beer, brains and no fear. It did, however, get me thinking about what makes me who I am.
My family and the unconditional love I receive from them is, of course, a key element in what makes me who I am. As an early years educator, I am a huge supporter of attachment theory and the importance of early childhood experiences in providing a secure base for children to learn and grow. My parents brought me up surrounded by secure attachment experiences. In spite of the fact that we moved home and I moved school every couple of years, I was continually reassured and supported within my home life (wherever that may have been). This has had a huge influence on my own inner security in who I am as an adult. Even though I know it drives them crazy, they have supported my decisions and my adventures and are always, without fail, there at the airport to pick me up when I return. As the oldest of three sisters, I am forever made up of our childhood experiences together and the laughter and tears we have shared together. I am still fiercely protective over my sisters, even though we are all now adults, and I know they are always on my side. My extended family are scattered, yet when we get together for special events, Christmasses, weddings, we are loud, the laughter is endless, and the love that is felt is real.
Anyone who has followed this blog for any length of time will know that my friendships are another essential part of who I am. I am an incredibly lucky person and have some really amazing friends. I am a fiercely loyal friend, a good listener and shoulder to cry on, and I love nothing more than side-splitting laughter shared with friends. As someone who has a tendency to ‘up-sticks’ and move around, it would be very easy to become isolated and to lose friendships. But friendships deserve trust, loyalty, and understanding – and I have been blessed with friendships that carry all three elements. Friends who understand each other’s dreams, loves and desires. Friends who are loyal and will be there for each other no matter what. Friends who trust each other and stand by each other. They are my urban family and I don’t think I would be the same person were it not for them.
I love adventure. I love to travel, to see new places, meet new people, and experience as much of this amazing world as I possibly can. From climbing waterfalls in the Amazon to laughing with children in rural Uganda, from snorkelling in the Pacific Ocean to standing at 5000m above sea-level on the slopes of The King of The Andes – Chimborazo Volcano. I’m currently living and working in Tanzania in beautiful East Africa and am looking forward to adding to my list of incredible experiences. Every experience fills my big bucket of happiness and brings me memories to last a lifetime. I learn more about myself with every adventure. I learn what I am capable of and what my body is capable of. I learn about being brave. I learn from the people I meet. I learn about hard work and integrity. I learn about happiness in simplicity. I learned that ‘possessions in my hands will never be as valuable as peace in my heart’.
I am a walking bleeding heart! It may have come from my upbringing within The Salvation Army and growing up with strong family values of love, compassion, kindness and generosity. Between the ages of 10 and 15 my family home was attached to an alcohol rehabilitation hostel which my parents ran. My daily life was lived alongside people who had reached their lowest points and were being supported in their recover and getting their life back. Christmas Day was spent cooking and serving food to the homeless or recovering addicts. The weeks leading up to Christmas were spent being involved in toy collections and collecting alongside the band in the street. Even to this day my Christmases are spent giving back and, all these experiences have instilled a deep sense of compassion within me. I stop to buy a cup of tea or something to eat for homeless people – my friends have lost me on night’s out and then found me sitting on the kerb with a homeless person, sharing my chips and chatting with them. I volunteered as a Childline counsellor – working late night or early morning shifts and answering phonecalls from young people who needed someone to talk to. I linked up with an incredible charity and worked with them to start projects to improve the basic sanitary needs of girls at a school in rural Uganda. I have cried after visiting a rural Ugandan maternity hospital struggling to care for it’s patients with limited resources, and held my breath while waiting for the tiny cry of a new born baby. I have received grateful hugs from the mothers on the ward as I give them knitted hats and jumpers to keep their beautiful newborn babies warm. I give what I can and I care. I care a lot.
Brains, An Old Soul, Creativity and a little bit of Geekery
I have always been academic. I love learning. Every time I say I am done with studying, I end up taking on another qualification… In some ways, being a teacher is one of the best jobs for me! I love reading and can lose myself in books for days. I love to write and process my thoughts and feelings best through writing. I am a creative thinker and I think outside the box (very handy when it comes to teaching little children!). I am also a bit of a sci-fi geek… a Whovian, a Neil Gaiman addict, and a Harry Potter obsessive. I adore fantasy novels, and love the Sandman graphic novels. I will read any dystopian fantasy that comes along! I sometimes wonder if I was born in the wrong era! I adore the class of the 1930s style, the fun of the 1920s style, and the freedom of the 1960s style. My house is full of vintage odds and ends garnered from travels and from family heirlooms. I love the timelessness of vintage style and the old-fashioned values that come with it. I sometimes feel like some of the class that came with eras gone by has been lost in our modern world, but I am probably very lucky in living in an era now where all these other times can be appreciated!
What am I made of?
Take an old soul, some unconditional love, loyalty, adventure, compassion, brains, creativity and a little bit of geekery.
What are you made of?