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Mad Scientess Jane Expat

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Snow day meme [20091219|13:46]
Mad Scientess Jane Expat
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[personal profile] oursin gave me five questions, which I have answered below the cuts:

Is being an expat your preference? Being an expat is my preference now. It didn't start off that way. At first it was difficult and scary. I didn't have friends that weren't my partner's. Just leaving the house proved to be exhausting, especially when traveling around London by bus, which was what I could afford. This was before the buses had those handy boards & announcements for every stop and you had either to sit at the front on the upper level or right next to the left-hand windows on the lower level to be able to spot the stops. Even then, London's winding streets meant that often you couldn't read the signs until you were within 20 feet of them, at which point the bus was already flying past it.

I went through a depressive slump, which both caused and was then exacerbated by, the meltdown of said relationship. I attempted to cope with this by drinking a lot and pretending everything was fine. You can imagine how well that worked.

Now, however, I've won myself a pretty nice lifestyle, I think. I thrive on the perpetual edge of heightened awareness that being an expat requires. I'm always conscious that my behaviour must be monitored and occasionally modified to suit the cultural norm. However, as the culture suits my quirks and peccadilloes quite well, it's no longer a struggle. Instead, it's a source of happiness.

When did you first identify as an atheist (if you do)? I think I've always been a non-believer. My parents were quite careful to raise me without any religious indoctrination. We didn't go to church, but if I had wanted to, they wouldn't have stopped me. (I didn't.) My mother tried to expose me to different schools of belief and philosophy through the books she brought home from the library. I attended a Catholic school in Hawai'i, but this was simply because my mother worked in the library. Very little of the doctrine seems to have made its way into my nascent consciousness. I spent all my time staring out the stained glass windows and wondering how they'd been made, or day-dreaming about being outside.

I didn't think to label myself an atheist until I was in high school. As high school is a difficult enough time as it is, I didn't discuss my lack of faith with many other people since nearly all my friends were fervent Baptists or Mormons. My training as a scientist and post-university reading material have only served to firm up my position and provide me with the tools to gently but firmly deflect attempts to convert me.

Favourite thing about physics? I think my favourite thing about physics is its boldness. "Hey!" says physics. "I know it's an impossible task and I'll never get it completely right, but I'm going to try and work out the fundamental laws governing the behaviour of the observable universe." You have to be a little nuts to expect that you can do that even to a reasonable approximation. And yet physics manages.

Would you volunteer to take part in a space mission? Technically, I've already volunteered to take part in several space missions. I'm going to assume, though, that you meant would I volunteer to participate in a manned space mission. Yes, but there would be caveats. Were it, for instance, a colonization mission I would have to be able to bring my partner for a potentially one-way trip. If it were a servicing mission for a robotic spacecraft, a trip to the moon or a stint on the ISS, all of which are on the order of months, I would volunteer without reservation.

London: tired of, tired of life? Or foul wen? I think it's possible to be tired of living in London without being tired of life. I love working in London and the exciting mix of high and low-brow opportunities for night-time entertainment it affords. But I also love living with my partner, being able to afford a house with a substantial garden, having pets and essentially escaping to the countryside every weekend. I have to make sacrifices - I can't really close out the pub with friends very often unless I want to pay heavily for it by being exhausted from the commute for days afterwards, for instance - but my quality of life has improved substantially since I moved out of London.

If you would like five questions of your own, dear DW/LJ friends, please leave a comment. I will respond. (Actual number of questions may vary depending upon how well I know you, whether or not I've asked you questions before, whether or not you answered them, whether or not I'm afraid of repeating myself and how much time I have.)

You know what's coming now. Oh yes, you do. It's...Adorable Kitten Picture time! With snow!

Telstar is not convinced that this is good for him. At all.

Mighty Hunter Sputnik. Very good at catching his brother.

[User Picture]From: chickenfeet2003
2009-12-19 14:27 (UTC)
Kittens and snow!

nd five questions please.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 15:19 (UTC)
  • Would you consider upping sticks & moving to another country again? (If yes, where would you go?)
  • Dark, milk or white chocolate?
  • Does the British rail system fall apart at the slightest hint of adverse weather conditions just so that people will have something to talk about at lunch?
  • Do you think Gareth Thomas' campaign to get sport to confront its closed-mouthed attitude towards sexuality will help make life easier for gay sportsmen & women in the future?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 22:04 (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: ursarctous
2009-12-19 14:41 (UTC)
that picture of telstar is possibly one of the best pictures EVER. beautiful.

do you feel you've missed out on anything, being raised without a particular faith? my parents were both raised in very-gently-religious households and raised my sister and me as almost complete atheists, which is fine for the most part, but then they act all surprised when we have to go to church weddings and we don't have any idea how to sing the obscure hymns that everyone else is warbling happily along to...

oh and questions please!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 15:33 (UTC)
Aw, thank you. He's very photogenic, that kitten. Not too bright though.

I do feel awkward on the rare occasions I have to go to church. Like you, I have no idea about the hymns or the standing/sitting/kneeling business. I fumble along and try not to embarrass anyone. Mostly I feel like I don't fit in, but since that's a sensation to which I've become accustommed, it doesn't bother me as much as it otherwise might!

  • Which of the plants that you grew this year are you most proud of?
  • What's your favourite scent?
  • How did you become interested in The Ipcress File?
  • What do you think is the most important thing to remember when bringing up a child?
  • Have you put up any holiday decorations?
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[User Picture]From: jixel
2009-12-19 14:58 (UTC)
great questions/answers. but i'm here for the iconic praise and glory lol. glad you're sporting it proudly :)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 15:33 (UTC)
I foresee it entering regular rotation. :-D
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[User Picture]From: jixel
2009-12-22 17:26 (UTC)


I love when I get it right!
Check out my current post "5" ..
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[User Picture]From: senusert
2009-12-19 20:15 (UTC)
The kittens are too cute for thier own good. Also, you had more snow then me - no fair.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 15:34 (UTC)
Really! I'm surprised we had more snow. Isn't it usually wetter in Wales?
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[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2009-12-19 20:49 (UTC)
Poor Telstar!
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 15:36 (UTC)
He looks appalled every time he goes outside, and after walking around in the snow, he finds a rock to sit on with one paw raised.

He does keep going out there though.
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[User Picture]From: saltdawg
2009-12-22 15:46 (UTC)
My ferrets adored playing in the snow.

I really miss having pets. A bunch of us were sitting around the beer cooler the other night lamenting the fact that mariners don't get to have pets. Even my Bio-sphere is dying.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 15:55 (UTC)
Some of these are quite basic, because I know so little about you!

  • Is the subject you majored in at school still useful to you in what you do for a living?
  • What are the three strongest influences on your aesthetic sensibilities?
  • Were you raised with your religious faith or did you choose it?
  • How did you get into electronic music?
  • Where would you most like to travel that you haven't been?
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-22 22:14 (UTC)
It took me a minute to figure out why "B.J." is funny. That is a sure sign I've been working too much.

I'm very fond of Japanese woodcuts. My favourite artist in the genre is Utamaro. I once did a mashup of master drawings from Utamaro & Reubens for a head drawing class.

Are you a collector of music as well? What format? (I picture you as a person who'd have a lot of LPs.)

I understand what you mean about visiting other cultures as a tourist. Though I'm rarely able to take enough time off work to visit Europe for more than a few days at a time, I always have a go at reading the history and the famous literature from a country and learning a few words of the language. I much prefer the cultural immersion afforded by living here in the UK (which was only supposed to last a couple of years) and would like to do it again elsewhere, but I'm afraid I lack the facility and the time to learn another language, so it would probably have to be another country with a substantial English-speaking population.

I think I'm going to go to sleep with an image of thousands of Buddhas sitting serenely in rows now.
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[User Picture]From: anthrokeight
2009-12-21 16:04 (UTC)
I'll have your kittens. I mean, questions.
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-25 12:43 (UTC)
  • Which gender trope, when you're reading fiction, invariably causes you to grit your teeth and say "AARRGH!"?
  • If I were to spend a day in St Cloud, what should I not fail to miss? Besides meeting up with you, of course.
  • Who is your favourite shoe designer? (And I'm going to cheat here and ask you to show me a picture of your favourite pair of shoes, too.)
  • What got you started in studying anthropology?
  • Please explain the meaning of this interest: verwandtschaftsunheimlichkeitsgefühl.

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[User Picture]From: bellelaqueen
2009-12-22 15:17 (UTC)
ooh - ask me questions :-)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-25 12:49 (UTC)

Yes ma'am.

  • You've been in the UK a while now - do you encounter much Australian stereotyping these days, or has your circle of friends & work colleagues pretty much settled into acceptance?
  • What topic would interest you most if you were to do a PhD?
  • Have you been writing much fiction lately? If so, what sort?
  • Do you still go clubbing, or is there no time now?
  • How does Windsor compare to London?
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[User Picture]From: bellelaqueen
2009-12-31 11:51 (UTC)

Re: Yes ma'am.

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From: pbristow
2009-12-24 13:29 (UTC)
I am open to interrogation. =:o} Though I've already had my flesh savagely rent with the serrated edges of cardboard boxes this week, so feel free to skip that part of the process.


Edited at 2009-12-24 01:29 pm (UTC)
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[User Picture]From: nanila
2009-12-25 13:01 (UTC)
D'aww. Thank you for Cat Advertisement!

  • What would your dream job be?
  • What instrument produces your favourite sounds?
  • Please explain filkcon to someone who is totally ignorant of what might occur at one.
  • What got you interested in acting?
  • What is your favourite Doctor/Companion pairing? (Why?)
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From: pbristow
2009-12-25 23:09 (UTC)
Answered: http://pbristow.livejournal.com/567295.html

Thankyou, they were good ones. The middle one is especially timely. =:o}
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[User Picture]From: enterlinemedia
2009-12-24 20:18 (UTC)
Please ask me five questions. love the cat pictures. I have a photo or two to mail out to you after Christmas. go over to my flickr to see the photo which is on my Xmas card which I designed and shot photos for.
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