I have been tagged recently in Facebook about the latest fad: the "get to know me list." I am not sure if this is because the people were actually interested in finding out more about me, or if they just needed that one extra person to send it to. I, of course, prefer to think it's the former. Regardless, I finally caved after several people I either really care about or who (or is it whom?) I actually would like to get to know wrote theirs. You know, because it's only fair to reciprocate.
1. My full name is Kerstin Robyn. My parents decided to call me "Robyn" because I use to chirp a lot when I was a baby. Either that, or my dad was throwing me up in the air one time and said I appeared bird-like. Neither of them can really remember. People in my family still call me by my middle name, which caused a bit of chaos (and a major identity crisis) when I moved here two years ago--because they didn't know how to introduce me to others. I switched over to my first name in high school, when there was another girl on my basketball team named "Robyn." My mom thought it was hilarious to nickname me "Kerbyn." I have a brother who is 2.5 years younger than me.
2. I was born on an Army base in Wurzburg, Germany. My first word was in German: " heiß," (hot). I have lived in South Carolina, Minnesota, Ohio, Texas, Nebraska, Hawaii, Arizona, Pennsylvania, Massachusetts and now Kansas. I went to 4 different colleges before I finally graduated from University of Pittsburgh with a degree in History.
3. My most vivid childhood memory is being at Niagara Falls with my parents when I was 5. My dad woke me up in the middle of the night and we went for a walk along the Falls. There were dew drops on the bushes that were illuminated by the street lights. We stood at the railing, watching the water cascading. It's the first time I consciously remember my dad telling me he loved me and it has stayed with me my entire life.
4. I went straight from Montessori school into first grade. I was once considered "gifted." My 2nd grade teacher told me I wasn't allowed to write in cursive because none of the other kids had learned it yet. I graduated high school at 17.
5. I learned to read at 4 and I have always been a passionate, voracious reader. I love multicultural literature, especially when it's written by women. When I was in junior high I used to write alternate endings to books I had read.
6. In 10th grade, I was chosen to sing a solo during a swing choir concert and forgot one of the verses to "I Can't Say No" from Oklahoma!. Prior to that, I used to love to perform. I sang in church services, weddings, and at parties. Since that experience, I can't sing on my own without throwing up--either before or after or sometimes both--unless I drink significant amounts of alcohol or unless I am hiding behind the piano, singing while playing.
7. I participated in three Varsity sports per year in high school: cross-country, basketball and track. I used to throw up after every cc race. I was supposed to run for Nebraska Wesleyan but I blew my knee out before the season even started.
8. I went on a summer choir/band tour to Europe when I was 16. We visited and performed in France, Germany, Austria, Switzerland, Belgium and Lichtenstein. I sang a duet during our performance in Notre Dame, which we we almost didn't get to do. When we were in Paris, a group of us snuck out after curfew and sang songs on the lawn of the Eiffel Tower.
9. My first car was a dark green, 1976 Camaro, which my parents bought for $900. It didn't have the cool spoiler on the back, but it did have a faux-sheepskin steering wheel and seat covers. We called it "The Tank." It got 9 miles to the gallon. In the winter, I would have to leave it idling in the driveway for at least 10 minutes to keep it from stalling. If I hit the stoplight leaving my subdivision, I would delay traffic because it would lurch and die. Wash, rinse, repeat. At one point, the brakes were so far gone that I still rolled into the car in front of me despite my foot being pressed all the way to the floor.
10. I flunked out of Nebraska Wesleyan University my freshman year, despite being an academic/athletic all-state award winner in high school. It was my rebellious phase. I rushed a sorority and apparently I was bringing their GPA down so they tried to hire me a tutor. I told them to go f--k off, that I didn't need a tutor--I needed Prozac. Which I subsequently took for a year while attempting to get my act together. That same freshman year, a fellow student approached the school counselor with the opinion that I was drinking too much. Shortly after, I was nominated for, and went on, a weekend retreat for students who show leadership on campus. When I walked through the door, there was an audible gasp from my peers. I met my first husband there while playing a pickup game of 3-on-3 basketball. He was the president of a fraternity and widely admired on campus. I felt vindicated when he asked me out on a date.
11. I spent 3 months in Finland when my ex was doing his final semester of college as an exchange student in Turku. We traveled all over Finland on the train, took the Silja line back and forth from Helsinki to Stockholm several times, spent a week at a friend's summer place on the island of Oland and took a bus trip to St. Petersburg, Russia. I have a picture of me standing next to Tchaikovsky's and Dostoevsky's graves. I ate lunch in the Hotel Astoria, where Hitler had planned to hold his victory party.
12. I have been married since I was 19 years old. My first marriage was annulled after 5 years because there was no evidence of a partnership present (but that's another story). I had to write a summary of my request and it ended up being 20 pages long. I have only lived on my own for a cumulative total of 6 months, and, despite myself, sometimes I really regret that.
13. Both my children were born feet first and I am very proud of my scar from two c-sections. My son is complimented on his manners every time he goes over to someone's house and my daughter is already very independent. I am fiercely proud of them.
14. I am also proud of the laugh lines on my face. Laughter serves many purposes for me. I use humor when I am uncomfortable but it's also a way for me to show my appreciation for something that I think is really funny. I have several different laughs. Making others giggle gives me both joy and confidence.
15. I love to watch foreign films. I have suspension of disbelief with most mainstream movies. Unless I am completely wowed, you probably won't ever want to watch one with me. I will annoy you with my constant questions, like "Why didn't she just do X?" but afterward I will talk about the characters as if they actually exist.
16. I have rock star fantasies, which is why I love to sing karaoke. If I could, I would do it every night of the week. I get a secret thrill when strangers tell me I did a good job. The experience never seems to live up to my expectations because the residuals from #7 kick in, but I keep going back for more because I think, "Next time I'll sing that note differently or I will make this movement and it will ROCK!" I have a list of songs I want to try and every time I get in the car by myself, I try to sing as though I was performing.
17. I am obsessed with music. I can't breathe without it, and even when I am not listening to it, I hear melodies in my head. It's what I turn to when I am happy or sad, when I need consolation, motivation or inspiration (or most any other "ation"). I feel every ounce of emotion an artist puts into his or her music as if I wrote it myself and my mood can change on a dime because of it. I will listen to a song over and over until I know all the words and can play the piano part, if there is one, in my mind. I have never attempted to compose anything because I am afraid of failure. My brother and my father write and play songs on the guitar and I am insanely jealous that it comes so easy to them. I have only spontaneously played my own music on the piano once, and it was while I was in a dark place in my life. Otherwise, I have to use sheet music. This depresses me greatly.
18. I have serious word association issues. If I spontaneously laugh at something you say, it's likely because I am thinking of either song lyrics or a quote from a movie with that word in it.
19. I often dream about jumping off the side of a large cliff and flying. Most of my dreams lately are spent hovering above ground, watching myself interacting with others. For several years, I had a recurring dream of falling and breaking my right arm in various ways. Slipping on the ice, falling down the stairs, tripping over something--you name it, I did it.
20. I need a certain amount of alone time or I have a meltdown. When I am upset or unhappy, I will just get in the car and drive. If it gets bad enough, sometimes I don't even tell anyone I'm leaving. On these trips, I like to smoke cigarettes and listen to angst-y music. Loudly. It reminds me of college, when a girlfriend and I used to drive around in her beater, listening to Depeche Mode, smoking Virginia Slims and drinking Diet Coke. We thought we were bad asses.
21. I am, and always have been, a tomboy. I love to play sports--especially football. I can be extremely competitive. I am the one who has taught my son to throw and hit a baseball. I still don't consider myself a very feminine person, though I am acutely aware of it in the moments when my femininity decides to magically appear. Intelligent women who act dumb to get attention really annoy me, especially when it's solely to get out of doing things like changing tires or squashing bugs. That being said, I hate spiders in my house and I ask my husband to relocate them instead of doing it myself. If I hadn't watched "Arachnaphobia" 20 years ago, I would be fine. I still check the lamp switch before touching it without thinking sometimes.
22. I am fascinated by both bugs and birds and could sit and watch both for hours.
23. My mom is an English teacher and my grammar was corrected a lot during my childhood. As a result, bad grammar and bad spelling are like nails on a chalkboard to me. Mine may not always be perfect, but I make a serious effort. I will revise an email countless times before sending it and it drives me crazy when I realize I've missed something.
24. I see beauty everywhere and often get choked up at the most random things.
25. My capacity to love is enormous. It happens quickly and whacks me over the head every time. You'd think I'd be used to it by now, but I can never get enough. I love the feeling of loving someone and being loved in return.