Me Me Me - and it isn't even a meme!

You know what? Apart from the new design, there's another thing I think my site needed. I've been keeping this blog for almost a year now, and still I've managed to tell you only a tiny bit about ME - I mean, apart from all of the food hooha, of course. At first I think I just didn't feel comfortable writing a lot about myself. Now I've gotten waaay past that point - I mean essentially, that is what I do every time I post something, isn't it?

And while it may seem terribly self-absorbed, I've felt lately that I actually owe it to the "regulars" (and also to people popping by every now and again) to tell a bit more about myself, just like I've promised to do a formal introduction of Le Guinea Pig. The memes going around have helped me share some more, but I think there's some truth to a blog being more interesting if you fairly easily can tell who the person behind it is. When I find a new blog, I always check the "about" section out if there is one - I would never dismiss a blog that doesn't have one, but I like it when there is - it gives you a short-cut to what the person writing the blog (and thereby, the blog itself) is about. That goes for both the shining new blogs and the old cared for and loved ones - I still on a weekly basis find blogs that are new to me, but that have been around for ages! So I think I need to provide some info, too...

We used to have these "Friend Books" when I was a kid - you know, the kind of book that you passed around to your friends and then they had to, in their childish writing, answer all of these weird questions, like favorite color, biggest wish etc. Continuing that tradition, here I've made a slightly updated version - please indulge me while I toot my own horn!

Name: Zarah Maria - well, there's more, but some privacy is still in order I think!

Residence: Copenhagen, Denmark

E-mail: zarahjordahn(at)gmail(dot)com

Born: on February 15th, 1979 (so right now I'm 26)

Height: 1,74 m.

Weight: You really thought I was going to tell you!?!

Natural haircolor: brown

Natural eye color: weirdly brown-green things...

Family: Not easy, I have a weird family tree, but: Parents (who are divorced - or rather, they were never married, so could I say they were divorced?) Mom J & Dad J

On my Mom's side I have an Older sister, T

Stepmom C - who married my Dad, what? 10 years ago? Yes, something like that. On my Dad's side I then have to younger siblings, The Brother M and the Sister K.

Boyfriend Martin (yay, an actual name!)

Best friend(s): J - and B, P and I.

What do you do? I'm a medical student. Right now (September 2005) I'm going to start 6th semester - there's 12 in total. Oy!

Favorite color: Oh... red. No, yellow. Oh, but orange, too. Could I just say bright colors??

Favorite dish: Hmm. ALL of these!;-P

Favorite singer/group: Check out this one

Favorite Animal: My guinea pig - and dogs

Favorite TV-show: Sex and the City. Nothing above it!

Favorite movie: Pretty Woman; The Fabulous Amelie of Montmatre

Favorite book: A cookbook - look here! As for regular books, it changes a lot, but some favorite English books are: Intimacy by Hanif Kureshi; The man who ate everything;

When I grow up I'd like to be: A doctor. In fact, I'm almost halfway there... I'd really like to be a pediatrician - I can dream, can't I?!

Favorite subject in school: Call me a nerd: biochemistry. But back in (the equivalent of high school here) gymnasiet it would have been chemistry and math. So much better Zarah!

In my sparetime I: study. Work as a waitress. At school I take part in the student politics organization and am active in a group that manages a donor program for Indian kids. I've just recently started doing volunteer work at the office of Médecins sans Frontières here in Denmark (trying to work my way in so I might one day be able to be sent off to somewhere, heh!;-)) Like to go swimming and do yoga (but it seldom happens) Oh yeah, and I blog quite a bit. And blog-hop WAY too much!

I dislike: people that aren't honest. Exams.

I love: my boyfriend and my family. The scent of freshly baked bread. Earl grey tea in the morning. Chocolate. Studying medicine (but see above).

What's up with all the food? See this.

My biggest wish: Peace on Earth. Seriously, I used to write that all the time! On a more back-to-reality-materialistic level, I'd probably say... A digital reflex camera.

I'm most proud of: Speaking achievements in life, I'd say going to medical school after 4 years of doodling around. I hate it from time to time, but deep down, I have no doubt that this is actually what I want to do.

Added questions:

By Karen: Where or how did you get your funny bone?
Now where is the anatomical position of the funny bone??;-) No, joke aside - I think it just runs in my family. We have this weird sense of irony that are an integral part of our lives. I remember when my brother was younger than he is now, one of the funniest things I knew of was to put him through the grinder. Say we were making cookies or something and he came into the kitchen and said: can I have one? I'd answer, voice stern and serious, but with a hint of something: "No, they're all for us - you can't have any, because you're too little." For a second, he wouldn't know what to say but he'd have a sparkle in his eye and then he'd just burst out laughing because he KNEW I was taking the p*** on him! And I mean, the boy was 4 or 5 or something! I remember my older sister doing it to me, too. Don't say kids don't understand irony - if they're subjected to it day in and day out, they'll learn faster than you can say peek-a-boo!

We've always been a bit silly in my family too - growing up with just my Mom and my older sister, things could go quite wacky in that household. I remember Saturday mornings in my Mom's big bed, with her performing a show with my teddybears, each one having it's own unique voice and dialect. These days, Martin blames me for making him silly. He says that before he met me, he'd never thought of doing some of the weird stuff he does now, like we have this exchange: One of us goes: "Hey, you know what??" The other one, very naïvely goes: "No, what?" - full well knowing that the answer will be "I LOVE YOU!!" I guess you could just say that to begin with, but that's just not how it happens here - everytime at least.

By Cathy: Did you always want to become a doctor? If not, what did you used to want to be?
Ahem. One of the things I thought you'd never know about me. When I was a little girl, I wanted to be an opera singer when I grew up. I suppose it had lots to do with the fact that my Dad used to take me to the opera all the time and I loved (and still do love!) the stories, the drama, the singing. But. Well. I have a rather high-pitched voice (think The Chipmunks - darn it, I'd have made the meanest soprano!) and I guess it really was more of a dream than something I ever really pursued. Apart from that, I think I went through: professional dancer (I took dance lessons from when I was 6 until I was 16 - I practically lived at the dance school!) - lawyer (my entire family are lawyers (Dad, Stepmom, Older Sister - and my Mom's a lawyer's secretary!) - waiter & chef (well obviously!) and last but not least, doctor. I remember thinking about it around 9th grade, but then let go of it again - crappy hours, weird smelly people, sickness - and who would anyone want to spend their lives in a hospital when they aren't even sick?

7 years passed, and I figured: Zarah, you love science - all that math and chemistry and physics - you like people - admit it, you do like just a slight bit of stress... and you know, just because you study medicine doesn't mean you have to end up in a white coat with bags under your eyes, deprived of sleep. You could do research. You could cure cancer. You could pretend you have it in you to save the world. I'll most likely end up in the white coat, trawling the aisles of a dimly lit hospital, beeper going nuts - and I think I've grown to love that idea...

By Alice: Do you have a favorite artist or work of art?
Uh-oh. Alice, Alice, Alice - you caught me! I'm really bad with art. I wouldn't say that I'm not interested in it, it's just never been anything I've been introduced to. Noone's ever taken my hand and lead me through a gallery, pointing out the clear strokes of this or that painting or the alluring contrasts here or there, or made it into a discussion of "why do you think this is good/stinks/sucks/rocks your world?" I've found that a lot of the interests I have and enjoy are things someone else has been passionate about - be it a teacher, a colleague, a family member. They somehow managed to transfer some of the energy they had for the subject onto me, and I've loved it ever since. Like opera (my Dad) and food (some fabulous colleagues). And I know, not everything's supposed to be fed to you by spoon, some things just grab you and you can't stay away - I swear my family sometimes roll their eyes when I go all medical student on them! I've wanted to learn more about art, art history, composition, but there are only that many hours in a day. Oh, and photography, I want to learn more about that too - I even took a course, but that ended up being mostly about developing pictures. I love photography. All sorts, but they can go too artsy on me.

I love looking at architecture, but it's not something I know stuff about, if you know what I mean - I don't walk around categorizing: that's funkis isn't it? Early 60's, huh? I just enjoy it for the clean lines or waves. Which, I guess, could bring me to an answer to your question: I adore Gaudí;, the Spanish architect. I could spend hours and hours looking at his houses - colors, textures, hidden treasures. Love 'em. And then I have this at home. It's a "portrait" of me, made by one of my Mom's friends who does these fantasy-like pictures in vivid colors (you can see some of them here, although these are not really like the ones my Mom have). Love the rest of her paintings too.

By Nicky: What do you most treasure about Denmark and the people living there? Any other country you would like to live in at some point in the future?

Well, what's there not to love about Denmark? I love the fact that the weather changes - that we have (at least from time to time!) bright, warm and sunny summers and icy cold and snowy winters. I love the long summer evenings where the sky stays purplish blue until 11 pm. I love that I can ride my bike everywhere in Copenhagen, and that I almost always feel safe, no matter where I go in the city, or at what time.

I like Denmark because it's got a lot of history - lots and lots of old buildings and architecture. Green forests and yellow fields. We have wide, sandy beaches and blue-grey-greenish oceans. I think I like it because it's small.

Actually, Danes are really weird sometimes. We're a very private nation - we like our hygge (roughly the same as the link tells you), like to light candles in the dark evenings and like to spend time in our own homes. Don't get me wrong, it's not like we don't like other people - but we're not as open as Americans, for example (at least the Americans I've met) We're really bad at being proud of ourselves and the things we accomplish. I don't suppose you've ever heard of Janteloven? A short explanation (the link will give you the full one) is that basically, you're not supposed to think you're better than anyone else. It thrives here. Unfortunately. Of course, people that are way full of themselves can be a pain in the rear, but what's up with being frowned upon because I think there's something I'm good at? Modisty is one thing, but this is just stupid.

But what do I really treasure most about them? Well, taking me back to Karen's question (see above) - I love our sense of humor. Sort of dark, bordering to morbid. Much irony. In general, we're pretty people, LOL! Being a Dane, I'm embraced by my fellow countrymen, but I think it can be really hard for other nationalities to come here - we're not so good at embracing the new and adventurous, as I think we should (or could) be. We're too afraid of offering people a little finger, then having them run away with our arm. Stupid, I know. But I think we're getting better at opening up, with all us young'uns traveling out into the world and seeing how it is possible to treat strangers - with arms wide and curiosity in front, seeing them as someone you can learn stuff from, and not as someone that's coming to take things away from us.

Hmm. It sounds like we're not the nicest bunch on the planet. But scratch the surface, and you'll see that beneath the private, secluded person is a thinking, breathing, passionate human being. I think that maybe that is also one of the reasons I like it here. I can be alone, even in the middle of a crowd. Sounds a little sad, but I actually like being alone, sometimes.

I would love to try and live everywhere in the world - or, let me refrase that - I wouldn't mind staying anywhere, as long as it wasn't in the deepest, darkest war-zone. Heck, even that wouldn't scare me - oh who am I kidding, I'd be scared shitless, but I'd do it, if I needed to, and if I thought it served a greater purpose!

So far, I've lived in London for 6 months (waaaaay back in 2001, heh!) and I loved it there. I loved the size, the people, the bustling an commotion. A great city. I've back-packed through much of South America, and spend (way too little time) in Santiago, Buenos Aires, Lima and several other big cities there. I'm a city girl. Not because I miss the drinks and the high heels if I'm out in the country, but because the city's (often) where the people is.

I'd really like to try and live in USA. I think we here in Europe are very prejudiced on what Americans are, without ever really knowing. American politics - and the American way of living (if such a thing exists - is it really that different from our lives here in Europe?) is making a larger and larger impact on my own daily life. The world might be big, but it's still getting oddly smaller. I think I owe it to myself to try and break down some of my pre-formed opinions, and replace them with some I've made myself. Big cars, hours of commuting, not enough exercise, fast food, gigantic cities, weapons, green country-sides and a curious and welcoming people. It's just one big mix of things of which I'm not quite sure what to think? Is it really as good/bad as the papers and tv describe it? I need to know by seeing myself what all this is about.

Getting as close to living there as I can, I'll (hopefully - visas, car-buying et all allowing!) go on a roadtrip with my boyfriend this February, crossing form east to west, spending 6 months there (or as long as the money will allow us!) - more on that to follow shortly! And just so that no one from immigrations will come after me, I have no intentions of working while on said roadtrip, or to overstay my visa!;-) I have an education I'd like to finish some day, and a family here in Denmark that I am SO returning to - and you know, I just can't help but love this place anyways!

The lazy persons CV:

Past: nerdy student (LOL, still am!) Spent four years working as a waitress full-time (which probably made way for my love of food and cooking) Lived in London for 6 months. Traveled in South America for 3 months. Used to be a vegetarian.

Present: Medical school. Waitressing. Living with the boyfriend and the guinea pig. Cooking and baking. Started to eat meat again.

Future: Going on a roadtrip across the USA. Finishing medical school. Having children. Cook. Blog. Be merry.

This will be an ongoing project - if you feel there are questions that are left out, put them in the comments section, then I'll try an answer them - unless they're nasty of course!:-)


Ana said…
Loved to read about you Zarah Maria and to know you better. I'm sure you will be a wonderful pediatrician. You will love to see other countries with Medicins sans frontieres.
plum said…
It's lovely to know all this about you and your life Zarah Maria (I feel like I should say "Lovely to meet you"!)

Methinks I need to do some work on my profile now!
Anonymous said…
Ok, here's a question: where or how did you get your funny bone? You never fail to make me smile!!! I'm sure you'll be a good doctor for little people.
eat stuff said…
oh I love reading about people!
thanks so much for sharing :)
Stephanie said…
I do remember those friend books...usually do them at the start of the school year.

Thanks; it is good to know more about you!
Cathy said…
Hi Zarah - this is great! Ok - I have a question for you... did you always want to be a doctor? If not, what did you used to want to be?

P.S. - so happy you finally got your picture to be "gauzy"!
Zarah Maria said…
Ana, Plum, Clare, Stephanie - thank you and you're welcome! I really felt it was about time - I can surely understand why people don't feel like putting it all out there - I've held back loads of stuff! But as you said in your beautifully written post the other day Stephanie, we are somehow getting closer and closer to each other. I don't feel like people that come around here are strangers anymore, and because of that, I don't need the same kind of privacy. I want people to know these things, so they might understand a bit more about why Food & Thoughts is as it is.

Karen, Cathy - I'll work your questions into the post, so see that for the answers (I should have them up later today...) And thanks to you too!:-)
Unknown said…
Add me to the list of people who are happy to know you better. And of course, I find myself trying to think how detailed MY profile is...
Anonymous said…
It's wonderful to know more about you!! You look so happy in your pictures, too. And the new blog design is great!! Hmmm, for another question, how about...Do you have a favorite artist or work of art?
Jennifer said…
Zarah - who knew you had all that bottled up inside of you! It's amazing how "well" I thought I already knew you only to find out I didn't really know you at all...

Oh, and the round-up to the griller's IMBB is here.
Michèle said…
Hi Zarah, what a wonderful idea! It certainly does make the blog reading more interesting when you know the writer behind it a little more. Its very nice to be getting to know you :)
Zarah Maria said…
Hi Linda! Hmm, so maybe I have started sort of a meme, giving the definition of meme?!

Alice - see above for the answer to your question. And I am a happy girl, so I'm glad it shows!:-)

Jennifer - surprise, surprise! I hope I haven't scared you off then? I think you (and others) do know me well, even before this - I just found I had a lot of references to my everyday life popping up in my posts more and more, so I had to just "show all" or it would get too fiddly - or at least not as honest as I would like it to be. I loved your posts on your wedding because they showed a side of you I hadn't seen before. Yes, it was about food, but in the writing, there was also a lot of love for your husband, a lot of history between you, that shone (past tense of shine?!) through. I liked that. I like people to see that yes, I am all about the food - but I'm also about caring for the people I love, hating my job or studies, yet loving them still...

And thanks for the link, I think they were changing servers when I set up my archives, that's why I couldn't find it - naughty chefs!

Michele - thank you! I wasn't really up to doing the big essay, but I thought brief questions, a couple a day, I can do that - then it evolved into this! Some questions have gotten a bit essay-ish, but people know how to use a scroll button, eh?:-)
Anonymous said…
Dear Zarah Maria,

Thanks for writing such an informative and cute essay on the person Zarah Maria :) The photos are great! Here's a question I have - hope you haven't answered it yet on your blog: What do you most treasure about Denmark and the people living there? Any other country you would like to live at some point in the future?
Zarah Maria said…
Hi Nicky! Thank you for asking! I've added the answer where it belongs, in the post!:-)
Unknown said…
It was such an interesting read. And I really admire your thirst to better learn what the United States really is, rather than going on preconceived notions. That's really admirable!
Love your blog!
Lori said…
I feel like I know you already -- so much so that I'll let you know if I ever make it to Denmark -- all the way from here in Manila. :)

I like your honesty and writing style. Thanks for linking to my site. I'll be coming 'round a lot.
smkyqtzxtl said…
Enjoyed reading about you. I have a daughter named Zara, birthday the day before yours. We are American. I found your comments about Americans amusing. What Europeans forget is that we are an immigran nation, some of us are very recent imports some have been here longer and that affects the perspective. We are a probably more like a soup,stew or a gumbo in cooking terms, than a roast beef. Maybe something heartier with layers, a lasagna! A mix of ingredients. My daughter just came back from Britain and Paris. She is eager to return to Britain and said she will pass on a second helping of Paris. Interesting. We love food at our house, my ethnicity ?, mostly sicilian, married into a german dutch immigrant family.
Star-Apple said…
Your blog is absolutely GREAT!!! I am gonna try some of the Danish recipes... I have a special bond to Denmark (this is why I stoped at your blog). Your life seem very full and interesting... Keep up with the good work, I will stop by from time to time, and will of course report on how the dishes turned out.
Thank you
You have a fantastic site

A I am actually with a request.

I just recently started a blog called International lunchbox. I am working on it becoming an international site.

The Goal is to compile children's lunch photos from as many countries as possible and to collect the ideas, facts, histories,traditions,and recipes associated with them.

I was curious if you might be interested in submitting a post from a Norweigan perspective, or may know of anyone interested in participating.

I will keep reading! and will add you on my site.

Kind regards,

Oakland Californin USA
International Lunchbox
Anonymous said…
Hello- I am so glad to have found your blog! I love it. I need to get some info. on Denmark. Could you tell me what Danish girls do for fun. I am a youth leader in Utah in the US, and am teaching my girls about Denmark. Any culture that doesn't come from a text book or old people would be so helpful. Once again thanks for letting us in side your life over there! I love to learn about other people and their lives. Amelia, Utah
Emily said…
I'm so glad I found this blog! I studied abroad in Copenhagen in college and fell in love with the place. I stayed with a lovely host family that I am in touch with to this day. I have visited once since college and can't wait to go back again. Thanks for all the Danish recipes! Doy ou have any frickadellen (spelling?) recipes? Thanks again!

Anonymous said…
I have to say it's a wonderful website. I love your pictures of food, and the way you live...
I'm a student living in Copenhagen as well, lucky to konw you!
Happy new year and wish all your dreams come true!
Anonymous said…
Nice blog! Really nice photos and good texts too...wish I had the time to update as often and write as much text.

Keep up the good work!

/ john

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