If you live in the south of England, you most likely are familiar with the little gem that is Brighton. I am very lucky to live within a ten minute train journey from an abundance of vegan cafes, a shopping centre and of course, the beach which remains beautiful even on gloomier days. I can’t say I was 100% content with standing bare-legged under the most unpleasant drizzle (I am the sort of person who holds back from wearing tights until it is far too cold to consider otherwise) but nothing brings peace to my heart as much as gazing at an expanse of water. And of course, blog photos are not going to take themselves!
The central purpose of this post, however, is not to dwell on the beauty of my local area. I always find it interesting to learn about the people behind my favourite blogs, and since I’ve been blogging consistently on here for slightly over a month, I believe the time has come to do your generic ’30, hopefully interesting, facts about me’. Since scheduling this I’ve been nominated for the Liebster award (thank you Joy!) which I will undertake in the upcoming weeks – so in short, buckle your seatbelts and uncover what lies beyond my ability to make pretty food in jars 😉.
1. Let’s start with the basics: my name is Maria, I am 18 years old and as established above, I live near Brighton in the south of England.
2. I am almost 100% Russian with a bit of Ukrainian and Greek mixed in (hence I tan easier than most Russian people).
3. Next year, I will hopefully be starting a history degree but for now I am embracing the opportunity that has been given to me to take a gap year, gain work experience and travel like every basic teenage girl ever.
4. I am trying excessively hard not to start each fact with ‘I’ or ‘my’ but this is thirty facts about ME which perfectly justifies a bit of self indulgence!
5. I think chewing gum should be made illegal because the noise is simply. too. much.
6. Growing up, big chain restaurants virtually didn’t exist in Russia, and healthy eating has always been a big part of my life because a non-Westernised Russian diet contains many fruits, vegetables, legumes etc which is very reflective of how I eat now (with the exception of no animal products).
7. When we first arrived in England, my mum and I laughed for a solid ten minutes when we realised that her partner didn’t randomly buy a car with the steering wheel ‘on the wrong side’ – this was, in fact, true for the whole country.
8. I’ve never had a boyfriend.
9. My favourite fiction book is probably ‘All the Light We Cannot See’ by Anthony Doerr. If you haven’t read it yet and like your heart to be shattered into a million pieces, go and do it asap.
10. The only film I’ve ever cried at was Marley and Me. But, even my grandma cried at this film and she didn’t even speak English.
11. Speaking of my grandma, she was a prominent Communist party member before the Soviet Union inevitably collapsed and had an enormous influence on my defining characteristics: she taught me the value of hard work, intellectual integrity and connection to the world around us. The fact that she died before witnessing my main achievements in life (thus far) makes me immensely sad because without her lessons, they may not have been possible.
12. Once you get to know me, I admit I can be quite the drama queen – I think my irl bestie Jess who is also a blogger and a much funnier one than I am – and justify this trait by saying ‘we need greater emotional transparency in our society’!
13. I have an impassioned love-hate relationship with trains: I love how they can get me across the country in a short space of time, but hate some things trains do (e.g. being cancelled at the last minute) and things some people do on trains (e.g. eating crisps and refusing to move their bags off empty seats).
14. My favourite season has to be late Spring/ early Summer (sorry Autumn lovers!) – I love it when every tree is a fresh shade of green and the air smells like blossoms. Everything feels fresh and renewed at this time of year which fills my heart with so much optimism after the colder months, not to mention my birthday is at the end of May.
15. Except for in the run up to Christmas and the summer holidays when I have much more time on my hands, and the occasional documentary in the morning, I do not watch movies and TV series very often. There’s no particular reason for this except for the lack of TV-watching in my childhood, and while I will watch films the genre/subject matter of which appeals to me (the Batman trio totally stole my heart!), I have not seen many ‘classics’ such as High School Musical and Mama Mia and the fake laugh I do whenever references come up in conversations is the most awkward thing out there.
16. I’d say my sense of humour is definitely on the dry and cynical side, as opposed to quirky.
17. Up until as late as around 2013, I dreamt of becoming a pilot like my dad, but my horrendous eyesight and a tendency to sweat profusely at the slightest bit of turbulence highlight the futility of that goal.
18. I am a weird mixture of an introvert and an extrovert. In ‘formal’ settings, such as school, work, networking events, etc, I am outgoing and enjoy working with other people. However, my social circle has always been quite small. This was a source of embarrassment for me in my early teenage years as everyone placed so much emphasis on popularity, yet growing up I realised the principle of quality over quantity in terms of friendships and accepted what I am like as a person.
19. I am 65,000 words into writing a political thriller and I’m praying that I will find the willpower to finish it one day.
20. Despite weightlifting consistently for 3-4 years, I do not look like a man just yet! The gym is my ‘me-time’ and a form of self care: nothing helps me eliminate stress as much as a hard workout accompanied by good music.
21. I spent years of my life blinded by scepticism but have recently become a firm believer in the law of attraction after unknowingly using it twice for my exam results. I ended up coming across a YouTube video about it a few months ago and got chills because throughout my life, my mindset has always reflected physical reality. The energy you release into the universe is what you will receive in return, 100%.
22. My mum almost called me Polina (Polly) and I always wonder how my life would have played out differently with a different name.
23. I adore meeting people from different cultures and finding out about their countries, their lives and their values. Being an immigrant myself, I always find I share a lot of experience with people who weren’t born in this country and it is always super interesting to compare England with our respective backgrounds.
24. I once had a turtle called Erda and I have no clue in heck where that name came from. Most people assume it is a Russian word but I highly doubt it exists anywhere outside my own vocabulary.
25. Urban Outfitters and Topshop will always be my favourite clothing stores because my style changes so much and they seem to have items to suit whatever it is at a given moment; and while I understand the benefits of online shopping I prefer the traditional shopping experience because to me, it is a social activity and I love having the freedom to try on thousands of items before picking my favourite.
26. Speaking of change, I had difficulty getting through customs this summer when travelling home from Russia because my Russian passport photo (taken 2015) looked so different to my British passport photo (taken early 2017) which in turn didn’t match how I look at the moment! The fact that I had a bright purple pixie cut in 2015 probably explains that..
27. I once got myself and a friend lost in a forest on purpose to see whether my mum would take it seriously and by the time we’d scrambled back, she had gathered a full on search party. At least I know she definitely cares about her only child!
28. My favourite conversations are of the ‘what everyone is thinking, but no one wants to say’ type.
29. It’s difficult to accurately convey my personality in thirty facts because I’m a mixture of many different traits which shows just how inaccurate it is to ‘categorise’ people. I am a calm person who is usually in bed by 10:30 (please don’t judge me too much for this one), yet I love having jokey conversations over a pizza and going on new adventures. I like to aim for a balance between modesty and confidence. One of the things that I’ve loved the most about the blogging world is having people say they can relate to something because at times I can feel either isolated or embarrassed about one of my emotional traits, and if just one person says they understand, I immediately want to give them a high five through the screen.
30. Although a lot of my blog is about food I haven’t mentioned many food-related facts, so let’s wrap this up by saying that I have an enormous appetite (yet this also applies to travel, knowledge and self-discovery – not just lentil bolognese, contrary to popular belief, lol) and my favourite cuisine is either Japanese or Mexican! I mean, who doesn’t love a huge burrito bowl after a long day of dealing with this very nuanced world.
I do apologise for the randomness of these facts but in my opinion, little things and stories are much more interesting than ‘1. MY FAVOURITE COLOUR IS GREEN! 2. I HAVE TWO CATS!’ (my favourite colour is actually navy and the number of cats I own is one, but that was for example’s sake).
I’d think that was an utterly exhausting read so thank you if you are still here, and now I invite you to share three interesting facts about yourself in the comments! Getting to know the lovely people who read this little blog is always so much fun.
Much love, Maria ❤️