101 things

On this page, you will find 101 things that you probably did not know about me. They are little tidbits about my life, my loves, my yearnings, my values, my challenges. Use them to learn a bit more about me, to strike up a conversation (with me or someone else), to find inspiration and to see that, above all, we are all human and much more than the title we hold.

  1. I respond to anything between “V” and “Valentina”. This includes “Val”, “Vale”, and “Valen”.
  2. I am originally from Dortmund, Germany, which makes me a Borussia fan.
  3. I was born on a Sunday. My grandma made sure I was aware that this means I am especially blessed.
  4. She also taught me how to sew. I didn’t feel blessed during those classes.
  5. When I was 12 years old, my then English teacher told me I would never ever be able to speak a foreign language properly.
  6. I dream mostly in English or Spanish, and almost never in Germany (my mother tongue).
  7. After 6th grade, I went for 3 weeks to Brighton, UK, all by myself.
  8. After 10th grade I moved to Ecuador for a year, living with a lovely host family.
  9. I am still in touch with my host family (and my sister) from Ecuador.
  10. I grew up with 2 brothers and 2-3 stepsiblings at any time.
  11. I am the oldest child.
  12. The first poem I learned by heart out of my own choice was Me Gusta Cuando Callas (I Like You When You Are Quiet) by Pablo Neruda. 20 years later it still comes back to me in the weirdest situations.
  13. I take my Macbook Pro basically everywhere.
  14. I have practiced lots of Martial arts: Judo, Hapkido, Aikido.
  15. I did my Master of Science in Denmark, while living in (cheaper) Germany. I love frontiers.
  16. My most impressive football (soccer) experience was seeing a Flamengo – Botafogo in the Maracanã in Rio De Janeiro. The energy was incredible!
  17. I love reading. And I am eternally grateful to the person who invented the kindle and allows me to take my entire library with me wherever I go.
  18. I don’t watch TV. I usually get bored after 10 minutes and start puttering around.
  19. I’ve read the bible twice before I turned 16.
  20. I love dancing salsa.
  21. I don’t like getting up early. But I love how it feels to have gotten up early.
  22. I worked for 1 month as an English teacher on Galapagos Islands. The turtles are as big as they say.
  23. I forgive easily and quickly. Sometimes too much so.
  24. I hate cleaning (and prefer to pay someone).
  25. I prefer driving to being the co-pilot. Actually, I like driving.
  26. When I was 8 years old, I decided to become a mermaid. I sat for 2 hours in our bath tub before my mom was able to convince me that legs are pretty rad if you want to keep running around.
  27. I used to make money playing poker.
  28. The spicier, the merrier.
  29. When I was a kid I used to read “secretely” underneath the covers. My parents recently told me that this was not a secret to them. I felt betrayed.
  30. I run barefoot (kind of).
  31. 20 km is a great lunch break distance.
  32. Green tea is the best. I used to have a tea shop specialized in onl green tea.
  33. My first stint into selling physical products was a complete failure: the ipad cover eCoberta only sold three units. I learned a lot though!
  34. I work in technical support for WooCommerce. I love what I do there.
  35. My first cat was called Myshka. Apparently that means “little mouse” in russian. I felt very subversive.
  36. I studied Russian when I was 12. I don’t remember anything.
  37. I studied Japanese when I was 14. I remember some words.
  38. After the Tchernobyl accident, during many years we welcomed Russian kids at our home for the summer.
  39. I learned first-hand that leukemia can kill children, even your summer friends.
  40. I enjoy visiting cemeteries.
  41. My parents already have chosen where to be buried. We’ve visited the future grave as a family already. It’s a beautiful tree in a graveyard forest.
  42. I played classical flute for 10 years. I also learned the guitar and the cello.
  43. I sing when I go down into the basement to pick up a new bottle of wine for my parents.
  44. I don’t care much about what people think about me. That’s the beauty of choosing your own tribe.
  45. I was once locked into Montjuic Cemetery after night fall. I jumped a 3m wall to get out. I still don’t know how I managed to not break anything.
  46. I enjoy eating. I mostly eat organic and prefer vegetarian options. I might make an exemption if your place has two or more Michelin stars. fh
  47. I like both cats and dogs. I like it even better if someone else takes care of them.
  48. My husband is transsexual. This does not make me heterosexual.
  49. I usually wear my wedding band and the engagement ring I bought for my partner (because I like it more than what they chose for me).
  50. This is my second marriage.
  51. I still get along well with my ex-husband and his family. The relationship was the perfect training ground for my current marriage.
  52. My dog was a wedding gift for my first husband. Until he had his kid the dog would move between us as needed.
  53. I cry and laugh out loud, even in public, when reading a really good book.
  54. I like the written word.
  55. I have written a couple of books in Spanish. I haven’t published even an article in German.
  56. I don’t pick up the phone if I do not recognize the number. Leave a message.
  57. My Master thesis analyzes the impact of innovation policies issued by the city/region/country and the European Union on SMEs in Barcelona.
  58. My plan was to stay in Spain for 6 months. That was in early 2008.
  59. I have seen hundreds of court hearings against Spanish banks as part of my work at the Platform for Victims of the Banking Crisis. That has taught me a lot about the Spanish legal system.
  60. I am very romantic, even though my reaction doesn’t always show that.
  61. I have a salamander tattoo on my ankle.
  62. My favorite cuisine is Thai.
  63. I enjoy answering questions on OKC.
  64. Sometimes, home alone, I put on my headphones and sing very loudly.
  65. I prefer taking the stairs.
  66. I’ve never taken illegal drugs.
  67. I’ve never been completely drunk. I guess I don’t like the “loosing control” part of that experience.
  68. Sometimes I miss living in Brasil.
  69. I am often ENFP.
  70. I avoid horror movies.
  71. When offered admission to two universities (and two careers), I took the one my then partner went to. Life would have been very different otherwise.
  72. I’ve never been to the Oktoberfest.
  73. I consider myself an ultra runner.
  74. I don’t like beer.
  75. I love Japanese food.
  76. I usually think I am not doing enough.
  77. My birthday is, indeed, Valentine’s day.
  78. I love my legs. Probably a runner’s thing.
  79. My parents for many years refused to tell me the hour of my birth to shield me from “dabbling in the occult sciences”.
  80. I contacted the hospital I was born in. I still don’t do “occult sciences” though.
  81. I am on time. It stresses me if others are late. That’s not very healthy in Spain.
  82. At 27 I was a host mom to a 15-year-old girl who lived with us for 6 months attending Catalan school.
  83. I am a feminist. I want my daughter to have the same options and freedoms in life that her brother has.
  84. I invest at least 10% of my earnings into causes I value.
  85. I prefer the mountains to the tea.
  86. My favourite plant is the cactus.
  87. I don’t like shopping. I can live with buying stuff online though. If the things I need could just materialize, that would be even better.
  88. I have a personal shopper to make buying close less painful (and make sure things actually match).
  89. I love eggs. In any form but egg liqueur.
  90. I tend to cry when I am very emotional, even if I am frustrated or really really angry.
  91. Pistachos need to be eaten all in one sitting.
  92. I am my nephew’s god mother.
  93. Our twins are the result of an in-vitro process. I demanded to have twins.
  94. I don’t want more kids (if that requires me to be the pregnant part).
  95. Being a mom is not the pinnacle of my existence. Calling motherhood the “best thing that can happen to a woman” is not accurate and honestly, quite misleading.
  96. I love walking almost as much as I love running. The St Jacobs pilgrimage was one of my most cherished holidays.
  97. I love candles. In winter I usually have one on my desk.
  98. Me and my dad are both strong-headed and opinionated people – sometimes with very opposite world views. After fighting we agree to disagree and then have a glass of wine.
  99. Reading a book while on a plane is a luxury for non-parents.
  100. I love stoic philosophy (Seneca, Epictetus, Marcus Aurelius…).
  101. When talking to my blog audience in Spanish, I usually use the female form. Some male readers get quite offended occasionally.

PS: This page is subject to change based on what sparks the most (or least) interesting conversations.