Thursday, April 15, 2010

27 things about me

I have married, divorced, married, birthed a boy, birthed a girl, lived as a single mom for 5 years, lived 5 years in Italy, 2 years in London – not necessarily in that order, but all in the past ten years, from age 27 to 37.

My great-great grandparents owned a feed store on State St. in the 1800's. My great-great Aunt jumped off a bridge into the Chicago River in the 1800's. I've never even seen a picture of her (none exist that I know of), but I do think of her when I cross the river sometimes.

I once drove in an old VW bug from Rome to the tip-top of Scotland.

I was named after Little Women. I even have an older sister named…Beth.

Beth and I routinely fought during our pre-teen/teen years. I once ripped a sleeve off her ESPRIT sweatshirt, and she threw a spool of thread at my forehead.

I love dumplings from all culinary corners of the world: Pierogis, Jamaican patties, empanadas, arancini, coxinhas...

My son was born in London. He's half-Brazilian. My daughter was born in Chicago. She’s half Italian.

I gave birth to my son with the aid of Entonox, a mixture of oxygen and nitrous oxide (laughing gas), the UK's epidural. I couldn't believe it when they parked what looked like a scuba tank and a regulator in the birthing room. It provided little pain relief, and rather magnified the enormity of the entire situation. My daughter was born without the use of any drugs at all – though I did scream for an epidural at one point, she was out a couple of pushes later.

I was born on St. Joseph’s day.

I was a Dept. of State intern during the Lewinsky years, posted at the US Embassy in Rome. I was witness once to Bill Clinton's charm...(but was too classy to flash him my thong). I found Hillary bright and personable, the true brains in the Clinton family (followed by Chelsea).

In Mali, I lived in a polygamist family compound. I slept on a mat on a dirt floor in a hut with bats, random scorpions (and the occassional frog), and had no access to running water or electricity. It was very peaceful, I felt very welcome, and I long to return someday and repay the kindness.

I have only one dimple, on my right cheek.

I always wanted to be a teacher. When I was little, I used to set up my basement as a school, with my miniature schnauzer, Maggie Mae, as my one and only pupil. I even had a chalkboard. That poor dog: I used to even dress her up in rompers and coveralls. When she got run over by a car when I was 12, I was heartbroken.

My actual first teaching job was disastrous. I taught at Holy Cross High School for Boys, in River Grove, Illinois. I had almost zero control over the boys that sat before me, their hormones raging. But I did have a lot of laughs and I took them on some memorable field trips, including one to the Lyric Opera, where we even got to try on costumes backstage. One of those Holy Cross boys is now a teacher himself at the school where I teach! I just about passed out when I saw him signing in before me, the first day of school this year.

I want to work for as long as I possibly can. When I “retire” I’d love to join the PeaceCorps or a more local organization that promotes education or women’s health issues.

I am a part of a national organization called buildOn, which promotes volunteerism both locally and around the globe. I run a chapter at my school. This is what brought me to Mali in 2008, and hopefully Nicaragua and Malawi (and I’m hoping, Nepal) in the future.

Despite all these travel notes, I am a homebody at heart.

I believe that people come into your life for a reason, and that you need to respect them and honor them for that single reason, even if you can’t necessarily stand them.

I'm a terrible procrastinator. I can't write unless it's down to the wire.

I tutor my pregnant students or students with newborns afterschool. As much as I wish they’d made different choices, it is refreshing and heartening to see them trying their best, getting their lives back on track, and learning to be good mothers despite their circumstances. Recently, when I arrived at the home of a particular girl after the birth of her son, I asked her with a smile, “How was the delivery???” and she looked at me, bags under her eyes, circles of breastmilk soaking her shirt, and deadpanned, “It was SO not cool.”

I still look at my son and think, “!)#@%&!)%!!!! How did I get so lucky!????” Watching him grow and turn into a little man that I’m proud of - I am so blessed.

I feel equally blessed with my daughter. I also look at her and think, “!)#@%&!)%!!!! How did I get so lucky!????” Because honestly, I never thought that I’d find my soul mate and, to boot, be blessed with a daughter, after years of having lived as a single mom (there were many Bad dates with a capital B, it was hard not to turn hopeless). The thing with Pupa is….looking at her is like looking at me. She’s my mini-me.

I am always cold, a.k.a. “freddulosa” – I’d be best suited as a desert-dweller. Why I am so attached to Chicago is beyond me.

I love being underwater. I am fascinated with freedivers, and one of my favorite movies is the Big Blue by Luc Besson.

I speak Italian, French, and basic Spanish. Portuguese I learned through osmosis though I can only speak about topics like love and baby care. We speak Italian at home.

Last year, I learned to surf and snowboard. I'd like to learn Chinese or Arabic, or another very difficult language. I can't stop being ultra-curious about the world…


  1. Very cool Amy! I loved to read all these wonderful things about you. Some of them I knew and some I didnt. You have already lived such a fascinating life at such a young age. I'm proud to be able to say that we're family (even if not by blood) and that I've known you my entire life! :) Dena

  2. Thanks, Dena! I feel the same! Your kids are so sweet and cute! I wish we lived closer. Let's hope the next time we see one another is under better circumstances!

  3. I wish we lived closer too but we arent too far away! We should plan a day at the zoo or something fun like that this Summer. I would love to spend more time with you and your adorable kiddos. We will have to MAKE SURE that next time we see each other is under better circumstances, this has been a very hard couple of months for sure...

  4. Lovely!! You are quite an interesting person!! Thank you for sharing this post with us!