Friday, January 02, 2009

100 things about me - the traditional 100th post!

So here we are, at my 100th post on this blog of life. Wow. As tradition goes in the blog-o-sphere, after you have a certain amount of time invested in your blog and a certain amount of readers who follow you regularly, at a point they should know more about who you are and where you came from. Knowledge in context right? So that is where the tradition of a "100 things about me" post comes from on your 100th blog post. You would be surprised how difficult it was to think of that many things. Enjoy. Or browse the pictures and skip to the end :) Thank you for sticking with me through 100 posts so far! Feel free to comment at the end on things that surprised you or add your own thoughts to my list!


100 things about me

(some even my parents won't know!)

  1. I am 32 years old
  2. I am a Canadian citizen
  3. I am Canadian but I don't like hockey.
  4. I was born in Red Deer, Alberta.
  5. Everytime I am away from Canada for a while and listen to the song "Alberta Bound" I get teary and get the urge to turn up the volume and sing along at the top of my lungs. You would be proud Paul Brandt.
  6. I have a wonderful husband named Paul. He was one of my best friends for a few years before we started dating and we were married in 2000. (this is a scan of the laminated photo that Paul keeps in his toolbox, the only picture that came to Africa with us and the only one in digital format!)
  7. When I lived in Djibouti, Africa I sent Paul a very long letter every Tuesday. Like book length long.
  8. I have two wonderful children. Bennett is 3 ½ and Arielle is 2 ½mciversmay1108
  9. My daughter is adopted. My son is not. Yes I can still have my own children. We loved her and took her in not out of necessity, but out of our hearts.
  10. Before we had Bennett, I had several miscarriages. I learned so much of God's comfort and presence during these times.
  11. I have amazing parents who taught me morality, goodness, generosity and peacemaking. Not that I am always good at those, but they were great role models
  12. I have one biological brother, and four sister-in-laws and two brother-in-laws and a set of in-law parents. I lucked out in the in-law department and genuinely like them all!
  13. chantelleleanne
    My one sister-in-law and I have been known to take over Reitman’s dressing rooms and create havoc and laugh ourselves silly. Case in point below, while making ourselves look like tour guides from Disney’s safari ride.
  14. I have had the same two best friends since Grade 4. They live in California and China.
  15. My undergrad degree was from the University of Calgary, majoring in French and minoring in Comparative Religion. I graduated in 2000, but never went to my graduation.
  16. I missed my graduation because I was on my honeymoon. Tough choice (not).
  17. I always wondered what I could really do with a degree in french and religion. Now I live in a Francophone country and am a missionary and International Development worker.
  18. I recently finished my Masters Degree in International Development from Tulane University in New Orleans.
  19. I have never stepped foot in the actual school, and all my classes have been done from my home office via the Internet and correspondence and web conference, while working and having a family.
  20. I worked really hard for 6 years on that degree, and graduated with honors (Summa cum laude) and a 3.863 GPA. I am proud of that accomplishment as it represents many hours and years of hard work. Without the support of Paul and family and friends I never could have done it.
  21. I am not going to make it to that graduation ceremony either (May 9, 2009) for financial reasons. Not nearly as exciting as the reason I missed the first one!
  22. I was close to my grandfather and when he died in 2001 I left a note in his pocket in the casket, promising to do my Masters Degree and make that education count in my life, as we had discussed many times before he died. This was important to him. I did it Grandpa. I know you would be so proud.
  23. I fall under the astrological sign of Virgo but think that astrological/horoscope stuff is all a big load of bunk
  24. I don’t actually use the word bunk much in real life
  25. I really like good coffee.
  26. I really like Dr. Pepper
  27. Twice I went a whole year without drinking soda pop (1998 and 2007). For personal discipline reasons.
  28. I prefer to drink my calories rather than eat them. Give me a fancy coffee over dessert anyday
  29. I had laser eye surgery on one eye in March 2008. It went fantastic and I have better than 20/20 vision in both eyes now.
  30. People used to think it was so very odd that I only wore one contact lens for 10 years. But my other eye had perfect vision, so why wear two? Maybe this was the eye my brother stabbed me in? (see #64)
  31. I can roll my tongue and my r’s in french.
  32. I am fluent in French and am now tackling the Tamasheq tribal language.
  33. I have never been afraid of public speaking
  34. I made a personal commitment to Jesus Christ when I was 16. chantelle1
  35. God combined my gift of compassion for the poor and my relationship with him to point me in the direction of working as a missionary and development worker in Africa.
  36. I am now living out my dream job.
  37. I am a big proponent of living out your dreams, and taking the jumps of faith to make them happen. Don't settle and sell your life short.
  38. I have been drawn to Africa since I was a teenager. In my heart I don’t think I ever pursued going anywhere else.
  39. I am a closet perfectionist, which often stresses me out in Africa as I try to reconcile that desire and the reality of Africa
  40. I love to travel to places that are culturally, linguistically and visually very different that North America.
  41. I have been to Canada, 40 of the USA states, France, Britain, Italy, Switzerland, Scotland, Germany, Djibouti, Saudi Arabia, Morocco, Niger, Ecuador, Taiwan, Thailand, Japan and Cambodia. Only 178 countries left to visit. Yikes! Don't worry. I don't think I will ever visit most of them.
  42. We have near future (I.e. in the next 5 years) plans to try and visit Dubai, China, Turkey and Greece. That would leave only 174 left to visit...
  43. I am an INFJ in Myers Briggs (although the I (Introvert) isn’t too strong and sometimes I waft into the E (extrovert) side.
  44. I feel strongly about injustice to those who have no opportunity, no chances, no help.
  45. I love Social conscience movies like Beyond Borders, the Constant Gardener and Hotel Rwanda. I also love adventure movies like Indiana Jones and National Treasure.
  46. When I was in Niger for a short trip in 2006 I got Dengue Fever. Not fun. I ended up in a Paris hospital however and I must say that the view of the top third of the Eiffel Tower from my hospital room was beautiful and we saw Jackie Chan and Chris Tucker live filming the movie "Rush Hour 3" just outside in the streets. Take the silver lining where you can find it folks!
  47. I am not a big fan of television, and rarely watched it back home. Now we don't even have one, but I did upload the last season of Survivor and got some CSI seasons as gifts.
  48. My favorite hobby has been photography since Junior High School. I’m rarely in photos since I am always the one taking them. In fact, the collection I put together for this post is probably the largest collection of pictures with me in it ever assembled. Except maybe my wedding album.DSC00282
  49. I have a photography blog too. (link at the right)
  50. My secret freezer stash of things sent in care packages or people's suitcases consists of bacon, chocolate chips, jelly belly beans, dried cranberries, smarties, coffee and 2 ham shoulder roasts.
  51. I never thought I would make it to the halfway point of this list. Go Me!
  52. I like fresh watermelon. I hate things that are watermelon flavored. Same thing goes for mangoes.
  53. I miss good BBQ steak, chicken drumsticks, broccoli and fresh milk. Powdered milk is awful.
  54. I like to write lists. I am pretty sure I got that from my Mom. Look Mom - Number 54!
  55. I really value good communication. I try very hard to be a good, constant communicator.
  56. I hate sarcasm and think it’s the worst form of communicating with people. Drives me crazy.
  57. I design and write a monthly newsletter on life in Niger.
  58. I struggle with relationships where people are unwilling to be open and authentic.
  59. I probably tend to swing too far to the other side sometimes and be too open and willing to share, and that might not always be really appropriate either.
  60. I am blessed to have an amazing group of women from Canada that I am thrilled to call my good friends, who support me now even from across the world, and take care of me whenever I am around. For years we have celebrated the practice of open and authentic life together.
  61. I miss being in close proximity to those wonderful women.
  62. When I am really frustrated I cry. Not because I am sad, but because that's how the frustration gets out.
  63. When I cry from heavy emotions, I get migraines. That's why everyone coming to the airport to see us off, crying, and then flying for two days with a migraine and two toddlers sounded like a really bad idea.
  64. As a kid I once lied to my parents and told them that my brother stabbed me in the eye with the scissors. Since they were looking at me and it obviously wasn’t true, I don’t know what I was thinking. In my family, that line is often still brought up and laughed over.
  65. As a teenage I took apart the dash of my parent’s car. The story of why is incriminating and I can’t repeat it on the web.
  66. I loved to climb trees as a kid, often scaring my parents in the process. I was stubborn and independent and not afraid to try things.
  67. I enjoy cooking for holidays or company, but don't like the reality of having to make supper for every night. Can't we just not eat for a few days? Thankfully Paul likes to cook too, so we don't starve.
  68. I get nervous, but not afraid. So I can push myself into things that make me nervous or hesitant and remind myself to never live in fear, but in freedom.
  69. I have high standards and big dreams. And I expect to get there. That's not always a good quality.
  70. I have size 8 1/2 feet
  71. I can wear flip flops 24/7 in Niger, but am going to need a massive pedicure when I get back to Canada.
  72. I have naturally curly hair
  73. It is less curly now after I was attacked by a homeless women in the subway in Paris when I lived in France in 1996. She threw a bottle of bleach all over my hair and clothes. Thankfully I turned my back just in time so she didn't get my face. My hair was never the same after that bleach.
    McIver Christmas 124
  74. I’m a light sleeper and wear customs moulded ear plugs most nights to block out the frogs, crickets, neighbors and fans. Also works to block out snoring husbands, calls to prayer, etc. I highly recommend them.
  75. I have worn a long skirt for 95% of the time in the lasts 6 months. I actually don't like skirts all that much and prefer jeans and a tank top. Hazards of the job living in a predominantly Muslim country I guess.
  76. I also haven't worn makeup for 95% of the last 6 months. It melts right off here in the desert, so why bother? And unlike the jeans and tank tops, I don't miss it much.
  77. I am learning a lot about beauty here. I came from a culture where beauty, appearance, clothing, fashion and makeup are very important. Here, I wear long skirts, no makeup and not exactly fashionable outfits (in my opinion at least). God is teaching me a lot about where to get my acceptance, to worry less about what other people think, and more about refining who I am on the inside to be beautiful like the women of Proverbs 31.
  78. I once had a "wardrobe malfunction" at a hotel in Las Vegas. Imagine the force of water from a waterfall in a pool and loose straps on a swimsuit top. I was thankful that I would likely never, ever, ever see any of those people ever again. Except my best friend, but she was too busy laughing at me.
  79. I have an artistic bent where I like to create with my brain and own two hands. But don't ever expect me to draw or paint - I am awful! I am much better with a camera or computer to be artistic.
  80. I find it amazing that 212 people are registered to receive my blog updates in their email inboxes. Wow. You are all awesome!! :) (If you aren't registered and are reading this - the link is in the top right of the page if you want to get these updates via email!)
  81. I enjoy going 4x4ing. Is that a verb? I learned how to air down our tires, gear down, climb at crazy inclines and head off into the bush, and loved it all. Paul is a great teacher. We continue our 4x4 adventures here, this time in sand!
  82. I am a pretty decent singer and have always wanted to teach myself guitar so I could self accompany. And I have visions of being out in the bush in villages at night and playing my guitar under a tree and talking with the people. I bought a guitar in May 2007, just before moving to Africa, and have been teaching myself ever since.
  83. In general I am really organized
  84. I am bad at remembering names.
  85. My daughter threw up multiple times a day for over three months. Now thankfully it is just once a week or so. As a result of that, I am so used to vomit that it doesn’t even make me blink or phase me anymore.
  86. I really enjoy geocaching. I have found 113 to date. Being in Niger is hampering my progress in that area since there are none here almost. If you don’t know what it is, go check out geocaching
  87. I don't like to run, but I wish I did. Maybe its the nerve damage I suffer from when I had Bennett, or maybe its just that I don't like running outside. I prefer the treadmill strangely enough. I like the gym, I really do!
  88. I do like to mountain bike. This really is me below in the picture. I know, I’m going so fast you can’t tell. My bike was stolen from our third floor, stairless balcony while we were in Quebec for language study, so now I have no bike to ride.
  89. I like the idea of getting up at dawn and starting the day early, but the reality is what I can’t quite manage.
  90. I hate dirty floors and they really bug me, but I don't care if I pile my stuff up on the counters. My husband is the exact opposite
  91. In Niger I never touch a debit card or a credit card and I share a single bank account with 7 other adults that I am not related to.
  92. I am really enjoying getting to know all the local women around me where we live. I love spending time with them and talking about kids, culture, God and language. Sometimes we have language barriers to cross in actually understanding each other, but these women are already precious to me and I can't wait to continue getting to know them better and be a part of their lives.
  93. Strong and close relationships, especially with women, are really important to me. I have found it hard to move to another continent and lose what I had, but in that I am also learning a lot about myself as I work to create new relationships like that here in Niger. Starting from scratch as it would seem.
  94. I have a tendency to tell it like it is and be blunt and I hate "covering up issues" or pretending they don't exist. I want people to be aware when issues are there and tackle them head on. The part I am still working on is how to do so that the people know it is because I love them and am graceful, while still achieving the same objective of not being content to leave things, people and relationships in "broken" condition. Why should we settle for negative feelings, bad relationships and hidden hurts? I respect people who are the same way and are upfront and honest. This applies to when I have messed something up too, that way I can apologize and learn from it. I want the best in my relationships and I am willing to fight for it.
  95. I freeze my flour and sugar for at least 24 hours before using it here. You know….killing worms and bugs is probably a good thing before baking.
  96. Paul thinks I am a control freak sometimes when it comes to certain matters. I disagree and will beat him into submission so I can regain control.
  97. I like praise and worship music, country music, jazz and a smattering of assorted other artists that I can't really bulk into one genre.
  98. I am a reflection of everything I have learned and seen until this point. A product of my parents, my society, my intellect, my faith and my searchings. I desire to grow and change what that reflection looks like because I know that one day my children will reflect what they learned from me.
  99. I am on a path with God. He is in the shadows of my day alongside me, and in the bright light when I need his presence the most. My prayer is that I would be faithful and bold to the end of my days, and until then that I would be willing to go anywhere, bear any burden, and recommit all to Him afresh each day.
  100. Even today, I am being transformed more and more into the person God intends me to be. What a fantastic journey to be on.


AnitaWester said...

Chantelle, this is beautiful! I feel so blessed to know you and to have met you at such a crucial point in my life. God is using you in so many powerful ways! I pray His blessing over you and your family in all you do- may He bless and keep you always. Even though our opportunities to see each other in the last few years have been so few, I'd love to keep in touch with you...and hopefully reconnect at some point! Love ya!

andrea said...

Chantelle... that is seriously impressive! What an amazing list. You should be incredibly proud of yourself and your life - I am humbled (and wondering if I could ever come up with a 100 list - guess seeing as I've never made a single blog post of my own, I have a lot of time to think about it!). I would also like to say how much I have enjoyed getting to know you better over the past months - I too value open and honest relationships and the things we have been able to share have meant the world to me. You have been a wonderful friend and a wonderful support - I am excited about what the future holds for our lives and our friendship :-)


The Five Nomads said...

#67 -That is something we totally have in common. Some other stuff I think as well, but that one cracked me up. Also the story about the dashboard will have to be told...haha I am going to have to bribe you with some homemade pasta! cya, b

The Five Nomads said...

Also -whose fab sunglasses are those? lol

Anonymous said...

I appreciate you sooo much....these 100 comments explain why...particularly being open and authentic.... what a beautiful gift you are. LOve you

Bob the Dog said...

Both Greg and I liked this post. It is revealing... in this day and age for you to open yourself up like this to so many people, 200+, is a testament to your strength of character. Keep up the wonderful work with the blog... loving it... loving it! ~ Jill

Anonymous said...

Chantelle, I relate to so many of these "numbers" and I know that you have been sent to me for so many reasons. And for over 100 reasons, I am so grateful to have you in my life. Cheers to a valued and continued relationship on this journey called life. You teach me to become a gentler, more disciplined person and Christian. I can hardly wait to see you ;-)