3: Five things you might not know about me

I am doing NaBloPoMo this month. 30 blog posts in 30 days. Come join me. #nablopomo2022

Hi, in case you’re new here: Welcome! I am glad you stopped by! I’m starting off this blog posting month again by sharing 5 things you might not know about me; as an introduction for any new readers (hi!), and to share some random facts for anyone who’s been around for a while.

1. A brief introduction: I am San(dra), a 40-something wife, daughter, sister, friend, runner, and Peloton enthusiast. I grew up in Germany, but have lived in the U.S. for almost two decades now. My husband Jon, who I met during an exchange semester here in the States, and I live in a duplex apartment in California’s beautiful state capitol. I wrote a little bit about the decision to come to California here, and about my move to the US here.

Fun fact (that I am stealing from Meike), I live 5492 miles/8838 km away from where I grew up. How far away do you live from your hometown? 

2. I was involved in the student council for four or five years in middle/high school, and two years as the head of the student body before graduating (secondary school in Germany goes from 5th to 10th or 13th grade, depending on the school). It was a somewhat unlikely position for me to hold because if you know me, then you know that I am not known for seeking the spotlight and I much rather “operate” in the background (and let others take the credit  – ugh, post for another day!). But still, I was always very much involved in school matters, and I have always been an advocate and volunteer for positive change.

3. I do not have a middle name. This usually surprises people. I wrote a little bit about it a few years back in a blog series I called “Things you wouldn’t know” (which I probably should revive, maybe) and how middle names work differently in Germany. Let’s just say it’s way more complicated than it is here in the United States.

4. I worked as a postal carrier during summer (and sometimes winter) breaks when I was in college. It was the best and worst job at the same time. It’s a much harder job than people imagine and I’ve much more appreciated getting mail delivered right to my mailbox at my house ever since. Guess what? I also wrote about this quite some time ago, but it might be worth a revisit if you’re curious about how mail is delivered in Germany (hint: I delivered mail by bike).

5. I do not know how to whistle. How is that for a random fact?

Your turn: tell me one random interesting thing about you in the comments!

  1. Hmmm! My husband doesn’t have a middle name either. i haven’t read your post yet about how it works in Germany, but here it’s kind of unusual. i’m not sure why his parents didn’t give him one. i’ll have to ask him if he knows.
    Where in Germany are you from? Random fact about me- I lived and worked in Germany for several years in my late 20s/early 30s. I was all over the country, mostly in larger cities. I might know your hometown!

    1. I had no idea you lived in Germany, Jenny. How did you keep this from me for so long? ;) I am from a smaller town outside of Cologne. Have you been there?

  2. What a fun list to read! I want to know more about why you don’t like getting credit. Not getting credit is a HUGE problem for me. So I always work hard to give others credit and let other shine.

    I live 251 miles (by roads) from my hometown!

    I want to learn how to do the really loud whistle where you put your fingers in your mouth (gross, ha, I know) to do it!

    1. Oh, I should have been more clear: I LIKE getting credit, it’s just that you if you prefer to work in the background, you usually don’t get much of the credit (or not as often). It’s a conundrum.

      My Dad – a P.E. teacher and coach – can do the really loud whistle with two fingers in his mouth LOL so I know exactly what you mean… I don’t know he never tried harder to teach me ;)

  3. I live about 350 miles away from my hometown, but since my mom has moved away, I don’t know if I’ll ever go back. It’s a weird feeling.

    Weird fact…I think about how cars are dangerous murder machines every time I get inside one and sometimes wonder how we don’t all die every day. I used to blame this on my anxiety, but I’ve had this thought since I was a teenager!

    1. You know, D, I must agree with you – every time I hear that cars are so much more dangerous than flying in an airplane (which is something my scientific brain can still not wrap its head around!), I wonder how there are not more accidents, injuries and deaths.

  4. I LOVE posts like this and should do one soon (shameless copying, but I’ll link back here!!).

    I live about 1 hour from my childhood home, but I don’t go back to visit very often.

    I know many people without middle names (but they’re almost all from outside of North America).

    My name is spelled with an “s” – my Mom had written up all my birth announcements with a “z” when my Dad told her he had spelled it with an “s” on my birth certificate application at the hospital. I secretly love the “s” but it gets misspelled…a lot.

    I hate water on my face. I don’t mind swimming underwater, but it almost makes me ill to think of putting my face under a stream of water in the shower or splashing it up onto my face from a sink. I once had to use an eye-wash machine at work for 15 minutes and it was HORRIBLE.

    1. Shamelessly copy away – as I said in my introductory post, you can use any of my posts for blogging inspiration ;)

      Since your name is spelled with an “s” in the German version, it does not seem weird to me at all, in fact, it comes to me more naturally than Elizabeth with a “z”.

      That an interesting, random fact that you don’t like (splashed) water on your face. Is it the sensation that bothers you?

  5. I am looking forward to dive into older blog posts when NaBloPoMo is over. With all the new faces in my life this month there is so much to explore. So thank you for that San! For now I am trying to stay on top of posting and commenting 😉
    I do not have a middle name either but gave one to my kids when they were born here. I like the idea of a middle name a lot (in case the don’t like the first one).
    I did not deliver mail but newspapers as a side job in school, also by bike. I was bitten by a dog one time doing that,. Maybe that’s why I rather like cats?

    1. I definitely understand that for right now, you need to stay on top on posting and commenting, so no apologies needed to dig deeper into my blogging archive (which is long!). But sometimes it’s fun to go back to older posts and topics that I’ve blogged about before (so the link is always there if you feel bored and want to explore).
      I am so excited that you’re establishing this new blogging/commenting routine…:)

  6. These were fun — I had no idea your full name was Sandra, so that was the most shocking to me!

    Let’s see, a random fact about me is that I learned how to ride horses when I was seven. My horse was the same age I was and lived to be 31 years old.

    1. Oh, you thought my full name was “San”? Interesting :) I thought it was pretty clear that it was short for Sandra.

      I think I remember you mentioned on your blog that you had a horse growing up (so jealous, btw, in a good way). Did you have the horse until 31?

      1. I guess I didn’t question that it MIGHT be San? But I thought it was likely a nickname, and just never went to Sandra!

        My parents owned/housed the horse until he died. But I had long since moved away from home, and hadn’t seen him in nearly a decade. He was a good horse with a lot of personality.

  7. I did not know about German middle names so my mind is blown! If there’s anything that I’ve learned from working in payroll it’s that you should never assume gender based on first name.

    I think that being a postal carrier would be a wonderful AND horrible job that I would very much like to try and I can’t whistle either.

    1. While I feel that the whole “name regulation” in Germany are bit over the top and rigid, I do appreciate that there is some kind of reasoning behind it… :)

  8. I don’t know how fun these facts are about me but:
    I live in my hometown!
    My kids have two middle names each, their second middle name is my last name (my husband and I have different last names).
    My middle name is a shortened version of my mother’s name.
    A postal carrier is an interesting job! My worst job was being a beer sample girl. It was absolutely terrible and back in the 90s, sexual harassment was just part of the job pretty much everywhere, so you can imagine how hassled I got, giving out beer and liquor samples.

    1. I didn’t know you live in your hometown – did you ever live somewhere else?

      Oh boy, a beer sample girl… that does sound like a job where some sort of harrassment was to be expected. I am sorry. I am sure you developed a thick skin and a powerful kick in the nuts? ;)

  9. Ok, I also didn’t know that San was from Sandra! That NEVER crossed my mind!! And I’m a little thrown off now, because I feel like I’ve thought of you as San, and not Sandra, and now I’m just all confused. hahaha. Do you go by San in real life? Or do most people call you Sandra? My “real” name is Kaelyn, but I used Kae for my blog. Which, is actually my middle name! Or it could be the shortened version of Kaelyn. Either/or! In real life most people call me Kaelyn, but I went with Kae for the blog, for various reasons. :)

    My husband also doesn’t really have a middle name- they don’t do them in Mexico. But it is common to have 2 first names. So, kind of same difference I guess. (think like a “John Paul” type name.) In his case, he goes by his second first name with family, but uses his first first name professionally (just easier). Here in the U.S., he basically uses his second first name as a middle name on forms and stuff. Just easier. When he became a U.S. citizen years back, he also legally dropped his second last name (everyone in Mexico has 2 last names- they take their Dad’s last name + Mom’s last name and combines. So he actually had 4 names- 2 first and 2 last.) He hated the 2 last names though here in the U.S> because it was just confusing, and the rest of us just had the one last name. Theoretically, if our kids had been born in Mexico they would have taken his first last name and then my maiden name- but we didn’t want to do that. Anyway, he just wanted us to all have ONE last name, as is typical U.S. tradition so when he became a citizen he registered his last name with just one. :) (Whew! Sorry, probably more info than you needed there!)

    1. Haha, please keep thinking about me as San… as I will keep thinking about you as Kae. :) Seems like we’re using our names the same way – people IRL call me Sandra, I only adopted San for the Internet.

      Thanks for sharing how names work in Mexico (yes, I think in Spain it’s the same where the kids take their Dad’s last name + their Mom’s and end up with really long names!). I can kinda understand why Ivan decided to “streamline” it a bit when he became a citizen. Did you take your husband’s name when you got married?

    2. Wait, your name is Kaelyn Kae?

  10. I’m new to your blog, but this is a great post to learn more about you. No middle name would have been preferable for my teenage self. My middle name got me a bit of flak in high school in the 80s – Gay (unfortunately mum did not spell it the way the name should have been spelt “Gaye”). I’m sure now the ribbing would be politically incorrect.

    I live in the same city I grew up in but a different suburb, 35km away.

    1. Welcome Melissa! So glad you’re joining us :) That was indeed a rather “unfortunate” middle name to have had in the 80’s but I am sure you can laugh about it now?

  11. I never knew how to whistle until I went to a Berlinale film with my mom. It was called “Can you whistle Johanna” (based on a book by Anna Hoeglund) and its a lovely heartfelt story that has stayed with me for almost 30 years now I guess. This is how I learned it. It was the funniest experience because when the. granddad explained it to Johanna the entire theater followed instructions and suddenly everyone was whistling.

    1. OMG! Clearly, I need to see that movie :)

  12. I live about 240 miles from my tiny home town in ND. It’s probably been 10+ years since I have been back. My parents don’t live there anymore and I don’t have great memories of the place so might not ever go back! To be clear, I had a wonderful childhood in my family home. But I was a total outcast at school since I wasn’t athletic and didn’t drink/party. In small towns in my area, you did one or both. I was so happy to go to college!!

    I love reading posts like there as I always pick something up! Like I didn’t know you didn’t have a middle name!

  13. I grew up in Chicago and have lived in several houses. I live about 10 miles (??) from the first house I lived in when I came from Mexico. I don’t have a middle name either which is weird because two of my sisters do have one. Not sure why my parents decided they should have one but the rest of us don’t.

  14. I live in my hometown! It’s very unusual to be born and raised in Florida, especially this area, but what’s funny is that 3 out of the 6 girls in my book club were ALSO born and raised in this area. It’s wild!

    Let’s see, a fun fact: I’ve been wearing glasses since 4th grade! I started noticing that it was getting harder and harder to see the boards at the front of the class and my mom took me for an eye exam. I’ve been wearing glasses ever since.

  15. LOL all this time I didn’t know San was short for Sandra 😂
    and I can’t whistle either! Just never learned how.

  16. I knew you were a Sandra, and I also knew that people from Germany (and the German part of Switzerland, from my experience) often do not have middle names.
    I find it fascinating you cannot whistle. My father can – perfectly in tune – despite never singing (he was told to *mouth the words* in kindergarten, which I find appalling…never tell a child not to sing! argh…)
    But can you snap your fingers? :)

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