Leibster Awards for bloggers

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I had never heard of the Leibster Awards before my good friend Katrina Buttigieg (A Pocketful of Time) http://www.apocketfuloftime.wordpress.com nominated me earlier in the week. Thanks Katrina, very kind of you. Basically, it’s an award for bloggers to pass onto fellow bloggers as a means of support and encouragement. There are no judges and such but in fact every person nominated ‘wins’ by helping get blogs with less than 1000 followers more traffic. It has been really fun to reflect on blogging and answer these questions.
The process of being nominated involves answering eleven questions posed by the nominator. I just suddenly thought – as Miliking-meanderings is a family blog we should all answer these questions – wow! That would be a feat! Give us at least a week for that one!

 

Here are the eleven questions Katrina gave me:

What was the name of your first pet?
There were lots of animals around in my village in Greece and I’m sure I played with the cats and chooks and the cows, donkeys etc. Though my first pet that I actually remember personally is ‘arnaki’ (which means little lamb in Greek) – my baby lamb when I was four years old though I only had him for about 6 months or so because the neighbours in suburban Northcote were complaining about the lamb sounds (and the hens – my folks simply thought they could leave their little Greek village and create a new village in the middle of Melbourne!) so my dad killed it and cooked it up for Easter. This whole experience really cemented my vegetarianism. I refused to eat meat as a child but then my dad forced me when I was 12 years old as he thought I wouldn’t grow. I ate meat selectively till I was 20 years old at which point I made a distinct break and have been vegetarian (and vegan for 7 years) since. Even in the years I ate meat I wouldn’t go near lamb at all. I really loved my little ‘arnaki’.

2. Who was your childhood idol?
Mmmmmm! I find it so hard to pick just one person when asked these questions. So many – though if I focused on my early teen years I would have to say Boy George, Madonna, George Michael, the Thompson Twins, John Lennon and Billy Idol. I got my first record player for $50 from my neighbour when I was 12 years old and my first record was ‘1982 – Out of the Blue’ – these artists where all very popular in that time and transported me out of the insular world I had grown up in as a shy Greek boy who wouldn’t play any sport and was teased a lot at school. Music became a big part of the 1982 -1986 years for me so these amazing artists were a part of that. I would be able to sing every word of their songs and my walls were covered with their posters. Why I loved them was because they weren’t afraid to be different and created their own styles – they weren’t followers. It was a fun time.

3. What languages do you speak, or which would you love to learn?
When I arrived in Australia in 1973 (3 years old) I knew fluent Greek, Macedonian and Albanian. We came from a small mountainous area in Northern Greece about 17 km from Yugoslavia (now Macedonia), and 30kms from the Albanian border. Everyone in my village spoke Greek but half the village came from Albanian ancestors and the other half from Macedonian ancestors. My mum’s side were Albanian speakers and my dad’s side were Macedonian speaking. Whilst there were lots of my dad’s relatives in Australia there weren’t any of my mum’s so the Albanian language was lost for me.
Then obviously I learnt English in my school years in Australia. In the evenings twice per week I had to attend Greek school for 3 hours – I was pretty much forced to do this until HSC (VCE now) and I didn’t really like it though I am so pleased now that I’m living in Greece.
From 1980 I visited Bulgaria 9 times to see my grandparents there and other relatives and I learnt Bulgarian there -there are many similarities to Macedonian though also quite different. Especially the written language which follows the Cyrillic script.
After school I went to Monash university to do a science degree and after my first year I was a bit bored with science and much more interested in having fun in my uni years. I was standing in line on enrolment day (in the days when things weren’t all done on line) and I was tossing up whether to do Physics or Chemistry. I overheard another student say that you could do a first year subject from another faculty as your 2nd year minor. My years were pricked up, I flicked through the Arts faculty booklet and opened up to Japanese – that sounded really groovy and trendy and I wouldn’t have to go to boring pracs. I was in – that’s how I started learning Japanese which ended up being my major along with Computer science and Maths.

While I was living in Japan in 1992 my dream was to move to Florence and study photo journalism (not really sure why now!) so I met a wonderful Italian friend – Angela Villella (when I called a wrong number in Tokyo) and she taught me Italian.
Whilst a language coordinator at Salesian College in Sunbury VIC, I wanted to introduce Indonesian so a group of language teachers started learning Indonesian and I got to 2nd year uni level with my studies.
When I was living in India for 3 months when I was 23 years old, I swapped language lessons with a Tibetan monk and learnt some Tibetan there which I just loved.
So back to the question:
Advanced: English, Greek, Japanese
Intermediate: Bulgarian, Macedonian,
Beginners: Italian, Indonesian
Lost: Albanian, Tibetan
Would love to learn: Latin, Ancient Greek and/or Sanskrit – for the study of these are for pure enjoyment and I think would satisfy my left brained love of languages.

4. Beaches or mountains?
Oh I so love both, I couldn’t choose – that is probably why I love Crete so much – great beaches and very hilly and mountainous. Also another favourite place is Andalucia in Spain where the mountains meet the sea.

5. If there was a movie of your life story, who would you want to play you?
Andre Aggasi or Paul Kelly – I’ve had a lot of comments that I look like both these men. Also Andre Aggasi was an incredible tennis player and Paul Kelly songs are just amazing.

6. What is your biggest achievement to date?
Being in a loving relationship with Sandy for almost 14 years (relationships are great fun but also can be hard work) and our five kids – Yasmina, Toby, Kalika, Zoi and Emilio. They are mega tiring but also bring us so much joy.

7. What is the best advice you’ve ever been given?
A few of my favourite bits of advice are:

‘Look within yourself for the answer’. (From my Oki-do yoga teacher, 1994)

‘If there’s a heaven I’ve been good enough to get there, if there’s not it doesn’t really matter’. (My first wife Kylie said this to me when she saw me reading ‘The Tibetan book of Living and Dying, 1998)

‘Eat well, travel often’. (When Sandy and I got married we decided to not worry about paying our mortgage early but to always eat good food and not skimp on travel – living in a country area in Australia, where there isn’t great cultural diversity we decided to consciously invest in travel to widen the kids’ perspectives and experiences and eat really good food as the foundation of health). 2001

‘Work like you don’t need the money, love like you’ve never been hurt and dance like nobody is watching’. (This is probably one of my favourite quotes of all time, sometime in the 90s)

‘Daddys’ need healing hugs’ (my two and a half year old daughter Kalika – as she gave me a hug after my grandma died in 2008)

8. Favourite place in the world?
I hate this question – I have far too many. I guess if I wasn’t Greek I would pick Spain as my favourite country – especially the south. The mountains are high and glorious, the sea is exquisite and I just love Spain cause it is a country where everyone displays PDA’s (Public Displays of Affection) – no matter what age, body size or whatever, if they love someone they show it – I think that’s fantastic.
And I have to make a reference to India – the country I just love and feel challenged by all in the one breath. I could go on and on – so many beautiful places and people in the world.

9. Favourite meal and who would cook it for you?
Beautiful fresh sourdough whole grain bread with Cretan olive oil and feta drizzled in olive oil and oregano for starters. Then white bait and fresh Greek salad for main. Followed by fresh baklava and a beautiful frappe. All made by my lovely wife Sandy – she’s such a good cook. (I cook as well – I don’t want to sound like a typical sexist Greek male!)

10. If you could invite four people, living or dead, to dinner, who would they be?
Oh I love this question. I would definitely want to invite either Socrates or Plato for either would be so stimulating. Sarah Palin – cause her politics horrifies me and I would love to see how she copes with a vegetarian meal. It would be great to confirm if she really is for real with all the wacky and crazy things she says – it would be fun to hear Socrates pick up on her goofs!
Pink – I think she’s amazing and is really, really, clever – she’s the kind of naughty you wouldn’t mind your kids being – rather than the Paris Hilton or Miley Cyrus type of naughty! She would probably also do an interesting serenade to Socrates in between main and dessert and she would definitely have words for Palin.
And last but certainly not least – Tom Bowen cause I would love to chat to him about the Bowen technique (which has been such a gift in my life) and quiz him on how he developed it. I think he’d have a great sense of humour – very important at a dinner party.

11. What song always makes you smile when you hear it?
Any song from Midnight Oil’s – Blue sky mining album – we played it constantly (it was the only CD we had) while on a 3 month road trip around America in 1990 when I was an an exchange student there. Lots of happy memories come up when I hear the music and we got to see them twice in concert in that year.

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11 RANDOM FACTS ABOUT ME:

1. My little finger on both hands has a kink at the join – I can’t straighten it (apparently a kidney sign in metaphysics)

2. I really, really don’t like milk chocolate – love good quality dark chocolate.

3. My 3rd toe nail on my left foot grows so much quicker than the others and curls.

4. I’ve got an addictive personality (I’m currently a naughty naturopath and addicted to frappes in gorgeous coffee shops and made by beautiful Sandy)

5. I’m 20kgs lighter than when I was 16 y.o.

6. I have embraced sport now that I have very very sporty and active kids.

7. I’m very black and white – I’m in training to see more grey.

8. I panic in water above my head.

9. My favourite colour is red or magenta.

10. I was 20 y.o when I saw my first stage musical but now I try to make up for my deprived childhood.

11. I still cant explain what the off-side rule is in football (soccer), even after I have heard the explanation many times.

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In order to pass the Leibster award I am required to nominate between five and eleven other bloggers who have less than 1000 subscribers and ask them eleven questions as well. I have recently been following Katrina Buttigieg (A pocketful of time) http://www.apocketfuloftime.com and Jacqueline Damen (PS Don’t tell mum) http://www.jacqulinemaree.wordpress.com and after reading the fine print I can renominate them (if they accept of course). I would also like to nominate Lorraine Reguly from Poetry Perfected, poetryperfected.wordpress.com who has done a lot of work in collating the rules of the Leibster award. Thankyou Lorraine – you made it all sound very clear.
Other blogs that I have intermittently followed are some travel ones of people I don’t know personally so I would like to nominate them also – and ummmmmm! After checking their number of followers all have been over 1000 so that rules them out. Will have to add another 2 bloggers soon. Any suggestions of blogs I would enjoy?

Questions to answer:
1. What is your first solid memory?
2. How old were you when you met a current friend that you’ve had for the longest time? What has kept you friends?
3. If you could fly off to anywhere in the world right now, where would it be, and why?
4. What is your favourite quote?
5. What is your most embarrassing moment (that you’re happy to share!)?
6. What has been the best meal you’ve had this year?
7. What do you daydream about?
8. What has been the most touching movie you have ever seen?
9. What has been your most memorable sporting moment?
10. If you could spend a day with anyone in the world, living or dead, who would it be and what would you do?
11. What makes your heart sing?

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The Official Rules Of The Liebster Award
If you have been nominated for The Liebster Award AND YOU CHOOSE TO ACCEPT IT, write a blog post about the Liebster award in which you:
1. thank the person who nominated you, and post a link to their blog on your blog.
2. display the award on your blog — by including it in your post and/or displaying it using a “widget” or a “gadget”. (Note that the best way to do this is to save the image to your own computer and then upload it to your blog post.)
3. answer 11 questions about yourself, which will be provided to you by the person who nominated you.
4. provide 11 random facts about yourself.
5. nominate 5 – 11 blogs that you feel deserve the award, who have a less than 1000 followers. (Note that you can always ask the blog owner this since not all blogs display a widget that lets the readers know this information!)
6. create a new list of questions for the blogger to answer.
7. list these rules in your post. (You can copy and paste them from here.)
Once you have written your post, and published it, you then have to:
8. Inform the people/blogs that you nominated that they have been nominated for the Liebster award and provide a link for them to your post so that they can learn about it (they might not have ever heard of it!)
I would like to add that you can nominate someone who already has been given this award, as long as they have less than 1000 followers/subscribers. The idea behind this award is to recognize new bloggers and help promote them! The benefit is that you get from doing this is that you get some promotion, too! (Think about it, if they are obligated to link to you, then whomever lands on their site could also click the link and land on yours. If you multiply the number of people who can potentially see and land on your blog, you can clearly see that you will get more readers, more business and reach more people. This is just another way to help get your blog “out there”!) Also, I have created a place for you to post links to your blog, too. You can do this by visiting Post Your Links Here To Promote Yourself and Your Blog!
*NOTE TO NEWCOMERS: I appreciate you using this post to help you in your quest for understanding more about this award. I put a lot of time into creating this post (and I mean A LOT!), and one way you can show your appreciation to me is to share a link to my poetry blog, Poetry Perfected, since it is new and has very few readers! Please find the link to it on my poetry page. Please share it, I beg you! Thanks so much! (You can use whatever sharing buttons you have accounts at; the more the merrier! If you let me know in the comment section that you shared it, I’ll repay the favour! Thanks again!) ALSO NOTE: You have my full permission to use whatever information you have found in this post on your blog as long as you link back to my blog! You might find this post helpful, too: How To Add Images (Awards) To Your Sidebar.

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Thanks everyone – Christos

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