Most of you know that I love to travel, I lived in China for quite a while, and I’m location-independent right now. You may also know that I love cats and spicy food. But did you also know I’m a huge nerd?
Today I decided to hop off the travel/ expat life train and talk a little bit about the sides of me you don’t see: the super nerdy and slightly weird sides.
Here are 5 ways in which I am a giant nerd. Enjoy!
1. I’m Obsessed with Survivor
One thing you need to understand about me is that I’m super obsessed with the tv show Survivor. Yes, that show is still on the air, and they just wrapped up their 40th season. FORTY.
You know how people talk about sports? That’s how I talk about Survivor. I’m super into the strategy, the social game, and the lengths people are willing to go to in order to win. If you haven’t watched Survivor in a long time, the game is a completely different animal now, and the level of strategy needed in order to win is super intense. I LOVE IT.
Not only do I watch Survivor religiously, but I also watch Australian Survivor and I listen to Survivor podcasts like RHAP’s (Rob has a Podcast)’s “Survivor Know It Alls” and “Why _____ Lost” (talking about why a player was voted out), and the Survivor Specialists. If you love Survivor and you don’t listen to Survivor podcasts, what are you even doing with your life?
Finally, I even applied to be on Survivor last fall. Unfortunately, I didn’t make it all the way to getting on the show, but I already have some new ideas for when I apply again this fall. Basically I’m going to be on Survivor, they just don’t know it yet.
A quick intro to D&D if you’re curious
2. I Play D&D (Dungeons and Dragons)
When I first started dating my husband Chris, he told me he was the Dungeon Master (DM) for a local D&D game. I had absolutely no idea what D&D was, but I knew it was nerdy and that I should probably make fun of him for it.
Fast forward a few months and I’m on a quick visit home to Seattle when I met up with my childhood best friend who informed me that she ALSO played D&D. What??
The way she described the game sounded so fun that when I arrived back in Beijing I asked to join. Unfortunately my first game was a bit intense. Not only did I have no idea what I was doing, but I was also the only girl surrounded by a bunch of aggressive super-nerds. That game eventually fell apart at the start of summer (one session after I joined), and so I started a new game online with a bunch of Chris’ childhood and college friends back in Australia.
That was about three years ago and I’ve been playing online with that same group of people ever since! For the longest time I used to play every other Sunday for 4 hours, but during COVID isolation I needed more of a social life, so I picked up TWO MORE GAMES, one on Tuesday evening and another on Thursday.
Both my new characters are SUPER WEIRD as well. One is a necromantic spore druid who makes zombies with fungus (and can cover her skin in it to become more powerful). She also has a “husband” named Gerold who is literally just a skull she found in the woods. Then I have another character that is a kappa (from Japanese folklore) water shaman who heals people by pouring the water from inside her head onto them (I make it super weird). She also has a cat-sized pet crab too. You’re welcome.
3. I Love Pokemon (and still play Pokemon GO)
Growing up I was always super into Pokemon. I watched the show, collected the cards, and bought all the Gameboy games. As a special treat, my mom would take my brother and I to the games shop to buy a pack of Pokemon cards to put in my GIANT Pokemon card book.
Now that I’m an adult, I’m still super into Pokemon. Unfortunately for me, Pokemon Go came out while I was living in China, and I was SO UPSET that it was blocked. I even tried to get on with my VPN but there were NO POKEMON TO CATCH. WHYYYY???
Fortunately for me, I eventually left China and was able to start playing with my husband Chris. I still play Pokemon GO when I’m out and about, and I’ve found it’s a great way to get exercise while exploring a place. When staying with my parents, Chris and I would try and get out of the house every day or two and walk for a solid 45 minutes just to hit up Pokestops, take over gyms, and catch Pokemon.
A Quick Enneagram 101
4. I’m Super Into the Enneagram
If you’re into personality types like Myers Briggs (I’m an ENFP!), you may have heard of the Enneagram. While the Enneagram is a personality-typing system, it really goes much deeper than just describing your outward personality. While you can take a test (which is only as accurate as you know yourself), the best way to figure out your type is just to learn about the 9 types and do a lot of introspection.
Rather than categorizing yourself by how you act and what you do, the Enneagram is all about WHY you do what you do. What are your core motivations, desires, and deep dark fears, and how does that impact you and your life choices?
The purpose of the Enneagram is to learn about your type so that you can discover the things that you do that aren’t serving you. What are the elements of your personality that are actually HURTING you and making life harder, and how can we, over time, let those go?
My Enneagram Type: Type 7
Personally, I’m a type 7 (7w6 sx/so in case you’re an Enneagram nerd like me), and this knowledge has helped me SO MUCH. Through learning about the Enneagram I’ve realized that I have a huge aversion to talking about/ feeling really shameful or traumatic memories, and instead I prefer to just shove them under the rug and pretend like they never happened because I “don’t have time to be sad”. I also feel like there’s not enough time in life to do everything I want to do, so I have constant anxiety and FOMO that I’m missing out on something.
Finally, 7’s have this idea that happiness is something outside of yourself that you have to go and get. But once you actually get that thing, you don’t even enjoy it because you’re already focused on the next thing you just “need” to be satisfied. This ‘more is more’ concept when it comes to happiness leaves 7’s constantly living in the future, and unable to appreciate what they already have.
Wow, how exhausting is that?
Learning about the Enneagram has honestly been so enlightening for me, and I LOVE forcing others to get into it too. (Any other Enneagram nerds? Let’s be friends!!).
How to Get Into the Enneagram
If you want to get into the Enneagram, I suggest watching a quick intro video like the one above and then reading about all of the 9 types on the Enneagram Institute. This should give you a pretty good idea of what your type is (or at least help you narrow it down).
If you really want to take a quiz, you CAN but take a few quizzes and just read about your top-scoring numbers. For me, it’s usually 7 (by a mile! lol), 3 and 2.
Next, I recommend reading a book. I really like the Honest Enneagram as a perfect intro book. It was actually written this year, so it’s very current and easy to read! Once you’re dying for more info, get a really in-depth hefty book like the Wisdom of the Enneagram, or Personality Types. You can also join a Facebook group for your type too! (The 7 Facebook group is awesome).
5. I’m Obsessed with Cats
Many of you probably already know that I fostered abandoned kittens in Vietnam, but I don’t think you know how far this obsession goes. I love animals, but I’m particularly fond of cats, and I have a hard time rationalizing my desire to travel and live abroad with my need to have a pet.
I Foster Abandoned and Injured Cats and Kittens
So, in Vietnam I worked with Vietnam Cat Welfare to foster abandoned kittens until they were old enough to get all their vaccines. Before I did this, I helped nurse a street kitten back to health after she’d been hit by a motorbike.
Now that I live in Tbilisi, I’ve been dying to find a cat to foster, but unfortunately, it’s been difficult since most of the stray cats here are actually pretty healthy, and the ones that do need help are pretty much immediately adopted! (Wow what a horrible problem to have, I know!).
It wasn’t until a few weeks ago that I saw a very unfortunate-looking cat in a diaper looking miserable that needed a foster family. Finally, my time to shine!! I immediately said I would foster her (and purposely didn’t show the picture of her to Chris because I knew he’d say no).
For the last three weeks, I’ve been giving her medicine, brushing out her tangles, and changing her litterbox constantly because she pees like a HORSE due to her kidney issues. Every day she’s getting happier and healthier which is super exciting!
Honestly, someday I’m going to open a cat cafe full of rescues and you’re all invited.
I Also Feed Stray Dogs
Now, it’s not just cats I love. I also feed stray dogs! Tbilisi has a huge stray dog population, and pretty much all of them have been tagged and vaccinated. The stray dogs are actually very nice, and most small shops have bags of dog food you can buy to give to the dogs.
So of course, I bought my own bag of dog food, and whenever I see a stray dog outside my apartment I go with a few handfuls of food to give them. Usually they’re not even hungry (seriously!) and they just want me to pet them. The other day I had a stray dog go on a walk with me, and he ended up following me for 20 minutes!
I Used to do 4H for Cats
If this wasn’t all nerdy enough for you, let me tell you about my childhood hobby: 4H for cats. If you’re from the US you may have been to a county fair that had animal shows: horses, sheep, etc. This is actually through a program called 4H. Now, what most people don’t know is that 4H also has a CAT CATEGORY.
If you’re at the local fair and walk into a room full of decorated cat cages, you’ve found us. Now this is not a cat show with a bunch of purebreds. 4H is all about how well you take care of the animal and how much you know about them. They have you show off your cat in a specific order (teeth, nails, ears, fur, etc) and then you have to answer cat trivia questions. For example, did you know cats have three eyelids?
In addition, they also have trivia bowls, cage decorating competitions, audience choice and MORE. My childhood bedroom was decorated with giant show ribbons like I had a horse or something, but no… they were for my cat knowledge.
Are You a Nerd Too?
Are you obsessed with any of the things above? Do you play D&D, watch Survivor, or read Enneagram books? Do you love to catch Pokemon or foster animals? Let me know in a comment below!