Getting To Know The Me Behind The Illness

Getting to know me tag, BLOG

I've been nominated to take part in the blogging tag game "Me Behind The Illness". I think it is a great way to remind ourselves and others that we are not only our illness, but there is so much more to each of us. 

I've thoroughly enjoyed reading everyone's answers to these questions and can't wait to compile mine! Since it is about me behind the illness/without the illness, I will focus on answering the questions as though I didn't have any condition that governs my activity levels, physical and cognitive function or diet. 

This is a look at healthy Char - who I am without severe ME/CFS.

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Four Places I've Lived

My family has moved around many, many times throughout my life. The longest I ever stayed in one house was 4 years, the shortest was 3 months. I'll list provincial areas or counties I've lived in, but within these four areas, I have lived in various municipalities or boroughs.

  1. Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa - in the picture you're looking at one of our flats from across the beach. We didn't stay in those flats long, but this was an area I spent most of my time in growing up. I studied and worked here too. The spot where the photo was taken from is where I'd often sit during my lunch breaks.
  2. Lombardy, Italy - the picture below was taken from our balcony, those are the Alps in the background and corn fields in front.
  3. Piedmont, Italy - this is a picture taken just down the road from our house. We have a similar view from our upstairs bathroom window. What looks like a lake reflecting the snow-covered Alps is actually a rice paddy. Piedmont is famous for it's rice production.
  4. Greater London, England
Kwa-Zulu Natal, East Coast of South Africa

Kwa-Zulu Natal, South Africa

Lombardia, Northern Italy

Lombardia, Northern Italy

Piemonte, Northern Italy

Piemonte, Northern Italy

Four Places I've Worked

  1. My first official employment was a part-time job as a Supermarket Cashier, I was then promoted to the cigarette counter (cigarettes with pick-and-mix sweets to be precise, quite bizarre!) and then moved again to the deli/bakery. I loved this job and my colleagues and even spent my days off helping out! 
  2. Beauty Therapist - while working the supermarket job, I studied Beauty Therapy/Aesthetics as well as bookkeeping and computer skills and was later employed by my tutor to run a small salon. As much as I enjoyed helping people relieve pain with massage, mix facial masks or fix broken nails back to perfection, this lifestyle wasn't really in line with who I am.
  3. Graphics and Animations in the field of Industrial Automation. A complete change in direction when we moved to Italy. I worked for a family business, learned everything on the job and absolutely loved it! We created automated systems that run power plants, water purifying plants, incineration plants, etc. I created the operators' control panels from which they could monitor and control the entire process. (They could monitor fluid levels, gas pressure, furnace temperature, switch pumps on and off, open and close valves, etc) I found this work very interesting and despite being creatively restricted by client specifications and the industrial nature of the work, I still found it super satisfying.
  4. Teacher of English As A Second Language - when the financial crisis hit many years ago, it was time to make a change and I shifted gears completely once again. I had always dreamed of becoming a teacher, since I was a little girl in first grade, so this was a big step towards who I really am. I did the training courses to teach adults and young children to speak English. Despite the fact that it took over my life and I spent every moment planning, making resources and marking work, I absolutely adored my job!
Control Panel

Industrial Control Panel

Four Favourite Hobbies

  1. Online - blogging and social media management.
  2. Creative - drawing, lettering, colouring, watercolour, crochet, beading, photography.
  3. Exercise - TaeBo, cycling, dance fitness.
  4. Exploring - hiking, snorkelling, wandering through cities on foot or dirt roads in the countryside on my bike.
Cycling With Ma in Italian Countryside

Cycling With Ma in Italian Countryside

Doing TaeBo

Me Doing TaeBo in Our Livingroom

Beading with Ma and Sis at  Lake Como

Beading with Ma and Sis at Lake Como

Four Things I Like To Watch

  1. The ocean - in South Africa I lived at the coast, so I'd often walk down to the beach during lunch break and sit on the rocks enjoying the sound of the crashing waves and the cool spray that came with it. I miss the ocean so much!
  2. Clouds rolling by - I love to just lie on the ground, look up at the sky and breathe as the clouds roll by slowly... warm sun, cool breeze, aaah...
  3. People going about their day - I love people-watching. It's one of the things I loved about my job in the supermarket, so many people, each with their own story and their own peculiarities. It is quite interesting. Each one uniquely beautiful.
  4. Animals going about their day - I love watching animals and insects too. Squirrels, bees, birds, sheep, rabbits, butterflies, frogs, ants, lizards, cats, fish... they're all so beautiful, so intricate and special. Each has their own habits and personality - whether individual or as a community - it's fascinating to watch them at work and play!
Enjoying the Ocean View

Enjoying the Ocean View

Guinea Fowl Visiting

Guinea Fowl Visiting

Lying in the park

Lying in the park

Four Things I Like To Read

  1. The Bible - a never-ending source of wisdom, comfort, guidance, truth.
  2. Non-fiction - I prefer books I can learn something from.
  3. Personal Blogs - so many interesting people out there sharing their adventures, their insights and their experiences. It's a wonderful community!
  4. Recipe Books - I like to imagine the flavours as I read the recipes and I use them as inspiration for my own concoctions since I don't always have all the ingredients, so I adjust and make my own dishes.

Four Places I Have Been

  1. Stockholm, Sweden - gorgeous place! So organised and clean, loved the bicycle lanes all over the city. Was very cold in the spring time, but I loved it! Explored some of the nearby towns too. The people were very friendly and just about everybody speaks English which made our time there much easier!
  2. Corsica, France - I loved this place! (see pics below) Very hot and dry in the summer, but has stunning sandy beaches, some completely hidden and deserted. Crystal clear seas full of little fish - fun for snorkelling. I'd love to go there again! They speak Italian as well as French/Corsican. 
  3. Bolzano, Italy - This is an area in the North of Italy near the Austrian border. They speak German and you can see the town is not really Italian in the way it is designed and organised, even the food they serve is not typically Italian. Love the Christmas markets here! The whole village turns into a Christmas village with wooden stalls selling unique handmade goodies, horses with carriages taking people around town on the cobbled streets, fairy lights all over the place. We explored with mulled wine, sausages, sauerkraut and chips in hand, a very festive place to visit for the holidays!
  4. Cape Town, South Africa - we lived half-way up the East Coast, so Cape Town was about 6-8 hours away, I only visited once and it was beautiful! The mountain with it's furry little critters, the city with its friendly people, the ocean and it's penguins, the countryside with it's flowers, ostriches and vineyards, fresh seafood dinners. Winding roads on rocky cliffs overlooking the two oceans...  the Cape has it all!
Corsica, a little island

Corsica, beautiful landscape

Selfie with the crystal clear water

Selfie with the crystal clear water

Corsica, a gorgeous hidden bay

Corsica, a gorgeous hidden bay

Four Things I Love To Eat

  1. One of Mum's specials - crumbed chicken (Italian grandfather's recipe), sweet pumpkin, rice with brown onion and mushroom gravy, green beans and roast potatoes. So good!
  2. Chinese Food - I love all the strong flavours and the combinations of sweet, salty and spicy.
  3. Pasta dishes - the richer the red sauce or the creamier and cheesier, the better! I also love just butter, garlic and chilli on say, seafood dishes. It's really more about the sauces, not so much the pasta itself.
  4. Frozen Yogurt - just yum!
Crumbed chicken dinner

Crumbed chicken dinner

Frozen Yogurt

Frozen Yogurt

Chinese Dinner

Chinese Dinner

Four Things I Love To Drink

  1. Soy Chai Latte - my favourite is from Costa.
  2. Ayran - salted yogurt drink.
  3. Pina Colada - with/without alcohol, I just love the combination of pineapple and coconut.
  4. Bubble Tea - taro tea with tapioca and a mix of fruity popping bubbles.
Bubble Tea

Bubble Tea

Four Places I Want To Visit

  1. Iceland
  2. Japan
  3. Ireland
  4. Greece

Four Bloggers I'd Like To Tag

I'm linking up to some lovely ME bloggers I recently discovered. I think this will not only be a good way to get to know my fellow ME sufferers, but also remind them and their readers that they are still themselves underneath it all. I hope you will visit their blogs and show them some comment love.

You are so much more than your illness!

  1. Katie from My Pug and Me
  2. Gemma from The CFS Chronicles
  3. Jenny from Wood For The Trees
  4. Lara from My Disabled Self-Love

I hope you have had as much fun reading this as I have had compiling it! This was a lovely escape and a pleasant stroll down memory lane too. I wish I could show you all the amazing images I have in my head of all the wonderful places and things I listed here. Wouldn't it be cool if we could print from our memories. If only I could draw that well, I'd be illustrating all my posts for you! 

Here are the prompts, you can copy them to your blog if you have been nominated or even if you weren't nominated, but would like to participate:

Four Places I've Lived
Four Places I've Worked
Four Favourite Hobbies
Four Things I Like To Watch
Four Things I Like To Read
Four Places I Have Been
Four Things I Love To Eat
Four Things I Love To Drink
Four Places I Want To Visit
Four Bloggers I'd Like To Tag

Getting to know me tag, PIN

Pin " Getting To Know Me"

Thank you, Natalie!

I was tagged by Natalie from Surviving Life's Hurdles. Natalie has a beautiful blog where she writes about health, family, crafts and her life with MS. Please head over to say hi! Click here to read her answers to these same questions.

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  • Caz says:

    Yay, I’m glad you’ve done this tag too! It’s fascinating to learn a little more about you. Also made me realise I’ve never even tried Bubble Tea, I think I’m missing out..!
    Caz x

    • Chronically Hopeful says:

      Oh no! You’re definitely missing out on Bubble Tea!! It’s something you must try at least once.

  • Emma (Not Just Tired) says:

    Love this! Great to learn more about you. Such beautiful pics too. You have further fuelled my desire to visit Corsica! Looks stunning. I also love a soya or coconut chai latte! ?

    • Chronically Hopeful says:

      Ah, Corsica… I absolutely want to go back there again. So beautiful!

      I haven’t tried a coconut chai latte. Now that I’m keto I can’t have the one at Costa anymore, but I discovered they use a keto friendly sugar free caramel syrup so I have now switched to Decaf, Full fat, Sugar free Caramel Lattes! NOM!!

  • Ritu Bhathal says:

    Wonderful to get to know a little more about you ?

    • Chronically Hopeful says:

      Thank you for reading, Ritu. I’m really enjoying this tag game, getting to know fellow bloggers better. Feel free to take part too. xx

  • Hi Charlene, I am glad I have met you and could read more about you here on your blog. Hope you have a good day tomorrow

    • Chronically Hopeful says:

      Thanks, Esme! These types of posts are so fun to do and read everybody else’s answers. Love getting to know fellow bloggers. Have a lovely rest of the week x

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