OK, folks, I have finally managed to get some sleep and I’m back to blogging. Here are the answers to the most recent questions in our “How well do you know Clarissa” contest.
1. Career choice. Many of you said correctly that my father suggested that I learn Spanish. However, he didn’t suggest I choose Hispanic Studies as a career because he – like everybody in my country – had no idea such a career existed.
I got the idea of choosing Hispanic Studies as a career because I really loved one of these endless Colombian soap operas that had become so popular in the FSU countries during the early nineties. I was always very successful academically but I knew it wasn’t really my achievement. My father had made great sacrifices to ensure that I spoke good English. This was what fed me back in Ukraine and what made me feel successful.
Still, I kept wondering whether I would have amounted to anything on my own, whether I would be as successful without my father’s help. This is why I decided to find a career where I would start from scratch and even be at a disadvantage compared to my competitors.
The Colombian soap opera showed to me that there was an entire world, a culture, a language that I knew absolutely nothing about. I was so ignorant of Hispanic culture that I hadn’t read a single line of Spanish literature. I had read extensively of British, German, French, American, hell, even Australian literature. My knoweldge of the Hispanic world, however, was absolutely and completely non-existent. This would ensure that the experiment I wanted to conduct was done right. I needed a field which was entirely new to me but which I would be able to love.
When I tell people this story and mention that emigrating to Canada and taking my entire family with me was the first stage of this experiment, they think I’m a raving lunatic. The experiment was quite successful, though, as you can see.