I should have gotten around to this earlier. In early January, Connie Crosby tagged me to play a game called 5 Little-Known Things About Me
This has been circulating in blogland for a while. The idea is to reveal 5 pieces of information that people might not know about you and then to "tag" someone else to contribute.
I think I will tag: David Fraser of the Canadian Privacy Law Blog
1) I am related to the Belgian royal family
(at least in a Six Degrees of Separation
kind of way):
During the Second World War, my father was taken in, hidden and adopted by a family of the village of Merelbeke, in East Flanders after the Germans arrested and deported his parents. The daughter of that family essentially became his elder "sister". She and my dad have remained in touch for more than 60 years. After the war, she married a resistance member (who survived deportation for his activities as liaison officer with the pro-London "Secret Army" underground movement). They had a daughter who grew up to be a historian of the role of aristocratic circles in the Belgian resistance. That daughter married a cousin of the woman who became The Duchess of Brabant, when that woman married the heir apparent to the Belgian throne, HRH Prince Philippe, Duke of Brabant, son of Albert II, King of the Belgians. Which practically makes me royalty (or close enough in a 6 degrees of separation kind of way). So, there you have it: I am related to someone whose daughter married someone related to the person who married the heir to the Belgian throne. The story is lots of fun at parties.
2) my mother was an opera singer
And no, it was not fun growing up with a singer in the household. Yes, it is true she did not sing lullabyes, she sang arias to get us little ones to go to sleep. But, when you have to listen to a soprano practice hitting those high notes 500 times in a row until she gets them right, you quickly start to hate music. For a long time, opera felt like the equivalent of fingernails on a blackboard. In recent years, I have discovered I actually like opera. As my mother once explained to me: opera has murder, love, hate, betrayal, passion, more murder, jealous rages, double-crosses, yet again more murders, wars and horror. It's like gangsta rap but with weirder costumes.
3) I was once a guinea pig in a sports medicine experiment
When I was in my teens, I was recruited to be a subject in an experiment at the Sports Medicine lab at the Université de Montréal. It had to do with how different kinds of muscle tissue in the legs would adapt to a variety of training regimens that involved running around a track according to a very detailed program of sprints alternating with longer distance jogs. The good doctors also stuck all sorts of needles into various parts of my anatomy, had me run on treadmills, did ECGs, and just about measured everything that can be measured.
4) I was on a TV scholastic quiz show
In high school, I was part of my school's team on a Radio-Canada TV show called "Génies en Herbe". That would be the equivalent of the CBC show "Reach for the Top", a scholastic quiz show. Our team won the championship.
5) I can curse and converse in many languages
Over the years, I have taken classes in Latin, German, Italian, Flemish, and Spanish. I can even remember quite a bit of each.