This is Me

Littlehampton Beach 2015 by Eloise Mercer

People, often employers, sometimes ask you to describe yourself in three words. This is something I find particularly difficult. Being slightly on the pessimistic side and having zero self-confidence, I usually find the task of describing myself a futile experience.

“Hello, I’m Amber. I am awkward, quiet and unable to make decisions.”

Not really the kind of thing people want to hear so, I shall try to make the rest of this entry a bit more informative.

I am Amber Monique Kassianou-Hannan. I didn’t know how to spell my name until I was eight and my year 4 teacher realised I couldn’t write my name on my practice SATS paper. Of course, they couldn’t spell it either and I am often quizzed on why my name is so long. This is usually answered with something along the lines of:

“My family consists of Greek Cypriot and Irish origins, hence the long name”

Also quite consistent with these two cultures are big close-knit families and my family is BIG and very close. My A-Level Sociology teacher said that my family were the first ever extended family he had seen in practice: glad I could help his research. My cousin Katie and I are three weeks apart in age and for a good part of our life were thought of as twins. Sometimes I just introduce her as my sister because people can’t understand how we can be so close as cousins and it gets too confusing to try and explain.

I am currently a second-year student at Canterbury Christ Church University (CCCU) studying a combined BA degree of English Literature and Creative and Professional Writing. This means I read a lot and you can often find me on the sofa with coffee and garlic bread reading a book. I also read and write a lot of essays for my degree and my poor housemates usually have to deal with me getting very angry or frustrated over this (mostly disagreeing with something in someone else’s essay). Of course, like most students, I have mastered the act of procrastination and am frequently referred to as “nap queen”. Once I procrastinated so much that instead of revising for my English exam, I taught myself French.

Along with French, I taught myself some basic guitar and have also completed 14 grades in piano and clarinet and 6 in music theory. So, the obvious question is: why am I not doing music at university? Before I started university, I worked as a music teacher earning a hefty amount and dealing with child after child like a factory production line. Yes, it was rewarding and some of those children were just so cute. But, I realised in the end that that was why I liked it so much: it was a hobby and I didn’t want to take it further. I felt that studying English and writing was better for me. I like reading, writing and being creative. In the summer just gone, I proof-read a book “The Lion, The Switch and the Cuckoo: Adultery in a Testube” for a client which has now been published and this was a great way of using skills I had learned at uni and enjoyed to make money.

As mentioned before, the most important aspect of my life is my family. I live in South-East London with my Mum, Dad, two cats (Milly and Grace) and our dog (Lotti). I was born in Mayday Hospital which has now been renamed Croydon University Hospital due to the community calling it May-Die Hospital. Since being born, it seems I have never left the hospital. On average, I am in hospital for some reason around once a year and have been pegged the quality of “accident-prone”. However after 2 ops, 6 x-rays, 6 pairs of crutches, 4 ambulance rides, 3 black-eyes, 1 damaged nerve, 1 burst appendix, 1 hole in the head and about 10 gazillion infections and antibiotics of some kind, I am still living. I’m either highly unlucky or I have the immune system of a courgette.

So here it is; 17:33pm, tea in one hand, typing with the other, hoping that this is as bad as it’s going to get.

With thanks to Heidi Conroy