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Self portrait (25 things about me)
Here goes...

1. My name is Biljana, it is a name typical for this region, not really known anywhere else in the world and it is featured in a famous traditional song. People often ask me what it means, but it is hard to say with one word, other than relate it to the abundance of plants and nature and greenery. In the song, the girl called Biljana washes linen by the springs of the lake. So I'd like to associate it with spring, with purity and with the forces of life..

2. I was born in April, a beautiful month, far from being "the cruelest" (as T.S. Eliot boldly claims in Wasteland). In the zodiac I belong to the sign of Taurus and the ascedent is in Leo. In the chinese horoscope I am a Tiger. So, in other words, an impressive menagerie of wild ferocious animals, which instigate fear and respect. And this is where I can almost hear some of you who know me laugh outloud...Either the horoscopes have got it wrong, or I am dreaming things again..

3. Dreaming, flying on the wings of imagination, is the essence of my being. I am often lost in thoughts and often feeling inspired to embrace the world and spread warmth around the stars and the planets in the universe. I am an idealist, a hopeless romantic sometimes, and also very melancholic because of the indifference and the superficiality of the outside world. A cynic might say I dream to escape and he would probably be right.

4. My poems don't make a poet out of me, but simply represent an order of the thoughts and feelings which otherwise, left without the verbal expression, would ran havoc in my mind and in my soul. Writing for me is like attaching strings to kites, still free to fly, yet with a grip down on the ground, so that there is always something to come back to.

5. Coming back to a place, feeling that this is where one should pose down the suitcases and feel at home: this is the feeling of feelings, this is love. I sometimes dream about this too.

6.My best friends are the parents have threatened to make me move out because I am ruining their furniture, so I buy in rations nowadays, or borrow books from the library. I am an avid reader, I gobble up books, I read them for breakfast, lunch, dinner, and dessert; picnics and train rides, holidays and weekends...nothing makes me happier than turning the pages and discovering new worlds, and following the fates of characters and then finding out something about human nature in the end, something that helps me survive.

7.I love foreign languages. As a translator this is probably only normal. I've been learning English since I was 8 and it's already integrated in my life, in the brain processes as a given. I like to think of my profession as a noble one, enabling and facilitating the communication or the rendering of a text or information from one language to another so that more people can understand..for me it is one of the keys of making this world a better place. The downside is that often people treat translators as invisible lingual slaves..

8. Talking about foreign languages I must mention my latest hobby, learning Italian. Unlike English, which I learned and studied properly, this one is entirely of my making. I am self taught and I learnt by listening to the TV presenters of Italian state television as well as reading online papers and talking to Italians online, which is a unique experience and a great help.

9. I've never been to Italy, but I'd love to go one day. Actually, my dream is to visit Rome first, but not only for the more obvious landmarks of the Eternal City; I'd like to lay a red rose on the grave of one of my favourite English poets who is buried in Rome..John Keats. His epitaph haunts me ever since I studied his works and poems at university.

10.I've visited the United States once, back in 1991, I stayed briefly in Virginia and in Minnesota. It was a unique experience and I still treasure memories of this stay. I will never forget the primal fear that arose in me when I saw the skyscrapers of Minneapolis for the first time. I was also left in awe by the Niagara Falls, a true wonder of nature.

11.I'd like to spend my old age days by the sea, somewhere on the Mediterranean, I'd like to write, to stay near the sea and to day dream with the waves, the sunrise and the sunset...

12. My favourite colour is light blue, like the sky on a summer day.

13. I have one pet, a parrot called Koko, and a lovely memory of a yellow cat Martin who is no longer with me but wil never be forgotten.

14. I have mixed feelings about social networks and communication over the internet: sometimes it makes me happy and it's very practical to connect with people from all over the world, but sometimes it is annoying and a waste of time. I am particularly baffled by the various applications and widgets and so on..I guess this is not my kind of world.

15. But I like exploring the internet, I like skipping from link to link and losing my way then coming back to some obscure concept. I like browsing, surfing and chilling out around the sites. My particular pleasure is the morning coffee "press time"..when I read the headlines of 5 sets of newspapers of 5 different countries in 5 different languages, it is really a unique experience and a way to stay tuned with the world.

16. I love my city, Skopje..I like taking long walks through the streets and breathe in the particular atmosphere it provides..

17.I rarely watch TV, but when I do, it is usually crime thrillers and detective series, or British sitcoms, they really make me laugh.

18.Music is always present in the background, from Mozart to Bruce Springsteen, depending on the weather, the mood and other variations of probability.

19. I am hopeless about fashion and make up, and without my friend Maggie I would not know how to deal with it, so thank goodness she exists (well, not only because she is an expert, obviously!)

20. I recently discovered the passion for the games on Facebook and an interesting sense about "business" while playing, something I thought I lacked.

21. I keep a diary, but not in the classical sense, I write my poems inside and some notes and then often I come back..diaries are like photo albums for me. The memories somehow come back easily, just as looking at old photos.

22.Sometimes I feel lonely and this feeling engulfs me completely, but I guess it is a natural state that everyone of us has felt..

23. I'd like to write a novel one day and see it published. I'd like to be a writer, not just a translator.

24. When I was a young girl, I was a prodigy..I won competitions, silver medals and prizes in India, for poetry, for the languages...these days I look at those diplomas and I wonder where that girl had gone...

25. And here it mercifully ends.