I am pleased to introduce you to my friend Amanda. She was one of the first people I befriended in Leeds. We bonded over our shared status as American Anglophiles with a compulsive book-buying habit. Amanda is intelligent, chic, and kind -- hanging with her is always a blast! So without further ado, Amanda offers us a peek into her brilliant mind...
You were a volunteer at the Brontë Parsonage Museum. What was your favourite thing about working there?
Probably getting to see the Brontës' personal possessions up close and personal. I am fascinated with Charlotte, Emily and Anne, so it was amazing to handle things that actually belonged to them and were a part of their lives. I remember the first time I got to go on the other side of the security rope into the dining room where they wrote their novels -- and where Emily probably died. It was such an emotional and surreal experience, because it looks exactly how it did when the family lived there. It's set up with their own possessions so you really feel, just for a moment, that you are stepping into their lives and into history.
Amanda on the heathery moors
Where are you from, and where do you live now?
I'm from Chenoa, Illinois, which is a small farm town about two hours south of Chicago. I just finished my MA at the University of Leeds and have since moved to London.
What is your favourite food from home?
I love Panera! It's my favourite restaurant, and I insist on eating there all the time when I'm home. I really miss American soups (baked potato is the best!) and proper chicken salad sandwiches. The British equivalent of chicken salad just isn't the same!
If you had to wear just one colour for the rest of your life what would it be?
Definitely purple. I went through a purple faze last autumn and wore purple most of the time. Now I've branched out to other colours, but purple is still my favourite.
What is your favourite city?
Well, to live in, definitely London. I love everything about living here, and London is an amazing city. But my favourite city overall is Florence, Italy. It's the most beautiful city I've ever been to, and it's a great place to wander around and get lost. There's a plethora of museums, cute shops and old churches. The food isn't bad either!
What has been your favourite holiday destination thus far?
I visited Hawaii a couple of summers ago and went surfing and zip-lining for the first time. I would love to go back there to visit a couple more islands and work on my tan! My favourite destination of the past year has been Copenhagen. I went there in June and had a wonderful time. Like Florence, it's a great city to just wander around in. I loved the architecture and walking along the canals. Danish men are also the most attractive men I've ever seen!
Which vacation spot is at the top of your travel list now?
If I'm still in London next summer I want to go to Dubrovnik, Croatia. It's supposed to be gorgeous and old with amazing (but less crowded) Mediterranean beaches. I also want to go Greek island hopping soon. Hmm...I'm sensing a beach theme!
Can you share a book recommendation?
Well, of course I recommend that everyone read a little of Charlotte, Emily and Anne. If that's not your cup of tea, I read The Book Thief back in December, and it's amazing! It gives you a unique take on WWII Germany and is narrated by Death.
Can you share a movie recommendation?
I just saw Like Crazy at the London International Film Festival, and it's probably one of my favourite films of 2011. I had high expectations going into it, and it definitely exceeded them. The dialogue is ad-libbed, which I think makes the love story seem more genuine. Everyone should see this film when it comes out!
What television show can you not get enough of?
My current obsession is Downton Abbey. I can't believe I just started watching it. I love the fashion and the interesting characters. My favourite American tv show is Castle. Now in its fourth season, the writing is still brilliant and hilarious.
What is your guilty pleasure?
Twilight and bad reality tv. Yuck! I am ashamed of myself, haha!
If you could invite three people, living or dead, to a dinner party who would be on your guest list?
Tough question! One would definitely be Emily Brontë, and not just because Wuthering Heights is my favourite book. I've often thought many historical figures would probably be a disappointment if one met them in real life. But I am fairly confident that Emily would surprise me no matter what. I'd also invite Oscar Wilde for some humour; and Audrey Hepburn, because she was just fabulous. I'm not sure how those three would get along though! I doubt Emily would talk to anyone!
Can you share a favourite quote?
This is another tough one, because I've been writing down quotations I like for years. Now I have an embarrassingly long Word document full of my favourites. Here are a couple I stumbled upon recently and really liked:
'At every moment of our lives, we all have one foot in a fairy tale and the other in the abyss.' --Paulo Coelho
'I may not have gone where I intended to go, but I think I have ended up where I needed to be.' --Douglas Adams, The Long Dark Tea-Time of the Soul
Finally, I think the line 'to chase the glowing hours with flying feet' fom one of Lord Byron's poems is really beautiful.
Amanda, thank you for being a marvelous mate! You're the best!
P.S. Maybe we should plan a trip to Copenhagen to snag some Danish hotties?