8 Things You Might Not Know About Me

Seeing as Maps and Mandalas recently rebranded and there could be a few new readers in the mix, I thought I would start with some re-introductions.

My name is Oceana, and if you haven’t already, I really encourage you to check out some more about me. If you just want the cliff notes version, here it is: I’m Oceana, and Maps and Mandalas is my website. I used to run Barefoot Beach Blonde, but my life has changed, and I feel my blog should to. Maps and Mandalas is all about design, photography and travel, as well as a lot of stuff in-between.

Seeing as you don’t know me that well, I figured I might as well break the ice now. So, here are 8 things you might not know about me.

1. My Family Is Big

I grew up in a big complicated family. My parents have been married a few times apiece, and with each marriage they have added to their respective broods. I have seven brothers, two sisters, and a truck load of nieces and nephews. All up, there are 10 ‘kids’, including me. We don’t worry too much about labels, and most of us definitely don’t look alike, with a mix of half, full and step siblings in the bag. When I was young I was used to being a rent-a-crowd, and even though the drama can be overwhelming, there’s something really fun about coming from a big family.

2. Indonesia Is My Second Home

When I was 12-years-old, my mother got a once in a lifetime opportunity to move to Indonesia for a great job. So she did. She took me and my two younger brothers with her, and for about four years Indonesia was our home. My mum still has her little patch of paradise there, awaiting her retirement. As a result I’ve always felt quite at home in Indonesia, particularly Bali, which is where we were based. It’s totally the opposite of the quiet, rural city I grew up in, but maybe that’s why I enjoy it so much. After all, what’s life without contrast?


3. I Speak Two Languages

Thanks to my foray into Indonesia, I’m one of the 18% of Australians who can speak another language. Even though I grew up in Bali, the language I speak is Indonesian, a.k.a. the country’s unifying language. I enjoyed learning it so much on the ground in Indonesia, that I studied it when I came back to Australia for senior high school, and ended up majoring in it at university. Now, while I don’t get to practice as much as I would like, I do enjoy shocking people with my fast-paced bi-lingual skills.

4. Coffee Is My Lifeline

I was an early starter to coffee. I had my first cup at around 12, and become a regular drinker of that caffeinated elixir in the years that followed. When I was finishing my last two years of high school, I did an intense stint as a barista, and maxed myself out on 8 cups a day. I’ve curbed my addiction into a gentle habit, but there’s no denying that when it comes to a comfort beverage, coffee is my go-to drink!


5. I Was Homeschooled

Homeschooling is getting more and more common now, but when I was younger there was a really prevalent stereotype that homeschooled kids were weird. People would often look suspiciously at me, or even recoil slightly, when I told them I had been homeschooled, even though my situation was less about an off-the-grid family and more about location and the expense of international schooling. Still, homeschooling suited me down to the ground. In fact it suited me so much, I ended up doing the majority of my university degree through one of Australia’s best external study universities for ultimate freedom.

6. My Partner Is British

Although I’m not a believer in fate, I don’t think you can brush off the impact of coincidence. My partner Dean and I met because of a wonderful series of coincidences, that started with a tropical cyclone named Oswald. A flooded road, a detoured bus, an island in chaos and an early ferry later, I had this amazing guy in my life. He also happens to be English, accent and all. Sure, we had to go through a seriously annoying visa process (still ongoing at the writing of this article), but it was absolutely worth it to spend my life with him.


7. I Work As A Writer

When people do an ‘arts’ degree at university, they aren’t always intending to work in the field that they majored in. I always wanted to be a writer, and I started and finished university knowing that somehow, I would achieve that goal. Well, in 2014 I embarked on self employment and started working as a freelance writer. Two years later I work for one of Australia’s largest parenting and lifestyle websites and brands. It’s been an amazing journey, but I’m happy to say that I experienced working as a writer. Of course, I don’t expect to be just a writer forever… But that’s another story.

8. Corny Puns Are My Jam

You know those people who tell really terrible dad jokes and then laugh at their own jokes? I’m one of those people. I’m not sure if Dean and my family are entertained or annoyed at this point, but I just can’t help it. I absolutely love corny puns, and they’re my go-to way to lighten someone’s day. My favourite of all time involves a dirty bus stop and a lobster with breast implants. Maybe I’ll tell you guys one day!


So, that’s eight things you might not know about me. Anything that surprised you? I’d love to hear some things people might not know about you, so comment them below!

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