Here’s some trivia time. While most 7 year olds aspire to become teachers, firemen, astronauts and lollipop ladies, superheroes or princesses, I had my sights set on becoming a mermaid. In case that didn’t pan out, my plan B was to grow up to be an ornithologist. Most people go though their whole adult life happily not knowing what that is, in which case I’m happy fill you guys in. An ornithologist is someone who studies birds. My particular obsession was birds of paradise and flight. And since becoming a female pilot in a barely post-Soviet country in the 1990’s wasn’t really a thing, ornithology it was.
I spent the best part of two years sketching these as a kid. Like every day. Before you judge too harshly, all I can say in my defence is that the Soviet Union wasn’t big on foreign anything, including the Discovery Channel. So when it came to finding a window into the world out there, the best I could get my hands on was books about ancient history (aka other countries used to have some culture, but it’s ok, all those civilisations are now extinct) and books about nature (aka kids, other countries used to have some animals too, most of which are now extinct). And let’s face it drawing a fire bird beats drawing a pigeon any day.
My ongoing obsession with birds of paradise aside, a longline jacket has been at the top of my wish list for a while, so when this jacket landed on my doorstep right before fashion week, it was a two birds, one stone kind of situation. Temik’s signature style is all about colourful handmade embroidery with flowers and birds. The individually embroidered motifs use handcrafted techniques inspired by Latin heritage.
I have since given up my dreams of becoming an ornithologist, moved to England and took up flying lessons. I fly gliders (light aircraft without engines; so you have to rely on your skill and use air currents to keep the plane in the air); and Raja Ampat in Micronesia is at the very top of my bucket list. Raja Ampat, along with Papua New Guinea and the surrounding islands is home to birds of paradise. So all I’m waiting for is enough dives under my belt before I am able to take on my next challenge and dive these islands. Turns out, to be a mermaid you don’t need a tail, just a pair of fins from your local dive shop.
Don’t give up on your dreams, and before you know it, life will make them come true in unexpected ways.