[Day-10] About me, or 9-28-95-5-78-7-65536-9 (Part 1)

Note: when I finished this post I realized how loooong it got, so I split it into 3 parts. Those of you who get to the end of the last part and can decipher the code in the title – feel free to write your name on my friend’s list.

Note 2: 3 parts strategy didn’t really help. It’s still hideously long. Let’s say I’m trying to make the most of my free time practicing creative writing skills before the rush of school starts.

If you read my first post you already know my name. If not then nice to meet you, I’m Ekaterina (and here goes the first number from the title: it’s a 9-letter word) and yes, there is an E in the beginning 🙂

And if you are curious to discover a first-person perspective on what the Piscine month at 42 looks like day-by-day, aka going to read my chronicles, I thought it might be a good idea that I tell you a little more of who am I.

Plus it might be useful to get acquainted with the 900 future swimmers (or at least a good half, as I’ve heard there is a 30% drop off at the end of the week 1). So here goes.

I’m Russian, 28 years (and here, you guessed it, is the second number from the title). I moved here from Moscow in 2011 and have been a happy Parisian for 4 years now.   

It’s been a while since I challenged my brain in any substantial way and I figured it would be a great time for a new “get out of my conform zone” experience – and here’s why 42.


Since I can remember I have always been passionately curious and loved learning. I was happy enough to have crazy teachers (in a good geekish sense of the word)  and thus brain challenges were never in deficit when it came to my schooling.

I think it was around 6 that my steady walk on the path to the Geeks kingdom started. It was around that time that I started playing chess and biting my own records in Tetris. At 7, math books made their way to the list of “Kate’s leisure activities”. The list of my daily routines looked something like this: football with guys, chess party with a grandfather, lunch on the tree with a Tetris in one hand, and the math book in the other.

As for the “good crazy” teachers of mine, I owe a special “thank you” to my Computer class teacher.  To give you some context, I did start my school in the early 90s in Russia, considerably far from a technology-forward Moscow. Thus having a computer science class as a part of the school program was already a rare thing. Numeric systems, Algorithms basics, Database logic, and Pascal programming on the curricula was definitely an advanced level of good crazy.  So my lucky encounter with the computer dates back to 1995 (and there goes the 3rd number from the title). And for those of you, young folks, back then we were talking MS DOS and Pentium 1 (which is, for the reference, not even 1/10 of current mobile phone power) :))  So my brain was early on wired for the 21th-century digital world.

This same teacher pioneered an annual Economic Simulator game – a 3-week school-wide real-life economy simulation. Each kid got 10 Shik Dollars (local school currency) in exchange for a 5 Euro investment to the game bank. All of us had 3 weeks to multiply its initial capital any way one saw fit (lottery business was one of the most popular picks haha). If one ran out of money one could get another “start capital” in exchange for 5 Euro with the limit of 5 times total. And as you may guess in a-3-week time there was a big “spend-all-you-got-on-real-stuff” event). It was definitely a fun way to ignite those entrepreneurial spirits hidden within haha.

She (oh yeah, I didn’t mention that my Computer Science teacher was a woman) also started the school-wide Radio and TV (with real pro equipment, sound rooms, classes etc).  So next to that chess/football/math/Tetris there also was TV  journalism, ballet, photography, and some programming… :))) You got it, I had an eventful childhood.

In parallel to my middle and high school (starting 12 years old) I also did 5 years of advanced math school, with had somewhat similar learning style as 42, except the subjects were math, logic, geometry and game theory.

After all that intense brainwash with numbers and “hard” sciences, my only wish was to do anything but Math. And so I ended up with a 4-year of almost numbers-free social psychology studies.  Then a business school and a job offer from  L’Oreal brought me here in Paris in 2011.

And for the details on that one, you’ll have to check the PART 2.


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