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Getting to know... Alexia Yiannouli

An occasional but essential (for nosey people) series where we get to know our contributors

When did you first know you wanted to be a vet?

In a very stereotypical fashion, I have wanted to be a vet for as long as I can remember. When I was little, I used to run around my grandad's family farm in Hungary, getting absolutely filthy making friends with all of the chickens and other animals. I used to read Herriot and wish that I could be just like him, making me all too aware that I was the absolute veterinary cliché...

How ‘down with the kids’ are you? Do you speak ‘Teenager’?

I'm 25, and still sometimes feel like I'm 18... I'm not sure how well versed I am in the slang of teenagers today, but I could probably at the very least understand maybe half of it, if I'm being optimistic. Although, a teenager told me they thought I was over 30 a few weeks ago, so maybe I wouldn't be that well versed in teenager after all!

You’re at a karaoke bar, the last song of the night – what do you go for?

I have only ever been to a karaoke bar once, and I ended up assuming the role of sitting down and being thoroughly entertained by watching everyone else get progressively drunk and louder as the night went on. But I think that any rendition of Kate Bush's 'Wuthering Heights' has to be a stellar performance.

Football or rugby?

Absolutely neither, to play or to watch. I'm not very sports-inclined – I definitely prefer the arts to sports!

What’s on your playlist?

Everything – I have playlists for all occasions, and I'm really proud of my Spotify playlists. I have a playlist for different moods, for example a morning coffee playlist (or one with upbeat songs to pep myself up), and my playlists range from jazz, classical, to being in different languages; French, Portuguese… I have a very eclectic and diverse taste in music, to say the least.

If you could ‘come back’ as an animal for your next life, which would it be?

Honestly, I'd probably come back as a cat. But a really sociable cat, who loves people. Basically, I would be a cat that acts like it's not actually a cat, but one that also loves exploring independently in equal measure to socialising. Basically, I'd be an anthropomorphically extroverted cat version of myself, who loves being around people, but equally loves solo adventures and basking in the sun from time to time.

Tell us a terrible joke…

I am writing this while currently living in France, so I felt that this really horrendous dad joke might be appropriate.

Q. Did you hear about the terrible explosion in one of the French cheese factories?

A. All that was left was de brie...

I make no apologies for the cheesiness of it – absolutely no pun intended.

What’s your absolute most favourite place on the Earth?

Corfu, without a doubt. It's the island my dad is from, and it's so beautiful. It has the azure sea and the luscious mountain landscape, and is one of the greenest Greek islands. I have so many happy memories visiting there throughout my childhood, and even now when I visit as an adult. I visited this summer after not being able to go for two years, and the tranquility of the island really is something else! Sitting on a balcony with a view of the sea as I write with a coffee has to be the best place.

If animals didn’t exist, what would you be doing instead?

Since I am not working in practice, and will likely never work in practice, I'd probably be doing exactly what I'm doing now, although I think that I'm cheating by answering the question! I'm currently working at CERN in Geneva, so being a vet is a bit of a novelty amongst all of the physicists and engineers. There aren't a lot of animals involved with working in science communication! But I'd be really sad if animals didn't exist… what else would I do if I couldn't fawn over cute dogs everywhere I go?!

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