About

BARZEY.COM is the Internet home for Ursula Petula Barzey a digital marketing professional currently living in London, England.

I original created this site in 2002 while living in Chicago, Illinois (USA) to document my personal history. The original title: Ursula’s Not So Secret History was inspired by one of my favourite travel writers, Paul Theroux who wrote a book titled: My Secret History. A celebrated author who has written other popular books such as: The Mosquito Coast (this was made into a movie starring Harrison Ford), most suspect that My Secret History is an autobiography disguised as fiction. Paul actually admitted as much when I met him last year (2011) during a book tour. And while my history isn’t as erotic or exotic as that told in My Secret History, it does make for interesting reading. Well at least I think so. That all being said, as things have evolved, the site is now just titled BARZEY.COM.

For insight into my professional background, well you can review my LinkedIn profile. Also check out Moxee Marketing my freelance consultancy providing digital and content marketing services and Caribbean & Co. a digital platform and blog I launched which promotes Caribbean travel and luxury lifestyle.

Moxee Marketing logo Caribbean & Co logo

For a summary (heavily edited) of my personal history, read the list of 100 things below. I wrote this initially (in July 2009) as a list of 25 things in response to the meme that swept across Facebook a few years ago. As I couldn’t bring myself to edit the list down, I never posted on Facebook. Now here it is in it’s entirely.

  1. I almost died as a baby. In fact, it was pretty touch and go for a while.
  2. Once I recovered, I had a pretty happy childhood.
  3. My parents never married.
  4. I am the middle of three girls. Well at least on my mother’s side anyway.
  5. We didn’t have much, but we lived comfortable.
  6. I spent a lot of time at the beach even though I never really learnt how to swim properly.
  7. I also never learnt to ride a bike.
  8. I remember helping my Great Aunt Dorothy “Nenen” pick cotton.
  9. I consider Nenen who lives in Montserrat to be my favourite person in the world. She turned 96 years old in January.
  10. I tell her things now that I was never able to tell my mother.
  11. I remember spending quite a few summer vacation with my father. Mostly because he had lots of girlfriends parading in and out of the house.
  12. Surprisingly thought, I was a late bloomer when it came to the birds and the bees. In fact, I was the last of my High School friends to go all the way and I didn’t really discover self love until after University.
  13. They say you never forget your first and I often wonder whatever happened to SJ.
  14. I love discussing American politics.
  15. The first US Presidential election I really paid attention to was the 1984 Reagan v Mondale race.
  16. I remember talking about President Reagan’s Star Wars program and my school friends making fun of me.
  17. This was but one of the many “un-cool” things I did during High School.
  18. Mr Bower, my Algebra & Trigonometry Teacher helped me become a social butterfly.
  19. He taught me the game of football one afternoon because he needed a statistician for the team.
  20. For all four years, I participated in The Urban Scholars Program at the University of Massachusetts @ Boston.
  21. That program really open my eyes to the word of possibilities.
  22. I was almost inconsolable when I got rejected from a well known university on the East Coast.
  23. I turned down a four year scholarship to another well known university on the East Coast to go to the University of Michigan even thought it wasn’t one of the schools I had visited.
  24. I did so because the year I graduate from high school, U S News & World Report ranked Michigan the number 8th best school in the country.
  25. Surprisingly, my mother didn’t talk me out of my decision. I am forever grateful.
  26. I was so homesick during sophomore year that I seriously thought about leaving but I stuck it out and graduated with an honours degree.
  27. I had a love/hate relationship regarding the amount of attention Michigan’s athletic programs get – especially Football & Basketball.
  28. I met my BestGuyFriend after NavalAcademyGuy broke up with me. This was during the fall of 1991 – first semester senior year.
  29. I was a hot mess as I really thought I was going to get married to NavalAcademyGuy!
  30. I took a year off after graduation and “worked” because I thought I no longer wanted to go to law school. However, I hadn’t really thought of a viable Plan B.
  31. During this lost year, I became a ferocious reader. I basically got a list of the top 100 books and tried to read them all. I was making up for lost time.
  32. One of my favourite authors is: Paul Theroux. He is best known for: The Mosquito Coast. But I really love reading his other books: O-Zone, My Secret History, Jungle Lovers, My Other Life, Chicago Loop, etc.
  33. Other favourite books include: A Prayer for Owen Meany, The Great Gatsby, Catch 22, A Time to Kill, Confederacy of Dunces, etc.
  34. When I told my mother about my decision not to go to law school, she didn’t say much. She like most was confused as from a young age, I had told everyone I wanted to be a lawyer.
  35. Sensing my mother’s disappointment, I decided to be the “good daughter” and apply. I got accepted at a few placed and in the end, decided to go to the school that offered me an academic scholarship. It wasn’t the most prestigious of those I got accepted to, but I really didn’t want to add to my undergraduate loan burden.
  36. My mother drove me with a van full of “stuff” to law school.
  37. I withdrew after my first semester because she became terminally ill.
  38. I spent many days/nights/weeks/months at the hospital. I no longer get queasy at the sight of needles, blood, etc.
  39. For a while there, I knew enough medical terminology that I could have passed at least the first year nursing exams.
  40. I remember vividly the night before she died. I heard the death rattle and just picked up the bible and started reading to her.
  41. The next morning she said her final words as I held her hand: “God is good.”
  42. It’s been 14+ years but I still think of her every day.
  43. I never knew how much my mother loved me until she was dying. In fact, I got the greatest insight from my mom’s friends who told me after her death, how proud she was of me.
  44. I moved from Boston to Chicago because I was emotionally exhausted and thought I wanted/needed someone to take care of me.
  45. Things didn’t work out with that person but I stayed anyway because I fell in love with the city.
  46. I spend the middle and later part of my twenties raising my younger sister. I completely underestimated the task.
  47. I do have some laugh out/crazy stories from those days but not sure my younger sister would appreciate me sharing them.
  48. Those years are a blur of work, individual therapy, work, family therapy, work and even more individual and family therapy.
  49. I did manage to make some wonderful friends. First through the First United Methodist Church at The Chicago Temple and then later through Fourth Presbyterian Church.
  50. I took this amazing road trip with a group of these friends from Chicago to the Grand Canyon. We hiked and camped at the: Bryce Canyon National Park, Zion National Park, Arches National Park, Zion and a whole host of other national parks.
  51. That vacation was a near biblical experience.
  52. After that trip, I took up fly fishing with the goal of practicing my new hobby on one of the big streams in Montana. I never quite made it there but I did get take a few practice trips in Wisconsin.
  53. I froze everything I caught but I couldn’t bring myself to eat any of the fish.
  54. I got a cat when my younger sister moved to California to be with her then husband.
  55. There have been days in the past when he was the only reason I got out of bed.
  56. Most people are surprised when I tell them I don’t have a boyfriend/husband or any kids. Little do they know that I have spent most of my 20s/30s single.
  57. Actually, I have had 3 boyfriends during the last decade; two of them are lawyers.
  58. I knew 1 month into the relationship with the last one that it wasn’t going to work.
  59. I met him at the airport in Montserrat.
  60. It took me another 10 months to build up the courage to end it. It was the first relationship I ever ended.
  61. He didn’t take me seriously when I communicated my decision and so I ended up sending him an email written as a legal brief outlining why we couldn’t be together. Then he finally got it and I haven’t spoken to him since.
  62. I moved to London to escape Chicago. 10 years is a long time to be anywhere.
  63. Also, the London Managing Director for my former employer offered me a job within 10 minutes of me asking about opportunities in his office.
  64. We were in Florida for the yearly sales meeting and over drinks one night, I blurted out my desire to live abroad. I was buzzed and feeling a bit cocky as both the President and our largest client had sung my praises to the company at large earlier in the day.
  65. Three months later I was in London. I didn’t really know anyone over here.
  66. I joined the Junior League of London but quit as it just made me feel homesick. Plus I got tired of making friends with fellow expats who kept leaving.
  67. I get a buzz from visiting countries where I don’t speak the language.
  68. To get over any fear I have of being in such a country, I fly in during the day, take public transportation to my hotel, take one of those tourist bus trips around the city to learn where key landmarks are and then go completely native.
  69. Interestingly enough though, the best vacation I ever had was a 14 days trip in Alaska.
  70. During that holiday, I experienced all four season as we drove from Prudhoe Bay down the Dalton Highway back to Anchorage.
  71. I remember the trip well as it was in celebration of my 30th birthday, also it was the first season of Survivor and oh yeah – the most beautiful Alaskan man followed me for three days! Goodness! If only I wasn’t such a prude back then.
  72. Since being in London, I’ve been to: Austria, France (3 times), Spain, The Netherlands, Czech Republic and Italy.
  73. Barcelona is my favourite European city. Perhaps to some degree because it’s the first one I visited after moving to London.
  74. It also reminded me a lot of Chicago with is large boulevards, trendy restaurants, museums and city beaches.
  75. I’d like to visit a major city in the Middle East but not sure if I’ll ever get there. At least, I wouldn’t travel there alone.
  76. I am waiting to get married before I have children.
  77. I’d ideally like to have twins.
  78. Raising my younger sister makes me think I’d be a much better “mother” this second time around.
  79. I was perhaps way too strict with her.
  80. I met someone a few months ago that I thought had the potential to be my future husband, but it turns out he had a fiancée. He didn’t clue me in until 3 months after we met. Shady!
  81. I still have dreams about NavalAcademyGuy. He was my Barack Obama. 🙂
  82. I am not very good at interpreting the signals men send off. One once bought me a dozen yellow roses. I thought he was just trying to be nice as I’d had a really rotten week. I found out years later that he really liked me. This was during the blurry Chicago years.
  83. I am also not very good at expressing my feelings or asking for help.
  84. I do try and tell people (mostly family members) that are really important in my life that I love them.
  85. Friends tell me I make a good coach. I listen to their problems and always give constructive advise.
  86. However, sometimes I just want to scream and ask: What about me? Don’t you care how I’m doing?
  87. A boyfriend — Racquetball Guy – once told me that I have an acid tongue as I can be a bit too direct at times.
  88. For a long time, I was really hurt by his statement – but then I came to realise that he was just deflecting because I called him out on his “bull-shit.”
  89. There is no room in life for mediocrity.
  90. I am really hard on myself.
  91. I’ve only now really started to appreciate/acknowledge my accomplishments over the years.
  92. I am extremely loyal – sometimes to my own detriment.
  93. Not sure how long I’ll stay in London; but won’t move for awhile as I purchased a property just before the market went south. I know, lucky me!
  94. I would love to live in Paris for awhile but unfortunately I don’t speak French well enough.
  95. I take a lot of calculated risk that to outsiders might seem like spur of the moment decisions. However, I am quite thorough in my research when it comes to making any life changing decision.
  96. I quit my last corporate job – with incidentally a large global law firm – in 2008. I got tired of the long hours, the endless meetings, the blackberry with 300+ new emails a day and just genuinely not being able to control my schedule never mind my destiny.
  97. At first I was just going to take a sabbatical from work, but in the end after months of research and consulting with various professionals, I decided to set up my own business.
  98. It hasn’t been easy but it’s the best decision I’ve made. I can’t imagine going back.
  99. I have a vision board to help me stay focused and on track.
  100. I finally feel like I’m on my way to creating my desired future.