Meet Natural Val: From massage to mountain climbing

Natural Val is a knowledgeable health care professional who we are lucky to have on the site. His teaching background makes his answers easy to understand and he loves to share his knowledge. On the site, you will find him as a Mentor, Senior Supervisor and Silver Contributor.  Offsite, he is  a man of many talents: graphic artist, photographer and mountain climber – and he has some awesome stories about survival in the wilderness. Check out Valentin’s interview to learn more about this intelligent and dedicated contributor.

What is your first name?

My first name is Valentin, pronounced Valenteen. Most people call me Val because it’s easier to say. I would like to think that my parents named me after the three Roman Emperors named Valentinius, but since they were silent movie buffs, they were probably thinking of Rudolph Valentino.

What is your occupation?

Pantheistic Symmetry  by Valentin
Pantheistic Symmetry
by Valentin

I have had a few different careers associated with either photography and graphic arts or allied health care like massage therapy, and now nursing. And, since I am so much of a people person, I consider myself as being mostly a health sciences educator.

What is your username and how did it come about?

I have always loved nature and the great outdoors. I was teaching at a massage therapy school in North Carolina when I first joined The name of the school was the Natural Touch School of Massage. I liked the name so much that I incorporated the word ‘natural’ into many of my usernames. And so, for WikiAnswers Natural Val was a natural choice. Pun intended.

Where in the world do you hail from and what makes that place special?

I come from what is now known as Serbia-Montenegro. When I was born there it was called Yugoslavia, but in Europe a person takes on ethnicity and cultural affiliation from one’s heritage and one’s parents, and not according to the borders where one is physically born. My father is Romanian and my mother, Hungarian so I was a misfit because that was considered a mixed marriage. Because of a difficult political situation, my family, which included my parents and my older sister, Ofelia, immigrated to the United States when I was five years old.

How did you discover

I was doing research for an anatomy and physiology class I was teaching, and found a link to a question that I could not resist answering myself on Answers. A week later, after I had answered a few more questions, a Supervisor invited me to join because she liked the way I answered questions.

What life accomplishments are you proud of?

My proudest accomplishment is being polyglottic and that means lots of glotts, which is the Latin word for tongues. I have learned to speak seven languages throughout my life. Five of those I learned to speak with native fluency by the time I was six years old. In order, they were: Hungarian, Romanian, Serbian, Italian, and American English. It was later that I learned conversational levels of French and American Sign Language (ASL); more like what people call their second language, only they were my sixth and seventh. I even taught ASL and English reading and writing skills to deaf adults at the Deaf Community Center of San Diego for a while. These were people that had been born deaf and had minimal, if any, communication skills and no formal education. They had family that brought them here after they, themselves, immigrated to the US from other parts of the world; places like Thailand, Vietnam, Colombia, Mexico, and Ethiopia. I consider being their teacher here in America as a sort of a coup d’état  considering my earlier situation when I was the foreigner without a clue as to what was going on.

What accomplishments on are you proud of?

I am proudest for starting the category of Massage Therapy. I was not only its first Supervisor but, at the time there was no Alternative Health category, so it had to be added to make a place for Massage Therapy. I was also the first Human Anatomy Supervisor.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

My three wishes are to end all wars, end all world hunger, and end all disease. If that ever happened we would probably overpopulate the world and that would make all three of those wishes impossible to attain as long as we all stayed on just this one planet. And so, since we haven’t started inhabiting Mars, yet, I have to take back all three wishes and choose another one, and only one. And that would have to be that we learn to share the Earth; not only sharing it with other human beings, but with all of life that has a home on this wet rock flying around a star in one of the 200 billion, or more, galaxies in this vast Universe. There may be enough room out there, but since we are all still here, let’s make the best of it.

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’? 

I view it as half full. But you probably could have easily guessed that by now.

What do you find most challenging as an Supervisor?

The most challenging thing is to figure out what the questioner is trying to learn. In other words, what is the question? I try to enter the mindset of the person who wrote it, and that means I try to guess the approximate age and level of knowledge or experience the person may have with the subject. I especially love the questions that children ask because they are usually from a perspective of either curiosity or just plain awe about the world around them.

What are you most passionate about in your life?

I am most passionate about my life. My definition of life is the period of time when a biological organism uses its will and intention to influence changes in its internal and external environments. So, life is about having opportunities to make changes.

Albert Einstein
Albert Einstein

What is your favorite quote and why?

“You should make things as simple as possible, but no simpler.” – Albert Einstein. After that it would have to be: “And don’t call me Shirley!” – Hollywood movie classic, Airplane.

Who is your inspiration in life?

My grandparents from the Hungarian village where I spent the first part of my life are the biggest inspiration for me. My grandmother was the village doctor, nurse, and midwife and my grandfather was the most skilled farmer, craftsman, and animal tender in their town. Everybody respected them both. My grandfather’s philosophy was to make friends and visit with everybody, but stay true to your own beliefs and ways while respecting others.

Where is one place in the world you would love to visit and why?

I would love to visit the Kalahari Desert in Southern Africa because I would love to be a guest of the native San people or the Bushmen, as they are also known.

Do you have any special talents?

One of my proudest achievements is solo camping in the Cascade Mountains of Northern California where I spent three days and nights with no tent, no sleeping bag, no flashlight, no matches, and no modern camping equipment. All I carried was a knife and blanket. During those three glorious days I explored the local plants and wildlife. Those three days and nights are burned deeply into my memory.

Check out these answers by Natural Val:

Why do you need habitats?

What is the principal role of protein in the body?

What is the last part of the brain to develop fully?

Meet Jackgin! Witty WIT member and great contributor

Jackgin is an outstanding member of our team: a WikiReviewer copy assistant, a Community Outreach WikiGuide, and a bronze contributor. He is also a member of Wiki Influential Teens (WIT) and just won the contest to describe the WIT program: Fun, Meaningful and Unique!  He loves computers, reading and WikiAnswers!  Read more and get to know Jack!

What is your first name? My first name is Jack.

What is your occupation?  I am a student.

Where in the world do you hail from and what makes this place special?

I am from Singapore. I think what makes Singapore a special place is its huge diversity and the chance to meet and see people from other races living in harmony.

How did you discover

My teacher gave me an assignment to do research on the characteristics of the crab. When I asked a question in Google for the assignment, the first search result was a link to I thank my teacher for ‘helping’ me to discover

What enticed you to join our community?

I love to help people and thought that was a good way to do this by answering other people’s questions. WikiAnswers was so addicting that wherever I went, I was thinking about all the time, thus I joined.

What is your favorite thing to do on

I like doing everything on the site and it’s a  lot of fun. If I had to choose one thing, it would be categorising questions.

If you were inviting someone to join, what reason would you give that person to become a part of our community?

Well, the people on the site are very nice and you also get to learn new things in areas that you may be interested in.

What is your favorite song? gangnam-style

It has to be Gangnam Style by PSY because I think it’s very catchy and I love the dance moves. In fact that is one of the reasons why the song is so popular.

If you had three wishes, what would you wish for?

Firstly, I would wish for world peace because I feel that peace is very important and some places in the world are still in much chaos. Secondly, I would wish that I could have autographs from every famous person that I like because then I can show them off to all my friends! Finally, I wish that I could have tons of money! Even though money isn’t everything in the world, it can still get you (and me) some awesome stuff, don’t you agree?

Do you view the glass ‘half full’ or ‘half empty’?  

I view it as both. It’s ‘half full’ because it shows that I have made progress and should be happy about that; it’s ‘half empty’ because it shows that I still have a long way to go before I achieve true success.

You can only pick one:  banjo, butterfly, or babbling brook.  Which would you choose and why?

I’ll pick the butterfly since my mother and I both think that it is a fascinating creature.

What do you find most challenging as an contributor?

I think making sure that my answers are accurate is the most challenging as an contributor.

Who or what is your inspiration in life?

My inspiration is definitely my parents as they worked hard to raise me to be who I am now.

Where is one place in the world you would love to visit and why?

I would love to visit Japan as I have always thought that it is a very beautiful country with many different plants and animals.

What is one quirky or interesting random fact about you that most people may not know?

My short-term memory is bad, but my long-term memory is surprisingly good.

Check out some of Jackgin’s intriguing answers:

How do you get Keynote on a Dell computer?

Is subtraction a short cut for addition?

What is a synonym for allure?