1) What is something you get unreasonably excited about?
Pugs. It doesn’t matter what mood I’m in; they always make me happy. If my doctor ever has to deliver news that I have a terminal illness, they should tell me and then immediately bring in a pug. I’ll be distracted long enough for the doctor to escape.
Here’s mine. His full name is Augustus Gloop (after the fat little German kid in Willy Wonka). But mostly I call him Pug because I love the word. As you can see, he is a pug of many talents—a seafaring huund (not a typo), a burrito de perritito (not a typo), a pomme de terre (translation: potato) as well as a croissant du pug:
2) You majored in both English Literature and Spanish. How has studying languages made you curious about different forms of writing and communicating?
In the spirit of curious language things, I’d like to steal from Willy Wonka again: “Strike that. Reverse it. Thank you.” First I was curious and passionate about language and then studied it in undergrad. I think the reason for that has to do with the fact that I was very bad at it back when I was trying to figure out how to read despite my teachers’ best efforts. But my parents connected me with great tutors and reading specialists, who worked very diligently and for several years to help me get to a competent reading level. (God bless special ed teachers.) From there, I started to love language and suddenly literature class became my favorite thing.
Once I started taking Spanish classes, I noticed that learning a second language has the funny effect of helping you better understand the first because you suddenly have a point of reference. It’s great. An overall comment about English v. Spanish (not surprising to anyone who’s studied both) is that Spanish is a much more efficient system. Look at almost any given sentence in English and the Spanish translation will be reduced by 1-3 words. There’s a few reasons for that, but the biggest one is that Spanish uses a lot of conjugates (noun + verb becomes one) and fewer prepositions. And English is a theify octopus. When we identify a word gap, we steal from another language. LANGUAGE!
One last comment: It’s amazing that we can speak fluently. If you’ve ever tried to speak another language or have lived abroad, you become painfully aware of how many decisions you have to make just to string a single sentence together. Plus you make those decisions instantly and without thinking. IT’S CRAY. The end.
3) If one phrase were to appear on your headstone, what would it be?
“That’ll do, pig. That’ll do.”
(I’m envisioning God taking the form of Farmer Hoggett and saying this to me.)
4) You studied abroad during college. Can you tell us about your favorite city you visited during your travels?
This don’t make no sense, but that’s a theme for me—although I studied in Spain (Toledo, specifically), my favorite city was Paris. The last time I was there, I wrote a description, which I’ll share here because I remembered it better at that time:
I don’t care how cliche it is; I love this city. My first visit was in the middle of February and the weather was miserable, but it didn’t matter; I loved it. Same thing my second time around. Mainly because bread. They love bread. I LOVE BREAD. It’s great.
Another thing is everything else. On the second trip I actually went into the Louvre. It’s intimidating. It’s hard to wrap your head around the size and intricacy of the building. It also smelled like roses (the kind that actually do smell good, like Red Rugosa, just not the ones at Kroger) and old wood. Weird observation, yes, but I thought that was impressive considering how many sweaty people were walking through it.
I think there’s also something to be said for a city’s energy level. New York’s is frenetic and aggressive and everything at once and it freaks me out. London’s is a scaled back version of that, plus a serious sense of decorum. Paris seems a little more introspective. A little quieter. I like that.
5) Tell us about your vast “love” for and experience with numbers.
I’m currently enrolled in Xavier’s MBA program, but I recently learned about a brand new program that sounded interesting to me called Customer Analytics. Think consumer data analysis. The CA program requires a GRE or GMAT score, which I didn’t have because my MBA program waived it (GPA + working experience = no GRE). So in order to apply to the program, I had to take the GRE, which I did a few weeks ago. Oh man, I studied A LOT. And exclusively math for a month and a half. So much algebra, so much geometry, so much probability and square roots and negative exponents. But still, I bombed the math. Yikes. So bad. To soften the blow, the standardized testing gods did give me the consolation of a pretty solid score in the verbal section. Tiny victories.
Tangent story: I was watching an old cartoon last night (I love cartoons), Only Yesterday, and the main character is a Japanese girl in fifth grade. There’s a scene in which she tries to visually reason through dividing fractions with an apple, but can’t. She tries another tactic: draws a circle and divides it out with lines. Still doesn’t get it. Tries to explain her approach to her sister, who is good at math. Her sister, annoyed, just shows her the way to memorize it, flipping the numerator and denominator and multiplying them together. Simple! But the girl isn’t satisfied because she wants to understand what is actually happening in the fraction. I remember trying to do that with almost every formula I relearned and had the same issue. Why is something that’s supposed to be logical and clean so hard to reason through? Don’t make no sense.
Long story short, I’m sticking with the MBA program.
6) Tell us a memorable story of yourself when you were a kid. It can be funny, surprising, warm and fuzzy, whatever. Just make it a good one.
Get ready to cringe.
There are 5 kids in my family. I’m no. 4. My oldest brothers are 18 and 15 years older than I am, so they were well into high school and entering college by the time I showed up. One day when I was 3 years old, my mom went to do…something…so my dad and brothers were charged with my care for a few hours. My older brothers played a bunch of sports when they were young and because of that, they wanted to toss a sports ball with my dad, a problem he’d never have to deal with when I came of age (lucky him). Because I liked playing in cars, they popped me in one of them so they could get on with the sports. Typically when I rode in the car with my brothers, they’d give me sips of their Pepsi, which was very nice of them. We bonded over Pepsi. Unfortunately during this period of sports and cars, another thing my brothers were into was dipping. See where this is going? Fast forward a few hours and I’m in the hospital getting my stomach pumped and my mother is furious. Fortunately I don’t remember anything, but they’ll never forget it. And now, neither will you.
7) Name one completely useless thing you’re really good at.
Putting things together
8) What’s the last random internet…thing…you saw that made you laugh out loud to yourself?
This isn’t the last thing I saw that made me lol, but it is my favorite thing:
It makes me cry every time. Sometimes seizure.