|What is your most memorable childhood experience?
|Every year on Easter Sunday, my great-grandmother would somehow manage to bring all my relatives under the same roof to have a wonderful dinner. It was always bustling and fun, and I loved staying in the kitchen and helping make dinner with my grandparents. After dinner, we would decorate eggs and hide them to have an Easter egg hunt. I remember running in the grass at dusk, searching for eggs as the sun set and the light dimmed, and staying up late at night listening to stories we had saved since the last time everyone had come together.
|What immediate family member do you closely identify with and why?
|I most closely identify with my father - a strong-willed, intelligent man with a good sense of humor. After moving to the area, he quickly made friends, started a computer business, helped build the local theater in town, and became a leader in the community. Like him, I am proud of being able to get along with just about anybody, and I love to make people laugh. He struck a good balance between doing what he's good at and doing what he loves, and I try to do the same every day.
|What character traits do you admire in an individual?
|I think honesty is the greatest virtue, and I admire anyone who is honest with themselves and with others. When choosing friends, I admire those who exhibit joie de vivre, who are happy and loving to those around them, and I seek those who can enjoy spending long hours talking, walking, and enjoying life.
|What is the funniest thing ever to happen to you?
|My most funny experience is how I tried to impress a girl I liked in college. In the cold of winter every year, our college would hold a formal dinner followed by a dance, and it was tradition to camp out for tickets the night before - all night. Students would set up tents, wrap themselves in blankets and brace for the cold. Whoever lasted until morning could sit at one of the fancy tables at the front of the dinner hall, could sing traditional songs, and could be the first to start the dance. If you fell asleep, they made you move your tent to the back of the line. I decided that this was the perfect chance to spend time with the girl of my dreams, but there was only one problem. My good friend had already picked a spot in line next to the girl I liked, and I was at the back of the line! I tried every way I could think of to convince him to let me take his place, but he wouldn't agree. Eventually, I told him that I would stay in line and give him my ticket the next morning. He would get to go to the dinner, sing songs, and be the first to dance, and I would get to camp in the cold all night. The first few hours of camping out were great. I talked with her to pass the time and drank hot chocolate to keep warm. Then, somehow... I fell asleep. Soon, the volunteers checked to make sure everyone was awake, and I was doomed. Suddenly, someone shook me awake and told me to say my name out loud so I wouldn't be banished to the back of the line. I jumped awake, stumbled forward and said my name, and a moment later fell asleep. This continued all night, every hour. She thought it was so funny, and ridiculous, and she also thought it was very cute. That next night, my good friend ate at the dinner table, sang songs, and was the first to dance, but the girl I liked patiently waited. When the dance began, she only wanted to dance with me. We joked about how bad I was at staying awake ("Wanna dance, or will you fall asleep?"), and we had a great time. We got to know each other, and after many nights talking and dancing, and after many travels, and many years, we got married on a bright, warm, wonderful day.
|If time and money were not an issue, where would you travel and why?
|I would love to spend my mornings baking bread in the French countryside, or sailing the Mediterranean, or walking through small villages in the Greek Islands. I would teach at universities and create study abroad programs for students to learn about the world. I would love to teach languages, culture, and history. Wherever I would go, I would learn.
|When and if you ever have children, what would you like to pass on to them?
|I hope to pass on the feeling of being loved, because it persists through every life experience. I would nurture the drive to learn. I would encourage them to seek a good life through understanding themselves, the people around them, and the circumstances they share.