What is the most memorable vacation you've taken?
My family is very close - we moved a lot while I was younger, and took a lot of road trips and camping trips. To be honest, it’s hard to pick just one - because we’ve done so much together.
When I was younger, we lived in Arizona, and we were about 4 hours away from Puerto Peñasco, where there are several resort-hotels that you can spend time in. You can rent out a condo in those hotels, or rent out a house further down the beach, and we went for several years with our neighbors (my adopted family), and had amazing vacations with them. I can remember waking up, and hearing the sound of the ocean outside - being able to open the door and walk down to the surf and get my feet covered in the wet sand when the tide had ebbed away. One of my aunts (a biologist) would bring a baking sheet out, and would collect critters from a tidal pool for all the kids to see (I was the oldest, and there were always at least 7-8 kids on the trip, regardless of the year), and point out the intricacies of the patterns in the shells we’d find. We would rent kayaks and go out on clear days to paddle around - I even saw dolphins! And in the later years, someone would always bring a soccer ball to kick around. Every night a different family would make dinner, and so we were treated to everyone’s vacation favorites - and the adults would relax and laugh out under the sun shade on the beach. Those were fantastic trips, and now that my family lives in Minnesota we all reminisce about little moments together, and about how sunburned we each were by the end of each trip. I’m tearing up a bit, writing about these, because I can see my brothers and my nieces and nephews running around in my head - they’re all adults now, and I am so grateful for those memories with them.
What's the craziest thing you've ever done in your life?
Probably signing up to be a Shamrock Princess! No, in all seriousness, I think the craziest thing I’ve ever done was have a baby! Going through that process - from trying to get pregnant to pregnancy and watching my body go through some amazing changes while I grew a human was just incredible. And then I gave birth! I still can’t believe that women have been doing this forever, and that they continue to do it every day - it takes such a deep well of inner strength to go through that process, and I am grateful every day that I have such a large support network. Every time I look at my daughter, or I look down at my body (which is still changing - I’m trying to exercise more and get into better shape before she starts walking!) I can’t think of anything crazier and yet so mundane as having a baby!
I also have travelled to a few different countries, and in at least one, I’ve danced on the tables in a bar with friends - but I couldn’t possibly explain all of the fun from those trips in a short paragraph.
If you could be in the movie of your choice, what movie would you choose and what character would you play?
AAAHHHHH I don’t know. I always wanted to be in the Harry Potter movies, and play Ginny Weasley or Hermione Granger - two fantastic female characters that I love to this day! But honestly, this is a ridiculously difficult question - I’d play any part in the HP universe.
What's a favorite family memory that has stuck with you?
Oh, so many - my family is very close, and I love spending time with them; so picking one memory is difficult!
Every day when I was a kid, my family ate dinner at the table. It wasn’t always homemade food - sometimes it was frozen pizza, or takeout - but we always ate at the table. However, there was one exception to the rule - once in a blue moon, we would spread out a sheet on the floor, get our food together (and put out a cutting board or something to put our cups on if we were on carpet), and would settle in to watch TV together while we ate. For a few years, my dad would buy my mom a season of ‘Little House on the Prairie’ on DVD, and so we’d watch an episode together. After that, I was gifted a few seasons of ‘Friends’, and we watched through the entire series. And some nights, we’d just pick a movie, and when we were done eating, we’d pause to clean up and do dishes, and my parents would make popcorn for us or rootbeer floats, and we would watch the rest of the movie with the lights off. Now, as an adult, we quote movies and shows to each other all the time, and every time that happens I remember sitting together and having conversations with my parents. They worked hard to make sure that no matter how busy we were, or how tired they must have been, that we were together as a family at least once a day.
What hobby would you get into if time and money weren’t an issue?
Oh, I’ve always wanted to do more physical activities - a couple years ago my New Year’s Resolution was to try a new physical activity each month, and I found quite a few that I’d be so excited to get more into! Stand-Up Paddleboarding (SUP), or SUP Yoga - so much fun - and I’ve loved doing aerial classes - there’s something so thrilling about knowing how you can literally swing through the air in silks!
I also would love to volunteer more - I have a degree in Teaching English as a Foreign Language (TEFL), and I used to volunteer with Open Doors Learning Centers (https://www.literacymn.org/learning-centers-0). Working with some of those students was very eye-opening, and I have tremendous respect for the people working to continue to learn at every age. As someone who’s been a book lover and a voracious reader from a young age, my love of language translated very well into teaching Beginning or Basic English.
What would your warning label say if every person was required to have one?
WARNING: This person is very genuine. She is blunt, clear, and things that being true to who you are is essential in living a happy and healthy life. That may result in deep friendships, passionate discussions, and a general feeling that this person will do anything for her friends. Additionally, she can swear like a sailor, loves sharing her love of learning, and enjoys crafting and making food - so her home is naturally a warm and inviting place that she likes to spend lots of time in. This person does suffer from occasional bouts of anxiety and depression, and may retreat into her safe space (her home) when feeling overwhelmed - but during these times she tries to share as much as is appropriate so as to try and remove the stigma from those two conditions. As a child of a doctor, she’s grown up in an environment of openness which has resulted in her being the go-to person for awkward questions that her friends are usually too embarrassed to ask - and a healthy ability to laugh at her own failings.