Friday, January 8, 2016

Interesting Person Interview Series: Christine

Today I am delighted to share the interview of my cousin, Christine.  If you've been reading my blog for any time at all, then Christine is a character that needs no introduction... but I'm going to do one anyway :)  Christine is almost exactly my age, and for as long as I remember, I've always thought she was just so cool.  She is well-read, well-traveled and a spectacular friend.  (Though we've never lived closer than 250 miles apart, she attended my high-school graduation party, bridal shower, bachelorette party and too many"smaller" occasions to count). 

1) What is your name and who are you?
My name is Christine. I'm a cusp Sagittarius, a Michigander by birth and passport (and not much else), an NFL owner, a textbook oldest child, a person who swore she would never make other people look at baby pictures but who now shows videos of my nephew (not actually a baby) and cousins (' kids, whom I just call "cousins" because it's easier) to anyone in my vicinity all the time, and someone who never had any of those same illusions of restraint re: my cats. I spend a lot of my time reading, cooking, resisting LA car culture, thinking about metadata, freaking out about whatever may be going on in the sky, bemoaning the patriarchy, planning about my next trip, and gazing at said cats. I live in Los Angeles, love it, and try to get out as often as possible.

2) How do you know Kate?
Kate is my cousin, born three months and eleven days before me, and there's a story that has been told a lot about our early days. Our families were on a road trip together, with baby Kate and baby me in the back seat. Kate started crying, everyone freaked out (maybe I'm editorializing a little here...), and they finally got Kate to stop crying. Then, as if on cue, I started crying. We went back and forth like this for the entire trip. Somehow, this seems like a really illustrative and perfect story for us. In addition to being cousins, Kate has been one of my best friends for my *entire* life and we've always had so much fun together, despite rarely living in the same time zone. True to her being just a little bit older, Kate has always seemed to be one (or two or three...) "life steps" ahead of me and, as such, she's always been one of my favorite people to go to for real talk. I was psyched when she added Scott to our little circle of fun, and I'm maybe even more psyched (sorry Scott!) to get to know Jacob better as he grows up into yet another awesome person in my life.

3) What are you most grateful for in life?
I know that I hit the life-jackpot being born in the US with parents who love me fiercely and had the time, resources, and abilities to give me everything a kid could want and then some. My life and situation have presented me with opportunity after opportunity. It's extremely humbling (not to mention infuriating) to imagine how different my life might look were it not for my incredible fortune to have these seemingly basic things.

I also got to grow up with all four of my grandparents in my life, and I'm infinitely grateful that I got to know them and for the relationships I have with them.

4) What is your advice to new parents?
These are some things my parents did that I think were pretty awesome:
- Shared what they loved and valued with me - faith, music, food, places, people, ideas, books, activities, etc.

- Taught me that adventure and fun can happen anywhere and that you don't have to fly across the world to go new places and see interesting things (although they taught me that that's great too!). They also taught me how to navigate airports, hotels, public transit, and generally get around in new places on my own. They taught me how to feel comfortable being in new and different places. They showed me so much of the world growing up and they have continued to share the occasional adventure with me.
- Showed me the value of taking and making the time to keep in touch, to visit, to say "yes" to last-minute opportunities. I grew up far away from extended family, but I am lucky to have close relationships with a lot of relatives, mostly because of all of my parents' early and continued efforts in this area. It's also been fun and interesting to watch my sister with her son - she does a really great job of making sure that he knows who I am and of keeping my presence in his life even when I'm not physically there.
- Taught me about, and modeled, responsible money habits (savings, credit cards, investing, etc.). Soooo boring but I'm also so glad I at least have a basic grasp of what I do.
- I honestly have no idea how he did this, but my dad was apparently traveling for work 25-50% of my childhood. I always knew he traveled a lot, intellectually, but it never felt like that. Whatever he and my mom did - he always felt present and around. If you have a crazy job that involves lots of hours away from home, you should find my parents and ask them about this - it's something I only really appreciate in retrospect, because at the time I literally had no idea!

5) What's your favorite holiday? Why?
I love holidays SO MUCH. I love celebrating, themes, seasonal decorations and meals, not-serious traditions, making a big deal out of things, and always having days to look forward to and plan for. My very favorite is the Fourth of July, because it's so silly and fun and low-pressure and fun. It's also a good time to take four days off of work and get 9 back to travel! And to dress in theme, eat awesome summer food, drink too much wine, light sparklers, listen to crazy patriotic music, and do lots of reflecting on this strange, super-interesting country that we get to live in. Close runners up are Easter and New Years Eve, then followed also closely by Valentine's Day, Shrove Tuesday, Nowruz, Canada Day, Bastille Day, and Halloween (chronological order only).

6) What are you addicted to?
Nothing. I am obsessed with a lot, love my routine, and try to be flexible about letting go of it when it makes sense.

7) If you could change one thing about your life, what would it be?

While I'm not quite as proactive as my sister Jenifer (, I agree with her sentiment. One of my guiding life principles is "things work out" (a privileged life principle, I recognize) - sometimes that looks like me getting my act together and making a change, and other times it looks like life taking a different, often ultimately better, path than I'd imagined.

8) What items are on your bucket list?

Like almost everyone who has filled this out so far, I don't really have a bucket list. Things already checked off on my bucket list are typically things I didn't even know were on it until they happened and were so amazing that I realized they should have been on a bucket list, were I to have one (for example: dancing the hora at a wedding). I would like to travel a lot more (it was actually interesting for me to look back on my 2013 answers to your interview, Kate - I've made it to exactly one place on my "top" list then, so... time to get on it!), improve my German, master the accordion, learn SQL, get good enough at sewing to make my own clothes, be able to do a handstand, and read all of the Robert Caro LBJ books (I'm only reading female authors this year, but once I finish that!).

9) What do you hope is the same a year from now?
My life is pretty great! A few things I love and do not want to change: lots of good health for myself, family, and friends; regular travel to see people and places I love; my wonderful cats and a great partner; an engaging job that offers a lot of flexibility and interaction with interesting people.

10) What do you hope is different a year from now?

I'm working on cutting out the unnecessary and creating more quality time in my days.
11) What is the nicest thing anyone has ever done for you?
I mean this without question has to be something about my parents, but I don't have one specific thing. Malcolm also has an almost infinite patience for many of my most frustrating traits, which is pretty nice of him.

12) Where is home to you? 

Home is one of my favorite topics on which to meditate almost infinitely. I think I've moved around just enough to have really complicated feelings on this issue and not enough to have given up on it altogether. Like for many others, home is about people for me, not a physical place, although I've learned over the years that the physical place that feels like home often catches up with the people - if you can get your people to say somewhere long enough (my super-scientific study tells me it's about ten years). I'm really lucky to have a long list of places that feel like some sort of home, the newest of which is actually also one of the oldest.

13) Who is your personal hero?
I have an amazing family. I also really admire people who sacrifice personal comfort, happiness, and stability for the sake of the greater good.

14) What is the best time you've ever had?
This probably sounds silly/like a cop out, but I try to have the best time I've ever had every day. Or at least once a month, or several times a quarter. I'm a pretty glass-half-full person and I'm easily amused and I'm a pretty serious introvert who loves spending time alone - all of which makes it really easy for me to have a great time frequently.

15) If you could pick out three words for your tombstone to summarize your life, what would they be?
I tend to resist neat conclusions, and after months of having no idea how to answer this question and not sending these questions back to Kate because of that, I'm thinking I should just take a pass. Don't let perfect get in the way of good, right?

1 comment:

  1. She's so cool, that Christine! After I googled Shrove Tuesday (aka Fat Tuesday), cusp, and hora dancing - I got through my little education and re-read this interview and enjoyed hearing her voice in my head. Thrilled to be related...


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