Thursday, April 22, 2010

Things My Boss Says II

I previously posted a list of clichés my boss uttered from 2008-2009. I intended to wait and post another update after 2010 was over, but the list is already pretty big this year, plus I found some more old ones when I looked through emails he had sent me. I didn't do a scientific study, but I think his cliché-to-email ratio is 1:2. Of course, I try not to repeat them on my list. Yesterday, he caught himself mixing metaphors with "Ridin' herd of the shotgun." I'm still puzzling over that one.

Click "read more" for the latest list:

Saturday, April 10, 2010

Witch One Am I? (Scholarship Interviews, Part 2)

Competitive scholarship interviews at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro consisted of a reception, a tour of the campus, an overnight stay in a dorm, two interviews, and lots of boring downtime, which I filled by working on a jigsaw puzzle off and on with other finalists.

My morning interview went ok. The questions seemed pretty general, and the experience wasn’t nearly as scary as I had imagined. I thought my biggest weakness would be my indecisiveness and lack of direction. My intended major was “Undecided,” but that didn’t seem to be a problem for UNCG, and having a particular major was not a requirement for these scholarships.

My afternoon interview was a little less breezy.

Thursday, April 8, 2010

UNC-Queensboro (Scholarship Interviews Part 1)

In February of my senior year in high school, I was invited to attend competitive scholarship interviews at the University of North Carolina at Greensboro. I hadn’t yet decided what college I wanted to attend or what I wanted to study, although most of my interests were in the liberal arts. UNCG had once been the Woman’s College, so it was known for good programs in liberal arts, nursing, music, and subjects that had once been related to home economics (nutrition, interior design).

When my parents drove me to Greensboro for interviews, it was my first campus visit. The invitation from the University included directions to a reception for scholarship finalists and their parents that would kick off the interview process. Dad had a map that showed UNCG, but it directed us to a different “main” entrance than the one provided in the invitation. Consequently, our directions got a little confusing and we got turned around.

Resisting gender stereotype, Dad decided to stop and ask someone for directions. Fortunately, college campuses abound with pedestrians. Dad pulled up alongside a student, rolled down the window, and asked, “Excuse me; can you tell me where the Alumni House is?”

The student seemed positively overjoyed to help us. “Oh, yiesss! It’s right over there!” He pointed with big dramatic gestures not unlike the Scarecrow in the Wizard of Oz. “If you jusssth drive to the end of thisss ssstreet and turn to the left, and then turn left again, it’ll be right there!”

I’m gonna take a wild stab and guess that he was a theatre major. He had more flames than an Olympics Opening Ceremony.

My dad thanked him kindly and rolled up the window. He then turned to me and said, “THIS is the college for you, daughter!”

Sunday, April 4, 2010

French Kiss (BritFrance Part Deux)

After our smashing week in jolly old England, my roommate Julie and I reluctantly set off from the white cliffs of Dover in a hovercraft headed for Calais. In Calais, we were immediately ushered onto a train bound for Paris that dropped us off into the bustling chaos of Gare du Nord train station.

Julie and I both minored in French in college. She had visited France previously as part of a college summer program. This was my first trip and my first chance to ever actually use those eight years of French lessons in real life.

I was instantly overwhelmed. I understood nothing. My last French class had been three years prior. Thankfully, the major directional signs were also printed in English, but all the ads were in French and left me scratching my head. Plus, there are so many foreign people running about in major cities that you can’t tell whose language skills are worse. Is my French that bad, or are they speaking another language altogether?

Newcastle Girls Do England (BritFrance Part 1)

My first trip outside the United States happened when I was 25 years old and therefore still able to avail myself of the youth discount on the BritFrance Railpass. My brother was an airline employee and my roommate Julie worked for Holiday Inn, so with discounts on trains, air, and hotels, Julie and I were able to spend two weeks in England and France despite our modest salaries. We hit London, Stratford-on-Avon, Paris, and Nice.

What always bugs me about trips to Europe is that it seems most flights depart around 7pm and arrive around 7am, dumping you into a congested major airport during its busiest time of day, where everything is foreign and weird, after you’ve had virtually no sleep and can’t possibly be expected to do the type of math in your head that is required for currency exchange. It is way too early to check into your hotel, so a nap and a shower are hours away. You’re lucky if you can drop your luggage somewhere while you take in a few sights. Then, you’re so excited to be there that you take a bazillion pictures that eventually you will throw away because you looked so awful in them with your greasy hair and puffy eyes.

Thursday, April 1, 2010

Tom vs. the School Bus

While driving home on his mo-ped from the apartment complex where he was a maintenance technician, my 19-year-old brother Tom collided into the back of a parked yellow school bus. Whenever you are reflecting on my brother Tom, it is often best not to ponder such complexities as “why” and “how,” but it might have had something to do with a Sony Walkman.

I was of the age when the world would stop spinning on its axis if I could not talk on the phone for hours to my tweenage friends. Tom’s difference of opinion with the bus is the reason my parents broke down and added the Call Waiting feature to our phone service – because I was on the phone when the operator executed an “emergency breakthrough” to inform us of the accident.

Tom returned from the hospital with cuts and bruises, a cast on his arm, and more metal in his mouth than that Jaws character from the James Bond films with Lojah Mooah. He had broken his jaw, and the doctors wired it shut. For six weeks, all of his meals would be consumed through a straw.