Friday, December 19

Questions From Readers - updated December 2008

purple is June 09, green is Dec 08, blue is from April 08, black is from a long time ago

What did you do last night?
Watched a little bit of Shrek 2 before falling asleep.
Nothing I was too busy reading, We Wish to Inform You That Tomorrow We Will be Killed With Our Families: Stories from Rwanda by Philip Gourevitch

Have you ever licked a 9 volt battery?
No, why should I do this?!??!!

How many cars have you owned?
2 - Nissan Pathfinder & Subaru Legacy sedan

Type of music you dislike most?
Opera - it's worse than water torture to me - okay been to see 2 more operas & they're not as bad as I thought, but still not something I would choose to spend my time doing. have not attempted any more operas still not tried any more

Are you registered to vote?
Yes since they day I turned 18!! and got to vote this past Nov :) nothing new on this

Do you have cable?
Nope, haven't had it in years, well aside from the 3 months I was house bound after knee surgery, but aside from that not since I was at Norwich which was 2001. Last Nov (07) I had moved into a new flat & needed Internet connection and the cheapest option was to join up with Virgin Media - you can get a phone, Internet & cable package, so now I have the BASIC cable. nothing has changed I still rarely watch the cable on the telly - primarily use the DVD players, yes that's correct I have two, one is for UK and the other is for US DVDs since they read different regions! Slight change here, Virgin Media service has been cut off (long story) but I'm back to just having 2 DVD players, no internet & no phone.

What kind of computer do you use?
A Dell laptop Inspiron 600 (I think that's what it's called) at home & at work I have a brand new fancy black thing which I can't read cause it's hidden under my desk but it's really nice with a flat screen monitor this fall I had to get rid of my laptop cause it crashed for the second time in a month, now I have a new shiny thing - no clue what it's called - LOL no change

Where did you get your nickname Rara?
My nickname Ra comes from Sa-ra, my dad always called me it while I was growing up & my best friend's mom use to call me, "Ra-ra" after the Sun God because I was the only kid on the block who was always smiling, so it just sorta stuck. Then when I was in undergrad I was the Resident Adviser for my halls so I was R.A. Ra (and yet again Rara stuck as a nickname)

Are you American or British?
I am American, at times I come out with a few British words here & there, but on the whole my accent is still very American. Still American :) and again still 100% American

Where did you grow up?
I was born in Yonkers, NY, but spent most of my school years in the Ardsley School District, but actually living in Dobbs Ferry.

Where did you go to school?
Ardsley High School - regents diploma ('94-'96)
Hofstra University - one year only - transferred credits to NU ('96-'97)
Norwich University - Bachelors of Science in Biology with minor in Sports Medicine ('97-'01)
London School of Hygiene & Tropical Medicine - Masters of Science in Immunology of Infectious Diseases ('05-'06)

Why do you live in the UK & not the USA?
I moved here in September 2005 to get my Masters & now have moved for at least a year because of a job. Can you believe it's been nearly 3 years??? I can't! Just signed my contract at the beginning of this month to stay till Dec '09 Still planning on leaving at the end of this year

Do you plan on living there forever?
Right now I would say no, but forever is a long ways off . . . who can really say?? These days I'm leaning more toward moving home to the states, but no decision has been made. Still feeling I wanna go home at some point, just not now when the economy is crap - gonna keep this job for a year! Looking to move home in early 2010, just not sure where yet.

What is an MSc?
Masters of Science

What is your job position?
My position here at the university is called an MLSO (Medical Laboratory Scientific Officer) fancy British way of saying research assistant scientist. They've gotten rid of the title MLSO, but my work permit still says that so I'm not sure what to call myself ;)

What disease do you work on in London?

Burkholderia psuedomallei which is an infectious disease and the causative agent of human melioidosis. Bps is a public health problem in SE Asia & northern Australia & the CDC has it listed as a bio terrorism agent, hence where the funding for my job comes from. Still working on Bps! Have done a bit of TB work as well, but primarily still Bps :)

How did you end up getting this job?
My undergrad was in general biology with a concentration in forestry & minor in sports medicine - I just sorta took a job in upstate NY b/c I couldn't find any other places that would hire me without experience & here I am 6 years later loving it - I NEVER would have guessed it in a million years, nor would my undergrad adviser when I called him - he was very surprised

So do you like your new job?
I TOTALLY love my new job - course it could be that the people I work with are just brilliant & wonderful, which in my opinion can make or break a job. I did of course already know my new boss since he was one of my profs from last year. Still enjoying it :) still here aren't I? ditto

How awesome is that you get to live in London - do you love it?
I do totally love it here. It's a wonderful city - I grew up just outside NYC & never really feel in love with it like I have with London, but then again as my mom always points out the grass is always greener & most of those people I meet who where born & raised here love NYC much better, so maybe that's it. Still love it, who can argue with the ability to be in Paris or Brussels in 2 hours by train?!?!?! Again, I'm still here so I must like it! still enjoying it

How many brothers and sisters do you have?
One sister, who is 21 months younger than me & my bestest friend, plus she's super smart (as in she's an engineer)

What religion are you?
I was born, baptized, confirmed & raised Episcopalian, but at the moment I would say I'm not associated with any religion. I think if I were to choose one I'd go with Buddhism, but I'm not actively following that either. nothing changed on this front either

How does your family feel about you living in the UK?
I don't reckon I've directly asked them, but I know they are happy for me to have such a wonderful opportunity & it gives them a good excuse to visit London, the UK, and Europe, but I'm sure if given a choice they might pref I be closer to them (aka anywhere in the states - my family is rather spread out over the US) only difference is my mum is now back in NY so we're not quite as far away, but my sis did move to TN so she's a bit further now :(

Do you have a companion animals - if so what is it?
I don't, I couldn't right now - I mean it would be unfair to the animal - I'm not home enough to take care of him/her. I suppose I could have fish, but I don't fancy them, so for the moment I have to live vicariously through my mom's 2 English Cocker Spaniels, Henry & Quid, who are just fantastic!! If I had not moved to the UK I was going to get one of their cousins, but I'm here now :)

whats your name spelt backwards?

Have you ever made a prank phone call?
Yes, but let's not go there . . . I was young & stupid

Would you ever go bungee jumping or sky diving?
NO WAY, I hate heights to start off with & I'm not a fan of that free fall feeling which I think would occur in both of those instances, that said I did go zip lining through the rain forests of Costa Rica & that was WAY FUN!!!!!!!!!

Furthest place you ever traveled?
I flew from Montreal to Cape Town, South Africa, I think that's the farthest I've gone, but maybe when I go from London to Thailand in Nov that will be farther, will have to look into that! From London to Bangkok on one airplane was 13 hours - talk about LONG HAULING it!!! Went to Rwanda last fall & had a 15 hour lay over in Nairobi, Kenya, so if you count that in, that was the longest trip, but LHR to BKK is still the longest plane journey I've taken.

What's your favorite comic strip?
I don't really read them, I guess Peanuts

Do you know all the words to the national anthem?
Yes, learned them in school growing up, don't all students? I now understand why this question was asked, many people in England do not know the words to God Save the Queen (their national anthem!)

Do you shower in the morning or night?
Mornings or I'd never wake up

Best movie you've seen in the past month?
Blood Diamonds, Juno, Shooting Dogs, The Notebook

What are your favorite pizza toppings?
Pineapple or veggy mix

Do you prefer chips or popcorn?
homemade popcorn or salt & vinegar crisps (aka chips)

What cell/mobile phone provider do you have?
Orange in the UK & Verizon in the US I'm now on a contract phone in the UK with O2

Have you ever been in a beauty pageant?
Nope, couldn't be bothered to.

Do you drink orange or apple juice in the morning?
If I have apple juice in the house yes, if not just tea.

What is your favorite chocolate bar?
I am particularly fond of KitKats!!!

Who is your longest friend and how long have you known them?
Kristen F, since 3rd grade just realised now that she's been married for a few years I should probably refer to her by her married name so Kristen F. B.

What is your favorite arcade/video game?:
Tetrus or Pac-Man

Do you prefer Sprite v 7-UP; Coke v Pepsi; Canada Dry v Schweppes ?
Probably Sprite, Pepsi & Schweppes, but I don't know that I would know the difference if blind folded

Have you ever thrown up in public?
Oh yeah, when I was like 10yo & got sick during the church service & puked all over the seats - REALLY embarrassing!

Would you prefer being a millionaire or finding true love?
I don't want to be greedy so how about a little of both :p

Did you have long hair as a young kid?
Yes and very short as well.

What message is on your voicemail machine?
"Hey it's Sara, leave me a message, thanks"

Where would you rather be right now?
at home relaxing, travelling, on a plane to TN to spend Christmas with my sis, home relaxing

What do you think about most?
Depends on what I'm doing, at work I think about science, at home I think about family & friends, sometimes I think about absolutely nothing at all!. Where I'm going on my holiday next! how I'm going to save up money for more travelling and how I can help out more in Rwanda.

Can you cook?
Yes, but it's mostly a small range of things I do well. I made a fabulous Thanksgiving dinner a few weeks ago & EVERYONE loved it so yes, I can cook :)

What is your favorite place?
Depends, when I want an adventures, Costa Rica, when I want quiet, the Adirondacks, Now I'm adding Laos & Thailand, adding Russia & Rwanda to the list, adding Germany to the list.

Do you have any Tattoos and/or Piercings?
Yes, 4 in my ears (pierced, not tattooed) and 1 tattoo on my back

What is your worst habit?
I'd have to say it it definitely procrastination.

Do you have a negative or optimistic attitude?
Optimistic most of the time

Tell me one weird fact about you.
I'm told the way I eat an oranges is weird - I don't like any of that white stuff so I spend about 30 minutes peeling it all off before I eat it, I am still friends with my ex-fiance's family, my alarm clock time always has to end in the number 7! I hate flying in planes, yet get on one every month just to make sure my New Years resolution is kept!

Do you think clowns are cute or scary?
Cute, but they can be scary on Halloween

Have you ever been arrested?
Nope, not yet . . . you'll be happy to hear it's still a no, still no to that one :)

If you won £10,000 today, what would you do with it?
I reckon I'd go on a really cool holiday to Australia & New Zealand, buy some goats for Itafari, along with a plane ticket to Australia with a lay-over in Kigali, Rwanda! I'd still buy some goats for Itafari & maybe even sponsor a few more children, but my lay-overs en route to Aus would be Rwanda and Papua New Guinea (to see my cousin).

Do you swear a lot?
No, but probably more than I should and also depends on the company I'm with - at work I can control is a lot more than with my mates

Biggest pet peeve?
Just one?!?!!? Well today I would say it is parents who are inconsistent in the way they treat their kids and then complain about their behaviour. (I know that might sound a bit weird, but it's based on something I saw on the bus ride into work today) or washing your hands after using the toilet!!!! luckily I can't think of many others, the above two are bad enough!

In one word, how would you describe yourself?
that's a hard one . . . I think independent would be the best, my friend have corrected me to say the word should be adventurous, I'm still sticking with independent, my mates still insist on adventurous, so I'm choosing an independent-adventurer (not sure if I add the hyphen if it makes it one word still? I think that still applies

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