March 19, 2004

Interview #9

Today I've got a special treat. I'm interviewing my brother's girlfriend Christina. She's a really sweet girl, and I think my brother's a lucky guy since she's willing to be seen with him in public. At any rate, let's get started.

KC: Tell us a little about yourself, Christina.

CB: my name is christina [last name], i'm 25. i'm originally from cleveland, ohio, but moved to dc about 2 years ago.

KC: And which do you prefer, Cleveland or DC?

CB: definitely dc - cleveland is a nice famliy city, but that's not where i am in my life right now

KC: OK, I'm going to cut right to the chase: What do you really think about my brother?

CB: interesting question :-) there are a ton of things i think about your brother. let me try and get into that more - i'll ramble for a bit if you want

KC: That's fine. Rambling is good. Talk as long as you want. It all makes for fascinating reading. :-)

CB: mike is just mike - there's no other way to describe him. there's no one else in the world who is like him. he makes everyone around him happy, including me. he's always trying to make sure people are ok, that they aren't being left out, or that he's taking care of them in some way. he's always giving all he can to his family and friends. i think that's one of the things that i love about him. he's also one of the most random people i have ever met, although he says i should call it eccentric :-) he's says things as they come to his mind, sort of like he doesn't have a filter in there. but that's another thing that makes him special becuase you always know that he'll tell you what he's thinking and not hold back. he's honest and always means what he says. he won't try to sugar coat something to make it how you want to hear it.

KC: Well, you're right, there is no filter. His brain is completely filterless. I'm curious to know, when you first met him, did you know he was half-Asian?

CB: he brings a smile to my face everything i think about him. i see him in all these different moments at once. like seeing him on a friday night and how his face lights up as he walks in the door. or when he's concnetrating on something, like when we cook together, he's all serious and focused. or when he's just out hanging with everyone and relaxed. some of his best faces though are defintely in pictures and those are ones i remeber best - he's always doing something goofy. i love the way he looks at me. i can always tell how much he loves me by the way he looks at me. it's like his eyes are some kind of laser beam that send me all this love :-)

i could tell he was. it was his eyes. i love mike, every bit about him, even the little things that drive me crazy.

KC: That's so sweet, and I'm not usually one to say something like that. I'm actually getting a little choked up reading your answer. Since he's my brother, it's hard for me to see him as others do. So, you two are getting married, right?

CB: i hope so someday, when he asks. we've talked about it a lot. and with him, there is no doubt in my mind that he will, it's just a matter of when. he needed to get back to dc though and get settled, and do some of that stuff. i'm not rushed for it. when it happens it will.

KC: Yeah, I keep pestering him about it. I'm one that really likes to know EVERYTHING. See, I basically think you two are already engaged because he says he's planning on marrying you and you say you're planning on marrying him--that's being engaged, you know. Now I do want to ask you how the two of you have discussed religion, because it's obviously an important part of his life. As far as I can see, it's probably going to be the biggest issue between the two of you. Do you think the two of you will be able to come to a compromise?

CB: that's a good point. there is no doubt in my mind that i want to be with him and i know he feels the same. being engaged though takes everything to a new level. there are still certain things that mike and i don't discuss because we are not engaged or married. like money - i have no idea what he makes, has, debts, etc and he doesn't know that about me. the other we always go back and forth about it church. i'm not catholic and he is, and he's really set in being catholic and i'm set in being protestant. i know it's not a big deal now, but that's something that we would really have to talk seriously about.

KC: Yeah. The religion thing is a big one.

CB: every time we've talked about it, it's gets heated. mike can be stubborn and i will fully admit to being stubborn. we both were raised in the church and have very devout families. religion has always been a big part of my life growing up and him as well. i don't know what we would end up doing to be honest. we would have to reach some level of compromise and make the best of it. for me anyways, it wouldn't be any kind of deal buster with him. i figure it could always be worse, we're both christian.

KC: I want to get back to an earlier comment you made about liking what drives you crazy about Mike. What are those things that drive you crazy?

CB: oh michael and his little eccentricities ;-) sometimes he can drive me crazy, not bad crazy, but just - ahhh! he loves the weekends because he's here in va and we are doing our thing together. and when that happens, he just lets go and he's all over the place :-) i don't know how to describe it very well, but it's like you can't get him to focus on any one thing! but it's funny at the same time. other things he does that drive me crazy, nothing much really - just little things when you are living with someone (we aren't technically, but basically) - like he shuts the door when he leaves my room and i hate having the door shut when i come back to it (i'm always afraid someone is on the other side, silly, i know). stuff like that.

KC: I know exactly what you're talking about when it comes to his scattered activity. I want to ask you a couple of questions about work now, please talk a little bit about what you do.

CB: ok. i work for deloitte and touche and i've been here for almost three years. my official title is senior consulant. i started working at deloitte as an intern in cleveland and then worked there after graduation. i wasn't liking the work up there and asked to transfer to dc becuase i wanted to do a more specific kind of work that was available in dc. they said yes, and sent me down here 2 years ago. in a nutshell, i perform data analytics and statistical analysis on our client's data (client's being who we audit as a firm). it's interesteing work. sometimes it can be frustrating because it's like solving problems and puzzles all day. but i do get to work with our client's driectly and i do like have the person to person interaction.

KC: So did you actually do well in statistics in college? I really, really sucked at it.

CB: yeah, i found out in college that i actually like stats and things of that nature. i got a degree in management information sytems and decision sciences (business statistics).

KC: Yeah, whenever I think of stat, I think of that one Far Side cartoon that says, "Hell's Library," and it's shelves and shelves of books on word problems, which to me is half of what's confusing about stat. I seemed to never be able to translate the written problems and scenarios into mathematic equations that made sense. Do you know what I mean?

CB: i know exactly what you mean :-) that's half of what we do on a day to day basis. try and make sense of these abstract things. it can really make you want to pull your hair out.

KC: Besides the statistics, what other courses did you enjoy in college?

CB: art history was my favorite. i would have been an art history major in a heartbeat, but i knew that i would not be able to get a good job with benefits after graduation. i'm sure someday i'll pursue that more, but as a hobby. it's just not a practical job. i did like my music and all that during college. i didn't really stop playing until after i graduated. i just never found time in my life again. i would like to be able to do that again as well.

KC: I don't know about your music. Were you in a band?

CB: i've played violin for my whole life. my mom started me on it when i was 4, and i played all through college. i actually was even a music education major for a year or so, but realized that as much as i love music, i couldn't do that all day was alwyas a huge part of my life growing up. my parnets had my brother and i were really involved in it. lessons every week, music theory lessons, group lessons, orchestra, piano lessons, chamber music, all of it.

KC: So had you originally hoped to be part of a symphany one day or were you thinking you might teach music?

CB: when i went to college, i actually thoguht i wanted to be a pediatrician. but i didn't like that. so i went to music education because i knew i would never be really good enough to be in a major orchestra, but i didn't like that either. it became a job instead of something fun. hours in a practice room is not my idea of fun. that's how i ended up in busines, kind of an, well, if all else fails, this is something i could try too.

KC: Going back to the art history, what kind of art do you like best?

CB: it changes on what i see i think. sometimes i like impressionism, but i really like post-impressionism a lot. some of the more modern art i like as well. i like going to a museum and just wandering around.

KC: You could volunteer to be a docent at one of the Smithsonian museums.

CB: yeah, i've thought of that. i think that would be really cool to do someday. right now, i just don't have enough time. i volunteer for the junior league and they have a program to be a part of the corchran gallery in dc, but it's a three year committement and classes, etc.

KC: Yeah, lack of time is the eternal problem in life. Speaking of time and life, what are some of the things you absolutely want to do before you die?

CB: wow - there are so many things that i would love to do. some of my dreams are to travel all around the world and see everything i can, all the usual ones people say - african safari or hike to machu picchu. but i also want to try and live in some of those places. but other than traveling, i think i would really have to think about it. dying seems pretty far away right now. i try and do everything i can now and take advantage of opportunities - i figure that way i'll always be working towards doing everything i can before i die. and when i get some time to think about it, hopefully i'll already have done most of the things i wanted to, does that make sense?

KC: Sure. Now tell me what is your biggest pet peeve?

CB: nail filing. i can't stand to hear people filing their nails. it's like hearing nails on a chalkboard. i don't know what some of my other pet peeves are. nothing too big i guess if i can't seem to remember them.

KC: Which characteristic in people do you find most annoying?

CB: when people always try to one up you, like i say i had a bad day, and the other person says, i had a bad day and proceeds to tell you why it was so much worse than yours. that's annoying. i can't think of any others right now, but i'm sure i could come up with some - it would just have to be right when someone was doing something that annoyed me.

KC: When have you been most hurt by a person?

CB: this one isn't something that someone did to me purposefully. but, i was hurt by my family in a way. my dad had a heart attack when i was gone one summer and my mom and brother were there, but i wasn't. and then my dad also had another near-death incident that my mom and brother were there for. i've always felt like i missed big family events, like i missed out. i wasn't there for the expereince and can never fully appreciate what they went through - the trauma, the paramedics, the life flights, rushing to the hospital. it was like a huge family event and i missed it. i can picture it all in my head how it probably happened, but it's not real. now i always have this fear of missing something. like i'm not going to be there when i should be. so it's not that they hurt me on purpose or anything, but that's something that's always hurt. but more that i felt hurt because i wasn't there for them, kind of guilty. i don't know if that makes sense.

KC: No, I understand what you mean. When my mother was diagnosed with her brain tumor and had her subsequent operation, I was away at college and wasn't even told she was going to have surgery until a week before hand. I was the only one not home while they were going through the ordeal of her testing and hospitilizations and whatnot. So you only end up understanding it in a peripheral way because you didn't eat, breathe and sleep it 24 hours a day like everyone else. But, what really hurt about that particular situation was that they didn't keep me informed. Everyone else knew about all of this and no one bothered to tell me. That was difficult to deal with. Unfortunately, I see that it is getting close to quitting time for me, so I will bring this to an end. I want to thank you for sharing your time with us today, and I hope you'll join us again one day.

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