I love getting to know you guys, and I love letting you get to know me, too! A few of you asked me some personal questions recently on Twitter, so we’re back for another round of Stepper Questions Answered! But, you guessed it, there’s more to this post than personal questions and answers. Learn 45 new vocabulary words, too! This is advanced English. This is natural English. So, let’s get started!
Curious about what I eat for breakfast? Or if I believe in love at first sight? Check out Part 1!
Want to know if I can drive stick? Or whether I prefer sushi or pizza? Visit Part 2!
1. Are you currently studying any language?
Great question, David!
Languages are my passion, and if I had my druthers, I would be studying languages all the time. I’d wake up, take my morning constitutional, and then settle into my wingback and delve into the world of words! In the past, I studied French and Ancient Greek, and I dabbled in Scottish Gaelic and Middle English. Unfortunately, in the wake of a severe concussion, I lost almost everything I’d learned in those wonderful languages. One day, I will learn it all again!
I don’t have much time for language learning these days because I’m trying to get Next Step English off the ground. I am learning Spanish because my husband is Latin American, but mastering it is on the back burner for now. My Spanish isn’t advanced enough to use humor or to talk deeply about topics. I don’t yet feel like myself in Spanish. I can, however, spar with my feisty mother-in-law, and that is an essential skill! I can also sing along to a few Maná and Carlos Vives songs while I drive. 💿🎵
Once Next Step English is making money, I plan to set aside extra time for my Spanish. No veo la hora!
If I had my druthers...
in the wake of something
get something off the ground
on the back burner
2. How did you decide to become a teacher? Not only working as a teacher. That’s totally different.
Thanks for asking, Jorge!
Another student actually asked me a similar question before, and you can read my answer here (it’s #2). 🙂
However, let me tell you why I know I’ll always be a teacher. Because my students are the best! I learn Spanish from you all, and a whole bunch of other things, too! You guys make me laugh. You make me smile. And you make me feel like I’m actually making a difference. And since my stomach sometimes replaces my brain as the organ that does the thinking around here, I also need to briefly mention food. 😜🍛 Some of the best food I’ve ever eaten has been brought to class by my students!
3. Between the library, a museum, the cinema, a sports stadium, or an air show, which would you prefer going out to do? What other activities do you like to go out to do?
You’re really making me think, Fahad! This isn’t easy for me to answer because I love all of these ideas.
If I’m hanging out with friends, my top choice would be going to an air show because, really, what a special thing to be able to see! I’ve seen planes practicing for an air show before, and it took my breath away. I couldn’t believe how close the planes flew to each other, especially at such speeds! The roar of their engines also filled me with awe. I would love to go to an air show one day.
I also really enjoy the movies, but when I go, I’m often an object of ridicule. I don’t know how the movie theatres are in other countries, but here in the US, they love to blast people with air conditioning. It’s enough to turn you into an icicle! So, when I go to the cinema, I actually bring a stack of blankets with me so that I can protect myself from hypothermia. 😋 I know this makes me look ridiculous, but I don’t care. A girl’s gotta stay warm!
I love museums and the library, but I usually prefer to go to those places by myself. I like to take my time, and when I go with a group, I’m always worried about slowing other people down.
As far as sports are concerned, I enjoy live sporting events because they make for fantastic people watching. It’s really special to be in a place where thousands of people are all feeling joy at the same time because of a goal, or rage because of a bogus call by the ref. I love the songs, the greasy food, and the creative insults that all make up part of the event. More than any other sporting event, I really want to go to the Highland Games before I die. However, unless it’s horse racing, I generally get pretty bored watching sporting events on TV. (Except for the World Cup or the Olympics. I love those!)
In terms of other activities, I love anything that puts me in nature. Hiking, kayaking, picnicking, swimming in the river, and even just going for drives in the mountains. I crave those activities. They always make me feel good.
take someone's breath away
object of ridicule
take your time
4. What are your favourite hobbies?
These days, I’ve been spending most of my time working on Next Step English and frolicking about with Sancho and my husband.
However, I really enjoy writing fiction, hiking, reading, doing crossword puzzles, and learning new things. I also dabble in weaving on my lap loom, taking photos, and learning to dance from some DVDs that I have, but I don’t know if I do those things enough to properly call them hobbies.
I would really like to learn more about gardening, candle making, bell ringing, and cooking, but I haven’t gotten around to them yet. One day, I hope! (In the meantime, I’m really lucky because my husband is a fabulous cook! …as if he weren’t perfect enough already!)
5. Since you told us in one of your lessons that you’d like to visit Mount Teide, would you paraglide from its top to the ocean?
This is the easiest question for me to answer, Sara!
Yes. Oops, I mean hell yes! I’d feel like Pegasus soaring down from Mount Olympus!
6. Do you like surprises? Or hate them?
Both, if that makes any sense.
I like surprises when I’m genuinely surprised, but I can’t stand the anticipation of knowing about a surprise beforehand. I’m not exaggerating, it’s the type of thing I lose sleep over. I stay up at night trying to figure out what the surprise might be, and then I get cranky because I’m sleep-deprived. 😅 (And trust me, no one wants me to be cranky! I’m a terror!)
If I genuinely don’t know a surprise is coming, though, I squeal with delight when I’m surprised. What a great feeling!
7. Could you give us an example of serendipity in your life?
Oh, serendipity! In my podcast interview with Adam Broughton, I talked briefly about a book I was reading, Rosa Bonheur‘s autobiography. Well, in that book, I highlighted something that made me smile, a sort-of planned serendipity. Speaking about Rosa’s father, Gretchen van Slyke writes in the introduction:
This made me think that I should start setting myself up for serendipity in the future. Tossing coins all over the place doesn’t seem like a good idea—Sancho would probably gobble them up—but perhaps there are other ways I can institute this principle? I haven’t thought of anything yet, but I’m working on it!
In terms of actual serendipity, Adrián and I experienced a great example on our honeymoon. We were in Iceland, and we knew we wanted to go on a glacier hike. We figured we’d join a tour group, so Adri went to the front desk of our hotel to ask for recommendations.
As luck would have it, our hotel was staffed almost entirely by Spaniards! My hubby’s first language is Spanish, and he actually finished high school at a boarding school in Toledo. His eyes lit up, and we all got to talking. When the conversation was winding down, the front desk agent, Jesús, said he’d take us himself instead of setting us up with a tour group. He had all the equipment and everything.
Well, this was serendipitous enough. But our luck didn’t end there.
When we got to the glacier late in the afternoon the next day, all the other tour groups were leaving. We gasped as we realized that we might only have to share the glacier with a few other people. But we were wrong. We didn’t have to share it with anyone. Not one other soul…for hours!
Jesús told us that this was unheard-of. Hollywood film studios pay millions of dollars to have the glacier to themselves, and there we were, feeling like the luckiest people in the world. To celebrate our luck, we plunked a bottle of champagne into a stream on the glacier and sat on the ice tippling and chatting as we watched the sun set behind a mountain in the distance. It was one of the best experiences of my life, and it happened entirely by chance!
save something for a rainy day