From Facebook; a little break in the middle of my series of “heavy” posts. [I can see why people hate this, but I wound up getting into it.]
1. My dad told me it would never work out with Christi. She was too much of a “Wow! Wow! woman.” I definitely married up. Her mom said it wouldn’t work out either . . . until she saw me pummel Christi with snow.
2. I had elephant for my 9th birthday dinner.
3. My dream world: a comfortable chair outside a great library in the warm shade overlooking a mountain setting: a pine forest, a stream, and the ocean or a small lake (great for adventures with the kids); no deadlines; all my great friends around to talk to; regular games of soccer & basketball (at my speed) – plus weight machines; all the amenities of modern life a short drive away, but hidden from view.
4. My setup now is probably as good as it will get.
5. I was born in Switzerland while my parents were in language school; we left for Congo (Zaire) when I was 10 months old.
6. One of my most vivid childhood memories is going hunting with my dad – in the savanna of north-eastern Congo.
7. I used to be known as Benjamin Barfuly for what would happen on the little Cessna plane on the way to and from boarding school (grades 1-3). In High School, my track teammates used to place bets on how long I could last before disappearing behind the bleachers after the 800m. Christi still takes care of the smelliest messes in our house—not because I’m afraid of them; she just doesn’t want to hear me gag.
8. I probably speak more French in Nairobi than I did in Paris.
9. I ate more ugali (the Kenyan staple) during six weeks in Cambridge than I have in three years in Kenya.
10. Wow! I’m up to #10 already. I appeared in the evening news on all the major French TV networks – even spoke a few words of broken French for one of them (Christi made the magazine).
11. Unlike every one of my five siblings, I don’t drink caffeine in any form. (I confess that I am addicted to chocolate). I was once
a health food freak; I still believe in the blood-type diet (Type O = more meat and veggies; less wheat and dairy – minimal sugar ouch! I can send you the detailed list if you want). I eat two eggs almost every morning for breakfast. I weigh about the same as I did when I started college over 20 years ago (I’m just a lot less fit). I try to jog 5-6km 2x a week with Liam and/or Leïla in the jogging stroller. They love the “roller-coaster” section but the “bumpety, bump, bump, bump, goes the fun bus” part – not so much. (I used to try to play soccer 1x a week, but the guys aren’t out there any more.)
12. I can’t think of a lot of favorites: music, movies, food, etc. But I love to “interview” people – to probe what they are thinking about and why? (If I can refrain from wanting to wax eloquently about whatever subject they bring up). That’s probably my favorite (public) activity.
13. I really enjoy exploring beautiful scenery with Christi. (I guess she IS the beautiful scenery, and I’m constantly looking for a good backdrop).
14. In a previous era, I would have wanted to be an explorer – let’s just see what is over the next hill, around the next bend.
15. I might have enjoyed being an anthropologist, sociologist, or psychologist.
16. I am fascinated by – but clueless about – economics, development, leadership, and management.
17. I did almost all the cooking for four years (starting with Christi’s first pregnancy); I only cook breakfast now.
18. I enjoyed taking care of the babies (2000-2005); they still call for me in the middle of the night, and I’m **** proud of that. (I’ve got to be proud of something; they are all mama’s girls/boy otherwise.)
19. All my high school athletic prowess – e.g. playing for the Ivorian national basketball championship and all – ain’t worth a hill of beans now. Why did it seem so important back then?
20. In college, I inspired the “homeless” guys in my dorm to exchange everything between my fellow-RA and my sister-floor RA’s rooms (they were home eating Thanksgiving dinner): door, furniture, posters, drawers, clothes, everything. Bruce pretended to be upset, and I wound up restoring the rooms all by myself to cover for the others (I was the one with the master key after all). In return, I gave him the most terrifying motorcycle ride of his life. Bruce and I used to ride around the central fountain at Wheaton at midnight. Having been on dispatch, I knew how many minutes I had before Public Safety would show up. He later became a Resident Director there and is a head honcho in student development . . . if only his students knew . . .
21. I’ve never had a real fight in my life, but in my own imagination . . .
22. I had a terrible ulcer three years ago. It healed, but I still have to be careful to try and stay relaxed.
23. My Myers-Briggs showed borderline E/I.
24. I cried tears twice between 10 and 32; now I shed tears at the slightest provocation.
25. After I bought an engagement ring, Christi broke up with me (see #1). Six months later, I shocked her by pulling it back out of my pocket. It was the first time I thought she might say, “Yes.” (Not knowing I had ever bought a ring, she in turn had been confused about why I showed zero interest in ring shopping.) We were married in a double wedding with her sister.
BONUS (to inflicting more pain on you):
26. I’ve watched one football game live on TV in the last 10 years (this summer in Cambridge; I saw a few on TV the “day after” in Paris), but I follow the Washington Redskins closely –Washington Post online (not sure why)—haven’t seen them play in over ten years.
27. Odd jobs: UPS loader, safety-shuttle driver, switchboard operator, bison rancher, legislative analyst, home renovator, author escort (driver) – e.g. for Tom Clancy and other people you may or may not have heard of.
28. I always seem to wind up being the white guy in a black setting; that’s just fine with me.
29. I’m usually aware of what I need to do, but incapable of pulling it off. (In other words, I can coach, I can analyze, but I just can’t seem to perform – life and writing included.) I enjoy helping people see potential and encouraging them to break down barriers that might be holding them back – horizon expanding.
30. When I grow up, I’d like to sit reading in a library, to have people interrupt me, and to show them what they are looking for and how to think through whatever they are working on (kind of like what I do now). I’d like to think that I can help you find a book or article for anything you are thinking about.
31. My most embarrassing moment was messing my pants on a church construction outing in high school (street meat the night before). I had to endure the long, hot bus ride back to where we were staying (water & showers) . . . then we ran out of gas in the middle of nowhere. (I say this freely now, but it took me years to confess to anyone why I stunk so badly on that night).
32. In a sleepless stupor the summer after college, I agreed to buy $700 worth of cleaning products from a telemarketer. When I woke up the next day and realized what had happened, I panicked; only the janitor answered the number – after hearing the phone ringing for 45 minutes. A few stressful days later, I finally did get a hold of a manager who reluctantly agreed to annul my order after I told him I’d just sold my motorcycle for $700 to buy a ticket to Africa and must have been out of my mind. Whew!
33. I enjoy thinking about the Bible in its original cultural contexts (it blows much of our current theology out of the water). When I graduate, I hope to think more about traditional African theologies and how they relate with biblical theologies (see #30 above).
34. My favorite animal is the chameleon; I wish I could blend better.
35. I love lists, and I don’t mind bending a few rules.
36. When I started this list, I figured it would take a few days to come up with 25 things. Man am I verbose!
37. ????Hmmmm. Better get back to work.
Facebook 29 January 2009