I grew up in Maryland, and my first job was working in the cafeteria of a local college (Mount St. Mary’s in Emmitsburg, MD). I refilled the buffet line and washed dishes and helped prepare food. This experience was my first exposure to college life, and I remember a feeling of awe at how grown-up it seemed college students were and how cool it was to be on campus. Everything is provided so that the students could study and have a social life. When I think about the process of going off to college, it still makes me feel so hopeful for the future and helps me remember that that period of life is such an exciting time.
One of my favorite hobbies is hiking long-distance, multi-day hikes. I have done them mostly in the UK because I am a little scared of snakes and of some of the other animals you can find on the trail here in the US. I love doing them because I am outside for most of the day, engaging all the senses, getting exercise and, most importantly, not on the Internet! It feels like freedom. On occasion, I have come up against an obstacle. For instance, having to spend some time in a farmer’s field with a bull or ford a stream that’s higher than it should be—and when I figure out how to make it through, it really gives me a sense of accomplishment.
I like to travel for my hikes and what makes a great vacation, for me, is getting to spend time outside in nature and maybe meeting friends for dinner (I’ve made a few in some of my favorite places) and also challenging myself to imagine myself as a local. I tend to like certain places – going back to explore and get to know a place in-depth, instead of going to someplace new or just spending a short time away. When I go to a new destination, I try to learn about the customs and language beforehand, so when I return to a favorite destination, I usually have some favorite spots that I like to frequent and also a few new things I’d like to see each time.
I love wood- or coal-fired pizza, so my favorite pizza joint in Bethesda would probably be Da Marco or Alatri Brothers. I especially love the blackened bits of crust!