36 Questions, #1-12

I recently learned about the 36 questions a person could apparently ask any stranger and begin to fall in love with them. Now, that statement is obviously simplifying the entire matter, but a study (available through UC Berkeley library proxy) conducted by Arthur Aron from SUNY does conclude that individuals who were partnered according to their responses to a questionnaire did end up developing closer and deeper relationships much quicker after spending particular amounts of time together.

I was intrigued, so I decided to answer the first 12 of these questions in my blog post this week. We’ll see if this modified format still prompts any of you dear readers to become more interested in getting to know me.

1. Given the choice of anyone in the world, whom would you want as a dinner guest?

Photo Courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki
Photo Courtesy of Harry Potter Wiki

I’m going to assume that this question is only referring to people who are alive, because I’m having a hard time coming up with an answer even within this limitation.
A lot of celebrities initially come to mind, but then I also wouldn’t mind dining with one or two of my professors from Berkeley.
So who exactly is my choice? …probably JK Rowling. I know she’s not the best wordsmith on the planet, but her ability to build a world and engage so many hundreds, thousands, and millions of people is something that I greatly admire.
I’d talk to her about how she came up with these fantastic characters, how she kept up with all of them, and most importantly, what inspired and continues to inspire her in her writing. Rowling seems like a very normal, down to earth person with a brilliant mind, and I genuinely would love to have her as a conversation partner over dinner.

2. Would you like to be famous? In what way?

When I was younger, I used to be one for fame. I wanted to be the best at everything, to have everyone admire me. Now, not so much anymore.
I’d only really want to be famous, if at all, in a way that doesn’t idolize myself and my body. So many female celebrities today are recognized by their looks, or only make headline news because of the dress they wore or because of how bad they looked that day.
I don’t want to be that person. I wouldn’t mind being known among my friends (or even a wider general public) as “the girl who writes” or “the girl who enjoys good food” or, hopefully, “the girl who cares a lot,” because these are all traits with which I aim to identity myself, and not ones that others ascribe upon me. In other words, I want to be recognized for who I am, not what I look like or just simply what I am.

My essentials
Who I am, boiled down to three ordinary objects. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

3. Before making a telephone call, do you ever rehearse what you are going to say? Why?

Oh goodness, yes I do. Telephone conversations frighten me. I’ve never really been one to sound particularly charitable from just my voice, and I also don’t enunciate very clearly, so having to do all this impromptu with a potential stranger is not a good situation for me to be in. I don’t follow a script verbatim, but I definitely think about all of the different things I could say.

4. What would constitute a “perfect” day for you?

A perfect day for me would be rising early – 8am on the dot – and starting off my day with a bit of exercise. I’ve actually gotten myself into the hair of energizing myself right after I get out of bed with some short workout. Then, I’d get dressed and ready for my day.
Breakfast would be at a cute little cafe somewhere, and then I’d spend the rest of the morning at a farmer’s market, enjoying all the beautiful food and morning air before it gets too hot. The afternoon would be spent as a combination of reading and writing, but I’d take a break at about 4 to go on a walk.
Afterward, I’d cook something nice, but relatively simple, for dinner and finish off the day with some more reading and watching TV shows or movies. The day would be perfect because I’d have spent the entire time doing things that I love, and not feeling stressed or worried about outside obligations.

5. When did you last sing to yourself? To someone else?

Many things in my childhood bedroom have changed over the years, but this little guy has been rising and shining with me for the past 18 years, and it's still going strong.
When I was little I used to sing along to my alarm clock. There are three song options, but I only ever used “I Love You” from Barney, so I used to sing Barney a lot when I was little. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

I last sang to myself two mornings ago – on Thursday morning – as I waited for my bread to toast. I like spreading peanut butter on toasted bread – it’s easier since the bread no longer sticks to the pb, and the pb gets all nice and melty from the toasted heat… I was singing Ed Sheeran’s “Thinking Out Loud.” It gets stuck in my head a lot.
I don’t usually sing for people, but the last time I sang in the presence of someone else was definitely sometime during the semester, probably when I was cooking dinner and my partner came into the kitchen humming One Direction’s “Night Changes.” Resident 1D fan could help but sing a few words along with him. Yes, I know, we’re gross.

6. If you were able to live to the age of 90 and retain either the mind or body of a 30-year-old for the last 60 years of your life, which would you want?

I’d want to retain my 30-year-old mind for those last 60 years. That way, I’d remember everything, never worry that I would suffer from Alhzeimer’s, and always be able to think at the pace and ability of my mind when I was at a relatively peak age.
That being said however, I also don’t want to not “grow up” from being a 30-year-old. I want to be able to properly reflect upon things and use my extra 60 years of experience in my life. So as long as I’m guaranteed the ability to become also more mentally mature, then I’d take the mind over the body.

7. Do you have a secret hunch about how you will die?

Nope. Death is a void that I don’t like to consider. It’s sort of an abstract concept I know about, but I avoid thinking about in concrete terms.

8. Name three things you and your partner appear to have in common.

I’m going to assume that “your partner” refers to my actual real life partner here, since I’m not talking to just one person right now. In that case… A great interest in food, books, and travel.

9. For what in your life do you feel most grateful?

The people who are in it. Y’all don’t know how important you are to me.

Treasured gifts collected from over the years.
Treasured gifts collected from over the years. | Photo by Courtney Cheng

10. If you could change anything about the way you were raised, what would it be?

Genuinely, I wouldn’t change much.
I would like to change the number of extracurriculars I participated in over the years, though. My brother was often offered the opportunity to take tae kwon doe classes when he was little, but he’d always declined. And then there was me in the corner, three years younger, quietly thinking to myself that I’d love to take those classes even if my brother didn’t. Alas, I never vocalized those thoughts, so I spent my childhood wishing to be a martial artist, a gymnast, and a dancer (in high school, after I’d properly given up ballet and jazz from my elementary school days).
I was a little girl who wished for many things in life.

11. Take four minutes and tell your partner your life story in as much detail as possible.

You, my darling reader, are already browsing through an abridged version of my life story, so I think I will refrain from answering this question.

12. If you could wake up tomorrow having gained any one quality or ability, what would it be?

Immediate success at all endeavors I set myself to accomplish. I like completing work. I don’t think I’ve ever really shied away from a task because of the amount of work or effort it required, but I’ve definitely complained my way through a lot of these journeys simply because I am an extraordinarily impatient human being. Having the ability to be immediately successful would, in essence, allow me to pander my impatient habits.

So…verdict? Don’t worry if you’re not interested, I always used to think that I was so weird that even I would find myself bizarre. In other words, I’m not sure I would place myself super high on a date-able ranking.

That being said, major shout out to my partner who is currently in France, the country of love (without me), for putting up with me day in and day out this past year and a half. Goodness knows you don’t have an easy job, so thank you for doing it so well.

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