20 Questions: A sketch of Centre Spanish professor Julie James

RELEASED: Feb. 2, 2006

      Julie James: on the wine route in Germany; enjoying a perfect spring day in Lyon; with daughter Amanda in Barcelona

1. Position/title: Visiting Instructor of Spanish

2. Hometown:  The place that I lived the longest would be Washington, DC, but I have moved around a lot and could call anywhere "home."

3. Career highlight: The publication of a literary study in the centenary edition of "Variaciones Borges," produced by the University of Aarhus in Denmark.

4. Signature class: Freshman Studies course on "Children and the Immigrant Experience." Immigration has always interested me. I've seen it from many different angles in my life (personally, wife of an immigrant, parent to an immigrant, neighbor of immigrants, etc.) and each offers a uniquely different perspective.

5. Recent publication/exhibition/performance: I'm not sure that it really fits under this category, as it is neither a publication nor an exhibition nor a performance, but my most recent efforts have been concentrated on the creation of Centre's "Oasis," the new foreign language lounge located in the former Centre bookstore building on Main Street.

6. Family details: Patrice, my husband, already mentioned in his response that we all have different last names in our family (Patrice Mothion, Julie James, and Amanda Avalos). We enjoy watching the confusion on people's faces as they try to put this together. :-)

7. Hobbies: Traveling (with a capital T); Sudoku puzzles; Celtic music festivals; jogging; reading; watching world cup soccer games.

8. Pets: Two cats: Zizou is the French-speaking male and Guapa is the Spanish-speaking female.

9. Prized possession: I'm not really much of a collector of objects. I'd have to say that the people in my life are my real "prizes" and objects are really not that important to me. Although I may enjoy my things, I certainly don't need them. When you move around as much as I have, you adopt the motto: "Pack light!"

10. Last book read:The Sun Also Rises, by Hemingway. I'm currently reading Les Liaisons Dangereuses, by Pierre Choderlos de Laclos.

11. Memorable trip/vacation: That's really difficult to answer, as they're all memorable for different reasons. On our most recent trip (summer 2005), we spent eight weeks visiting Western Europe. We rented an apartment for one week in the Vatican district of Rome, another week in Dublin and the other six consisted of a camping/road trip from Normandy, France down to Spain, all around Spain and Portugal and back up to Normandy via the coastline. On this trip, aside from meeting many interesting people and trying lots of new specialty dishes, we also: thwarted an attempt of highway robbery (in the literal sense) outside of Barcelona; saw the new Pope on his first visit to the Italian President; experienced a bull-fight in the Basque country; fell in love with Galicia in northern Spain; had a hilarious experience with a guy that we named "Waldo" in Pompeii; got lost in Cascais; saw the homes of Bono, Sinead O'Connor, Eddie Irvine (and many other famous Irish people) and even had lunch in a pub where Sinead's brother was dining. It was all fun.

12. Favorite movie: I tend to prefer movies that make you think and that are a little bit disturbing. Among those, I could list: American Beauty, Mystic River and Crash as excellent films.

13. Favorite album: I have to give two because I simply could never choose between them: James Taylor's Greatest Hits and Van Morrison's Moondance.

14. Favorite food: Moules (Marinières) Frites—when the mussels are so fresh that they've come directly off the boats of Normandy and Brittany, France.

15. Favorite smell: Oh, I love smells and have too many favorites: Lilac bushes in the spring; woodfires in the fall; French bakeries; the seaside; dead leaves in the mountain air; fresh basil; European markets; new books; the smell of jet fuel as you walk the platform that connects the airport gate with the airplane; pan-fried onions in butter; wet dirt after a summer thunderstorm.

16. Person you most admire: Wow. I really don't know how to answer this one. So many people are worthy of admiration, aren't they?

17. Living figure you'd most like to meet: That would have to be Bono from U2.

18. Historical figure you'd most like to meet: Napoléon

19. What would you be doing if you weren't teaching at Centre: Ok, I'll answer this one in the same fashion that Patrice answered his. Idealistically, I'd be employed in a position that would take me to every village, city or town in the world. When I was a teenager—and I realize that I am dating myself, here—cable TV was just beginning to take hold and I discovered the first episodes of the Travel Channel. I couldn't take my eyes off of it (not even to watch MTV videos)! I decided then-and-there that I was going to be a travel reporter for the Travel Channel when I grew up. Now, more realistically, I would answer by saying that I'd probably hold a teaching position elsewhere (either at another college or in a high school), but that answer is much more boring than the first.

20. Describe yourself in three words: Too hard to do, I think. I'll borrow from the words that my mother always used to describe me, although technically, there are four words here, not three: "Ants in the pants." She used to tell me that I could never sit still—that I always had to be discovering a new location—even if it was just in the woods behind our house, I was always running around, exploring.

 

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