Wednesday, October 17, 2007

Q&A with Raúl A. Mora, aka El Patrón

Greetings fellow bloggers around the world. I included an earlier version of this note on Facebook. This is a longer version, just for you to learn more about me...

Where are you from?
COLOMBIA, with an O, not a U!

Where in Colombia?
MEDELLIN - That's center, about an 8-hour drive from Bogota.

Do you drink coffee?
Not much until I came here. Yet, I know how to make A CUP of coffee. My dad taught me not to rely on coffee makers.

Can you cook Colombian food?
Does "arroz con huevo count?" Just kidding! I know a few recipes here and there.

Do you miss any Colombian food?
Well, not a lot of it. I do miss lentils (though my mom always cooks that for me when I go home) and fruit stands all over the city. Fruit in the US is too expensive (and too tiny) for my taste!

Do you dance salsa?
Invite me to Soma or Ko Fusion and see for yourself ;o)

Do you play soccer?
Before I even answer that question, please see my soccer-related Facebook group...

My bad, do you play FUTBOL?
I play goalie.

How long have you been here?
5 years and counting.

Are you an exchange student?
Under my visa status, technically yes. But I'm a doctoral student.

Doctoral student in Engineering, like all the other Colombians?
No. I'm the "token Humanities doc student" of the bunch, the Colombian Tajel if you will. I'm doing my Ph.D. in Education.

So you wanna be a teacher?
No, I want to PREPARE teachers. I taught for almost 10 years in Colombia.

What did you teach?

Really? What grades?
I taught from 5th to 11th grade at high schools in the city; I also taught English to children and adults, and I was an adjunct instructor at a local college.

Why do they call you EL PATRON?
It's a very long story that has been running for over 10 years. That deserves a full blog of its own :o).

What's up with the A. after Raúl?
I'm named after my father, who happens to be Raúl Mora. My mom chose the middle name (Alberto). For professional purposes, in 2003 I made it emphatic that all papers where I appear as co-author should include my middle initial, A. When I write solo, I use the full middle name, though. I also identify myself as "Raúl A. Mora" when I meet someone in the academic circles.

Does your name have an accent?
Yes, in the U, so it's spelled Raúl. That actually affects the pronunciation, so it's not "Rawl" but "Ra-ool". However, I don't make that big of a fuss if you forget to add it. You do get kudos, though, if you accentuate the U. My advisor and some of my professors do. And most people say "Ra-ool" too :)

Why did you come to U of I?
It's a great school in education, and no I don't miss the mountains that much. However, I really hate the weather changes... my allergies act up like crazy in Illinois!

But do you miss your family?
Of course I do! It is hard not to be there to see my nieces grow up (I talked about that in a blog a while ago), and I know my parents and especially my sister miss me a lot (it is hard to talk to her sometimes, she ends up crying after we talk...). We communicate often, though, so that makes things more bearable for all of us.

Have you ever been married?
No. No wives, no children (the other Mora Velez has taken care of the children quota!!!!)

How many girlfriends have you had?
4 on the record (5 off the record... long story), but only the last 3 really matter.

Do you still talk to them?
Occasionally, but overall, we're in good terms.

What's Broomball?
Check the link to Wikipedia in my previous notes. Just to give you a quick-and-dirty: It is NOT hockey, but you play on ice and without skates. It is like playing field hockey on ice, if you will.

Are you really 33 years old? You don't look that old!
Yes, I am, and no, I don't!

So do you speak Colombian?
No, I actually speak native Spanish, perfect English, quasi-fluent French, and broken Portuguese (but working on it!)

What's your favorite drink?
Good beer, Veraison wine, Tequila Sunrise with (you guessed it) Patron Silver, or a good martini.

What should anyone who just met you avoid doing?
First, don't ask me a "cocaine" question right after meeting me. I don't mind talking about hard topics, but asking me if I can score you some coke (no, I can't) or if you can buy it on any street corner (no, you can't either) just proves that you're very impolite, overly ignorant, and awfully stupid. Second, don't ever smack me in the head!

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