1. Have you ever had a nickname? What?
My mom and grandma call me Xanuca, which is the diminutive form of my name in Portuguese. I love hummingbirds, so some of my friends in college called me “Hemmingbird.”
2. How old are you in dog years?
111 years old.
3. Where did you grow up?
I am originally from Johannesburg, South Africa. We moved to the U.S. when I was two, and I mostly grew up in Houston, TX.
4. What’s the best meal you’ve ever had?
After college I lived next to this food cart that served the most incredible ramen. My favorite was the tonkotsu ramen. It came with chashu pork, a perfectly cooked egg, bamboo shoots, and nori, and I would always get mushrooms and spinach added in. It was my comfort food to get through the cold, dark, and rainy winters in Portland, OR.
5. If you could meet one celebrity, who would it be?
I would want to meet Cheryl Strayed. Her writing is so beautiful, and she always has such a kind and emphatic perspective on all the challenges life has to offer. I read all of her “Dear Sugar” columns last year, and I was just floored by them.
6. What’s your favorite book?
I’m going to cheat on this one and refuse to pick one favorite. My favorite classics are Persuasion by Jane Austen, Jane Eyre, and The Great Gatsby. My favorite modern books are The Handmaid’s Tale by Margaret Atwood, Cloud Atlas by David Mitchell, and White Teeth by Zadie Smith.
7. Cats or Dogs?
I grew up with a yellow lab, so I am definitely a dog person. I have to make an exception for my roommate’s cat, Chloe. She has the highest sass-to-size ratio of any animal I have known.
8. If you were a superhero what would your superpower be?
I would want an incredibly banal power that would make life easier – like never hitting a red light or always getting up the first time your alarm rings in the morning.
9. Are you a good dancer?
I am a terrible dancer, but I really enjoy it. What I lack in skill I make up for with enthusiasm.
10. What did you have for breakfast this morning?
Soft-boiled eggs with toast.
11. What’s your most interesting two-truths-and-a-lie? (And what’s the lie?)
I have been winter camping in -20 degree weather in the Artic Circle.
I have run a marathon. *
I really enjoy darkroom photography.
*Lie: extremely unlikely.
12. If you could live anywhere, where would it be?
I have always wanted to renovate an old house; it would be a really fun challenge. I like refinishing furniture – all the cleaning, sanding, and painting is really soothing.
13. Do you sing in the shower?
Not usually – I am quite fond of my roommates and respect their eardrums.
14. What’s the best gift you’ve ever received?
My birthday was at the very beginning of 1L year, and a few of my section mates chipped in to get me a beautiful copy of Jane Eyre that I had been admiring at a bookshop on the Downtown Mall. It was so kind and unexpected and made me feel so welcome at UVA.
15. Do you believe the library should install a water feature?
Perhaps? Another Keurig machine would be even better though.
16. If you could know one thing about your future, what would it be?
I wouldn’t want to know anything about my future. What will happen will happen, and knowing about it in advance won’t change that.
17. Backstreet Boys or *NSYNC?
*NSYNC for sure.
18. What’s the longest you’ve gone without sleep?
About 36 hours – any more than that and I get too loopy to function.
19. What’s your favorite thing to do in Charlottesville?
Wine tasting, hiking, and going to see movies at the Violet Crown. The seats in that theater are insanely comfortable and their chocolate mousse is to die for. Also you can get chocolate mousse there.
20. If you could make one law that everyone had to follow, what would it be?
Be nice to your waiters! Say thank you and tip them well.