Bob is a Tour Consultant at EF Educational Tours. Before he came to EF, he taught English in Thailand and traveled extensively throughout Southeast Asia. He enjoys good food, good music and good company.
Leanne S. is a Tour Consultant for teachers in Pennsylvania, Delaware, Maryland and D.C., and has been part of the EF Family for nearly two years! In this segment of “Bob’s Buddies” Leanne opens up about her dog “Bear,” her favorite and most-feared animal, and about her time living in Italy. She’s a fun one, ladies and gents! Let’s get things started.
B: We know each other well, so no need for introductions. I know one of your most favorite things in the entire world is your dog, Bear. How did you come up with that name?
L: He came into my life named Bear…
B: You adopted him and his name was already Bear?
L: Yeah, I adopted him when he was one, and you can’t change his name at that point. Plus he has such a big heart… I wouldn’t want to call him anything else. (Leanne pulls out a picture and shows me Bear)
B: He’s kind of small. What type of dog is he?
L: (Too swept up in her admiration for Bear to address the question) Well, you can’t help the body you’re born into. He has the heart of a lion.
B: You’re right. What’s his personality like?
L: He really makes you work for his love. I know in my heart he loves me, but he might not show it on the surface. I do appreciate that “hard-to-get” mentality. My mom did a good job of winning him over – she feeds him treats.
B: You also have siblings, right?
L: I do!
B: And you’re the middle child?
L: Right in the middle!
B: What’s that like?
L: I think I complained about “middle child syndrome” so much growing up that I think it had a reverse effect. I am SO close to being the favorite.
B: Interesting. What’s holding you back from taking the top spot?
L: My brother is way cooler than I am.
B: What makes him cooler?
L: He doesn’t bug my parents as much. You know what he does? He plays the “Bear game” – he plays hard-to-get, since he’s off at college. He won’t call my mom, which causes her to worry and always wonder what he’s up to.
B: Ah – well played, brother!
L: He’s also a super fun person anyway, so he’s got that going for him…
B: Your brother goes to UNH [the University of New Hampshire], right? So did we!
L: I know – he picked a great place to go!
B: What was your major when you were there?
L: Sociology – that’s why I’m so “socially conscious.”
B: You are incredibly aware of your surroundings. What made you pick sociology?
L: I loved my sociology classes and really loved my professors – I’ve never regretted that decision.
B: You’re great at art, too – tell us about some of the art you’ve done.
L: I took ceramics in high school and I made two very cool art projects. One was a giant unicorn head – it was huge! The other one was a mini-sculpture of my friend who ran track. My ceramics teacher in high school used to say things were “interesting” if she didn’t like something…She referred to both of those projects as “interesting.”
B: When did art start playing a role in your life?
L: It’s kind of random. I just went to a craft store one day when I was bored and got art supplies and started painting. I then took a drawing class when I studied abroad in Italy, which was fun, and I also used to teach “Paint Nite” classes.
B: What the heck is “Paint Nite?”
L: People go to an art studio looking to paint. Everyone has their own canvases, the studio would select a project for the night, and then I would teach the class how to paint it!
B: How would you deal with someone who was artistically challenged like me? Would you just take one look at my painting and say it was, “interesting?”
L: No. I would pick out different things that I like about your painting and tell you what they are. Like, “Oh my gosh – I love the color you just mixed! What a unique shade of green!” or “Look how straight that line is!”
B: I love that. You have this exuberant tone that I feel would be awesome for anyone’s artistic self-esteem. I feel accomplished and I didn’t even do anything.
B: You said you studied abroad in Italy? How was that?
L: Italy was amazing! I studied in Florence!
B: Oooh! Firenze!
B: I like that! Is that what you called it?
L: No. I just tried it out for the first time. Is it too much?
B: No, I thought that’s what the Italians refer to it as!
L: (Giggles) I got to travel around Italy a lot and it was a phenomenal experience!
B: For anybody that’s never been to Italy before – what do you think is something you discovered there that you think is worth knowing?
L: Oh my gosh – what a question! I don’t know how to answer that, but what I can say is that I really loved the pace of a day there. I really enjoyed sitting in a piazza and people-watching.
B: That sounds fun. And a piazza is just a “square?”
L: Yes! It’s a square. Sorry, I switched languages on you!
B: Totally okay! One of my favorite parts of traveling is people-watching as well. It’s great to just be in the moment.
L: Love it!
B: Italy also has some fantastic food. Some people may even say that it’s “The Future of Food” (2017 Summit plug) Why is the food so good? (Leanne goes nuts when I ask this)
L: I think it’s just because all of the ingredients are locally grown and the pasta is made in-house. It’s always better when something is fresh and not just mass-produced.
B: Yeah – Anything that’s fresh tastes better. And this next question stems from your disdain for cheese: How did you survive in Italy without eating cheese?
L: I just don’t enjoy cheese. I wouldn’t order a food dish with a lot of cheese in it, but I’m really good at being polite, while avoiding it. Most people are surprised when I tell them I don’t enjoy cheese, but then I just tell them, “more cheese for you!”
B: That’s a great way to look at it! Although I could sit here and talk to you all day, we do need to end this thing at some point. Final question of the day: A magical genie lamp falls from the sky and lands on the ground right in front of you. Puffs of smoke billow out and a pony-tailed genie arises from said lamp. He or she grants you one wish and one wish only – What’s your wish?
L: This is stressful…
B: Is it? Genie lamps don’t fall in front of everybody, Leanne.
L: You’re right. Okay, I know what I’d wish. I would wish that Bear would live forever.
B: That’s a phenomenal wish. If Bear heard that, you’d definitely be his favorite now. Thanks for your time, Leanne!
Would you like to chat with a Tour Consultant, like Leanne? Contact us today and start planning your educational tour!