TOLT: 20 Questions

Happy Thursday!  How is everyone doing?  This week is absolutely flying by.  I'll be leaving soon for Europe, so I've been trying to get ahead of my tasks at work.  I love being busy, though, so this has been a terrific week for me!

Today for Thinking Out Loud Thursday with Amanda, I decided to do the 20 question tag that I've seen on tons of blogs.  The questions are fun, and its a good chance for you all to get to know me better!  Make sure to answer some questions in the comments below!  I'd love to get you know all of you better :)

1. What’s your whole name?
Gretchen Braun (no middle name)
Baby Gretchen was very serious, especially about Easter egg hunts and ballet

2. Are you named after anyone?
I don't believe so!

3. Do you have any siblings?
One sister- Kirsten.  She's two years older than me and currently lives in California.  She'll be moving back to Pittsburgh this summer!  Her husband was in the Air Force and was stationed in California for 3 years.
Oldie picture!  Pittsburgh people..this is what the North Shore trail used to look like! It wasn't a running path and was pretty ugly...

This is the last race we ran together, in 2009!  Maybe she'll run with me when she moves back??

4. Where did you grow up?
Pittsburgh, PA!

5. What activities did you do in high school?
Cross Country, indoor and outdoor track, band, orchestra, student government, National Honor Society.

6. Where did you go to college?
Penn State University!  Fun fact..I didn't attend graduation.  I was running the Pittsburgh Marathon (my first) instead!  I had to borrow my roommate's cap and gown for my pictures.

7. What activities did you do in college?
I did EVERYTHING in college... I tried out for (and somehow made) the Blue Band my freshman year, and also played in the basketball and volleyball bands.  I also participated in the University Park Undergraduate Association (student government) as my college's representative.  Through that I was also in the Faculty Senate, where I got to do fun things like vote on new policies and changes in the University.  I was also in the Women in IST group, Habitat for Humanity, Blue Band THON, and intramural volleyball.  I also briefly joined the caving club because Dan was the president!
As you can tell, I took the band VERY seriously (just kidding..I was one of the saxophone section leaders my junior and senior year.  Loved it!)

8. What did you study in college?
Information Sciences and Technology with a minor in Spanish!

9. What was your first job out of college?
That would be my current job- working in technology at a bank.  I interned at the same place before my senior year and was offered a job at the end of the summer, so senior year was not stressful at all!

10. What kind of music do you like?
As you can tell from my recent playlist, I like all kinds of music.  I mostly listen to classical and jazz though, because I'm a big band nerd! (I'm currently listening to Brahms' Symphony Number 4..really pretty!)

11. What’s one hobby that you’d like to take up?
Biking!  I wish that I could bike or owned one so that I could practice.  One of my big bucket-list items is to do a triathlon, but I can't bike and don't swim (I know how, but I've never been one of those people that goes out and swims laps).  So far all I have is running!

12. What did you think you wanted to be when you grew up?
A chef or musician.  If money wasn't an object, I would definitely do both right now!  Luckily I get to play my saxophone and violin a lot and cook all the time.  Best of both worlds?

13. What’s the biggest project on your to-do list right now?
Does saving money count?  I really want to get a house next year, and also get married, so that's my number 1 priority right now!

14. Do you have any irrational fears?
Squirrels.  Everyone at work knows and makes fun of me all the time (putting fake squirrels in my desk drawer, sending me attachments with pictures of squirrels, etc.)  NOT cool.

15. Have you ever traveled outside the country? If so, where and when?
Yeahhh!!!  You can check out my travel page to see what countries I've been to!
 Best trip ever- Costa Rica!  Ziplining was so much fun :)

16. When’s your next vacation and where are you going?
 Soon!  Dan and I are going to Spain, Sweden and Denmark.  CAN'T WAIT!  We'll also be taking a "racecation" to Erie in June!  It'll be Selma's first time in water, and I'm so excited to see how she'll react.
Selma's sad because we forgot to pack her

17. Do you speak any other languages?
Yup!  Spanish semi-conversationally.  When I'm in a Spanish-speaking country it comes back pretty well, but I'm rusty as of now.  I also know a bit of Danish and Swedish to prepare for my upcoming trip!  I always try to learn some phrases and common words before I travel (Hungarian and Czech were the WORST to learn).

18. What’s one talent that you wish you had?
Singing.  I was always told that people either have singing ability or the ability to play instruments, and I have the latter.  I can pick up any instrument and learn it easily, but my singing voice is terrible!!

19. What’s something that you wish you did more of?
Outdoors Activities!  I love spending time outside, especially on water.  I wish I had a kayak, or a stand-up paddleboard, or a boat....I also want to learn how to rock-climb!
 My happy place: water + Selma + Dan!

20. If you weren’t in your current job, what would you want to be doing?
Some kind of product/web design.  I always loved designing things and took a bunch of classes in different coding languages in college, so it would be fun to do more of that! 

Your turn- answer some questions below!  Happy Thursday! 


  1. I'm so impressed that you know a bit of Danish and Swedish! I found their language really hard to learn (I was able to pick up a little bit of German, but that's about it). I'm terrible with languages... I can never say anything the way it's meant to be pronounced and then I just get really frustrated. :) I'm excited for your upcoming trip!

    1. Have you ever tried duolingo? That's usually how I start, then I listen to podcasts that are aimed at beginners and it helps a lot!

  2. I like this blog post, great way for everyone to get to know you better.

    1. Thanks Shaun! It was a lot of fun answering the questions :)

  3. Nice to get to know you a little better! I might steal these questions :)
    Yay for your sister moving back! Mine is moving back from Australia on May 6th and I CANT WAIT!!!

    1. You definitely should! I would love to see your responses.

  4. Yay for the no-middle-name club! I don't have one either, and coming across other people who don't makes me feel better about the fact that my parents OVERLOOKED putting it on my birth certificate lol.

    1. Whoo hoo!! That's a funny story for you to tell at least! My mom did it on purpose, because her parents never gave her one and she decided to start a tradition!

  5. So glad that I have a primer before we meet!!!
    And I always find it interesting when people have 4-5 names or no middle name. WAY TO BUCK THE SYSTEM, GRETCH"S PARENTS

    1. Haha! This is your cheat sheet. Memorize it, there will be a quiz :)

  6. I also try to learn phrases before going to a different country. I learned some Italian before I went to Italy, but I found Italians wanted to speak English to me.

    1. I've found that a lot too! Every country I've visited I had no problem speaking English..but got much better service and met people easier when I tried their language. It's a tip my grandparents gave me (they travel constantly now that they're retired) and it's really helped!

  7. I was in the band too - symphonic, jazz and marching. I think paddle boarding would be awesome fun! I once thought I'd be a concert pianist when I grew up... THAT didn't happen. LOL.

    1. That's so interesting! We have a lot in common :) Thanks for commenting!

  8. I loved getting to know you better Gretchen. What a great post. I'll answer the last question. If I didn't become a teacher my ideal job would have been creating events, designing tablescapes and creating window displays.

    1. You would be amazing at that!! You already do it for free at home :)

  9. Very cool little survey there! I think that's pretty awesome you've done so much travelling AND attempt to learn to various languages. I'm certain that helps. We want to get to Hungary one of these days since that's where my husband's family came from.
    Here, I'll tell you one of my irrational fears: Umbrellas. Yes, feel free to laugh. I would rather get drenched in an epic downpour than be near one. They really freak me out. lol

    1. Hungary is so awesome! You'll love it if you get to visit. Hopefully I'll post a travel guide soon so I can give some recommendations on where to go! (the baths are a must though!)

  10. I can count to ten in Danish, annnd that is about it. :) I used to have a super irrational fear of water (besides the shower, haha) but my recent cruise has almost completely cured me of it!

    1. That must have been so scary for you! I absolutely love water and have never been afraid of it, but the thought of drowning freaks me out (doesn't really make sense!) As long as I'm near-ish the surface I'm fine!

  11. I lved all the questions & the pics! That's crazy that's what the river trail used to look like. I love that you did so much in college. My main activities were going out drinking and staying in drinking. I was bad in high school & college & only became a good girl later in my life. :-) We have been to the Czech Republic but I never even tried to learn the language! Costa Rico is on my list of places to go, but my husband is even worse than I am about not liking heat, plus he wom't go there because of the bugs, even though a friend of mine who went said it isn't too bad. I love that pic of Selma in the bag!

    1. I never would have guessed that about you, Jennifer! That's so funny that you used to be a bad girl.

      We were in the rainforest area of CR and I honestly didn't notice any bugs. I brought a bunch of insect repellant and never once used it! We even went horse-back riding through the jungle and I didn't notice any bugs. You should definitely go!! We actually went through a Groupon Getaway and it was an AMAZING deal!

  12. LOVE this list! I am terrified of riding bikes. When I was little, I fell off of my bike and broke off nearly all of my front tooth and have hated it ever since. The first year my husband and I went to Hilton Head with his family they rented bikes, so I thought I'd give it another try. The one I got was way too big for me (my feet barely touched the ground) so I could barely pedal it. I kept tipping over, and we went on a trail that had tons of 'Watch for Alligators' signs and I was afraid I would fall on I said eff it, walked the bike back home and laid by the pool until everyone else came back. And I wasn't even sorry, haha!

    1. Haha love that story! That sounds like something that I would do :) Maybe you should just stay on your feet and keep away from bikes...


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