Bear Pause: Milanda Landis '08

Newly returned to Minnesota after six years on the East Coast, Milanda Landis '08 is thrilled to be re-discovering the Twin Cities for the first time since high school.

Q: What is your idea of a fruitful day?
A: Waking up early, spending time with people I love, and doing at least one thing to make someone else's day better.

Q: What book has influenced you greatly? How?
A: "The Spirit Catches You and You Fall Down" by Anne Fadiman. It's a phenomenal illustration of two culturally divergent experiences of the same story and an excellent case study in the importance of listening and learning from people different than you.

Q: What are your three favorite smells?
A: Freshly baked bread, sawdust and lilacs in bloom!

Q: What is your earliest childhood memory?
A: When I was four, in a moment of child-like obstinance, I gave myself a haircut with safety scissors. I'll never forget the look on my mother's face when she found me hiding in the cupboard, hacking away at my bangs in the dark.

Q: If you had one extra hour of free time a day, how would you spend it?
A: I was asked this question once in a college admissions interview — I was so excited about the prospect, I was stunned speechless. These days, I'd want an extra hour for reading before bed. It's the perfect way to end a good (or a bad) day.

Q: What is something you learned in the last week?
A: I've been honing my bread-baking skills and just learned that a pre-heated dutch oven is the key to perfect crustiness! The heavy lid traps the steam and creates a crackly crust that is divine.

Q: What teacher inspired you the most? How?
A: I'm certainly biased, but I mean it sincerely when I say my mother, Diane Landis. She has endless kindness, compassion and patience — and she shares it with her students every day. To this day, her teaching inspires me to be a better version of myself.

Q: What's your favorite family tradition?
A: Cutting down our own Christmas tree every year and decorating together as a family. My father still insists on lifting me up so I can put the star on the tree!

Q: What did you want to be when you were small?
A: When I was young, I proudly declared that I wanted to be "the keeper of words" when I grew up. Not sure what that meant, but I still enjoy the whimsical sentiment.

Q: What is the best gift you have been given?
A: An excellent and engaging education. Thanks, Blake!