How do you pronounce your last name?
It's pronounced "oorKADD". This is the modern French pronunciation, where the "H" is silent, "ou" makes an "OO" sound, and you don't pronounce the "e" at the end.
So, are you French?
Not really. Most of my ancestors were from Spain and Italy, and some from France (possibly Jewish).
Where are you really from?
I'm from many places. I was born in Buenos Aires, Argentina, grew up in Montevideo, Uruguay, and moved to the US when I was 16 years old. In the US I have lived in the Washington, DC suburbs (both in Virginia and Maryland), and in the Iowa City area.
I am a student. Can I friend you in social networking sites?
I make these decisions case by case, but here are some general guidelines. I will not friend you or link to you if you are currently taking a class with me. If you get a good grade in my class, I am usually happy to link to you on LinkedIn. When it comes to Facebook, I do not friend students who may get a grade from me in the future (this is to make sure no one thinks you are getting a good grade because we are friends). In the past, I have only friended students with whom I have worked closely in research projects and consider my personal friends (and will not be getting a grade from me). All are welcome to follow me on Twitter.
What is that you are drinking?
It's called yerba mate. It's a traditional tea from South America. It's popular in Uruguay, Argentina, Paraguay, and southern Brazil. You put the tea in a gourd, pour hot water, and drink the tea through a metal straw that has a filter at the bottom (so you don't get leaves with your drink). No, you can't smoke it (ever seen anyone smoke earl grey?).