Monday, November 23, 2009

The Great Interview Experiment

Neil over at
Citizen of the Month is conducting his 3rd Annual Great Interview Experiment. It's my first time taking part, and I have to say that I've really enjoyed it. Besides meeting interesting folks, it's a fun way to blog about something new. I was interviewed by Headbang8 over at Deutschland uber Elvis, who asked great questions that made the process really fun. My interview with him should be up on his blog soon.

I interviewed Quadelle (blog here, tweets here) and found her so pleasant and interesting! Her life makes mine seem like quite the snore. Her Twitter bio says, "Canadian & Australia mother of two, doing a doctorate. I love books, baking and photography." She has a perspective that I find so interesting as a fellow expat. I enjoyed reviewing her archives and seeing her beautiful photography, and she's doing a great series called "Mary Made Me Think" for the month of November. I encourage you to go over and take a look. Thanks, Quadelle, for playing along!

Q. I see you've been blogging for almost one year! In your "About" section, you list 5 reasons why you blog. In the past year, have any of those reasons changed? Do you feel that with blogging you've accomplishing the goals behind those reasons?

A. It’s turned out to be far less of “recently we did such and such” than I originally anticipated. Yet I feel like the blog usually covers the major things going on for us as well some zooming in on a particular moment or event. A big plus is the people I’ve met through blogging. I’ve stumbled across some amazing writers who make me laugh, cry or consider things differently.

Q. Also in your "About" section, you list 5 things you'd like to be able to do someday (photography, cook, dance, sew, paint.) Have you made strides in any of those areas since making that list?

A. Thanks! I put a bit of effort into upping my photography skills this year, although there is still so much more I want to learn. I took sewing lessons, but didn’t manage to finish the skirt by the end of the course and it’s still languishing. Next year I suspect I should prioritise cooking – I’d love 10 quick, failsafe and nutritious meals. I'm open to suggestions! Since dancing and painting are the least practical on my list I expect they won’t get any attention until after my doctorate is over, which is a bummer because the longing is large on those.

Q. You are a Canadian expatriate who has lived in Australia for the past 16 years. Is there anything in particular that you miss about home? Or after so many years do you feel completely integrated into Australian culture? Do you think you'll ever move back to Canada, or to any other countries for that matter?

A. Besides family and friends I mainly miss autumn, Thanksgiving, snow at Christmas, Easter being in the spring and having my birthday in the summer. I also miss the water – being so close to the ocean as well as countless rivers and lakes. However, after 16 years here it’s hard to fathom living anywhere else. I do go through stages where I get a hankering to go back to Canada. Then practical things, like Canada only having two weeks annual leave (versus Australia’s four weeks), invariably squelch those longings fairly quickly. We used to talk of spending a year in the UK, but since we’ve had kids I wouldn’t go anywhere without family nearby until the kids are much, much older.

Q. It sounds like you and your husband struggled with infertility before having your two very cute kids. Although it's been a few years since those struggles, are there any ways that infertility still affects you today?

A. It took us six years to have a baby, so, yeah, trying to have kids became a big part of our life. Like many who've been through infertility, I learned a lot from the experience. Including (but not limited to):

- It’s possible for people who previously weren’t even particularly interested in having kids to become pretty much obsessed with achieving that goal. I certainly did, which was the last thing I expected when we casually decided to ‘let nature take its course’.

- When going through a big life issue, talk to people who get what it is you’re going through. Whether it’s a counselor experienced in that area, or others who struggle with the same issue, or just someone who knows you really well and has a lot of patience and willingness to put themselves in your shoes.

- Be careful when talking to people who don’t get what you’re going through. You may need to put clear boundaries around what you will and won’t discuss with them in order to preserve the relationship. There are a few people I was not so good at doing this with and they regularly said unintentionally hurtful things.

- If someone tells you about something difficult they are going through (whether it be infertility or cancer or whatever) do not immediately tell them about every person you know who has had that issue, or give them platitudes or advice. Just listen. Really listen. Say you don’t know what to say, ask them what they need right now. Tell them (if it’s true) that you want them to feel free to tell you what they need (commiserations, humour, hugs, distractions, etc) as they go through the process of whatever it is they have to deal with. I had a few friends who were brilliant at this and they made things so much more tolerable.

Q. Much of your blog is about your two cute kids. In what ways is being a mother different than you thought it would be?

A. The main thing I failed to account for was the non-stop tiredness. As a night owl, I’m my own worst enemy.

Q. Think about a few of your closest friends. What are a handful of words they would use to describe your personality?

A. I wish they were answering this because they'd say all sorts of lovely things. Things that simply sound ridiculous to say them about myself, even if I am meant to be filling in for them. So, let’s go with curious (both definitions) and open.

Q. I love your Mary Made Me Think series. (A series of posts regarding a somewhat famous commencement speech that contains 26 pieces of advice.) Out of all the advice listed in the speech, do you have a favorite? Why does that particular piece of advice speak to you?

A. Just one? At least eight of Mary’s pieces of advice about possibility, worry, relationships, jealousy, careers, marriage & kids, family of origin and friends resonate strongly with me. Since I’ve not picked just one, maybe I should mention that what I like about the speech (which is also a song) is that it reminds me of some basic things I value but that the busyness of life can sometimes bump from the front of my mind. Another thing I like about the series is that it gives some focus to writing every day during NaBloPoMo, because posting every day is really hard work!

Q. I found this question on blogger Dooce's Community Board, and I thought it was interesting: If you have them, what are the three "nevers" of your life?

A. Only the classic: Never say never. Seriously. The longer I live the more I realize how much things can change, causing people to do unusual and unexpected things. I do hope, however, that I never lose the desire to grow and change, as I feel I wouldn’t be me if that happened.

Q. What will you not blog about? What, if any, boundaries do you draw when you blog?

A. I will not blog about my clients, even though I learn the most amazing things from them.


  1. That was a great interview. A perfect match. That Mary Made Me series is fascinating. Of course, now I mostly want to hear about... the clients. You always want to hear about the most secretive things!

  2. Just found your blog!
    I didn't know about GIE but now I do. After this I'll explore the links mentioned here.

    Blogging is great way to learn new worlds!
    Thanks for sharing this interview!
    Have a nice week,
    see again soon! :)

    Sunny greetings from Cairo!

  3. Never say never has kicked my ass enough already. I don't say it anymore either.

    Have a wonderful day!!