31 January 2008

my interview with di

interviewing is hard! i have a whole new respect for all those news correspondents. except kojo nnamdi. even on my worst day, i'm better than him.

so, without further ado, here's my part of the great interview experiment with the lovely di from woman wandering.

hey, i'm tatiana, the lucky lady who gets to interview you as dictated by citizen! i'm not sure what kind of format you wanted to go with, but i wanted it to be a bit like a real interview and have the questions build on answer instead of just 10 static questions, like a survey.

so, that being said...

how does a kiwi living in europe first get into state side blogs?

if you don't want to do the back and forth, just let me know and i'll write up the rest of the questions for you to answer at your leisure.

Hi Taitiana, I'm fine with whatever format you want to follow. Nice to find your email here.

Hmmm, I moved to Belgium from my Istanbul life and I entered into the process of immigrating within a few weeks. My life stalled and I couldn't work legally, couldn't fly back to New Zealand easily and had no friends in Belgium so ... I started blogging to stop from going crazy and to stay in touch with people back home.

In those days, you could click on 'next blog' in Blogger and find a lot of good people. That was probably how I started building my American blog connections although, that said, I probably met a lot of my American blogging friends via expat blogs and sites. And then when I found someone I really enjoyed, I'd run through their links list ... I guess.

At least I think that's how it happened :)

i am getting a new semi fancy digital camera and am a bit intimidated about getting started. any tips for the newbie photographer?

I guess it would depend on what kind of learning style you have. If you're comfortable with the technical, then it's a good idea to go and take a few classes on using your digital camera. Reading the manual's not a bad plan but not something I've ever done.

What I've done it simply use the camera. I've taken it for walks and to parties, I photographed every move my daughter made when she was small, I took it to the beach, the river and family Christmas - I used it. Use it, use it and use it. Learn from your mistakes, talk to other photographers (and there are tons in the blogsphere these days) and in the meanwhile try to find which subject area you're passionate about ... which photographs always turn out the best.

I belonged to a photographic club back in New Zealand and we had this superb landscape photographer come in to give us a talk. He said that we can't expect to photograph every subject well ... people and landscapes and architecture. Nature made his heart sing and that's what he concentrated on. It was good advice and for a long time, my chosen subjects were people and animals.

Another friend told me that he collects photographs he likes and keeps an ideas file, then tries to do the same when he takes photographs. Finding a photo group like 'I love photography' or aminus3 online is also a great way to get your peers to comment on your photography.

Hmmm, I think that's about it.

Thanks for the photo tips- I can't wait to get started. You mention taking a lot of photos of your daughter. How has it been to raise her far away from your family?

** If you aren't comfortable answering this or any other questions, I apologize. Please let me know and I'll think of another!

It's okay ...

My daughter is 21 and only arrived back in my life April 2008.
These days I'm not really raising her, mostly it's more like she's raising me or that's what she would tell you if you asked. It's tough over here though ... she has to learn the language, attend a social orientation course for immigrants to Belgium and then work out what she wants to do with the rest of her life but it's so very very good to have her back in my life.

I had to smile about your reply to the photo tips. I wasn't sure if it was interview or you :) I use photoshop sometimes too. Mostly I like to keep it real but I sometimes the cropping tool is a useful one - just to get things framed right.

Hey, the other thing I forgot to tell you. My favourite lens is a 75-300mm - it's close up and personal but it also allows me to be further back from the subject and out of their face or to zoom right in and get details. That's my favourite lens, meanwhile my husband prefers our 28-80 lens. It's a really good idea to find out which lens gives you the best result. I really believe lens preference is a personal thing ... it allows you to develop a 'look' that is you.

I assume from all the places that you've lived that you also travel a great deal. What are you top few destinations?

I think my top two destinations would surely be Rome and Istanbul - both adored in different ways. Hmmm countries, Italy and Spain.

Being a New Zealander, I was surprised to find that I really liked Perth in Australia ... we grow up with this trans-Tasman rivalry thing that's less than serious when tested. My brothers both married Australians, I guess that proves my point.

I need to travel much much more than I do at the moment.

Do you think that you will move to another county or is Belgium it for you?

I hope I move to another country ... whether we go back to my country or I talk my Belgian into another European country is unclear but I have a history of moving every few years. I started small in New Zealand, just houses and towns, now it's countries. I like it that way.

I love your phrase 'my Belgian'. Some random questions now- what is your favorite meal of all time, to eat and to cook?

Lol, he raises an eyebrow at me when I call him my Belgian ...

I was taken on a surprise overnight trip and it resulted in my most recent favourite meal

And there's this Mexican dish at a cafe in Amsterdam but I have no idea what it's called ... having always gone with a friend who ordered it for me.

To cook: Persian chicken
And red wine with EVERYTHING.

That meal looks amazing! I am very jealous, as I am about to eat a plain old turkey sandwich.

I recently went through some old boxes of mine and found some old trinkets that I adored growing up. Is there anything from your childhood that you might have lost that you would love to find again?

I almost died of gluttony that night but it was a simply stunning meal.

Plain old turkey sandwich ... don't feel too bad, I just finished plain rice due to the delicate nature of my flu-like tummy tonight, with water.
Dramatic and heartfelt sigh.

You really made me think with your question.
There was a movie called 'Croupier' and the main character, Clive Owens, had this signature line - 'Hold on tightly, let go lightly', and it suits me in a way. I've downsized my life so many times that treasures have been lost and I do my best but if I don't find them I've pretty much learned to let them go lightly, having loved them while I had them.

I realised I had to, otherwise I might have gone crazy along the way :)

I'm sorry you aren't feeling well! I grew up eating rice everyday, so plain white rice is actually a comfort food of mine.

Your philosophy on letting material things go is really smart- I have to learn to do more of that, though I am getting better.

On the subject of collecting, I'm a grad student in museum studies and am wondering if there are any museums that you think are must sees.

How come you ate rice everyday? I was so intrigued :)

Museums you must see ... well, in my humble opinion I think Istanbul's Archaeological museum is pretty superb but I'm hugely intimidated by the thought of telling that to a grad student in museum studies :)

And we have this cute little museum back in Dunedin, New Zealand, and growing up I thought it stunning. Looking back now, I have to smile - so many of our Eygptian pieces, for example, came back with our pack-ratting soldiers during the war. I'd like to go home now and see how it measures up ... I'm sure it does, within the constraints of a city museum on a small island nation. They think it does, I noticed that the website claims to be 'one of the best museums in the world'.

My mother in Colombian and rice is the staple starch- not super nutritious, but totally tastes of home. Thanks for the museum suggestions- I love all sizes and types, so I'll add these to my list.

I saw you got mentioned in Neil's interview of V-Grrl. Of your close friends in Belgium, how many would you say are natives and how many are expats like yourself?

I can understand the 'home' feeling of rice. It's nice that you have that - I think it might be toast for me, as buttering toast was held in high regard by my mother, it was a kind of science, so that's my comfort food. Eating plain rice wasn't so bad, I like it with a little salt, it was only the circumstances :)

Hmmm friends in Belgium well ... Lut is a good friend and she's Belgian, and Eva, Peter and the other Peter (Manic) too, then there are the guys from Flanders Fields who are pure gold. But thinking about it I can see that, more of than not, my friends here are foreigners simply because they're the ones who seem to be the most open to people.

I guess it's easy enough to explain ... we come from different cultures, religions, career paths but find common ground in our foreign status and go forward from there. I really enjoy meeting people from all over and the parties we have here at our place are pure delight, in that we keep widening our circle and meet truly interesting people along the way.

Sometimes you meet the most fascinating people when it all gets boiled down to one common factor- like being a non native.

So, this whole interview process started up because of blog awards. Which award would you be most honored to receive?

Again, thanks so much for agreeing to my back and forth format- this interviewing process is much harder than I thought! It has been fantastic to meet you and read through your blog. And the photo tips are sure to come in handy once I receive my new camera! Thanks again.

Hmmm blog award. Do you know, I don't know anything much about blog awards, I've rarely been nominated for them but if I thought about it, I would love to be nominated for something that is about my photography or that just reassures me that people enjoy what I'm doing online.

I really enjoyed answering your questions, and write any old time about the photography, or if you're coming this way.


Manictastic said...

Great interview. You've done your best to find out what makes Di Di.

Di Mackey said...

Hey, well done. And congrats on finding an apartment too!