It seems there is a little interview fun sweeping through Blogville. I first learned of it through Julie at Tangobaby. She was interviewed by julochka here. Such fun! I wanted to be a part of it. Tangobaby is a busy interviewer, but anticipating her questions has been half the fun. To those of you visiting from Tangobaby's blog, welcome and thank you!
Without further ado...
Tangobaby: You wrote a beautiful post about living in a very small town, and about looking at the moon, and being with your family together and singing. How did life in a small town prepare you for being an adult? What gifts did you take with you from that experience?
Brainy and Beautiful: I lived in that small town for the first ten and a half years of my life. Maybe I idealize it a little because I think of it as the place where I lived and left my innocence. I guess it did prepare me for adulthood. Since the community was so small, I really got to know the adults and see how they lived. I could write whole posts about Bob, Pat, the Schwartz Family, the Julio's, the family who ran the candy store, the Smith's who owned and operated the farm stand, my bus driver, all my teachers... I don't want to bore you with my listing. I guess what they all had in common was a sense of responsibility to the community at large and a genuine concern and caring for all of the children in the community. That is what I took with me and have put into practice as an adult.
Living there was a gift. Specifically, looking back:
the freedom to roam
a sense of safety
knowing I am o.k. as I am
being seen. Invisibility was an impossibility.
understanding that children are integral to the community and its ability to flourish
TB: I know that you are a devoted nanny and love children and helping them grow. What do you think you most want to instill in the children that you take care of? What is the greatest gift you have ever received from a child? I know that your current position is in a transition. Do you see yourself continuing to work with children in some way?
B&B: The thing I most want to instill in the children that I care for is a sense of self. That is the first thing that comes to mind anyway. I believe that everything else I'd like to instill stems from self-awareness.
Greatest gift I have ever received from a child... The children are gifts in and of themselves. All that personality, energy, and unique perspective. I love when they run up to me and give me unsolicited hugs and kisses. Most of all, they help me to keep my inner child and sense of wonder alive which, in my limited experience, is one of the keys to lifelong happiness.
My current position is in transition. I am still wavering about whether to seek a new position. Right now I am leaning towards no. I have so many other pursuits vying for my attention. If I was to nanny again, I would want to be able to give the new family all that I have to give. Currently, with my attentions so divided, that is an impossibility.
For now, I will definitely continue to volunteer with little ones at Perkins School for the Blind one day a week. I can't imagine ever not working with children in some way shape or form.
TB: Tell us more about Teen Voices and your work with them. What is your hope for the girls you work with? What is your impression of how they see the world?
B&B: Teen Voices is indescribable. It is a magazine written by and for teen girls. It is also a mentoring program. Everyone in the non-profit organization is female. You'd think it might get catty, but I've never seen that happen. Teen Voices relies heavily on donations and even more heavily on volunteers. Last session I volunteered as a mentor working with three young women to put together an article about a chronic disease. Other volunteers mentored other groups of two or three girls working on articles devoted to other topics.
The magazine is really written by teen girls all over the world thanks to submissions. However, the teen girls working in the Teen Voices office, writing the articles into which the submissions are incorporated, are all living in and around Boston, Massachusetts. Many of them would be labeled "disadvantaged", "minority", or "at-risk", but I don't do labels. Neither does Teen Voices.
My hope for the girls I work with is that they will recognize their full potential and strive to achieve it and then some.
One of my greatest lessons from last session is that that each individual has their own concept of "normal". Each of us sees the world differently.
There were some commonalities among my mentees: Hope. A desire to learn and grow. Inner strength. Drive to succeed.
Commonalities that I believe we all have as humans. Really, at our core, we are all the same.
If I asked the girls how they see the world I believe each of the answers would be some variation of "as a place I am going to take by storm."
After last session, I was not ready to say good-bye. The Editor and Chief asked me to stay on as an Editorial Assistant working with her to put together the print and online magazine. I started last Thursday and am eager to see the whole process from a different angle.
TB: As a vegan, what is the most important thing about your lifestyle that you'd share with those of us who are not. If someone wanted to become a vegan or a vegetarian, what advice would you offer first?
B&B: First of all, every vegan is different. Reasons for veganism vary from vegan to vegan. There are various shades of veganism. Ask any vegan these questions and you would get different answers from each of them. So, I am only speaking for myself through the lens of my experience.
There are so many things I would love to share with you about being vegan. I don't do well with the whole "pick the most important thing" questions, huh? One thing: It is not as difficult as it first appears. It is not hard to find things to eat and continue to get the nutrients your body needs.
Also, there are so many benefits to being vegan. Health Benefits. Environmental Benefits. Other Benefits. Google "benefits of veganism" and you'll be quite surprised. I was quite impressed with this list on nursingdegree.net.
That brings me to my first piece of advice to anyone considering vegetarianism or veganism. Educate yourself through research (internet, books, magazines), talking to vegans, watching videos about veganism on YouTube, watching movies about veganism (Earthlings, Super Size Me, Fast Food Nation, I am an Animal, What's On Your Plate, Food Matters) talking to health professionals, and any other means you can think of. Then try it for a month or so. At the end of that month, decide if it is right for you.
TB: Tell us a little bit about Mr. B&B... he sounds like a lovely fella. How did you first meet? Does he mind that you write about him?
B&B: Oh, Mr. B&B... He is a lovely fella. Just today he woke me with little pecks on the cheek, cleared my car of snow, put his pj's in the hamper, hung up his towels after his shower, scooped the kitty litter, thanked me for making his lunch, and wished me a wonderful day with a hug as he left for work. The good most definitely outweighs the little annoyances.
Our first meeting is a longish story:
I met him at the craziest time of my life. May 5, 2001. It was the day after I had moved out of my parents house leaving only vague notes in my wake. I was a month and ten days shy of my 20th birthday. I had just decided to take a break from college and work for awhile. My best friend and her family took me in while I settled the unknowns.
A May 5th camping trip had been planned for Tanya's (my best friend) birthday. Tanya, Greg (her boyfriend), Nicole (a friend), Andrew (my very ex-boyfriend), a few of Andrew's friends, Mr. B&B, and I journeyed to the wild's of western Connecticut. There was grocery shopping, tent assembling, card playing, firewood collecting, kick ball playing, fire building, food preparing, story-telling fun. Then it got dark and cold and we went to bed. Greg & Tanya, Nicole, Brad, and I were in one tent. Having just moved, I didn't have a sleeping bag or a pillow. So, I used a blanket Tanya loaned me and hoped for the best. Not effective. I woke up screaming into the darkness and unable to feel my feet. Needless to say, everyone woke up. Many apologies later, I squeezed myself into a tight ball and wrapped the blankets around me more tightly.
Nicole tapped me on the shoulder, "B--- wants me to pass you his sweatshirt." I declined, but B--- wouldn't take no for an answer. Nicole got annoyed with being the go between. Somehow I ended up in B---'s sweatshirt, in my blanket, in his sleeping bag, with his arms around me, whispering until the sky began turning pink. That is how we began.
To answer the second part of the question, does he mind me writing about him, maybe a little. Mr. B&B knew I was a writer that first night in the tent. He actually encouraged me to blog. Sometimes he teases me with, "Uh oh... I better be careful or this will end up on the blog..." If I ever posted something about him that he wasn't comfortable with, he knows that all he has to do is say the word and it will come down. He is infinitely important to me and excluding him from my blog is impossible, but I respect his feelings. I feel kind of weird answering this for him. Maybe I can convince him to guest blog some time soon.
Until then, I leave you with...
Five Fun Facts About Mr. B&B:
He came in second in a statewide chess championship while in high school
He likes to sweep and dust.
While at home, he lives in his slippers.
He sings to the cat, personalizing the lyrics to popular songs to suit her.
He loves cars and has been behind the wheel at New Hampshire Motor Speedway and Circuit Mont-Tremblant.
Thanks for the dance, Julie!
Anyone else want to play?
Here are "The Rules":
1. Leave me a comment saying: "Interview me."
2. I will respond by emailing you five questions. (I get to pick the questions.)
3. You will update your blog with the answers and link to my blog in your post.
4. You will include this explanation and an offer to interview someone else in the same post.
5. When others comment asking to be interviewed you will ask them five questions.
I would love to channel my inner Barbara Walters/Oprah Winfrey <3
Most importantly, I'd love to learn more about all of you. Just say the word!