Friday, February 8, 2008

Interview with Ally

The Great Interview Experiment continues. This time it's my turn to ask the questions. I was lucky enough to draw Ally of ACTing Like a Mama! Ally is a young Mom who lives in Australia's capital city of Canberra.

1. Is this your first blog? What was your inspiration for beginning a blog?

No, I began my first blog in March 2005. It primarily began as a weight-loss blog after several months of reading other bloggers who were being inspired and motivated through the blog-community. I hoped that it would do the same for me. It didn't. I felt a lot of pressure in writing and losing weight, feeling bad if I couldn't record a loss for the week, or if I wrote a post about eating the wrong type of food. My blog then changed when I got engaged and became more about the preparations for our wedding. It became a bit of a release for me. Once I got married I just stopped writing - I felt I had nothing more to say. The night I went into labour, I was up at 2am with nothing better to do, so I thought I would write down what I was feeling, I opened up Microsoft Word and then thought "Hell, why don't I put this on a blog". I didn't want to go back to my old blog, hence I set this up! It has since become a great medium to talk about my son, my life and keep in touch with my family who are all around Australia.

2. What did you want to be when you were growing up?

Oh so many things! I did a lot of acting when I was younger, and I think I must have been reasonably good at it, I had a lot of major roles in our Acting group and was even offered a lead role in a musical right before we left Alice Springs for Canberra. I think I always knew I never wanted to BE an actor, but I loved and still love the theatre - I wanted to be a part of it, maybe by being a playwright, a stage manager or maybe a director, but heck, if I was able to iron the costumes for the performers I think I would be happy! I still get chills when I walk backstage into a theatre, even though I have done nothing related to it for several years. I love the energy of the place.

3. Australia, like the United States, is a country of immigrants, what originally brought your ancestors to Australia?

From what country did they come? Oh where to begin! On my father's side I believe one of my ancestors was a catholic brother sent out to the missionary in WA. Due to the circumstance of the place (remote, unpopulated etc) they were actually encouraged to find wives and begin families. I believe he was Spanish, and brought a variety of tomatoes to Western Australia. On my mother's side they were French/Irish and brought Hereford Cattle to Australia -they settled on the East Coast, not far from where my parents are moving to shortly! So we are mainly from Irish stock, with a bit of Spanish and French thrown in. I am a sixth-generation Australian, so feel much more connected to Australia than any other culture/place. (Oh I hope I have this right mum and dad!)

4. What type of school activities were you involved in growing up?

Sport was always a strength for my brothers and sisters - I was never good at it, and felt a lot of pressure that I needed to be good at it, you know, you couldn't just enjoy playing a game. Lucky for me I found an Acting School and from the first day I began I knew I was doing something that I loved, and that I belonged. I did my drama classes at least three days a week and often all day Saturdays - I loved it. I learnt how to dance, sword fight, convey emotions, control and read body language, and so much more. In High School I joined the debating team and we had reasonable success - I think we only ever won one final, but we usually always came second which was still pretty good! I created and edited the school newspaper in my last year of primary school, "The Grapevine"- I still have a copy!

5. How did you meet your husband and what about him attracted you? Where did you go for your first date?

I met Joe at work. We were both working at Prime Television and we started talking at our Christmas Party. It just grew from there. Joe and I were seeing other people at the time, so it took a while for us to hook up. There is a 14 year age gap between us, so this also made us a bit wary about what we might be getting into. I liked how generous and kind-spirited he was, and never had a bad word to say about anybody. His staff also showed him a great deal of respect and seemed to really like him, I thought that if you can find that in a manager, then he must be a really good person at heart. Our first date was to a lovely Italian restaurant called "The Haig" It specialised in seafood, and on the walls it has popular Italian-themed movies like "Il Padre" (The Godfather) and things like that. I ordered the seafood marinara and it was probably the worst thing to order on a first date - I had to suck all the crab meat out of the claws - not very classy but it obviously worked!

6. What did your father do for a living that you lived out in the middle (literally) of Australia in Alice Springs?

My mum grew up in Alice Springs among other towns as her father was the Chief Inspector of Police for the Northern Territory. Dad moved when he had finished his uni degree - he was a civil engineer and came to NT to build roads, bridges etc. My dad used to walk pass my mum's house every morning to go to church, one day, my grandfather (mums dad) offered him the choice of a night in jail or a date with my mum - he chose the date and they have now been married for 40+ years! (I loved Ally's answer to this question. Her Grandfather sounds like quite the match maker :-) )

7. You mentioned in your blog that when you first moved to Canberra you didn't like it. Why?

I was 15 and leaving everything I knew- My friends, my small school, and my acting. I was coming to this cold, cold place and I didn't know anyone. It was the middle of the school year so I was worried if I might be dumber than everyone else, if any kids would let me hang with them - the usual teenager angst! One of the promises mum made when we left Alice Springs was that I could come back to perform in one last production (EVITA), it was also our year 10 formal (prom). When I came back I realised how lucky I was to live in Canberra and have the opportunities that I wouldn't have in Alice Springs. It gave me the closure I needed and from that day on I fell head over heels in love with Canberra!

8. Now that you are a Mom, are you planning on having more children? If so, how many more?

Yes! Yes! Yes! We want more children. We are hoping to start trying for another child soon so I can continue my leave at work. I am not sure how many we will have - Joe would like to stick with two children, however I think three or four would be much more interesting! I come from a family of six children and big families have always been something that I love. Of course, the dilemma is that once you go past two children you often need to upgrade the house, the car, the mortgage!

9. You mention in your blog decluttering your house for 2008. How is that going?

Well, it got off to a good start! I have put my de-cluttering on hold to help mum and dad with their packing. Dad will move in to our home for a period while he still works in Canberra, so I have a room that I need to de-clutter in the next couple of weeks. I don't think I realised that de-cluttering and children do not go hand in hand! I cannot believe the amount of clothes, toys and space that a child takes up! Another thing that has slowed me down is our storage situation, I am ready to throw out so much stuff, but for the things I wish to keep, I am struggling to find room for, I keep telling Joe we need a trip to IKEA to obtain some storage solutions before I get really stuck into it!

10. Any ideas yet on your miniresolution to be more green?

Every day I feel more and more guilty about the footprint I am leaving on this earth. I am trying to be much more considerate to the future. Some things we have started to do is buying our produce locally, and only buying seasonal items. This doesn't always work with a baby because sometimes if the only thing he will eat are blueberries, then dammit - we need blueberries! I am also enjoying going old school and making my own pasta and pizza bases - I figure the more I can do at home, not only gives me a greater satisfaction, but will hopefully help the planet in some minuscule way. My project for this month is starting a compost bin, and I am really excited about this. I have started doing some research on the best way to set one up and am looking forward to see the circle of (plant) life demonstrated in our own home. But these are all just little things, and as I said, I constantly feel I should be doing MORE and MORE to make it a better world for my child.

11.You wrote about taking your finals at uni, but not how it turned out. What grades did you end up with?

Yay - a Distinction! I really wasn't expecting to get that, I thought I would be lucky if I passed, so I was so excited when I got my results. It made me think twice about taking six months off, but now I am glad I did, and hopefully by July I will be ready and rolling to start Uni again!

12. Have you travelled outside of Australia? If so, what countries have you visited? If not, what countries would you like to travel to?

No, I haven't travelled outside of Australia, it is on my list of things to do. I really want to visit South Africa, Russia and one of my dreams is to live in Italy for six months and absorb the culture of Joe's heritage. One thing I have done though, is extensively travelled Australia - not many Australians have seen their own country and it is so vast and beautiful, I have travelled through every state except Tasmania and just love this country that I live in.

13. Faith seems to be a large part of your current life and growing up. What denomination are you?

My family are catholic - we were brought up attending church every Sunday and celebrating the important feast days etc. As an adult, I don't attend church or call myself a catholic, however I think I have a strong faith and many of the principles and values I believe come from my catholic upbringing. As I get older I tend to disregard the regime and routine of a faith, and focus more on the true spirituality and the concepts of what faith is - a set of beliefs that one can follow and apply to life. I think more about nature and the world we live and how treating each other and the earth is so much more important than attending mass on Sundays. While I see the value of creating and strengthen a community by praying and worshipping together, I also see the segregation that this can cause. Denying people because of their beliefs, lifestyles, colour of their skin, or the amount of money in their wallet really gets to me and is a problem I see for most religions. I believe that Jesus was a wonderful man that brought a whole new perspective to living life - I think that what he tried to teach often gets lost in the translation and politics of a religion. I think this could probably be said for most religions, Islam, Judaism, etc. I think we are all people of the same world, and no one is a chosen race, religion or culture - what makes us so wonderful is how diverse we are. I enjoy learning about other people's values and beliefs and find that it often not only challenges my way of thinking, and causes me to justify what I believe in, but it also opens my mind to how wonderful being human really is. I often pray to God, but my God is also Mother Nature, he is not fire and brimstone, she will not buy you a bicycle for your birthday, but I believe that my God is there to help us learn how to live, to encourage us to learn what sacrifice is, what love is, what a challenge is and most importantly, what it feels like to live. (Well said)

14. I thought of one more question I'd like to ask, is the title of your blog ACTing Like a Mama! a take off from the fact that you live in the Australian Capital Territory (ACT)?

Yes! Oh I am so glad someone got it! My blog has had several (very corny) names from "The Adventures of the Canberra Paolinos" to "Diary of New Mum" and I was looking for something a little different, maybe a bit catchy and so I ended up with this ACTing like a Mama - not sure what Iwill need to change it to if we ever move!!
(It should be noted that I had visited Ally's blog several times, Googled Earthed Canberra and Alice Springs (road trains are disturbing) and did some research on Wikipedia before the ACT in her title clicked in my brain.)

I want to thank Ally for participating in the Great Interview Experiment and I hope she had as much fun answering my questions as I did in asking them.


Bridgette said...

Great interview Frank - obviously well researched and if you were a little slow n the uptake (ACT mum) then I guess you were busy with other things he he.

Frank said...

Hi Bridgette! Thanks for the feedback. I enjoyed interviewing Ally and I would love to do this again. As to the ACT reference, I'm just glad I got it - eventually. :-)