The first question is one which is often asked in the interviews: how did you find FunTrivia?
I think it was just a very happy accident. I was doing a search for some tidbit of information to answer questions about classic movies for a Yahoo Group that I belong to, and FunTrivia came up. I didn't know anyone on the site when I started playing. I couldn't believe that FT was real and free!Pagiedamon
You joined FunTrivia in 2005. What keeps you coming back?
When I first found FunTrivia, I belonged to several daily trivia quiz groups with questions on old movies and television. They were in the form of e-mails and were connected to Yahoo Groups. Finding a site like FT was like being a kid in a candy shop. There were an unlimited number of things to learn about in a fun way. As time passed, I joined a team and made friendships there, and also started posting on the chat boards. The site became more than just a place for fun, it was a meeting place for like-minded folks. I became a Gold Member quickly to take advantage of the stats and additional options. Once I started writing quizzes, that became another creative outlet. The writing competitions in groups forged friendships that I cherish, even if we haven't met face to face. FunTrivia is a real community.Pagiedamon
Please tell us a little bit about yourself. Married, single, or divorced? Kids? Pets?
I was married for almost 27 years to a wonderful man twelve years my senior. I have a step-daughter who is a diplomat for the Colombian government in The Hague, The Netherlands. She was 11 when I met her, and she's now married and just had her first child last September. My husband and I also have a son, 26, who is a manager at a local factory here in Georgia and who just got married last May to a great young woman. My husband died of a heart attack a couple of years ago, and that was a blow to us because he really was a great father, husband and friend. He'd had a minor stroke four years before, and came through that remarkably well. Now I feel like the four years we had after Al's stroke were a bonus gift from life. We were lucky to be together as long as we were. I've always had dogs (mutts and Beagles mostly), and the furry friend who lives with me now is a four-year-old Beagle-Jack Russell mix named Sally. Though I'm single now, I have reconnected with an old friend from high school who lives in this part of Georgia. We hadn't seen each other in 37 years, but met up again at an ALS charity bike ride a little over a year ago. He started out being a good friend, checking up on me and helping out with things I needed to fix around the house, and as the months passed, our friendship has grown. We're engaged and we're very happy, though my son isn't ready yet for me to be dating. That's why we don't know yet when we'll get married, but hopefully it will be soon.Pagiedamon
What is your real-life occupation?
I had a translation and interpretation company for 20 years when I lived in Colombia, and that kind of work is my passion. For the last 12 years, since I've been back in the US, I work in a corporate job in the US, in middle management, still using my languages, but with an IT focus for a customer-care software and voice response system in English and Spanish. I also do contract translation and interpretation work for the US Department of Justice. My work is demanding but interesting, and it keeps me busy.lones78
Your job sounds really interesting. I'd like to know how you managed to get into that line of work?
I was always an interpreter growing up because my sisters didn't speak much Spanish and my grandmother didn't speak much English. I learned very early on that languages connect people in very real ways. I always wanted to do that.flopsymopsy
I would guess that Georgia is not particularly well-known to many people outside the USA. However it's in lots of songs and one of the best has to be Gladys Knight's "Midnight Train to Georgia", which I hummed throughout my twenties. So can you tell me what are the three top reasons why tourists should detour from the beaten track to visit Georgia?
Atlanta is actually an interesting city in many ways. You can see all four seasons here (with spring and fall being particularly spectacular in terms of colors and varieties of plants and flowers), but none is particularly harsh. Martin Luther King, Jr. did much of his living and working here, and there are many historic places to visit related to the Civil Rights Movement. "Gone with the Wind" was set in Atlanta for a good portion of the story, and there are many places dedicated to lore about the novel and the movie, especially since author Margaret Mitchell lived here. There are always great concerts and plays to go to, including stand-up comics, so there is never a lack of things to do. There are many great restaurants with cuisines from around the world, often not very expensive. Because Atlanta is the US's largest airport (having recently overtaken Chicago-O'Hare), you can often fly here for not too much money, and even if you are going elsewhere, it is easy to add in a stopover in Atlanta to explore. There are also parks and natural wonders here, including Stone Mountain (which rivals Mount Rushmore as a sculpted mountain face). It depicts the Confederate generals, which is a different slant on the Civil War history than what I learned growing up in the northeastern part of the US. The park is beautiful and has a laser show at night in the summer months.zorba_scank
What is your favourite and least favourite part about living in Georgia, USA?
I just mentioned some of my favorite things. My least favorite would be some of the attitudes of some people here regarding people from other cultures. My husband was a well-educated engineer, but because he had an accent in English, many people assumed he was a gardener and wondered if he was here legally. Even I'm not immune to off-base assumptions. A woman once started explaining American slang to me, and when I told her that I'd understood everything she'd said. She told me, "Anyone who speaks Spanish like you do (and I heard you jabbering away in Spanish) can't possibly speak English very well." Sometimes it makes me laugh. I feel like an ambassador here at times, showing people that the world is much larger than their view of it. This is mostly in the suburbs and small towns near Atlanta. Inside the city, the population is very diverse and generally more accepting of others.flopsymopsy
I know you lived in Colombia for a number of years. What made you go there and what are the things you miss the most?
I went there because I'd studied Linguistics and Spanish (Language and Literature) in college and wanted to live somewhere where I could live and work in Spanish. I almost ended up in Brazil because I was offered a Fulbright scholarship to perfect my Portuguese and do research in Rio de Janeiro, but I ended up accepting a job as a full professor at a university in Bogota because I had a place to live with a family. My parents felt more secure about my leaving the US to go on an adventure for the first time under those circumstances. I loved Colombia the minute I got there, the people, the food, the music. I miss good friends that I now connect to mostly virtually, my husband's family (who I love as my own), and the general love of life and laughter that I always seemed to have there.zorba_scank
I know you've also lived in South America for some time. Can you tell us a little bit about your life there?
In addition what I said in the prior question, I had a wonderful professional life in Colombia. After being a university professor for a year, I also taught English for the US-Colombian Binational Center and co-wrote a 13-part series of books to teach English while I was there. I worked as a television commercial actress, did voice over work for the news and documentaries, and had a translation and interpreting company which allowed me to travel all over South America as well as to North America and Europe. I got to work at the Habitat II conference in Istanbul, and interpreted for Bela Abzug and Fidel Castro. I loved the freedom of my freelance work, how varied it was and the many different things I learned while doing it. zorba_scank
If you could travel to any 2-3 places in the world, which would you opt for?
I would go to Australia and India. I had a good friend from Australia when I was in Colombia, and one of my sisters went there on a dream vacation last year. A good friend is living there now for the next few years, and I think it would be an ideal time to go and get to know the country as an insider (always my preference). As for India, I've recently started taking a Bhagavad Gita class, and I would really like to go there. I work virtually with some people in Bangalore, and it would be nice to visit them and meet them face to face. Coincidentally, two of my friends from FunTrivia are also from those places, and it would be great to connect with them as well. lones78
As a member of the Four Winds (Amazing Race team) you met some wonderful people. Do any of the countries you visited during either race interest you as a tourist destination (or any of the places your teammates are from)?
I answered that above, but I will reiterate that going to any of the places where my teammates are from would be a dream come true for me. I've already been to Belgium, but if I get back, I'd love to meet JanIQ. Leonie would be one of my important goals in Australia, and zorbaskank would be a must-meet in India. I've also written quizzes with Mariamir, who is from China. So many people at FunTrivia have been so kind to me in many different situations. I wish I had enough money and time to visit everyone.lones78
What event in your life do you think has had the biggest impact on you and where you are today?
It may be something that happened to me before I was born. I was a twin sister, and we were born prematurely. I made it and my younger sister didn't. I think having been connected to an incubator for three months at the beginning of my life must have made me appreciate every moment more. I have lost some important people in my life at ages that were too young for them to leave, and it has made me want to live life to the fullest. I've had a great life so far, and I hope there will be much more in the future.flopsymopsy
You speak both Spanish and Portuguese. I know they're similar (and different) but Spanish is much more common, so what made you learn Portuguese?
I was born to a Cuban mother and an Irish father. So I knew Spanish from an early age. When I got into Linguistics, I wanted to be able to cover almost all of the Americas, and Portuguese would allow me to do that. They are similar languages, and it was funny being a beginner in Portuguese. I felt a little like a child learning a first language. I understood almost everything after a few classes, but I could hardly say a word!! I find most languages beautiful, and each one has its own words for things that don't exist in other languages.sue943
I see that you have listed skydiving as a hobby; that sounds fascinating, how did you get into that?
I had wanted to do it for a long time and a few years ago I got a coupon in my e-mail for half price on a sky-dive. My son and I decided to do it at the same time (but in tandem, so that if we panicked, the experts would be right there to pull our chutes!). We had a wonderful time. It is such a feeling of freedom and peace. Even though you are falling very fast, it feels more like flying because you don't have a gauge of the distance from so high. Once the chute gets opened, the descent is much slower and you can actually sight-see. It was a wonderful experience, and I want to do it again and again. Just looking for more of those half-price coupons.Pagiedamon
I know you enjoy watching movies. What are some of your current favorites?
I loved "Grand Budapest Hotel". It was so whimsical and fun. "The Theory of Everything" and "The Imitation Game" were also great movies, with amazing performances by the central characters. I thought "Selma" was very well done as well. My real passion is for classic movies, though, and I love almost any movie with Bing Crosby, Bob Hope, Clark Gable, Jimmy Stewart or Errol Flynn. Finally, I love documentaries, and the Apted "Up" series is one of my favorites. The director interviewed kids from different walks of life in the UK at the ages of 7, 14, 21, 28, 35, 42, 49 and most recently 56. It is amazing to follow these people through their lives. I am the same age as the subjects, so it is of interest to me because of that too. I highly recommend those movies to anyone.
You've written quite a lot of quizzes at FunTrivia. What inspires you to write a quiz?
Actually, I've had writer's block for over a year now! The competition games that we did with the Four Winds were some of the most fun I've had writing on FunTrivia. I also love to go to the Lounge and see what madness Kyle has come up with to inspire us. Taking Author's Challenge titles also helps come up with unusual ideas for quizzes. I finally submitted a quiz again today, and I hope that opens up the log jam for me to finish the other three quizzes I have started.sue943
If you could have a dinner party with six famous, or infamous people, alive or dead, who would you choose, and why?
This is a great question. I used to use something very similar to it in my English Conversation classes. People had to choose a character from history who they either loved or hated and then pretend to be that person at a cocktail party. They couldn't mention names or any events from history to give things away, they just had to act like that person would act at a party. The other classmates would have to try to guess each person's identity. For my dinner party, I would invite Jesus Christ, Bing Crosby, Bette Davis, Martin Luther King, Mahatma Gandhi and Atilla the Hun. I know that is a very motley crew, but I think the actual figures themselves would have a great conversation, and I could be a fly on the wall and learn what they were really like. I used to hold a debate at the end of that conversation class on capital punishment or abortion or some other contentious subject and have the students participate, but as one of the famous figures we'd been impersonating in the class. The discussions were so much more interesting than if they'd been talking just for themselves. They had to get into the famous or infamous person's head and try to think about something differently as that person. That's what I would love to see at my dinner party.zorba_scank
Tell us about a couple of things that are on your bucket list.
I'd love to be in a position to travel more, so I guess that means I should go back to being a freelancer and not someone who goes to a job every day. I would like to do more volunteer work with children, and also have the time to do interpreting jobs for victims of crimes. Apart from that, having time to spend with my friends and family, savoring the moments that we have and laughing at the funny things that happen in life are some of my favorite things to do each day. If I can continue living life on those terms, I will have done well.Thanks to all who participated.