|(photo may be a bit out of date)|
- Excellent timing: Being born in the pre-PC year of 1971 uniquely qualifies me as a writer: how else could I have developed such good penmanship?
- Self-starter: My former business partner, my brother, will attest to the fact that our very first business – selling popcorn and organic apple cider from a makeshift cart – was a big hit on the streets on Brookline, Boston.
- Persuasiveness: Vacationing in Jamaica at the age of four, I managed to persuade my dad and stepmom to take us every morning to the local café for their specialty breakfast smoothie (ingredients: milk, banana, mango, ganja). Later on, I convinced my parents that going alone to Italy on an exchange program at sixteen was a really good idea. And that in Italy there were no men whatsoever, only women. My skills of persuasion lend themselves even to crackly telephone communication, resulting in me heading off to Spain, Bulgaria, Istanbul on my own, and the Ukrainian countryside around Chernobyl (sorry, Mom, did I not tell you?).
- Humility: I refrain from boasting about how many countries I’ve been to. It just makes people jealous.
- Fast learner: Without the help of a map, within days I learned my way around the mother of all labyrinths, Venice, when my stepmom and I started the highly lucrative business of buying the city’s hand-crafted papier-mâché Carnival masks, slightly sturdier than eggshells, wrapping them in newspaper and shipping them across to America.
- Three years’ primary schooling at the Rudolf Steiner Waldorf School, Washington, D.C. (USA). Subjects studied: eurythmic dancing, theater, playing the recorder, Norse mythology, locating and capturing fairies
- High school diploma from Blaire High School, Silver Spring, Maryland (USA)
- High school diploma – because one just isn’t enough these days – from Liceo Linguistico Settembrini, Poggiomarino, Naples (Italy)
- Masters in Foreign Languages and Literature from L’Istituto Universitario Orientale di Napoli (Italy)
- Certificate in English Language Teaching to Adults, Languages International, Auckland (New Zealand) Score: A (the first they’d given in years, a CELTA “A” is a language-nerd badge of honor)
RELEVANT WORK EXPERIENCE
1983: Wrote and self-published my first epic novel: hand-written, hole-punched and bound with red yarn.
1985: Completed the first of a revealing 12-volume diary series called Oh-So-Wise for Her Years
1991 – present: Freelance proofreading / translating
1996: Wrote a 50,000-word Masters thesis in semiotics that would bore you to tears if I went into any detail
1996: Worked illegally as a waitress in the main café in Piazza San Domenico Maggiore, Naples. (OK, maybe not so relevant, but cleaning the toilets there taught me the aforementioned humility and signaled a real high in a long string of restaurant and coffee shop jobs.)
1996 – present: Various English-teaching jobs (they blend together after a while) in Italy, the US and New Zealand, some of them legal
1999: My heart got badly broken: although not technically a career move, the event did inspire me to move to New Zealand and eventually write my memoir.
2001: Wrote four excellent poems. Heartbreak is good for that. So is poverty, wandering through forests with inappropriate footwear and skinny-dipping in stormy seas.
2007: Wrote my 189,000-word memoir about living in Naples, The Third Person (since renamed Lost in the Spanish Quarter)
2008: Edited my memoir way down to 183,000 words
2009: Sleep-deprived, while nursing a three-month-old, wrote and published two scathing book reviews for The Dunedin Star
2010: Began a literary blog called "Confessions of a Wannabe Writer", giving new meaning to the word “wannabe”
- Strong people skills. I deal with people all the time.
- Fluent in Italian, Neapolitan, Spanish and Bulgarian
- Some Russian, five or six words in Maori
- Translating / interpreting
- Faking accents
- Driving, including defensive driving.
- Typing. I do it a lot. I’m really good at it.
- Teaching résumé writing
ACTIVITIES / INTERESTS
- Cooking (Italian, Mexican) and bread-baking
- Collecting (and occasionally reading) National Geographic
- Speed diaper-changing