Mama Ginger Tree doesn't live here anymore.  I have moved to The Norwindians.  The names have changed, but we're the same family.  Please add The Norwindians to your reader!

Monday, September 1, 2008

Mama Ginger Tree's Readers Interview Mama Ginger Tree

Thank you to everyone to responding to my call for interview questions.  I shall now attempt to answer your questions...

Heart at Preschool (otherwise known as my sister) wants to know:  If you spent one entire day with each of your kids separately, what would you do with each one?

Gloppy has a way of turning every outing into an adventure, even a trip to Target.  But that's boring.  So I would start the day out at the park and bring his bike along.  I don't take him to the park as often as I did with the girls partly because there is never time and partly because I am kind of over it.  But Gloppy adores going to the park.  Then we'd head over to California Pizza Kitchen for some lunch.  After lunch we'd go home and take a nap together on my bed.  In the afternoon I'd take him to the zoo and pick up Indian food on the way home for dinner since it's his favorite.   

With Lolly we'd start the day out at Jamba Juice for breakfast.  Then I'd take her to the Discovery Museum.  She loves it there and there is a lot to do for a six year old.   After a picnic lunch we'd head home.   We'd then spend some time reading together on the couch and having a snack.  She asks me for snacks every hour on the hour.  After our quiet time I'd take her for a bike ride at Sawyer Camp Trail.   We'd stop half way for a snack.  On the way home we'd pick up Indian food for dinner since it's her favorite.  After a quick bath we'd make some popcorn and watch a movie before bed.

Frostine and I would sleep in a little bit.  After breakfast we'd pack a lunch and head to the beach.  After building sand castles and running around in the waves we'd eat our lunch and head home.  For some quite time we'd sit and do some puzzles together or flip through her Highlights magazine and do the Hidden Pictures together.  In the afternoon we'd kick the soccer ball around together in the backyard and take a break for ice tea and cookies.  She'd help me make bbq chicken and baked potatoes for dinner.  After a quick bath we'd make some popcorn and watch a movie before bed.

On the fourth day I would be too tired to get out of bed.

Kate asks:  If you could go back to high school and do something differently - what would you change? (and this is pretty open - could be a general attitude or a very specific incident - up to you)

Good question.  I was pretty happy in high school.  I'd like to tell the high school Mama Ginger Tree not to spend so much time worrying about boys and more time studying.  But the one thing I would change would be to get involved in more sports.  I played soccer for a couple of years, but looking back I wish I would have stuck with it and maybe played tennis as well.  

Melissa (whose blog I just discovered and I'm so glad because she is fantastic) wonders:  Since I have a mixed marriage as well, here's an interesting question for you: What "box" do you check for your children? As in the ethnicity box.  And why.

I am Caucasian (Norwegian) and Mr. Mint is East Indian.  I always pause over the "ethnicity box" on forms for my kids.  I wonder in this day and age how many people check "other" or "decline to state."  I have thought about checking "Asian" since technically India is in Asia, but then what about their "caucasian-ness?"  I usually check "other" and write underneath "half Caucasian half Indian."  My kids identify more with being Indian than they do with being Norwegian.  I think they sometimes feel sorry for me being the only non-Indian in our house.  I wish there was a box for "Norwindian."  Then this would not be an issue.

Do you think I used too many quotation marks in that answer?

Maura wants to know:  Since you put it out there, I am curious about how you handle the differences in culture between your background and your husband's. From what I've heard in stories from various co-workers who share his family's background (in general, of course, since I don't know his specifically), it can be very difficult to not fall in line with cultural expectations.

Also, the female version of boxers or briefs: bikini, briefs or thong?

Excellent question.  It's one I get asked all the time when people find out my husband is Indian.  It has not always been an easy road for us.  Let's just say Mr. Mint's family was not too happy about his choice in a wife when they first met me.  We had been dating for 3 years and were living together before he even told his parents that he had a girlfriend.  Once they got to know me things began to get easier.  There are still some members of his extended family that treat me like an outcast, but 95% of them are welcoming and treat me like part of the family.  

I know it bothers his parents that our kids don't speak Gujarati and that I am not able to teach them their religion or traditions.  But I am completely open to his parents taking them to temple and teaching them about their traditions.  My kids LOVE being Indian and learning about the Gods and the holidays and all the rituals.  Before we had kids we decided that we would expose them to both my religion (I'm Lutheran) and my husbands and let them decide what if any religion they want to be a part of. 

My husband's aunts and cousins have taught me so much about their culture and how to cook Indian food.  It is definitely the women who pass on the traditions and uphold their values.  I sometimes say the wrong thing or once I ate some grapes that my mother-in-law and her sister had prepared specially as an offering to the Gods.  Oops! 

So after a rough start, we seem to have found a way to make it all work.  

And bikini briefs!  I've never been able to wear a thong.  It feels like wearing no underwear at all.  :-)

Stella Blue poses the question: I'm curious about your thoughts on the upcoming election - you don't need to reveal your party affiliation (if any) unless you want to.  Just general thoughts on having a woman and a mixed-race man on the major tickets.

I love this question.  I am not usually one to get very political, but this election has me fired up in a way I haven't been since college.  I am thrilled that we are at a point in our nation where we could have a mixed-race man for president.  I adore Michelle Obama for many reasons, but this post sums it up better than I could.  I think the Obama's are a family that my kids could actually relate to.  

While I am excited that McCain picked a woman, I am not so excited about Sarah Palin herself.  Years ago, I liked McCain and thought he seemed like an intelligent, fair-minded leader.  But Sarah Palin being one person away from the presidency is a little scary.  This post really states the reasons why for me.   

It's an exciting time in our history and I hope my kids can grasp that one day.

Anymommy wants to know:  Favorite book you've ever read? Favorite movie? Favorite place you've visited? 

I have so many favorite books!  Every time I start to type a title, another one pops into my head.  I will choose three.  I absolutely loved The Time Traveler's Wife by Audrey Niffenegger.  It was picked by my book club and I thought I wouldn't like it, but I did not want it to end.  Loved it!  Another is The Good Earth by Pearl S. Buck.  My book club did a year of classics and this was one that I never read in school.  It sounds terribly boring, but trust me, if you have never read it you are missing out on a fantastic story.  And I  have to mention Extremely Lound and Incredibly Close by Jonathan Safran Foer.  It's about a boy whose father dies on September 11th.  Not exactly a happy book, but it captures so well what it feels like to lose a parent.  That book really spoke to me.  Lastly, The Namesake by Jhumpa Lahiri.  I love reading books by Indian authors, but this one in particular gave me great appreciation for how my husband must feel as a first generation American being raised in the US by Indian parents.  Don't see the movie, read the book.  Oops, I guess that was four.  I could go on and on with books, but I'll leave it at that. 

Before I had kids I used to go through 3 or 4 Netflix movies a week.  Now I am lucky if I see one or two a month.  One of my all time favorite movies is Strictly Ballroom.  Not a well known movie, but worth renting.  I also loved Monsoon Wedding because it reminded me so much of my husband's family.   More recently (sort of) I liked The Departed.

My favorite place I have visited would be Brugge in Belgium.  My husband and I spent two of our most romantic days there when we were newly married.  It is a charming little town.  It's like stepping into a snapshot of European history.  The cobble stone streets, the architecture, the museums, the shops... all of it was amazing.  We ate in some of the most cozy, delicious restaurants I have ever been to.  If you ever get a chance, it is a city worth visiting.

PhychMamma has several questions:  

If you could live anywhere in the world, where would it be and why?  I would like to live in London.  It's a city that my husband was born in and he still has lots of family there.  It is also a place that is easily accessible to the rest of Europe for exploring.  I'd like to spend a year or so there.  Then I'd like to spend a year in my husband's home town in Gujarat, India.  It would be great for my kids to learn their father's native tongue and for all of us to experience India together.  Then I would come home to the SF Bay Area.  :-) 

What's one thing you wish you would have done differently in your life?  I wish I would have majored in English or History in college.  I have a business degree and I could have done any of the previous jobs without it.  I got mediocre grades in all my business classes, but pulled A's and B's in my literature and history classes.  

What's your biggest fear?  Home invasion or something terrible happening to one of my kids.

What's the hardest thing about being a mom?  Good question!  Right now it's finding time to spend one on one time with each of my kids.  It's also hard for me to remember that I don't have to feel guilty about spending Saturday morning getting a pedicure.

What's the best thing about being a mom? 

Need I say more?  Watching your kids discover the world gives you a whole new perspective on life.  

Name one person that you greatly admire and tell us why.   That is a tough question.  I admire people who can cook.  I admire people who have superior writing skills.  I admire people who teach.  It's hard to think of one person.  I think I might revisit this question with it's own post.

There you have it.  Thanks again to everyone that asked a question.  


Marinka said...

This was fantastic, I loved it. Did you read Nicole Krauss' novel, too? She's married to Jonathan Safran Foer and is amazing.

Your children are beautiful.

Sophie, Inzaburbs said...

I really enjoyed this Q&A!
I wanted to ask a question but I was too tired to think of one (also the reason I visit lots of blogs and hardly ever comment). So I am glad you got lots of good ones...

Melissa said...

That looked like it was a lot of fun for you! Thanks for sharing. And for the props! :) I have found so many cool blogs through AllMediocre. :)

Kate said...

This was an excellent idea.

I can also vouch for the Time Traveler's Wife. It's rare to find a recent book that does something entirely new. How do you take a science fiction theme and create a sophisticated romance novel? I was amazed by this. I also love Strictly Ballroom.

I really enjoyed reading this!

Anonymous said...

I loved this and I'm wishing I had had more commenting time last week so I could have thrown in a question.

What a fun post.

anymommy said...

Fantastic answers! I have read all of those books except for the 9/11 one. You have great taste, so I'll have to try it. I've also been to Brugge and I agree, it's just adorably European. Quaint covers it I think.

I loved learning so much about you!

Maura said...

That was great -- great idea and great to read. "Norwindian" made me laugh out loud. I admire you for tackling this kind of post; I'm not brave enough!

PsychMamma said...

Thanks for sharing a little bit more of yourself! I totally want to plan a trip to Brugge now.....

I think this was a brilliant idea and only wish that more people would have chimed in with questions so we could learn even MORE about you!

heartatpreschool said...

My challenge to you, is to actually spend a whole day with each of your kids separately in the next year. Not back to back of course!

Lish said...

As a bona fide English major (who kinda wishes she'd majored in Social Science), I hate when someone asks me my favorite book (or movie for that matter). But if a female asks me for a recommendation, I always say Time Traveler's Wife. I read the entire thing in Borders (in separate increments, of course), and at one point, I was sitting in one of the big comfy chairs with tears streaming down my face when I heard someone say my name. I looked up, and it was a coworker, and she was so concerned about my tears and I was like, it's just this book I'm reading!!!