Meet Joanna. She has worked with new enrolments, visa applicants and host families since 2012 – minus a years maternity leave. She is heading off at the end of August to have her second baby…
Why Belfast now?
As with most ‘blow-ins’ I moved here for love. Now though, I wouldn’t leave. The friendliness and hospitality of Northern Ireland is exceptional and the easy access to beautiful coast-lines and loughs, I think, really enhance my standard of living.
Tell us something your mum doesn’t know about you?
My address, and let’s keep it that way!
What would you do if you had the keys to the city for the day?
Wow – what an opportunity! I think I would want access to the GOT set. I’d play with the weapons, dress up and sit on the throne – because no-one is ever allowed in! I would also love to walk into Stormont and have unlimited access to documents and people so I could try and figure out the politics here (as an outsider myself).
Then of course, seafood and cocktails please! Preferably at EIPIC @Deanes_Eipic .
What’s the most interesting discovery you’ve made in Belfast?
The Northern Irish are unable to process the name Joanna, instead only accepting the derivative – Joanne. Which is my new name.
Describe your perfect day in the city?
A family day outside on a sunny day… followed by someone (responsible who I know) taking my son home and putting him to bed while I stay out and have a decadent dinner and enjoy some music with my fella.
Sum up Belfast in three words?
Music, Seafood, Friendliness
If you could rid the world of one thing – what would it be?
Wasps… do they have any positive effect on the ecosystem?!
When were you happiest?
Anytime my son laughs or I find myself cuddled up with my fella and my son.
What is your earliest memory?
I was 18 and heading off to University (my memory is shocking!)
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
Intolerance. You watch what you’re doing and I’ll watch what I’m doing.
What was your most embarrassing moment?
Pooing my pants when I was extremely ill with a diarrhoea bug during my honeymoon. My husband’s response was, “Now that we are married it doesn’t mean you can just poo your pants.” (language edited for this feature! Lol)
What makes you unhappy?
That horrible paranoia that you have offended someone that you love.
What do you most dislike about your appearance?
The older I get the more I look like my Dad. My wedding photographs were a real eye-opener… Next to each other I looked like him in a wedding dress!!
What is your favourite smell?
Difficult to describe, but a moist, hot, meadow smell of England in the summer.
What is your most unappealing habit?
Picking my nose. I love it and I’m not sure I could ever give it up.
What did you want to be when you were growing up?
An astronaut. I have a piece that I wrote in kindergarten that said I was going to be an astronaut and my Mum was going to look after my kids.
What is your guiltiest pleasure?
Urban SciFi Fantasy Fiction – Cringe! I’m thinking of buying a kindle just because the illustrations on the covers of these books are sooooo awful. Think wolves, women in leather and weapons. I’m so ashamed.
What do you owe your parents?
A healthy attitude towards debt and breastfeeding.
To whom would you most like to say sorry, and why?
To all the people of South Sudan who have been massively let down by their leaders since independence.
What is the worst job you’ve done?
Retail. Working with ‘women’s fashion’ in a big department store. All blacks trousers look the same – STOP.
What has been your biggest disappointment?
Not making it through my first labour without drugs – but I have a second go at it 🙂
When did you last cry, and why?
I’m 8 months pregnant! I cry all the time!! I had a very emotional moment when I was served ice cream with sprinkles at my local pub – I didn’t want sprinkles and I didn’t ask for them, and just wasn’t quite sure how to deal with it.
Which living person do you most admire, and why?
So he’s not strictly alive, but since his death and since I’ve learnt more about his life – Muhammad Ali.
Aside from boxing and his sporting achievements, he promoted respect, hope and understanding. I think it’s too easy to keep quiet and not speak up for what you think is right – that we think it’s too confrontational to stand-up for other people or disagree. We would rather object silently in our heads and reassure ourselves that its ok because we don’t think the same way. Actually, you need to speak out and I really respect people that can do in an empowering way like Muhammed Ali.
This sums it up for me:
From his website [http://muhammadali.com] :- A reporter at one of Ali’s last fights asked a bathroom attendant at Caesars Palace if he bet on the fight, and the man replied, “Yeah Ali”
When he was asked why, he said, “Why? Because he gave me my dignity”.
And he has given me one of the most important mantra’s in my journey as a mother – “Nobody can ever tell what a crazy’s gonna do next”.
What is the trait you most deplore in yourself?
Boring monologues when drunk and a need to tell my co-workers about the most graphic physical side-effects of being pregnant.
What is the trait you most deplore in others?
The ability to make others feel bad about themselves.
Which book changed your life?
The Celestine Prophecy by James Redfield (another guilty pleasure?!) You can only change yourself, not other people!
What does love feel like?
Being able to poo in your pants freely.