DEAR DANIEL: MY BIG FAT DEMANDS
Yesterday, I was sitting here in Buenos Aires, clacking away on my keyboard, and doing my usual business of editing videos, sending emails and saving the world by spending too much time on Facebook, when a lovely (and demanding!) note popped into my inbox.
It was from my first editor at The Montreal Buzz, and darling friend, Monique James.
Here’s what she had to say:
Subject: My big fat demands
As one of your top-five fans, I feel I have a certain right to demand content. And to specify the kind of content I want to see.
I suppose that, as one of my top-five most strong-minded friends, you have both the right and the inclination to ignore my demands. But, for the record, here are my thoughts:
-Love the videos, photos are nice, but what makes you shine is your writing. Please write more!
-Would like to know more about your volunteer activities, duties, functions, and responsibilities.
My much-cherished – and content craving – editor also included a series of sample questions that might help me elaborate into the realms of my experience that she’s not accessing.
I thought to myself, “Hey self, why don’t you make a post of this?”
So I did.
Below is an email-turned-interview from Monique. It will have to suffice for the meantime as I try to conceptualize how I might include more written content into the blog.
Or maybe I’ll make y’all wait for the book.
Monique: What is your daily schedule?
Daniel: Unlike my previous three destinations (New Orleans, Costa Rica and Peru), my schedule here in Buenos Aires has been varied. There is no “average” day in Buenos Aires. Most mornings involve getting out of bed, and stumbling around until I find a cup of coffee. I’ve been working only two or three afternoons per week, providing time for more sightseeing, administrative work (flights, visas, finding hosts, etc) and making fun of my friend Chantal while she was in Buenos Aires for twelve days.
Who do you meet with?
When I go to “work,” I meet with a woman named Carolina who is the brains and voice behind the Contacto Hotelero blog. She is a friendly and eager human with big curly hair and expressive eyes. I have helped her develop an addiction to twitter.
What have you contributed that they really appreciate?
When I arrived on my first day of work, the first thing I did with Carolina was to create a posting schedule and organize her inspired (yet scattered) thoughts on how exactly to blog. Carolina is most appreciative, from what I understand, of the structure I have helped her develop, as well as the social media knowledge that I have shared through networking tips, twitter tutorials and SEO sessions.
This one time, I also brought some pastries Carolina and her boyfriend, Julian-the-Frenchman, really liked.
Are you having to make compromises?
I’m not sure what you mean by “compromises”? If you mean my dignity, then yes, I’m compromising that all the time. I’m a blogger. That’s what we do.
As for the April work exchange, I’ve experienced a shift in the way I originally though things would occur in Buenos Aires, and then the reality of the situation. I opted to rent an apartment with my friend Chantal, simply because space at Carolina’s house was a bit tight. But this wasn’t really a compromise; it was more of a personal choice.
What have they asked you to do that you feel you can’t/don’t want to deliver?
All the sexual demands have been a bit exhausting. I mean, don’t get me wrong, I’m a stallion, but even stallions need to rest sometimes.
But seriously, there has been absolutely nothing that has been unfairly requested.
Are things moving faster or slower than expected?
The month has gone by SUPER fast.
Except for that one night where Chantal and I were in a hostel, getting eaten by bed bugs, and then packing our bags and leaving to find new (and clean) accommodation. That night was way slower than expected.
Is there a language/cultural barrier problem?
There is always a language problem in my brain. When it comes to language acquisition, I ride the short bus.
My host, Carolina, however speaks Spanish, French and English beautifully.
Do you wish you had more than a month to give?
I feel ready to move on to my next destination. Yet this has to do with the fact that I’m experiencing a bit of big-city-fatigue. I look forward to being on a mountain, where my May work exchange will be taking place. I need my space.
Carolina states frequently, “Don’t go Daniel!” – which is entirely sweet.
I’m concerned, however, that she might kidnap me and lock me into the shed on the roof. If you don’t receive any tweets from me in May, you’ll know what has happened.
Do you plan on keeping in touch?
Absolutely. Apart from the kooky raw vegan farmer, I will be maintaining contact with all of my hosts thus far.
Is there anything interesting/different/surprising about their work set-up, their scheduling, their office space, their hierarchical relationships?
Carolina has developed a really great introductory blog platform for the hospitality industry in South America. She is trying something contemporary and independent in a stiff, corporate world. What is less evident is that she is simply one woman running this business out of her home, struggling to make ends meet.
My focus with her has been less about “how to monetize the blog” (which is VERY difficult) and more about how she can use the platform to network herself into opportunities that she doesn’t even know exist yet (personal branding). Carolina is a woman with big dreams and few resources.
She will be happy to know that you think she has scheduling and office space and employees!
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