January 18, 2008

Video project updates and helpful SOFI/BSN information

It's a two-part blog post today! First: Dutch immigration law update.

I get a lot of information about living in the Netherlands from other bloggers, and one of my favorite blogs to read is Winderige Dagen - a 26-year-old American woman publishes this blog and writes candidly about her move to the Netherlands and offers great advice and tips. I strongly recommend that anyone who is considering a similar move to check out her blog. In a recent entry, she speaks about obtaining her SOFI number (the Dutch Social Security Number). Except it's not called a SOFI number anymore, since November 2007 it is referred to as BSN - burgerservicenummer.

Her experience with the Dutch bureaucracy has been confusing to say the least, but in the end she was completely successful and offers a lot of incredibly helpful information on what you need to do to obtain the BSN.

Changes to Dutch immigration law for 2008 can be found on Expatica.com.

The second topic in this post is a small announcement: I finished a short video project that I started in late November (2007). I have a list a mile long of everything I wish I did differently, of course, but it's a great feeling to say it's done (for now).

Working on my own video project for the first time in years was, overall, a great experience. I had very limited experience with the HDV camera I was using, and I had to more or less teach myself Final Cut Pro as I went along. Several years ago I might have been more confident with a camera and an editing system, but I had no idea how to build websites or upload video to the web. In order to learn, I ask a lot of advice from friends, but mostly I just start trying until something works.

The video project is up on my website, and I'll probably put it up on YouTube sometime tomorrow. It's about raising a child with Down Syndrome, and I interviewed my friend Adine (I've known her for over 20 years) at her house in upstate New York. I didn't really plan anything and only had an hour of tape, so I just asked questions and tried to piece together a story that I thought might help someone else learn. As I interviewed her, I was learning how to ask the right questions and how to guide the conversation - which is part of the reason why I think the second half of the 10-minute video is much stronger than the first half. I was incredibly lucky to have a subject who was so willing to be involved.

I watched my video on a television for the first time last night and started to cringe at all the things that I know I could do better (if I only had one more day to edit!). I even thought about not showing anyone except Adine. However, Adine saw the video, loved it, and forwarded it around to her family. I got an email today from Adine's mother-in-law that said "Thanks for taking on this project. I hope it helps change perceptions about the condition." Honestly, just knowing that Adine and her family like it is good enough for me. It was a great learning experience and it's something that I'm not going to stop doing. I can't wait to keep learning more.

If you get a chance to see it, I totally welcome any comments, suggestions, or criticisms of the video. The only way to improve for the future is to figure out what I did wrong in the past. Comments are welcome here, or feel free to send me an email - tami.mahoney@gmail.com.

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