Lauren is a Barefooter from way back. Born and bred in America and now living the great Australian dream (she lives so close to the beach she waves to whales from the verandah) Lauren loves life… with such passion that sometimes you can’t help adopting a bit of an American accent when you talk to her.
Lauren thank you for helping us highlight the amazingness of our clients by answering these questions.
As someone who lives a rich and fulfilling Barefoot Lifestyle we want to know more about you (and our Barefooters will be so keen to hear!).
So Miss Lauren Buonomo (B-U-O-N-O-M-O!) where do we start…
As the eldest of 8 sisters I know you have to answer questions about that all the time but can you share with us what growing up with that many siblings is like? And tell us about what Saturday morning at the Buonomo household (in AMERICA!) was like growing up.
Growing up with all of my sisters was a lot of fun. The house was always full of people, including the family and the random assortment of friends. Our place was the place everyone came to. There was food always cooking and many a great conversation took place over the island bench or at the kitchen table. For visual effect, it is important to know that our extra long table was flanked by two extra long bench seats. That way there was always a way to squeeze more bottoms on to join in all the food and fun.
The first time Blair came home to meet my family I think he started to fear what he had gotten himself into. Blair is the eldest of two boys and this was a very big contrast. Conversations are always going to be loud when there are 10 people at the dinner table. One time we were driving in the car and Blair goes “Why are you yelling at me?”, as I had maintained my American-family volume as we drove into the city.
Saturday mornings were often spent at soccer matches but on the weekends and the Saturday mornings where leaving the house at 6 am to drive for 3 hours for a soccer game wasn’t on the cards, my mom had something else to monopolize her beautiful children’s day. It was CHORES. Now my mom had an absolutely ingenious way of organising her children to do their chores. She simply wrote a list of all the things that needed doing on a yellow legal pad and would leave it on the kitchen bench. Chores were a first in best dressed sort of thing. Sign up when you wake up! We learned about cost-benefit analysis quite early. Was having a sleep in more beneficial to having to spend 4 hours cleaning the garage? (If you are wondering what the answer is… the answer is NO! Always No when cleaning the garage of 8 children’s worth of things in the garage which no longer has space of actual cars.)
We know you are an extremely talented and passionate Paediatric Speech Pathologist and your eyes light up whenever you are around children. What drew you to working with little people initially? And do you have a funny story from working with one of the kids that you can share?
I guess growing up in the family I described above made working with kids a natural progression for me. Kids are fun and who wouldn’t want to play everyday for work In saying that, there is also something really special about helping a child to do something or say something for the first time.
Now I have more than a few funny stories to share but there is one in particular which always makes me smile. I was doing speech therapy with a little girl who had a pretty strong lisp. All /s/ sounds were pronounced with a rather strong /th/. I was only new to work and still had a rather strong American accent. This little girl and I were sitting at the table doing some fun /s/ speech sound therapy with picture cards of /s/ words. We happened across a picture card of a sailor and I said “Look, it’s a Sailor” stressing the /s/ and exaggerating the word to demonstrate placement of her articulators. This little girl without missing a beat goes “It’s not a thailor; it’s a thal-ah”. She was calling out my American accent and the/r/ at the end of the word. To this day I make sure I “butt-ah my bread” and know “sail-ahs go to sea”.
Who is someone you really look up to and why?
This is a really hard question, because I have two someones I look up to – Kathleen and Louis Buonomo. They are my parents. Each has taught me and shown me something different. (I am realising I am doing a lot of talk about my family but I really think the way I grew up shaped me more than any of my other more varied life experiences.)
Both of my parents were the first of their families to get a college degree. They showed me the importance of getting an education. They instilled a very strong work ethic when it came to school. School work always came first and always trying to do better and learn more came next.
My mother, Kathleen, is a nurse anaesthetist and got her masters degree while working and had three young children at home (and I am pretty sure she was pregnant with the fourth). She works harder than anyone I have ever met. She is driven and focused. My mother is unwavering in her commitment to her family and is so self-sacrificing. She leaves for work before any of us are up yet and has already done two loads of laundry, made breakfast and organised dinner before first light. My mother taught me that if I want something then hard work and education are the ways to get it. I always knew my mother was mentally strong and driven. This was a picture of my mother that never waivered.
But only since I have been working in the hospital with very young babies and considering having children myself, do I realize how physically strong my mother is. In fact, I would say I am in awe of this newly recognised character trait. I guess if you are going raise 8 intelligent, strong and independent women you need someone as special as Kathleen Buonomo to blaze that trail and lead the way by example. I hope one day to be half the woman she is with perhaps a quarter of the children
My father, Louis, runs the family business and is a wholesaler of all things shoe related. He dreams of working part-time, which he defines at 40hours a week. More than his strong work ethic my father has taught me how to be compassionate. He is kind and always doing things for others. When my dad had just finished college, he travelled to the Philippines to teach and travelled all over. My dad also recently sent a shipping container full of musical instruments over to a school in Uganda so they could have a music program. He showed me that traveling is an important part of learning who we are and sharing ourselves with the world. He is part of the reason why I felt brave enough to leave my home at 22 to experience something new and to get my masters degree overseas. (He also indulged me in 4 years of an English Literature degree saying “That’s how people got their educations in the old days… by reading books”).
He has shown me what it means to listen and how sitting down for meals is an important part of that process. And even more than that, he has shown me how to make much from little. He jokes that being a short-order cook was the best training he ever had to be a father. And on top of that he has taken up running triathlons for fun!
We recently had the Olympics, a fantastic celebration of nations… who do you cheer in international sport?
When the Olympics were on we had them playing non stop in our place from opening to closing ceremony. Blair and I both got right into following our favourite sports as well as learning about a few more we didn’t know about (like handball! How awesome is that game?!).
If Australia is ever competing I have to cheer for the good ol’ green and gold. But I will always be an American at heart (loud, competitive and big fan of stripes ). If an Aus vs USA match is happening, then I have to cheer on my home country. Although, just between you and me, I feel great pride in whichever team takes the win!
Beachy speechie life!
Thank you Lauren! Enjoy the sunshine! Sal and the Barefoot team