Interview: Dave Gebben on House Hunting in Belfast

Dave Gebben grew up in the CRC, graduated from Calvin College in 2001, and spent some time working in Haiti for the Christian Reformed World Relief Committee before it changed its name to World Renew. Now he and his wife, Sarah, are in Belfast, Ireland. As they made the transition to Belfast, they filmed an episode of “House Hunters International,” which will air on the HGTV network at 10:30 p.m. (Eastern/Pacific time) on October 29.

Q. Where did you and Sarah live previously, and what brought you to Belfast?

A. We lived and met in East Lansing, Mich. When we got married, we moved to Fort Collins, Colo., where I did my Ph.D. work. My postdoc position in environmental economics at Queen’s University Belfast is what brought us to Ireland. I am doing a benefit cost analysis of invasive plant species management options.

 

Q. How did you get connected with “House Hunters International”?

A. My sister kept encouraging us to apply. She found the web address where we had to submit the application. Once we applied, we didn’t think anything would come of it. Next thing we knew, we got asked for a video about ourselves, asked to send pictures, and then were asked if specific filming dates worked for us. It was really surreal.

 

Q. Did you watch HHI much before this came about?

A. I didn't know much about HHI. I'd seen a few episodes, but that was about it.

 

Q. How did the experience compare with your expectations?

A. It was a lot more fun than I thought it would be. It is a great way to document our time in Belfast. I also had a chance to learn how shows are filmed. The filming was three full days in Belfast, and Sarah had a day of filming in East Lansing. I find I watch similar shows in a new light, having been on the other side of the camera.

 

Q. Was it strange to share your budget and wish list with a huge audience?

A. Not really. It didn't feel like we were asking for anything in the extreme.

 

Q. Were you able to see the finished episode in advance, or will the broadcast be your first viewing?

A. We won’t get to see it when it is broadcast because we will be over here. We will get a DVD sent after everyone else sees it first.

 

Q. How do you like living in Belfast?

A. It has been great for us in Belfast. We really love the city and the church community we have here. We attend Newtownbreda Presbyterian Church.

 

Q. What’s next for you?

A. We expect to be in Belfast until January. Then Sarah has to begin her Master’s program again, and I'll have to commute back and forth a bit.

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