I was born in a small town in the San Joaquin Valley in California. My father was a farmer and house builder, and my mother was a teacher. I have one sister, younger than me. When I was 14, we moved to small town on the coast, near Santa Barbara. My sister still lives there, in the small house my parents moved to from a larger house in the hills, built by my father, after my sister and I had left home
In high school, I was selected to be an AFS (American Field Service) exchange student and lived with a family in Nice, France, for a summer. That probably changed my life. I did learn a little French and now am very good at asking, Ou sonts les toilettes?… if I am in Paris. I graduated from high school with honors, and then went La Verne College in the Los Angeles area. I graduated with honors from there too. At La Verne, I was also fortunate to be an exchange student again, this time in Marburg, Germany, for a whole year. While there, on a long spring break, 4 of us crammed ourselves into a VW Beetle and drove all over Europe. We visited London, Paris, back to Marburg, in Germany, part of Italy, and Greece. We stayed in youth hostels.
After graduating from La Verne College, I went to a year of graduate school at UC Berkeley. I studied German and English and was supposed to become a teacher. But I found that I hated/dreaded having to get up in front of a class and speak, especially if it was a large class. Plus, I also did student teaching at 2 high schools in the San Francisco Bay Area. The teacher for my English assignment made me prepare lesson plans, in triplicate, for a whole week, planning what I was going to say and planning what students were supposed to say. I hated it. My mother said she thought Berkeley “ruined” me…I think because I started thinking and questioning things for myself.
I stayed in the Bay Area for several years, got an MS in Communications from San Jose State, and had jobs as a computer programmer, worked at the Alameda County Welfare Office in Oakland, worked for a small research company doing research on minority housing in the Stanford area, edited an academic journal.
I also met my future husband there. We met while renting a small house with others in Menlo Park, CA.
My husband’s first job after finishing his PhD at Stanford was in Ithaca, NY, teaching at Cornell University. He encouraged me to go for a PhD also….which I did, from Cornell in Sociology.
Then my husband was offered a job in Natal, Brazil. !!! So we moved there, along with the dog and cat, and lived there for 2 years, in a small-ish town on the coast in the Northeast of Brazil, Natal. We found a house right on the beach. I loved it. And so now I speak a little Portuguese.
We went back to Brazil some years later, and lived in Salvador, Bahia, in Brazil, for another 6 months.
Then he got a job offer at Florida State University in Tallahassee, FL, partly because he was recruited by some friends of his from Stanford days. I called them the Stanford Mafia. <G>
We lived in Tallahassee for about 20 years.
My husband was offered a job at the University of Maryland, so we moved and now live in Silver Spring, MD, and we have been here for about 20 years.
Because of my husband’s work in International Educational Development, he has had projects in many countries in the world. I have often been able to travel along. I once counted all the different countries I have been to….47. !!!