I grew up in the Pacific Northwest as the oldest daughter of a nurse and a veterinarian, an animal and book lover, a misfit dreamer with itchy feet. At 18, I married a bass player in a rock band and moved to his hometown in Arkansas. There I had my first encounters between North and South, middle and working class, pipe dreams and reality. I also had my daughter and my first heartbreak. From there, I headed to Houston where I became a single mom, an art student, and a bookseller before finding my way to teaching English at Houston Community College.
In Houston, I earned degrees in art and English. Teaching multicultural literature led me to the East-West Center in Honolulu and a Ph.D. in American Studies at the University of Hawai’i. My dissertation became American Aloha: Cultural Tourism and the Negotiation of Culture. I taught at UH until I was hired as curator at ‘Iolani Palace, a Native Hawaiian history museum. Full circle, I thought. I was combining my skills and studies. But I wasn’t done.
I met my current husband in Hawai’i, and when we spent his sabbatical year in Hong Kong, I kept a blog about navigating Chinese culture. Years later, after I turned 60 and left the museum job, it inspired Rabbit in the Moon, my first memoir. I started publishing essays.
In 2018, we moved to Hong Kong so my husband could take a job at his alma mater. Hong Kong was an adventure, but I was longing for a full circle of my own. In 2022, I moved back to the PNW. Now I garden and write in our house in the woods while he finishes his contract in Hong Kong.