I grew up as a child of immigrants during the Kennedy and Johnson administrations. With a German mother and an English father, I never tasted peanut butter, but I did own a pair of lederhosen. My parents met while sailing to America, and each of their cultures and delights shaped me.
At ten, armed with overseas postage and a desire to connect with my relatives, I began writing to my grandmothers. And they wrote back. Nan used British vernacular and Oma wrote, “Liebe Gail.” I reported on our life, and they introduced me to places I would visit and eventually live.
Overseas then myself -- as a reverse immigrant-- I began a second journalistic campaign: to introduce my long-distance homes and travels to my siblings and friends in the US. My adventures led to published clips in magazines, a short story contest win and book-editing jobs for a marketing company.
In the last year of nearly four living in Nigeria, I co-wrote and edited a charity book, Nigerian Gems: Expatriate Tales of Adventure. The book is in its Second Edition after four reprints and with its wide appeal has generated funds for building a school and out buildings, curriculum and supplies, teacher salaries and more while also meeting needs for four other local schools. It is our belief that educating a child offers hope.
In a faraway land, one craves roots. So in 2001, we bought a home in my college town of Flagstaff where Northern Arizona University nestles at the foot of the San Fransisco Peaks. This physical connection with Flagstaff led to a position as Contributing Writer for Mountain Living Magazine as well as contracting a variety of services to Flagstaff Medical Center. I've also served as Special Reporter at the Arizona Daily Sun newspaper.
It's been a double bonus to invest myself and work with people and a place that is close to my heart.
In 2005, we moved to the U.S. after a decade abroad, and we've since had addresses in two states, TX and AZ. My career in Houston, TX has also bloomed. I've won multiple nonfiction writing contests, had an essay air on NPR about the bittersweet task of mothering, become a contributing writer to Cy-Fair Magazine and continue to look for ways to expand my horizons.
2011 was a year of new beginnings. With my husband's job on the world's second largest island of Papua New Guinea, another adventure begins.
Currently, my Nigerian Gems partner and I have formed Jewel Writer Duo to collaborate on our latest book of expatriate experiences--Papua New Guinea Pearls. The world is a big place, and some of it is remote and unknown. As before, we're excited this time to introduce others to the Land of the Unexpected. Look for our book in Summer 2012.
Yu stap amamas, hamamas. (Stay happy)