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Overview

  • 19 references 11 Confirmed & Positive
  • Fluent in English; learning Greek (modern), Spanish, Thai, Vietnamese
  • 61, Female
  • Member since 2010
  • citizen science volunteer, writer, editor; retired High ...
  • Great public schools, baby! Small town and big city (Chic...
  • From Chicago, IL, USA
  • Profile 100% complete

About Me

CURRENT MISSION

to make a difference in my small corner of the world; to always be learning and growing; to find something magical every day

ABOUT ME

I've been an activist, in some way, shape, or form most of my life. Currently, in my semi-retired state, I'm working full time but mostly in a flexible, voluntary way, primarily with various groups here in La Paz, Baja California Sur. I'm happy to meet up but may have a couch to offer you.

For over 20 years, I taught in the same school district....something I never saw myself doing when I previously would get bored in one to three years! But teaching is a job you can never truly become bored with. Burnt out, yes, but bored....No! :O

I did an early retirement from that same school district in Oregon in 2019 and proceeded to teach in Thailand and Vietnam for the next three years. I also did substitute teaching in Washington, before moving to Mexico where I continue to do remote work as a project manager, writer, digital media consultant, copy editor, and more. I also do volunteer work with environmental, health, and refugee organizations.

Previously, I taught at an alternative high school in Oregon, managing two GED satellite programs, one working with teen moms and the other with students who had been expelled for drugs or violence. Prior to that I taught high school health and English Language Learners, as well as middle school health and drama. I began and ran the Pacific Islander Club, Red Cross Club, and Upward Bound program for almost 10 years at my previous high school. I was an active union member in the National Education Association and founded their ELL Caucus.

I loved volunteering with The Nature Conservancy in Oregon as a naturalist at a few reserves and would do occasional scientific research assistance and other projects (and even spent an entire summer on the Heart Mountain Ranch Preserve in WY, just outside of Yellowstone), was on the Coordinating Committee for the Racial Justice Organizing Committee (RJOC) and the Public Affairs Officer for the Salem Community Emergency Response Team (CERT) and with the American Red Cross. I also worked with various local health education groups, as that continues to be a passion of mine.

I was a grass-roots political organizer in Minnesota and in Greece, as well as a journalist and newspaper editor in both places. I organized political campaigns and worked for various, mostly Democratic, politicians. I continue to do political work at the local level, whether testifying at school board meetings, the OR legislature, or the city council on behalf of DREAMers, inclusivity, educational reform, police reform, etc.

I grew up in what I term "the best of both worlds"....i.e., the inner city of Chicago and the small town of Monmouth, IL. I primarily attended college (both a private, religious college and the "heathen" public university) in the Twin Cities (Minneapolis / St. Paul, MN) and then did my graduate work in Oregon.

My daily comfort is coming home to my Snowshoe Siamese cat, Artemis, who has traveled the world with me for the past 10 years.

Why I’m on Couchsurfing

HOW I PARTICIPATE IN COUCHSURFING

Occasionally meet up with local CSers and always introduce folks to this great way of traveling!

COUCHSURFING EXPERIENCE

I've been using couchsurfing.org for many years now and have hosted guests and helped facilitate connections for various travelers and events. I have used the network to meet local folks to find hiking or dancing companions even when I didn't need housing and found this experience delightful!

Interests

I've always been a voracious reader, so much so that I've discovered the joys of audio books for everyday use (not just for long car trips) in order to keep up with my "appetite".

I'm an all-around outdoors enthusiast, hiking, camping, canoeing, kayaking, dragon-boating, etc.

I'm an avid walker (and former runner).... have even done a marathon, a few half-marathons, 5-ks, etc. Whoo-hoo! Who says you can't teach an old lady new tricks? ;)

I love theater and dance of all types. I love watching and discussing good films. We'll have to talk to discuss what "good" means. :)

  • books
  • literature
  • theater
  • dancing
  • education
  • environment
  • politics
  • movies
  • traveling
  • outdoor activities
  • hiking
  • canoeing
  • camping
  • snowshoeing
  • teaching
  • journalism
  • volunteering
  • nature
  • citizen science

Music, Movies, and Books

I love all three and love discussing them even more! This is an outdated list but it gives you an idea....

Films: anything directed by Pedro Almodovar or Mira Nair! Slumdog Millionaire; Real Women Have Curves; Persepolis; Sin Nombre; Amreeka; My Life Without Me;

Books: mostly fiction, of various genres, such as mysteries (anything by Louise Penny or Colin Cotterill), fantasy (e.g., "Fellside", "LockIn", "Woman on the Edge of Time", "American Gods"), contemporary fiction (e.g., "Say You're One of Them", "Under the Udala Trees", "Because We Are: A Novel of Haiti" ), historical fiction (e.g, "Half of a Yellow Sun", "A Thousand Splendid Suns", "The Moor's Account"), and young adult novels (e.g, "The Hate U Give", "The Golden Compass", ).

I have increased my non-fiction reading in recent years, mostly along the likes of "Tibetan Peach Pie: A True Account of an Imaginative Life" and "The Immortal Life of Henrietta Lacks" and "Keeping Hope Alive: One Woman: 90,000 Lives Changed".

One Amazing Thing I’ve Done

Spending the day in the jungle outside of Kuala Lumpur with members of one of the indigenous tribes there to learn about their traditions.

Teaching my high school students relaxation techniques and sex ed!

Traveling in post-Hoxha Albania (and staying with ex-boyfriend's family across the street from Hoxha's personal bunkers!).....only glimpse I've ever had of what the Soviet Union in the 50s must've been like, as Albania had been an isolated satellite for decades....it was like time stood still in many ways but, boy did they try to "catch up" fast!

Living and teaching in Chengdu, Sichuan, China during the summer of SARS!

Spending three days in a homeless shelter in Ciudad Juarez, Chihuahua, Mexico with people en route to the underground railroad from Central America and Chiapas.

Living in Athens, Greece for a couple years and working with the current Prime Minister's mother (who was the former P.M.'s wife!) coordinating a peace & partnership conference, until politics got the best of it and I went into journalism instead. :)

Countries I’ve Visited

Albania, Belgium, Canada, China, Cyprus, France, Germany, Greece, Malaysia, Mexico, Netherlands, Puerto Rico, South Korea, Spain, Switzerland, Turkey, United Kingdom, United States, Wales

Countries I’ve Lived In

China, Greece, Mexico, South Korea, Thailand, United States, Viet Nam

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