When I I left my hometown, I knew that I would only ever return to visit. I was restless, and ready to leave. I had no idea where I was going, but had an education to pursue, so I let it point the way.
I was born and raised in Huntington Beach, California. As a kid, I went to a very small private school. I graduated from eighth grade with only fifteen other kids (most of whom I had known since kindergarten), then went to Huntington Beach High School, and then Orange Coast Community College. In 2000, I was accepted to UCLA.
To live in Los Angles and study at UCLA would be thrilling. I would earn a degree in business and work at a prestigious accounting firm. Once I was rich, maybe I would open a vegetarian cafe or record store just for fun. But then I got to UCLA, suffered through a few weeks of Calculus 2, and changed my major. Studying English was not a great choice, fiscally. But it fulfilled a greater need. I got to read books. Great books. Wuthering Heights, To the Lighthouse, Giovanni's Room. I graduated UCLA in 2003 with Honors, and with a BA in English (and accounting). I had a job, but I needed a career. Or at least a salary. I had read lots of Shakespeare and Milton. Surely, that meant something? It didn't.
As an English major, I was unemployable. But, I thought, "I am qualified to live in England." So I fled to London. Frequently, I walked along the Thames, past Shakespeare's Globe and often I loitered in front of Virginia Woolfe's Bloomsbury flat. But I was still unemployable. It eventually occurred to me, that I could be a teacher. I had a passion for literature (what was moving to London if not a failed attempt to escape into the the books I had read) and loved to learn. So I reasoned that I could teach and that I could enjoy teaching. Fortunately, I was right.
This is my tenth year teaching English in LAUSD. I spent the first four years of my teaching career at Banning High School, in Wilmington. And this my sixth year here at VAPA.
I miss being young and aimless. And I miss London a lot. But I love my profession, my colleagues, my community, my school, and my students. I'm grateful to be here, and happy to stay. And I'm no longer restless. This is where I belong.