Monday, September 18, 2017

Hey land of blog.

It is recently come to my attention that the wonderful Joseph Castillejo had a lawyer contact Google to attempt to get my blog taken down for defamation. I have neglected my blog for awhile, but I would like to reach out to any teachers, students, parents, employees, etc, who have had contact with JC, and I ask that you reach out to me at

If you are in Sudan, or were in Sudan, and have would like to get in touch with a group of us who have experienced what you're going through, reach out to me, please. You aren't alone!

I didn't have access to this blog or email for almost a year, and I apologize to those who emailed me. I'm getting back to you now.

#AmericanSchoolofDurango #Durango #JosephCastillejo  #NileValleySchool #Sudan #ASD #ISR #InternationalSchoolReview #Jeddah

Thursday, July 2, 2015

No grass under our feet

I haven’t updated this blog much, lately, and that’s due to feeling that not much of note has happened, to interest anyone.  And while the last year has been quite life changing, since leaving Mexico for Texas, and then leaving Texas for the Pacific Northwest, much of it involved personal matters that I chose to keep private. I’ve thought often about this blog, and what the purpose of it is, and whether or not I wanted to continue it, at all. I still get emails and comments, occasionally, but most of my information and stories regarding Mexico are now old news. The director was fired, and someone new hired. My former students are now a year and a half older and moving on with their lives. I keep in touch with them through facebook and instagram. My cherished former co-workers have all moved on, most for better, and have new jobs in other parts of Mexico. My students from Venus are now graduating and going off to college.  The minutes, the hours- they continue to rush over one another, tumbling towards an unknown, and the past becomes a hazy recollection of memories, some sweetened with milky rose-colored glasses, and others bittered by regret, and hindsight. But what all of those memories have in common is that they are in the past, and that’s where they will remain, rightly so. We live, we learn. We move on, things change, for better, for worse.

And speaking of things changing, for better…I have news that I wanted to share. Caden and I are now a family of three, as I got married  on June 15th.

Jon lives in Germany, and we are joining him overseas in August. Thinking about our upcoming move and the many adventures that await really prompted me to reconsider writing more, and keep my travel blog going. We will be over there for 3 years, or at least that is the plan. And I’m going to attempt to blog about it, and post pictures, for those of you who are interested, and just keep an account of our crazy life, so that when I’m elderly, I wont have to try so hard to remember what we did, and where we went.

Right now, I’m writing this from 30,000 feet in the air, flying back to Washington after a week spent in Texas, visiting my family and meeting my new family. I’m headed back to Port Angeles to wrap up the last six weeks we’ll have there. There’s much to do- packing, organizing, saying the 'see you laters' and what have you. So I will end this for now, but check back for updates.

Oh the places we will go….3rd stop: GERMANY

Sunday, April 12, 2015

One year later

Well, it’s been a minute since I’ve updated this blog, so I thought I’d check in and let everyone know how the little gringo and I have been doing.

We are still living up here in the Pacific Northwest, near(ish) Seattle. This month marks a year since I left Tejas behind and road tripped up north. There have been many changes in our lives, but I guess that goes without saying. My grandfather did pass away from cancer last week. I still can't think of anything positive to pull from that just yet, but I'm working on it. I'm going to miss him. I already do.

Caden is happy and healthy. He’s been having a blast up here, exploring all there is to explore, and getting to know his Yankee relatives.  He is just about to finish up the 4th grade; it’s hard to believe he is going to be 10 in August. But,  I suppose that’s a common lament of all parents, everywhere. 

I am working as a Parent Educator for an exceptional program called Parents As Teachers. It’s one of the best jobs I’ve ever had.  It’s a mix of social work and education…so a break from the traditional classroom, but I’m still teaching, just in a different format.  I work for a nonprofit organization, and get to wear many hats- from teaching parenting classes, to doing case management for pregnant and new mothers. It’s fulfilling, and heartbreaking, exciting, and draining, all at once. Kinda like teaching.  I do miss being in the classroom, sometimes, but am really enjoying the break. I’m sure I’ll REALLY miss it this summer, which will be the first summer in 6 years I'll have to work...

PNW sunrise

Living here is the opposite of Texas & Mexico, quite literally. It's a change, getting used to the constant wet. It's true, there are a good deal of rainy and gray days up here, but let me tell you: the beautiful days make it worthwhile. Those who have lived here for years may not see it that way, but I suppose that's the beauty of being a visitor. (I still feel like a visitor...I wonder when that changes? Will we stay anywhere long enough to figure it out?)

Smith Rock, in Oregon

We explored a little bit of Oregon over the summer, and a little bit of Washington, here and there. I did go to Germany in February, and that was a little bit of magic…who knows, maybe I’ll end up teaching there next year.

So needless to say, our travels have calmed down after Mexico, and our move. However, our adventures are definitely not over, by any means; we are just standing still for a bit. 

in Bavaria, Germany
I’ll keep ya posted.

PS- That director was fired. :) 

Friday, June 6, 2014

I've landed in another movie set.

Just wanted to post a quick update, as I've had a couple emails asking how I'm faring up here in the PNW. Haven't felt like writing much lately, so I've neglected the blogosphere. Been busy harassing potential bosses and the like.

Still don't feel much like writing, so just know that I'm well. It's beautiful here. I'm lucky to have gone from one movie set to another. Pictures to prove it:

This was home for my first month here. 

Went to Texas at the end of April and saw this little man. He flies up here June 16th.
 Miss him almost more than I can stand.

Sunset in Port Angeles, WA

View from my window
Caden was my date for my little brother's wedding.

Salt Creek

Saturday, April 5, 2014

6 States, 5 days later

I’m finally here. Pulled into a damp Port Angeles around 9 last night, and headed over to my cousin Maggie’s.  Decided not to stay in Portland and just get the driving over with, as PA is only 4 hours north of Portland.
Was definitely a good choice to pull over in Crescent City and stay a bit. Last night… with my book, thai food, wine and waves… definitely my favorite leg of the trip. 

Woke up yesterday morning to incandescent waves frothing up and washing over the smooth sand, and seagulls calling out to one another, cheerily in the sharp, piney air. I took my coffee outside and perched on a large rock, overlooking the ocean. Wasn’t in a hurry to leave. At all. I will definitely be bringing Caden to this little beach motel over the summer. Although it is nice to have alone time, to think, reflect and just be, I cannot wait to share more adventures with little man. He makes everything better.

somewhere, in some forest, on some mountain
After a stroll on the beach, I very begrudgingly climbed into my car to finish up the last 10 hours.  Took a curvy 199 through Six Rivers National Forest, from Crescent City, through Grant’s Pass to I-5, and then, after thick, heavy Portland traffic, was back on 101 for the rest of the drive. Ironically enough, I got carsick about 30 minutes out of PA, and had to pull over and throw up, but felt immediately better. Also got pulled over by a not so bad looking state trooper in Discovery Bay, but when he looked at my driver’s license, he exclaimed that he was from Beaumont, Texas, welcomed me to the state with a friendly hello, and sent me on my way. I think he was also rather alarmed when I told him I’d have to unload everything from my front seat in order to get to my insurance papers.

thew up next to the water. no biggie.
Discovery Bay

It dawned on me that I hadn’t mentioned my reasons for this move. Port Angeles is situated just across from Victoria, Canada, right on the Strait of Juan de Fuca. This is where the majority of my family lives. Raised all over, in a military family, I’d be hard pressed to tell you where “home” is, but the place that’s always faintly  whispered in the back of my mind would be PA.  I’ve always known I wanted to end up in the Pacific North West, but wasn’t sure if I’d settle in PA or Seattle. For right now, I’m going to call PA home. For awhile, at least.  My grandfather, also knows as Grumpa, was recently diagnosed with stage 3 lung cancer, and being the most flexible, mobile person in my family, I thought I’d head his way, and annoy help him for awhile. So I’ll be staying with my grandparents the next couple of months, helping out where I can, and when Caden finishes 3rd grade, at the end of May/ beginning of June, he’ll be joining me. I gave him the choice of coming with me now, or finishing 3rd grade, his baseball season, and be spoiled by my parents for two months in Houston, and he chose to stay in Texas. He had no desire to start yet another 3rd grade year somewhere new, and I don’t blame him. He is however, excited to be up here, as Cory, his dad, lives in Portland, and they will be able to see each other much, much more. Not to mention his beloved dog, Sadie, will be within arm’s reach, as well.

Thursday, April 3, 2014

Road trip, Day 4

Today was an excellent driving day. I was originally supposed to drive into Portland today, but after yesterday, I decided to take it easy, slow down, and enjoy it for a minute. I looked at the route and Crescent City was only a 5ish hour drive north, so I found a cheap beach motel and made a leisurely drive there. Today was a day for sights. Honestly, the northern California coast, north of San Francisco, beats anything I’ve seen thus far. I started the day with coffee on Glass Beach, in Fort Bragg. Ending it now, sitting on the back porch of this cool, old hotel on the beach in Crescent City, California, listening to the waves, drinking cheap red wine from a plastic dixie cup and trying to unwind from the last 4 days of driving.

There are so many random, cool little towns on the coast and situated in little nooks and crannies in the vast expanse of mountainous forests. I'd think I was in the middle of nowhere, and I was, but I'd come across a random little winery, and pub, with a few cars parked outside and smoke drifting up from the chimneys.

Fort Bragg, CA

Glass Beach

coastal driving beats everything
started in a tank top.
not ending in one.

Northern CA
Loleta, CA
A real tree house,
Garberville, CA

my digs tonight

the view isn't too shabby

Crescent City, CA 

 decent thai, cheap wine, and a beach. 

Wednesday, April 2, 2014

Road Trip, Day 2 & 3

I chose to head to San Diego, rather than straight into Los Angeles, because Cory is there for training and it was a free place to crash. It was a relatively short drive, in comparison to the 1,060 miles from Monday.  Got there, hauled my crap up to the room and then we hopped onto a train to downtown. Wandered for a bit till we found a sun-drenched patio in San Diego’s Little Italy…granted, it was a British pub, where we had fish and chips, but nonetheless. Smelled Italian. Took a taxi to the beach just in time for a clichéd, beautiful Californian sunset, a few drinks at an overtly touristy bar, and then back to the hotel. Was up this morning by 4, and out into a rainy, chilly dawn…the drive to Fort Bragg took 5 hours longer than I allotted. I wasn’t sure when I should get on hwy 1/ 101 and got on a tad too soon, and ended up in Long Beach rush hour morning traffic. It took me several hours to traverse the coastal side of Los Angeles, with all the lights and traffic, but eventually, once I was a little north of Santa Monica, I was rewarded with some pretty spectacular coastal views. I appreciate the beauty of ANY coast, but in the heavily populated areas, like Laguna and Newport, I found it had a very inauthentic feel. Sure, it was asthetically pleasing, but there is an allure to truly historic, salt water battered coastal towns that I find much more satisfying. There is something disconcerting about new towns painted to look old and charming. Charm comes from character. Not paint and manicured bushes. 

Anyway, as the hours passed, I realized it was going to take me much longer to get to Fort Bragg, my stopping point for the evening. I was supposed to get there by 4 in the afternoon. Got caught in rush hour in downtown San Francisco, crossing the Golden Gate Bridge, and then found myself white-knuckled, winding through the dark on 128 (google it). It’s a twisty, mountain route. Not fun in the dark.  Needless to say, I was beyond ready to be done with driving for the day. …I checked into Shoreline Cottages around 9pm. Which, are absolutely adorable, by the way. Another place I plan on bringing Caden to.  I had plans to go Glass Beach and explore the town, but all that’s happening now is bed. I'm just glad I got here in time to check in, because it's a Mom & Pop kinda' place, and it would suck if they were already shuttered for the night when I got here. Oh well. Glad this day is over.

Nice, real nice
Fish, chips, wine & whisky in
San Diego's Little Italy

           Day 2

Day 3 drive:

And super cute.
Shoreline Cottages in Ft. Bragg
Off- season so super cheap