I am the wife of a foreign service officer and mother of 2 bouncing (literally) boys. While there’s much more to me than just that, my life has gone through a drastic change and I’m in the process of either re-acquainting me with myself and discovering new things about me (like I like to cook – never would have seen that one coming!).
I was born in El Paso, Texas and spent most of my childhood there. I lived in Albuquerque for a couple of years when I was small and then left El Paso for college in Houston. After getting my psychology degree at Rice University, I went on to Stanford University to get my Ph.D. in (Experimental) Psychology, focusing on child development.
My life has taken a number of turns, so I guess this latest one isn’t anything new. I had always wanted to be a dancer (dance was my first love) and had planned to go to college and major in dance and perform and open my own studio. When I was 16, I broke my ankle very badly while rock climbing and that pretty much dashed a majority of dancing plans.
When I went to college, I had planned to either become an engineer or computer scientist (two subjects I was good at in high school) and learned that my mind just couldn’t grasp C+ and that I didn’t want the majority of my life to revolve around work (as most engineers seem to do). So, I decided to major in psychology because that was a subject that I really loved and could do well in.
I went to Stanford with the intention of becoming a psychology professor where I could teach and conduct research (a part of psychology I really loved). But, once there I discovered that I didn’t really like the ivory tower aspect – debating minute details of someone’s research – because I really wanted to do something to help people.
As I struggled to figure out what I was going to do when I finished graduate school, I found dance again and was able to manage in that sphere for a little while despite my ankle injury in high school (rock climbing accident). I started a non-profit performing company with a friend and I had always dreamed of using the non-profit to teach dance to low-income children because when my parents got divorced and we were living just off my mom’s income, dance was the one thing that helped me through it all. Sadly, I never really did get to do that for various reasons, but I was able to offer “scholarships” to some of my dancers who couldn’t afford classes and the competitions we did.
I ended that part of my life for a couple of reasons. One big one is that I wanted to give my then 1yr old son a chance to have more – a home, good health insurance, and other opportunities that scraping by with my dance studio and performing company just couldn’t offer. Another big reason I left was because of the parents of dance students. Don’t get me wrong, I had some absolutely WONDERFUL parents whom I will always cherish and be grateful to, but there were a handful that drove me into a major depression and I realized I just don’t have the personality to deal with them.
So, my life took another turn and I applied for, was offered, and took a job with the government as a research psychologist in Washington, DC. I met many wonderful people at NHTSA, enjoyed my job, and learned a lot. After about 3 years, I moved to a very different position at NHTSA (Management Analyst) which gave me the opportunity to work with many people across NHTSA but also across the DOT. I learned that I really like organizational psychology (a facet that my position dealt with, although most folks probably don’t realize it) and was definitely sad to go.
While at NHTSA I met my soul mate (really, they do exist!) and hopefully life partner (I was in the middle of a divorce when Brian and I got to know each other more and from my previous marriage I know that you never know what the future holds). He joined the foreign service and after a grueling language training, we moved to Dakar, Senegal in March 2011 with my first son (Brian’s step son) and our own son (6yrs and 17 months respectively). This blog is about my life from this point forward. Enjoy!