While I was born in the Philippines, I was only raised there for little over a year. My family jumped from various U.S. military bases until we settled in Yuba City, California. You may not be familiar with this town, but we are well-known for the Sunsweet headquarters and our large Sikh population. I wish I could tell you I know Punjabi, but I don’t. I just know prunes.
Throughout and after college I worked for a few small publications. After complaining about an employer’s racial and sexual harassment, I was fired and I questioned whether or not I wanted to pursue a career in publishing. My parents took me back in and I grew to appreciate our small-town community. At the same time, I wanted to do a bit of traveling and make money so I could go back to school. Since I had practiced Taekwondo on and off for years, I decided to teach English in Korea.
While stationed in Paju City, which is north of Seoul and home to the DMZ, I continued studying the martial arts, picked up some hip Hangul lingo, bought several pairs of snazzy heels and ate a million bowls of bibimbap. I studied Buddhism, hiked to visit colorful temples and their animated monks, practiced yoga and ultimately decided I would convert. I uploaded Korean soap operas and music on YouTube and crushed on Hyun Bin. I took pictures and around 8,000 Flickr users fell in love with my kindergartners. I was adopted by my Samoan roommate and her Nigerian husband, rebuffed the advances of several sketchy expatriates and fell for my Hapkido instructor, who only knew enough English to compliment my shoes.
Oh, and I was also a pretty good teacher and adored my bratty little pupils. However, my job was exhausting–I worked from 10 to 13 hours a day–and I grew to despise it. I quit, extended my stay, got into a fight with my boss, apologized and in the end completed my one-year contract. In spite of all the drama, my employers wanted to keep me on as a supervisor. And I seriously considered staying, because I really did love Korea.
However, I missed California, my family and friends. So after my contract ended I flew back to Yuba City. I despaired in my unemployment for a few months, until a small paper in Sonoma County hired me as its editorial assistant. I moved to Santa Rosa. And I think I just might stay here for awhile.
I drive up to Yuba City every few weeks to visit my family, buy produce and shop downtown.
When I’m not proofing pages and flirting with reporters, I like to read comic books in cafes. I enjoy cooking. I enjoy eating. I do research for my graphic novel. I dance drunk and do bad karaoke. I practice Bikram and ogle shirtless yogis. I still keep up with Korean news and entertainment.
And then I blog about everything.