I was born and raised in California. As an undergraduate, I attended UC San Diego and double-majored in Philosophy and Spanish Literature. I spent one year studying abroad in the city of Alcalá de Henares, Spain (the birthplace of Miguel de Cervantes). I even read Cervantes' classic, Don Quixote - in the original Spanish of course - while there.
I loved Spain so much that I returned there after I graduated. I spent some time teaching English as a second language in Madrid, and then walked the Camino de Santiago (a 500+ mile pilgrimage across the top of Spain). My experiences abroad were so important to me that I always encourage my students to study abroad / travel the world.
These days, I live in Grand Rapids, Michigan. When I am not teaching or writing (or playing with my cats), I spend my free time woodworking. Since I do not have space (or money) for all the machines that make up a typical wood shop, I have been exploring traditional 'unplugged' woodworking. Up until now I have mostly focused on furniture building, but I hope to start woodcarving soon.