I grew up in Colorado. I must credit that gorgeous place for a vibrant love towards open skies, violet sunsets, the imposing magnificence of the Rocky Mountains. A real appreciation for that wild frontier mentality, too. I moved to Waco impetuously, with the excuse of graduate school and a need for change. This was at 23, an age that breeds such urgent desperation. This decision resulted in an existential crisis of young adulthood – overworked, underpaid, lonely, surrounded with material and intellectual poverty -, as well as the discovery that bugs can outgrow the size of my right palm. Still, I met some wonderful people. I learned how to trust myself, and how true beauty exists most poignantly in the soul. I saw that in my students. Then, relocation to Austin, degree in hand. After experiencing six years of life in the nation’s live music capital, I can now look (from a healthy distance) with gratitude at Waco for making it all possible. Not least because it was in Austin that I met my extraordinary husband, whose career is the impetus for our current residence in Bogota.
But pertinently, Waco also deserves recognition for jumpstarting my writing. All that newness, however depressing, demanded attention be paid and impressions be processed. Sure, I’d written before. But never regularly and never with the kind of intensity that Waco required. If you’re interested, you can read all about that year, the following years in Austin, anecdotes hilarious and heartbreaking from all seven years teaching middle school and high school English, and other musings at: jesschwab.blogspot.com.