A native Texan, I spent most of my life in Texas before moving to California in 1996. Doing graduate work in Austin, TX spoiled me for anywhere but California, and I appreciate the quality of life here enormously--especially the natural beauty, the environment of tolerance and respect, and the innovative approaches to health and lifestyle. I love to travel and immerse myself in different cultures, yet I always enjoy the abundance of my home as well.
Over the last fifteen years I have been to Spain, Brazil, Chile, Puerto Rico, Costa Rica, Cuba, and various places in Mexico, but more recently I have become mostly interested in the Caribbean.
On several research trips to Cuba, the island of paradox, I have become aware both of the incredible richness of my life and of the strange and partisan vision of democracy that exists here in my country. I see so much more community solidarity and mutual assistance in Cuba, such a commitment to discussing issues at all levels of society, that I wonder where the sense of involvement and human caring has gone here in the United States. Yet of course, with the economic embargo that has lasted over 40 years, the Cuban people still are living in scarcity. The continuing saga of the Cuban Revolution has prompted a unique series of events in the history of the Americas, a drama that continues to unfold today.
I live in Chico, a small town just barely in Northern California, in an agricultural valley. It is hot, hot, hot for too many months of the year, but the numerous free swimming holes and lots of air conditioning make it liveable.
The town is small enough that there is no traffic to speak of (unless you have a perspective of a couple decades) and just big enough to sustain two health food stores and an art cinema. We are growing every year, especially with transplants from Southern California and the Bay Area, just having exceeded 100, 000 inhabitants.
Chico is three hours from the San Francisco Bay Area, the Pacific Ocean, or Lake Tahoe. Since moving here I have tried cross-country skiing and snorkeling. We are a very "green" community, so cycling and hiking are always popular.
Culture and the Arts are big draws here, as befits a University town. We host performances by international legends like Omara Portuondo of the Buena Vista Social Club, the Moscow Ballet, and the Peking Acrobats. The Art, Theatre and Music Departments are frenetically active, enriching the town with vast numbers of exhibitions and performances each year.