Where I'm from . . .

THE NETHERLANDS . . . where I was born.

ISRAEL . . . my first memories . . . of sand, friendship, and men emptying our house of everything we owned while my mother stood by calmly and they drove away in a truck. (Movers, only I didn't know what that meant at the time.)

SOUTH AFRICA . . . where I slept in the bush, and got my inspiration for IBHUBESI: THE LION. More firsts . . . school, where I carried my bookbag on my head and sang African songs . . . first sense of place, believing I was African, despite my sister's insistence that we were Americans . . . first taste of politics, the terrible policy of apartheid . . . first realization that grownups are not perfect and sometimes quite nasty.

SCOTLAND . . . my school was like Hogwarts, without magic, but complete with . . .
   1.  Houses (mine was "Douglas," gold badge)
   2.  Colorful teacher nicknames (The L, Giant, Furry Forrie)
   3.  Detentions (I still remember writing lines: "I must ask permission when this is necessary.")
   4.  Prefects (to be avoided--can lead to #3, above)
   5.  Plimsoles (sneakers), rubbers (erasers), prep (homework), berets (the hat kind), vests (the undershirt kind), knickers (the underpants kind), "elevenses" (snack), pudding (dessert), eating at high table (think: sitting between Dumbledore and McGonagall in the Hogwarts dining hall), and the best, a "siggie" or "signature" (a coveted slip of paper bearing the Headmistress's signature, recognizing you for a brave act or noble deed, and earning you extra points for your House as well as the admiration of your peers).

NEWFOUNDLAND, CANADA . . . icebergs in the harbor, Aurora Borealis (the Northern Lights), the silver thaw, Bayman versus Townie, Miss Conception, cod jigging, caplin running, fish and bruise, curling, screech, mummers, and if none of this makes sense, look for explanations in an upcoming novel . . . .

VIRGINIA . . . home, though I still love traveling and, as always, learning, reading, writing, playing games, eating chocolate, drinking coffee, and laughing with family and friends.