These kooks first met in a meeting about standardized testing. Romantic, right? Both EL Coordinators for different schools in the same charter, Alicia and Arturo were asked to work together on a presentation about an upcoming exam for Spanish-speaking families. Shortly after, they went to grab a coffee and chat about a kids’ reading program, ended up talking for six hours, become best friends and basically just never stopped hanging out from that point forward.
It was clear from the beginning that they had a very similar approach to life. Neither was satisfied with the conventional 9-5 grind despite a genuine interest in education and a deep appreciation for how rad it is to hang out with kids all day.
Guided by his own curiosity and love of learning, Arturo has acquired a wide variety of skills through the projects he’s taken on. He has dabbled in woodworking, electrical engineering, photography, graphic design, programming, surf fishing, surfboard repair, machining and leatherworking (among other things) and taken a deeper dive into the automotive world, rebuilding a number of cars from the inside out and graciously being “that friend that knows stuff about cars” for just about everyone in his life. He also worked for several years as a master upholsterer in a well-known San Diego upholstery shop where his picture still hangs in the back room. He holds a degree in political science, multiple teaching credentials and is equally content to spend an entire day chasing perfect waves or sitting at home reading Thoreau in his underwear.
Alicia will be the first to say that she has considerably fewer saleable talents than her kooky counterpart. After leaving San Diego at 17, she snagged a bachelor’s degree in bilingual/multicultural education and chased her curiosity across the continent (or two, depending on where you learned geography), living and working in Central and South America for a number of years. There she learned to surf (sort of), taught English to kids from two to sixty-two, sang in a band called Mejor Mañana and opened a library in Lobitos, Peru; a place that will always have a piece of her heart. After that, a brief stint in New Mexico helped her realize she was not cut out for snowy winters and she moved back to San Diego after a ten-year hiatus. She stayed just long enough to meet Arturo and convince him to leave the country with her. She loves language, speaks Spanish well enough to confuse people and, though she knows very little usable Vietnamese, is quite enjoying geeking out as she studies vocab and reads articles about Vietnamese grammar. She thrives on good conversation, strong coffee and fun little waves.
In terms of what the future looks like for these kooks, the details are still a bit blurry. From that very first accidental coffee date, they’ve spent innumerable hours talking about what they want from life. Despite being very much on the same page about what’s important to them, the practical implementation of that shared philosophy is where they sometimes get a bit stuck. For many living abroad or van lifeing, living this way seems to be something they view as a hiatus from adulting; something to do in your 20’s, before “real life” begins. For these two, it’s simply a continuation of the conversation about what works and what doesn’t. Although they might have a much longer list for the latter than the former, they refuse to let that uncertainty paralyze them. As they move forward, they’re excited to keep chasing their curiosity, exploring and figuring things out together.