I started learning French via correspondence course, using cassette tapes and envelopes mailed back and forth, at age 15. At my university (weak in living languages), I quickly ran out of French classes and turned to the Alliance française, and later a study abroad, to continue learning French, eventually also turning to (and loving) Spanish when there were no more options for French study near me. I squeezed in a month at a language school in Antigua, Guatemala before heading off to graduate school in literary translation. When I applied for my graduate studies, I looked for a school that taught Arabic; my exposure to it in France and in the architecture of Southern Spain made me curious. I wanted to try something removed from the Romance languages and from the culture I grew up in. My university's program was brand-new and growing perhaps too rapidly for the faculty to comfortably manage, so I looked for options abroad and was twice granted Critical Language Scholarships by the US government to study Arabic, in Jordan in the summer of 2011 and Morocco in the summer of 2013. Each trip made me more passionate about the language and more stubbornly determined to speak and read it fluently. My two months in Morocco were especially important to me, as they allowed me to combine my knowledge of Francophone Moroccan literature (including Mostafa Nissabouri, the poet I translated for my MFA thesis) with my newfound love of Arabic and the new culture I was discovering.
After several years of teaching (English in France and French and translation in the United States), I moved back to Amman, Jordan in 2016 on a Fulbright grant from the US government, where I taught English at the University of Jordan and studied Arabic for a year. When the grant ended, I adopted a street cat and chose to stay. I now work freelance for a translation company (ZADD) in Amman, which has given me a great deal of insight into technical translation (RfPs, contracts, legal proceedings) from Arabic. I also keep my Spanish and French translation skills honed by working with a US-based company called TranslationPal.