The Dirty Drummer

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Through my twenties, I did a lot of things. I earned an Associates Degree from Paradise Valley Community College, and a Bachelors Degree from Arizona State University.

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In addition, I managed Alice’s Restaurant, and curated the art gallery inside.

I also was also the Editor in Chief for SLAM Magazine, in addition to being a staff writer for The East Valley Tribune, State Press Magazine and State Press News. In addition, I freelanced for College Affair Magazine.

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Through all of that, I worked at The Dirty Drummer Bar and Grill as a bar tender. The owner’s name is Zane Anderson, and he is still a friend. He went out of his way to work around all my other projects and give me a schedule I could work to supplement my income.

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I worked there for a long time, and I am proud to have made life long friends there.

It’s not the nicest bar in the world. However, it is a lot like that show Cheers, with regular customers who you need to know by name and drink. We had theme nights, dressed up for Halloween, and did a 5k every year to raise money for breast cancer research. It was a lot like a family.

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State Press News

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When I was in college at Arizona State University from 2006 to 2008, I wrote for the school news paper; called State Press News.

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At this point, I had already run my own Magazine called S.L.A.M. (Support Local Arts & Music,) and written for College Affair Magazine. In addition, I was doing an internship at the East Valley Tribune.

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However, I took regular assignments with the ASU newspaper in addition to my other work. This was because I paid my way through my education mostly by winning scholarships. The more activities I did, the better it looked an my scholarship applications.

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The school newspaper assigned me the things everyone else was too nervous to write about. For awhile I did a sex column for them, and I always ended up with the stories about “scary people” like the Goth subculture or the metal music scene.

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However, I took whatever assignments they gave me because I am an easy-going person and I am comfortable researching anything. I didn’t save many of my clips because I was often too busy to pick up the paper, but some of them are scattered throughout this post.

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SLAM Magazine

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Working on my resume always brings up old memories. I thought I would write about them, to remember the many fun jobs that I have had, and the exciting things that I have done.

For two years when I was younger, I ran a publication called S.L.A.M. (Support Local Arts & Music) Magazine with my friend Carl Jenkins.

We covered local venues, arts, and music.

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During that time, I was also managing a space at 7th Street and Pierce called Alice’s Restaurant, which served food and had beautiful art on the walls. (It was in a restored historic house, which is the middle house in the picture below.)

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It was a busy time in my life, when the First Friday Art Walk was just getting started and the City of Phoenix was creating Copper Gate Square. I was really glad to be part of that time in Phoenix’s history.

Here is a picture that I adore (below).

In the background you can see a copy of SLAM Magazine on the mantle. On the walls you can see Art by Keegan, for our October First Friday showcase that year. And in the corner of the room behind the tables, you can see Dan Tedesco playing for our guests.

There is even a rack of local music CDs that we sold for artists back behind Dan.

This picture makes me feel so proud to be from Phoenix.

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Culture Shock

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Moving overseas means making all new friends. It’s scary when you unpack your suitcase and think about how alone you are. At first, it seems like you’ll never figure out all the things that are different.

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Some people go for a year, don’t make friends, and then go home. They have stories of going to see sights alone, and of trying to watch TV in another language.

I guess that’s okay if you are the sort of person who really enjoys that stuff, but I am not.

So, I joined everything!

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I joined the Seoul Hiking Group, the Suwon Knitters Society (above), and even started a D&D campaign (below).

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I love meeting new people because it helps you learn more about ways to see the world and ideas you never had.

It opens doors to having new experiences like going to a Korean wedding (I am in the back of the photo) and seeing how different culture celebrate milestones in their lives.

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My apartment was dubbed “Isengaurd” (yes, like in Lord of the Rings) because it was in a white tower. And Isengaurd was a place for people to come and hang out.

I even got cake for my birthday (below), although it was a sugar-free green tea cake with tomatoes in it because that is how adults eat cake in Korea (sweet cakes are only for kids.)

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I had a struggling artist living on my downstairs couch for awhile after he went through a bad breakup.

I hosted group meetings to plan events, and I even helped throw a few big parties with my friend who was a DJ.

Basically, I made my home a place where people could come when they wanted to get together, and I was rewarded by being part of a lot of unique and interesting experiences.

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In South Korea, we have electronic locks (above) instead of doors that use a key. They feel that it is more secure, and it means not carrying keys since everyone takes the very fast and amazing public transportation.

I think all of Suwon knew the code for my door (which was the numeric progression 2468.)

After all, South Korea is rated as the safest country in the world. There’s no fear of anyone stealing your things, and even shops leave merchandise out over night. (It was surreal at first to be in a place when elementary school kids rode the subway alone and people just trusted each other.)

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It was fun to have a constant stream of new and different people in my life.

And it’s good to have unexpected adventures (as long as you always make it to work excited to teach!)

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Teachers come to South Korea from English-speaking countries all over the world, so I met people from New Zealand, Australia, England, Scotland, Ireland, and different parts of the United States.

Of course, I also met a lot of amazing people who were from the Middle East (who ran shops) and from Africa (restaurant owners and things like that.) And we all muddled through in English and Korean trying to communicate.

My favorite part is how it’s popular to put English cuss words on everything from children’s clothes to buildings. Check out the name of this beauty salon:

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It was nice to see all new things, as well. New types of buildings, new ways of doing business, and new scenery.

It really got me interested in International Business because I realized that LG, Samseung, and other companies are Korean, and yet their products fill American homes.

My friend Elizabeth wrote technical manuals for Samseung printers that would be shipped to the US, and I was always amazed at how much of the things we use everyday back home are from South Korea.

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Even when it comes to silly things like the clothing and jewelry, you could really make a lot on a Korean Imports store. And it’s interesting to study the complications of that kind of cultural exchange.

Once, Chevy tried to sell the Nova in Mexico. This is hilarious because in Spanish, Nova literally translates to “No go.” So they tried to sell a car whose very name implied that it didn’t run.

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And in China, Pizza Hut tried to open a chain of stores without knowing that the Chinese don’t eat cheese. Rather than giving up, they actually launched an ad campaign to convince Asia that cheese was healthy. Imagine that!

I actually took some classes in International Business through Coursera (free online college) because I found it so interesting.

Anyway, the point is, there are so many new things that you think about and so many ideas that you get when you are in a new place, and it’s fun to have that experience.

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If you have ever thought about just taking off and doing  year overseas, my advice is to do it.

If nothing else, it was hilarious to watch another country do elections. In South Korea they have several political parties all represented by different cute animals.

And yes, the party representatives do dress up as the cute mascots and go lobby for votes.

Moments like that are the kind of moments that I really enjoyed; when you stand back and just realize how different other cultures are and how neat that is.

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If I had to say one thing about going overseas, it would be this: You only regret the chances that you don’t take.

Even if it’s just for a week some day, everyone should get out of the US and see something new.

I feel like establishing international contacts is a neat foundation to lay because it opens potential for all kinds of things in the future.

Plus, you end up with some really cool pictures.

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My Grandmother

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My grandmother’s name is Jeanette Waston, and she has always been a huge force in my life.

It’s not just me though.

She has influenced a lot of people in amazing ways.

She wrote a book called The Orchard City about her hometown, Campbell California. It’s a wonderful chronicle of her town and our family’s history there.

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In addition, she was the mayor of Campbell for many years, during which time she helped raise the money to move the Ainsley House (above) from San Jose to downtown Campbell where it could be preserved for its historic value, and become a museum.

She was involved in a lot of really wonderful projects. Another beautiful example is the Campbell Heritage Theater (below). The building used to be her school when she was young, and she worked hard to turn it into a museum.

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I am so proud to be her granddaughter, and I am so thankful for her influence in my life. Being able to share beautiful moments with her has helped me to understand how government works, and that there is no limit to what a woman can do.

Our last adventure to Sedona was a lot of fun, and as I am thinking of her today, I thought I would share a picture of her, and share how lucky I feel to know her.

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