There is only one type of story in the world. Your story. — Ray Bradbury, Zen and the Art of Writing
When I was young I wanted to be a veterinarian, mostly because I loved animals. However, partly due to my love of foreign languages and cultures and a desire to travel, I decided I wanted to enter the Foreign Service. I was accepted by Princeton University and my objective was to attend the Woodrow Wilson School of Public and International Affairs.
I’m afraid, though, I soon realised getting a degree in International Affairs meant studying Politics and Economics. I’m afraid I was more interested in visiting foreign countries and learning how to say: Please pass the sweet and sour shrimp in different languages. So I had to rethink my plan when it came time to declare a major and I decided to pursue literature instead. I had always harboured a desire to be a writer. (Still do.) A high-school friend’s mother once told me that in order to be a good writer you should be a good reader.
I earned a B.A. in Comparative Literature in 1981. The spring semester of my junior year was spent in Barcelona, where the seeds planted in the summer of 1976 began to sprout into a significant piece of foliage, namely the desire to live in Europe.
Notwithstanding that desire, after I graduated, I headed west and moved to Seattle, Washington with some friends. I ended up living there for the next eight and a half years.