Nepotism Alert: If this introduction sounds just a little too glowing, perhaps that’s because eso is my super-cool East Coast cousin who, along with her sisters, has been the arbiter of taste in my extended family for decades. One of my favorite parts of visiting my New York cousins is sitting around and listening to them talk. They represent the full spectrum of political and cultural opinion (I’ll leave it to you to figure out where eso falls), and if you want a statement on international development in eastern Europe, the latest education legislation up for debate, travel tips for France, or the hot new Broadway hit, there’s a sister who can deliver for you.

But on to eso herself. Born in Cottonwood Hospital, Salt Lake City, UT, eso grew up living in 5 states and 2 countries. She majored in history and English at BYU, interrupting her studies to serve a mission to Japan, and following graduation she served for three years in the Peace Corps in Kenya. There she met and married her husband, and today they live with their entertaining, bright, and well-behaved 3-year-old daughter and 1-year-old son. eso earned a graduate degree in TESOL (Teaching English to Speakers of Other Languages), and currently she’s working at a public elementary school. On a personal note, eso also picked up me and my luggage at the Dulles International Airport when I arrived after midnight to transplant myself for a season in Washington, D.C. Not only did she good-naturedly help me lug half of my library out to short-term parking, but she and her husband also let me sleep on their couch for several days before passing me onto eso’s sister (also my cousin), who let me stay rent-free for another few weeks. Ah, those grubbing California cousins…

Please welcome eso!!!