Gretchen, tell us about your background.
Gretchen: I grew up in a suburb of Chicago, then had my first overseas teaching experience in Seoul, South Korea in 1995. After that I traveled a bit, then worked in a variety of education and travel-related positions, my favorite being Program Manager for an Expedition Travel company in Seattle, WA. I am now a writer, and have published my first memoir, I Have Iraq in My Shoe: Misadventures of a Soldier of Fashion, about the year I spent teaching English in Northern Iraq.
TT: Wow! Of all your teaching travels, which was the most interesting? (I think I know the answer already…)
G: The most outrageous was definitely the job in Iraq. I was there for a little over a year and I taught in both Sulaimani and Erbil.
TT: How did you find this travel opportunity teaching in Iraq???
G: A friend I had met while teaching in Seoul was working in Iraq and offered me the job. At first I said no, but then I saw how good the salary was, and remembered I had $39,000 in credit card debt.
TT: Tell us a few moments from your Iraq travels that were particularly powerful, interesting, or funny.