Whew, where to start? Hi, I’m Georgina and I’m from England. I grew up in Preston, in the north of England with my parents and younger sister. I had a fantastic childhood. I did extremely well in school, got along with my family, had a great group of friends, and experienced zero trauma. I mean, I was bullied for a minute in primary school and I had some emotional arguments with my Dad about going out clubbing before I was old enough, but nothing that had any lasting impact. I appreciate that I am very lucky.
At 19, I went off to art school in Glasgow, Scotland, where I had a lot of fun living but discovered that I did not have enough passion for my art to do it as a career. In the summer of 2000 before my final year of college, I spent three months living and working in Yellowstone National Park. I was the Lead Hostess at the Old Faithful Inn Dining Room and it would not be an overstatement to say that I had the absolute best 12 weeks of my life to that point. The entire reason I decided to go to America on a work exchange program was to avoid an ex-boyfriend in Preston that summer, and I’m so SO glad that I did! I met a ton of amazing people, spent almost every weekend hiking, sketching, and camping, and generally had a life-changing, horizon-broadening, still-think-about-it-often experience.
After graduating in 2001, I wasn’t yet ready for the real world, so I spent four months in Toronto, Canada, working in a gift shop in the Eaton Centre. This wasn’t quite as life changing as Yellowstone had been, but I had a great time and I did wind up having a holiday romance with a boy from Baltimore. After returning home, I kept in touch with that boy while working full time in a coffee shop. A few months later, I was stabbing myself in the eyes with frustration about the coffee shop job, so I quit that and started looking for something different. Attending a career fair led me to the British Council’s stand on teaching in China and, on a whim, I signed up for their waiting list. A few weeks later, they called me with the news that a spot had opened up and I could leave for China in three weeks! I took it! I then spent a full year in Songjiang, a small rural town outside of Shanghai in China teaching English to a range of kids ages 12 to 18. I had a BLAST. Met some more amazing people and got to travel all around China.
I kept in touch with the Baltimore boy this whole time through phone cards and occasional email (no smart phones or wi-fi back then!), so I started applying for museum internships in America. While still in China, I was accepted into the internship program at the Smithsonian American Art Museum in DC, just a short hop skip and a jump away from Baltimore. So I gave Baltimore boy a call and asked him if it was okay for him to support me while I did the internship because oh-by-the-way it was unpaid. He said sure, so in August of 2003, after spending three weeks together followed by 18 months apart, we moved in together in an apartment above his parents’ house.
The internship was amazing and, fortunately, turned into a paid job and a work visa. That job turned into better job which turned into an even better one and when I left the American Art Museum eleven years later in 2014, I was the Deputy Chief of Media and Technology. In 2008, Baltimore boy and I got married (I proposed; he was taking too long), and he also started working at the Smithsonian in facilities management. We had a belated honeymoon in 2010 in Yellowstone and Grand Teton National Parks, during which he fell as much in love with them as I already was.
We both loved our jobs, but neither of us liked living in Baltimore and we particularly did not like the 4-hour roundtrip commute to DC every day. In 2013, we made the decision to escape and started hunting for jobs near National Parks and preferably near Yellowstone. He very quickly got two job offers – one in Billings, Montana, and one in Idaho Falls. A quick Google search told us that Idaho Falls was better for us and he accepted the position. I didn’t dream I would find a job in my field of expertise (art and technology) and started mentally preparing for waitressing again but, amazingly, I quickly found a job as Visual Arts Director with the Idaho Falls Arts Council that could have been written for me. In addition to curating two small galleries (a dream job for me), I am also in charge of ARTitorium on Broadway – an interactive art and technology center for kids.
We bought a house, settled in, and immediately began enjoying our life in Idaho. I became a US Citizen in Boise in 2014. We had our son, Declan, in 2015 and our daughter, Ophelia, in 2017. We spend our free time hiking and camping whenever we can. Christian (aka Baltimore boy, I should probably give him a name finally) enjoys shooting competitively and hunting, while I read obsessively, bake occasionally, and have found a new love of trail running. It often seems that our kids are more insane than anyone else’s, but then I post about my parenting woes on here and immediately find a supportive community of people with the same complaints. I still can’t quite believe my luck that after that wonderful summer in Yellowstone almost twenty years ago, I actually live here now! It really is a dream come true.
So fun to hear your story Georgina!! So glad you love it in Idaho Falls!!
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