After Pomona I won a Ford Fellowship to attend UC Berkeley in the admittedly esoteric field of Comparative Literature.
At Pomona the study of literature was all about the literature, but in grad school it was all about the criticism, and while I learned a lot and made some life-long friends, a career as an academician was clearly not for me. What Berkeley did for me was get me back to Europe.
I had done a semester abroad while at Pomona and being there and experiencing other cultures rang my bell. Getting back was amazing, as it again expanded my sense of me happening to my life instead of the other way around, which is so typical of the dreaded defeatist barrio mindset.
Other things that happened include a series of interesting classes at La Sorbonne, a run of great odd jobs running film crews around Paris, a few gigs substitute teaching English and French to French kids in the public school system, and oh yeah, a marriage and a baby.
But teaching middle school in the provinces was somehow not how I envisioned my life, no matter how beautiful France may be, no matter how much I loved Europe.
So that meant moving back to the US to seek a career, to San Diego specifically, which was at least right on a border.
Little did we know that LA is in every meaningful way closer to Tijuana than San Diego.