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I grew up in Newton,
Massachusetts, attended Yale
University where I studied political science, specifically African
government. After that, I joined the Teach
For America program and worked as a third-grade bilingual teacher
156 in the Bronx for
I left teaching
to study immigration and education policy (along with a stiff dose
of economics and statistics) at Harvard's John
F. Kennedy School of Government, where I received a Master of
Public Policy degree, and then went to work for an immigrant services
project of the City of New York called Citizenship NYC. After two
years directing the program's Bronx office, I worked for two more
years for the city's Administration
for Children's Services in the Division of Child Protection.
In 1998, I began
freelancing for The New York
Times City section, and in 2001 I quit my day job and began covering
the Bronx and northern Manhattan full time for them. I did that for
four years, while writing for other sections of the Times like Metro,
Travel, Styles and Escapes, and many other publications, including
Time Out New York,
Oprah Magazine, Viva New York, Every
Day With Rachael Ray, ARTnews,
Playboy, and others.
My book, Nueva
York: The Complete Guide to Latino Life in the Five Boroughs,
co-authored with Carolina Gonzalez, was published in 2006. From April
2006 to December 2008, I wrote the Weekend
in New York column in Travel
section of the Times. And from 2001 to 2008, I taught a journalism
course on interviewing techniques at the New
York University School of Continuing and Professional Studies.
At the end of 2008, I
relocated to Sao Paulo, Brazil, to continue writing for the Times
Travel section, and working as Brazil correspondent for the new international
news organization Global
Post, which launched on January 12, 2009. From Brazil, I have also contributed to magazines like Wallpaper, Conde Nast Traveler and Food & Wine.
In June, 2010, I took over the Frugal Traveler blog for the Travel section of The New York Times, beginning with a grand 13-week trip by bus, boat and train (but mostly bus) from São Paulo to New York. I'm traveling about 50% of the time, and splitting what is left between New York and São Paulo. (OK, at least I'm trying to do that. But splitting time between two cities sounds so cool, I just had to say it.)
In April, 2011, I began a column called Viagens ("Travel"), written in Portuguese for the Brazilian web portal iG.
I speak Spanish and Portuguese, and have ten years of French study buried
deep in the back of my brain, though it would take a neurosurgeon
to extract it. Quel dommage. Hmm, not sure what that means.