"Growing Up With" Interview with Heidi Ayarbe, author of Compulsion
What is the first book that you can remember reading?
Frog and Toad by Arnold Lobel. I remember reading them over and over again. They’re still great to read! (40 years later)
When you were little, how did you answer when people asked what you wanted to be when you grew
I wanted to be a pilot-slash-veterinarian and fly from farm to farm (I was determined to live on my grandma’s farm in North Dakota) to cure sick cows. Yes. Just cows. I also wanted to marry a Labrador retriever.
What made your favorite teacher, Mr.Glanzmann (what a cool name!), so special?
Ahh, you’ve done your research! Mr. Glanzmann was the algebra-trig teacher at my high school. He was a wiry man who wore a tie to school every day. He walked to school every morning before dawn. Once he was pulled over by the police and he had to call the principal to prove he was a teacher and not some creep. (This may or may not be true. It was kind of school lore, though.) He was the first teacher at school, ready to help students who just didn’t get it (me!) and would stay late, AS LONG AS YOU NEEDED HIM, to explain, over and over and over again the concept of slope. He would collapse on the floor in his classroom when a student made a mistake while correcting a problem on the board.
Basically, he loved math and he loved kids and he believed he had purpose and he did. I truly loved that man.
What is your most memorable summer?
Every summer my family would drive from Nevada to my grandma’s farm in Rugby, North Dakota (the geographical center of North America, btw). We’d pile mattresses in the back of my parents’ green Ford pickup (this was WAY PRE-SEATBELT LAWS) and my sister and I would hang out in the back of the truck
for the three-day drive to get to our second home – my grandma’s farm. There we’d eat homemade fudge, kringle, lefse (she was Norwegian), fried chicken... everything so so delicious. We’d play hide-and-seek with my cousins, softball, have a big barbecue. It was heaven! She had a sunflower farm, and if we went in August, it was like looking out across a sea of sunshine. Beautiful! Great memories.
When did you fall in love with your husband, Cesar, and how did you two meet?
Alas, this is what we can call “the stalker years”.
I’d moved to Colombia when I was 23 and only planned to stay two years. Well, a year and a half into my contract, I met Cesar. I’d actually met him the year before (his Australian girlfriend worked with me for a week), but I didn’t remember him. So when we “met” again, he asked me out, and I thought he was pretty adorable and got all melty and gaga.
I was smitten early on. He wasn’t. That’s okay. I pretty much tagged along (nicer than “stalked”) for five years through over twenty countries until he buckled and agreed to marry me. (I asked him!) I kind of think he married me because he felt guilty for “convincing” me to go river rafting on a Rapids 4-level river, and I fell out of the boat and went through a rapids called THE FROG BLENDER on my behind, broke my tailbone, and swallowed half of the Bhoti Khosi river in Nepal. We got married a few months later (after a couple rounds of Ciproflaxin and all sorts of meds to get my stomach back in order.) We’ve been together thirteen years now. (We’re on our fourth Colombian president!)
What are the top three things on your bucket list?
1. Go backpacking in the National Parks in the States with my husband and daughter. SOON! (She’s only 3, so when she can carry a pack.)
2. Go to the Sundance Film Festival. (Ahh… that’d be heaven).
3. Spend a girls week in New York with my sister.
Anything else you'd like to say to the readers?
Thanks for stopping by! I hope you have a year of wonder and unforgettable memories.
Heidi, thank you very much for answering my questions! You have such an interesting life! :)