Name: Richard Davis
Lives in: Santa Cruz, California (United States)
From: I was born in California–in the Great Central Valley. We moved around a lot when I was young, from small California town to town. My dad worked at a bank and kept being moved. We ended up in the Bay Area in the small town of Pinole that sits on the eastern side of San Pablo Bay near where the inland rivers drop into the Bay. I grew up in Pinole about 15 miles from Berkeley, which in the 1960s was an interesting place to be! Soon after high school, I moved to San Francisco and spent most of my 20’s into my 30’s there.
Job: I am retired now, but I was a high school teacher for 30 years. Or rather I worked as an educator for 30 years. I spent my 20s kicking around as fry cook, a cab driver, and working my way through school. I started teaching high school English when I was 33. After four years in a rural agricultural school (while living in Santa Cruz) we moved to Athens, Greece where I taught at Athens College for three years.
Returning to the States, I went back to teaching high school–English and then history. After five years at a high school in Santa Cruz, I landed a job at the University of California in Santa Cruz where I taught graduate students who were learning to teach. I was called a ‘supervisor of student teaching’. It was a job I loved, and I stayed there seven years, teaching 12-20 ‘student teachers’ the ins and outs of being a teacher.
When that job ended, I took a job as the Assistant Principal at Santa Cruz High School. I stayed there for 3 years and then became the Principal at the high school where I had taught English and history. I was principal there for seven years.
These days, I am working (very part-time) with the Santa Clara County Office of Education teaching and advising teachers who are working to become administrators.
Tell us your first three jobs (ever!): My first job was cleaning up the parking lot at the grocery store in my neighborhood. It was across the street from the high school. I was in high school. It was a bit embarrassing at times to be sweeping and cleaning up after the kids I was going to school with.
Job # 2 was washing dishes at a coffeehouse. I worked the late night shifts (6pm to 9 pm and then midnight to 3am) and two full days on the weekend. It was a very busy place and the pace taught me speed and flexibility.
My third job—I was a cook at the same coffeehouse. I think what I learned cooking in a busy breakfast house allowed me to understand work and efficiency and perseverance and kindness and so much more about being a human with work to do.
Zodiac sign?: Gemini
Enneagram type: Type 1 Perfectionist with a 9 wing. I think I am the self-preservation subtype.
What do you love about Greece? I am not going to be able to do this justice–the gap between what I can write here and the images and places that come to mind.
Greece is not like other places. My immediate thought is to the way people have time for each other and for you. Time for things like meals by the sea in small villages, walking the mountain trails and finding a kafeneion to sit and get an omelet or a slice of sausage and a glass of ouzo, the sound of the sheep bells in the morning, taking a coffee any time of the day, sipping an ouzo as the sun goes down over the sea, walking to dinner at 11pm…
My wife and I first visited Greece in 1980 when we were young travelers. After a tour of the islands and time in Crete, we took the ferry to the Peloponnese and ended up in the town of Stoupa. We lived in a dirt-floored shack (dubbed the Lovers’ Cottage by the villagers) and walked to the beach every day for a month. So for me, there is the romantic connection to that time.
But Greece–it’s the smells and the landscape and the sea and mountains. And the people. When we moved to Greece to teach at Athens College in 1990, people told us, “You can stay anywhere for a year. And two years is great. But if you stay in Greece for more than two years, you will have a very difficult time leaving and it will be in your soul no matter where you go.” That was true for us. We stayed three years and now have a small house in the Mani. And every time we go and pass over the inland hills near Cambos and out to the sea, I can’t believe the beauty of the place. We lived in the Turkovouno part of Athens, the northern edge above the Old Person’s home. the bakery there was old school. Home-made filo for their tiropita and spanikopita. My goodness. Athens is so walkable and so forgiving. I love the shops along Athinas Street and the barking of the merchants at the street markets.
Tell us something most people don’t know about you: I can’t whistle
Where we are most likely to find you in Lynn’s Kundalini Yoga? Doing the Enneagram events in my shed in California following along on my computer.
The first time you tried Kundalini Yoga? With Lynn. This past year.
Tell us your top tip to combat climate change: Drive less.