Through my role as a health educator, I learned about the dimensions of wellness and how these dimensions play an important role in our daily lives. Since then, I have fallen in love with the concept, and I’m constantly exploring new ways to relay the message, especially to young kids who are just starting to learn and develop healthy habits!
By combining my healthcare experience with my personal international background, I realized there was something valuable to be shared, thus Wellness Wally Around the World was created. I know that even as an adult I definitely benefited from the lessons that Wally learns throughout the series. The places Wally visits in these books have great significance to me, while others are merely interesting places I’ve read about and hope to visit one day!
I was born in Sofia, Bulgaria, to Syrian immigrants. I lived in Bulgaria for the first six years of my life with my parents and two older sisters before moving to Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. After arriving in Pittsburgh, my parents had to find and operate a business to ensure our visa status was compliant. They ended up buying a Mexican restaurant in the middle of the city. My parents had never made Mexican food in their lives, but since they were great cooks, they quickly learned, and ran the business successfully for over 15 years. In 2013, things turned full circle, and the Mexican restaurant became a Mediterranean one, taking my family back to our Syrian roots.
Since restaurant work is extremely hard, my parents wanted to ensure that my sisters and I went to college to obtain an education. After a lot of research and contemplation, I ended up studying healthcare administration, and it led me to some wonderful work opportunities in various sectors of the healthcare field, including public health, education and teaching, and international healthcare. These experiences combined have made Wellness Wally Around the World possible.
When I am not working, some of the things I enjoy are traveling (of course), trying and seeing new things, doing anything related to art and design, reading, and spending time with my friends and family.