I’m Nicole Hunter-Mostafa. The Same Rainbow’s End is my website. To be more specific, it’s an ongoing chronicle of my adventures, misadventures, experiments and explorations. It’s where I document the places I go, the people I meet, and the days I live. It’s home to my stories, ramblings, wonderings, observations, musings, and shutter clicks.

I’m an American Muslimah hijabi mestiza, born and raised in the Ozarks, the daughter of a beautiful and classy Catholic Chicana California girl turned farm wife, and a cool and charming country boy. I’m from a teeny-tiny town (population: 212) in southern Missouri. I graduated from the University of Missouri in 2005. In 2008, I met a guy from Saudi Arabia while we were both grad students at Missouri State University. In 2011, we got married. Shortly afterward, we moved to Riyadh, Saudi Arabia, the capital of the Kingdom, which is where I currently live with my awesome husband, Saleh (also known throughout the blog as Mr. Mostafa), and our sweet baby girl, Lavender.

We have two dogs, whom we love dearly: a Yorkshire Terrier named Andy and a Labradoodle named Parker. Andy likes taking naps and eating cheese. Parker likes chasing a ball and eating cupcakes. Andy lives with us in Riyadh. Parker lives with my parents on the farm in Missouri, where he has endless room to run and play. We Skype with him regularly.

I’m an apprehensive but passionate academic in the field of education. I’m working on a Ph.D in Curriculum & Instruction, with an emphasis in cultural & linguistic diversity, from the College of Education at Kansas State University. I’m currently dissertating, which means that every available space within arm’s length in our tiny apartment (which we affectionately refer to as our “little palace”) bears a stack of books exploding with neon page tabs. My research interests include educational linguistics, multicultural education, language learning and teaching, gender and education, educational anthropology, and educational technology.

I’ve been a writer for as long as I can remember. My parents bought me a brand new Smith-Corona typewriter when I was six years old, just so I could get my words down on paper faster. Sometimes they had to move the typewriter to another room because the endless clack clack clack of the keys drove them nuts, but they obligingly supplied me with ribbon after ribbon, always encouraging me to write.

I’ve adored photography ever since junior high, when my mom handed down her Olympus XA2 compact camera to me and I started spending my babysitting money on film and developing. As a result of my photography love, in college I spent endless hours in a darkroom, basking in the fumes of developing chemicals and working in the red glow of safelights. I never leave the house without my Sony QX100 in my hand.

I like to cross-stitch; it’s a simple craft that I’ve had an on-again, off-again love affair with since I watched my mom stitching when I was a kid.

I love to bake; when the oven light is on, I’m happy. I wish I were a better cook–I try, but when it comes down to it, Mr. Mostafa brings the cooking talent to our family. Our kitchen is a wonderland of culinary experimentation, exploration, and delightful failure.

I love experiencing cultures around the world, and I leave a piece of my heart in every place I visit. I adore learning about languages: they way they sound, the way they look, the way their words are built and arranged, their tones, their cadences. Thus far, languages that have captured my heart include English, Spanish, Arabic, Italian, French, and Mandarin Chinese.

Like Scout Finch, I don’t remember not knowing how to read. I read ravenously. I devour books. I love to learn.

I’m a slow but steady runner, like a chubby tortoise being left in the dust of lithe, athletic hares. I never aspire to win races, and I don’t particularly enjoy running; I just love crossing finish lines.

I converted to Islam in 2010, and through its lens, my world came into focus.

I’m just a nerdy ray of sunshine. And you can follow me on Facebook, if you want.