By Marcia Chaiken and Jan Chaiken
Brooke O’Connor began writing for The Eye in October 2022, and is the most recent member of the Eye staff. She stands out among the already-international Eye team as having lived in the most countries – Mexico is just her latest.
Brooke was born in Los Angeles County and was adopted when she was 4 months old. She was raised in Diamond Bar, California, near Anaheim, until she was a three-year-old. Her family moved to Salt Lake City and Brooke was educated there through high school. She spent a gap year working as a nanny in Syracuse, NY and Mountain Lakes, NJ, before matriculating in a special pre-med program at the University of Kansas, graduating with a BS degree. She decided to spend the summer before med school working in Alaska. There she met her soon-to-be husband, and her plans for further medical study were set aside in favor of marriage. Brooke and her husband lived in Squim, Washington, where they would later start their family with first child – a daughter. After several months of being a stay-at-home mother, Brooke discovered she had a talent for multi-level marketing, and marketing became her long-term career.
The young couple moved to Dublin, Ireland, when her husband’s employment required. Brooke realized that many grocery shops in Dublin were small family enterprises providing both housing and income, so she bought and ran such a shop for three years. In addition, she began coaching others in life choices and business decisions, the beginning of another long-term occupation. Her son was born during that period.
Once again following the employment of her husband, who had family ties in Italy, the family moved to a small town outside Milan. They lived in a rented wing of a castle and although the quarters were freezing during the winters, they lived there for three years until they bought a house in the area. When Brooke was divorced in 2012, she became a consultant for a Los Angeles-based company specializing in interior design and an architectural firm with clients in the Middle East. She spent nine months as their agent in Saudi Arabia, Kuwait and Bahrain, promoting their projects.
Later she realized that she wanted her teen daughter to have opportunities that were available in the U.S. but not in Italy, so they moved to Alexandria, VA. Brooke bought and ran a limousine service there for three years. Then, to live closer to her brother, she moved to Denver where she was trained and practiced as a clinical hypnotherapist, specializing in working with people who had experienced trauma. It was in Denver that she met her current partner, Scott, and within a few weeks they decided to be a couple for life. They moved to Salt Lake City when Brooke’s mother needed assistance through an illness.
After her mother died, Brooke discussed quality-of-life challenges with Scott and began to explore places in the world where they could enjoy growing old together. After considering several places that appeared to support a lifestyle they hoped for, Huatulco rose to the top of the list … but they had never been here. After a one-month visit checking out the town, they returned to Salt Lake City, sold everything, and returned to Huatulco to a condo they bought in La Crucecita.
Today, Brooke and Scott are partners in a relatively new business called Better You Marketing. Brooke spends her free time snorkeling in our beautiful bays, writing for The Eye, and working on her memoir. She has always enjoyed baking and, like many of us, is finding baking in our environment a challenge. The culinary skill for which she’s best known is her creative breakfast skillets using leftover ingredients.
Brooke arrived shortly after our long-time Eye writer Brooke Gazer moved to Mérida in the Yucatán. We miss Brooke Gazer but are happy to have a new Brooke join us.