My Life Story

July 31, 2016

Oh, hello there!


Welcome to my blog.  I'm glad you're here!  I'm extremely excited -- as I tend to be -- about sharing my stories with you.   I am looking forward to sharing my life and my incredible journey through the wonderful world of music and singing and--


Wait.  Let's not get too cheesy just yet.


The point is... Welcome.  I'm glad you came.


I created this blog mainly to track my music-related adventures, but you may also find an array of somewhat random stories about travel, relationships, art, hopes and dreams.  I hope you enjoy.  I'll begin casually by telling you my entire life story, sound good?  


(On second thought, that might take a while.  I'll just summarize with some key points.)


I was born, red and screaming, in Walnut Creek, California on March 13, 2002, delivered by a "very, very kind," doctor, as my mom describes him, named Dr. Wells.  I came out ten pounds!  For reference, the average weight of a newborn is 7.5 pounds, so basically, I was huge.  I can't tell you much more about the day of my birth, honestly.  Ask my mom.


My toddler years were filled with new, exciting experiences.  My family lived in the bay area for the first few years of my life.  My older sister, ava, was an important role model for me, and I looked up to her and everything that she did.  I look back and see pictures of us, always crazy, always running around naked.  One time, we sat in the bathtub and painted our entire bodies with (fortunately washable) paint.  Another time, we raked a huge pile of leaves and jumped, jumped, jumped for hours on end.  Another of our favorite activities was catching rain on our tongues.  


We moved to Portland, Oregon when I was 3.  Actually, to be more specific, we moved to Lake Oswego, Oregon, which is about 20 minutes away from the city.  It's a cute suburban town, safe for kids, plenty of great schools, but not exactly the place to live for a family who loves adventure.  To get out of the "bubble" of this little suburban town filled with plastic people and rich people and moms with bags big enough to carry everything Mary Poppins had in hers, our family traveled.  A lot.


When I was 8 years old, my parents pulled me out of 2nd grade we went on a road trip, a 6 month journey from our home in Oregon to Key West, Florida and back.  We took a 40 foot fifth wheel we named "Jack" and hauled ourselves around the country, hiking, exploring, touring, meeting new faces and trying new things everyday!  On the road, I was homeschooled.  We did activities, we learned about science and math (my mom's a great teacher, by the way), but most of our learning came from being outdoors, going on museum tours, visiting new places, new cities, new states.  "Life learning,” we call it.


Music came into my life at a very young age.  I was singing since birth, and writing songs ever since early elementary ages, but it wasn't until I was 8 or 9 years old that I picked up the guitar.  My parents bought me a Yamaha guitar from a neighbor's garage sale, and of course, I was stoked.  It was a beauty: nylon strings, a huge body, a long neck.  But after the first thrills were gone, I wasn't at all motivated to play.  It spent a long while sitting in storage, slowly collecting dust.  Then something changed.  I don’t know what.  I don't remember this part well.  All I know is that I started finding inspiration from artists like Hannah Montana (I was 9...) and Taylor Swift, and I started looking up chords online and searching YouTube for tutorials, and, all of a sudden, I couldn't detach from it.  My fingers calloused.  I played for hours.   


Time continued.  We arrived back from our 6 month journey in March of 2011.  It was good to be home.  I had my room, a yard, a treehouse.  I continued to be homeschooled, and began classes at a homeschool co-op 15 miles from home, called Village Home, or more commonly known by the students as just ‘village’.  I took math classes, French classes, and guitar workshops.  The teachers were so great, and the kids, too.  I loved it.  I continued to take classes there for years.


When I was ten, on a road trip with my dad, we were driving and suddenly it popped into my head that I wanted to make an album, full of original songs.  While driving mile after mile next to the columbia river, we talked.  Finances, effort, songwriting, where to record, how to organize.  I had a huge dream and it seemed to come about in just seconds.  When we arrived back home that day, I told the rest of my family about the album idea.  Honestly, I think everyone was a bit unsure whether or not I would actually follow through or not, even myself.  But soon, it started happening.  I found a recording studio in Portland (Fremont Recording) and started recording track after track after track for about 3 months.  I rewrote songs, edited lyrics, mastered the tracks, worked with some French guy on album artwork and then boom.  The album was finished.


In February of 2014, when the album was finished but not yet released, when I was 11 years old, I traveled across the globe to France as an foreign exchange student.  I stayed for 6 months with a family of 4 kids, one being my exchange sister, Julie.  It was an incredible experience.  I was completely immersed in the language, only speaking English for one hour every week with my parents, and occasionally phoning my sister.  School was strict.  I had trouble in the first few weeks because of the language barrier, though most of the teachers were kind and helped me to understand.  Socially, my first few weeks of school were fine, but after the excitement from the students of "L'americaine!' went away, I had few friends.  Though, sometimes, groups of girls and boys would invite me to sit with them in the schoolyard during break, and they would beg me to sing for them.  I would sit there for a long time, singing songs I had written, and covers, simply acapella.  Those were some of my best memories of school in France.  As far as free time, at home I spent time playing with my French siblings, crafting, and jumping on the trampoline.  We went away for a lot of weekends, traveling all over the area, visiting relatives.  The experience was amazing.  I got to learn language, visit new places, and meet so many new people.  But, there were hardships, too.  Some days, it was raining, and I would wake up and while I ate breakfast, I would stare up at the calendar on the wall and count the days until home.  Or, while in study hall, or what they call 'permanence,’ I would look through my planner and measure the days in thickness of pages.  Often, the family fought.  Siblings were always screaming at each other, and parents left dinner crying, and treating each other without respect was an acceptable thing.  I mostly ignored it.  I did the dishes, kept clean, tried to stay out of their way.  But in all honesty, I think I was causing a majority of the problem.  The parents treated me as a guest, as a 'perfect child', making the other children understandably jealous.  In turn, they took it out on everyone else, including me.  Sometimes, it was torture.  I wish the parents had treated me like any of the other children, as an equal, not as a guest in their home.  


When I left France, it was great to see my family and friends again.  Julie, my exchange sister whom I lived with previously, came to live with us for 6 months.  That was a whole different ball game.  I showed her around, she went to Village with me, we shared friends, etc., but we didn’t get along very well.  Actually, we didn’t get along at all.  


I’m not going to lie and say that everything was perfect, because honestly nothing was, but overall, the experience taught me so much, not only language and geography, but also getting out of comfort zones, becoming a strongly shaped individual, and getting along with people who I didn’t necessarily want to get along with.  Though more difficult than I could’ve imagined, the exchange was an important point in life that shaped me to be … well … Me.


After the exchange, the album, finished but still waiting to be released, was finally available on November 13, 2014.  I was twelve by then, and I was absolutely stoked.  I had an album release party at Mississippi Pizza, where I played all the songs for an enthusiastic crowd, filled with friends, family, my dad’s colleagues, my mom’s Facebook friends, and strangers, too.  


Life was good.  I continued to play music, write songs (after a temporary writer’s block, which I heard tends to happen after an album release), go to Village, hang out with friends, pick up new hobbies, read, write stories…


… and that brings us to now.  I am in the summer of my 14th year, and life is a rollercoaster.  A good rollercoaster, though, one that makes you scream and laugh and cry, but you always come out alive and smiling.


As far as the future goes, well, you never really know, do you?

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