A basic timeline of who I am and where I come from:
February 1995 — born in Tucson, Arizona to a lineage of strong pioneers, courageous immigrants, and tough Arizona cowboys.
August 2000 — began kindergarten in Mesa, Arizona, and was sorely disappointed to discover that ancient Rome was mentioned not even once, but instead the alphabet song was brought up repeatedly.
August 2008 — moved to Suzhou, China where my parents found jobs as international school teachers. I subsequently attended high school with people from all over the world, and came to appreciate Chinese culture and history. I also studied some Mandarin, with minimal success. In the years since it has mostly been forced out by Spanish and I haven’t had enough chances to practice.
June 2013 — graduated from high school with an International Baccalaureate Diploma.
September 2013 — began college at Brigham Young University–Hawaii, in the town of La’ie. I ultimately graduated with an Associate of Arts, focusing in Linguistics.
February 2015 — began serving a full-time mission for the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints. Ironically, I was assigned to serve in my home state of Arizona, which is very unusual but turned out to be the best thing I could have imagined. As part of my assignment, I also learned to speak Spanish.
August 2015 — left my mission after six months, with a medical release. I spent the next several months with my parents at their home in Morocco, before returning to Arizona to live with family and start college again. (You can read more about my mission, and how it felt to leave it, in this blog entry, which I consider to be one of the best things I have ever written.)
At time of writing (April 2018) I am close to finishing my bachelor’s degree in Communicative Disorders, after a few years of taking classes part-time as well as working. My next step is to start working as a Speech-Language Pathology Assistant, with the potential goal of earning a master’s degree and becoming a Speech-Language Pathologist.