Born and partially raised Burlingame, California. Old stomping grounds resigned in Millbrae and Skyline Blvd.
About ten years ago, my life was average, normal, and worry-less. I went to my local, public elementary school down the hill and my siblings went to the middle school next door.
I spent every day running errands with my mom or visiting with my family.
No complications whatsoever. Normal right? Just a regular childhood, over here!
Then, suddenly we had to move to southern Utah.
I knew nothing about Utah—I didn’t even know it existed! We moved there and it was dry, always hot, and no diversity in any format.
Our new house was pretty decent. Two floors and a designated area for storing wine. Nothing more to complain about except the fact that my dad didn’t move with us.
That’s right. My parents were divorcing! That’s when it all went down hill. My family’s sanity, dignity, pride, and unity. It all fell apart in an instant.
I was eight years old, what did it matter to me? All I cared about was my huge backyard and my neighborhood friends. I still got everything I wanted and needed—just like how it was in California.
Weeks, months, then a year went by. We moved into a much smaller house. My mom started working difficult jobs, multiple jobs, that took her away all day long just so she can pay for the bills.
The bills for our tiny house and five kids living at home.
I started hearing "no" and "we can’t afford that" a lot more. So much so that I had totally forgot about my easy-breezy life from before.
Now, another eight years gone by and I’m astonished by my own story. I learned so many things about myself and my family.
Like, how my parents bought houses for several migrant families. How my parents were real estate investors, and I realized why that was such a big deal. How my mother paid for her niece’s wedding dress...twice. Also, the fact that my dad was the president of his village in the Tongan islands.
I understand not knowing things about your parents when they were younger—but I was alive when all of this went down!
Then, it hit me. My house had two kitchens and a huge garden. We had so many cars—I can’t even count how many! My parents had houses all over the country in their name.
My family lived a lavish lifestyle and I didn’t know about it until I was in high school!
My life was not average, or normal, or worry-less. My life was blessed, privileged, and unreal!
I asked myself, what if mom and dad never broke up? What if I was a rich kid?
The answer is clear. I would not be who I am today. I would probably be worse than my oldest sister. If you had a conversation with us individually, you would never guess we’re related.
I remember nights when I woke up in the middle of the night at the sharp pain in my stomach because I hadn’t eaten. I remember my older brother had to give me his oatmeal because there was nothing left for us to eat. The worst buzzkill of all was coming home from school and having either no light, water, or electricity.
Through all the highs and the lows—I was still such a young child and couldn’t understand how fantastic or how unfortunate my life was.
Today, I reflect on my life and my progress is my favorite thing about myself. The life of an almost-rich kid, isn’t easy but worthwhile. I believe my path was different for a reason; I believe God saved me for last for a reason.
The amazing part is I have yet to come across that reason.