The First 18 Years
This will be a recount of my personal history in a similar fashion to Henri’s “My Life Story” segment. Enjoy!
The Early Years
The first few years of my life were a blur of eating, sleeping, and discovering all the new and wondrous things in the world. My family moved often, from Florida, to New Jersey, eventually settling in New York.
I was an energetic child, always asking questions, wanting to know how things worked, and why. My parents were patient with me, helping me to learn the workings of the world around me.
I was fearless as well – I always wanted to climb up the tallest slide, play in every game, climb every tree, swim across the biggest pool. My parents worked very hard to keep me healthy and intact, and miraculously I made it through most of early childhood with no broken bones!
Everything changed a few weeks after I turned four years old. My mom brought home a new baby, my brother Evan. This was great, I had someone new to play with! As he grew we became good friends, and though we would quarrel over competitive things occasionally, we got along great most times.
My schooling was pretty standard for most Americans. I went to pre-school, half-day kindergarten, and eventually 1st grade, where things got serious. I came home from my first day of 1st grade quite unhappy, I had just learned that this 7am-to-3pm chore was to be my fate for the next twelve years! There was nothing to do but make the best of it, so I made friends and put an effort into enjoying the learning process.
My elementary school was one class, made up of twenty children who all moved up together, so it was rare to meet a new face. As such, each grade was essentially the same experience but with different learning material.
High school was an extraordinary change – my high school had 850 kids in the Freshman class! There were new faces to meet in every class, and tons of activities to participate in. I dove in, and had the best year of my short life at age fourteen.
Unfortunately, the summer after freshman year my father’s job got relocated, so my family moved to South Florida. My brother and I were both heartbroken, we were leaving our friends and extended family and people we loved. Now we had no friends, and strange new schools to adjust to in this sweaty, sunny new city.
I pretty much spent the entirety of Sophomore year sulking and in denial that I was not in New York. This was certainly not a healthy or mature reaction, but what can you expect from a 15-year old?
Maybe It’s Not So Bad?
By Junior year I had finally admitted to myself that I was here to stay. I started putting a real effort into making friends, I joined the soccer team, and generally set about making my high school experience better.
Fortunately for me, I could get my driver’s license at 16 – this was a blast! My parents bought me a red Firebird, an awesome two-door sports-car, as a reward for being the top of my class.
Both parents stressed to me at an early age that as a student my responsibility was to learn as much as possible and excel to the best of my abilities. If I did that, they said, I would be rewarded – both by them and by the opportunities available to me in life.
Aside from the conspicuous lack of a girlfriend, high school ended up being about as good as I could possibly have hoped – and it turned out that being in Florida was probably the best thing for me. The experience taught me so much about meeting new people and adapting to situations, so that when I went away to college I was completely excited and optimistic about the experience.
I was fortunate to be accepted to Georgetown University in Washington, D.C., and eagerly headed there in the fall of 2001. My family drove me there, helped me unpack, then wished me well and headed home – I was thrilled to be on my own. I became good friends with a bunch of people on the floor of my dorm, guys that I still am good friends with to this day.
College was exciting, I majored in Computer Science from day one and was stoked to be able to choose my classes based on what I wanted to learn.
There was so much free time too, I played ultimate frisbee and basketball with my friends, and had my first encounter with poker. It started as a fun way to pass a thursday night, playing a $5 buy-in mixed game with the guys from the dorm. It was loads of fun, I particularly liked the crazy wild-card games like “Kings and Littles” or “Baseball.”
At that point I had no idea that the things I learned playing poker at school would benefit me almost as much as what I learned in class.
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