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Steve Alvest


My earliest memories

I remember quite a bit from when I was very little. Most of what I remember is from international travel. This is the reason why I'm an advocate of traveling the world with your kids, even if people tell you "they're too young to remember anything." I beg to differ. I notice whenever I travel with my kids, they seem to grow up a little more after each trip. I have no way of knowing what experiences will stick with my kids when they grow up, but I know that giving them lots of varied experiences will help them in their adulthood.

Here's me in 1981, a few days before I turned 2 years old

    1. Being carried and shown to my mom's friends in Taiwan when I was 1 year old

    Perhaps my earliest memory.

    2. My dad pushing my mom in a wheelchair to the car after she just gave birth to my younger brother

    I was 2 years old and living in Michigan

    3. Getting scolded by my mom after I woke up early after a rain and rode through water with my tricycle and got the back of my shirt all muddy

    I was probably 3 years old.

    4. Sitting next to my mom in bed one morning drawing vehicles in my storybook while she was talking on the phone with her friend

    I was about 3 years old. My mom scolded me after that for ruining the storybook. I still have the storybook with all those drawings inside...


    5. Being babysat by my mom's friend's 13 year old son when I was 3 or 4 years old. He showed me his collection of Iron Maiden T-shirts and how to draw their mascot "Eddie"

    This is probably the moment that got me interested in art. This event might even have happened to me before my drawing in the storybook.

    6. Having a Little Caesar's pizza dinner at a family friend's place for July 4th. I was watching people set fireworks outside from the window and noticed the field on fire.

    I was maybe 4 years old. They called 911 and the fire department came out to put the fire out, though I don't remember that part.

    7. Walking in a market in Taipei, Taiwan with a Yakult drink in my hands, looking down and seeing all the cracks in the ground from the dried up mud.

    I was about 5 years old. My mom brought me to Taiwan again for my second visit. I remember a lot from that visit...

    8. Walking in the market in Taipei and asking my mom what smelled so bad. My mom told me it was the stinky tofu at the end of the street.

    I've grown to love fried stinky tofu.

    9. Walking in the market in Taipei and passing by a chicken store

    There were cages of chickens screaming. A guy was sitting on a crate systematically grabbing a chicken, cutting off its head, and pulling the feathers. Then he'd give the chicken to another guy who would make a few cuts before hanging it up in a big steamer machine. The floor was red with blood. I turned to my mom and told her that the chickens must be screaming "No, no, no!"

    10. My mom buying sugar cane for me to chew at a market in Taipei.

    The buying sugar cane part wasn't the part I remember. I remember there was a tall African American man standing next to the guy running the stall. The African American guy had an afro and was holding a tall stalk of sugar cane. This was around 1985, so foreigners in a Taipei market were extremely rare.

    11. Sitting with my mom, grandmom, and great grandmom at my great grandmom's house. Great grandmom was counting money while chewing betel nut.

    Betel nut is fascinating if you don't know what it is: https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Betel_nut_chewing . It's kind of like chewing tobacco, and a nasty habit. People still do it today, and there are still betel nut stands with scantily clad women selling betel nut in the countryside in Taiwan. I think a lot of those women are also prostitutes.

    12. Watching TV in Taiwan at a friend's place in 1985

    My favorite show was called something like "Little Honey Bee" if translated to English. I realize now that I was probably watching the early run of Maya the Honey Bee.

    I also liked a show that translates from Chinese into "Moon Warriors." This was the inspiration for a show later known in the US as "Power Rangers."

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