Fourth grade ended, and once the summer started, I took a vow to mold myself into the coolest kid I
could possibly be by the time Fifth grade began. I anticipated the approval the other cool kids would
have of me once I reveal myself as being similar to them, and I looked forward to it.
After about a year and a half of living in the house on Hatteras St. in upper West Hills, my father
decided to move into an even better house. This time, all of us spent a day looking at open houses
together as a family. We went with a real estate agent and examined some beautiful homes around
Woodland Hills. My favorite one was a 3-story house on Llano Drive, in the Woodland Hills Heights, the
most prestigious area of Woodland Hills that bordered Calabasas. It didn’t have a pool, but it had a
sloping backyard almost three-times as large as our current one. The house had six bedrooms, and I took
an intense liking to one particular bedroom that had its own bathroom and a personal balcony. My
father showed extreme enthusiasm about possibly buying this house, and I became obsessed with
getting that particular bedroom as my own room. When I brought it up with father and Soumaya, they
said that the room would most likely be Georgia’s because it was closer to the master bedroom. They
said that I would get a bedroom downstairs, one without my own bathroom or balcony. I was furious,
and I threw a huge crying tantrum.
Soon enough, father went ahead with the decision to buy this house. I made a big deal about the
possibility of not getting that lovely bedroom I wanted, and I kept sulking to father and Soumaya about
it. When they finally moved and the first week of father’s at this new house started, I was very anxious.
But then, as we entered, father and Soumaya surprised me and revealed that they decided to give me
the room I wanted. I was so happy! I danced and leaped with joy all over the house, and then I went to
my new balcony and looked out at the beautiful view of Woodland Hills for an hour.
After the move to this new house, father would never move again, and he still lives there to this very
day. I would have many important experiences there for the next decade, both good and terrible.
I needed a skateboard for mother’s house too, and so my mother took me to Val Surf and bought me
a gray Val Surf skateboard. I would use this skateboard much more than the red skateboard I had at
father’s house, since I had all of my playdates during mother’s week, and mother would make more of
an effort to indulge in my new interest, eventually taking me to skateparks every weekend.
I became very excited about my new hobby, and I shared it with James Ellis and Philip Bloeser, my
two main friends. I wanted to get them interested in skateboarding as well. It was tricky to get James
into it, but he soon got his own skateboard, and we would start skateboarding together around his
As I now considered myself a skateboarder, I wanted to dress in the clothes that all the cool
skateboarders were wearing. My mother took me to Val Surf once again, this time to shop for new
shirts. I picked out a few that had the logos of skateboard companies on them. Later that day I put on
one of my new shirts, and I was thrilled to start going around in it. I felt cool.
At father’s house, I was introduced to a new nanny who would be living with us. Rosa and Amparro
left back to their home countries a few months before we moved house. This new nanny was an African
American woman named Tracy. She had a very fun personality, and I always had a pleasant time when
she looked after us. She was able to drive, unlike my previous nannies, and so she would be the one who
would always pick me up from school during father’s week from that point on.
Uncle Dan had a quarrel with my father, and he was forced to move out. I would never see him again
after that. Tracy would, in a way, replace Uncle Dan as the lodger who would live at father’s house.
Early in the summer, father forced me to attend summer camp at an elementary school nearby our
new house. This school was Bay Laurel Elementary School in Calabasas. I hated the prospect, and I
vehemently protested it. The last thing I wanted to do was spend my coveted summer at a school where
I didn’t know anyone.
I was starting to like going to father’s house a lot more after moving to our lovely new house with my
exquisite new room, but this decision of father’s made me dislike my weeks there again. At mother’s
house, I had it my way more often, and that’s how I wanted to live.
I hated having to go to camp during the summer, and I was miserable at the start, but a couple weeks
into it I made friends with two brothers named Thomas and Tyler.
On mother’s week, I spent more and more time practicing skateboarding, and I had lots of playdates
with James where we would skateboard together. We also had a lot of fun playing Nintendo 64 games,
such as Donkey Kong 64, Banjo Kazooie, Banjo Tooie, James Bond Goldeneye, and many more. He also
got me interested in collecting Beanie Babies. At first I thought such a thing was very lame and girly, but
we used them to fuel our imagination and have mock battles and wars with each other. It was our secret
hobby that we told no one about.
I was relieved when summer camp ended, and once it was over my 10th
birthday arrived. I had been on this world for a decade, and what a decade it was… full of discovery, fun, and happy adventures. I
can’t say the same for the following decade.
I didn’t have a party for my 10th birthday, and I believe I celebrated it during mother’s week. We went
out with James and his family to a restaurant in the Palisades.