I'll begin with the Christianity thing.
I became a Christian sometime the age of 12. The details of the story are the kind of details that every young kid in a church knows. I was thinking about not wanting to go to hell, because that's what I've been told would happen to me when I die if I did not have Jesus in my heart. Also I was told from a very young age that people are inherently sinful and that this causes a separation from God who cannot be near sin. So we ask God for forgiveness and that's supposed to be it, we're in, we're saved. We pray the sinners prayer.
Of course, starting right then and there you enter into a much larger discourse about what religious affiliation you will have within the Church, are you going to be a Calvinist or will you believe in free-will. If you choose one or the other, some people will think you "aren't really saved." And then people start worrying about if there friend who died last week was really saved or not because, at one point they were a Christian but they have done some "backsliding" recently. Also, there is a pressure that comes from being a participant in a Church to do the Christian lifestyle the way that they think you should do it. For example the group of people in one church may think that you need to wake up at 5:00am to pray for the people around you because this is a more selfless act than if you did it on your own time. Or maybe you have to force yourself to go out and meet a stranger and tell them about Christ, like a colonizing force or something. In the last post, you mentioned "other options" that I may have had when I was young. For a Christian, or at least the Christian that I am describing, there is no such thing as another option.
I got really wrapped up in all this type of stuff and it's all very very embarrassing to me now. I don't think that this is the way we are supposed to live our lives. The funny thing is that my friends in school don't criticize me for my past. I'm usually stuck trying to avoid mentioning the past because I think that many Christians have misrepresented what Christianity is supposed to be and I don't really want to be a part of that Christianity any more. Maybe I shouldn't be too worried about it. Many of the friends I had at a church in Corvallis, Oregon have moved to Portland at the same time as me. Many of us struggle with this same phenomenon.
I don't know if I really want to get into where I stand now on all this. I can say that I haven't turned my back on everything in Christianity, but that's all I really want to say here. You might be able to beat it out of me later though if you want to.
I met Stephanie at this church. She is "generally" from Oregon. Her parents were passing through the area and I ran into her and couldn't really stop thinking about her so we made something happen. We're now married and we still enjoy hanging out together. I say she's "generally" from Oregon because her family is basically a travelling missionary family. Similar to the Paskowitz surfing family, the Markoya's travelled around the country, and into Mexico and Canada, in a small RV that slept upwards to 7 people or so. The children were all homeschooled, they rarely had money and they "lived by faith." That meant that they would just go where they felt they were supposed to go, believing that wherever they went they would be provided for. They have always been provided for, and right now they have spent nearly 6 months in Portland at a homeless house. This is a fascinating story to me and one of the only parts of my Christian past that I am not afraid to share. Daniel, the father, is a talented musician, and he usually sings and preaches wherever he goes. This is a blog that they've tried to keep up over the last 2 years but they haven't kept it up as much as they should. I could tell you hundreds of stories about the Markoya's that are really amazing, I've been thinking about asking the family to record their stories and maybe turn it into a book or something.
Wow, that took up a lot of room -
To answer your other questions: my first memory is being on a scary ride at Disneyland. I remember it in first person though. I was crying and everyone else was enjoying the ride.
Did I enjoy being at school or home more? I didn't think about it that much I guess. School was fun when I was playing basketball but I think I usually enjoyed being home more and playing video games all night long. That was the best.