I have been called many names…

Chanel is the name I was born with, it’s also not an easy name to pronounce if there is no sh sound in your language. I have been called Channel, Chanelle and surprisingly Jahnel. My family also have different names, but Nel seems to be the prevalent option over the years.

I was born and raised on a tropical island in 14.2710° S, 170.1322° W.

I am your atypical third generation European-Polynesian, it has been an interesting adventure.  I do speak some Samoan and English is my first language even if it is fob (fresh, off, there are many slangs to describe those moments).  Fa’asamoa is another part of my life that goes beyond culture and most stereotypes of rural isolated life. It’s the understanding that respect for each other and your leaders are guaranteed through the mutual collaboration of the betterment of everyone. This, of course, is a rant for another time, the quick notes version: Fa’asamoa means to listen to your parents and older siblings, they can still throw stuff at you ;).

I grew up with a couple of forward thinking parents who exposed myself and my siblings to thinking for ourselves at an early age. I mean my dad taught us how to count using Blackjack and Dominoes. Reading was a past time we enjoyed (well 3 out of 4, the youngest learned through DVD subtitles), book reports in the Summer before family vacations and Encyclopedia reports on countries or historical topics.  Yes, we had an Encyclopedia, Britannica from the 1980’s, a gift from older cousins who graduated high school.

Our first computer was this boxy Apple I don’t even remember what we did on it besides pretend we could type, I was 7ish at the time. We had 3 other models after that one before Window’s XP and HP created the “affordable” home PC. We didn’t play any cool games like Oregon Trail, nope, it was some weird education game with a Halloween theme.  Dial-Up is terrible, simply terrible. I have no idea how we lasted between ‘98 and ‘06 before we got broadband.  Patiently on our tiny island, we learned to type, figure out Word & Powerpoint, used Paint to make those weird looking artworks. I still cringe when I look through my old stuff.

I have been blessed to be able to travel often with family and on group event trips.  I have visited New Zealand, Australia, Tonga and about 16 of 50 states (not including layovers in airports). I have a goal to at least visit all the states and travel the Lincoln Highway, and visit some places internationally of course. I know it might not seem like much compared to others, but I’ve clocked over 1mil in miles before I was 18. Lots of chocolate covered macadamia nuts were bought to cover the excess absent days.

The adventure is far from over, I hope to continue to travel and visit different places or just chill at the beach.  I hope to help influence the future with my nieces and nephews.  An awesome lyric sums up my hopes and dreams, “My aspiration in life, is to be Happy.”