My Earliest Memory in Nature​

Hello! My name is Shannon Urabe (pronounced as oo-raw-bay) and my pronouns are she/her. I’ve asked a couple people what my last name means, and most people have translated it as, “ocean” and “along” or “side.” So it very, very, very roughly translates to shoreline (I think…no one has been able to give me a clear answer¯\_(ツ)_/¯). As for my first name, my mom named me after the character Shannon in the movie called Far and Away, because she liked how they pronounced Shannon with an Irish accent.

I am not from Seattle or Washington. I’m what you call a “new wave” Seattleite–a transplant.

I was born and raised in the beach town of Kailua on the island of Oahu, and studied Sociology, Asian American Studies, and Media in New York City. I am the youngest (by nine minutes!) of 3 children. I have a twin brother (not identical), and an older sister. My sarcastically, punny father works with computers, and my sweet, sweets-baker mother works as a dietitian. During my younger years, while my parents worked long workdays and sometimes even weekends, I also grew up with music thanks to my grandma and found a fond respect for nature thanks to my papa.

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PC: Saburo Ito, my grandpa

My earliest memories of nature are in my papa’s garden. His yard was FILLED with flowers. I remember running along the pebbled and wood planked paths surrounding his pots of orchids and epidendrums. My siblings, cousins, and I used to play hide and seek, pretend we were horses or earth benders in that garden. In the summers, my grandparents had us help to tend to that garden. We would pick up fallen leaves and remove weeds. I loved that garden. My grandfather also made leis on the side. He used to collect his special yellow and red epidendrums in a recycled tofu container. I remember watching as he would carefully shower each flower in mist and string them through a long needle onto a string. After making about 10 leis, he would take it to a flower shop in town to be sold to customers celebrating graduations or welcoming their loved ones as they came back from a trip to the mainland (what we call the North American continent). Flowers, gardens, my grandfather’s backyard, my backyard. That’s where my earliest memory of nature begins.

BY SHANNON URABE

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Epidendrums

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