Lin and I have known each other for…..well, ever and have honestly not lived that far apart (relatively speaking) for all those years. But both of us seem always to have been busy with work, raising kids and…. time flies and you suddenly realize it’s been years since we’ve spent much time at all with each other. I’d met her wonderful daughter, Alva when she was very young (about 5 or 6 or so). But while I was living at Lins’ house in Oakland recently, I had the great opportunity to get to know her really for the first time…..and I had so much fun!
Alva is a recent Berkeley grad, an incredibly talented and inventive designer of fashions geared toward people with disabilities (for which she is starting her own business), a lively and interesting writer of blogs, particularly this one:
….and she’s a whole heck of a lot of fun to hang out with!
I spent some time with her at the apartment she’s just recently moved in to, helping her get things organized (something I love to do). It was fun talking and laughing with her about this and that while we worked on the organizing. She showed me some of the designs she’s created. Wow. Very stylish. Very smart, creative designs. She’s in the process of setting up a website for her fashions (I’ll keep you updated on that as it progresses).
One day Alva needed a ride to a conference at which she was speaking. Lin had to be at work that day, so I took her car which accommodates a wheelchair and she took my car to work (fun times, huh, Lin?!) and I drove Alva to the conference. Along the way we had great conversations and lots of laughter. Alva’s been speaking at conferences since she was 8 years old so she’s really a seasoned pro. She injects humor into her speaking right away, engages people’s interest and puts everyone right at ease. Here she is at the conference.
For nearly ten years now she’s been speaking annually to second year doctors-in-training at UC San Francisco Medical School, the topic of the class being (I’m quoting Alva now) “…. ‘Life cycles: from birth to grave.’ They cover all of the life phases and for each one they have a guest speaker come in and talk about their life. I started when I was 14, during ‘Teen Week.’ I always talk about my life being born with and growing up with cerebral palsy, with a focus on the fact that I have never had surgery, am not on any medications, and don’t have seizures, all of which are very rare for someone with CP. I discuss and show examples of all of the activities and sports I have done over the years. When I got to college, I also expanded the talk to include sexuality and sexual health.” She enjoys her speaking career and hopes to continue it for years to come.
So, here’s this lovely young woman on the rooftop of her great apartment….
….with these glorious views…..
And here’s Alva announcing her intentions for starting her own fashion line (and showing off some of her great designs!):
What can I say ~ I’m a fan!