How did I end up brewing Kombucha at 15-In Slovenia??
I grew up in Boulder, CO. We were not like any normal family. We all loved spicy Vietnamese food, always had kombucha in our refrigerator and we were all homeschooled. We absolutely loved the outdoors and spent most of our childhood traveling with our parents to lands near and far—and living and learning quite a lot along the way.
So it was a really big change when we decided to pack our bags and move to Slovenia and fall into the system. That meant school for the first time in my life. Not some International school for expats but a Slovenian Waldorf school all in Slovene. I did alright. There were obstacles. I only spoke Slovene to my grandmother a couple of times a year and this was now my new medium for all forms of expression. It was pretty challenging to decipher the new way of writing (google European cursive versus American cursive, oh my!), that they said four and twenty instead of twenty four, and to remember (and understand why?!) the symbol for energy in Physics class was a “G” instead of an “E”.
I did love the European history bit and it led me to delve into documentaries on the life of Louis XIV on my own (all the wigs and high heels and his eccentricity). Yet all they wanted me to know on the test was the “important info” that is the dates of Louis XIV’s reign and what he was known as by others (“the sun God”).
To be honest, it just wasn’t for me. Back home in Boulder I was weaving baskets out of prairie grass that grew in my backyard, attending crazy outdoor survival classes, and progressing nicely in Algebra on Khan Academy. Now, all of a sudden I was sitting at a desk 6 hours a day with a teacher guiding my every move pouring “important info” into me so that I could pour it right back at her. My creative self was bursting at the seams and trying to get out. But I did it. I finished the year. And though I did meet some kind-hearted people along the way and my teachers tried to encourage me to continue into tenth grade, I knew that it wasn’t helping me to be a better version of myself. I didn’t want to be an actor in someone else’s play.
My creative self was bursting at the seams and trying to get out
I’ve always been a master improviser. When I was eight I made a working fishing rod out of tinker toys and a sewing needle. I crocheted a fishing net myself (and yes I actually caught a bass with it!). I had all these crazy inventions I was working on from a coconut opener to a custom-designed propping gadget for your phone, to alternative umbrellas.
Then I thought to myself what’s one thing that can I really make an impact with. What do I really love? What do I really miss about home? KOMBUCHA! Yessss! So began my love affair. I ordered some SCOBYs online and then I started brewing right away at my dad’s office. My, did I experiment. I made some pretty crazy flavors and (there are still some remnants of pink and purple geysers on his walls :)) Let’s just say many of them were “interesting” and some were great- but mostly they were inconsistent.
Finally, after about two years of experimenting and testing and testing some more, I came up with two flavors that I liked. I decided to stick with one, to start, so I could perfect it. I started giving samples to friends and family, and to my surprise most everyone liked it. Here I am at 17 years old, sharing this life-giving sparkling bit of joy with you. I'm doing it. Trusting my gut and forging my own path. It gets pretty challenging sometimes but I keep pushing forward. Whatever the outcome, I'm confident this is where I need to be right now-couldn’t be happier!