Today I turn 40 years old! I’m both excited and grateful to be here and to have an opportunity to reflect on my life.

I think I do this on every birthday, but being today a milestone one, I feel especially compelled to take a moment to look back and reflect on what have been the key moments during these past 40 years.

As a result, I’ve put together a life list with some of the most defining moments that helped shape who I am. These moments include both highlights, fun facts, as well as challenges, but overall, they have all had a significant impact on my upbringing and perspectives.

There is no particular order or rank of importance, but rather a compilation of life facts and things that I may not have shared otherwise.

  1. I was born in Evanston, IL and my parents are Bolivian.
  2. During my early years growing up in the US, I spoke both Spanish and English and had a heavy American accent whenever I tried to speak Spanish as a child.
  3. I later moved to Bolivia and Spanish became my main language so I now have a Spanish accent when I speak in English.
  4. I grew up in different parts of the world, living in the US, Argentina, Mozambique, Bolivia, and Cuba.
  5. I learned gymnastics as a child until one day I fell and had a double fracture on my heel and smallest toe, that was the end of my gymnastics training….
  6. I started playing the piano by ear at the age of 5 after listening to my mother’s bedtime lullabies: “The most beautiful girl in the world….is Fabiana…my Fabiana….”
  7. I was a vegetarian for 3 years during my teenage years.
  8. I was relentless at practicing the piano, especially during my teenage years growing up. in Cuba; whenever we had power outages (which happened quite frequently), I sat at the piano with a lantern strapped on top of my head so I wouldn’t have to stop practicing.
  9. I was in a TV commercial as a child for the Bolivian ice cream brand called “Helados Panda.”
  10. Growing up in Cochabamba, I danced in a Bolivian folk group called “Caporales de San Simon” and loved it.
  11. To celebrate my 15th birthday year, my mom organized a trip to Cuba with my best friends from school and I had so much fun.
  12. My parents divorced when I was a child and music became a source of solace and refuge for me.
  13. I grew up in a wonderful music school in Cochabamba, Bolivia called Instituto Eduardo Laredo, and was encouraged to practice as long as I needed to – even when this meant replacing normal school days to be able to practice!
  14. I won several piano competitions in Bolivia and in the US.
  15. I met my husband, William, also a pianist, in Cuba while attending a piano competition and neither one of us was competing.
  16. When we met, I took a picture on that same day (thinking I’d never see him again since I lived in Bolivia at the time), so we have a picture from the day we met back in 1996!
  17. I completed two high school degrees since I finished my Bolivian studies at the Instituto Laredo while also pursuing my Cuban studies at the Escuela Nacional de Arte.
  18. My husband and I have pursued all our music degrees together under full scholarships.
  19. I traveled to Spain in my 20’s and spent about a month there studying piano, meeting new people, and sightseeing, while only sleeping about 4 hours per day –  and it didn’t feel weird!
  20. I once experienced so much pain that I ended up in an ambulance to the ER and almost lost my gallbladder.
  21. I have learned a lot about natural medicine and love all things related to holistic healing.
  22. My all-time favorite color is purple.
  23. I love nature and as a kid, I sometimes thought I’d be a biologist of some sort.
  24. I started my first business, Superior Academy of Music, around my 30th birthday.
  25. I’ve now started my second business, as a business coach for musicians, around my 40th birthday.
  26. I believe in the power of our minds and setting intentions to create our life.
  27.  I created a University music entrepreneurship program and helped musicians develop their careers and launch music businesses, just like I did when I was a doctoral music student.
  28. One of my all-time favorite books is A New Earth by Eckard Tolle.
  29. So far as an adult, I’ve never dressed up for Halloween, except when my husband and I organized a special dress-up day for our music academy students.
  30. As an adult, I was featured on national television (PBS) twice as an entrepreneur with my music school.
  31. When I was about to give birth to my first son, I went through a long and arduous labor process with my midwife and came really close to needing a C-section, but ended up delivering my son the moment the obstetrician walked into my delivery room.
  32. I experienced 3 miscarriages between my first and second sons, and this was incredibly difficult and heartbreaking.
  33. My second child’s delivery was incredibly smooth and completely medication free – a true victory for me, especially after so many struggles before him.
  34. After starting my business and having my first child, I spent several years without practicing piano and this created a deep void in my life.
  35. I’m now deeply committed to finding a way to build my artistry into my business and helping my clients do the same.
  36. I’m very interested in the powerful effects of meditation and do it every day.
  37. I don’t exercise enough and consider this one of my greatest areas of growth (ask my trainer…)
  38. When I listen to the piano and especially when I play it, I feel alive, inspired, and powerful.
  39. One time in the middle of my piano performance as a soloist with a symphony orchestra, my pearl necklace broke and fell on top of my dress half inside and half outside, so I had to finish playing the concerto with half of my necklace hanging over my dress.
  40. One of my all-time favorite songs is “Endless Stars” by Fred Hersch, but in reality, I have too many favorites to count.

It’s been so wonderful to be able to reflect on all these pieces of my life. Through the highs and the lows, I’m grateful for having been able to grow and learn from these experiences. I feel that they have helped me become who I am. I experience gratitude on a daily basis and feel incredibly fortunate to have created everything I have done in my life.

Today I celebrate being alive, being healthy, having my wonderful family and friends, and being able to support and inspire my incredible clients and students.

Thank you for sharing this day with me. By reading this you are also becoming a part of my story. I am sending you a virtual hug and I look forward to being able to share and support you too as you continue to create your life story.

And one more for good luck… 41) This Sunday, Nov. 15th, I am giving my first virtual recital and will be sharing the works and career ventures of three amazing women musicians.