I’ve spent a considerable amount of time pondering the meaning of home. You know, the home that people refer to when they say, “We’re going back home for the holidays”.
I don’t really have a home in that sense. My parents don’t live in the house I was born in, much less the house I grew up in. We moved so much that my siblings and I really don’t have a place we identify as Home in that sense. I wonder, is it the place I was born? The place we lived the most years? The place my parents live now? The place I lived when I got married?
I was born in Managua, but since my family moved away from there when I was 6 months old I have never thought much about it. Other than that it’s where I was born I’ve never felt much of a connection. If you ask me where I am from my heart answers Panama since that’s really where I spent my formative years. I imagined I would never visit Nicaragua and I wasn’t that concerned. I cavalierly passed up the offer of citizenship when I was 17 or 18, thinking, why would I do that?
When I got the opportunity to speak at the upcoming WordCamp in Managua I jumped at the chance. Mostly I love to travel. But a chance to do what I love (talk to people about WordPress) and a chance to travel back to the place where I was born? Count me in.
As the trip gets close and closer I find myself getting more and more nervous. Why, I wonder. I’m not quite sure. I’ve begun to call it home in my mind, which I find funny as I know nothing about Managua. I have no memories or connections of the place, other than the people and places my family might mention from back in a day.
It will be interesting for sure. Even as I am nervous I am so excited for this full circle experience I get to have thanks to my fantastic job.
For a bit of fun, here are some pictures I dug up from my parent’s things:
Me, as a youngster
With my Grandma Olivia, my sister Jo, and my sister Nic
With Grandma and someone I don’t know
Me, with some friends of the family I presume
At the Managua airport, my brother Nathaniel, sister Jo, Grandma, someone I don’t know holding me, my mom, and my sister Nic.
With my Grandma
With my Oma, in front of our house, I imagine, I’m in the lower left in my playpen
This river is dry more often than it has water in it so the grass grows up tall and thick during the growing season. Then when the rains come, the water mattes the grass down. Apparently this year the grass dried up and stayed smashed down. It’s such a cool effect, a river of dry grasses.
A collection of images taken on a two day getaway to Santa Fe. My husband and I took a rare and delightful trip all by ourselves and discovered loads of nooks and crannies we’ve missed during our previous visits.
Santa Fe Trail
Peru in Santa Fe
People on a wall
I spent a lovely sunny day in San Francisco. My friend Elizabeth and I walked across the Golden Gate Bridge. After an invigorating walk, we meandered over to Pier 39 and finished off at a rooftop garden in the downtown area.
In July, I spent a day and a half in Geneva with a old friend and her family. It was barely enough time to do anything, but we managed to take a lovely walk of the older area of the city, including the Cathedral where Calvin did most of his work (I got to see the chair he sat on, that was pretty cool) and a nice boat ride across the lake.
Mostly, it was amazing to hang out with this friend. She has always visited me where I live, it was great to be able to return the favor.
I visited Amsterdam in late July to meet up with some work mates, work on projects, and see the city. I had a lovely time, although a little more sun would have been awesome. Among my favorites were the visit to Anne Frank’s house, the canal tour, and our day trip to Apeldoorn and the Paleis Het Loo.
Some of the coolest things about Amsterdam:
- cobblestone streets
- bikes, bikes, everywhere
- boat parking in front of your house
- house boats
Some of the oddest things about Amsterdam:
- the *cough* manequins *cough* standing in the windows along certain streets
- the difference between Coffee Shop and Cafe
The coolest piece of trivia:
The word Loo does not mean bathroom, otherwise the Paleis Het Loo would be a silly name. Rather the word loo is an old old word meaning something along the lines of woods. So, Waterloo would be wooded area by the water (or a song by a really cool group) and Paleis Het Loo is the palace in a wooded area, which it is
Twenty-ish years ago I had my first piece of sushi and I was certain it was my last. Last night I gave it another try as a result of severe peer pressure on the part of my fellow Automatticians and let me tell you, it was delicious.
Yummy tuna and cute little scallops
Really Karen? Sushi is so delicious. It’s what all the cool kids are eating, what’s the deal? Well, I’ll tell you, I thought it was gross. Just shortly before I graduated from high school I ate a sad, rubbery piece of sushi that ended up in my napkin (delicately) and that was that. No second chances for you, sushi.
The whole experience was really quite lovely and here’s the pics to prove it:
Yummy tuna and cute little scallops
Summer in Minnesota amazes me. It’s so green and beautiful. It’s almost enough to forget how absolutely miserable it is for close to nine months of the year.
We recently spent a week in Minneapolis about a mile from Lake Calhoun, Harriet, and Lake of the Isles and, like thousands of other people, thought it would be a good idea to picnic, hike, and hang out on the trails around the lakes. Walking by this pile of bikes I thought, there’s a sure sign of summer in Minnesota.
Bikes at Lake Harriet
Here’s another favorite of mine, piles of seaweed. I remember when I was a kid, my mom and I rode our bikes around a lake in Madison, Wisconsin. We stopped at a lake, I ran into the water to cool off, and when I came out my legs were coated with green slime. That was pretty much the last time I got into a lake in the Midwest.
Last, but not least, wading pools. Can a summer go by in Minnesota without wading pools? My sister has two of these in close proximity to her house and the kids just love them. They are pretty nice for parents too, there’s a bit less panic about drowning and it’s a bit easier to keep an eye on the kids when the water is so shallow. We also check out the wading pools when we go to South Dakota. The only one who doesn’t like them is my oldest. There are always too many people around for him to really enjoy it. He’d probably love one in our backyard though.
Soaking in the Rays
Driving across Oklahoma, en route to WCKC.
Oh the random things you’ll see when out and about in Sioux Falls, SD.
We weren’t with the kids at the time and I figure, why waste a good Kitt Fisto siting? It’s not as much fun without the kids, so we went to pick them up so they could see it too.
Then, just so they could be sure to have a well rounded experience, we took a stop at The Falls where we took another photo album worthy picture.