I've been recovering from the flu. Feeling a bit better. But last night, my goddess, the back of my head felt as if it would crack or how do glaciers do it... calve, the back of my head would calve off. Damn. Somehow I managed to wake up, clean my computer, make food, coffee, download footage for my presentation, drive to San Francisco, conduct a welding demonstration, finish my presentation, and facilitate a collective exchange at the Santa Cruz Museum of Art on Migrations and now I'm home and wow.
I am really amazed by the openness of the guests. Several teachers, some retired ladies and then the museum staff. I gave an average presentation, did a silly dance, then joined the guests at their table to talk more intimately about migration.
Everyone had a story. A story about finding home. One woman claimed to have no story until asked again and then she did have a story. I can remember it now. She has lived here her entire life. But her father was a navy man. He took her mother and the children to San Francisco and then when he was about to go out to sea again, mother said "you're not leaving me in San Francisco," so they moved to Santa Cruz. She's Finnish. Her mother did not teach her the language except for "wash the dishes with me." I see white butterflies against lavender when I think of her.
The dancer and his English professor wife that live in Watsonville and teach at Cabrillo. He doesn't feel attached to place, but through dance he finds himself in space. She went back to Ireland where her people are from and had a life altering experience that convinced her we can have memory beyond ourselves... Oh yes, let us talk more of this!
The German man that has migrated more in the states then before in his homeland who found a poem by TS Elliot and read it to us off his phone.
She who has been cultivating community in multiple states and drawing back further in her migration stories, talking without words with her relatives in Mexico.
The boy whose family for five generations in England yet he finds himself here now. He knows they lost relatives in the camps but they never knew them. His family was safe. His mothers surname will disappear with her. It was a figment of immigration.
She is Portuguese, Cuban and Irish. Her grandmother thought she was going to Brazil but ended up in Boston. How different the lives become.
And the woman who can finally call this place her home, after 38 years. She is embracing her gratitude and feeling roots grow as her family surrounds her here.
He came from the Philippines 10 years ago and respects and honors his mother, her labor, her careful, calculated, determined effort to bring her young son to a place he can be safe and more free.
And the birder, who dances across the room to show past migration patterns, though lately, given the choice, he stays now, here, as we do, to share and to build a deeper sense of belonging.
I really loved our conversation. I don't know if people were satisfied or what they expected. I found that we had so much more to talk about. Language and place and loss and subnational states. Where to next?
I feel as though something has started. I know I will need to keep swimming in it for a while as I usually do. But now as I turn to dive sideways into the pool I feel like I have fellow swimmers. Which is good to know as the water is deep.