From the Pacific Coast of Southern Chile to Northern Washington, I sure have put on many miles! Feeling blessed to have been received and reconnect with my BEAUTIFUL family here on the West Coast USA. Arriving in LA was sure a transition from living in quaint adobe structures and tents to LA lifestyle. But being picked up by my loving Aunt Thereze and her husband John sure made the transition more tolerable.
After a couple days in LA, I took a beautiful train south to reunite with my loving, generous and AWESOME grandparents in Oceanside, CA (north of San Diego).
Am so so so blessed and grateful to spend some fun time catching up and adventuring with them. There in San Diego, I picked up Pacifico, my first car!! Thanks to Grandma and Grandpa, I now have an adventure-mobile to drive up the coast, reconnect with more friends and family, and continue exploring future career moves and opportunities.
Having family and friends about every 5 hours up the whole Pacific Coast sure makes travel fun, especially alone! Having worked so much and being involved with so many (awesome) projects while studying at UMass, am feeling blessed to have the time to explore the world of opportunities, projects, and inspiring work out there.
It is also a great time to reflect on all that I’ve learned, articulate my goals and ideas for future projects and studies, and connect with others doing inspiring work in the local agriculture movement. This time has been wonderful to reflect on how deeply grateful I am for my education and influential mentors at UMass, especially John Gerber and Ruth Hazzard.
After making a short but sweet trip for a long overdue visit, hike, and some laughs with my cousin Mike, I left Southern Cali and headed for the great north! In central/northern California I had a blast reconnecting with some former house-mates and great friends. Andy Mullin is doing some great farm work in a cool little ag-town in the Bay area in Pescadero, CA at Blue House Farm. It was a treat to spend a few fun days together catching up, picking apples, and laughing. While in the Bay area, I visited one of the most inspiring student farms in our country, at UC Santa Cruz. At this farm, they have over 40 apprentices and an impressive operation…experiential education at its finest! Felt a deep connection with this project and hope to work with it some day in the future.
Excited to have a friend who just crossed the country on his BICYCLE…Ryan Dunn and I met in the glorious Redwood Forest and camped for a few days at Humboldt Redwoods State Park. What a beautiful place for our paths to cross, to catch up, go for great hikes, see some bears, share some incredible meals cooked by a campfire, and soak up LOTS of sun by the Eel River. It takes great strength, determination, stamina and an open, loving mind and heart to accomplish what Ryan has and I’m grateful to have such productive and hard-working friends. Although many of us are off doing different things, we all share the search for a greater purpose or calling.
With my cousin Dustin’s wedding in Bellingham, WA as my destination to celebrate with family, I continued northward and made a stop in Eugene OR. Knowing that I’d be back in Oregon for a conference, I kept moving so I could squeeze in a few quality days with my super fun-loving Uncle John in Seattle. Although his hard-working world-traveling partner Allan was out of town, John and I had some fun exploring Seattle, visiting his favorite farmers market, and cooking some fabulous, fresh meals together.
In Seattle we had a pre-wedding weekend reunion with some more Berquists…with my cousin Lisa’s new sweet little ones…the family is growing!
Since I’ve never been north of San Francisco, I’ve loved every minute checking out the Pacific Northwest. Arriving in Bellingham, I couldn’t believe the landscape around me. Incredible views of Mt Baker, the San Juan Islands, and thick evergreen forests…what a great place for a family to unite and my cousin to get married.
Am SO happy and excited for Dustin and happy to welcome Emily to our family. A beautiful ceremony and celebration weekend filled with laughs and dancing!
THANK YOU everyone who made it a great time and
CONGRATULATIONS EMILY & DUSTIN!
After a few fun days with my Aunt Mary and Uncle Grant exploring their homeland of Bellingham, mountain bike rides to the State Park, hiking, and camping at the breathtaking Mt. Baker, I began to shift my focus for my next move…Corvallis, Oregon!
Synchronistically, the Sustainable Ag Education Association (SAEA…check them out!) had their 5th annual conference at Oregon State University. With this year’s theme being Campus Food Systems, I was eager to particiapte in any way I could..as a volunteer, participant and helping facilitate some engaging discussions during our “open space” sessions…what a success! A great venue to connect with productive people doing great work!
At the conference, we visited some local student farm models and enjoyed a 5 star local meal at the “grange”…if we’re going to talk about farm fresh and local food so much we had to practice eating it too 🙂
Inspired by the leaders, incredible organization, countless projects and research, I am . Grateful for this time to explore these opportunities and make new friends. One of the most valuable experiences are the in-between times, not necessarily during the workshops but the mingling between sessions or on busrides to visit the farms. These conversations can lead to collaborations and bright futures.
It is when one asks, “so what do you do?” or “why are you here?” you really articulate your goals and listen to others share their passions. Excited about what the future may bring, looking to deepen and explore my experience with agriculture education at the university level, I am hoping to continue my education both in and out of school.
Hoping to make it back to the east, my home coast, at least for a visit in the near future. Am missing my mom and dad, friends, and LUCY (my kitty!) Am so grateful to have places and people I miss (south prospect street!), more places to discover, and a world of opportunity ahead. Although confusing at times, I am confident that things will work out the way they’re supposed to and try to remember this and give thanks with a deep breath each morning.
THANK YOU to my dear friends and family who’ve supported me so much, opened their homes and hearts welcoming me back to the USA, shared laughs and good times.
LOTS OF LOVE! 🙂