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A Trip To Explore My Country, My family, And My Story

What the what!?! I haven’t posted since before I left for my April trip to Venezuela! I have a lot to catch up on.

It was transformative. I came back with lessons that I have always known in my mind driven into my heart and into practice. The trip had many planned purposes – for my partner to experience my wonderful and extensive extended family; for my immediate family to get the chance to travel together as adults and share with each other in completely new ways; to have one last chance to share with the beloved matriarch of our family, my Abuela Teresita; and to rediscover a country that inspired the dreams and creativity of my youth. We accomplished it all and so much more in the span of just a few weeks. A few lessons learned:

  • There is never enough time. Everyone feels this way when the end gets near. Everyone close to someone approaching the end of their life feels this way. Sharing openly, freely, and often with the family and friends in my life is a priority that cannot ever be pushed aside.
  • If I cannot be utterly myself with the people that are genetically obligated to love me then who can I be myself with? Life is too short to be anything else.
  • Hammocks make everything better.
  • Most of my personality is genetic, if you have a problem with it take it up with the loudly laughing, enthusiastic, wildly gesturing army of Muller-Kargers that have preceded me.
  • All Venezuelans, male and female alike, apparently think that Caley is best thing to happen to their country since arepas were first made out of cornmeal. I wouldn’t be surprised if they put him on their currency with “El Guapo” printed under his visage.
  • Art gives culture identity. It is important. It will always be important. It is important that I feed into that with all of the ability I have.
  • Emotion and thought are communicated in far more ways than speech. It is always possible to communicate despite any barrier.
  • As Americans we are profoundly lucky, I must respect the gifts that come with that luxury and remember they are not birthrights but things that must be protected and refined all the time.
  • Our planet is spectacular. Everywhere we turn there is wonder to be had. From Tepuis in the Venezuelan rain forest to Washington’s Olympic mountains. I will not just seek out that wonder while abroad. I will seek it out in my everyday life and live in awe of my home. I will protect it, learn from it, and inspire others to see it.
  • I heart papaya…and I think it hearts me too.

By far, the highlight of this trip was working in my grandmother’s glass enameling studio once again. She taught me so much and is with me in spirit as I work everyday. Here are some of the images from the studio that sparked so much of my desire to do what I do:

For the rest of the photos from our trip to Venezuela please follow the three links below: