Spring break, 2018

Day 1: Grandparents.

After climbing off the plane, one of my first stops was to see my grandparents. My grandfather hasn't been well recently, owing to him growing old. It was nice to see them, as I only get the rarest of chances.

Day 2, Morning: Sunday Morning Museum

Now a habit more than anything else, I visit the Seattle Museum of Connections, formerly the Seattle Telecommunications Museum, for my dosage of history. This is special in that instead of it being a traditional museum, it's something of a time capsule, preserved in place.

The museum itself is the remains of a Bell System central switching office, or "CO", where many calls would be routed for the lower seattle area. Founded by two employees of Northwestern Bell in the latter half of the 1980s, the museum is one of an envisioned three, in conjunction with the Pioneers network, a volunteer network created to embody the needs of communities served by the telephone network.

The museum serves as a historic marker, reminding older generations of what it means to make movement forward in a fundamentally revlutionary system such as that of the telephone network, while giving younger generations a chance to see and learn about the past, maybe enough to glean some knowledge of the mistakes and lessons learned by those who came before them.

If anything, the phone museum represents, for me, a certain mecca. I grew up reading the works of Bell Labs, and the fact that there exists a tiny shrine to the wizardry that Bell's people practiced with the phone system is a special feeling for me. Listening to the conversations there, I find somewhere where a tidbit of my knowledge is useful, or where I can learn something new just by observing the people around me and what they are doing or saying.

Day 2, Afternoon: Pike Place

Sunday Afternoon, I took a trip to Pike Place market, a mecca of sorts, visiting a few stalls I've been going to for some time. Pike Place market is a loud, bustling arcade that takes some time to go through. Seafood vendors hock their watery wares while fresh fruit and vegetable vendors offer samples of their produce to passers-by in an effort to get a few customers.

You don't realize how densely packed Pike Place is until you get stuck in the crowds. There are literally hundreds of people crammed into the small upper alleyway, while more leisurly sales are made down below in the lower arcades.

Day 5: An interview

For a class assignment, I've been tasked with doing a topical piece on someone. A project, if you will. Madison Scott-Clary, a long time internet acquaintance, has been a wonderful light of hope in my life, and I wanted to explore an aspect of what I saw as a magical thing in the world in that glimpse of time.

Madison has been an acquaintence of mine on the internet for some time now. She's been one of the people who encouraged me to push through my personal struggles and find ways of making things work. I reached out to her for my photojournalism class this semester, and she agreed to do an interview with me.
Madison has a way with her demeanor and words that I hope others pick up. She encourages others, putting on a smile. It was wonderful to break bread and talk about many things before getting into the gritty details of my project.

Dinner with friends

Extraordinary Least Squares, a hacker household in Seattle, holds dinner for friends where all sorts of folks come to the table and bring food, discussion, and commentary on the world. At ELS dinners, you bring yourself first and foremost, a trait that I appreciate. I've enjoyed having dinner with them for some time when I spend my summers there, but it's always nice to keep in touch.

Intermezzo: A Cherry blossoms.

Staying in Bellevue, WA has its perks. One of them is the amazing cherry blossoms that line the streets as the spring comes in to full speed. The blossoms, a symbol of life in Japanese culture, are a fitting beginning to the season. The blossoms are a special moment in Spring, a moment I take and cherish for the few minutes that I typically notice them.

Cherry blossoms represent, for me, that special moment when you're willing to slow down and take the time to get to know the environment you're in.

Saturday: A visit to the Virgina V

Two friends of mine, both associated with Least Squares in some way, work on the Virginia V historic steamboat, moored in Seattle's South Lake Union. John, aka Pirate, is an engineer, running the engine and keeping it in full shape. He's a large fellow, but moves with the grace of an angel as he works in the confined spaces of the engine.

On the other side of things is Ed. Ed is a docent onboard the ship, showing visitors around and giving them a view of the history that sits in the harbor. Ed was going to be a part of my photojournalism class' final project, but upon some thought deserves a whole segment on their own.

Coming to a close: heading home

Sunday afternoon, I went back home to Albuquerque. My returns are, as usual, bittersweet. Seattle and Bellevue really do feel like home to me, and it feels so wonderful to return there. Albuquerque is a place I can survive in -- a place where I can exist, if not simply because I've learned to adapt.