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The Double Meaning behind the blog title 'Dream Follower:'
First, for 14 years I was a ballroom & social dance instructor, and have studied both leading and following. I feel that learning to follow is full of nuance and is often misunderstood. I made it one of my personal goals to become a really excellent follow on the dance floor, and will probably talk a lot about the art of following - both in and out of the context of dance.

Second, I am a huge fan of author Michael Ende, probably best known for The Neverending Story. The book is incredible, and the first film captured some of the essence. (Please don't watch the other two films...I urge you to read the book though!) Anyway, at least twice in my life I have been caught in a storm of my own indecision, and my inner Moon Princess yelled to my inner Bastian...'Why don't you do what you dream?' I tear up even now as I write this little blurb. The tension between being practical, keeping my feet on the ground and my head out of the clouds (at the risk of compromising my inner vibrancy, true self, and who knows what else)...and reaching for my true dreams (at the risk of losing everything) is still a very real struggle. In fact, one of those struggles lead to my 14 years of teaching dance, so we can see which voice won the battle that fateful day when I was staring at the want-ad...

And so I strive to be two kinds of Dream Followers in my life. One has to do with connecting with others, and the other has to do with connecting with my inner Moon Princess and the world of possibility that opens when I do...

Tuesday, April 1, 2014

a simple question

In normal conversations, people ask a simple ice-breaker question sometimes.

"So where are you from?" they ask, expecting a simple answer.

some days, I just say 'Upstate New York, how about you?' and that is where I spent the longest chunk of time consecutively, from age 9 to 18.

Where am I from is a discussion most people wouldn't want to start in the context of a cocktail party where your one word answers are met with smiles and nods. So I lie, to spare us all a much more involved conversation that only prompts more questions.

why do people ask that anyway? what does it generate? is it about categorizing by coast/state/education/accent/religion/what? is it about finding common ground? like oh, my college room mate was from there so now I feel somehow like I know you because I knew her?

In any case, I was born in Colorado where we lived until I was three and a half. Then we moved to India for six months. After India we lived in Germany for three years. For one year we lived in northern California, and then we bounced on back to Germany and then Austria. We did a bit of other travel too like a trip to Italy and a bit of time in Oregon, but those were trips.

no, my father was not in the military.

My father will take a different spot in this story entirely.

Once we moved back to the US, being the new kid on the block was not a thing of the past either...starting in one school for 2 years, homeschooled for a year, private school for junior high and then public school for the last three years of high school meant I was still a new face fairly often.

I don't mean to sound like I'm complaining. These are just facts about my life, and they are all experiences that have taught me incredible things. I am grateful I speak German, and lucky to have such a colorful background. I have met so many interesting people.

It taught me empathy, or maybe just enhanced my natural ability in that department.  I connect with awkwardness in others.

I'm intimately familiar with awkward. Not knowing the language somewhere teaches humility for sure.

Anyway, it's still broad strokes, but even the shortest truthful answer to the simplest question 'where am I from' is sometimes longer than someone wants to hear and sometimes longer than I care to get into so it's just faster to say where I grew up and be done.


  1. Hi. I'm from California.
    Usually that's all people want to hear anyway. OoO, movie stars, surfers, skateboarders.
    I was born and raised in the desert though. But, where am I from? I'm from the mountains, I'm from the wild places I visited growing up.

  2. Yes...where someone is from doesn't really get to the important stuff and is mostly misleading somehow. Like even when I say Upstate NY, people think Manhattan. It's a big state, NY...

    I'd love to read more about the wild places when you're feeling less sudafed-y :-P

    1. The wild places...
      The rocks, red and gold in the desert sun, rising up from the barren land of Joshua Tree National Park.
      The cool, swift, waters of the Russian River in Northern California.
      The towering mesas, fading in and out as mirages, across the dust blown mountains and valleys of New Mexico.
      Kennedy Meadows. The Kings River. Mammoth. The Sierra as a whole, and the winding paths of the Pacific Crest and John Muir trails.
      The towering sand mountains of Eureka Sand Dunes.