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  • Writer's pictureMaria Vandenburg

Don't Forget your Roots my Friend...

So my time in the Pacific Northwest is winding down. I know I will be back, but I am off to my "personal gas station" of London for a few years of re-energizing and re-fueling.

That being said, I have found the need to close certain chapters of my life to open the door to new possibilities. This has been happening A LOT.

The most recent example is the last 24 hours that I have spent in the fabulous city of Portland, Oregon.

Originally I was supposed to see my favorite New Zealand band Six60 – whose song inspired the title of this blog entry. Unfortunately, they had Visa issues and had to cancel the tour - I am convinced I will still see them again someday, though.

I had plans with my cousin and one of my childhood best friends so I decided to head down to Portland anyway.

Do I still need to pack? Yup.

Do I still need to sort through my entire life and decide what stuff I am keeping and what I am releasing/letting go of? Yup

Did it really make a ton of sense for me to go to Portland for 24 hours when I physically fly out of Seattle in less than 5 days and pretty much need to get through everything? Nope

But did I know that I needed to go? Duh.

So I find myself with one of my childhood best friends Jesse as well as my “right hand” as I like to call her – Jessica (we used to work together back when I worked in radio at Entercom and had really great synergy working together, plus, I love her).

Anyway, I introduced Jesse to Jessica and we did a tour of the Clinton neighborhood.

The evening felt like I was spending time with my unofficial Portland family, and I loved that.

Then yesterday – well yesterday was one for the birds.

I hung out with my cousin Deonne (who I think the last time I really had a quality conversation with was about 10 years ago, so we were long overdue).

It was just so nice to be able to spend time with her and get to know her a little bit better.

We have family in Verboort, Oregon.

A few years ago I ended up in Ellis Island in New York and learned that the Dutch side of the family (my mothers side) entered the US through Ellis Island. I didn’t realize that when I was there – but loved that I walked in the same steps/places that they did when they first entered the Country.

Fast forward to the present – I was able to find and locate the grave of the woman that I am named after - my Great Great Great Grandmother – Mary N Vanderven.

The other really cool part about it, was that I confirmed that Mary was indeed my Great Great Great Grandmother by a random email from from someone who is related to my Great Grandmothers second husband John. Random? Probably Not. I needed to know what Mary’s (or Nettie as she went by) last name was – and Janice (the person who emailed me back on confirmed that my Great Grandmothers maiden name was Vanderven.

This happened literally 20 minutes before Deonne and I hit the road to go and visit the Catholic church and the family cemetery.

I love that we got sit at her grave and pay our respects to the woman that I am named after.

And what did all of this spark?

The desire to know more… (of course, haha).

I’m so curious about my family. My Mom’s side, my Dad’s side, my Grandfather’s side, all of it.

Hopefully someday all of my questions will be answered, but I’m me and I have a million lol (as anyone that knows me at all can attest to).

It was the best to not only get to spend some quality time with my cousin and other PDX fam, but also to get the chance to really honor/meet our ancestors.

I loved it.

And the view from the train on the way back to Seattle wasn't all that bad either



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