westward ho

Some friends of mine live in the Westport area of Kansas City, across the street from a marker which notes the Oregon Trail, the Santa Fe Trail, and the California Trail. For many people in North America during the 19th century, their resolve to migrate west was tested there.

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So it is for us, with two little girls ready to travel. Our oldest is eager to live in hotels again, because they promise TVs, room service, and jacuzzi pools. She was done with KC as soon as she got her fill of fresh snow. Our youngest has been missing the ocean, especially the seals. She's asked, "When do we go home?" just about ever since we arrived in KC.

A woman from Kansas a few days ago made a few rather hostile remarks about how Californians feel about seals -- right after my little girl got through declaring how much she loves seals and whales.

Unforgivably callous. Intolerably ignorant. Not entirely unexpected. In other words, par for the course. I'm sorry to have to feel that kind of resignation, but it is entirely realistic. I bit my tongue to avoid making an offhand retort about "fly over zone". After all, parts of the Midwest are highly recommended.

Two bright spots have made these past 10 months worthwhile...

One is my team in the Analytics department at Adknowledge -- a.k.a., "Team Mendota". Those people have been a joy and and honor to work among. In addition to several contributions to R, Hadoop, AWS, RightScale, and points inbetween, we've made big strides in methods for having statisticians and developers working side-by-side on "Big Data" projects -- with tangible results. Frankly, I would have left much soon (supra 3 yr old tugging daddy's heartstrings) if it had not been for how much I appreciate this team. Flo, Chris, Nathan, Chun, Bill, Shan, Vicky, Margi, David, Gaurav -- I wish you all very well. My regret is that I did not get to work with you long enough.

The other is our collective friends and families in the area, met through our kids -- mostly because of their school, Global Montessori Academy. My wife has served on the board there. The teachers and just everyone involved have been amazing. Not sure quite how that place emerged here inside of KC, and I'd be hard-pressed to believe that anything much like it exists between Chicago and Austin... but GMA and the people associated will be missed.

I found myself thinking, many many times while living here in KC, "How can I teach my daughters about the principles in which I believe, if I cannot live them here?" GMA actually does represent those principles. Highly recommended.

For everyone else, see you back on the Left Coast!