Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Promising Beginning

I arrived late last night in my family's hometown of Iola, KS. While I've never personally called it 'home', it certainly feels like family here. The basement of the house has become my headquarters so I have space to stretch out and work, and the ping pong table has become my workspace. On one half is my computer apparatus (complete with headset, external HDD, Time Capsule, and other gadgets) and the other half is home to the slide scanner, notebooks, and stickies.

After arriving here around 4pm, I sat around with family members and enjoyed the usual Mentzer pastimes - football, cheese plates, and talking about the grandkids (me as well as my cousin's kids). As the Regehrs and younger Pumphreys began to make their way out it grew quieter and out came the tea. I spoke briefly with my uncle Craig and his wife Denise (who own the family farm here in Iola) as well as my aunt Sherryl and uncle Darren (the California-dwellers are here until about the 5th) about getting some stories. Many of the pictures I'll be scanning are not solely for a professional goal - some of them are my family's personal history, and I want to learn the context for the pictures just as much as I want to learn the who and where of them.

While a sizable portion of my visit is family-oriented, I am also here to develop my own skills and work on the undigitized portion of my grandfather's slide collection. For a time he was in the Philippines working for a co-op to assess and help develop their agricultural techniques. He went twice, and he's quite a picture-taker, so I will have a hefty task ahead of me. As those have yet to be scanned I'll be tackling those first and moving on to the rest of the family photos as I finish.

My Internet here is slow (3.26Mbps/.084Mbps), so I may or may not be easily reachable by video/audio chats. I am, however, reachable by Skype (zephyr42) as well as anything on the sideboard to the left.

I'm really looking forward to my next two weeks here before my last semester begins. This portion of my family is not one I've been able to spend a lot of time with, and I'm excited about both the project and being able to see them.

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