My name is Mark Anthony Medeiros, and I am a 24-year-old Californian that is visiting the Azores Islands for  4 months this summer. I just graduated from San Jose State University with a Bachelor’s Degree in Sociology and I also co-founded a San Jose non-profit called Veggielution an effort to create large community farm in San Jose that will address a diverse set of social and environmental justice issues.

My parents are from the Azores, they immigrated to the United States in 1969. My mother worked for two year’s in the local Levi’s sweatshop, earning money to go back to the islands and marry my father, who was in the Portuguese army at the time. They first moved into Little Portugal, the neighborhood on Alum Rock Road just east of 101, near Five Wounds Church. But after both my sisters and I were born, our family migrated down to San Martin, a little rural town between Morgan Hill and Gilroy on the southern end of Santa Clara Valley.

That’s where I grew up, and I love the yellow hills of the Diablo Range, the redwoods in the Santa Cruz mountains, and the cold Pacific Ocean. But throughout my life I’ve been constantly reminded of my parents’ home islands in the middle of the Atantic. There’s a family mythology surrounding them that colors my imagination and those of other Azorean immigrants who left those rocky coasts.

This is my fourth time going back, but it’s been a 8 years since my last trip when I was 16. I’m going to live in my family’s near abandonded farmhouse in the town of Madalena on Pico island, which is basically the 7,000 foot cone of an immense underwater volcano. I’m gonna see if I can jump in front of a bull or two, catch a big fish, and spend some time just catching up on all the stuff that is hard to accomplish when you’re living your regular life.

So I wanted to say goodbye to all my friends in San Jose, and I’ll see you soon. If you want news of me, look here first and I’ll try to be consistent about updating the page each week. I’ll miss you all but I think some pretty good times await me over there.

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