Lives on borders

by darribas

Bobbie is now waving her hand as my train from Malmoe (Sweden) to the airport in Copenhagen departs. She is only 3 years old, yet she knows more about globalization than many older people will ever know; her mother is from Sweden and his dad, David, from Spain. David used to be my scouts’ instructor and later became one of the biggest inspirations when I started to make the decissions that led to the life I’m currently living. We have been meeting over the years, usually for Christmas when we both return home, but last time I visited him at his place, however, was in the spring of 2006, while I was living in Sweden and finishing my bachelor’s.

Five years ago, David was at the beginning of a rare project called Arduino nobody else at the time except himself and a few other visionaries really understood; 21 years old Dani was starting to explore what leaving abroad by himself means; and Bobbie, of course, did not exist. This weekend, David was just back from Chicago and getting ready for his two talks about Arduino next week, one of them in Taipei (the project has been featured in Wired and The New York Times, among others); I was visiting from Amsterdam, where I am spending the summer as a postdoc visitor, in an effort to “keep one foot” in the US and the other one in Europe; and Bobbie is the living realization of the world she has been born in. It only takes the two days I have spent with her to not only completely fall in love with that smile and bright of eyes but to compile a full list of details and facts that sketch her coordinates of life, to name just a few: the obvious ability with which she switches from spanish to swedish and back depending who she talks to; her best friend Nikita, daugther of a swedish woman and a sub-saharian man; or the natural tone she has when speaking of her two homes, one in Malmoe and the other one in Spain, as if they were two rooms of the same house.

As I type these words on the plane, I am now leaving with the same mix of admiration, excitement, unrest and confussion that invades me whenever I meet David. Admiration for he has not stepped down from the category of personal inspiration; excitement for Bobbie and how David is managing to be a world-class geek rockstar and the biggest dad without loosing a bit of his personality; and the unrest and confussion that usually come whenever you find situations and interact with realities that somehow escape your own grasp, when you feel there is an extra layer of complexity beyond what you understand and feel comfortable with that you want to control but you can’t. They are probably well founded since, after all, there is nothing more complicated than figuring out magic.