It’s been 20 years since the last time I was in Santa Fe. My mom was from New Mexico and we used to spend one month each summer visiting her parents in Silver City in the southwest corner of New Mexico. We traveled around visiting our many relatives and exploring the beauty of the landscape, so I often got to Santa Fe as a kid.
As an adult, I was fascinated by the history and culture, and visited Santa Fe as often as I could. This year, after the director of in Berkeley, California, suddenly moved to Santa Fe, I decided to attend Story Center’s first in-person workshop in nearly two years and visit its new home.
Coincidentally. I’m taking a class on intercultural communication and the week before the digital storytelling workshop we had been talking about words from other languages that have no direct translation into English.
I had used saudade as an example in my weekly essay. It’s a Portuguese/Brazilian word I had learned about while living in Half Moon Bay, California, which has a large Portuguese population (relatively) who still fish commercially. There is also a musical style associated with saudade: Fado (fate) is a haunting and slow vocal music performed world-wide.
Many have written about saudade and saudade culture. Being a seafaring nation, the Portuguese, as I understand them, long for their home land and at the same time their grandmothers long to see the grandchildren they may never meet. More than nostalgia, saudade is the constant presence of absence, a bittersweet state of desire for what once was or may never be.
I called the digital story I made at the “Stories in Motion” workshop “Saudade in Santa Fe.”

I hope you enjoy it.