One Year

One year ago we moved to San Cristóbal in the Galapagos Islands. I can’t believe it has been that long. Of course, we’ve only lived on the island for about 7 of those twelve months,  because 5 months of that were spent trying to figure out residency rules, etc., and also a month-long trip home (Oregon) for Christmas. So maybe that’s why it doesn’t quite feel like it’s been a year. Anyways, to celebrate our anniversary  I thought I’d share some pictures of one of my favorite Galapagos cohabitants. from a distancecloser

 

iguana close up

 

walking away 2

 

walking away

profileHave a great day!

 

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Oregon

green and red
green 3
green moss
green 2

So, I didn’t talk to much about my time in Oregon, but I just wanted to say what a wonderful time I had. It was strange being there after being out of the States for a year, but it was good. The first couple stores I went to were pretty overwhelming, and I was especially appreciative of conveniences like clean, drinkable water, access to pretty much any thing you can imagine (food, clothing, craft supply, you name it, and the public library system.

I also enjoyed taking in the complete difference between my family’s home in Oregon and our home in Galapagos. There is so much lush, rich green in Oregon. I love it.

Have you ever experienced coming home after an extended absence? I’d love to hear.

Have a wonderful day!

Sea Lions

 

I thought maybe it was time to do another little feature on this crazy beautiful island that I live on. One of the most conspicuous elements of our island are the sea lions. They are everywhere. Sleeping, fighting, barking and belching. They overrun the playground, occupy most of the benches, block pedestrian bridges and lounge in the streets. As you can imagine, they create quite a bit of trouble for the residents here, but they also add to the magic of the place, in their own way. Here’s a quick look at them. 

Have a great weekend!

 

 

 

Oasis

It is the cold, dry season (technically winter, if you want to give it a name) in Ecuador. Everything is brown and bland and a little sad looking. On the long bus ride to the shopping center, we pass acres of parched, barren land that only a few months ago had been green and fertile from the generous rain. It’s an “add water and watch if grow” type of place. So it’s no surprise that in the few parts were people try to cultivate the land, they meet with fairly easy success. That’s how a little farm came to be, cropping up in the two-year lapse between our second and third trip to Ecuador. They carved out a spot of land in the relative middle of nowhere, bordered on one side by a narrow road that happens to be the short-cut route the taxies take between Libertad and Ancón. So we would pass it regularly after our weekly shopping trips. They had horses! For Isabella, it was the best part of the shopping excursion, that brief glimpse of living, breathing horses.

So can you imagine our excitement when abuela found out, quite by accident, that the little ranch belonged to the family of one of her former students? It was totally meant to be. Only a few days after the discovery, we made a short jaunt to the finca (farm) to check it out up close.

It did not disappoint. A personal play structure. Puppies (multiple!).  And a gigantic dog. Two dozen baby chickens. Geese. More chickens. A cabybara (world’s biggest rodent; they’re raising it to eat—creepy and cool at the same time).

And horses of course.

When we first arrived, this little colt was tied at the ankle to a post, but she wasn’t too interested in that. A couple of kicks and she was free.

 The owners were very welcoming. They showed us all around there lovely farm. There was a mother hen with forty chicks! They were kind of funny looking chickens, too, with bald heads and a big ruff collar of feathers around their necks.

There were some geese.

And even a capybara, the world’s largest rodent. I guess they caught is somewhere, and are fattening it up to eat if. Hmm. Very interesting. 

The girls got to pet the horses. Isabella was gentle and soft with the colt. Sofia gave the colt one good smack and it took off running, stepping on the handler’s foot in the process.

The mother horse was very obliging. My toddler was thrilled beyond expression with her private riding session, and she acts like an old pro. Is it too early to start training her for the equestrian event in the Olympics? How cool would it be, she could win Ecuador’s 2nd gold medal, in anything, ever!

 


 

I’m so grateful for kind strangers! Thanks for make these little girls’ (and their mami’s) day!

Whale Watching

Here’s how life has been since I wrote last. Sick, whale watching, sick, sick, a little less sick, shopping (this is an almost all day chore), finally feeling better. And then I woke up bright and early Wednesday morning with nary a sniffle, with every intention of getting a good chunk of blogging done, when the power went caput. Three hours later, the power is back, but the internet was out almost the whole day. Since I don’t speak the same language as the computer guys (literally) there wasn’t much for me to do except wait for someone to come and help with it.

But now, did you catch that whale watching part in there. So awesome. It almost didn’t happen, too. My sweet little girl threw up her breakfast en route to the beach, and then the tour was pushed back and hour, and then it was delayed another 45 minutes as we all waited on the handicapped boat for a new battery to be brought out and installed. But all of that was forgotten once, after a mere 5 minute boat ride, we arrived at the watery stage of 4 whale performers.

The girls loved it though, besides feeling a little cranky for missing a nap.

The pictures are completely inadequate compared to the experience. These pictures have a little of the Loch Ness monster aesthetic going on, sorry. In fact, I wish a little that I could have just watched without worrying about catching it on film. There were four whales surfacing for air, and then raising their tails out of the water.

One whale even jumped out of the water; I was, unluckily, looking away at just the wrong moment, so I missed it, but I caught the big splash.

And then there as a whale doing rolls and splashing with its front flippers. But the most thrilling part for me was seeing a whale underneath the water swimming right under the front of the boat and then surfaced a few meters off.

And hearing them making their whale sounds. That was pretty great, too. Of course, the girls were beyond cranky after it was all over, but overall, I loved it and would definitely do it again.

Have you ever been whale watching? How did it go?

Inspiration: Knobbly Tree

The park in Quito is quite lovely, with many old, interesting trees in lots of varieties, from palm trees to pine trees. This one stood out to me, though, and demanded some closer inspection.


The more I look at these pictures, the more it becomes like cloud gazing for me. Can you spot the face?

Have a great Monday!

Inspiration: Rain

I love the rain here. Being from Oregon, I grew up with rain, rain, rain, but this was the first time I’ve ever really had warm rain. I loved the crystal rain drops left on all the plants.

 

 

 

Into the Woods

I haven’t been camping in a long time—probably 7 years or more—so I was a little rusty. But overall the trip was really fun. We stayed in nice, clean cabins nestled among some beautiful aspen groves.

The natural beauty was really inspiring, and I came home feeling my creative energy rejuvinated. Sorry that I couldn’t narrow the pictures down too much, but I loved the trees, blue sky and tall wavy grass; I just had to share.

The sunrise on the tall white aspens was particularly striking; I wish my camera had done a better job of capturing the golden glow.

We went on a couple short hikes. The paths were peaceful and pristine.

One of the hikes was around a lake, and I was lucky to have my three sisters with me.

We got to mingle with some fun wildlife, too.

This is my favorite picture from the trip. The title is “My little tree hugger.”

Ah, I think I’ll have to get out into the wilderness a little more often. But it’s good to be home. Have a great Monday.