19 December 2014



Adding extra lights to your house makes a whole lot more sense when the sun isn't shining for 15 hours a day.  

On Tuesday, I returned to the northern hemisphere.  Here, the week before Christmas is as it should be.  Its cold.  As in less than zero.  Its dark.  Almost all day.  All of the houses in my neighborhood seem to be trying to outshine one another.  And everyone has lost their minds buying presents, baking dozens of cookies, sending silly cards, and watching White Christmas yet again.  Its great.  I can't wait for Pablo to get here.



15 December 2014



No we did not go to the zoo.  

Last weekend we road our bikes into town and stopped along the river to snap some quick photos of the friendly resident Lobos Marinos.  I just love these guys, they are so goofy.  They swim up to town in the river and then climb onto the surrounding docks to sunbath.  Sometimes they even waddle all the way to the nearby parks and can be seen chilling out in the grass.  They smell horrible and bark at each other, but still they draw a crowd of happy onlookers.  

We are always wondering, do you think they feel velvety or rough, furry or slimy?



14 December 2014



As you might be starting to gather, life in and around Valdivia often revolves around water.  

People go skulling and kayaking on the rivers for enjoyment, typical food often includes fish, clams, or mussels, and there's also industry supported by the local waterways.  I think one of the craziest and coolest attractions in Valdivia is the shipyard just down the road from our house.  We don't know where these giant boats come from, but when it is time to retire a big ship, it shows up in our neighborhood.  The behemoth of a structure is then disassembled by lots of men with powerful tools.  Every couple of days another giant boat will be wheeled into the huge warehouses and piece by piece it is sawed apart and the scraps are sold.  


can you see the new/old boat in the photo below?

13 December 2014


There are so many fun things in southern Chile!  Grab yourself a little bit of whitewater and float on down the river.  Our next investment = kayaks!

here's a song to set the mood


08 December 2014


What do you do when you're driving home, late at night, in the rain, and a little kitten is stumbling towards you, alone, sick and scared?

If you're me, you tell your husband, "STOP THE CAR!" You rush out, scoop up teeny tiny weightless gooey-eyed animal, you do a quick perimeter check for owners, mother, or other kitties, and back to the car you go. In the span of five minutes your household feline population has increased by 33%.  Your husband rolls his eyes and home you go.

So that is how Tutaina came into our lives last weekend.  And you might be thinking that now our house is complete chaos with two adult cats and one kitten, but Gordo and Loco appear to be terrified of the babe.  They keep their distance, or better yet, stay outside all together.  The answer to keeping cat hair off of your couch... find yourself a kitten.

If you want to know how we came up with her name, listen to this Colombian Christmas carol.


05 December 2014

Life has been a bit nuts lately.  Most days we get to work around 8am and don't get home until at least 7pm but we are making progress, working as a team, and sleeping very well at night.

Today, though, we raced through our morning- he makes breakfast, I pack our lunch, both of us hurry to get out the door- and then we road our bikes to the university just to find that we could not enter.  Our path was blocked by some one hundred university employees on strike.  La Toma.  Or literally, they had taken the university and will not let anyone enter until the administration will negotiate with them.

So, Pablo strapped his helmet back on and headed back home.  I stayed, called a few people and we argued to be let into the university for the purpose of completing some important lab work that if we hadn't finished today, would have cost us a couple thousand dollars in lost reagents.  So, to some point, our fellow university functionaries are reasonable.  But now, with the rest of the afternoon off, I thought I would share some more photos with you.  Scenes from random parts of Chile.  While the landscape can be spectacular, the little towns can be downright wonky.  Buildings have a somewhat German element to them minus the precision in engineering.  A blend of latino-ness, colonialism, and Mapuche culture.

23 November 2014



Life has been busy around here lately but this weekend we did make time to find a Christmas tree!  I might be biased, but I think she's perfect.  It was not the easiest to find a real tree in Valdivia, but where there's a will, there's a way!  The supermarkets are full of plastic trees, doo-dads, tinsel, and twinkle lights but I really wanted a live tree that would fill the house with its piney smell.  So, we went to a local greenhouse and asked the guy if he had any trees for sale.  Lucky for us, he had one little conifer, roots and all.  We loaded her in our car along with a nice big plastic pot and now she resides in the living room ready to be decorated.  Maybe she will even last until next year!

Hope you're having a good weekend too!