Thursday, September 30, 2010


Written by- Kiley

It is interesting to me how one big city is just a big city no matter where one is. As we walk down the streets of Quito, there are the regular sounds and sites of a city- cement, noise, smog, and bus exhaust. As exciting as it is to be part of the busseling groups of people that flock down the streets, I cant help but look forward to the quiet streets of Cuenca. Now when I say quiet, I mean quieter. Cuenca is a city of 400,000 people, but has the feeling of a small town. I long to see familiar, smiling faces upon our arrival.

Tomorrow it is our plan to head to Otavalo, which is a city that has large markets in a very small town. When I was there last year the town was without electricity, so we will see what happens this time.

Anything can happen in Ecuador, especially this week...

Quito day 2

Written by: Maria
I'm beginning to grasp why i came back here. it was asked before i left and i never gave a satisfactory response. kind of generating a list:
1 the energy and beauty of the people and land inspires
2 the knowledge and information garnered here is overwhelming but i especially appreciate how it manifests in resilience in difficult circumstances
3 its a challenge

thats a start

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

Quito day 1

SPit up by: maria
Well, I almost began to write in spanish. not because i wanted to. oh, no. Im frazzled with the pressure to find the words. i think i was scowling too much at the blank screen to get started and so in that time realized- hey, i can write in english. beyond that. past kileys superb patience sprinkled with bouts of chuckles as i embarrass myself. 3 as long as you keep your mouth shut, theres nothing to be embarrassed about. ya know? 3 I QUOTE.

so far, ive learned
1)to watch both where im going- traffic, people, DIRECTION - and the sidewalk. be it dog poop or potholes, quitos got plenty and i think im getting better
2) walk with grace. that kind of goes with 1), but its more for the impression you give to others. no more midwest or even american courtesy. a women slides through a crowd in stilletos. ( i have boots )
3) dont yell in english or get excited. dilute my outward curiousity and emotions. save it for the journal. ive already been laughed at simply for opening my eyes and mouth too wide to point at a purty church. and this bystander wasnt just letting out a chortle. she held her aching sides and she scarfed down a fried desert.

day one. climbed to the top of the basilica. picture to come!
where no one with vertigo could follow...

We Made It.

Written By: Kiley

Well, we arrived safe and sound last night in Quito, Ecuador. A friend of ours, Malory Hendrickson, from Luther, is living in Quito so we are staying with her and her boyfriend. Our flight landed later than expected because there was a lot of fog, which is pretty regular in Quito. By the time we got out to the car with our bags and everything it was almost midnight. After arriving to their apartment it was time for bed, but it was hard for Maria and me to get to sleep because there were so many emotions of excitement and uncertainty! However, it was a great feeling to wake up in Ecuador once again (for me)! We were ready this morning to take on the city and so far so good. Our bellies are full from a good lunch and our cameras are collecting photos. I will let Maria explain the day more from her perspective as a first time visitor to Quito. To me, it is simply a part of Ecuador, and it feels so good to be back to a home away from home.

All for now,

Did we have any flight troubles? No.
Do we have all our luggage? Yes.
Do I have my cell phone up and running? Yes. My NEW number, 011 593 98 979 611
Parents, do you have to worry? No, all is well and we feel safe. ;)

Monday, September 27, 2010

It's True- We Dyed Our Hair

For the moms

Written by: Maria


Sept. 27th arrive in Chicago. 28th 10:50 depart O'Hare, Houston 2:25-5:40, arrive Quito, Ecuador 10:59 p.m..

Sept. 29th-Oct. 1st Quito at Malory Hendrickson's.


Oct. 1st-2nd Otavalo, Ecuador: market day, animal trades, arts: hostel El Rocio

Oct. 2nd-3rd Volcan Cotopaxi: hiking, horseback rides / jaunt through QUITO again'


Oct. 4th Banos/Ambato

Oct. 5th Riobamba: La nariz de diablo / travel to Cuenca 6-7 hours on bus

CUENCA: Oct. 6th-Oct. 31st: Maria takes class, Salinas weekend, Kiley with ~la familia Uyaguari~


Oct. 31st leave CUENCA to Guayaquil or Machala (depends on bus route): 15 hours of bus: ew

Nov. 1st Lima, Peru : find bus- 15.5 hours to next town

Nov. 2nd- 3rd Arequipa

Nov. 4th Puno


Nov. 5th Copacobana, Bolivia BORDER CROSSING : HI hostel Inca Pacha del Sol then on to La Paz...

From here on out, there will be too many variables to put anything in writing. During the month of October, expect this post to be updated with plans for Bolivia and our remaining time in SA.

Tentative: depart Bolivia Nov. 20th for Lima, Peru / Kiley departs SA Nov. 22nd from Lima.

Sunday, September 12, 2010


Written by: Maria

My last full day in Decorah, IA, USA: Senimental. Rolled off the white
and blue stripped couch 8:14, forgetting that I lugged out the
belgian-made carpet the night before. The dry bottle of cheap-o Swan
Reisling read, "the joy of filling out the 6th page of your passport." At 4.99, it was ultimately the cheesey aptness of that line that sold it to me last night. I even scanned past my go-to: Wildberry winery Ole Made Lena Blush. The town was empty last night. Went to Amanda Hamp's dance performance at the Art House. Rose Milligan, Hannah McCarger, Kimi Henderson(? new to me) and Alex Lange. Go move dance! Below the apartment there's usually some volunteer in the Clay Studio, the latest limb of the Decorah Art movement, but not this weekend. Even Kiley was fine just relaxing at home in WI on this, her birthday weekend. I carved her a spoon the night before because I HAD to have it done for THE DAY. By this morning my carving "whoopsie" had scabbed over well enough for me to jump on my bike for an early dash around Decorah- another one of those "last" events that have characterized this week.

While wheeling around, took pictures for a scrapbook of my years in Decorah to bring to South America. Lots of stimilating encounters in familiar spots I've neglected. My weird old drawing instructor, "Coach," was painting Dunnings' Spring on an IKEA chair for some raffle and excitedly told me about his new studio/gallery downtown. Harvey Refsal brought me into the bowels of the Vesterheim (Norwegian Museum). Just about as warm as they come, he's apparently some kind of super-star spoon carver in the world and he sold me some rare spoon-carving knife from Mora, Sweden, repeating twice, "I don't mean to take business away from the Folk Store out front. They're great and I support them, but I have the same knives here for less." On my fourth spoon now. I was told to hide away my first spoon so i don't ruin it. the second was for David Sliwa's birthday-the partner of Perry-O with whom I've been interning this summer. Sliwa Meadow Farm has taught me a lot, but after celebrating the 44th annivesary with the two at Magpie dancing to Pine Wilson and Flora V-M? Balcan tunes, i think observing the intense love and gratitude they have for eachother has influenced me most profoundly. Into the third spoon I scratched, "BEAN," my nickname for Kiley. Pulverized a coffee bean and ground it in for color. I think she's expecting a leather journal, but that'll come. Right now the Kitty I found at the Sliwas is using the leather coat rescued from the Depot to cut up for the cover. I'm hesitant to write about what Kiley plans to do, but she has expressed interest in writing a book about her time in Africa next year (peace corps) and I would be so Honored to supply her with a medium on which to write. No hurry yet on that- phew. If anyone else wants to write a book, let me know. The fourth spoon, by the way, is in the making. Buckthorn chopped from Luther's woodlands.

Otherwise, as usual, I'm taking the time to write when I'm the most pressed for time. P R O C R A S T I N A T I O N is me. I revel in it. I wonder if there are any types of jobs that need that type of person. Would need to be supremely dynamic. And if such a vocation did exist, would the constant state of change then become just another routine? and I would lose my golden niche- this thread of anticipation and nefarious action that pulls me in unpredictable directions. Dangerously close to chaos, eh? Jobs. That's something else to think about. Need to give an exiting interview at the coop but none of the management seems to care much about them. FINALLY a chance to say what I've felt so strongly all summer to those with influence and it might be lost if i don't insist. Fear is ubiquitious there- "I could never say that. I don't want to step on/over Mattias." Mattias is the deli manager. I doubt he'll ever read this, but just in case: I do hope he leaves and gets his own restaurant- he's a geat cook but clearly needs help with managing people. More than once I've heard, "You should feel lucky to have this job. There are lots of other people who would love to have it." Sounds like a union-buster to me. That's all on that. THIS IS ABOUT SA: maybe I'll volunteer with a union organizing force there. I might shadow a midwife despite mom's warning that it may be unethical to learn from them considering, "They don't use the most modern (Western) practices and materials available. You may have to watch them kill a child." I hear her and understand her concern. They won't do it the same, guaranteed. I also know that means I will learn what I can't in the states. I can only hope that they will take care in all they do. And that's all I can say on that for now. Definitely volunteering on organic farms in Bolivia. Political unrest is making the connecting part difficult, but I'm encouraged by past WWOOFers (Willing Workers on Organic Farms) that the arrangements are best made while in SA. things like dates and deadlines aren't terribly prevalent there... let alone the fact that farms aren't exactly hotspots for wireless networks so communication will be molasses sticky.

Off to my "last" townie frisbee match. Hope everyone is there. I probably won't get too into the sappy-ness unless Charlie Langton starts me off. I just want to see everyone one more time and smile, PLAY HARD.

Friday, September 10, 2010

Packing is Overrated!

Written By: Kiley
I am trying to pack and I'm failing at it! The end.