Thursday, July 31, 2008


As you all know, I am traveling around with my friend Melinda in Ecuador! We are having a wonderful time thus far - we are based out of the Colonial district of Quito and we are staying in Mel's friend Marco's parent's house, which is huge and a great place to stay. Marco has been amazing and has helped us navigate the city and the country. We went to a famous market town, Otavalo, where I did suprisingly little damage. I did buy a really beautiful necklace that Otavaleno women wear - it's gold plated crystals and is muy bonita. I am developing basic Spanish skills at a freakish rate - Mel can back me up on this. I need to spend a few months somewhere at some point and gain fluency. That and French.

What else . . . we went to the coast and hung out on a beautiful beach called Las Failles in a Machlilla National Park, and the next day we went out and saw blue footed boobies (best thing EVER and humpback whales and some frigate birds tried to eat Mel. Not really. But she thought they were going to. We then spent two days in a surfer town, Montanita, which was eerily comfortable for two girls from Boulder and Portland.

Tomorrow we fly into the jungle where we hope to see piranhas, an anaconda, giant spiders, caimans, minkeys (misspelled on purpose and I really, really reallllllly hope a capybara! Or five! And an ocelet! And a JAGUAR! Ok, no, but my roommate Sarah got to stay somewhere with a half domesticated capybara, and I will cry if I don't meet one.

Pics and funny stories to follow!

Ask about . . .

squirt bottles
street names
what is wrong with the sky
and other stuff I forget right now


Friday, July 18, 2008

Life Calling

In an earlier post I made a list of future things I planned to write about, one of which was what, exactly, it is I plan to do with myself. Basically, I am going to save the world. Grandiose? Yes, but worth fighting for. I want to work on shaping environmental policy and create solutions to problems that are beneficial to the natural world around us and to humanity in terms of health, the bottom line, and happiness.

I think on some level I've always known this was exactly what I wanted to do, but I've been a bit confused as to how exactly I should go about doing it. I studied Biology in college, but I realized I didn't want to go into medicine, teach, or do research. I love the big picture of biology - how everything is interlinked, biodiversity, epidemics, public health, ecosystems, ecology, etc. I read Edward Abbey's Desert Solitaire and Aldo Leopold's A Sand County Almanac and was much more interested in what I read there than in bacterial cultures or tree rings or mist nets. I also developed an interest in design and planning - I read Sarah Susanka's The Not So Big House: A Blueprint for the Way we Really Live and found my own nebulous thoughts given form by an architect. More space does not equal happiness. McMansions do not fill people's wish for a dream home, only a dream house. A dream home is at human scale, comfortable, designed to fill the needs of the person or people in it, centered on comfort and balance. Lots of window seats. Lots of built-in bookcases. Windows to the outdoors, defined spaces, open flow for modern lifestyles, no family room and living room - lovely. That led me to A Pattern Language, which is so amazing - here's a website with a list of the patterns (in the text they are much more fleshed out). So what's a girl with an interest in environmentalism, ecology, the big picture, sustainability, quality of life, and home, city, and region design to do?

My current plan is to pursue a dual Master's in Public Administration with a focus in Environmental Policy, Management, and Law and a Master's in Urban and Regional Planning with a focus on Environmental Planning through CU-Denver. While I wouldn't mind living elsewhere for 2-5 years (Vienna, NYC, Paris, Switzerland, Buenos Aires . . .) I do expect to keep coming back to Colorado, so I think it makes sense to go to school and develop connections here. Plus, I like my life. And friends and family.

So - there's a life update! And that's why I have to sign off so I can keep chipping away at the final for the class I'm currently taking.