We have five new babies. Yes. Five.

I had this brainwave that we would try again with the chickies while my sister and her kids were here.  It took a couple of trips to the pueblito down south, mostly because the chickens we wanted were not available (small, female, egg layers) and we would have to wait for them to hatch.

At four-thirty in the afternoon on Monday, the day before my sister’s departure, the owner of the shop called to tell me that he had a batch of beautiful babies ready for us. Less than one day old.

So. Small.

It has been two days and they are doing well. We have a nice little heat-lamp and all of the right watering and feeding implements.

Oh. And a coop. Delivered by, of all things… a horse and cart! I almost died when the carpenter suggested it. And I wasn’t sure enough about my Spanish to believe it would actually happen.  But then it came, clip clopping into the compound.

You can see W’s incredulous expression:


This was a couple of weeks ago. We are still chucha-proofing it (lights, stakes, triple chicken-wiring, extra latches), but for now, the babies are safe inside the house.

Hoping for the best…



kids we know



I have lost my blog rhythm. My sister and her three kids are here. It is such a big treat (this is a Choladoabove).

They are keen to do and try anything, so we have been able to show them all of our favourite stuff.

And we have missed them…


A lot!

I mean, these kids are respectful and good-natured and enough like mine that I can hug them and squeeze them whenever I want to. I think my kids feel the same way. They have been soaking up the play time, each missing a day of school to spend with their cousins.

W and R play soccer, N felts, S and F pick oranges and make juice.


And we all enjoy pandebonos at the bakery.

Four more days to play and a better update to come…

manzana banana


Before we left Vancouver, I was adamant about not buying bananas. I mean, we would soon be living in the tropics, where bananas would be coming out of our ears! It just did not make sense to buy bananas with a little “product of Ecuador” sticker on it.

So now we are here. In bananaland. I think we have a tree growing in our back yard and every bunch I see at the grocery store has a little “producto de Colombia” sticker on it.

But now I miss apples.

And guess what most of the stickers say?


I do buy them sometimes, to stave off homesickness. They are easy to pop into lunches and don’t require any special peeling, pitting or seeding. And for some reason, S and W are picky eaters these days and won’t touch papaya, pineapple or guava (little monsters). So there it is: apples from home.

And yet, I was delighted last week when I went to an organic market here in Cali and found:


Apples! Teeny tiny and a bit tart, but cheap, local and organic.

We are feeling more at home every day.

this lives here



Amazing, right? Sometimes they have eighty-eights, sometimes eighty-nines (or sixty-eights). One day last month, there were at least six of them, flying around the compound pool. Diaethria neglecta.



This past Sunday, we were invited to an Argentinian-style barbecue, commonly referred to as an asado. It was a small, relaxed party, where guests milled about around an open fire pit, drinking beer and watching meat cook. Such a great concept – casual, participatory and delicious.


AZ has asked for a grill for his birthday. So, I am getting psyched to take this photo to a real life blacksmith (which will happen right about the same time I commission that chicken coop – just working up the nerve to both communicate and negotiate!). Please excuse the substandard photo.




In an effort to find my ‘thing’ down here in Colombia, I have been learning as much as I can about local textile production.

As some of you know, I was enrolled in design school back in Vancouver. When we moved, I withdrew from the program halfway through. I had pretty much finished the patternmaking component, and much of the sewing and drawing, but I did not get to tackle any of the final collection assignments with the support of my peers and instructors.

The Colombian clothing and textile industry is huge (look at the tags of items by Tommy Hilfiger, Esprit and many others). In fact, one of my Vancouver classmates is having great success at home with her Colombia-made bikinis. Though it would have been nice to finish school with my class, I do feel very lucky to be down here, where I can get a wider and more unique perspective on things.

The only downside here is that it can be a bit isolating, trying to establish a network patient enough to put up with my slow Spanish and inability to engage in any truly interesting conversation! Little by little, I make connections and find direction.

I was over-the-moon last week when I got to visit a community of silk artisans, complete with mulberry bushes, worms, cocoons (depicted above), reeling machines and looms.


I am heading back next week, armed with more words, a notebook and my good camera. There is much to learn.



We arrived home late last night. The babies were at school by 7:15 this morning. The dog has been picked up, W and I have been to speech therapy and E and S are just now getting acquainted with their new violin teacher.  Talk about jumping back into the deep end!  Everyone is a bit crusty (myself included), and I am wondering if my New Years resolution to step up on the exercise and step back on happy hour can just wait a day or two longer…

After two weeks of traveling, one lovely week with AZ’s parents and one on our own, we got into a nice little rhythm. We settled into our grime and figured out who needed what and when, and who liked what and why. Colombia is a fabulous country, with so much colour, history, creativity and natural beauty.


Some highlights:

Snorkelling. It was a bit hairy at first, but the kiddies did get the hang of it and ended up spending most of their beach time face-down in the water.


See what I mean?


Cartagena. We visited museums, browsed shops, ate street food and joined a late-night public Zumba class (AZ, Oma and E, that is).





Beer and fish:


An actual cock fight, more beach time and a few Colombian boys, scaring the bejeepers out of me with their crazy river antics (they amped it up after I yelped in fear a few times):





And our final destination: where the Rio Piedra meets the Caribbean Sea. We watched a surfing competition on one side and snorkelled in the river on the other… sigh…




We stayed in a hostel (ahem, see the view above), but the campsites nearby are quiet and beautiful – definitely worth considering if we plan on abusing our travel budget any further.


So there it is. The reason it might take a few days to find our rhythm here at home.