We’re Not There Yet

Dear Friends – One year ago today, December 15, 2019, we left our warm bed at 2020 SE Ash Street in Portland, Oregon for Cañar, Ecuador. Or rather, we took an Uber as far as a funky Ramada Inn near PDX, where we slept a few hours before a van hauled us and all our luggage to the airport. There, Michael was thrilled to be the first person in line at the 3:00 AM check-in at American Airlines. Always his dream to be earliest.

That day, and into the next, as we flew to Phoenix, then to Miami, then to Guayaquil, where we spent the night in another hotel before taking a car to Cañar, marked fifteen years of making the long trip from Portland to Ecuador for a stay of six months. That was last year, when we were still so innocent.

Today, and for the near future, we are staying in Portland. Those who read my last blog will remember our hair-raising trip back from Cañar to Portland on July 4th. We quarantined for two weeks and were fine. Since then, we’ve hunkered down at home through a warm summer and fall, during which we relaxed and distant-socialized under the cherry tree that shades our back yard – our “witness” tree that shaded and sheltered us through many pleasant meals and early evenings.

In those early days we could walk to one of our neighborhood pubs for afternoon drinks, always outside. Some streets were blocked off to allow businesses to continue, like this one on next street over, we called Rainbow Road (still need to work on my perspective)…   …where there was a piano for anyone to play. These were also the days of Black Lives Matter marches and demonstrations all over Portland and the world. Although we couldn’t be out in the streets, given Covid, we took a lot of walks in the city and enjoyed the wonderful murals that sprung up here and everywhere.

Michael rebuilt our walkway, where the gnarly cherry tree roots had come to the surface.I dismantled my darkroom, after twenty-five years, and we hauled out my equipment to sell on consignment with Blue Moon Camera and Machine.

Here I am waiting in line to say goodbye to my beloved Hasselblad. (I felt OK about it until last week when got the check. Knowing it was now sold and in someone else’s hands made me a little sad.)





But we also had lovely moments, celebrating the harvest moon in a friend’s garden. Even a socially distant lunch in the distant city of Salem.Then the days got shorter, Covid got stronger, the pubs and restaurants closed down, the leaves blazed – then fell, the rains and days too cold to meet outside, and life got a little sadder. But we are lucky, when so many are living in the streets and with poverty, to have a home, economic security, books and music and movies.

Today – December 15, 2020, we are looking forward to the end of this hard year and the new year of 2021. If Michael are I are lucky enough to get the vaccine before April, we plan on going to Cañar for a short visit, maybe three months. Then back to our usual six months in 2022. That sounds so far away, doesn’t it?

Thanks to you all who have contributed to the scholarship fund, and if you didn’t see the Cañari Women’s Education Foundation newsletter I sent earlier this month, you can find it here.

Or make a contribution using the PayPal button below. 

May you all stay safe in these difficult times, and many thanks for your continuing support. Please stay in touch.   Judy B


Print Friendly, PDF & Email

8 thoughts on “We’re Not There Yet

  1. I guess we will have to wait a little bit longer to meet. I am glad that you are both safe and comfy and waiting for the vaccine to travel safely. We feel safe here in Cuenca. We moved to a wonderful apartment near the University of Azuay with a gorgeous view looking down on the city. No need to venture down there often. It’s so peaceful here. We too are waiting for the vaccine to travel. I have been painting every day, trying to get better. Love ❤️ your sketches….so creative and fun. -Sharon

  2. Hello Judy thanks for your blog bringing us news of your lives in Portland. I’m glad you are safe and well and looking forward to the spring and vaccination. Here in Northumberland things are similar. Although I haven’t been to a pub or a coffeehouse since March! Take care abrazos

  3. Although I was sad to read about the sale of your Hasselblad, I do love your drawings, Judy!!
    All we can do is hope for a peaceful, safer and much better 2021 than this last year has been.

  4. Judy, thank you for the wonderful blog. So happy to see your beautiful drawings. I framed the little one of our lunch in Salem this summer. You are missing in drawing but I know you are there with us. Looking forward to another summer lunch and visit in 2021.

  5. Judy, it’s such a treat to walk down the memory lane of summer and fall 2020 through your amazing journal sketches. Glad you await the vaccine before making the long trip back to Ecuador. It’s wonderful to have you a bit longer here with your Portland peeps. Hugs! Nancy

  6. Judy, it is always fun to hear the news of your adventures. I have enjoyed the stories and photos of Cañar and its people. Perhaps I will see you in Portland someday when it is safe to travel and socialize. Best wishes to you and Michael.

  7. Thanks for your updates, Judy — I enjoy especially your sketches.. This is mostly a quick note to say FELIZ AÑO NUEVO to both you and Michael. Countrywide we are living with a toque de queda again I think, until Three King’s Day.. There is no real information at this time about vaccinations in Ecuador. I take my annual (U.S. produced) flu shot next week.
    Early this evening I am throwing a tiny merienda celebration for my haircutter and her boyfriend , both Ecuadorians although he lives in Old Saybrook, CT. I have heard from Elias, our student friend, remember? — he is doing non-profit work in PA. Things are sad and reflective for me this 2020 : Kurt’s recent October 23rd sudden death in Grants Pass and my little City of Talent terrible fires. Take care of each other, Sue

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *