Monthly Archives: March 2013

back to the wilderness

When making the decision to move back to the States, one of influencing factors was the beautiful nature of Oregon. I have traveled to many countries, but am still astounded by the beauty of my homestate. There is an amazing variety here: mountains, forests, beaches, deserts, peaceful lakes, roaring rivers, and waterfalls. Marcus and I have been taking full advantage of our proximity to nature since our arrival three weeks ago.

Little North Santiam
In our first week here, we went on a hike with my sister Alyssa and our dog Tauri to the Little North Fork, along the winding Santiam River and through the thick forest. It’s an easy hike with clear pools and waterfalls.

Shellburg Falls
On the first weekend, we hiked with my parents and Tauri around Shellburg Falls. It’s an easy 2.8 mile hike past two impressive waterfalls.

Maxwell Butte Snow Park in the Willamette National Forest
On the second weekend, Marcus and I drove to the Cascade Mountain Range to go snowshoeing at Maxwell Butte in the Willamette National Forest. It was our first time snowshoeing and it took some time to get used to walking a bit off kilter. Next time I will definitely start with fewer layers Рyou get warm fast! Рand go on a day with a denser snowpack.

Hoyt Arboretum
After brunch with friends last Sunday, we met Alyssa and went to Hoyt Arboretum, a forested area in Portland’s Washington Park. I have always loved the Wildwood Trail, but this time we also explored the Magnolia Trail, lined with the namesake trees, which were about ready to bloom. Definitely a reason to return in the coming weeks.

Oregon Coast: Pacific City and Neskowin
On Monday, Marcus and I went to the Oregon Coast with Tauri. Our destination was Haystack Rock at Pacific City. We were greeted with blue skies and warm winds. We hiked down the beach, Tauri and Marcus running through the waves, and had a picnic in a remote dune area. We returned and treated ourselves to a pint on the terrace of the Pelican Pub & Brewery. Then we headed to Neskowin, a quiet beach area with a view on Proposal Rock.

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winter reading

Spring is officially here and it’s time to review the books I’ve read over the last few months. Not surprisingly, moving across the world limited the number of hours I could dedicate to reading, but I still managed to enjoy a few great books:

A Prayer for Owen Meany by John Irving. This is a story about two boys, best friends who grow up with their lives intertwined. As they are forced to confront the joys and sorrows of life, their friendship matures and so do their thoughts on how fate influences the direction of life. Borrowed from my friend Manja.

Wildwood by Colin Meloy and illustrated by Carson Ellis. A fantastical story that immerses you in Wildwood, a secret world in the forest above Portland, Oregon. The wilderness holds an army of wolves, kidnapping crows, and peaceful mystics. When young Prue crosses into this world, she finds herself amidst a scene ready for an adventure to unfold.

South of the Border, West of the Sun by Haruki Murakami. Another beautiful tale from Murakami. The story of Hajime, now a successful businessman in Tokyo with a wife, children, and a settled life. His former classmate Shimamoto suddenly returns to his life, mysterious and beautiful, turning it upside down.

My Berlin Kitchen by Luisa Weiss. A must-read for anyone that finds themselves identifying with more than one culture. Born in Berlin, Germany to an American father and an Italian mother, Luisa Weiss struggles to find her place in the world and ends up finding that home is created in the kitchen. Wherever in the world that kitchen may be. An honest story with a dose of romance and recipes.

The Tenant of Wildfell Hall by Anne Bront√ę. Helen Graham takes up residence at Wildfell Hall, in a small English town. Living a simple life with her son, but no husband, the townspeople imagine her past as ripe with scandal. The truth is a tale of a marriage ruined by alcohol and infidelity, and a woman who refuses to compromise her moral standards of life.

Tess of the D’Ubervilles by Thomas Hardy. Tess Durbeyfield is the eldest daughter of a poor family in a small English village. When her father finds out that they are descendents from the noble d’Ubervilles family, her life takes a turn in a sad and darker direction.

Tulip Fever by Deborah Moggach. A story of a love affair between the wife of a rich ship merchant and an artist during the height of the Golden Age in Amsterdam at the height of tulipomania. A farewell gift from sweet Mandy.

In Cold Blood by Truman Capote. I am still in the middle of this book (to be followed up by this article), but it had to make the list. The true story of the brutal murder of four members of the Clutter family, killed in Holcomb, Kansas in 1959. A gift from my younger sister.

With the big move over, I’m excited to get back in a steady reading rhythm. Any book suggestions that go well with a dose of Pacific Northwest sun?

Image by artist Marisa Swangha.

weekend links

St. Johns mural by Carson Ellis

Finally, a new post on small sight! Marcus and I arrived safely in Portland and have spent the last weeks adjusting to life in the States. I am working to find a new rhythm, for blogging as well. No better way to start than with a collection of interesting things to do, see, watch, etc. Happy weekend to all!

1. Carson Ellis, one of my favorite illustrators, designed a new mural for the St. Johns neighborhood in Portland, to be unveiled in May (pictured above)
2. The New York Times looks at the rising stature of photography at museums
3. The Oregon Museum of Science & Industry is holding a spring star party on Saturday at Rooster Rock State Park
4. A look at the lives of the people living in the Siberian Taiga in the latest documentary from Werner Herzog
5. Images of a Siberian Winter by photogapher Maxim Shemetov
6. The cons of a packaged food culture, or a great reminder to eat fresh and local
7. Photographs of models and their mothers in The New York Times Magazine
8. The Welcome to Portland campaign by W+K for Travel Oregon, if my friends in Amsterdam needed any more reasons to visit

welcome to portland

farewell Amsterdam

The last post from Amsterdam! It has been an amazing week of meeting with friends, saying farewell to the city, and packing up our lives here in the Netherlands. Seven years. I can’t really begin to describe how it feels.

A few days ago, I sent some belated images of a summer s’mores making party to a group of dear friends and then started looking through my Amsterdam photo archive. Here, is a quick collection of some sweet moments over the last years.

We just had an impromptu breakfast of poffertjes with Stefanie & Fiede this morning. The sun is shining and Marcus is calling the taxi to airport. Thank you to all our friends who made the last weeks so special. Until we meet again!