Friday, May 23, 2008

Motorcycle Babe

This week we were lucky to be visited by our newly-Holden departed friend Rachel Carter, who is about to become a biker-babe extaordinaire when she sets off across the country on her newly-purchased BMW motorcycle. This week it was parked outside our palace in Ballard on a large trailer. She looks good on it no?

Tonight was another Holden reunion ... several of us met at a local resuraunt for Beers and Pizza. It was great to be back in the presence of so many who know what many of us have been through. Here we all are, including Michael and Jack who we have been looking forward to reconnecting with for a while now.

This weekend is memorial day weekend, and I'm playing more soccer (which is what I like to do almost every weekend!) Wish me luck, maybe I'll post some photos.

Sunday, May 18, 2008

Time Warps

Tonight we were transported back in time ... to a couple of different eras. First, we were lucky enough to hear a concert by Seattle Pro Musica of Rachmaninov's choral work, the All Night Vigil. This was a stunning concert, and it felt like I was listening to the revival of ancient Russian chant in one of the cathedrals of the late Tsars. In fact, it was St. James Cathedral in Seattle, not a shabby stand-in. The choir is that of our Holden friend Liz Langeland.

After the concert we visited the anachronistic lobby of Seattle's Sorento hotel. A fabulous 1920s band was playing and the warm wood of the turn of the century lobby made me feel like a gangster. Here's Matt, looking like a member of la cosa nostra.

The whole evening was very pleasant ... and we thought of Daniel, the other half of Holden's staff coordination team, and how he would have liked the Sorento.

Tuesday, May 13, 2008

Home Sweet Ballard

We are back in Seattle now, doing things like getting cars repaired, going to job interviews and business meetings. Life has changed yet again. This summer we will be house-sitting/renting in a couple of different places in Seattle. Matt P (me) will be working from home. Matt L will be starting back working in the hospital, probably Harborview, before long. We like the place we are living in Ballard.

Speaking just for myself, this is not going to be easy. In the past two years, we've had a series of amazing adventures ... from the year and a half at Holden to South America to ... it's been one thing after another. My life has been connected to the seasons of the year and to the seasons of the spiritual year. I have been surrounded by amazing friends and blessed with the time to make new friends all of the time. This kind of intensity is not easily recreatable in a large city, nor do I want it to be. But it is still such a change, and I am only beginning to feel it.

If you want to know what I'm working on this summer, you can visit the Holden Audio Archives website.


Thursday, May 1, 2008

Holden Again

Well, I (MattP) am back at Holden, enjoying a great reunion with so many friends here. Getting off the van in the village yesterday was great. So many friends and dear people ... it was like a wall of familiar faces when I got out and greeted people.

So far I've been relaxing, playing bridge with friends and just generally easing into the slowness of this place, which was home for us for one and a half years.

People come and go from Holden with such regularity. A few of those familiar to us are now gone, and even more will leave in the coming months. Marv and Nancy (below) are in their last weeks. Another friend is getting ready to buy a motorcycle and tour around the country.

There's been a little bit of sadness being here too. I've been going nonstop for the last few months, as has Matt L, and little regrets creep in which can only be felt fully when there's time to stop. But overall it is great to be back here for a week.

Matt L joins me here on Tuesday, and then we have a few more days of visiting. The general plan is then that I start a contracting job for Holden over the summer, working on their digital audio project.

Matt L is in Indiana still, visiting family for a little longer. So if you are reading this, hi Matt!


Thursday, April 24, 2008

Planting Time

We are back! Well, most of the way anyway. We have been spending time in the midwest with friends and family. Our first stop after leaving Lima was the home of Larry and Gundula, dear friends from Holden Village. They were our gracious hosts for four days after our return in their home on Lake Erie. We shared so much laughter (right Gundula) during those evenings, and went on walks on the shore and through local parks during the day. You learn new things about people all the time ... this time we learned how interested those two are in wildflowers.

Now we are back outside of Berne, Indiana at Matt's folks farm. It is planting season, and Gregg is out in the fields all day from early in the morning until after dark. I'm feeling planted too.

Photo: Matt and Betty (his Mom) down the road from their farm. Amish buggy in background.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Vamos a Lima

Well the last few days of our time in South America are here. Today we fly from the altiplano down to Lima, on the coast. We did some thinking the other day and figured out that we´ve been at over 8,000 feet in elevation for 2/3 of this trip, and at over 12,000 ft for almost half of it. We are sort of wondering how we will react when we land this evening down at sea level Lima. Maybe we will be able to run for long distances without rest or something. However, given our general lack of exercise during this trip, that is unlikely.
Please keep reading this blog. We intend to update it even after we get back.
The beach in Lima:

Thursday, April 10, 2008


We are back in La Paz now, after an amazing, if somewhat tiring trip through the Salar de Uyuni, and the national volcanic reserve. Our adventures were numerous ... we left from the cold, desolate town of Uyuni on Saturday morning in a 4WD vehicle containing us, a nice British guy named David and a delightful Norwegian family. We headed out into the salt flats ... an amazing expanse (over 100km wide in some places) of salt desert. At its edge the salar is only about 30 cm thick, but in the middle there can be over 100 meters of salt underfoot. There are islands of cactus and rock in this salt sea. We visited one on our way.

That night we stayed in a hostel composed completely of salt blocks, with a salt floor! Early the next morning we watched the sun rise over the desert and headed up into the very high mountains to see volcanos, rare endangered animals like the vacuña and the andean fox, and stranger things still. Such as a flocks of wild flamingos feeding in mineral lakes that slowly trun bright red or green during the course of the day due to the presence of micro-organisms in their water. Also ... Borax mines, bubbling hot springs and mud gysers, desolate volcanos, and the desert and rock formations that inpsired many of Salvador Dali´s paintings. At the extreme, we went all the way down into the desolate corner of the world where Argentina, Chile and Bolivia all meet (we even walked over the Chilean border a few yards!) ....

I´ll put some pictures of this part of our journey up, as words simply do not do the place justice. By the way, we almost didn´t make it out of Uyuni due to a confluence of events, including a power outage through the whole town, a mysteriously cancelled train, and a broken tourist bus. Thanks to strings pulled by the friendly Norwegians, we eventually got one of the few remaining bus tickets out of town that night, leaving behind an army of angry Israeli backpackers. Frozen Uyuni is not the place you really want to get stranded. Thankfully we were not, although the overnight bus trip was far from comfortable.

Tomorrow we go back to Peru and within a week we will be in Miami! We´ll see many of you soon.