A few months ago, Heidi and I were sitting in Buena Vista. Buena Vista is our favorite wi-fi café in Otavalo. Not because it’s great. It’s actually kind of expensive, has mediocre coffee and holds very inconvenient hours. But they allow us to sit there for hours working on our computers, and they make awesome nachos.
Anyway. Heidi and I were spending our precious wi-fi time sending each other links about honey badgers, when she sent me one from oregonlive.com. A woman from my wonderful home state had taken an 11-day tour through Ecuador and written an article for the paper about it. “Hey,” I thought. “I write about Ecuador all the time. Maybe I could get my blog on the website!” So in what my dad would call my knack for “shameless self-promotion” I wrote an email to the Oregonian explaining to them that maybe their readers would like my blog. Almost immediately after I sent the e-mail the waiter brought us nachos and I forgot all about it.
A few weeks later, I checked the stats on my blog. This basically tells me how many times my blog has been looked at. I was shocked. Just in that day I had 300 views. Were the Madrids going to all of the computers in Tualatin and reading my blog? (Here is my chance to say Thank You to the Madrid Family, who I love and who have always been such great supporters of my writing). Then, people started commenting on it. People I didn’t know! What was going on?!
The next day my dad found a tiny article in the Sunday Oregonian: “UO GRAD BLOGGING AND LIVING IN ECUADOR”. How nice! What an exciting title! The editors had printed the website and people had somehow actually decided to log on and read the damn thing. And here I thought newspapers were dying off.
So a few things came of this little blurb. One was that I’ve had a few thousand hits on this blog and that I’ve gotten a few e-mails from some of my fellow Oregonians. One of them was Wendy, a women who works in my mom’s school district and who happened to be taking a trip to Ecuador with her husband.
Wendy asked if I had any extra time because when they passed through Otavalo, she would like to take me out to dinner.
Let’s get real, I always have time for free food.
This was a day after Heidi left, and the night before my birthday. I was trying not to feel bummed about these two events coinciding.
I met them at about 7, and what followed was the best dinner I’ve had in a while. Portlanders are great. Oregonians are great. They had just come from the Galapagos, and we spent the night talking about Ecuador, how strange it can be, and what we thought the future held for both the country and for me. Wendy’s husband is a doctor at OHSU, and we figured out quickly that we had a strange connection. My long time friend and mother of my god-son Meggan Moore, spent a lot of time at OHSU when we were young because she has Cystic Fibrosis. When Meggan and I were 12, she took me on her Make-A-Wish trip to the Caribbean. Wendy’s husband was the doctor who signed those papers allowing us to go.
It was such a great night. I loved their company, and it also gave me a much needed second wind before my Headwaters group came.
So what’s the lesson here? What did I gain from this experience? A few things:
1) A greater appreciation for my home state and the people in it
2) And a brief hope that maybe writing can bring more food to my table.
So thank you Wendy and Mike, for such a great night. And thanks for calling my mom and telling her that I’m not dead. I think my parents worry sometimes.