Posted by: jottertree | June 28, 2010

A day in the life

I don’t have many stories to tell. Our days here are similar from one to the next. We wake up and assess the state of the roads because dry roads equals dry rock. As often as it is dry, it is drizzly and wet in which case we wait for the clouds to clear and the roads to dry before setting out to climb.

From Norway Part 1

We have had a few spectacularly sunny days but more are overcast. The landscape remains unbelievable whatever the weather. Of all the days here, there has only been one where it stayed wet to the point where we couldn’t climb all day.

From Norway Part 2

With 24 hours of sun, we have great flexibility of when we climb. We can get up late and climb at night or climb in the morning and go to bed early. It all works out.

From Norway Part 2

At night, if there is sun, we wander the town taking photographs and generally appreciating the amazing landscape we are inhabiting here on the Lofoten Islands. The following picture is of our group (without me of course) looking over the town of Henningsvaer where we are staying and was taken at close to midnight. True midnight sun.

From Norway Part 1
Posted by: jottertree | June 23, 2010

A High Altitude Skinnydip

On the top of mountain we found a lake and behind this lake more mountains rose. Snow iced the cliffs like icing. The air was a crisp 42 degrees and the wind blew strong enough to cut through the layers of clothing we had donned in preparation for the chill, but the sun was taking turns with the rain so in this lake I decided to swim. How could I not with the snow-topped mountains behind me and the view of the ocean and Hennisvær spread out below me? So swim I did. I jumped into the lake and just as quickly jumped right back out because that water was colder than any water I have ever been in before. On the hike back to the car, down from the mountains, I felt like a million bucks.

From Norway 2
Posted by: jottertree | June 20, 2010

Team Low-Foe-10

The Lofoten Islands are nothing short of breathtaking. I feel like I have said that a lot lately about a lot of places but, what can I say?, I’ve been a lot of beautiful places recently. This is a different kind of beautiful though. This is not lush cloud forests or white sand beaches. This is not the bucolic hills of home or islands at the river. This is a land that is harsh in its beauty. There are few trees, and most that have taken root live their lives as little more than shrubs. The cliffs rise out of the ocean in steep mountains daring anyone to try to get to the top. The ocean beats against the shore, whether it is shear cliffs or white sand beaches. The water transforms from formidable grey to shocking aquamarine as it reaches the beaches. The towns are filled with small brightly colored houses. They stand out among the endless grey of the landscape. We are truly in the land of the midnight sun; it is the same brightness at midnight as it is at noon. I find this exceedingly disconcerting. This endless light steals away any sense of time.

From Norway

The climbing has been magnificent. Besides good rock and fun climbs, the views from the varying vantage points are awesome. We can see the mountains and islands and fjords. Luckily, we have thus far been able to escape any significant rain but then again we are only on day two here in the islands. Although there has been little rain, there has been a lot of cold and a lot of wind. It’s like late fall, you can see snow on the mountains and feel the snow just waiting on the air. We are told it is supposed to warm up in the next few days, so we are hoping. We can survive cold and wind, so for now we climb with cold fingers.

From Norway

Our group is great. We have five people on this expedition: Team Low-Foe-10. Our team includes my friend Colin, his uncle and aunt, Jim and Lucie, their friend Michelle and me. We have stupendous meals eaten around our huge dining room table in our lovely pink house. There are four bedrooms, two living rooms, two mudrooms, a dining room, kitchen and bathroom. In the mudroom we found a bb gun and a corduroy jacket which would be cute and fit me if it weren’t for the puffy sleeves! During the day Lucie paints while the other four of us climb, once we return from our days activities we cook dinner and hang out until we remember that it isn’t going to get dark so we should go to bed.

From Norway
Posted by: jottertree | June 16, 2010

JJ in Bodo

I thought I would write a quick post to let everyone know that I have arrived in Bodo, Norway. Tomorrow I head over to the islands. My flights went smoothly, no delays. Arriving Iceland was breathtaking and here in Bodo was exciting. There is snow!! My travel buddy Colin wasn’t so lucky and he will now be arriving tomorrow at noon…no biggie though! I’ll send more later when I know more but I knew some of you would like the peace of mind knowing I am safe and sound.

Posted by: jottertree | June 14, 2010


Two weeks in the states have been a whirlwind of activity. I spent a few days in the Adirondacks climbing and searching for climbs that we never found. I spent a few days in Annapolis and a few days in Binghamton, a few days in Syracuse and a few days at the river. Suddenly I realize that I leave for Norway tomorrow and haven’t even begun to pack. Of course I should be packing now, but it seems to me that I am writing a blog post instead.

From River Time 2010

At the river, (since I don’t have enough crafty hobbies already) I spent a day learning to make glass beads. I have done very little work with glass before and the feel of the molten glass fascinated me. I love the way it moves like thick honey; I love the way it glows. I love the way you cannot focus on anything other than the glass on the mandrels. I made poke-a-dot beads and swirled beads, pretty beads and really ugly beads, fish beads and octopus beads. One more hobby to add to my list!


Since returning from panama my wonder with clouds has remained. The river gave me a birthday present of clouds this year. Never before have I seen clouds such as these at the river or anywhere else for that matter. They started as a thick fog, rendering the river impassible; as they cleared they bunched together over the water and left the sky a brilliant blue and the river a glorious green. Slowly the image of the nearby islands emerged. It was absolutely breathtaking.

From River Time 2010
Posted by: jottertree | May 29, 2010

Me voy pero voy a regresar

As I prepare to leave, I find myself in the midst of a tropical storm like we experienced the first week. There have been earthquakes and ceaseless rain. It’s as if Mother Nature is letting me know that she also acknowledges this upcoming change in my life. I have less than twenty-four hours left in Monteverde, this beautiful place that I have been fortunate enough to call home for the last five months.

From 2010 Costa Rica 3

I will miss the institute. I will miss having to walk 4 miles to and from it every day and the conversations those walks lead to. The relationships formed with the staff of the institute aren’t typical. Where else can you feel comfortable calling your professor to come get you at two in the morning so you can crash on his floor and in the morning you do his laundry while he cooks you breakfast? Where else do you go to the directors’ house and have a dinner while you teach her and her husband how to bead? Where else do spend countless conversations trying to convince the night guard to dance salsa with you at the town fair? And where else do you bring the weekend guard breakfast one morning because he has been there for 65 hours straight and lets you play the same three songs over and over on the piano every day once everyone else has left?

I will miss the nature and I will miss yoga: a studio that opens up right into the cloud forest and the blue morphos dance across the balcony while mot mots sit and watch you practice. I will miss the bellbirds, I will miss the fig trees; I will miss the giant toads that allegedly make you high if you lick them. I will miss the rainbows and the clouds. I will miss the mist and the sunshine. I will miss being able to sit on a rock and watch the sun set over the Nicoya Golf.

From Costa Rica2

I will miss my little house in the woods. I will miss the sound of the incessant rain on my tin roof. I will miss living on my own, dancing because no one can see me, singing because no one can hear me and surely I will miss having such a beautiful silver studio to use.

From 2010 Costa Rica last Monteverde

I will miss the friends I have come close to in this last week. I will miss cooking with Daniel: arroz con leche, chicken, huge pots of rice, sangria and who knows what else. I will miss trading bracelets for clothing with Yameleth and teaching her how to bead.

From 2010 Costa Rica last Monteverde

I will miss my family, laughing with them, and even the ridiculous stunts they pulled. I will miss other families, my neighbors, other hosts and all the other wonderful people I have met.

From 2010 Costa Rica last Monteverde

This is truly an amazing place. I have been so lucky to have the opportunity to exist here for such an extended period of time. It has been lovely. Now I head home; I hope you have enjoyed following my adventure here in Costa Rica. Living with me through it. I will continue to post to this blog as the adventures continue. Stay tuned this summer for adventures in Europe. Love to all.

Posted by: jottertree | May 17, 2010

One week alone

My first week has passed living on my own. I got to say…I like it. I really don’t do much but immerse myself in silversmithing and go to yoga one or two times a day. Every once in a while I come up for air and force myself to study some GRE vocabulary but my heart is in yoga and my art. I haven’t been seeing much of anybody, and that is okay with me. I like the independence. I have had fun creating strange concoctions for meals. My father would be proud of some of the things I have put together while my mom would laugh and say I was just like my father.

From Jewelry

I have not only been creating pieces for myself but a few woman around have commissioned two pieces and that has been fun to try to create pieces from others people’s dreams. If anyone is interested in commissioning a piece let me know sometime within the next week, and I will be happy to create sometime for you. You can see the pictures on my picasa site to get ideas.

From Jewelry

I have also been trying to gather gear together through the wonders of the internet for my climbing trip to Norway. I will only have two weeks at home before setting off on this next journey. I realized yesterday that two months from today I will wake up in Washington, a month from today I will wake up in Norway, two months from today I will be waking up in Turkey and three months from today I will be back in Syracuse.

From Jewelry
Posted by: jottertree | May 6, 2010

When I discovered the clouds

After Bocas del Torro, Andie and I took an overnight bus to Panama city. This capital city is as different from San Jose as I think is possible. Panama City has skyscrapers as opposed to the buildings in San Jose which hardly make it off the ground. The atmosphere was really different as well but I don’t know how to begin to explain that.

From 2010 Panama trip

We stayed with the caretakers of the Bahá’í temple. It was on a hill looking over the city, and the temple was gorgeous. After two days in the city we returned on another overnight bus back to San Jose. We arrived at 2am and crashed on the floor of our professor’s apartment. In the morning, Jim cooked us breakfast, and we chatted until the 2:30pm bus left for Monteverde.

From 2010 Panama trip

In all, our trip to Panama was a success. What really got me though were the clouds. I don’t know if I never noticed clouds before or if they are truly different in Panama but I couldn’t keep my eyes off them. When I think back on this trip, I think I will always think of it as the week when I discovered the clouds.

From 2010 Panama trip
Posted by: jottertree | April 30, 2010

Fire Dancing

I thought I should give an update on my lately-acquired fire dancing hobby. I have practiced from such places as in front of Aranal Volcano watching lava run red and glittering down its sides. I have practiced on countless walks to and from the institute while bell birds call and motor cycles zoom past, practiced on the dock looking out at beautiful Panamanian islands. Though I’m not ready to take my show on the road, I am ready to start working with fire, and I’m getting more competent as time goes on.

Posted by: jottertree | April 30, 2010

Adventures in Panama

On the 24th we said good bye to many of the people who have been on this journey of a semester with us. Though sad that the semester has ended, it was easier for me than other good byes have been as I know that all of these people will be within a five hour drive of me next year. After the last official day of our program, I explored San Jose for a few days with Mom, Dad and Sarah Jane. We had a great seafood dinner, Sarah and I got our hair wrapped and wandered the streets of the sprawling city.

After saying good bye to Mom and Dad, Sarah Jane, Andie and I headed to the south-eastern corner of Costa Rica. We stopped in a small town on the coast called Cahuita. We had stopped here our first week, so it seemed a fitting place to return. We spent two days there, and it was hot. Hot and sticky and humid. Our room had almost no windows and a little fan and the power went out and it was hot. We did go snorkeling though and saw rays and a shark and lots of neat fish including lion fish. Lion fish are the strangest looking creatures I have ever seen. Apparently, they are an introduced species from Indonesia; they are taking over the local waters as they have no natural predators. Now when have we heard that story before???

From 2010 Panama trip

After Cahuita, we said good bye to Sarah Jane, and Andie and I headed to Panama. We walked over the rickety banana bridge that forms the border to Panama. Everything went nearly without hitch but we had no proof that we were planning on leaving Panama so we had to buy a bogus bus ticket that would take us out of the country in a few weeks time. We are, in fact, planning on leaving Panama but not at this border.

From 2010 Panama trip

Now we are in islands called Bocas Del Torro. We’ve been here two days and done nothing but relax. After our experience in Cahuita we splurged and are spending 11 dollars each a night for a private room with a.c. . Our hotel opens onto the ocean so we can swim right off the back porch. Sitting in the hammock of this porch we can see coral and bright fish. The breeze blows on us as we read silly murder mysteries and keep our eyes out for dolphins.

From 2010 Panama trip

Life is good.

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