Wednesday, March 16, 2011


Ours is a modern family - diverse, disconnected, spread across the globe.  I embrace that notion, but the reality is often painfully difficult.  There's no jumping in the car to go visit the grandkids for the weekend.  Our visits involve long plane flights and lots of cash.  Skype, Google-Talk and e-mail are our communication methods.  My son and his family live in Guayaquil, Ecuador, but recently they arrived in my former home, Reno, Nevada, for an extended visit with his father.  Taking advantage of their relative nearness, I flew to Reno to spend a few days with them and my sisters. 

Three growing, healthy, athletic boys are all about action, movement, staying busy.  In 3½ days we went sledding, miniature golfing, bowling, roller blading (them, not ME), hiking, playing in the park, shopping, cooking and eating, eating, eating. 

Ruhi, Raji and Joshua sledding at Sky Tavern

Miniature Golf

Raji and his mom, Katty, playing cards

Ruhi and Joshua on the computer
The boys are Joshua, age 13, Raji, now 10, and Ruhi, soon to turn 6.  All are bilingual in English and Spanish, switching easily between the two.  Ruhi still struggles occasionally with the transition as he is more comfortable in Spanish, resulting in some comical moments.  He would ask, "Are we going to House Connie?", which would make sense in Spanish (la casa Connie) but in English elicits a giggle from the relatives.  Another hilarious instance of faulty translation came when I was describing how I made some toasted almonds.  I said that I coated them in olive oil, baked them and then added sea salt.  A bit later we realized that Ruhi was not swallowing his mouthful of nuts, but spit them out as soon as we got out of the car.  Upon questioning, we learned that his mother had told him, in Spanish, that I cooked them with bacon!  And he hates bacon.  She heard 'bacon' instead of 'baked them'. 

One truly incredible Ruhi moment occurred as we were out on a short hike along a nature trail on the north side of Reno. We walked through a riparian habitat where large old deciduous trees often serve as roosting and nesting sites for owls.  Even though the trees are leafless at this time of year, spotting the well-camouflaged birds is extremely difficult.  We stopped to read a sign that informed visitors of the type of animal life that can be found in the area.  It mentioned owls and showed an image of a great horned owl.  After reading the sign, Ruhi turned around and said nonchalantly, "I see one".  Sure, we thought.  But, when we looked up, there sat a big owl looking right down at us.  We could so easily have walked on by and never seen him.  How he happened to spot that owl is just beyond me. 

Joshua, Katty and Ruhi on the trail

Great Horned Owl watching us

Susie, the teacher, showing Ruhi the lichen

Beautiful lichen on the rocks

Justin, Katty, Raji, Ruhi, Susie, with Joshua, Quincy and Sophie in front.
Each moment with Justin and his family was one to be savored, and I was very happy to be able to share many of those moments with my sisters, Susie and Connie.  Memories and photos will have to carry us along until we meet again.