11 May 2009

Putting the "America" in South America - Part 2

After our full day enjoying the architecture and beach in La Serena, we jetted on over to Coquimbo with our photographer Kyle Hepp. Coquimbo is the neighboring port town to La Serena. At the edge of Coquimbo is an old fort that looks like ramparts of a castle - a very romantic location for an evening photo-shoot!
There's a café at the fort, and in the summer there's live jazz in the evenings outdoors!
The best part of the fort is the view of La Serena. Coquimbo juts out to form a bay with La Serena - you can see the entire city in lights at night.

Since our photographer flew up (down?) to visit us from Santiago, we had her the next morning, too! We really wanted to capture a bit of our life around the recinto, our astronomer-gringo home away from home.
Plus we needed an excuse to get cute shots of our dog Beau ;).We're a family! This is the pathway I walk down to get to work (above). The entire community (25 homes on a hill) is lavishly gardened. We're actually required to employ a gardener for our own house!
With our dog trainer, we've been teaching Beau some pretty sweet tricks. This is "high-five". First he sits on his hind legs ("high"), then he gives us "five"! Later we're going to teach him how to walk ("zombie" - what else would you call that crazy saunter dogs do?).Even though I know it's a bit out of the ordinary, I'm so glad we had our photographer Kyle stay the night with us! It's a rare thing to meet United-Statesians that aren't in astronomy here. Now we have a friend to stay with when we go to Santiago! Plus we were able to finagle four different locations for our photo shoot ;)

How did you choose your location for your engagement photos? Did you find yourself becoming friends with any of your vendors?

08 May 2009

Putting the "America" in South America - Part 1

Our engagement pictures are in!!!

Kyle was really awesome to work with. There was a whole slew of locations I wanted to shoot at in La Serena, and she entertained all of them! Even though we're getting married in the states, we thought it appropriate to document part of our lives in South America.

Let's take a tour of our little town in Chile, shall we?

We started our paparazzi craziness in the Plaza de Armas - downtown old La Serena. This is where we take our spanish lessons, and it's got a great colonial feel to it, complete with beautiful gardens and old Spanish architecture.
This one is my favorite!!

bling-bling. 'ello?

We both really liked the Wes Andersen feel to this pic! (above)

When we were done making out gringo-style in the Plaza, we headed to the beach for some foggy coastal action. Remember that whole northern hemisphere / southern hemisphere thing? It may be June for you guys, but it's effectively DECEMBER here! ("Juncember") That means no sunny, summery beach views, but it does make for some awesome cloudy, romantic vistas!
We both really like to do jump spins!!! It's such a blast! We tried to coordinate our efforts ;)Mr. Cubbie's just too good at jump spins ;)I mentioned earlier that I had planned on including props in the shoot - I grabbed a bouquet of dried flowers last minute to play with on the beach. Kyle was really open to any ideas I had. I told her I wanted to get a picture of the flowers mid-air (while we look all normal and lovey-dovey), and she worked her hardest to make it happen! I love how that shot looks romantic, and completely random at the same time! :)

After our day in old spain and on the beach, we finished our photo shoot at an awesome old fort that looks like a castle! That's coming up next! ;)

Was your photographer open to your input on pictures? How did you express yourself through your engagement pics? Which of our e-pics is your favorite? ;)

**all pictures are from Kyle Hepp Photography

03 May 2009

How to meet and woo a Bear Cub

Three years ago, I flew back to California from Chile. This is actually the 2nd time I've lived in Chile! There's an awesome 3-month summer science research program for undergraduates at the observatories in Chile, and I took advantage of this before I finished my bachelors.

When I came home, I didn't yet know Mr. Bear Cub. In fact, I was living with my (now ex) boyfriend. We both knew it was going to end soon, though. A month after I was back in the states, he drove with me (and all my crap) to help me move in to my new life in New Mexico. This was one of the hardest things I've ever done in my life. I was with this guy for nearly 4 years of my life, and even though I had loved him, I knew we wouldn't make it as a couple (friends, maybe, but we'll see on that).

Anyways, in July of 2006 I uprooted myself and moved to New Mexico to start a new chapter in my life. I started grad school, I was single, and I was making friends on my terms.

While I was settling into my office one day, a little Bear Cub popped out of a box to greet me!

NMSU, July 2006

His name was Mr. Bear Cub, and he was the friendliest little bear I'd met in a long while. I was pretty lonely after my move, and he became a great friend. I found out that he had just gotten back from seeing friends in the Bay Area - he had been vacationing in the town that I had just moved from!

Mr. Bear Cub is the kind of guy who will be your friend first, if that's what you need. This was probably the main reason we were able to get to know each other so well so fast. I really didn't want to date anyone in New Mexico; I didn't think I would find anyone well suited to my quirks there.

He told me later that he had had a crush on me from the moment he met me! (can you believe it?? an actual crush! I thought that was so adorable ;) ) Even though he liked me romantically, he didn't want to jeopardize our relationship as friends, so for a month we spent time getting to know one another. We watched movies no one else wanted to watch, we hiked the Organ Mountains, we talked about how the west coast is like totally awesome and radical (we both missed the rain a ton), and we finished many a delicious pint at the local brewery, High Desert (we both agreed the hoppier, the better).

Las Cruces, NM, August 2006

Then we decided we should go on a camping trip before school started in late August. I'll save the details for a later post, but I will say this - our first kiss was like FIREWORKS. It was like nothing I'd ever experienced before!

From there on out things moved pretty quickly. Before we knew it, we were flying to his home in Portland, Oregon to celebrate Christmas!

This trip really sealed the deal. I met his family, and life with him really felt like home. Isn't that a great feeling - when life with your fiancé/husband feels like home?

All our days since have just been steps towards building a life together.

Cannon Beach, December 2006

Chinese Gardens, Portland, OR, December 2006

A month after we got back from Christmas break, we moved in together. We rented a cute little house outside of town, and made it our home for a year and a half until we moved away from New Mexico.

Mesilla, NM, September 2008

Have you ever made a drastic change in your life, only to discover something wonderful come from it? In your years of dating, did you ever have to get up the courage to end a stagnant (but comfortable) relationship? How long did it take you before you "knew" your significant other was the one you would love for the rest of your life? Were you friends with your future husband before things "got physical"?

01 May 2009

Hello, I'm Miss Bear Cub! :)

Hi there! :)

I'm so excited to bee here with you! I'm Miss Bear Cub, but you can call me Miss Cubbie. I'm no good at introductions - I prefer to jump ahead to being friends! :)

I'll give you a bit of background on me, though. ;) I'm originally from a small town in southern California, but I moved around a bit before I graduated high school in Dallas. I got my undergraduate degree in Astronomy and Physics from the University of Southern California (Fight On!), and I completed my masters degree in Astronomy at New Mexico State University in southern NM.

While in grad school, I met my future husband - future Cubbie Hubbie! Mr. Bear Cub is originally from Portland, Oregon, but he went to high school in Belgium. We learned fast that we both love to travel, we love rain (really!), and gardening, and NPR, and hiking and camping and generally being as goofy and silly as can be!

Cannon Beach, OR Dec 2006

I chose to be Miss Bear Cub because the Mr. and I usually have our hands stuck in a jar of honey candy! We love love love baked goodies and sugery goodness in most forms. We also love salmon (it's my fave sushi), and we're smitten with the Pacific Northwest! (Mr. Bear Cub went to UW!)

We're currently in the thick of planning our September coastal summercamp wedding in Oregon! I'm a die-hard DIY-er, and we're both eco-geeks at heart, so we're trying to craft the wedding as much from scratch/sustainable sources as possible! We're firm believers in doing something because you want to do it, not because someone told you that you had to do it.

I also love to bake. A lot. Luckily, I love to run, too! I'm actually going to bake my wedding cake from scratch, and Sister Bear Cub, Momma Bear, and FSIL Bear Cub are going to help me get it juuust right.

I was so excited I was chosen to bee here with you, that I baked all of you a loaf of sourdough bread!

This is really from my kitchen, from today. Fresh bread is so tasty!

There's just one little snafu in our wedding planning process. We live in La Serena, Chile, and we're not coming back to the states until a week before we say our vows!

from here and here

After getting our graduate degrees, we were offered jobs at the US-owned observatories in the Southern Hemisphere. We live and work in an "astronomer compound" - a small community where english is the primary language, and our neighbors are from Brazil, Germany, Canada, Australia, and many more countries! We both love this unique experience (y también poder practicar nuestro español!), but it's definitely making the wedding planning interesting.

One of the coolest things about being an astronomer in Chile is that we can visit (and observe on) all sorts of crazy telescopes on the southern continent! A few months ago we visited the European Southern Observatory's telescopes at Paranal. This observatory (an array of four 8.2 meter telescopes!) sits high in the Atacama Desert - the location for the most recent James Bond movie!

The observers' sleeping quarters were blown up in the movie, so of course we had to simulate movie magic!

Mr. Bear Cub in a very convincing dash from the blast!

Look! Telescopes in the background!

That's more like it. (screenshot from the movie, credit here)

Paranal, March 2009

It was really awesome being able to visit this observatory in one of the most barren places in the world...

Pumalin Park, Patagonia, December 2008

...But we Bear Cubs rather prefer southern Chile. It reminds us of home in the Pacific Northwest. Even with all of the excitement in South America (including the addition to our little family of a kitten named Georgina and a golden retriever named Beauregard), we can't wait to move to back to Portland in a few years, and settle our crazy selves down a bit! (Not too much ;) )

Beau, December 2008

There's a little over 4 months before our wedding, and I've got so much to share with you! Weddingbee has been such a source of insight and support for me ever since [before] I got engaged last May. I can't wait to let you in on our secrets to having the awesomest, most laid-back and crazy-cool summer camp wedding ever!

Bear hugs for everyone!

-Miss Cubbie :)