Jungle bunny

I was born here on the edge of the Amazon rain forest:


This was the mission hospital in the town of Shell, Ecuador. This picture was taken a few years ago, shortly before the termite-infested (probably) building was knocked down. It’s amazing to see how the jungle just takes over.

I loved being a kid in Shell. We had a lot of freedom to run all over the base where our families lived. My friends and I spent half our time creating vast fantasies with elaborate storylines with forts and secret missions, and the other half holed up in our rooms with Barbies and GI Joes. I have fond memories of rainy afternoons playing in the upstairs screened-in porch of the Saint house, caught up in some story in my head, the mist of the rain flecking our skin as we drove match box cars on the carpet.


That’s me, about 3. I thought that monkey was a good subsitute for my baby sister. People always think it was exotic that I had pets like monkeys, turtles and parrots growing up, but I didn’t know any different. That was life. My sister always embarrasses me by telling people about the marmoset monkey I killed (it was an accident!)

On the outside, I suppose I look like a typical American. But as they say, you can take the girl out of the jungle, but you can’t take the jungle out of the girl.


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