When you spend five weeks in a city not your own, sometimes its heartbeat can become yours. I was a visitor and, in many instances, a tourist in Quito. Not to mention a habitual eavesdropper on a language in which I have yet to gain fluency. Every day I walked among Ecuatorianos, straining to discern …

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When I was pregnant with my first daughter Natalie in 1986, the Chernobyl reactor exploded and the threat of a nuclear cloud passing over the Pacific Northwest and radiating the six-month old fetus inside me freaked me out. Later, when I was pregnant with Ana in 1989, tanks rolled over Tiananmen Square, scattering protestors, killing …

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