Over Christmas time in 2013 my family and I visited my sister Susannah in Chile, where she has worked as a marine biologist for the past seven years. Her specific field of research is blue whale acoustics and ecology - recording and interpreting their sounds to determine migration and breeding patterns.
For us, this was the first time that the entire family got the chance to see her in her new adopted country, a culture that has become so fixed in her that she has been referred to by other South Americans as La Chilena (the Chilean woman).
Over the three weeks we stayed in Chile, Susie organized a tour of the country, ranging from the picturesque Valparaiso to the barren salt flats of the Atacama Desert, bordering with Bolivia. It was a staggeringly beautiful trip, but the most moving moment for us as a family was the airing of a documentary on Chilean national television partly dedicated to her and her ongoing research. To see her hard work be appreciated and reported so thoughtfully evoked in us a lot of pride.
Documentary and blue whale footage credit goes to "Chile: Laboratorio Natural" by Cabala Productions and CONICYT Chile (youtube.com/watch?v=cR9lEs3MUEQ)
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