Liebster Award

Liebster Award

Wow! I received a blog award! What an honor to be nominated by author and editor Nick Wilford from Speculative Author – Making the impossible reality. Thank you Nick! I enjoy his blog, where he shares thoughts and information for authors and potential authors as well as his own writing journey. Nick is a professionally trained freelance editor and proofreader with a background in journalism. You can find more information about these services here.

Liebster Award


Liebster Award

“Liebster” is a German word meaning beloved or dearest. It is an online recognition in form of virtual award which started in 2011 passed on by bloggers to fellow bloggers for enjoying and valuing their work. The idea is to recognize the effort and give credit.

The Liebster Award is interesting in that anyone nominated for it receives it by writing an acceptance post. That is what I am doing now. The rules for accepting the award are straightforward:

  • Thank the person who nominated you.
  • Answer the 11 questions you were asked. Nick asked them in this post.
  • Nominate 11 people and ask them 11 questions.
  • Notify each of the nominees on their blog.

My answers to Nick’s questions

Note that since my blog focuses on my life in Ecuador, many of my answers are regarding my Ecuador experience.

If you were to write a historical novel, which time period would you pick and why?

I would probably pick the Roaring 20’s or the Jim Crow years, both in the USA. What a perfect reason to spend hours upon hours researching the times and events. I think it would be a disturbing but useful learning experience to attempt to put myself inside the mind of someone who believes one race is superior to another. Actually, these time periods overlap so I suppose I should just say the Jim Crow years.


Have you ever taken a creative writing class and what did you learn? If not, would you consider it?

No, but I think it would be a great learning experience if I did.


Describe one thing from your everyday life that inspires you.

The women, also known as the Mamitas, who run the Olon Orphanage are an inspiration with the way they live their lives and help others. They have dedicated their lives completely to the children they are raising. The Mamitas live onsite and are there for the children around the clock. They do not “go home” for days off or vacations because their home is the orphanage. If a child awakens at 2 AM from a nightmare, a Mamita is nearby to hold them and provide soothing words. They have my deepest admiration and respect and they inspire me to give more of myself to others.


Emily and Fatima at the orphanage
Emily with Fatima, who lives at the orphanage
She is in charge of the Mamitas as well as all of the orphans


What’s your social media outlet of choice and why do you enjoy it?

Facebook is where I keep up on what is happening in the lives of my friends and family. I enjoy seeing photos and vacation updates of people I rarely have an opportunity to see in person. I also use Facebook for Ecuador related news.


What’s the maddest thing you’ve done when researching a story?

Well since I only write publicly about my life in Ecuador, I suppose it was to sell almost everything I own and move to another continent.


Pick a favourite book character and give one question you’d like to ask them.

I would like to ask George RR Martin what his plans had been for Jon Snow if he had continued writing books for the series. (Oops, I was supposed to ask the character a question, not the author…)

What did you want to be when you were growing up?

When I took my first high school computer class, I knew I wanted to work in IT. I also liked statistics, mathematics, and accounting so I majored in Management Information Systems, which was a mix of Computer Science and Business Administration. I spent my IT career in ERP systems, IT management and project management.


Describe one ambition you would still like to achieve.

Much of the world knows about the Galapagos and the Amazon but not much else about Ecuador. I would like to publish a book that brings other parts of Ecuador into their conscience. Perhaps some of them might visit this beautiful country because of something they read in my book.


What was the last book to make a big impression on you?

100 Points to Consider Before Moving or Retiring in Ecuador by Nicholas Crowder was released the month after I moved to Ecuador. I read it immediately and obtained invaluable insight into customs and security.

One everyday custom example: In the United States, when we indicate a person’s height, we hold our hand open with the palm down and say “He is about this high.” In Ecuadorian culture, you only hold your palm down when showing how high an animal is. If you are indicating a person’s height, your palm is perpendicular to the ground, with the side of your hand that the little finger is on at the appropriate height. To indicate a person’s height with the palm down is an insult, implying that they are an animal. I cannot tell you how many times I have begun to tell a child how much taller they have gotten since I last saw them when I find myself changing my hand position mid-arm raise.


Name one musical artist that inspires you and say why.

Ecuadorian musician and friend, Abdullah Arellano, writes and sings from his heart. He has a relaxed calmness about him and it comes across beautifully in his songs. You can buy his CD in Puerto Lopez after listening to a few of his songs by clicking on these links: Yasuni, Mujeres de Acero and  Inmensidad (Abdullah is the one with a hat on in the videos). He enjoys teaching music to children who otherwise would not have an opportunity to learn it.


Have you ever been lost and what was the outcome of the situation?

Quite a few times but one stands out. The second time Scott and I visited Ecuador, we rented a car with a GPS, as we had the first time. Leaving the Guayaquil airport, a bridge was closed due to construction. We wanted the GPS to select an alternate route but had no idea how to tell it that. The darn thing kept talking to us in Spanish, which we did not understand back then. We passed the same sports field over and over and over again as we kept unintentionally going in circles. After about an hour I finally turned the GPS off and pulled out our paper map.

Map and Garmin
These were our tools while trying to exit Guayaquil during road construction

We drove around Guayaquil for hours until we found a sign for a city we needed to go through. When we reached our hotel that night, I spent some quality time with the GPS getting to know it’s functions.

One more quick story – we weren’t exactly lost and unrelated to Ecuador but… When my husband and I booked our honeymoon in 1996, we were very focused on the wedding and asked a travel agent to book us at a resort in Acapulco. While we were on the flight from Los Angeles to Mexico City, we looked at the boarding pass for our next flight. We were going to Huatulco, not Acapulco. We laughed so hard at our mistake in not verifying where we were honeymooning. We loved Huatulco and visited again five years later.


Congratulations! You have been nominated for a Liebster Award!

  1. Donna B. McNicol at Romance and mystery… writing my life
  2. Heidi Lovato at DecibelMemos, Perspectives Absent of Sound
  3. Judy Rinehimer at CoolRVers On the Road
  4. Arti Jain at My Ordinary Moments
  5. Moon at Life as it happens
  6. Nancy Thornton at Lightheaded, New life after retirement at 8,300 feet
  7. Bob and Roxanne at BobnRox In Ecuador
  8. Jack Abercrombie at Journeyman Jack in Ecuador
  9. Lisa at Musings of a Middle-Aged Mom
  10. Molly at MOLLY’S CANOPY – Growing family trees one leaf (and road trip) at a time
  11. DeeDee at Mrs. Dash Says…

Nominees, should you choose to accept your award, here are your questions:

  1. What prompted you to begin blogging?
  2. Which language would you like to learn?
  3. What was your favorite experience in the past six months?
  4. What one location in the world you would like to visit? Why?
  5. Do you have pets? If yes, please introduce them.
  6. What is the strangest food you have ever eaten?
  7. What is your biggest struggle while writing?
  8. Who would you like to receive a week of training / mentorship from?
  9. What is the first thing you drink in the morning?
  10. How many books do you read per month?
  11. What was your favorite time of year when you were growing up?

Well, I am off to notify each of the above nominees! Thank you again to Nick!

I am a US Expat in Ecuador. I grew up on a Minnesota farm, worked in IT in California's Silicon Valley, then moved to a coastal Ecuador fishing village. My goal is to share Ecuador with you, one snippet at a time. Topics include attractions, compassion, ecotourism, Ecuador products, everyday Ecuador, and flora and fauna. Please let me know what you would like to read more about!


  • Hilary Melton-Butcher

    Congratulations Emily – and well done Nick … Emily's taken her time to answer your questions. I've now commented in length on Emily's answers!

    Jim Crow years … an interesting period to research further – disturbing one, but so much to learn …

    The Olon Orphanage – does seem to be wonderful … lovely seeing Fatima …

    I can see why you choose FB – makes sense …

    Brave as you say to move to another continent … I moved to South Africa in the late 70s … eventually got home!

    Oooh clever lady specialising in those subjects …

    The idea of a book on Ecuador would make sense … but new book titled the 100 points to consider before moving or retiring to Ecuador would give you some great ideas …

    Different culture and customs – essentials to learn, or pick up very quickly.

    Abdullah sounds a delightful person – wanting to help kids, who normally wouldn’t have a chance … I must listen to him …

    Getting lost – paper maps are so often safer … or instinct with some common sense … glad you ditched the SAT nav … but then your honeymoon destination – that’s funny! So glad it was delightful – looks like it …

    Congratulations to the nominees … and well done Nick and Emily … cheers Hilary

    • Emily Bloomquist

      Wow Hilary! Thank you for commenting on individual answers.

      One massive difference between you moving to South Africa and me to Ecuador is the technology that is available now. I imagine that almost all of your correspondence was done via snail mail and an occasional telephone call with static and delays. I am able to instantly message with anyone for no cost and my 'home' phone number is still the same one that I had in California. Technology has made moving around the world less isolating.

      Thank you for your thoughtful comments!

  • Nancy Thornton-Vanderplaats

    i have been remiss from tending to my blog site. took a month or two off to paint and read and help a friend. thank you so very much for your nomination. this means a great deal to me. i hope we can meet some day. Ecuador is a small country, so it can happen. if you are ever in cuenca, please call. i am off to post my nominations now. again…thank you. i enjoy reading your posts a great deal. we are blessed to live in this country!

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