Sunday, November 28, 2010

silent census Sunday

There is no church today.
There are no stores or businesses open today.
There are no cars driving around.
Just an occasional helicopter.
The only people on the streets are teenagers.
They are the only ones allowed to be out.

Seems a little backwards in many ways, yes?
Pretty sure that wouldn't be allowed in North America.

It is crazy quiet -
in what is not normally a quiet city.
There are no festivities of any sort - unless they are in your own home with only the people who live there.

It is census day.

It is kind of odd and eery but strangely enjoyable.

Everyone is bound to their house from 7:00 a.m. - 5:00 p.m.
And they have trained high school students to take the census.
I'm sure they are thrilled to pieces.

For one activity this morning, Lucy requested to watch and movie and snuggle with me.
Great, I thought.
I love watching movies and I love snuggling with my kids.
But then....
she picked the movie.
She picked my all time most hated movie:


I hate Snow White.
Could they possibly have chosen a more annoying voice for the main character?
Simulated nails on the chalkboard would be more enjoyable.
And I'm no feminist, but seriously....
Her munching the apple and falling silent is by far the best part of the movie.

The only part I like is when the animals help her make the gooseberry pies.
I'd like to have cute little birdies crimp my pie crusts for me.
Although I think I might make them wash their little feet first.
(Yes, we have state of the art technology.... it is a VHS, too)

Since we are stuck in the house, we are going to have a lovely lunch with our upstairs neighbors.
Then I am going to pretend that we are at one of my favorite places, Apple Hill.
Usually sometime this weekend, after Thanksgiving, we go to Apple Hill.
I love it there.
The smells, the weather, the atmosphere and the
caramel apples
apple fritters
apple cider
apple pie
(the pie is quite good, even though it was not made by a member of my ancestry)

Since we can't be there, I'm going to make my own caramel apples and my own apple fritters.
If they turn out, you may hear more on that later.

The boys/men just came.
We had students from the military school.
In their fancy boots and everything.
Now for the census....

The questions were all about who we are - ages, languages, nationality; what we have - type of house, what it is made of, how many light fixtures we have, if we have internet (yes, obviously), cable (no.... but they didn't ask about slingbox!), and all that type of stuff.

Surprisingly, it is 11:00 and we are already done.
Took about 1/2 an hour or so and we even understood everything.
Let me rephrase:
Eric understood everything almost immediately.
It took me slightly longer.
I won't tell you how slightly.

And the proof that we are finished?
The sticker on the door:
Now for lunch with our neighbors.
It is a good day.

Wednesday, November 24, 2010

sick of being sick

Yes, sick again.

Eric was sick for six days, and now, lucky-ducky me... I'm sick too.
Just in time for Thanksgiving.
I'm praying for a holiday miracle.
I will be better by tomorrow.
I am supposed to make four pies and stuffing.
We'll see what happens.

At least when I am not sleeping I can do some slow crafting for the sale.
Stitch together flowers for clips and headbands, and add beads:
Glue and sew some owl faces.
And stitch up owl bums.
Cute little owl bum.

So I am not completely useless.
There is a little I can do.
I just pray I'll get enough done for the sale.
I upped my prayers to $700.

Not at all trying to challenge God but I really don't want my faith to be too small.
It is totally up to Him what He wants to do with this sale.
But it sure would be good for the ministry.
Like most ministries now-a-days, we could really use the money.

Aside: You may notice kitty (otherwise known as Nolly - but I'll stick with kitty) in the background.
Kitty likes it when I am sick.
She likes to snuggle on me or at least beside me.
When I'm sick I don't move nearly so much, so she is a very happy kitty.

This next picture brings me great cheer!
Taken just before they left for school.
Yesterday was crazy hair day at school (1st - 12th grades) and pajama day for Kindergarten.
They all were into it - so fun!
One of may favorite things is Cade.
1st: He is wearing his soccer metal - acquired yesterday for intramural soccer.
2nd: He is SO proud of his hair.
He thinks it is so crazy.
And he is just Mr. Cool-Breeze with the shades.
He was beyond thrilled beyond beyond when I did his hair.
The funniest part is that half the guys in school wear their hair like this every day, but he is thinking he is the wackiest kid out there.
Love that boy!

Happiest of Thanksgivings!

Sunday, November 21, 2010

Christmas casualties

I feel like I am the biggest casualty.... even though it isn't Christmas.
But then again, it kind of feels like everyone in our family is a casualty right now.
Or at least if some of my delightful children don't start making some good attitude decisions, I may make them into casualties....
Okay, I'm kidding, but I've certainly felt that way this weekend.

It was a tough one.
I think there is a lot of fatigue - we had company all week and then more for the weekend.
Don't get me wrong - we LOVE it, but I tend to be a little more slack on bed times, allow more snacks and treats, and generally the kids seem a little more tired when we have had a lot of people around.
So, after all our company was gone, there were a lot of "issues" - mine included.

All I want for Christmas is more patience.

I think too, that we have all had enough of not having a car - we can't bring the kids to other peoples' places.
We can't so see the sights around Quito.
We pretty much have been house-bound (with some exceptions) for five months.
It has been driving me crazy as well.
Just little things like not being able to go to the store if I forgot an ingredient or ran out of something we really need.
And asking so often of our neighbors and friends - for rides, to borrow things, etc.

Anyway - enough of my blubbering
(okay, I'm not quite done blubbering. I'm really really sick of the internet problems we are having. A few people have commented on my infrequent blogging. It takes for ever to do it - it took over 9 minutes to load these 5 pictures - our connection is terrible, and I can only do it when I take the computer in our bedroom.... and even then it doesn't often work.
Now I am done blubbering)

(OH! I forgot to mention that Eric has been sick again - since Wed. morning. The man was hardly ever sick in California and Costa Rica, but now he is down a lot. Poor fellow.)
So, since we were all having a hard time, I decided to bust out the Christmas stuff.
We decorated the tree!!!

Even though this is the first time in my life (seriously - ever!) that I have not been "chomping at the bit" to play Christmas music by September (Eric has given me a Nov. 1 start date since I have always wanted to start so early), start decorating first week in November, and wanting to watch nothing but Christmas movies for at least two months before Dec. 25th.
If you know me, you know that there must be something seriously wrong with me.
It is not normal Carla behavior.

While I hauled out the tree, the kids went through all their ornaments. I've been buying them ornaments every year - something that represented the past year for them: Their personality, hobby, interest or major event.... that type thing.
There were several casualties.
Apparently, even though I thought I had packed them all really well, I didn't do such a good job.
I have to set up my little repair workshop and mend some very important objects.
Wings, hands, antlers, legs, hats and wheels all need to be reattached.
The poor unicorn might just be a long cause however.
Poor Jewel.
Not only did the ornaments not fair so well, but my list of all the kids ornaments: who got which one which year for what reason, is missing.
And my brain can't possibly remember all of that.
I'm praying it turns up.

The tree isn't the most lovely - no more hinged, pre-lit, Costco tree for us (I still will always prefer a real tree, but I usually don't want to wait that long to get one... or we put up and artificial and then later a real one. We'll see about this year...)
This is a back to the 90's artificial tree.
BUT, I got it for only $10 - and that is crazy, crazy cheap for here!
I've seen the exact same trees at three different stores for almost $50.
I bought two.
I wish I bought 12 - I could sell them for Casa G.....

Here is the beginning, straggly stage.

Not looking so lovely.
After we fluffed the tree, I put the lights on.
Now, I only bought two packs of 100 lights because they are mucho dinero here.
And I'm cheap.
Normally on a tree this size I would put a minimum of 6 strands of lights.
I go a little crazy.
So I started putting them on in the same fashion as I normally do.... and only got through the bottom row of branches.
I had to redo the lights four times until I finally did them "skimpy" enough to go around the whole tree.
Then the ornaments went on.

Bubbles the monkey joined in as well.
Bubbles is Lucy's kindergarten classes' monkey.
She got to take Bubbles home this weekend and we journalled all of the activities we did.
Lucy is going to have serious Bubbles withdrawals tomorrow.
She has become quite attached.

Of course we had Christmas music playing while we decorated.
That was one of the best parts, especially hearing Lucy's versions.
For example, Lucy was singing at the top of her lungs:
"Jack Frost nicking up your nose...."
Not sure what nicking up your nose feels like, but I am pretty sure that I don't want to find out.

The girls all put on their "Christmas colors" clothes to decorate.
It has sort of become a tradition.
A tradition in which there is no way a certain 7 year old boy is so lame as to participate in.

The tree is looking good.

After we finished decorating, Cade and Lucy proceeded to gather up some of their belongings and wrap them up for the rest of us for our gifts.

We got to open them already.
I got a scarf.
The one that Maddy knit for Lucy for Christmas last year.
The ultimate regifter.

So this is a pretty long entry, and not very comical or anything.
It is the state of my mind.
And the fact that it is way past my bedtime and I am hardly even aware of what I am writing.
Perhaps I should do these things when I am a little more alert..... but then of course I might not be able to get on the internet....

And as a unrelated conclusion, I would like to share with you a completely spontaneous, unprovoked conversation that I had with Cade while tucking him in tonight:
Cade: "Mommy, I have a problem.
Look at my face.
When I just hold my face still, I have a frown.
See?" (he points to his natural mouth shape)
Me: "Well buddy, then just don't hold your face still - smile instead!"
Cade: "But I'm not very good at doing something for a long time.
It starts to hurt my cheeks if I smile too much.
I don't like it."
Me: "You could just start with smiling for a little while and smile a bit longer each day. That way your smiling muscles will get stronger and stronger and then you will be able to smile all the time if you want to."
Cade: "But I don't want to.
And I don't want to smile a little each day."
(a sigh and a concealed grin from Mom)
Me: "Okay. But the best thing to can put on each day is a smile. It might be something really good to do. People like people who are smiling."
Cade: "Well, maybe just a little each day.
But just a little."

Wednesday, November 17, 2010

having a hoot

I am in the middle of all things owl.
Well, I guess only in the middle of making a whole lot of owls.
One of the projects I decided to do for this Casa G. fundraiser craft sale deal was to make a whole whack of owls.
Part of the reason this was a good project to choose is because I got a bunch of free used clothes that I am cutting up for the fabric..... recycling and keeping costs down!
(of course I am using some of my own fabrics too.... just have to because I can't do it with out using some cute material, yes?)

Yesterday I experimented with a pattern that I made.
And since we have company this week*, Lucy's friend got the guinea pig.... well, the owl...
as in the experimental owl.
She is quite delighted with it.
That is giving me a little assurance that we might actually make some money selling these things.
*They are friends from language school in Costa Rica - their second child is Lucy's bestest buddy from there. If you think of the expression "two peas in a pod" - that would be Lucy and Felice! They are hilarious together. Anyway, they are missionaries in El Salvador and are here in Quito from Monday to Friday doing some training stuff and hanging out with us. They are staying at our house (except for one night) and Felice is with us while her parents are learning stuff. We are being very naughty parents and keeping Lucy out of school so she can play. We are officially getting the worst parents of the year award and should probably be shot.
The two peas with the finished owl(s... notice baby owl in the pocket).
Felice is looking very festive in her Christmas dress.
She actually was looking very festive in her Christmas dress year round in Costa Rica as well - she wore it even when we were all sweating bullets out there.
Now, of course, I need to make another pair of owls for Lucy EXACTLY like Felice's.
As in "Mommy, you have to take pictures so that you don't forget how you made Felice's."
"No mommy, take more pictures or you will forget."
(The girl knows her mother's memory well.)
She, of course, wanted hers made right now, but she was surprisingly understanding when I told her I needed to make them for the sale first.
I was very impressed.
(She also reminded me of our motto: "guests first" this morning when I absent-mindedly poured syrup on her french toast before I did Felice's.
A very proud mommy-moment.)
And one more picture for good measure - just 'cause they are so darn sweet.

The owls do need a bit of tweeking, but once I get that right, I should be off and ready to sew my little heart out.

Here is the final run down of stuff I am making to sell:

* owls
* headbands - plain and flower ones
* flower hair clips
* jewelry (stuff I made quite a while ago and have toted with me across several countries)
* scripture wreaths
* rhinestone t-shirts (custom)
* embroidered aprons (if I can get the machine to work by then, and if I can get the aprons up here).
* pumpkin butter
* ornament kits for kids (hopefully) - two types
* candy cane reindeer (you can not get candy canes here, so I think I have someone bringing some for me.... I'm hoping they will be good sellers because 1) Americans will be excited to see candy canes and 2) Ecuadorians -and others- may be intrigued by candy canes)
* carmel chocolate pretzel rods (another thing you can't get here and I am hopefully getting)

I am praying to make $500 for Casa G.
Would love it if you would pray too.
And you can pray that we make more than $500, if you want... maybe my faith is too small!

Oh, and by the way, Felice fell asleep tonight snuggled up to her owls.
That makes a person feel good about their gift!

Saturday, November 13, 2010

baby shower - part 1

So I am doing this baby shower in three part.
I simply do not know how to get more than five pictures on one blog post.
(It is well known that I am a computer imbecile, but seriously, how hard can it be...
can anyone help me??)

the shower:

One of my new friends, Beth, one of the most adorable pregnant people ever, is due in five weeks. She is having a little girl... a baby sister for their two-year-old son.
Beth's husband Paul is the director of El Refugio, a camping ministry that is also part of Youth World. And since Beth is kind of a campy kind of girl herself, we decided to do a campy kind of shower.
The shower was at another friends house since she has a nice yard.
Turns out, however, that we couldn't really use the yard.
It was dark, cold and rainy.
So we set up the shower under their carport type area.
Not near as pretty as her green grass and wonderful flowers, but it didn't stop us from partying down.
She was a little unhappy - not only had she worked hard to make the yard so nice, but also we ended up having the party in, as she said, the ugliest part of her house.

Notice the right side of the picture? They just had a water leak in their house and the wall is all broken away. Lovely pipes too.

This is a close-up of the hobo packs. I made little popcorn packs (1 t oil, 1 T popcorn in a well sealed bundle of foil), tied to some sticks and then tied fabric over them to make them pretty. The card is instructions on how to cook them over the fire.
The first few attempts at the popcorn were pretty bad.
Like mine, for example.
Should have taken a picture of that - basically burned foil.
But then some people had success - and some fresh, yummy popcorn.

For our glasses, I wrapped scraps of fabric and then jute around mason jars (I scored those from some missionaries that are moving soon - a little pricey, but I was excited because they are pretty hard to find here). Then I made little leaf tags so that people could write their names on them.

Ashley and Renae enjoying fruit kabobs.

Marlo, in the gray and white, is the hostess. She is wonderful.
More on the next post....

baby shower - part 2

We had two fire pits - one is Marlo's, the other is ours.
These were for popping the popcorn and making s'mores.
Ended up that they were used just as much for keeping warm.
I think it was one of the coldest days that I have experienced here.

Beth is the pregnant one on the left. Mari, due in three weeks (?) is the pregnant one on the right.

Christy is trying her hand at making popcorn. She was the first to have success.
You may notice the canopy/tent in the background, decorated with a cute little banner?
Marlo went to all the work to put it up, and we never used it at all.
Oh well, it did look cute.
I made that banner (bunting) and Beth is going to use it now to decorate the baby's room.

Jenna and I also trying to make popcorn.
We both burned them.
Jenna tried again later and made some good corn!

We had a s'more buffet - marshmallows, chocolate, crackers (no grahams to be found in Quito), homemade cookies, strawberries, caramel and peanut butter (which I forgot....but we were supposed to have it... its just as well, pb costs a small fortune here!).
Katie and Dana are having s'more with chocolate chip cookies, caramel and, of course, marshmallow.

My little treasure.
Cracker, strawberries, perfectly roasted marshmallow and chocolate.
Oh, it was tasty!

baby shower part 3

So, the fire pits were really nice and it was nice to have the campy ambiance, the fun of roasting marshmallows and popping corn. And it was nice to have the warmth.
But not so nice:

Renae was not enjoying to smoke.
(she was actually dramatizing the experience in this picture...)
Um, non of us were enjoying the smoke.
And like a moron, I forgot to tell people on the invitation that we were going to be having a campfire. So some people came sort of nicely-ish dressed and now their nice-ish clothes stink like campfire.
Personally, I love the smell of campfire.
But maybe not on my nice-ish clothes.

I have much to learn.

One thing I did remember to put on the invitation was to bring a verse that each person wanted to share with the baby.
I bought some fabric (some used in the decorations) and cut it into squares.

Then I brought a fabric marker (brought from California...good thing too, as I couldn't find any here) and had everyone write out their verse, or at least the reference, on the fabric square.
Now I am going to take the fabric squares and make a quilt for the baby.
She can be wrapped in love and prayers from God's Word.

We ended the shower by praying over Beth and the baby.
It was a very sweet time.
You can't actually see her - she is seated and everyone is around her.

The whole group: Renae, Christy, Mari, Katie, Beth, Marlo, Ashley, Courtney, Sarah, Dana, Nancy, Amparo (holding Leo, her grandson), and me, kneeling.

some happy kids!

Oh my goodness, the kids are happy.
And who can blame them.
After all, yesterday they got all of this:
We got a package!!!
A Halloween package, none the less.
(yes, a little late - but that is our fault, not our friends who sent it...
more on that in a second)
You should have seen the smiles on the faces. The kids all grabbed an arm full of candy and fun Halloween stuff and started running circles in the house cheering and screaming.
You'd have thought it was....

So we just got the package yesterday, as I said. But it actually arrived in plenty of time for October 31.
The problem was getting to the post office.
First, no car and it is a ways away.
Second, we knew it was no small affair going to the post office. Not like in North America:

Go to the post office.
Wait in line for about a minute or two.
Hand them the card/notice.
Get your package.

Here it is a little more like:
Go to the post office (find a ride, take the jam-packed trole or bus, or, like Eric, risk life and limb by riding your bike).
Arrive at post office.
Lock up your bike; smile very nicely at the guard to make sure he will not let anyone steal your bike.
Go in the post office.
Take a number.... Well, look for a number, but there aren't any.
Have the guy in line in front of you be really really nice and give you one of his numbers, because, of course, he has two.
And wait.
Finally be called.
Pay your money to get your package (not a whole lot, surprisingly, and it is only because you waited too long to get it).
Be instructed to go to a different area.
Hold onto your number, tightly.
(because your number is 98 and they are on 70)
Go for a 8 minutes walk to get a soda.
Walk back.
(is this sounding anything like getting your Official Ecuadorian Identification to anyone else?)
Get called up to a different line.
Get taken to a back room.
Translate for the clerk the contents of the package:
eg: "napkins" = las servilletas, etc.
Watch as she goes through 6 or more pages of documents regarding your package.
Smile nicely as she gives you a paper.
Go to a third place.
Give them the paper.
Watch as that guy goes to the second person you just finished talking to, gets your package from her and then hands it to you.
Breath a sigh of relief that it only took an hour and a half, only cost a few dollars, and most of all, that the whole ordeal is done.

Since the package is from our wonderful friend who actually is from Ecuador, we have decided that she intentionally did this so that we would get to experience more of her lovely culture:

Cost of the contents of the package - lots
Cost to send the package - even more
Knowing your friends are going to go through an "interesting" time at the post office - priceless

Monday, November 8, 2010


I have thought so many times in the last few months that I am so glad I am here.
And, indeed, I am.

This is the place I want to be and quite honestly I can't see myself living anywhere else right now.
But at the same time, it is so painful.

I just went on facebook and now I am bawling like a baby.

I miss my friends.
I miss my family.
I really miss seeing my kids with their friends.
I hate seeing how everyone is growing up and we are not a part of it (in the physical proximity sense).

I just saw the coolest picture of my nephew throwing a ball.
I miss my nephews and their antics.
I miss all the cousins being together.
I miss my sister-in-law and laughing with her.

I saw all of Maddy's friends all together,
all looking so grown up,
and I'm so sad that she is not there with them.

I saw one of my bestest friends and her kids playing in the leaves.
I miss the fall.
I miss the leaves.
But I really miss seeing those kids
and their wonderful momma.

I saw my brother in law.
I enjoy him so much.
I want to goof around with him.

Yet in all this, I know we are supposed to be here.
I want to be here.

But why can't we be there too?

Friday, November 5, 2010

out of the city - 2!

It seems as though every little town has their item they sell that is their claim to fame.

We have a hard time trying to figure out why someone doesn't go, "Hmmm. These things sell really well in this little town, and there are already 29 places (every single family that lives there) that sell them. We are all selling the exact same thing. Maybe if I go to the next town, where they all sell something else, I could do better business."
But that doesn't seem to happen.
One town sells bizcochos.
The are little sticks of what is somewhat like pie crust.
You can see them here, all piled up.
If you went to the place right beside this place, you would see the exact same thing.
And they are rather tasty little treats.
You can buy about a dozen for $0.75.
But I am pretty sure that you can not buy bizcochos in any other town in Ecuador.
It must be illegal.
There has to be a law that says "one item per town".

Actually, I think they just have a completely different business sense than North Americans.
And notice I didn't say anything like "inferior" or "stupid".
Because, while it may seem that way, it is only because North Americans seem to be focussed on making money.
And the more money the better.

The focus is different here.
It seems that it is more about survival, simplicity and the enjoyment of life.

Yes, North Americans are definitely focussed on the enjoyment of life as well.
But the enjoyment is different.
NA's enjoyment is based on stuff.
SA's (that is: South American) enjoyment is based on relaxation and people.

I could delve into this pretty deeply but I'm going to leave it here:
Which do you think is better?
Which do you think is eternal?
Which do you think fills one with true happiness?
And finally
Which do you think was intended by our Creator?

Moving on.
I just took and posted this picture because it had a Canadian flag - and it was the flag closest to the pretty cathedral.
These were my pants after this:
There is this beautiful waterfall close to Otavalo called Cascada Peguche.
We hiked up to the top of the part that you can see here. Then, at the top, Maddy, our neighbor girl and I, all climbed into the pool at the top (plenty far away from the water pouring over....) and waded through the water, under an archway of rock, to see another waterfall behind that one. I still haven't got the picture from my neighbor of us doing this, and I didn't take my camera with me for fear of dropping it. I didn't fall, but I probably would have if I had the camera with me, if you know what I'm saying.
I did have my jeans rolled up, but just not quite high enough.
It was so pretty in there.

While there were many other things that we saw and did, one of the most striking and memorable was of something I didn't capture on film.
And I was so sad that I didn't.
Remember, this is on the Day of the Dead.
When we were first driving through these towns, we saw hundreds of people, all in their traditional clothing walking with huge packs on their backs (mostly the women) or bundles in their arms. Many were stopping at stands to buy wreaths made of purple, silver, black and white.
Then we saw where these people were all headed.
To the cemetery.
This picture was taken after most of the activity was over.
When it was prime time - like 10:00 - 2:00 or so, the whole place was swarming.
It looked like an ant hill:
When you are far away it just looks like a hill.
This hill looked black, white and purple.
Then you get closer and it seems that the hill is moving.
Then you get closer still and see that it looks like it is moving because it is filled with people (ants).
There were hundreds of people on this hillside graveyard, setting up for their afternoon meal.
Ready to eat and celebrate their dead relatives.
And I was mistaken.
They don't eat the guaguas de pan and colada morada here.
They typically make the deceased's favorite meal, bring it there, eat it together, hang out most of the day, and then leave a plate of food for them.
For the dead person, that is.

It was an incredible sight.
One I don't think I'll forget.

out of the city!

First of all, please bear with me.
I could only post five pictures so I'm doing this in two stages.
(Me thinks I must get these on here in lower quality? Maybe then I can post more?)
I also know that I have to upload (or download??) them in the reverse order of how I want them to appear and I have a little trouble with that in my brain.
Goodness knows it is hard enough to think from beginning to end, and now I have to try to get my brain to think form end to beginning.
A little too much strain.

Oh, and second.
My family is almost all healthy now.
Cade and Mia both got sick at the beach - fun times.
They stayed home from school on Thursday and Friday - it was actually kind of nice.
I mean - not nice that they were sick - nice to have them hanging out at home (it helped that they were nice and lethargic...). But now they are feeling much better.
I am the main straggler.
Lucy still hasn't gotten sick (looking around for wood to knock on...).
So happy times are (almost) here again.

Back to "out of the city"...
Tuesday, on the Day of the Dead, Maddy and I went with our neighbors and another family to Otavalo and a few other little towns around there.
I want to shout it from the roof-top:
"I finally got out of the city!!!!!!"

Four months and I finally had an adventure.

I was snotty and sneezy and coughy (yes, I'm sure that is a word..... just because it has a red dotted line under it doesn't mean anything. Stupid computer dictionary).
I think our neighbor kids were grossed out every time I had to blow my nose (I was as discrete as I could but there is only a certain level of quietness that can be attained when emptying you sinuses, you know....).
But I still went and had a fabulous time.

First we went to Otavalo - a small town that is known for their hand crafts. While there are tons (tonnes, for those of us from metric type places - aka: the majority of the world. Don't get me started why the US is the only place that holds onto imperial.....) of different types of things available, I, at this point, only included one picture. I'll get another one on the next post.
Little bitty men for a little bitty hand-made chess set.
I think of little gnomes.
Gnomes would make a cute chess set, no?
Maybe "cute chess set" is not what gets people going.
Speaking of cute and little.
Cute, little beggar lady.
I like her.
She is cute and little.
And she begs.
And she is persistent.
She came up to me four times in a matter of half an hour asking for money, even though I gave her some the first time.
And I am pretty sure that she didn't mix me up with anyone else.
It wasn't a high-gringo population kind of day.
I think she just liked me.
I like her too.
We were really hoping to find someone who ordered this lovely dinner and would be willing to see if they would allow us to sit down by their meal and take a picture.
Although I don't know if I, personally speaking, that is, would have been bold enough to ask anyway.
So instead, I just snapped a shot of the menu posted outside.
And I needed to include the person looking at me as I took the picture.
Quote: "Just another stupid gringa taking another stupid picture."

What I am trying to show you here is the "Cuy".
Pronounced like when you slide down a slide and say "weeeee", but with a "q" in front of it.
Cuy means guinea pig.
Now look under the word Cuy and you will see what looks like a BBQed guinea pig, on his back, looking like he is waiting for his belly to be rubbed, laying on a bed of what should be his food.
Only it isn't his food, it is yours.
That is because he is laying down, he is BBQed (or cooked in some matter), with his head still attached, eyes probably looking pleadingly into yours, waiting for you to eat him, along with his food.

Another interesting sight.
And this isn't even the best angle of the statue.
This statue is in the middle of a round-about.
I saw it, grabbed my camera, and when we came back around snapped a quick picture over my shoulder.
But the first visual is what I really wanted to get.
Full boobage.
The whole thing exposed.
I guess it is a rather common sight - women nursing very very freely (and hey, don't get me wrong, I'm all for nursing, but must we expose ourselves for all to see? It can be done rather discretely, as I remember).
But is it necessary to immortalize it in gigantic form?

Moving on.
We must finish this tour with something absolutely precious and adorable.
It is almost like the country of Ecuador should hire her to greet every foreigner.
That would greatly increase tourism, I would think.
She is simply perfect.
I met her at this lake we went to - it has an island in the middle where the guinea pigs roam.

Free range guinea pigs.

(by the way, I neglected to mention that I spelled guinea pig correctly the very first time without any help from spell check).
Anyway, I'd be very happy to adopt her, but she had parents.

And Eric wouldn't have been happy to find a fifth child when he got home.
So I left her there.

Monday, November 1, 2010

Happy Day of the Dead!!!!!

Does anyone else find that title quite strange?
Not sure how celebrating the dead is happy, but whatever....

Tomorrow (in 38 minutes to be exact.... I've got a bit of a congestion issue going on and I refuse to take Nyquil. I smuggled this drug into the country but it is to my own detriment. There are serious addiction issues that I face when I start taking it and the withdrawal symptoms I experience are killer)
Where was I?
Oh ya...
Tomorrow is All Souls Day, Day of the Dead, Día de los Fieles Difuntos or, Día de Muertos.
No matter what title you give to it, it just sort of lacks that perky ring to it.

In Ecuador it is a celebration of one's dead ancestors (apparently it is a little different that the Day of the Dead in Mexico, which more North Americans would be familiar with).

Well, anywho, to celebrate this fine day, Ecuadorians enjoy
guaguas de pan y colada morada.
And we did the same, albeit a little early.
Guagua is Quechua for "baby".
De Pan is "of bread".
All the bakeries make and sell these - and they are usually filled with jam or something sweet.
Colada morada is a drink made of several berries, spices and oatmeal to thicken.
By the way, does that one guagua, with the blue skwigglies, seam to have a smug expression on it's face? Quite something for a baby who is going to be eaten.

So, you eat babies of bread and drink hot, thick berry type juice.

In smaller villages, where tradition is still much stronger than here in the city, people will dress in their finest clothes, go to the graveyard and have this feast on top of the graves of their loved ones. They leave a plate of food for them as well.
(I'm thinking the birds like this day....
I can just picture the swarm over the graveyard after everyone is gone. Good eats!)

The kids actually like it.
I knew they'd chow down on the babies but I thought they would turn their little noses up on the colada morada.
But I admit it - I was wrong.

Oh, but instead of drinking it, we dipped.

While the kids liked it, personally, I will stick to a different kind of colada.
Piña is preferable.*

I feel so blessed, even though I write with sarcastic tones, to experience all these cool things from this culture.
I can't get over the fact that God chose us to be here - an amazing privilege.

*And yes, that would be virgin.... the ones with alcohol are disgusting, according to my taste buds.
And I think it is best that I feel that way considering the previous mention of Nyquil!