Sunday, March 18, 2012

friend are friends forever

While I really don't care to be sick.... it is a lovely, sunny Sunday and both Mia (very sore throat and fever) and I (phlegm filled head) are nursing ailments inside on the is giving me the chance to do some much, much needed catch up.  Much needed.

The biggest highlight in the last month and a half - and that is saying a lot as it has been extremely busy with many amazing things happening and many highlights - was a visit from Sherri.
Now Sherri and I have been friends since we were three or fourish.  Outside of immediate family (husband included), no one knows me like Sherri.  We have been through everything (okay well, a whole lot) together and have been there for each other, even if through great distances - in prayer, for much.  She is a true sole-sister, even if I am a hater of such terms, a kindred spirit, minus the cranberry cordial.  We even shared a Amy Grant and Michael W Smith concert - thus the title.
Within seconds of being reunited, we went straight for the heart.  Tears.  Unfortunately some of the tears were out of exhaustion and relief of not being abandoned by us, when we finally arrived at the airport.  We were a little late and after a long day of travel she was bombarded with Spanish speaking people trying to push her into taxis, buy gum and candies or just give them money - any or all of it.  A little overwhelming.
Mostly the visit just went up from there - including plenty of sunshine, which could only be attributed to the answer of many many prayers.  God is, as always, so good.
The first day was just full of talking.  And a little sun burn.  We lunched on our roof, as the sun was out. Even though we were only out there for 45 min. to an hour, that is definitely enough to burn skin.... especially skin not used to the intensity.  Being that we are on the equator (okay, 10 miles or so from it) and at 9500 ft., Quito is almost constantly in the UV danger zone.  We average, so I hear, one day per year that we are lower than "danger".  Good times.
Anyway, her poor beautiful face fried.  And just in time to spend the long, Carnival weekend at the beach.  Good thing she brought 15 spf sunscreen along....  Hahahaha.  We slimmed some of our 50 on her.
The whole family, Sherri and our friends the Jensens went to Same.  And while they had been having tons of rain and flooding on the coast, we were again blessed with clear blue skies, the entire three days we were there.
While I am trying to emphasize the blue sky by showing the picture, it is also a reminder of Carnival.  Mia has foam all over her head.  That, and being constantly wet, pretty much sums up Carnival - or at least our experience of it - in Ecuador.  Everywhere you go, you are in danger of getting sprayed with either water or foam.
Now Sherri is an incredible photographer, and while she does know and shoot some digital, she is mostly a film photographer.  A true artist.  As in one who has to be good enough to get it right in one or two shots as opposed to 200, because she can't just delete the bad ones and only show off the good ones.  Part of the idea of the weekend was for her to impart some of her knowledge to me.  Unfortunately the beach isn't the safest place to carry cameras, especially expensive ones, so I hardly busted mine out at all....I stuck with our new, but piece-of-poo, point and shoot.  I blame Marlo mostly, for scaring me with her stories of people who robbed on the beach.  Since they were true stories, I suppose I can only thank her for protecting me.  But there went the good photos.....

We had a delightful time.  Lot of swimming at the pool
including "surfing".

And a lot of good times on the beach.

I don't know if it was more because Sherri is as bad in front of the camera as she is good behind it (not bad as in not photogenic - bad as in non-cooperative), but this is the only picture I have of her... her and Marlo.

And we even had some good times in the cabin.
But really these photos hardly capture anything.
They don't show the yummy ceviche, camerones encocado (shrimp in coconut sauce) or coco batidos (kind of like a coconut milkshake) we consumed.  They don't show the sand castles, the great conversations and laughs, the boogie boarding and body surfing, and they most certainly don't show the trip to Atacames we attempted.  Atacames hosts very large, yummy, cheap batidos.  We tried to head in there for an evening but the police had everything blocked off.  Probably because of Carnival festivities. So we rerouted to nearby something-or-other beach town and wandered there for a while.  There was plenty of night life to enjoy there.  A few of us got nice and wet, and Nick managed to find himself the largest can of foam possible and got into a foam-fight we some of the younger locals.
Since our goal was batidos, we found a safe-ish looking stand and ordered some delicious refreshments.  He even had one with a fruit neither Marlo or I had heard of or tried before.  If only I could remember the name.  We got one of those batidos to try as well.  No one really liked it much - it was slightly banana-y tasting (and texture) but not quite as good.

Once we got back from the beach, Sherri and I spent some time around Quito - mostly old town and the market, seeing the sights, buying the wares and talking our faces off.  I have no pictures to prove any of it, but it really did happen.  She also helped me - HUGELY - with setting up my "studio" for the school photos (next blog entry....).  She has much experience and wisdom in studio photography, so she was invaluable.  Mostly we came away with - I have a lousy environment in which to work, pathetically old and not well functioning lights, and this-is-the-best-it-is-going-to-get results.  But we had a good time, and it still worked.

I sent Sherri home a week later with the gift that keeps on giving - the one I seem to give my friends when the come visit (Karen, back in May) - some parasite or bacterial issue that causes days and days of horrible stomach issues.  Yes, I am that good of a friend.
Actually, most of us who went to the beach came away with some stomach issues, but those of us in Ecuador got it under control in a few days.  Sherri has not faired as well.  We are guessing it was the batidos from the unknown stand, but who knows.
Somehow I've got to figure out how to not get people sick, or our list of visitors will be shorter than it already is!

Thankfully Sherri still loves me and says a little stomach issue won't keep her from coming again.  I truly can hardly wait - another visit could not come too soon.

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