Monday, September 22, 2008

some recent pics

Mom's visit

Holiday in the "Oriente" (the jungle)

Monday, August 11, 2008

June/July Update

Well, life is back to "normal" after a nice visit with my mom. She was here for two weeks and we went traveling to the beach for a few days. If you ever get the chance to come to Ecuador, make sure you check out Ayampe---absolutely beautiful! We stayed in an eco-lodge there--it was up in the middle of nowhere, surrounded by the trees, with sounds of the ocean in the distance. A great place to relax! While there, we also went to the city of Puerto Lopez, where we did some whale watching. Life is rather crazy right now (and the internet connection isn't great), so I can't post pics yet, but no worries, I will!

After the beach, we headed back to Cuenca-area. Went to see some Incan ruins, a bunch of orchards and walked and walked and walked around Cuenca! It was most special for me that she could meet the friends that I've made here, though.

Other than that, here's what I've been up to:
Mid June I had some time off, so I headed down to Guayaquil for a week. My "little brother", Steven, who is normally the clown of the family, was sick, though. His eyes and mouth were swollen and he was developing lesions all over his arms and legs. He ended up going to the hospital, where he was diagnosed with Stevens-Johnsons' syndrome--basically his body reacted negatively to some meds he was taking for an infection. Looking at the pics of more advanced stages of this syndrome, it's really horrible and painful--thankfully Steven's hadn't progressed that much. So anyways, that week was spent helping out the family, as the mom had to basically live at the hospital. He's doing better now (was in the hospital for a week) but he's had some flare ups (he went for allergy tests this week--not sure what the results are yet, though).

Two weeks after I got back to Cuenca, my friend Eli's mom, who had had cancer for a little over a year, died. Thankfully Monica and I were able to head down for the funeral. Hard to see a friend suffer, though......

I tried Cui (guinea pig)! My old students took me out to try it.....and it wasn't bad! Of course, we went to a ritzy place that's famous for their cui, so I'm still wary of it (not planning on buying "cui on a stick" in the market)....but it actually....well, tasted like chicken :) And I didn't look at the head until after I ate it (the restaurant served the cui chopped up, not whole with the twisted scowl like you see in the tour guide books).

What's up for this month: work, work, work....and then the jungle in September!

Monday, June 09, 2008

Waterfall pics

El Choro

june already?

Well, my second cycle at CEDEI ended last week. It was a great cycle--I really ended up enjoying my children's classes, especially the opportunities to get my creative juices flowing. So, I started two weeks of holidays today--not going to do much, though--just go to Guayaquil for a week. My mom is coming to visit me (!) in July, so I'll save up my traveling for when she comes.

I was planning on returning back to Canada in the end of June....but I've been feeling for awhile that it would have just been too soon. Soooo, I've decided to stay longer, most likely until mid-December. It was a bit of a hard decision to make, but I feel at peace now that I've made it.

Some highlights/happenings in the last little while:
El Choro: My old students (from the first cycle) took me and their present teacher to go hiking up to some waterfalls, about an hour outside of Cuenca.
Girls' Night: Monica and I hosted two girls nights in our house for the girls from church. First, a fondue, and this past Friday a curry night (sitting on the floor, eating with the fingers and everything!)
Worship team: I got to play last Sunday night in church with some of the regulars from my team, but also with some more experienced players (gave the rest of us a lot more confidence, too).
Corpus Cristi: This is a week-long festival in Cuenca where they sell a lot of sweets and baking....a little hard to resist!

Tuesday, April 15, 2008

March 28

Birthday pics

these past couple of months....

Well, where do I begin? My first cycle of teaching ended in the beginning of March. A highlight for me was cooking an East-Indian meal for my Comparing Cultures class--we sat on the floor and ate with our fingers and everything!

In the middle of March, I had two weeks of vacation. Monica and I took a few days to travel up north to the volcanoe Cotopaxi, which we climbed part way, and to Lake Quilotoa, a GORGEOUS lake in a volcanoe crater. It was so nice just to get away into nature--and also to hang out with my roomie (our schedules sometimes keep us from seeing much of each other in the day).

April has brought a lot of new things:
I started my new teaching cycle. I had been hoping to continue on with my students from my evening class--didn't happen, though, which was pretty disappointing. I am, however, teaching Comparing Cultures again, which cuts down on the prep time A LOT--life has gotten very busy for me, so God knew what he was doing. Two of my classes are children's classes as well, so that's pretty new--never taught English to children before. So far I'm really enjoying it--just need to have a lot of energy every afternoon!

I started giving English help/classes to interested youths at church Sat. afternoons. I've been going to the youth services, but I like the one-on-one connections with people, so that'll be neat to be able to build those through these classes.

I started playing piano for the worship band in the young adult service. This is something that I've always wanted but have been too afraid to do. So, they were looking and looking for someone....and I said, "Ok, God, maybe now's the time!" We played for the first time together this past Saturday and it went pretty well. I'm really enjoying the chance to get back into music!

There's been a few lessons on trust in the past few weeks, as well. For one, Monica's brother showed up one day to stay with us. He's been living in Guayaquil, in a psychiatric hospital, but ran away because he was being mistreated there. It was really hard on both Monica and I: she couldn't turn her brother away (all of the rest of her immediate family is either in Spain or the States) and I really did not want him there. I had finally felt like the apartment was my HOME--and now I felt like a visitor who had to tip toe around a stranger. I was praying a lot for compassion, patience and wisdom and was starting to accept the situation. He ended up taking off after about 5 days, though, to go back to the hospital, which was fine with me.

So, anyways, that's what's been happening in a nut shell these past couple of months.

Friday, March 21, 2008

March Vacation Pics

Quilotoa and Cotopaxi

Wednesday, March 05, 2008

Pictures....sorry about the last links!

A big holiday in South America that happens just before Lent

Youth Outing
Went out for a Saturday with the young adults from the church I'm attending

Some more pics in this album

My students
My evening class took me out to a nearby town this past Saturday to eat roasted pig.

Thursday, February 21, 2008

And in the weather forcast.....RAIN!

It seems we have entered the rainy season--Cuencanos actually say that this year has brought a lot more rain than normal so far. In other parts of the country there's been quite a bit of flooding. I'm hoping to go to Guayaquil this weekend but last weekend my friend's bus en route to Guayaquil had to turn back because of the amount of mud on the road. So, we'll see....

The thunder storms here are really intense, too. Yesterday we had a storm for about an hour--and after a lot of the lightning you couldn't even say "one mississippi" before the thunder cracked.

School is going fine--only got about three weeks of class left before the first cycle ends. My evening class has asked for me to be their teacher next that makes me feel pretty good!