15 January 2011

14 January 2011


During a skype sesh with Elika....

12 January 2011

Happy New Year!

Hi blog-followers...I have been meaning to blog recently, really. Its just that I've been BUSY. But it's been a good, rewarding type of busy, which I will describe in detail, in the form of TOP 10 THINGS ABOUT THE NEW YEAR SO FAR*:

10. In Ecuador, people make muñecos for the Año Nuevo. These are like scarecrows, but they're made to look like people the maker doesn't like (lots of policemen, presidents, etc) Then, at midnight, they burn these muñecos. This may sound a little offensive, burning a life-size doll of a president with explosives in the head...but they also make signs of things that worry them, or that they don't like about themselves. And they burn those as well. It symbolizes getting rid of the bad parts of the old year. And I have missed bonfires.

9. I'm pretty sure the Bus Driver Who Hates Us has decided his New Year's Resolution is to be nice to the Gringitas. Also, I learned his name, which is Chávez. And no, the irony of a dictatorial, you-will-now-be-dropped-off-HERE bus driver named Chávez did not escape me. But anyways, he says hello to us in the mornings, and doesn't randomly come 10 minutes early anymore. So far.

8.  The first email I got on the first was from skype saying I got free credit. And it wasn't just a scam, I actually got free credit. Can you say, good omen?

7. I would say there's about a 38% increase in the attention span of my colegio class. And all except one of them improved on the test retake. And today, a few of my students who never pay attention actually asked a question!

6. Wladimir, and Rosita, and Mauro are back! Which means we have lots of company, and friends, and come home after school to a ready-and-waiting lunch!

5. PEOPLE ARE COMING TO VISIT ME IN 2011!!!! I am speaking of EMILY, and ELIKA, and my sister CORI! And so I am getting very excited. Well, I already was very excited, I'm just getting more and more and more and more and more excited now!

4. Maryam got a ukulele--a really nice one too--from her parents. Can you say, ukulele duos?

3. José Luis (our neighbor) is back from a long trip to Haifa, and so I get to relish in oohing and ahhing at the brilliance of his family reunited, and also have his brilliant counsel and just...presence. He's such an amazing person and I live right next to a huge wealth of knowledge and deepening to help me when I'm confused or frustrated, or invite me to devotionals, or chat with over dinner! Also, he takes us swimming with his family, which is fun.

2. I figured out thanks to close relatives of Elika that I can check out library books from the online library in Alaska and download them onto my computer! New reading opportunities!

1. The Spanish is getting around to proportions where I can understand people from the coast, like Wlad, and I tune in to conversations around me, which I heretofore tuned out because of the work it would take to try to understand them. Which seriously makes me a very happy camper. And sometimes I'll even talk to Maryam in Spanish because it comes to my mind more easily if I'm thinking, for instance, about talking to someone in Spanish. And sometimes I'll be remembering what I said and can't remember if it was in English or Spanish (I think this is a good thing, but I could just be forgetful).

So thats 2011 for me so far. I hope yours is just as good, or better!


* And yes, I understand that we're only 12 days in. But honestly, these past 12 days have been almost the best of my time here (despite being sick for 4 of them), hence the happy-list.