Friday, December 25, 2009

First Quarter Returns
Just a brief Video of our first 3 months here in Ecuador. Thank you for keeping us in your prayers. Part of our responsibility is to learn as much as we can about the language and culture. What a blessing to be able to explore and learn!

Thursday, December 03, 2009

TORO, TORO, TOROToday, Jeff, Jordan and Lukas went to a MAJOR cultural tradition in Quito. The first week of December the toros come to town in a BIG WAY. This afternoon there were 12,000 people around as the 3 of them watched the elaborate show in the ring. We learn much about culture by what people deem as "entertaining". All we can say is that it was quite different than a day at the ballpark. There were definitate cultural rules, and when one on-looker got rowdy at the wrong time, the entire crowd turned against him by "whistling" and yelling which is their equivalent to "booing". Another cultural note, "Panama hats" which are actually an Ecuadorian industry not Panama, are worn by everyone at the bullfights. Jeff got into the new fashion, Lukas opted for cowboy style, and Jordan, well, he was the "Americano" of the bunch.
VIVA QUITO.............
This is quite a week to be in QUITO............
All week is leading up to December 6-- the day Ecuador celebrates the Independence of Quito from the Spanish in 1534. It is a national holiday......and it is a HUGE party in downtown!
We are a little removed from it in the Tumbaco Valley, but we needed to go into the city a few times this week to get our vehicle registered; so we were able to see just how crazy it can be.
There are street vendors everywhere. They are selling all kinds of things. This is a special week for the TOROS. For just this week, there are bullfights in Quito. Outside of the bullrings, there are rows of booths selling hats- every kind of hat imaginable, for the people going to the bullfights. Jeff and Lukas each bought a hat. In Ecuador, at street vendors, you are able to negotiate for the true price of an item. Deanne can bargain with the best of them. Jeff...well he just walks away when the bartering begins. If he wants it, he buys it. If he want's it cheaper, he calls Deanne.
There is music playing in the streets. We even saw mariachis singing in a auto repair place. That is a new twist on culture for sure. We have also enjoyed all the little vendors selling Christmas decorations that have shown up everywhere. They built little shacks just for the month and live there while selling their wares. Yesterday, we found several locations to buy Christmas trees. When we got out of the car, we saw that all but two of thh trees were artificials set up on the lot. The live trees are cyprus trees quite different from the evergreens of North America. All of this is quite new to Ecuador-- as a developing country.
We are learning quite a bit about our new country and it's culture. Thank you for sharing in our journey with us.
Ps 105:1 Oh Give Thanks unto the Lord, call on His name, make known upon the nations what He has done.
Thanksgivng has long been one of our family's favorite days. Late autumn in Upstate New York with the crisp cool weather and the beautiful masterpiece of God's watercolor in front of you is a great time for a celebration. We love gathering around a great big table with our grandparents, our cousins, our aunt and uncle and remembering all that we have to be thankful for together. This year-- it was spent in a new place--Cumbaya, Ecuador, our new home. The weather was a balmy 80 degrees-- and the landscape incredible with mountains on every side.
We had a blend of old and new traditions to celebrate. We were invited to share the day with an Ecuadorian/American family who have recently returned from Miami. They were looking forward to "EL DIA de La ACCION de La GRACIA" as much as we were. It was a great time of fellowship together-- including a lively game of Monopoly. In the morning, we were able to talk to our families on the phone-- to join in a bit on their day of Thanksgiving.
There was much anticipation as we thought about the food-- We very much enjoyed having turkey again! (Last year, our family lived in Costa Rica while we attended language school and we celebrated thanksgiving with ham and chicken) This year we shared a GIANT TOM TURKEY!!!! There was enough turkey for everyone-- even our Jordan. We had homemade stuffing, sweet potato casserole ( a recipe our kids have enjoyed from their favorite elementary school teacher-- We love you Mrs. Parker) and a brand new homemade twist on Green bean casserole (no campbells soup or french's onions-- and no body missed them). Cranberries-- well, they are hard to come by-- we did see one lonely can of oceanspray sauce in the grocery store for $2.68. Ximena made an Ecuadorian equivalent out of Naranjilla. (Watch out cranberries-- you may have some competition on your hands). For dessert, we had apple pie, ice cream with yummy mix-ins, and pumpkin roll (Davoll family tradition).

We laughed too much. We ate too much.
We had a wonderful time together.
Thank you Lord for all you have done for us.
Thanksgiving may be a day--- but our year should be devoted to thanking YOU!