December has been FULL of fun! At the end of November, I went to an Internations function at an amazing Greek restaurant. I had a lot of fun and met a woman who invited a few of us to a Christmas party she was having. It turned out to be SO MUCH FUN! She has fabulous friends, a fabulous apartment, and hired an amazing vallenato band (music from the coast of Colombia) to come to the party. I had great Iranian food, amazing Colombian music, and met lots of great Ecuadorian people. After the party, my friends and I went to see a belly dancing exhibition. It was so beautiful. At one point, there were two women on the stage doing a dance with a tray of LIT CANDLES on their heads. Amazing.
Later on in December, Marcia, my host mom, made pristiñas. They are made of dough rolled out and cut into funky strips. Then you fry them in oil and while they are still hot, you dip them in syrup and eat them. HEAVEN! André and I had lots of fun making them. He got a little crazy with the flour and painted a mustache and beard onto my face. We had lots of fun making them and I think I could recreate the cookies back in the USA if I wanted!
On the 16th, Esteban graduated from the Politecnica with his degree in mechanical engineering. I was really excited to see what a graduation in Ecuador was like. It was pretty much the same except they wear capes like superheroes which I think is pretty cool. I was really impressed with him because Marcia told me that there are about 500 people who start the program during their freshmen year and only a handful actually finish. Yay Esteban!
On the 19th, I turned 39 years old. Oh. My. Gosh. It was a FANTASTIC birthday. Ecuadorians really know how to celebrate! In the morning, my Basic 1 class through me a surprise party complete with decorations, presents, two cakes, and wine! At one point, they smooched my face into a cake as I quickly learned this is tradition in Ecuador. They planned games and speeches. It was really beautiful and I was so touched. They are such an amazing group. And so is my Intermediate 2 class! They also threw me a party with tons of decorations, a homemade chocolate cake, dancing, and piña coladas. Drinking all day while in class? ¿Por qué no? After both my classes, I headed home to my family where there was more cake, champagne, and presents waiting. I found three balloons with the faces of my brothers on my bed that André had drawn which I love! This was my favorite part of the day. I had such a good time with my family. They are really good people.
Thursday, the 22nd, brought a bit of bad luck. I slipped and fell while walking to get salchipapas with my little brother. Boy, did I hurt my ankle! It was HUGE and awful looking within minutes. Marcia and Henry brought my to the hospital and had it checked. I didn´t break it but they said I really sprained it. So they put a cast on me and I have to wait three weeks to get it off. This means I can´t go to the jungle and to the beach as I planned. And I’m really bummed about it. But blogging about all of the good that is happening in my life has helped me to see that this is just a bump in the road! (But it really, really, really sucks!)
My family is doing a Secret Santa exchange so I had to make some wrapping paper. I also made my mom´s bow to decorate the top! I can’t wait to see what happens during Christmas in Ecuador! More later, dear readers! Merry Christmas!