Monday, April 25, 2011


Holidays in Cuenca take on a different tone—especially during Easter. As I reflected back on the Easters we spent in various parts of the world, I have to say that Cuenca is much more subdued. Instead of Happy Easter, it’s “feliz semana santa” (happy holy week)!

Two years ago, I spent the Easter holiday in Switzerland and Italy with a good friend. Europe celebrates Easter in much the same way as we do in the States: chocolate bunnies, Easter baskets, huge chocolate eggs filled with toys and treats, and colorful window displays enticing little ones to ask mommy for just one more thing.

You will be delighted to know that there’s none of that in Cuenca: no marshmallow peeps, no Reese’s peanut butter "cups" and no Jelly Belly beans. So if you're planning a trip to Cuenca during Easter and you need one of those three major food groups, then be sure to bring them with you!

It was delightfully refreshing not to have this holiday exploited by commercialism which so many countries have done. Although I enjoyed the pageantry in Europe all the years that we lived there, I must say that Cuenca has restored the true meaning of Easter.

We spent the day at church, Verbo Iglesia, with some friends, out to lunch, then a walk to San Blas for “gelato” at Mixx Gourmet Ice Cream, and a pleasant ride home on the bus (meaning we actually got a seat!). Parque Calderon was bustling with activity: families were having dinner out and sharing in the gorgeous day without a drop of rain.

It was our first Easter without family and I would be lying if I didn’t say it was just a “teensy-bit” difficult. Our family has built in some strong traditions at Easter—starting with the menu (green bean casserole, ham-turkey and yams with marshmallows on top). We called both of our boys and our oldest son ended up having an Easter egg hunt by himself—throwing up the eggs and catching them! I had to chuckle at that one, but he said he was keeping the Pombo tradition alive.

Holidays always make me reflect on our decision to come to Cuenca and at the end of the day, I realize we made the right decision for us, albeit a little painful at times.

Until next time…hasta luego!

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