Monday, November 21, 2011

Thanksgiving in Cuenca!

Tomorrow we leave to pick up our son in Quito and bring him down to Cuenca to enjoy Thanksgiving with us at Villa San Carlos. Thankfully, I don't have to cook this year and I hear they're putting on quite a spread.

Unfortunately, I made the mistake of looking at the 10-day forecast which I hope is wrong (RAIN the entire time he's here). We've had brilliant sunshine the past two weeks and the rivers are running at a "drip" so I guess it's time for some big thunder boomers, but I'm hoping the weather guy at is off on his predictions.

We're going to play tourists in Quito (I haven't even made it to "Mitad del Mundo"), so whether it's raining or not we're going to get pictures (albeit a bit soggy).

A lot of work went into planning this trip, including Mark getting substitute teachers for all his classes (and paying them in advance), hotel reservations, plane tickets (up to Quito and back x4), and getting Mocha ready to stay with Auntie Hazel and Uncle Wally at Hostel del los Perros.

But the good thing is we're done with classes and "yes" we got promoted to Intermediate/Advanced. CEDEI is an excellent language school and the teachers and students are amazing (and I'm not just saying that because my hubby is one of them). In fact one of the perks of teaching there -- if you have your cédula (national identification card) -- is you get social security and IESS (national healthcare plan). There are four teachers with their cédula that are employed at CEDEI and Mark is one of them. So now we're doubly insured (medically).

I took some time on Saturday to visit Mark's four-hour intensive class and all the kids are great. Mark is an amazing teacher and makes sure their pronunciation is perfect! The four hours slid by and then we were off to have lunch at our favorite place (to be announced!), and getting some last minute items for my son's visit to Cuenca.

In the meantime, I've been writing like crazy and I'm so thankful to all my editors who are accepting scanned permission releases which makes my job so much easier. This past weekend, I was accepted into two compilation books and one is dear to my heart -- Angels, Miracles and Heavenly Encounters.  The book will be released in June 2012.

Wishing you all a blessed Thanksgiving!

Until next time...hasta luego!

Sunday, November 6, 2011

Independence Day Festivities

It’s been a while since I blogged, so I thought I should make an appearance before you think I disappeared for good!

We had a glorious time during the Independence Day Celebrations in Cuenca (officially November 3rd), but it actually ends up being about six days of parades, fireworks, street vendors, food vendors, and tourists from all parts of the country who converge on Cuenca to make it a memorable time for all. This year was spectacular in that the rain decided to make an exit and every day we were greeted with crystal blue skies and white fluffy clouds.

To quote my Ecuadorian neighbor, “We lump the ‘Feast of the Dead’ and Independence Day all in the same week!” For me it’s more like Halloween, Thanksgiving, Fourth of July and Christmas all rolled up into one. In fact, my hubby’s students at CEDEI say that this holiday is celebrated with greater intensity than Christmas. We’ll see about that as last year we flew back to the States for the holidays.

Our days are full with Spanish classes, Mark’s English classes at CEDEI and my writing. I just finished a huge editing project and now I’m able to get some things done before our son, Jeremy, arrives for a visit during the last week of November. We plan on celebrating his birthday, Thanksgiving and Christmas all at the same time while he’s here. In fact, our Christmas tree just went up and all the sand dollars that I collected during our vacation in Puerto Lopez are now woven together with red ribbon and are gracing our tree with holiday cheer.  

We have met some amazing folks this past month—too many to mention in this blog, but all have been such a delight. Diego and Be Ta are from Slovakia and plan on returning to Cuenca in four more years. We first met them through Facebook and it was so nice to actually meet them in person. They have an apartment for rent, which I have posted a link to on the sidebar of this blog. Don’t worry, I’m not involved in real estate or property management; I’m just doing it as a favor for some wonderful new friends.

In August 2012, however, Mark and I will be in the States and plan on doing some seminars on “Living and Retiring in Cuenca.” In fact, our story will be in the upcoming book Chicken Soup for the Soul: Say Goodbyeto Stress. The dates and locations of the seminars will be announced as time gets closer, but they will be in the San Francisco Bay Area (August 1-22), so if you happen to be in California during that time, we look forward to meeting you in person. 

I’ll leave you with some highlights of Cuenca’s Independence Day Celebration…

Until next time…hasta luego!

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*The Map Maker's Wife is a great read if you want some South American history mixed in with a romantic fiction novel.

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