It has been so long since I´ve had a chance to write and there´s so much to catch up on! I tried to upload pictures yesterday but it was taking forever and then it timed out, I was sooo mad! I´ll try again Thursday because there are some really cool pictures I want to share. I don´t have my USB cord with me today and I don´t have too much time, so I´ll just start with Holy Week, which pretty much everyone here has off. There are a lot of Masses and events, and on Thursday they eat this dish called fanesca. I helped make it, which was fun because there was a big group`of people peeling, cutting, mixing, etc. It was a community effort and then that afternoon we had a feast, which is a lot like our Thanksgiving. Everyone eats a ton and its a big family event. Well, I am given a big bowl of fanesca which looks just like a bowl of soup, but that´s deceiving literally a millimeter beneath the surface are 12 different grains just stuffed in there. It was sooo much food, not to mention something as filling as grains, and it also had fish which was good but really strong so that made it hard to eat a lot. I ate like half of mine, while other people had like three bowls. It was ridiculous. All in all, I´m not the biggest fan. The next day we had molo, which was bomb. It´s basically a heap of mashed potatoes with hard boiled eggs, avocado, and slices of cheese on top. Sooo good. But even when it was so delicious I could only eat a kid´s portion.
That Saturday, Margot said she´d take me to Lake Cuicocha, so we went with Nikki, her youngest daughter. Lake Cuicocha is a crater lake in the Cotacachi-Cayambe Ecological Reserve. It was sooo cool and I wanted to hike for hours and find bears, but they got tired. Then I convinved them to take a boat ride out on the water and that was super fun, but freezing cold. The water is super cold but still warmer than it should be because it´s on a volcanic crater. They say the volcano is still active but the force of the water keeps it from fully erupting. So that was a fun family outing.
The next day I was invited to go watch the futbol game, so I thought why not it´s better than watching TV and going into town. Well, it turned out to be the most fun I´ve had since I got here probably. We rode up in a giant truck called a bolqueta, it almost looks like a trash truck but not gross. On the way there they had me ride in the cab to be gentelmanly, but being my delicate self I had wayyyy more fun riding in the back and trying not to fall. Well, I get there and pretty much everyone from Azama is there. All the people my age are getting ready to play so I go hang out with Jessica, this little ten year old girl who is my absolute favorite. We go play soccer on an upper field, then she takes me to pick corn stalks because you can peel them and chew them just like sugarcane, and they´re delicious. So we do that, make a little house out of trees and sit in the shade eating our corn stalks. Then we head down to watch the game and our team wins! So that makes the day awesome. We eat ice cream and play and ride around in the bolqueta. We were going to watch the women´s game but it started to rain and they got in a fight with the other team or something, so it was cancelled. We all went home and spent the evening going to different people´s houses to dance, watch futbol on TV, or just chat. It´s funny here but pretty much anytime there is a gathering of people, they start to dance. We never do that, or really rarely at least. It´s a looot of fun.
Well, the next week I was like nooo back to little kids and teaching..haha. Well, there was the ¨Dia del Maestro¨ or Teacher´s Day, which was basically Teacher´s Week. Monday and Tuesday were school days, then Wednesday they had a special program for teachers and the kids danced and put on skits and gave us flowers and little things. Then we had Thursday and Friday off! Well, Thursday a bunch of the staff and faculty were going to Chachimbiro, which is a little town with thermal springs, and Margot invited me to come with them. So we went and bathed in the springs and played volleyball and there was a zipline thing that I went on, which was realllly fun. It was scary before I jumped but then went slow enough that it wasn´t as much of a thrill as I wanted. That was a really fun day and we got home late and were sooo tired. Well, the little kids like clung to me and wanted to play and I was just like nooo because I wasn´t in the mood to play with them, but there were some older ones too so it was OK.
Friday the kids wanted to go swimming so I took a big group, like ten of them, to La Fuente, which is a medicinal pool nearby. The water looks gross, like brown and murky, but it´s because there are so many minerals in it. It was a fun day and it was really nice out, but I got sooo many bug bites! I swear my legs look like I have chicken pox and I barely slept that night from how much I was scratching. I have to run and go teach, so I´ll have to keep writing Thursday and hopefully get some pictures up then too. Miss you guys!!!