Monday, March 31, 2014

Last day of March

Everyday life is becoming routine now.  With that said, it's becoming difficult to decide what is exciting enough to share.  Let me know what sort of things you would like for me to post here.  Looking forward to your suggestions.  Below is a picture of a recent painting we purchased.

Friday, March 21, 2014

Baby sitting, coconut, and art!

What an interesting day this has been.  It started out with the next door neighbors asking if we could babysit their dog for two and a half hours.  His name is Rafael and he is very cute.  He is quiet...doesn't say much.  Everything was going great until Rafa decided to pee on the floor and our new curtains.  I stayed calm...Mike cleaned up the mess.  I guess the poor fella was nervous.  Mike took him for a walk and that seemed to remedy the problem.  

Our friend John is famous for cracking open fresh coconuts.  John said he would show me how if I would buy a coconut.  So I went to the local market and bought one for $1.75.  I'm told they are $4.00 in the States.  John came over and the lesson began.  I was surprised at how easy it was.  Since I've never cracked open a coconut I had no idea how to begin.  John had already asked if we had a hammer and a screwdriver.  We did, so all the necessary tools were on hand.  The coconut has three "eyes" at the top.  You take the screwdriver and punch out two of the three "eyes."  One hole is where the water drains out, the other is an air hole so the water flows faster.  Save the coconut water in a glass.  This is to be enjoyed later.  Next, you take the hammer and hit the coconut like you are angry.  Well, maybe not that hard but you do give it a good whack.  After a few hits the coconut will crack.  Then you simply open it up, insert the screwdriver under the meat, and pry it off.  A thin layer of brown skin will remain on the back of the coconut pieces.  This is ok.  Good luck if you want to remove the thin brown skin.  Here is the result:

It appears that several of my English students are artistically inclined.  I shared a picture with you on an earlier blog that a student drew of me.  Well, today that same student drew another picture of me, take note of the "young teacher" remark. Not sure what the 400,000 squared years is all about (that sounds old).  Another student made me a white rubber band bracelet, and she drew a picture of her brother, as he was playing on his cell phone (I gave them some free time near the end of class today.  They have worked hard this week).  Notice the attention to detail...she framed and signed her work of art.

Tomorrow is Saturday and we have no plans.  There's no telling what we will get into.  More exploring I'm sure...and eating! 

Buenas noches...

Wednesday, March 19, 2014


I forgot to tell you that I recently purchased some plants for the apartment. Enjoy the photos. 

Monday, March 17, 2014

My students

I had reservations about taking a picture of my students. However, today they insisted that I let them take my picture and they were very excited when I asked if I could take theirs. Also, I was so proud of them for doing so well on their second test that I bought treats for the whole class. They were so excited that they actually screamed. I'm sure the school director was wondering what in the world I was doing to them. 

Here they are:

The student on the right, on the chair, drew this picture of me on the whiteboard:

I think she did a good job!

Wednesday, March 12, 2014's a secret

Here we are at Joe's Secret Garden. It's a dinner club in a private residence on Saturdays. 

Tuesday, March 11, 2014

Christmas in March

Mike returned from Atlanta Sunday with five suitcases of clothes and shoes that we had in storage. He surprised me with a new Kuerig coffee brewer and a weather station so we can monitor the temperature. 

We have enjoyed discovering new restaurants and joining social dinner clubs.  The number of restaurants here is ridiculous. And the food is so fresh and delicious. Tonight we discovered a Mexican restaurant. It was the closest thing to authentic that we have found so far. Will be trying another Mexican restaurant, with friends, Thursday night.  

I started Spanish class Monday. Wish me luck. 

Below are a couple of pics from today. 

Saturday, March 8, 2014

Enjoying the Park

Today I found the largest park in Cuenca. It's walkable from the apartment.  Enjoy the photos. 

Monday, March 3, 2014

A week later ...

A week later and I love my teaching job.  Another student joined the class so now I have eight.  It's interesting how I fell right into teaching.  It seems so natural.  I give the first test, on Unit 1, Wednesday afternoon.  I'm nervous because I feel the test is also a reflection on my ability to teach.  I'll let you know how it goes.  I'm off today and tomorrow because it is Carnaval here, similar to Mardi Gras in New Orleans.  Nearly every business and school is closed.  Taxis are few and far between and it appears the city buses are not running.  No parade in Cuenca.  However, the fun is had by kids spraying water and silly string on passersby.  The occasional water balloon is thrown too.  Innocent fun! 

Mike is on a plane to Quito as I write this.  He is headed back to Atlanta to meet with our tax accountants and to deliver our 2013 tax documents.  His main mission is to bring back some of our belongings that are in storage.  I believe he took five suitcases.  Can't wait to see what he brings back.  I did not go because of my teaching obligation and I wanted him to have one more suitcase available for our stuff. 

I start Spanish classes on March 10th.  The classes are on Monday's and Wednesday's from 10:30am until noon and the classes last for six weeks.  I am looking forward to learning Spanish.  I just realized that I will be teaching English and learning Spanish.  Should be fun.  Also, my friend Major Mack is taking the classes with me.  We met Major Mack in Quito while we were working on our residency documents.   He is retired military.  We need to find him a girlfriend...and quick.  He seems bored.