Margarita (who apparently doesn't like to smile for pictures) and I!
We had a GREAT Halloween party at school on Thursday and I went to a bookclub with my housemate. On Friday at school I drank Colada Morada and the traditional bread dolls to celebrate the Day of the Dead in the traditional, indigenous manner.
On Saturday my housemate Donna, her friend Konna and I went to Otovalo. First we drove 3 hours, because of traffic, up the beautiful, winding mountain roads. I enjoyed talking with them and staring out the window at the incredible mountains and active volcanoes all around me.We met up with Conna's friend, Margarita who embroiders more intricately than anything I've ever seen. We bought some things from her. Then we ate lunch at a 300 year old Hacienda! I'm running out of words to describe the beautiful things that I see here, but the hacienda was old, romantic, exotic and rustic! It had jungle-like gardens in the back yard with a peacock walking around and Ecuadorian men who serenaded us with music when we first walked in.
Then we went to the market in Otovalo which is where the indigenous people group in the area, the Cotovalianos, sell their goods and crafts. I bought some beautiful scarves and ran out of money quickly. It felt like I left the 20th century and entered the 1800's. The women still wear traditional dress, grow their own crops, live in small communities along the mountains. They literally dress, eat and function from day to day in the way typical of the 1800's in America. This isn't the first time I've mingled with South-American Native groups, but is still so mind-boggling to me.
On Sunday I went to Alliance Academy and met up with Julie and Melissa, and the Evans family to go to church. We went to EFC and then out to lunch to a restaurant called "Aladdin's", complete with copyrighted pictures of the Disney movie on their menu. After lunch, the Evans family took Julie, Melissa and I to the school's property in the country for the night. When we got there we explored the farms, fields and hills around us. What a view.
The next day we went to La Mitad del Mundo! The middle of the earth! We took touristy pictures with the Equator, ate a delicious Ecuadorian lunch, shopped and watched some Ecuadorian "day of the dead" dancing! On the way back we stopped at the Evans family's favorite fruit ice cream store... which turned out to actually be a SORBET store! It was sooo good. And cheap.
Today I taught math for the first time in this classroom. And it went well - Paul had 3 pages of positive and a little critical feedback to give me when I finished which is super helpful. He told me today that I am a natural, which is encouraging!.. to say the least!
I still love it here, but am realizing that I definetely miss my first-graders in Indy. And I really miss all of my friends and family. I think the Lord is slowly but surely showing me where my passion really lies and how he wants to use me to serve him. I'm not sure what my future looks like right now, but I absolutely feel peace about where I am and where the Lord is taking me. Thank you so much for your prayers, they are absolutely felt. The Lord is sustaining me, supplying my needs and teaching me more and mroe about him! I'm excited about the rest of the adventures in store for me here.