26 febrero 2007

El Día dos: Domingo

Day two of my vacation with the folks began with a Sunday morning church service at the Quito Norte Church of Christ. At church my parents were reunited with their college friend Sharla Marcum. Sharla and Kent Marcum began the church when they moved to Quito 18 years ago. I had fun acting as translator throughout the church service and my parents impressed everyone with their Spanish singing skills—who knew?!

After church the Marcums and the Runcies headed north to meet Jerry and Pat Snyder (the directors of the Hacienda of Hope children’s home / orphanage (where I currently live and work). We all met for lunch at a beautiful restaurant / hotel called San Luis. The grounds were filled with tall trees and exotic flowers.

After lunch we went to the Hacienda to meet the children and see what the place was all about (at the time I still didn’t know I would end up working and living here).

After a great tour of the property and houses, we drove back to Quito and spent the rest of the evening with Kent and Sharla and stayed at their lovely home that night. We got a good nights rest before the real Ecuador adventure started. Up ahead: Day 3, Monkey Island!

12 febrero 2007

El Viaje

I want to apologize to those of you who are faithful blog checkers that I haven’t had a new post in quite some time. I have been wanting to put this one up for awhile, but we’ve had some technical difficulties with the internet. Hope the many pictures make up for it!

Ok, so here it goes. We’re going to go back in time a little. I have really been wanting to post some pictures and thoughts about the two weeks that my parents were here. My dad took some great photos so I’m going to let them do most of the talking. All of these pictures are from their first full day in Ecuador. We stayed at a lovely little hotel in the historic center of Quito called Hotel San Francisco.

This is the beautiful courtyard in the center of the hotel with flowers and a fountain.

Every morning we ate breakfast in this restaurant below the hotel. The people there were so friendly and it is where my parents got their first taste of Ecuadorian fruit juice. All of the different kinds of fruit here are truly amazing.

After breakfast we walked around the different plazas and colonial buildings in the area.

Above is the Plaza San Francisco that is famous for the many pigeons that hang out there and below is a shot from above of Plaza Grande where there are many government buildings including the Presidential Palace.

After walking around the city center we went to visit my Ecuadorian family. This is me with almost the whole gang.

For lunch we went to a restaurant that is famous for their empanadas and good fruit juices. A popular drink here in Ecuador is called “batidos” and it’s juice blended with milk and ice. We sampled three different batidos during lunch. My mom had mora (blackberry), I had mango, and my dad had my favorite, guanabana. Besides great drinks and empanadas we tried a popular dish from the Sierra region called fanesca. It is sort of a stew type casserole made with just about every bean, corn and grain grown in the mountains here.

We had a fun and full day that first day (I think I wore them out). The pictures do not include: climbing hundreds of stairs to my favorite spot in Quito “Parque Ichimbia,” walking around Guapulo (a small and quaint neighborhood in Quito), eating ice cream at one of the best restaurants here “Fruteria Monseratte,” and finishing off the day with dinner at a cozy pizzeria.

So there you have it: Day 1 with the ‘rents in Ecuador! Stay tuned for the sequels.

09 febrero 2007

Hacienda de Esperanza

Hi! Sorry for the incredible lapse in posts--especially when you are expecting pictures from my parents' visit. Believe me, they will come soon. First, though, I must explain why I am not able to write about the wonderful amazing time with my parents yet.

Three days ago, my life completely changed. I was looking for some change, and God opened a door of opportunity for me. I no longer live in Quito, Ecuador. I now reside in a small town by the name of Tabacundo. I no longer teach private English classes to adults. I now have a full-time teaching position at a school for children.

A few days before my parents came, Jerry Snyder, the director of the Hacienda de Esperanza (Hacienda of Hope) gave me a call. He said that their school was in need of an English teacher. I have always thought that I wanted to volunteer or somehow work with this organization. The Hacienda de Esperanza is a children's home (orphanage) with ten orphans that live with Ecudorian families. Just this year they began a bilingual school for the 10 kids plus the biological children of the families living here.

So I am the new English teacher for the school. I've only been on the job three days, but so far everything is going well. Kids make transitions a lot easier because they are so loving and accepting. There are some difficult changes, however. There is a lot less to do around here. The closest town is very small and I'm still getting to know the other adults. I'm living by myself in a huge house--two stories, 6 bedrooms, 4 bathrooms, a living room with fireplace, full kitchen with a comercial size stove and oven, and a dining room with seating for 8. So you can imagine that living alone in this space can get a little lonely. I currently occupy only one bedroom and one bathroom. This house was built for a family and orphans to live in, and someday it will serve its purpose, but until then, I am living in possibly the biggest house of my life. If anyone wants to come and visit, I have plenty of space.

So anyway, soon I will have time to post pictures and tell stories of my travels with Mike and Nadine, but for now I'm in transition. Thanks for understanding.

Also, if you're interested the website for the Hacienda de Esperanza is this: www.haciendaofhope.org

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