Thursday, December 11, 2008

Home Sweet Home

Alright, this blog can no longer be the Ecuadorian Adventures, since the Ecuadorian Adventure ended. So, for all of you who were living vicariously through my experience, I apologize, but don't worry, there's still loads of adventure and life ahead.
I had bittersweet feelings at the airport as I said goodbye to my bosses and my dear taxi driver, Hno Gomez. Change is often bittersweet. You have to say goodbye to something and normally someone. Ecuador was no different. I had an incredible experience. It definitely had its ups and downs, but I would never give that experience back. It opened up my eyes to so many things, was a phenomenal growing and learning experience, and I imagine it will continue to influence me.
Despite the bittersweet, once I got on the plane, I was just pure excited! I missed my dear family so much and my friends and my home. No matter how great Ecuador was at times, it could never replace my home. I loved breathing in the fresh crisp air as I got home. I loved walking down and seeing my mom jump up and down and see my lil sis come running holding a sign welcoming me home. Even my dad came to the airport. It was awesome! It's been fun chilling with the family again, even though that means it's back to less sleep, as we Peacocks tend to stay up really late and not sleep enough.
So, welcome home! It's great to be back. Keep in touch for all the adventures that lie ahead!

Friday, November 28, 2008

Thanksgiving in Ecuador!

Yes...these are my stylish Thanksgiving Decorations. I made little decorations according to what Natausha liked so that she wouldn't feel sad missing Thanksgiving at home.
Our Turkey Bowl.
This is a turkey, although it looks the same as the peacocks that I draw....and we ate a chicken.
A picture before we started chowing down!
Here's the final product - Gravy, Stuffings, Squash, Chicken, Mashed Potatoes, Jello with Mandarine Oranges and Bananas, and Apple Pie...oh, and my fresh lemonade :)
Here are the stuffings, squash, and gravy. All turned out great! We have no measuring utensils here and very few options for cooking, but everything turned out perfectly.
The finished product. I did a garlic celery roast for the chicken. Turkeys are WAY too expensive to buy, so luckily, Ethan was a doll and bought us a whole chicken to cook for the dinner. I was so pleased at how beautifully and tasty it turned out.
I loved the chicken!! Seriously, it was so much fun playing with it...I mean preparing it.

We were worried that Thanksgiving here would be lame and sad since everyone at home was all joined together for the festivities. But, Natausha and I came up with a wonderful Thanksgiving menu and decided that we'd go to town and enjoy the holiday as well. Ecuador would not stop us from enjoying it! We invited our one american friend so that he could enjoy it as well. We had a blast cooking all morning, being very creative with our measurements, and in the end, eating a great beautiful meal. We were tuckered out at the end so we enjoyed a short nap on the couch before heading off to work. It truly was a Happy Thanksgiving!

Sunday, November 23, 2008

Courtesy of the Josh Groban Christmas CD

Actually, I guess this post could be dedicated to Thanksgiving, but luckily, my Christmas CD has a song about being grateful. (I <3 Josh Groban.)
The song says, "There's so much to be thankful for." So here's a list of things I'm thankful for this this Thanksgiving and Christmas season.
- A large snow covered pine tree it in the middle of a snow storm that muffles all the sounds and makes every thing tranquil.
- The sunset after a long hot day at the beach. This includes the reflection of the sun on the water, the lapsing of the waves on the shore...
- Sitting around the table with my family playing games and just having fun together.
- Warm Rain on a summer day
- Girl nights with Jenni and Lizzie
- Long conversations with Zach that I don't understand :).
- I am thankful that I am finally going to live in a pretty nice place in Provo - no more cinder block walls!
- I'm thankful that we are infested with little ants and not with spiders.
- Cell phones so that I can keep in touch with people as I walk home from school.
- My internship that helped me understand business a little bit more.
- Ecuadorians that teach me how to give because they are so giving.
- Picking out and decorating the perfect Christmas tree and then just sitting in the dark admiring it.
- The long summer days Cheri and I spent laying in the pool talking.
- all the wonderful domestic skills my momma taught me
- Looking up new recipes on the Internet and cooking up a masterpiece in Ecuador. A pasttime which keeps me sane!
Alright, I'm sure that enough for today. We should probably all think more about what we are grateful for and what we have instead of what we don't have. There are so many little things that I am so thankful for. Let's take the time to think about them.
What are you thankful for this holiday season???

Saturday, November 22, 2008

I was tagged!!

10 years ago I . . .
1. thought high school was the most important part of life.
2. had a crush on Marshall Conover and Daniel Sloop...to name a few.
3. was horrified of getting killed by a tornado in the middle of the night.
4. missed my older sister who was away at her first year of Ricks.
5. was dreaming of adulthood and all that I´d do in life.

5 things on my "to do list" today . . .
1. Go to the beach - which didn´t work out because we didn´t have any minutes on the cell phone.
2. Finish up my Spanish Paper
3. Make a delicious black bean soup - experimenting with a new recipe.
4. Go running in the afternoon when it´s cool outside.
5. Have a movie night with Natausha

5 snacks I like . . .
1. Popcorn with marshmallows
2. Chips and Salsa or homemade guacamole
3. Cereal
4. Cookies!!!
5. Fruit Salad.
6. Yep - I like 6 better than 5. Dehydrated fruits and fruit leather.

5 things I would do if I were a millionaire . . .
1. Invest (although I´m not sure if that´d be the best idea right now)
2. I´d probably buy the perfect pair of jeans.
3. We would take a family vote and decide between snowmobiles, 4-wheelers, and horses. I would buy according to the family vote.
4. I would arrange a family reunion and subsidize the airfare.
5. Be much less stingy - buy more little presents for people, just because; invite more people to dinner; help more people; make gift baskets for the sad people I see on the streets; donate money to all the people who stand outside the stores for the Salvation Army asking for money.
6. Do the BYU Study Abroad in Jerusalem.

5 places I have lived . . .
1. Layton Utah
2. Gastonia North Carolina
3. Buena Vista Virginia
4. Santiago Chile
5. Guayaquil Ecuador

8 things I did yesterday...
1. Finished teaching a Self-Employment Workshop - the best one yet!
2. Tried a new Spanish Rice and an Oatmeal Raisin Cookie recipe
3. Uploaded pics to the family webpage.
4. Got irritated with the monotony of life.
5. Wrote a paper on Ecuadorian politics
6. Fell asleep as I was trying to do my homework.
7. Ate an omelet.
8. Read a really good chapter in the Book of Mormon.

8 favorite places to eat . . .
1. Zupas
2. Olive Garden
3. Cafe Rio
4. Papa Johns
5. PF Changs
6. Chic-Fil-A (I really like it...)
7. Kneaders
8. This little restaurant in Cuenca Ecuador that sells the best Seco de Pollo in the world!

8 things I am looking forward to . . .
1. Be done with my classes from this semester.
2. Going to Manta (a beautiful Ecuadorian beach)
3. Going HOME :) I love home!!
4. Christmas trees.
5. A cold snowy day with a warm glass of hot chocolate and the laughter of my family.
6. Graduating and seeing where live takes me.
7. Ceci´s wedding.
8. Life.

8 things on my wish list . . .
1. Mr. Perfect
2. A pair of jeans that I actually like.
3. That I can enjoy every adventure in life without being too impatient for the next part.
4. Intelligence - and the ability to remember every thing I learn.
5. Charity - being able to love people more readily rather than judging them.
6. That all of my family lives close together.
7. The best last semester of college ever.
8. I wish that I always have the courage to make the right choices.

3 people I tag . . .
1. Ceci
2. Natausha
3. Kate

The South will rise again.

So today I was peacefully walking through the Mall looking for the Cinnabon (which we never actually found), but I did end up having one of the randomest conversations of my life with John Thomas, a tall gangly retired American that has been living in Ecuador for 8 years. I´d like to give you some of the highlights of the conversation - please feel free to laugh.
1. He loved the fact that we are both from the south - some of the only rednecks left. I think that was a compliment. Later on in the conversation I understand what he was implying through the word redneck.
2. He lives in Ecuador because he doesn´t feel threatened here like he does in the United States. Ever since the Civil War, the country has just been deteriorating. (At this point, I asked myself - is he talking about the politicians, economy, or is it possible that he is just very racist??)
3. He is very concerned about the extermination of the white race. The white man is the most targeted - in his eyes, in the U.S., he´s pretty much dead. He sees the U.S. as falling apart, a little more every day, and any day now, the president is going to order the extermination of the white adult man. (He wasn´t kidding.)
4. Turns out he was a member of the church before, fancy that - an apostate - but he apostacized for the following reasons: interracial marriages....alright, that´s the main reason.
5. He continually mentioned how beautiful we were and how mormon girls have this special light that no one else has (that was a compliment actually - it´s the light of Christ. We were flattered.) Mind you, we kept taking steps back and he kept taking steps forward.
6. He loved Joseph Smith and Brigham Young!! In that conversation he implied that fact that he would love to be a polygamist man. (hmm...actually now that I think about it, maybe he fled to Ecuador because of his illegal polygamist, racist ways.)
7. He doesn´t like the current prophet, which was sad, but it was cool because we got to defend what we believe in.
8. By redneck, he meant highly racist and lovers of the superior white race.
9. He definitely believed that whites are the superior race and is upset that others have rights. He thinks blacks are planning to exterminate the white race (he kept repeating this).
10. He will fight and if he has to be, he will be the last white man standing!
Anyway, as you can tell, it was a pretty ridiculous conversation. I couldn´t believe that we had it. It pretty much just revolved about racism and polygamy. His dream is to live secluded in the mountains away from the forces of Babylon and raise his family. Interesting little man.

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Three Weeks!!!

Alright, it´s not that I don´t love Ecuador, it´s just that I´m stoked to be at home with the family once again. I am anxiously awaiting a great winter in Provo with most of the family close. I don´t know how I´m going to handle the excitement of having both mom and dad in the same state. It´s terrific!
As for the update on Ecuador, last weekend was the best weekend trip by far that we´ve had in Ecuador. I marked off a few of the things that I want to do in life - alright, I didn´t necessarily know that I wanted to do them, but now that I have, I feel like it must have been on some subconscious list of things to do.
1. 4 wheeled up a very active volcano.
2. Went biking through the Andes on the Route of the Waterfalls
3. Spent a couple of hours in the Amazon Jungle.
The next couple of week should also be full of adventures from trying to finish up my homework (eek), teach 3 workshops, 2 beach trips, and a little excursion to the Galapagos Islands for the poor. I have plenty of adventures so hopefully I can enjoy every minute and at the same time I hope the time flies.

Monday, November 17, 2008

The Family

Because I'm in Ecuador, I miss out on a lot of the news of what's going on back home. Today, I decide to take some time to catch up on the news and see what's going on in the world. I was really saddened to see what's going on in the U.S. I am so proud of my country and for the way we behave - we may protest, but it's not done violently. Our constitution guarantees us the right to protest, but it does not guarantee us the right to destroy or damage others' property, no matter what the circumstance may be.
I am upset with the people who have damaged our church buildings or who have put graffiti on temples. That is absolutely uncalled for! In Ecuador and in many other underdeveloped countries, when someone disagrees, they react with violence, vandalism, etc. They overthrow their democratically established governments. They destroy the opposition. I have been so grateful to live in the United States where we don't react that way. We are above that kind of juvenile behavior, but this recent behavior against the Church of Jesus Christ shows me that maybe we are not. There are great consequences that will come, I have seen them and come to understand them in other countries, when people start taking their protests too far, where people start disregarding the vote of the majority - in other words, they turn their backs on democracy.
I respect all of those people who donated money to support Proposition 8. It is as much our constitutional right to support the passing of Proposition 8 as the others had to protest against it - in a civilized manner. I believe that marriage is between and a man and a woman. It always has been and always will be in the eyes of God. The only disconcerting fact about proposition 8 is that it only passed by 52%.
The Proclamation to the World states, "We warn that individuals who violate covenants of chastity, who abuse spouse or offspring, or who fail to fulfill family responsibilities will one day stand accountable before God. Further, we warn that the disintegration of the family will bring upon individuals, communities, and nations the calamities foretold by ancient and modern prophets. We call upon responsible citizens and officers of government everywhere to promote those measures designed to maintain and strengthen the family as the fundamental unit of society."
I am excited to keep supporting good causes and the things that I believe in and am grateful to those who have been fighting thus far.

Monday, November 10, 2008

Becky and Natausha say the darndest things!

Another reason we´re always laughing is because we say the randomest things. Here are some examples:

Excuses for us being tired and needing a nap:
B: We should be tired because we have to recreate all the skin that got burnt. When Heavenly Father created Eve from Adam, Adam also had to take a nap."

Natausha on tiredness:

"Becky, we have to take a nap! It´s almost 4:19 and we´re not going to have time later. I mean, I did get less than 8 hours of sleep last night."
"Okay, here´s the plan...we take a short nap -and by short I mean an hour."

On airplanes:
B: "Is it strange that I feel like putting my hand over my heart and saluting every airplane? I feel like those planes flying away represent liberty."

On variety:

N: "Whoa, when we get back, we are going to go to Maceys and count all of the boxes of cereal on the isle."
N: "I bet there are more than 50."
B: "I bet there are more than 100!!! There are probably like 15 different kinds of Frosted Mini-Wheats alone..." (then we started listing all the different kinds)

Sunday, November 9, 2008

Words of Wisdom

“No pain that we suffer, no trial that we experience is wasted. It ministers to our education, to the development of such qualities as patience, faith, fortitude and humility. All that we suffer and all that we endure, especially when we endure it patiently, builds up our characters, purifies our hearts, expands our souls, and makes us more tender and charitable, more worthy to be called the children of God … and it is through sorrow and suffering, toil and tribulation, that we gain the education that we come here to acquire and which will make us more like our Father and Mother in heaven. …” (Orson F. Whitney)

This was quoted by President Kimball as he discussed whether events in our lives were tragedy or destiny. I love how this quote reminds us that through the bad, we understand the good. That through the sufferings, we understand joy and develop patience. All the things - good and bad - that we experience are for our eternal benefit and help mold us into the people that we need to be.

"Was it the Lord who directed the plane into the mountain to snuff out the lives of its occupants, or were there mechanical faults or human errors? Did our Father in heaven cause the collision of the cars that took six people into eternity, or was it the error of the driver who ignored safety rules? Did God take the life of the young mother or prompt the child to toddle into the canal or guide the other child into the path of the oncoming car? Did the Lord cause the man to suffer a heart attack? Was the death of the missionary untimely? Answer, if you can. I cannot, for though I know God has a major role in our lives, I do not know how much he causes to happen and how much he merely permits. Whatever the answer to this question, there is another I feel sure about.
Could the Lord have prevented these tragedies? The answer is, Yes. The Lord is omnipotent, with all power to control our lives, save us pain, prevent all accidents, drive all planes and cars, feed us, protect us, save us from labor, effort, sickness, even from death, if he will. But he will not. We should be able to understand this, because we can realize how unwise it would be for us to shield our children from all effort, from disappointments, temptations, sorrows, and suffering. The basic gospel law is free agency and eternal development. To force us to be careful or righteous would be to nullify that fundamental law and make growth impossible."

I love this part of the talk as well. I think we too often blame Heavenly Father for the things that go wrong in our lives, but that is not the case. Somethings in life just happen - it´s not caused by Heavenly Father, maybe just permitted, in His infinite wisdom. He could prevent it all, but He also lets life take it´s course. We make decisions and others make decisions and we are affected by those - sometimes in good ways and other times in bad ways. But, we grow and we learn. He is always there by our side - we are on the same team. We need to understand and remember that He is not causing bad things to happen in our lives, He is simply allowing agency to occur, but if He turn to Him, we always have help.

Friday, November 7, 2008

Dear Ecuador

I only have 33 days left in Ecuador, and I´ll have to admit that I´m starting to grow fond of this place. The first 2 weeks were great because I felt like a tourist. Week 3 brought on the recognition that I wasn´t a tourist but was actually living here and still would be for nearly 3 months! That brought on sadness and homesickness. About a month later, after emotional breakdowns and pity parties by both Natausha and I, we suddenly became okay with Ecuador and have started to see all the great, crazy, quirky things about this place that make it special!
So, let me list a few great, crazy, quirky things that I´ve grown fond of:
1. Out of control horn honking - I couldn´t really handle it at first. For a few minutes there would be an endless sound of honking. It doesn´t matter if the lights red, if traffic is not moving - you honk! Well, the other day we were walking in between a group of stopped cars, so naturally they started honking. No one moved so they kept it up. I am pretty sure it went on for atleast 30 seconds without stopping. Nothing changed. Natausha and I just bust up laughing. It really is funny when you see people´s reactions here.
2. There´s this little park about 25 minutes from our house where we like to go to run. It has a slight track and there are trees that hide the smell of bus exhaust. It is really pleasant.
3. I´m not as angry at the heat anymore. I just laugh at anything I guess. When I walk outside and it´s absurdly hot, just laugh. When you´re completely wet by the time you get to work - just laugh.
4. All the pirated movies and music on the street. No one ever cares - they have businesses of selling illegally copied movies. They are very successful.
5. Riding with Hno Gomez- our taxi driver. I´ve gotten use to the horrifying experience of riding with others trying to drive. Lanes don´t exist; stop signs - what´s that?; stop...go...stop..honk...go....stop....swerve.
6. The fact that Natausha and I laugh at everything. We bust up laughing at the fact that we needed mushrooms for the Chop Suey. Pretty sure that´s not funny, but it still makes me laugh.
7. The fact that everyone thinks we are sisters, sometimes twins.
8. My DTR´s every few days....or every day.
9. Every one´s comments on politics used to annoy me - now I just laugh that they always think they know every thing about the best way to run the United States.
10. I love that a meal never goes by without some sort of banana product. We even had it in our soup today.
11. I love that I get self-esteem boosts every day. Everyone is always appalled that I don´t have a boyfriend.
12. I love giving cheesy smiles to my bosses - especially Omar - who is the happiest nicest man ever and he always makes funny jokes about our love lives.
13. The ants used to make Natausha and I angry - now we just laugh, especially when we read on the internet that bug spray is bad because the ants can smell the dead carcasses of the others and they swarm back to carry them away. Interesting. I think the ants have morfed into super-ants. Natausha´s ant panic attacks are pretty hilarious.
14. Our eating habits - feeling like we must finish everything. For some reason, we can´t have left overs, so if I come home heftier, that´s why.
15. Our table - which has turned into the desk, table, social center and we pretty much never move from our chairs. We used to have our own couches until we realized that they put us to sleep in about 15 minutes - and so we never could get anything done. Now we sit uncomfortably at the table. It´s great!
Alright - I´m pretty sure that´s enough for today. I really do love, or at least am growing fond of, a lot of things here in Ecuador. Stay tuned for more memories or little Ecuadorian quirks.

Monday, November 3, 2008

Domestication

Domestication - the act of becoming domestic.
Did I mention how much I love feeling domestic? There is a special joy I get in my heart from putting on an apron and cooking up a delicious meal or trying new recipes - especially when they turn out deliciously!
Ecuador is really good for helping my domestic skills. The supermarkets here definitely have a small selection of goods compared to a US grocery store, and the things I´d want to buy - anything American - is VERY pricey! Honestly, $5 for tortillas? I´m just not okay with that. So, I´ve decided to just start making everything from scratch. That way, I can eat whatever I want at a reasonable price.
Last weeks adventure included:
Homemade Flour Tortillas
Homemade Fresh Salsa
A delicious new seasoning for hamburger meat
and.....
Donkey BOSOMS with the left over tortilla dough
I love finding new recipes! I love when they turn out perfectly. Please let me cook for ya´ll when I get back. I have a lot of exciting ideas for the upcoming weeks. By the time I get home from Ecuador I´m going to be able to pursue my career as a chef.

Step 1. After kneading the dough, you have to roll it our on a clean lysol disinfected counter.
2. These were only $.37 cents - for all of the peppers. That´s going to make a lot of salsa!
3. This tortilla was in honor of Halloween. It is a ghost! I was trying to make a scared face but I really just look crazy.
4. Doesn´t that look DELICIOUS??

Sunday, November 2, 2008

Monster Mash 2008 Part 2

Halloween Party 2008

We decided to invite everyone to our Halloween Party which we held on November 1st. Parties with Ecuadorians just aren´t the same, so we did it with just Natausha and I and all of you vicariously through our video. This is the first segment....which took me almost an hour to upload, haha, so stayed tuned for the other exciting videos!

video

Thursday, October 30, 2008

Ode to the Tank Truck

I want to dedicate this blog to the Tank Truck -otherwise known as the money truck. This is why I love you:
1. You have no doors, but you have tiny bullet proof windows that help me see into your soul.
2. I know that you are near even when I can´t see you because I´ll see men walking around in camouflauge with big guns (and I am not referring to their arms).
3. I see you every day and that´s important to me money truck! You are at the Gas Station, the pharmacy, the mall, and the supermarket.
4. I love you because it´s really exciting when I walk outside the grocery store and you have just arrived and suddenly I am surrounded by lots of men with scary guns. You protect me tank truck.
5. I love you because I don´t know how people get in or out of you....because you really have no doors. You are so mysterious.
6. I love you because you are different from all the other money trucks - the wells fargo money trucks have nothing on you!
7. I love you because your green color is perfectly highlighted by the murky river that you often are close to.
Thank you tank truck! You always manage to brighten my cloudy smoggy Guayaquil day.

Monday, October 27, 2008

A night in the Indigenous Village.


There is a travel agency in Cuenca by a group of indigenous people (indians) in order to help their struggling community. I thought that would be the coolest thing ever to go spend a night in the community and see their way of life. So, we went!
We travelled about 45 minutes outside of Cuenca up to the top of a mountain. We were at about 9000 feet and had the most amazing view! There are few places that I've been in my life that exude such tranquility. The beauty of the place was enough to satisfy me, but that was only the beginning of our adventures.
That night, we were greeted by Carmen, who was in charge of making us feel comfortable and feeding us! We warmly welcomed us into her house and put a towel over the cold chairs so that we weren't as cold. This was the sitting room.
Carmen was nice enough to prepare us a FEAST!! We started enough with some bread and cheese...actually, it would be more appropriate to say cheese and a little bread on the side. No joke - I had at least 8 ounces of cheese on my bread. It was incredible! Haha. They have a cheese factory in the town so that's a stable food.
After eating and hanging out with Carmen for a while, we headed down to the local Catholic Church to catch the end of the meeting. We were celebrities just for showing up, probably cause we're white. People got out their cameras.
Then, we were taken to our lovely hotel room. It was on the 2nd floor of the schoolhouse in the storage room. I'm assuming it's the nicest place that they had.
We shared a tiny little bed covered with lots of wool blankets. There was no bathroom and no access to water. So, going to the bathroom was definitely an adventure! The room got down into the 40s that night, but I'm pretty sure Carmen gave us most of her blankets and probably froze that night. I was a nervous sleeper since we didn't even have a real lock on the door! I am in Ecuador and like to feel secure at night.
So, the next morning, we went in the search for a bathroom. It's hard to do without a lot of trees and when everyone keeps walking by in order to fetch water. The sheep were definitely watching us!
Here's a view from the top with the nice wool shawl Carmen lent me so that I wouldn't freeze to death.

Alright...I have to cut out some of the details. It was a crazy day! They gave us medicine water about every 10 minutes. AKA...herbal teas with medicinal purposes. They offered to add a little whiskey, to which we politely declined. (This is me after TOO MUCH medicine WATER).
We watched as they prepared lunch over a wood fire stove in clay pots, which they still use to this day.
We watched them gut the guinea pig....that was SICK...but fascinating. It was our lunch. We laughed how in the US it's a pet and we're going to eat it for lunch.
We hiked around the mountains identifying different plants that can be used with medicine, and we went with Manuel to the Cheese Factory which appeared rather unsanitary and had a gross smell. Nonetheless, I still like cheese.
We watched them cut the wool from the sheep with dull scissors that seemed appropriate for a kindergarten and not for sheering sheep.
We played dress up in the women's clothes. I am not a very cute indigenous woman! Haha, good thing I'm not one permanently.
It was quite the learning experience.

Sunday, October 19, 2008

Three dollars and sixty cents and a movie from the Black Market

The longer we are in Ecuador, the more our American roots are showing. After a long day enjoying the beautiful gardens of Malecon, Natausha and I wanted nothing more than to eat some American food and watch a movie.
The problems with that desire:
1. We only had $5.40 that we could spend between the two of us and that includes the dollar that we needed to get to church today.
2. We had none of the ingredients for the American food that we wanted most - Apple Crisp
3. We also don't have any movies in the apartment
Luckily, we are problem solvers!
We went to the grocery store with high hopes and bought all of the ingredients for apple crisp with only $3.60. That a bargain (that's practically shop lifting it's so cheap). Then, we'd seen a store in the mall before that sold 4 movies for $5. I'm pretty sure the copyrights just aren't important here and therefore, every movie you buy is pretty much a black market copy. Sadly enough, we couldn't find the black market movie store. OH NO! We can't have an American Saturday without a movie. So we got back and proceeded to ask all of our neighbors until we were successful. We had Apple Crisp that was extra tasty, except for the fact that the brown sugar is different here, and we watched She's the Man, haha...it was funny!
It was probably equally as funny watching us watch the movie. We don't have a DVD player so we had to watch it on my computer which has to be plugged in to make it through a whole movie and we only have 2 plugs in this house that I can plug my computer in. So, we got the computer situated on the counter and we are chilling on the couch. However, my volume doesn't work very well without speakers or headphones, so we plugged in my head phones that have about a 3 foot cord and Natausha and I each got one earphone. So, we were really close to the computer on the couch right next to the cupboard in the dark trying to watch a movie and eat apple crisp.
Who said we couldn't have an adventure for $3.60?

Saturday, October 18, 2008

A Poem - By Becky

F - Fresh, crisp air
A - Apple Pie
L - Leaves of red, orange, and yellow
L - Laughter

Okay, as you can tell from the poem, I successfully passed my 3rd grade English class where we learned to write these poems. Today I woke up with a desire for Fall. It´s not coming to come because I am in an endless summer. What a nightmare! Sometimes at night, I turn on my air conditioner in my room and it cools my room down from its normal 82 degrees to 74. I make it cold so that I can use my Alpaca blanket. I get to cuddle up with my blanket in my bed and have sweet dreams of Fall weather.
I think life is better in the Fall. I think it´s the coziest time of year. Summer makes every one spread out and leave on vacations and trips. Fall brings everyone back together under the same roof. It´s exciting when the leaves start changing colors and the wind brings this crisp freshness. It´s the smell of homemade apple die and dehydrated fruits. It´s putting on a sweater for the first time and finding the socks again after a long hot summer. Halloween parties, games, and laughter. Cute little kids in costumes. Raking up the crunchy leaves and then jumping in them. Flirting with the new crush in the ward or in your class (this is for us singles...). New roommates and friends. The excitement of football games at BYU or beautiful Fall hikes on a Saturday afternoon. Of course I love Fall! Since I missed this Fall, next year I get to enjoy it twice as much. That´ll be out of control.
Climatic Differences: This week we taught our workshop at in Huancavilco. We jammed 35 people into a smaller sized room that was already at 85 degrees. Even with the fans on, it was still 85 degrees. The interesting thing is that when people are used to never having a-c or being in rooms with fans, they get cold really fast. Even if there is air conditioning, within 10 minutes someone will ask us to turn it off because they are cold. The second day, people come wearing sweaters. I always laugh and wonder how someone can wear a sweater when it´s 85 in the classroom, but somehow they get cold.
Men: In Provo, sometimes when I´d go running down University, I´d get a few silly boys that yelled cat calls out of the window or honked their horns. I would snicker and move on with life. in the 20 walk from our apartment to the Employment Center, things often get out of control! From the second we step out of our apartment, the comments begin. Sometimes the comments are accompanied by whistles, creepy looks, honking the horns in the car (which is another issue). Unfortunately, we have to walk by this large construction site every day, yesterday I think there were about 20 guys on the corner...working, but they all stopped, every last one as we walked by. I tried to roll my eyes and ignore them, but I really wanted to laugh because it was out of control. Luckily, right after we walked by, the boss noticed that they´d stopped working and reprimanded them, and told them to get back to work. I´m going to feel so unpopular in the US after being so harassed here on a daily basis, haha.
Driving: I feel like I´ve gotten used to the crazy Guayaquil driving habits. The first few days and weeks I feared for my life - every time I got in a car or crossed the street. The concept of lanes in Guayaquil doesn´t exist. If there are 2 lanes painted on the street, somehow it ends up being some sort of jumbled mess of 4 lanes. Blinkers - pointless! If you want to cut someone off, switch lanes, turn, randomly stop, just honk your horn and hope the people listen. There are overpasses that have been built so that they didn´t have to put up stop lights. There definitely are no car inspections - which mean that all of the cars are older and pollute the air a lot! It´s a joke to watch! I should take a video one day for your viewing pleasure. It really is astonishing. I always feel bad when I see the Driver´s Ed people out on the road in the car for the first time, that must be a horrifying experience to learn how to drive here. But, it sure is funny to watch.

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

The Fish Market

wow - I think that was the coolest yet sickest place I have ever been! They had all the fresh fish there and it was sick! They had shark, shrimp (Ecuador is a huge exporter of shrimp....that means it´s cheap here), corvina....okay EVERYTHING and the BIGGEST fish I have ever seen in my life. I didn´t realize they came so big.
I didn´t have my camera today so I will paint a picture of the seen with words. It was like a HUGE gymnasium full of fish! The fisherman just plopped the gigantic fish on the table, got out the machete and started whacking it! Then he would wash it down, and the blood-water would just spray across the floor where we were walking. Luckily I was wearing heels, but poor Natausha was wearing white flats.
The smell of the fish was overwhelming. Actually, I can still smell the fish now in my mind.
We got so excited with all the fish that afterwards we went to go get a fish dinner....Corvina (might be my favorite), rice, and fried bananas with a good ol´Inca Cola. It was a very ghetto little diner where apparently all the waiters had to be....uh, different. Yeah, that´s where our boss wanted us to experience an authentic Ecuadorian dinner. The food was tasty.
Alright, we´re off to Quito tomorrow morning. It ought to be an amazing adventure! "I love the mountains, I love the rolling hills...I love the fountains..." (please finish the song in your head). Quito is located at 9000 feet with volcanoes, colonial buildings, and is relatively close to the jungle! It will be an adventure. Stay tuned next week for updates!
I love ya´ll!

Saturday, October 4, 2008

Revelation and the Week

I love General Conference. Elder Holland's talk was so amazing! I don't think there was a dry eye in our whole room. How often do we forget how close Heavenly Father really is and how we has sent angels to help us and surround us - seen and unseen. I received so many little pieces of revelation today. It's amazing how every one can leave from conference hearing different things and feeling different things. The spirit takes certain things to each person's heart so that their questions -written or unwritten - are answered.

This is down at Puerto Santa Ana. It is a beautiful River Walk area. I love the Pineapple looking fountains. Juan and Victor are so nice to always show us around the city and keep us happy and busy! We are very grateful to have good friends in a crazy city.
This was an awesome group. The people in this group reminded me so much of the members of one area of my mission - which made it so much more special. They showed us so much love and gratitude for the service which we rendered. At the end, to celebrate, we had a little party and they gave us all sorts of gifts so that we don't forget Ecuador. We felt famous as everyone took out their cameras and wanted to take pictures as well. Natausha and I were talking afterwards and just commented on how the charity of these people is going to change the way we act and give afterwards as well. A little gift, a kind note can make such a big difference to the person.
A house....let's all be grateful for the beautiful homes that we have!
Our other group this week. The ex-prostitutes. I'm so happy that the nuns helped these ladies change their lives. It's so sad to think try to understand what would drive a person to that lifestyle to where they think that they have no other choice. There are good people in all religions trying to help people to really have a better life and come unto Christ. They were cute because we had them create a Lemonade Stand and they named it The Will of God.

Monday, September 29, 2008

Nuns, Prostitutes, and Mormons



That is what we are looking forward to this week in the workshop that we´ll be teaching in the morning. We are teaching a group of 18 ex-prostitutes who have been taken in by nuns and are currently learning to cut hair and want to open their own barber shops. The area presidency approved that we teach this workshop and the nuns are going to come as well to learn about the workshop. That should be interesting.
We had 60 people who graduated from our workshop on Friday. It was so exciting to call their names out and give them their certificates. They were so excited! They were such an awesome group. It´s amazing how the people who have the least are the ones who are willing to give the most. They give the most love, but they are also so willing to share every thing they have. They would always go out and buy us drinks or little snacks when they have so little to eat themselves. On Friday, so many people came with presents for us to thank us for the help we have given them. There was one lady who had a cute purse (Ecuadorian style) and I just commented that I liked her bag and she said, okay, I will give it to you. I insisted that I didn´t need the bag but that I liked it. She started telling me how a former missionary had given it to her, but that she now wanted to give it to me so that I didn´t forget her or my experiences here in Ecuador. I told her not to worry about it, but lo and behold, at the end of the workshop, she´d emptied out the items in her purse – quite possibly the only purse she has and has had for years, and gave it to me.
You come on internships like this one to make a difference in someone else´s life, but they impact mine more than I could ever impact theirs.
Friday night was pretty fun at the dance. They are a little different here first of all because they don´t dim the lights at all! Also, you tend to dance with only one person and instead of the mormon dance circles we make, they stand paired off in a line and just all dance. Natausha and I felt so out of place at first, but then we got used to it and it was pretty fun. I took my first steps towards learning to salsa dance. I have a long way to go!!! But, we told the guys we were dancing with that if they taught us how to salsa dance then we would teach them how to country dance. It seemed like a good trade off. People here are NIGHT-OWLS! The dance got over at midnight, but apparently that was just the start of the party. Afterwards, we went to a little restaurant on the street and got dinner and just hung out. We finally got home late and were all tuckered out! On Saturday we just kept running as well. We got up at 10, but our friends came to pick us up at 10 instead of 10:30 like we thought, so we´d literally just rolled out of bed and they called saying they were here…haha, it was pretty funny. We went and cooked an awesome homemade American breakfast, that we ate at 2pm. It´s really hard to cook for 11 people with 1 frying pan, 1 cutting board, 3 forks, and no hot pads or towels – especially when we need to make fried potatoes, French toast, and scrambled eggs. We were so pleased when it was finally time for us to eat.
We played in the pool in the afternoon. I am proud to say that even with my gimpy arm, I still won a couple swimming races. Apparently I can swim with a broken elbow. I will count that as my physical therapy. We did a bunch of relays and my team dominated. It was awesome! We had a lot of fun.
We kept running after the pool over to the Johnson´s – a missionary couple in our ward from Provo – for a nice dinner and then to the Relief Society broadcast for spiritual nourishment. I always feel so inspired when I leave those conferences. I really enjoyed President Uchtdorf´s talk about creation and compassion. It was a theme that very different from the typical and I really enjoyed it.
Anyway, so that was the weekend. It was crazy and so busy that I didn´t have time to be tired or bored…or do homework.
Write me. P.S. I also accept care-packages

Friday, September 26, 2008

Teaching Begins

Okay, this week I have not been able to update as much. There is just so much going on that it is so hard to find a few minutes to sit down and upload pictures and write, although I love doing it and definitely appreciate the comments and emails. I love to hear how everything is going back home.
Let me tell you about the workshop. There are 2 different workshops that we can teach and they have asked me to teach the Self-Employment Workshop. It´s a rather big assignment since we only talked about it for 3 hours in Salt Lake during my week long training. I have plenty of practice with the other one, but none with this one. So, last week, I studied up so that I could teach it. I love the workshop which a lot of the people here refer to as the microenterprise workshop. For any of you who have talked to me about that subject, I love the idea and success that comes through microcredit and microenterprise! We showed up at the workshop and 75 people showed up as well. We were honestly expecting maybe 10 or 15. When we went to divide up the workshop, I found out that they all wanted the Self-employment Workshop so I have been teaching a group of 75! It´s an awesome experience to teach such a big group. They are so excited and so desirous to learn and apply the principles. I am teaching right now in El Cisne which is one of the poorest areas of Guayaquil. It has been a humbling experience to drive there every day. The pictures that I have posted previously are nothing compared to what I am seeing now. The houses are made out of canes or cinder blocks or occasionally a wood sheet. There is nothing inside the houses and most of the roofs are not complete. Most don´t have windows. In spite of the circumstances, the members in our workshop come polished every day. I would never look at them and think that they came from such circumstances. It´s amazing when the stake president in that area, or bishop comes in with a white shirt and tie. It is also amazing that even though these people have nothing and the area is rather poor and dangerous, that there is a beautiful church. The church is the same quality as the church anywhere. Heavenly Father doesn´t discriminate.


It has been so exciting to teach the workshop and to watch the people´s eyes light up as they learn new concepts that will bless them and their families.
As for the rest of the week, we are finding it hard to get everything done. I tell you what, latinos sure do know how to make a person feel special and important. We´ve been very taken care of and already have some great friends. Yesterday we went to the top of a hill in the middle of the city called Cristo Redentor (Christ Redeemer) that had a beautiful statue dedicated to the Savior. It is on top of a hill because Christ was crucified on top of a hill. Therefore, on the way up the steps, we are to remember what Christ did for us as he ascended the hill and was crucified on the cross.
We went with some news friends – one is actually a friend from my mission – Victor. He was my first district leader and later a zone leader. What a small world!
I went to the doctor yesterday for my elbow. I must admit that I prefer doctors in Chile to the doctors here. Apparently I went to the best doctor in the country…The good news was that he supported my decision to not get surgery on my elbow. He said that it is healing properly. They took my x-rays and everything is as it should me. He does want me to do some physical therapy while I am here so that I have proper movement in my arm. So, we´ll see, but Heavenly Father blessed my elbow too.
This picture is for Zach with 5 or 6 guards 3 doors down from our house with big guns. 3 doors down there is an investigation center for DrugTraficking. They bring the people in to investigate so if it´s a big drug bust like the other day, then we get lots of guards and guns and crying families.

Lots of blessings!Well, until next time….Chao.

Monday, September 22, 2008

The Weekend

This is from the museum. No, it´s not just a cool piece of pottery, it was a coffin. They put the dead people in fetal position inside of these bowls with their belongings and buried them. Very peculiar.
This is me and Andres, a friend in my ward, who has been kind enough to show us all around the city and took us to the beach and waited patiently as we walked through all the earring shops and shoe stores, etc...
Me and the Pacific. I couldn´t really get in all the way because I figured with a strong undertoe and an inability to swim with 2 arms, it might not be safe. It was fun anyway!
This is a view of part of Salinas - a popular tourist destination. Driving through that city made me very sad!
This is a Parque Los Lagos which is on the way to the beach. It´s a beautiful place but apparently doesn´t get many visitors, which makes it so much more desirable.
Yes...earrings, necklaces, and bracelets galore. It was like PARADISE! I can´t wait to go back to that place and buy some more stuff. Things here are more pricey than in Chile, but I guess 2 or 3 dollars isn´t that incredibly expensive afterall. Please let me know of your requests.
This was the beautiful street in town. I love the touristy areas because they are always nicer and more organized. It´s a great feeling to just get out a chair and chill on the beach, watching the boats.
This is Natausha and I outside of a Palentologial Museum that we visited on our way to Salinas. It was actually really interesting to learn about all these crazy big animals and their history in this area.

Friday, September 19, 2008

$3.10 and an Iguana







I am so pleased with us! We are figuring out this city. We studied our map and guidebooks and today we set out to find the tourist section of this city. We got in a taxi and headed out. We are super paranoid about our possessions so I had some money in my shirt, a plastic ziplock with my debit card in my pants and my camera tied inside of my pants – which was a strange thing to do, haha. I tried out that method yesterday so I wouldn´t have to carry a bag, but today my pants weren´t as tight, so it didn´t have quite the same effect. Plus, every time we went to take a picture, I had to reach into my pants and untie my camera, imagine that.
We had the nicest taxi driver who took us to Las Peñas. It was a rundown part of the city right on the Rio Guayas that they renovated a in 2000. So, now on the outside it is beautiful and quite the tourist attraction. They have security guards around every corner so it´s very safe. It was sad though because although it´s beautiful on the outside, the houses are still run down on the inside. They had pictures up of what the area looked like before. It´s amazing how they have improved the area, but it´s so sad to realize what people live in. The roofs are barely on top of the houses. Sunlight peeks in through various spots through the roof.
It was beautiful though to see the panorama of the city. I loved the brightly colored houses on the hill and the flowers and trees with the river behind us. It really was beautiful. There were something like 500 stairs up to the top where there was a lighthouse and a catholic church. Apparently they used to defend the city from pirates on the top of this hill.
As we looked out across the city at the next hill over, Santa Ana, I got a glimpse of what I´ve always envisioned as South America – poverty on a hill. Run down houses, crime, etc. Natausha and I were in awe wondering what can be done to change things – the problems, with poverty so high here, are so overwhelming. We did conclude however that the Gospel is really what will change this city. As people grasp onto the Gospel, they will better their lives and their vision will change. Little by little – one person or one family at a time, the city can and will improve. In 40 years, they have created 14 stakes in this city. Our taxi driver, as we explained to him why we were here, thanked us several times for sacrificing our time and money to be here among his people trying to help them.
After Las Peñas, we started walking along El Malecón which is like the River Walk. We found the best little lunch stop – Aroma Café. For $3.10 I got – soup with shrimp, octopus, squid, and fish. Yes, I ATE IT and it was delicious! Octopus looks a little strange but it has a very pleasant flavor; watermelon juice (YUM), a full on meal - rice, lentils, a whole fish with excellent seasoning and fried bananas; dessert – ice cream; and the price included the tip. We were right on the river with beautiful scenery! What a good deal for a delicious meal!
We kept walking and enjoying the scenery, taking tons of pictures. We ended up running into a guy from our ward that showed us around more of the city and took us to IGUANA PARK. Craziest thing ever. There are hundreds of iguanas, for real, and not little scrawny ones. There was a tree and I looked up and realized that there were iguanas on almost every branch. They blended in really well with the tree so it was hard to count them all, but I counted at least 20. We petted them and one just started walking on me. I didn´t know what to do with it so I just sat there.
I was approached by several really dirty little children selling candies. I just have such a hard time not giving them money when they look so dirty and so poor. If $.25 will help them to eat, then goodness, take it. Poverty is mixed in here on every street corner, at the cross walks, on the buses.
We decided not to take a taxi back because they are way to pricey and the bus is only a quarter, 12 times cheaper than the taxi. So, we decided to try to figure out which bus would take us back. We chose wrong at first, but then we found the lucky bus number 82. Bus rides are so horrifying! They drive like maniacs and the smell of air pollution is almost unbearable, but it´s such a great feeling when you make it to your bus stop and can get off the bus in one piece J I am grateful every time I get off the bus.
It was an awesome day and so much fun to get out and explore and see more of Guayaquil. I love that part of town!