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