Didnt have time to write a group email last week...but I hope you all had a GREAT Christmas and an even better New Year! Our Christmas down here was great. I got to talk to the fam on skype, which was awesome, and ate TONS of turkey (which is super rare down here) and had some fun Christmas activities/dinners. It was a super great 2nd Christmas down here in Ecuador. I am definitely excited to be with the fam next one, but these past two holiday seasons have been amazing.
As far as New Years Eve. On the 31st we were kind of ``locked in`` our house all day because this country kinda turns up like crazy for New Years. We were able to leave for a few hours to teach a few lessons and have a bomb NYE dinner (tamales...bomb!!), but aside from that we basically chilled in the house all day. Cleaned our house like crazy, and napped/worked out/did nothing. It felt so good, jaja! At midnight we went up to our roof and watched all the fireworks. It was sooooo awesome! Basically 15 minutes straight of fireworks in every direction.
The biggest two traditions for New Years down here (that are different from US ones) are the vuidas and the viejos. The vuidas (widows), or locas (crazies), are grown men who dress up as girls and run around the city asking for money, and if you dont give it to them they do embarrassing/ridiculous things. On the way home from dinner at a members house they danced around our car until the dad of the family gave em each a quarter. Its soooo redic, but its pretty dang funny too. They all do it out of good fun and rarely does it get taken too far out of hand. The viejos (old..as in old/past year) are huge paper mache dolls/figures, which represent the past year, and then at midnight everyone burns them and if they are small enough they jump over them or kick them...as a symbolic way to kill all the bad from last year and prepare for an even better new year! A lot of people make super heros or disney characters or political figures...and there are some that are like 20 feet tall! Impressive stuff. At midnight it looks like straight anarchy because the streets are FILLED with burning things... Ill miss Ecuadorian New Years....
Well, aside from that, all is well. The work is progressing and I am extremely excited for this new year! I have lots of goals/plans/things I want to improve on.
We are down in Quito tonight for MLC tomorrow. Cant wait to eat some BOMB Momma Christensen food! Wednesday we will go to Guaranda, and thursday zone conference. But Fri, Sat, and Sun, we will be going hard in the sector!!
Say an extra prayer for my brother Jeff and his wife, Melissa, who are expecting their first child ANY DAY! Love you guys!!!!!
Happy New Year. Love yall.
(sorry bout the lack of pics....currently working on fixing my camera. sorry, momma! hehe)