Ecuador 8/31/2018 - 9/15/2018

Thursday, 9/6/2018 - First day of school

Today was the kids' first real day of school. At around 7:30 a.m., they knocked on our door of our casita to say goodbye. We gave them hugs and wished them well. Sisa is now in 6th grade, Yupanqui in 4th, and Shina in 2nd. Where does the time go?

We could hear a noise which sounded like a chipmunk. I asked Antonio about it, wondering if it was some kind of frog. He said that it was a hummingbird, and he directed our attention to a little guy sitting on a branch of the avocado tree. He was turning his head rapidly from one direction to the next, chirping with each movement. Antonio said that they have three types of hummingbirds that visit his garden, and this was one of the smallest. Some of the others have very long tails.

Hummingbird in the avocado tree

It was a very clear sunny morning, and the snow-capped peak of Volcan Cotacachi was visible against the blue sky. In the opposite direction, we could also see the elusive white peak of Volcan Cayambe.

We had breakfast of scrambled eggs with tomatoes and onions, bread, cheese, patacones (fried pressed plantains), coffee, and juice.

I went to work, and El Señor Chipikins soon joined me in my "office", which is Rosa's sewing room on the second floor. He climbed a mountain of fabric and cotton batting, causing an avalanche. He eventually dug his way out and then fashioned a nest and took a nap. He must have been dreaming...he was peeping in his sleep! So cute!

The kids got home from school. They brought me lunch while I worked: spinach soup with popcorn, steak, mashed potatoes, peas, and rice.

Sisa quickly changed out of her traditional clothes (uniform for school) and got ready to catch the first of three buses which would take her to Ibarra for her English class. She came upstairs to say goodbye to me while I was in a meeting.

The bus, which stops just at the end of their driveway, was a bit late today. She had to scramble to arrive at her class for 3 o'clock. In the future, her teacher in the village agreed to let her out of school a little early on Mondays and Thursdays so that she could catch an earlier bus.

When I finished with work, I went downstairs and found that Sisa had left a note for us on her whiteboard:

I love you achi taita y achi mama
I go to class de inglesh to ibarra
Thank you very mach my mother my father
Im very happy

Sisa left this note for us

Sisa left this note for us

I came back to the casita to find Craig and El Señor Chipikins hanging out together, the latter sleeping on Craig's bunk. We hung out in the casita for a while, and Chipikins eventually walked up the staircase to my top bunk and settled in for a nap there.

Antonio picked Sisa up when her English class ended at 5 p.m., and they returned home by bus, arriving at around 7 o'clock. Sisa had really enjoyed her class. Unlike her previous English course, her classmates are her own age, and she is making new friends. She has a passion for learning.

When she got home, she wrote "Welcome to class the English" on the top of the white board and then proceeded to start a set up a hangman game. It went a bit smoother than it had last night, but there were still enough mid-game corrections and misspelled words/phrases to keep us on our toes. Example: "myhuos" = "my house"

Hangman game

Rosa was learning a new recipe on Youtube and prepared it for dinner: fried rice with ham, egg, hot dog pieces. We also had soup and fresh mora (blackberry) juice enriched with quinoa.
Volcan Cotacachi in the early morning sunshine

Volcan Cotacachi in the early morning sunshine

El Senor Chipikins takes a nap in Rosa's sewing supplies

El Señor Chipikins takes a nap in Rosa's sewing supplies

El Senor Chipikins takes a nap in Sisa's unicorn sweatshirt

El Señor Chipikins takes a nap in Sisa's unicorn sweatshirt

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