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

Friday, 9/7/2018 - Mindfulness

We and Sisa have taken to writing one another notes on the white board, wishing each other a nice day, etc. It's a good way for Sisa to practice writing English. Breakfast was fried eggs, hot dogs, bread, juice, coffee, and cheese.

I went to work and El Señor Chipikins eventually joined me. One of my colleagues (a fellow cat lover who was working at home with her cat) wanted to see him due to his Facebook fame in my posts, so we did a video chat and the cats were able to see one another.

The kids returned home from school each with a sealed packet of 4-color school workbooks. The quality sure is a lot nicer than when I was in school. If we had workbooks at all, they were black and white and printed on cheap newsprint. These are textbooks and workbooks in one. Having a degree in early childhood education, the former teacher in me gets very excited by schoolbooks and teaching materials.

Lunch was chicken soup followed by quinoa with chicken and beef.

After lunch we did an activity that I had learned from Sharon at Here Comes the Sun Yoga during yoga for kids teacher training. We made meditation tools known as "mind jars." They are similar to a snowglobe...but filled with glitter glue, confetti, and other fun stuff. Kids shake them up and watch as the pieces settle in order to calm their minds.

I had brought all of the materials from home. Sometimes people use glass mason jars, but I knew those would never survive here. So I had bought a 6-pack of Voss spring water, which come in small sleek plastic bottles. I removed the stick-on labels and with their solid plastic screw-caps, they were perfect. Each kid filled their bottle with tap water. We then added colored Elmer's glitter glue, sparkly "gems", confetti snowflakes, and silver and gold confetti. Then we gave each kid a special metal charm (a sun for Yupanqui, a flower for Sisa, and a heart for Shina) to add to their bottle.

Mind jars

Mind jars

The children were really into making them. I had made a test sample at home, and had used the materials sparingly to save them for the kids. I had used food coloring as well, but that had made the water murky and opaque, so that it was difficult to see the contents. Craig and I decided that we should forego the food coloring here.

I was amazed by how much material they were able to stuff into the bottles. I was impressed by how cool they looked when the kids shook them up. The kids loved them as well. I explained to them in broken Spanish that when they are worried or upset, they should shake the bottle and then concentrate on the contents as it settles. This will calm them...tranquilo.

They understood the concept in theory if not exactly in practice. Yupanqui was a ball of energy as he vigorously shook his bottle in the cat's face, instructing El Señor Chipikins to watch and be tranquilo, terrifying both the cat and Sisa in the process.

Yupanqui and Shina's teachers stopped by the house while we were making the mind jars, and they seemed happy to see the kids involved in the actiivity.

The kids and their mind jars

Craig and I took showers this afternoon. It is always pleasant to take a nice hot shower as an antidote to the cool mountain air. The dry weather results in dust blowing into your hair and eye, and being able to clean it off with hot steamy water is a treat.

As it turns out, it was a good thing that we chose to shower today. Later in the afternoon, Rosa ran out of gas for the stove. They had to take the tank which powers our water heater and bring it to the kitchen to power the stove. We hoped that the elusive gas truck would show up within the next couple of days so that the family didn't risk running out entirely. That has happened in the past and results in Rosa having to cook meals over Abuelita's fire in the outdoor kitchen.

There is no way to signal for the gas truck. It plays a song as it approaches, and if you aren't out at the curb when it passes, you lose.

We heard a song this afternoon and thought for a split second that it might be the gas truck, but it turned out to be the fruit truck. We all headed out to the street to meet it. The family bought a variety of fresh fruit for incredibly reasonable prices.

Antonio had been at a guide certification course for the majority of the day, but returned home before dinner. Sisa used her white board to help Yupanqui with his multiplication homework. She is going to be a great teacher some day! Yupanqui gathered his siblings and led them into their bedroom to get the mind jars to show Antonio. Yupanqui explained to Antonio that it is supposed to calm you down. We were gld that Yupanqui was internalizing the purpose of it, as he is probably the one who can get the most benefit from it.

Shina was watching YouTube videos of other people playing with toys. This is a phenomenon we have heard about lately, something that we had never really seen before. In one set of videos, a set of disembodied hands mixes various types of homemade modeling clay, then manipulates it into different shapes, cutting with cookie cutters and using moulds. Shina was absolutely entranced. I was more wondering about the ingredients used to make the clay, as some of it had some really bizarre properties.

When she was done with clay videos, she started to watch a video about a plastic toy refrigerator. A disembodied pair of hands took all of the parts out of their packaging and then set up the refrigerator, putting plasic food inside. They filled a small ice tray and added a bit of water to the reservoir for a functioning water dispenser. Dolls and stuffed animals approached the fridge to get a snack or a glass of water with ice. Shina was again absolutely entranced, until it was time for dinner and the phone was taken away.

For dinner, we had soup, corvina fish, rice, melloco, and mixed vegetables. Even though it was Friday night, the kids were tired after having returned to school this week, so we retired early.
Morning selfie

Morning selfie

Shina and Yupanqui making mind jars

Shina and Yupanqui making mind jars

Sisa and Cachupin

Sisa and Cachupin

Amigos: El Senor Chipikins and Cachupin

Amigos: El Señor Chipikins and Cachupin

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