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

Friday, 9/14/2018 - Family Time

We had received much-needed rain all night, and it was still raining when we awoke. The plastic sheeting that the family had been using to protect the patio from rain had shredded in the wind. When we went outside, they were in the process of replacing it with another piece of plastic sheeting.

We had brought a heavy duty tarp down several years ago when our casita roof had been leaking. It was hanging on a nail above the kids' bed. I ran into the bedroom (where El Señor Chipikins was relaxing by himself on the bed), grabbed it, and brought it outside. We could see a flash of recognition and Antonio and Rosa's faces. They had completely forgotten about its existence, even though it was hiding in plain sight. The were quite happy for the upgrade, as this one had reinforced corners and grommets for tying it down.

While they were installing the tarp, Chipikins heard all of our voices outside and joined us. He had fun playing in the folds of the wet piece of old plastic which was now on the ground, and used it as a slip n' slide.

Once the new tarp was up, we had breakfast. Coffee made from steaming hot milk was quite appreciated on this cold damp morning. Hot dog slices are often added to various meals in order to boost the protein level, and this morning they had been added to the scrambled eggs. We also had bread, cheese, and ham, and fresh juice.

After breakfast, I went upstairs and logged into work. El Señor Chipikins joined me and snuggled on my lap

I ate lunch in my office, and needed to defend it from a certain feline officemate: soup, hamburg patties, rice, potatoes, and a salad made of beets, hard boiled eggs, and mayonnaise.

Rosa's friend Rosita and her daughter Natalie stopped by. We have known them since Sisa and Natalie were toddlers, and it was great to see them again.

Antonio plans to finish construction on the second and third floors of the house over the next couple of months. He is not able to do much physical labor himself due to his back injury, so he is going to hire a couple of his cousins to help. They stopped by this afternoon and took measurements to determine what they would need for materials.

The rain continued until late afternoon. When I was done with work, Craig and I went into the kitchen, where Sisa was doing her math homework (using corn kernels as counting aids). We didn't want to disturb her, so we went outside.

Abuelita was cooking on her fire, and Juan Pedro joined her. Cachupin (now limping on a different leg than last night) came into her outdoor kitchen to warm himself by the fire. We were starting to wonder if maybe he hadn't injured his leg last night in a fight, and instead had some kind of arthritis which is aggravated by the dampness.

Abuelita's three baby chicks were in the outdoor kitchen as well. We love how she talks to them, and they follow her around like she is their mother. It is adorable.

We went into the kitchen again, as Sisa finished her homework. Rosa offered us coffee to combat the cold and dampness, and we happily accepted. We did some sopa de letra (word search) puzzles with Sisa and Shina.

We gave the kids a bilingual edition of "Puss in Boots." As we sipped our hot cups of Intag coffee and nibbled on maple sugar candy that we had brought for the family, Sisa read the story aloud in Spanish. Then I took a turn reading it in English.

By now the rain had cleared, and we went outside to enjoy the sunshine and warm our bones.

There was a loud crash from upstairs. It turned out that Shina had somehow pulled the brand new porcelain sink off the wall, and it had shattered into many pieces. Luckily she wasn't hurt, but the upstairs bathroom went from "complete except for a door" to "complete except for a door and sink."

Abuelita's chicks knew that the waning light signaled that it was time for bed. They hopped into their cardboard box so that she could carry them up to her room upstairs, as she did every evening, to make sure that they were safe and warm.

Sisa was in her room writing in her notebook. Soon she came into the kitchen and copied the words from her notebook to the whiteboard:

Thank you dear mommy and daddy for helping me
my heart is always with daddy and mommy
when I am bigger I want to work like mommy and daddy
I love you very much
You are always on my side you are a heart of heaven for your beautiful smile
We three little angels are always in your hands although my little brother doesn't understand
I want to help my little brother
I love you very very much mommy and daddy I love you

We were so touched by her heartfelt words. Much like me as a child, Sisa has always had an affinity for the written word. She absolutely loves to write. We cherish her sweet sentiments.

We sat at the table chatting with the kids. El Señor Chipikins sat on my lap. I took a selfie of him as he sat, staring straight ahead, with his two front paws on the table. He reminded me so much of Business Cat. If I could only get him to wear a tiny suit...

For dinner, we had soup, beef, lentils, rice, and cucumber and radish salad.

The last evening of a visit is always difficult, as the kids suffer from separation anxiety. We all love spending time together, and it is hard to say goodbye and go back to our separate lives. Shina is finally old enough the realize that we are leaving tomorrow and won't be back until January. "Achi Mama, no te vayas!" (Achi Mama, don't go!) she said as she snuggled up to me at the dinner table.

Everyone felt sad about our departure, including us, but we took comfort in the fact that we would see each other in a couple of months. When we come in January we will bring our dear friend Mukul from India. Mukul, Craig, and I will take Sisa with us to the Galapagos.

We had also grown quite close to El Señor Chipikins on this visit. Craig and I had fantasized about taking him home with us. Shina was a bit rough with him after dinner. We threatened that if she wasn't nice to him, we'd take him back home with us. Antonio picked up the cat and mimed that he was waving. "Ciao Shina! Yo voy en el avion!" "Bye Shina, I'm going on a plane!" That lightened the mood quite a bit, and everyone was feeling better by bedtime.

We packed up as much as we could, leaving just a few last-minute items for the early morning. As we went to sleep, we could hear rain starting again, though it didn't last long.
New tarp

New tarp

Juan Pedro and Abuelita in the outdoor kitchen

Juan Pedro and Abuelita in the outdoor kitchen

Word search puzzles

Word search puzzles

Sisa reads Puss in Boots to Shina

Sisa reads Puss in Boots to Shina

El Senor Chipikins

El Señor Chipikins

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