We woke up and at 7:20 a.m. Yoselin and Yasmin came in to say good morning before school, and this made us happy. We always like to get a chance to give them a hug and wish them a good day.
A while later, Paulina came in and told us that breakfast was ready. We headed over to the dining room where Paola, Humberto, and Paulina were reading the paper and having coffee. We had cornflakes, and Humberto and Paulina ate two of the tamales that the widower had given to Abuelita yesterday.
Eddy woke up, and was soon followed by Aracely. Humberto said goodbye and headed off to work. Paulina said we would be going to the market soon. She gave Aracely and Eddy showers while we got dressed.
We walked to the market with Paulina, Eddy, and Aracely via Rancho Grande. It's a quieter street than Santander. The store called Tienda Heidy (which had always made us think of our friend Heidi from work) was not there any more; it was now a different store. The utility poles had all been painted white and had uplifting words such as "paciencia" and "libertad" painted in bright colors surrounded by flowers.
When we got to the market, Aracely took the blue camera and we both took pictures. We could tell which market stall was Aracely's favorite; she took about 10 pictures of all of the hair accessories, make-up, and jewelry available there. We wandered through the outdoor stalls, ducking under tarps and umbrellas that were too short for us. We always felt big and in the way here, but the locals never seem to mind.
Paulina bought fresh vegetables from various sellers. She also got some corn leaves for preparing tamalitos. Eddy picked up some pitaya fruit, and Paulina bought a few of them. We went into the indoor part of the market, which housed permanent stalls under a large roof of corrugated tin panels.
We noticed an amusing chicken sign that pictured a super chicken in a flowing red cape. As we headed out of the market to hire a tuk-tuk to drive us home, we passed a man selling popsicles at his little ice cream cart. Paulina bought one for Eddy and one for Aracely, and she offered one to us as well. We chose pineapple, which was quite juicy and refreshing. We then piled into a tuk-tuk which brought us home.
It was a nice day, so we sat outside for a while. Eddy rode around on his red plastic trike. I helped Paulina to prepare veggies for the salad while Craig took a shower. When it was obvious that no good would come out of me trying to peel a carrot with a sharp knife, she put me on chopping duty, which I was much better suited for.
Yoselin and Yasmin got home from school before we knew it. When Craig was done in the shower, I went to our room to take my shower. While I was in there, lunch was served. Craig came to the room to tell me that lunch was ready. I quickly finished up, got dressed, and took my place at the dining table. The family politely waited for me to be done with my shower before eating.
Lunch was a hearty salad with cheese and lime. For dessert we had fresh pitaya fruit. This is a fruit that looks like a cactus on the outside. The inside is a deep purplish fuchsia with tiny black edible seeds. Its texture is rather like a kiwi. Only recently had we learned that these are a seasonal fruit only present at this time of year. Most of our visits have been over 4th of July, so it seemed like it was always available.
When we had been here at New Year's, we had seen some of the girls' Christmas lists. Several of them had asked for locking diaries. We thought this would be a nice thing to give them, so we bought 5 locking diaries of various designs. Since 3 of the 5 girls were here, we passed out the diaries and put two aside for Vanesa and Paola. The girls immediately tried to figure out whose keys and locks might be the same, and whose diaries they may be able to hack in to.
We gave Eddy a Batman action figure. He was thrilled and kept saying "Batman!!" He made Batman ride his little moto. The kids' cousin Josue came over and played with the computer.
The garden on the perimeter of the small patch of green lawn attracted hummingbirds, and we saw one today. Craig remembered the Spanish word for hummingbird: "colibri". It had been the name of our lodge room in Ecuador.
Aracely and I were wearing matching blue shirts today. We joked that we were twins. The kids handed out "choco-bananas" (frozen chocolate covered bananas on a stick). It was a yummy treat. Humberto got home from work and sat with us for a while outside.
Then we went for a walk with Humberto, Paulina, Aracely, and Eddy. Aracely brought her doll, Eddy brought his moto and Batman, and Humberto took a soccer ball. We walked to the field near the school where Yasmin and Yoselin had gone to kindergarten. The field is not grass but instead crushed gravel.
Aracely and Eddy played soccer with Humberto while we sat with Paulina and watched. Eddy just kept kicking the ball in a straight line. We noticed that he had his tongue curled up while he ran after it. Humberto has great soccer skills and got to show them off a bit.
Parents were walking by on their way to pick up their kids from afternoon kindergarten. One lady walking with her son smiled at us and stopped to talk to Paulina. She motioned toward us and asked Paulina a question. Paulina nodded and smiled. She explained that this was the same lady whom we had seen at the market years before. Paulina had introduced us back then and we took a photo of her and her baby. We sent the photo to Paulina to give to her. The child with her was the baby when the picture was taken. Wow, time really flies.
We saw the kids' cousin Laisa at the field and gave her a hug. She looked impossibly tall in her soccer clothes. It had been a year since we had last seen her.
Humberto, Aracely, and Eddy's game came to an abrupt end when Humberto slid on the gravel and fell on top of Aracely. She scraped her elbow and it was bleeding. Humberto went to a nearby store to buy a packet of water to wash her wound. Instead of buying water in bulky plastic bottles, the locals bug small bags of water. Humberto ripped a corner off with his teeth and poured the water onto Aracely's elbow.
Paulina kicked the ball with Eddy while Aracely was recovering. To prevent him from just taking off in a random direction, she would grab hold of his hand and keep him in a tight orbit.
Once Aracely had calmed down a bit, we walked through some alleyways and stopped at a small shop to buy some fresh bread. We then continued down to the property where Paulina's family lives. We saw Paulina's sister Olga and her kids Pamela, Juan Isidro (who has turned into a husky little boy) and cute little Alison Margarita, who kept her wide expressive eyes fixated on us, but was too scared to approach us.
Paulina's sister Estela was there with 7-month-old baby Michele, Loren, and Laisa. Estela's older son Boris made a brief appearance. We had not met him before. They got chairs for us and we sat together in the courtyard. It started to sprinkle rain, but we were under the trees and stayed dry.
Paulina and Humberto sat with Alison Margarita. Humberto tried to get her to sit next to us, but she was too shy. Olga said that Juan Isidro is now in preschool. Eddy is just a bit younger than him and will be starting preshool in September.
Pamela handed baby Michele to me. She's a very sweet baby and very alert and attentive, Because of some health problems she has suffered, she is very small. She looks almost like a newborn. I kept expecting her to have trouble with head and neck control, but she was on track developmentally.
Aracely showed Michele her baby doll and spoke to Michele in English, saying "hold it" and extending the doll to her. It was interesting to us that she was speaking in English to a baby who was only familiar with Spanish.
The kids played and the adults chatted. At around 7 o'clock we headed out. Olga made sure that all of the little kids gave us a goodbye hug, even if they were shy or scared (like Juan Isidro and Alison Margarita). Eddy fell asleep in Craig's arms as he carried him home. He let go of his Batman as we turned up the alley toward the house, and I recovered it.
As we arrived at the house, Humberto put Eddy right to bed. Yoselin and Yasmin were home, soon to be followed by Paola and Vanesa. The latter two had been at school when we had given the diaries to the younger girls. Aracely was excited and wanted to be the one to give them their gifts. We at least got to see her give it to Paola, but she gave Vanesa hers in her bedroom when we weren't even around.
We gathered at the dining room table for a tasty dinner of chicken vegetable noodle soup and rosa jamaica tea. It started pouring (it had been sprinkling since we were at Estela and Olga's) .
Yoselin fell asleep as soon as she finished eating. Aracely, Vanesa, and Paulina got their sweaters on and were obviously heading out to the store after 9 pm. Craig said there's no way they should go out in the stormy weather just to get Gatorade for us. Humberto insisted that they needed to go out anyway to buy milk for Aracely and Eddy. Aracely chimed right in, saying "I like milk" in English as if on cue. It was priceless.
They came back from the store with our Gatorade and a container of milk for Aracely and Eddy. Aracely passed out cardamom mints by walking by and nonchalantly placing them on our laps. Paola was doing her homework. Eddy woke up from a sound sleep, yelled the Spanish equivalent of "Shut Up!", and then fell back asleep again. We all had quite a laugh at this. We retired to the room at around 10-ish. I wrote in the journal and went to sleep at 10:50.
Eddy holds a pitaya at the market
Aracely and Yasmin with their diaries
Aracely and Steph
Aracely and Humberto playing soccer
Eddy takes a break
Estela and baby Michele
Loren, Olga, Estela, Michele, Juan Isidro, Laisa, Eddy, and Aracely
Dinner: Craig, Vanesa, Humberto, Paola, Paulina, Yoselin, Yasmin, Aracely