Monday, January 11, 2016 - Visiting the kids' school, an evening walk to the lake

Soon after waking up, I logged into my computer to see the news that David Bowie had passed away. I saw his name in the trending news, and thought for sure he must have broken some record with the release of his new album Blackstar 3 days ago, on his 69th birthday. I audibly gasped when I saw the true nature of the story. I learned that he had been fighting cancer for 18 months while out of the public eye, and had known that it was terminal for the past few months. Suddenly the enigmatic imagery in the Blackstar video which had captivated us so much came into focus. As the Guardian said, even Bowie's death was a work of art.

We were jolted back to the present from our semi-shocked state as Aracely and Eddy stopped in to say goodbye before school. For breakfast we had fried eggs, salsa, black beans, bananas, and watermelon. I worked in the morning, and Craig played with baby Ian in our room. Paulina then collected Ian and brought Aracely and Eddy's lunch to their school.

I had a meeting during lunchtime, and the girls delivered me a bowl of homemade shrimp ceviche with saltines and tortillas. It was so delicious - the first time they have made ceviche for us.

Following my afternoon meetings, Craig and I walked over to Aracely and Eddy's school to meet the director, Mark. Usually we come in July when school is not in session. We had met the previous director, but not the current one. He invited us for a meeting and it was nice to get to talk to him about the kids' education. We talked about strategies to ensure their success.

School just ended when our meeting got out, so we walked Aracely and Eddy home from school and then helped with their homework. Eddy had to put the proper verb into a sentence. Aracely had to create a travel brochure. As coincidence would have it, she was assigned Ecuador as her destination.

We were able to talk with her about it, and she decided to feature the Galapagos. She picked out some of our travel photos and we went to an internet cafe to print them out. (On the way home we bought frozen chocolate covered bananas for Aracely and Eddy as a reward for doing their homework right away). Once we got home, Aracely spent several hours putting the brochure together and decorating it. We are very proud of her for doing such good work. Her dad will want to hire her to do the marketing for his tourism agency some day!

While Eddy was playing on the computer in our room, his front tooth fell out. Now he has no front teeth. He is growing up so fast.

Paola invited us to go for a walk to the lake with her and Jeremias. Aracely, Eddy, Yasmin, and Yoselin also joined us. Even though it is only a few blocks from the house, it was the only time we have seen the lake on this trip, since we have been so busy with work, the party, etc. We walked out onto a wooden dock and gazed at the lights of the villages across the lake. It was beautiful, and we had a lot of fun.

Paola and Jeremias were great with Craig, helping him to walk on the uneven surfaces of the dock, giving him their arm when he needed to climb up onto a curb, etc. And they always checked in with him to see if he was feeling too tired to walk further. We really appreciate their concern and kindness, and the fact that they invited us to join them. They make a lovely couple.

Then we walked up Calle Santander. We stopped in a shop where we bought a postcard to send to along lost friend whose whereabouts we had just discovered, and a small ceramic pink sugar skull for me.

On the walk back to the house, we bought everyone prepackaged ice cream sundaes, including one for Vanesa (who was at home babysitting Ian) and one each for Paulina and Humberto. Jeremias had initially hung back, not expecting us to buy one for him. But of course we insisted. He's a very nice young man.

We didn't get home until 9:45. We had a light dinner (hard tacos topped with black beans and a canned tuna/vegetable mixture) and watched a slideshow of photos from the party.

It's hard to believe that tomorrow is our last full day here. It has gone by so quickly. This is truly another home for us. The kids are all wonderful and we love them like our own!

We went back to our room, and reflected on the passing of David Bowie. Lots of wonderful tributes were starting to show up on Facebook and around the web. We watched Rick Wakeman's performance of "Life on Mars?" for BBC 2. He was the pianist on the album recording, and performed it in memory of Bowie. It was very moving. We knew that we should go to bed, but we just couldn't. We were shocked by Bowie's death, and couldn't tear ourselves away from his work to go to bed until 1:00 a.m.
Aracely's homework: a travel brochure for EcuadorAracely's homework: a travel brochure for Ecuador

Craig, Steph, Yoselin, Jeremias, Paola, Eddy, and Aracely

Craig, Steph, Yoselin, Jeremias, Paola, Eddy, and Aracely

Jeremias and Paola

Jeremias and Paola

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