November was a good month and seemed to pass very quickly.
Saturday the 7th I celebrated a friend, Paulina’s, birthday with her and her family (the Martinez'...the family I always talk about, with whom I’m very close) during the day.
(L to R: Ramiro, me, Chelita, Moshe, Mayra, and Paulina)
They always joke that her daughter looks like my kid and so we took some photos which were meant to be a (albeit cruel) joke on my parents.
(SURPRISE! I had a kid and you didn't know. Isn't that HILARIOUS???)
At night my host mom and some of my other (shall we say more mature?) friends surprised me with a party in one of the town’s clubs, cake and all! It was touching that they would do this for me considering that I don’t think they’ve ever gone to either one of the clubs and it was clearly outside of the social norm for them. We had a great time though…
(This, ladies and gentlemen, is what SCANDAL looks like...)
Sunday three of my coworkers invited me to some beer to continue the celebration, and I convinced them that we should hold the celebration at the weekly soccer games, which is where I spend my Sundays anyway. Monday, my actual birthday, the Martinez family invited me to a birthday lunch at their house and in the afternoon all of my coworkers closed the celebration with cake, singing, etc.
Three days of celebrations all planned by friends here…the people are unbelievably warm and generous, I can’t remember ever feeling so loved, and so unexpectedly so.
Mid-month I started a World Map project with the kids in Cabeza de Toro. The project is to paint a world map on a wall or a bball court, etc. and integrate geography education.
(So far, we've just traced it.)
Other work projects this month included organizing a group of kids interested in environmental issues and giving them some workshops on solid waste management and, in my spare time, helping out a youth service group (JuventudeZapotillo) that formed here years ago but has recently been inactive.
…and then I went to Quito for Thanksgiving and a little getaway...
(From the Camilo Egas Museum...he was an Ecuadorian "indigenist"/ expressionist/ surrealist/ cubist/abstract painter.)
(A sculpture by Ecuadorian Manuel Chili at the Franciscan Museum "Fray Pedro Gocial.")
Photos from an exhibit by André Cypriano about the Quilombola culture.
The Basilica del Voto Nacional...I climbed up the tower on the far left. For those who worry about me, it was no real risk but for those who like to hear adventurous stories, I suggest you read the Lonely Planet description of the ascent.
Photos from an interesting exhibit where 10 ordinary Quiteños shot their own unique views of the city in celebration of its anniversary.
Embassy-hosted Thanksgiving. The people, the setting, the food; it was all awesome.
Alright, folks, that's all for now. Take care, I love and miss you all a ton! Abrazotes,