Today, October 7th 2012, I ate guinea pig (cuy) for the first time. I feel that now it is officially necessary for me to commence my blogging adventures yet again. Even though I've been in Ecuador for a month, it has been a time of transitioning on my end -- not at all in the cultural sense, seeing as the Latin culture is my second home, yet more in the sense of figuring out my schedule at the CEDEI English Institute and my social life here in Cuenca. After two years of lacking a social life in graduate school, I feel as though I am trying to compensate within one month's time: explored Cajas National Park, bathed in a well-known Thermal Springs, eaten at a good variety of restaurants (including fresh seafood), and am slowly getting to know more and more of this city of almost 500,000 people. So, are you ready to travel the world yet again with me? ¡Vamos!
For those who are wondering, guinea pig does not taste like chicken. I will have you know that not everything under the sun on God's green earth tastes like chicken. I only had two very small bites because I still am not sure how my stomach will handle the new meat source, slightly greasy for my tastes. Hey, but at least I can say I tried it. :)
The Andes Mountains are breathtaking today, with the fog slowly rolling down from the heavens to the town itself. Oh my. Pinch me.
Yet another adventure was coming home from church this morning to find this beautiful tarantula you see in the picture. She was just a wee lass though. When I was kid, Papa Dudley introduced me to tarantulas; actually we had two of them that would crawl all over me and probably double the size of this one shown. Some of the grandchildren of the house where I'm staying were playing with her and making all sorts of scared noises as they tried to pick her up. They put her really close to my face, thinking I would be scared or disgusted, and I just picked her up and let her crawl all over me. Needless to say, I think I left the kids without words, absolutely speechless. La gringa loca strikes again.
http://www.verbocuenca.org/index.php) that interested me the most -- merely based on my investigations from the USA home base -- and honestly, I think it might be my home church during my ten months here. Love the P&W, the ministry opportunities are out-of-this-world (e.g., orphanage), and the people seem genuine and warm. I will continue to pray about it, but it was such a precious time to worship with my brothers and sisters here in Cuenca, Ecuador. FUNNY STORY: I went with a fellow teacher from the CEDEI today to service, and after the worship time, the pastor asked the visitors to raise their hands so that they could give us a small gift. Well, Tracey and I were like, "Meeeeh, we'll just stay under the rader this time around." Then we saw the GIFT. A freshly picked red rose (shown in the picture). We looked at each other, and at the same time, mouthed "ROSE." We raised our hands immediately. And then we giggled to ourselves for the next five minutes. Flowers, yes please.
I am still trying to get the hang of cooking here -- due to my working schedule, the new METHODS of cooking (sometimes taking twice as long) and just the new variety of ingredients available (and some not available like in the USA). Whew, it's all a process but well worth it. However, I have already made an asparagus and pumpkin soup, both of which I learned here in the past month. Also, this week, I am going to attempt some delicious croquettes, another Cuencano dish and maybe the famous "locro soup" of the region (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Locro). My favorite fruit so far here, that is not available in the USA is called "granadilla" -- gross looking, best tasting ever. Guaranteed. Hopefully, my cooking skills and cuisine knowledge will expand during my time here in South America. That is the goal at least.
Well, dear reader, I really must start planning my lessons for tomorrow and this week. My supervisors sometime this week or next will be observing me (unannounced). Feel free to follow me on this blog, especially seeing as I still have nine months of South American adventures awaiting me! Blessing after blessing. For reals.