Lynsey and I made it back to Cuenca from our whirlwind vacation just in time for the new year. As our bus descended from El Cajas and into the outskirts of the city both she and I shared the feeling that it was good to be home. Our trip took us to remote indigenous villages, coastal fishing towns, and everything in between, but maybe it took seeing all that to realize that Cuenca has a special combination of elements that make it very livable for us. The city has it's faults, undoubtedly, but for this moment we both agreed that there wasn't another place in Ecuador we'd rather call home.
We are thankful for old friends
and new amigos,
for comfortable places
and exciting new ones,
for loving families who support us
regardless of country or continent,
and for the good fortune
that has brought us
and sustained us
where we are.
-- Lynsey + Josh --
*turkey designed by Lynsey*
Thanksgiving abroad can be a bittersweet event. Of course, no one here celebrates this holiday, so you just do your best to explain the connections between Pilgrims, turkey, football, and overeating. Polite Ecuadorians smile and say it sounds nice, though I'm not sure how much of the essence our explanations capture. However, the one part universally understood was family. Families here are generally very tight-knit inter-connected units that influence every facet of life. Our students were able to empathize fully when we commented that the hardest part of Thanksgiving was being so far from families and friends. They got that, and probably most wondered if or why they would ever live outside of Cuenca - so far from everything and everyone they've ever known. Lynsey and I also ponder that question from time to time, but knowing that it comes inherently with living abroad . Despite the dull bitterness of missing loved ones, we do want to share some tidbits from Cuenca that we're certainly happy (and thankful) for - here they are:
To help our globe-traveling friends and family plan potential visits of their own, Lynsey and I put our calendar together here along with some of the highlight holidays to look forward to in Cuenca.
Our teaching contract at CEDEI lasts from September 24, 2012 to June 14, 2013. The typical work week looks like M-F (and possibly Saturday), and teaching about half the day (either mornings or evenings). That means that we'll be able to hang out with potential visitors even during a teaching week! Below you'll see a list of the extra days off along with some of the cultural celebrations that correspond. Please understand that "nos casa es su casa" when it comes to our Cuenca casa.
See the "Home" page for a live Google calendar of days off, events, and visitors!
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