I realize most of you reading this have not even made it through Thanksgiving yet, but for this transplanted Texas girl who suddenly finds herself in a tropical climate surrounded by friends from Ethiopia, Switzerland and Canada (not to mention Ecuador), Thanksgiving is pretty much a goner this year (although I truly spend every day being thankful). But just like in the U.S. and so many other places around the world, here all you have to do is walk into a store to realize Christmas is near. So one of the things on my shopping list that I asked Bill & Elaine to look for yesterday in their trip with Mesfin to Jipijapa (while I spent time with Geoff & Jamie) was a small Christmas tree. Elaine found one for them a few days before, but yesterday she came home with an even better deal for me – a table top tree with lights and some gold ornaments included for $9.99! However, for this sentimental girl, the ornaments were not needed. One of the things that was packed nicely in a small box that fit in one of my luggage bags was an amalgam of my favorite Christmas ornaments. Those of you who have been to my house at Christmas time know that in addition to my big tree, I had several small theme trees – Texas, Cats, Winnie the Pooh and a “Swedish” tree (that my mom had since I was a child). So when I dismantled last year’s decorations knowing this year I would be on the other side of the Equator, I kept my favorite ornaments from all these trees, as well as some special ones from recent years and my childhood (including some I made as a little girl). Of course, I just couldn’t wait to pull out everything and see how it would look – pretty nifty, don’t you think? I even found a spot to hang my and Charcoal’s stockings – so do you think Santa can find us in Ecuador?