First Christmas in Ecuador

Many of you have expressed concern that there would be some festivities for me to enjoy on my first Christmas in Ecuador – well, rest assured, it has been awesome!

Bill's awesome burger and fries!

Bill’s awesome burger and fries – I told him it was the best Christmas present he could give me!

It started out Monday evening (Christmas Eve eve) with a fun time learning and playing a new card game (31) with my friends Bill & Elaine and their friend who is visiting, Robert.  We were upstairs on Bill & Elaine’s balcony enjoying the cool, evening breeze and some Christmas tunes (Michael Buble being the favorite) on my iPod.  We didn’t even care that the power and internet were out!  Elaine and Robert had a bet going (25 cents) as to whether the power would come on before or after midnight, and thankfully Robert won!  It actually came on early enough for Bill to make us a spur of the moment dinner of hamburgers and fries (craving satisfied) – what an awesome way to kick off the festivities!

Then Tuesday I did something that I absolutely NEVER did or would do at home – go to the mall on Christmas Eve!  And yes, it was pretty much as crazy as it would have been back home!  But Mesfin was making a trip into Manta for some Christmas gatherings with friends, we wanted to show Manta to Robert and we each had several things we’d been needing to get, as well as a few last minute food staples for our meal, so we all piled in at 7:45 a.m. for the trek.  Mesfin graciously went to the mall so I could buy my first supply of cat litter at the store where I have found it the cheapest – yes, there is actually a grocery store in the mall!  Charcoal and I have been making it on what I brought with me, but that is about to come to an end and Mesfin was willing to take my new supply back with him in his car.  He was going to be staying overnight in Manta, so after the mall excursion we broke away from him and did some more shopping and had lunch.  Then we hauled the remainder of our purchases (including some additional groceries) in a cab to the bus station for the two hour bus ride home – whew!

My presents - Merry Christmas to me!

My presents – Merry Christmas to me!

However, it was my first time to go to the artisan market in Manta and I could not resist buying a beautiful, handmade “coat of many colors” for $20 – I don’t know when I’ll visit the weather to warrant wearing it, but I will certainly enjoy it when I do!  In addition, I purchased some handmade pants to go with my previously purchased top.  I also bought a long awaited beach umbrella and chair.  So here I am with all of my Christmas purchases for opposite seasons – do you detect a color theme?  Merry Christmas to me!

Treats and a Christmas mousey - it doesn't get any better than that for a kitty Christmas!

Treats and a Christmas mousey – it doesn’t get any better than that for a kitty Christmas!

Christmas day started out with a walk on the beach singing Christmas carols with my iPod – because I can! Other things I did to make the day special – burning a Christmas candle & putting cinnamon in my coffee – yum! And believe it or not, Santa found Charcoal in Ecuador! Just like all other children, she ate her treats and then played with her toy – for about 2 minutes – then she was bored and ready to get on to the next thing.

Christmas feast!

Christmas feast!

In the afternoon, Elaine and I got “dolled up” and she and Bill cooked a lovely meal of chicken (we mistook it for a turkey at purchase, but she cooked it like a turkey and you wouldn’t know it wasn’t), mashed potatoes, stuffing, gravy, veggies and two desserts and my contributions were deviled eggs, fruit salad and my famous artichoke dip – it was all muy yum!  The gathering included myself, Bill, Elaine, Robert and Mesfin.  After dinner we ended the evening with more fun card games.

My plate of food - this meal really sent me to my happy place!

My plate of food – this meal really sent me to my happy place!

Psalm 68:6 says, “God sets the lonely in families…” and He has certainly been faithful to do that for me here in Ecuador.  Although I have many wonderful Christmas memories from childhood on, many of the people I shared them with are no longer in my life, so I am very grateful for the new life God has given me and the opportunity to make new traditions and Christmas memories in Ecuador – I’m definitely off to a great start!

5 thoughts on “First Christmas in Ecuador

  1. Merry Christmas to you all – I was thinking of you on Christmas day Elaine and Bill and am glad to see you had a great time. All the best in 2014 – Love Don and Peggy

  2. Mary, I am thrilled that you had such a great Christmas. Love all the bright colors . We did too with the younger grandsons in Montana. Off to Denver next week. Lets find a time to FaceTime soon. Love you. Jean

  3. I remember your very first Christmas, at our house in Fort Worth, Texas! You were the sweetest baby and our big Christmas cousin present. Glad you’re happy! Your blog posts remind me of my time as a Peace Corps volunteer in the Caribbean. Sending love, Karla

    • Thanks, cousin Karla! I had so much fun looking through all those photos before I left and they are all packed in a suitcase and waiting for someone to come visit me and bring them! I could not have asked for a family to love and embrace me more than you all did – everyone has told me the same story of how excited you all were about my arrival! Thanks for reading my blog and I hope you are enjoying your knew assignment as well!

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