As I’m sure is the case for many of you, my holidays are kind of a blur at this point. I wanted to write something before now, but several things precluded me from doing so. However, I wanted to at least do a brief recap of my holidays before much more time goes by.
Christmas Eve, my best friend here, Elaine, hosted her 3rd annual “come one, come all” pool party out at their development. Our local ex-pat community is no longer the small little group we once were, so this is her answer to hosting all who want to, to gather in one spot for Christmas. She sets up tables and decorations, and everyone brings an appetizer to share. And of course, we are just at the beginning of our summer season, so we swim – just because we can! 😜 It was a good turnout this year and a good time was had by all:
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Christmas Day, Elaine and I had roped our friend Rick into hosting us at his house. We had said we’d cover all the cooking, but Rick wanted to make his first turkey. And of course since it was at his house, he extended the invitation out to several more of his friends (which are friends of ours too). But then the power went out at midnight Christmas morning at their development! So true to life in Ecuador, Rick came up with Plan B and put the turkey in his neighbor’s gas barbecue grill (good thing he’d invited the neighbor to the party 😂). Then an hour later, the power back came on. He proceeded to transfer it (rather precariously) into the oven. Then an hour later, the power went back off, so he again put it back in the barbecue. I rode out there with our friends Rick (another one) and Veronica. Rick #2 is a professional chef, and they are soon to open a restaurant here (we are all very excited!). At first he wasn’t so sure about this barbecue turkey idea, but when he saw it and later carved and tasted it, he (and we) all agreed it was one of the best turkeys we’d eaten! So despite no power all day until just about the time we were finished eating dinner, it made no difference to our group of around 14 people. For roughly 6 hours we visited, laughed, swam and ate a lot of fabulous food (everyone brought at least one dish). Plus it was a real “coming of age” time for Rick – hosting his first Christmas gathering, cooking his first turkey, and after two years of living here, not coming unglued by a power outage (did I happen to mention his entire working career in Canada was for the power company? 😂).
New Year’s Eve we again followed our tradition of going into town for the village festivities. We started with dinner on the beach, followed by our “friend crawl” of walking through town and stopping at the homes of some of our friends to visit. We then went to the big dance area, to enjoy a little pre-midnight salsa. And finally, we burned our purchased effigy/viejo dolls in the street, along with all the rest of the local families. Our taxi retrieved us at 1:00 a.m., with all the rest of the village just getting going. New Year’s is one of the biggest holidays in Ecuador and the party lasts until around 5:00 a.m.!
Unfortunately, the week in between these two holidays ended up being rather intense. Very long story short, my dear friend, Fatima, (mentioned recently in this post and many others), suffered what we later learned was a ruptured brain aneurysm on Christmas Day (although none of us knew it at the time). They were preparing to come to our gathering when it happened. Her husband took her to the hospital, but she was misdiagnosed and sent home. It wasn’t until the next day that she fell unconscious and was taken back to the hospital. By the time they diagnosed her and did surgery, it was nearly 48 hours from the event. It was a very rough and scary week for all of us who love her. Not until we finally got word the day before New Year’s Eve that she was awake and talking, could we give a collective exhale and hallelujah! She is still in the hospital recovering and it will be a while before she is back to “business as usual,” but thanks to a LOT of prayers, at this point she’s doing amazingly well. She, her family and I would very much appreciate your continued prayers for a speedy and complete recovery.
So that’s a wrap up of my holidays – but stay tuned for a report of my next adventures. 😉