Thursday, December 29, 2016

Big God

To be quite honost Mike and I have had some rough patches this year, someone recently came into our lives and helped us realize what was missing. God. We have not had a church home for many years, the 2 1/2 years we have been in Ecuador are no different, so it stands to reason we have been without any  "spiritual guidance". Our church/religion/faith has changed a LOT since our early married days, and now our "church" is Ecuador, and our "faith" is being restored in people by their Love. (religion, we learned is a dirty word)

Something we decided we could do to help our neighbors, was to pray over their neighborhoods. We like to walk anyway, why not silently pray as we walk, letting God dictate the words and blessings over the houses as we go. Yesterday was our first "prayer walk".  

(Praying over our "old" neighborhood)

It started out with wanting to see the Romero's new Miduvi house, we took Pan de Pasqua (think fruit cake, but better) a clay nativity figure Mike and I made, and a sign for the new house. My new saying, "que dios te bendiga" May God bless you. We took extra pan de pasqua, and gave them as we felt "led". I promise I wont get "preachy", may never mention God again, just needing to tell the whole story.

( 2bed, bath, kitchen, living room. Have to ask if plumbing is extra.)

Another idea we have is to help beautify our city. We will ask other gringos to donate to the cause...and buy paint. With so many new houses going up, they kinda make the old ones, well...look old. But a gallon of paint, even at $6 is still a very frivolous expense, so after the new year, I'll put it put there and see if we cant get the town painted and pretty by Carnivale. Because February is ...right around the corner! Urgh! Where do the days go??? 

(Wonder if the tent will become "guest quarters")

I know many of the children will help, heck I can ask the girls who I have coming for English class this morning. This is their second lesson, and since adults saw it on Facebook, I have several who want lessons after new years too. So...stay tuned, the adventure continues.

Monday, December 26, 2016

Ecuador Christmas

Christmas is a much smaller holiday here, than in the US. The kids get a parade and festival, with each school age child getting a ticket for free popcorn/cotton candy and a balloon animal. That was last week in the center of town.

These boys loved Nexars moto.

 During the week there were numerous pageants at the schools, and cute pictures showed up on Facebook. 

Domenica and snowmen friends.

The skinniest Santa

Like wrangling cats, lol

We had Santa come early, saturday afternoon, as we were getting ready to leave for the pool, the girls I taught english to, came and dropped off pretty wrapped boxes for under our tree. The boxes are empty, but a cute gesture.

Again this year we spent Christmas poolside, Kimberly at The Cottages catered a dinner for the guests and a few friends and we had a wonderful day. 

On our way home, we saw many of our fishermen having fun in Centro, so we put away our sunglasses and wet bathing suits, and joined them for a while. It turned out to be a much later night, than we had aticipated, and being old...well yesterday was a whole lot of relaxing. 

The smell of fresh bread is wafting thru the walls, and Mike has made me coffee. Life is good, and another year is getting ready to wrap up, who knows what 2017 has in store for us! Good or bad, stay tuned...the adventure continues.

Friday, December 23, 2016

Look inside

We are slowly getting "establa", or established. The one down side of living next to Nexar...the SMELL! He bakes bread and cake ALL DAY! Its a good thing weve lost weight, since we may get fat living here.

Repurposed fence from old house. Tried to hide my wood stash, and paint pretty for neighbors.

For all intents and purposes our "apartment" is a garage. At least two cars can fit in its length. The only openings are the big roll up door, and a small glass block window in the kitchen, plus the door to the courtyard. It has proven to be cool, unless we have the roll up door open. Plenty of breeze, actually sometimes wind tunnel like, and we need to close one door.



The bedroom still has no direction, slower progression, since all we do there is sleep. Id like to get a mosquito net in Charapoto, as much for decoration, as utility (we are going into the season). Getting shelves put in the closet, and need something for the bathroom. Medicine cabinet, or some shelves for toiletrees and towels.

Ive got the kitchen sorted, but really need some kind of pantry. We live differently here than the States, our pantry isnt where we go "shop", I may have an extra of somthing, but I don't  have cans and cans of things we  never eat. Since I never replaced kitchen items lost in the container, I dont need near as much kitchen storage, but a little would be nice. A while back, Manuel made us a banquette bench, we are toying with the idea of putting it on legs upright and adding shelves. Next time we have Javier over, we will pitch the idea, and get his thoughts. It is full of fabric at the moment, and clothing I want to remake, of these days.

Another week has come and gone, and with it another month! Where has the month gone? Most people here are looking forward to a better 2017, I guess I'll say I'm one of them, tho even with the earthquake, and many ups and downs, I still say 2016 was a great year. We are making plans for the weekend Christmas festivites, dinner with Nexar and family, and pool party at The Cottages with Kimberly. So, stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Tuesday, December 20, 2016

Casa Nueva

When we look at a place to live, very often the most important thing is location. Everything else is cosmetics, and we have made many a silk purse out of sow's ears. I remember when Nexar first showed me this apartment the biggest downside was that it was under a LOT of concrete...but Mike said if another earthquake hit...bring it on, he wasnt living in fear. 

(Nexars chicken, lives upstairs now, Maria must have said No)

Since we spend so much time outside, it made sense to get the yard space pretty first, so that is where we will start. I will do another post soon on the state of affairs inside. First job for Javier was to undo the shade structure, he took half of it to the new courtyard, we asked Vecino if he wanted a small shade for his house, and he said no, so Javier took the leftover material home to his house. Next was taking down the fence at the old house, we weren't sure we would take it, but decided it was alot of wood. The guys made a fence in the front of the  "house" to keep chihuahuas from running in the street, and with the rest Javier made me raised plant beds.

He brought us bags of dirt, a new banana plant, and a small coco palm. Mike started painting a mural, so we waited a couple days to plant. I didnt want him to have to tiptoe thru the flower bed to get his mural finished. I thought we had a lot of potted plants at the other place, but seeing them here I realized not a lot liked the other location, a trip to the "plant store" was needed!

We got some Christmas money (thanks Mom) and headed to Sosote on the bus. We had quite a list, but knew things were very cheap, and a little goes a long way. The family remembered us, and were, as always very willing to answer questions, make suggestions and make deals. We asked for delivery, for us as well, if possible, and it was done. All it took was a phonecall and her son with a truck would be there shortly, now all we had to do was shop.   We went slightly crazy, spent more then ever before, but the results are stunning! We are far enough from the salty sea, that hopefully everything does well. We need some more planters, and pots for the house. The palm trees can be seperated, and we will have nice size houseplants.

More paintings, decorations and little by little this courtyard area will a wonderful secret garden in the middle of town. The breeze is just enough, not like the unrelenting wind at the beach house, looking forward to many a hot day or cool night sitting under our shade structure. Back to working inside, need to get some more organization, then it will be ready for pictures, so...stay tuned, the adventure continues!

Saturday, December 17, 2016


It seems it has been a very long time since I posted, it has...sorry Things have been crazy roller coaster, lets see...where to begin.

The power went out, they were doing maintenance and it was out for much of the day two days in a row, well when the town's power came back, ours did not. We tried to call Rico the electrician, but he told us he had a hurt foot, and to have Joffre call someone else. So we asked Joffre, and he didnt find anyone. So we went without power for two more days. This meant poor Vecino was without power too. By this time it was the first, and we started moving into the new apartment, but the new landlord Rodolfo was making more and more repairs. This meant it wasnt quite ready to live in, no shower, no mattress, and we still needed the kitchen from upstairs, so we would move things and hang in town until bedtime, and go back to the beach house to sleep.

We finally got a mattress, and used the outdoor shower, we got the stovetop and a fridge. The landlord now wanted a deposit, saying he had made all these repairs...ones we didnt ask for! But the place is beautiful, and all the repairs will get done, eventually. We pay $100 for the apartment and $30 for water, power, internet and Directv (spanish only). We signed a year lease, our life in El Centro has begun. Perry and the chihuahuas like the new place, and we already are enjoying our new neighbors.

Another reason for my delay in posting is my ipad died. It had been ill for some time, but as with anything you've had a long time, its sad when its gone. It took several days for Mike to get the blogger app on his ipad, and then several more days for me to formulate sentences. Moving is hard. Our brains were toast. We had a helper, Javier, he was recommended by Nexar. Very helpful, and was easy for Mike to talk to, he took down our roof structure, and fence. Rebuilt the shade, Helped build a new fence here, and repurposed old fence boards into flower beds. For $20 a day, he would do whatever we asked, strong too! I wish we had pictures of him carrying furniture on his back!

We finally got all the stuff from the other house, and have cleaned it inside and out. It is certainly a different place without the shade, fence and all our decorations. We enjoyed living there for the two years we did, i already miss the ocean, but as Mike said last night, we can still see it from our "front door". One more quick thing, our new street dog...the one who it turns out is house trained! Well, hes afraid of the dark, so after many nights of being awoken by his crying, last night we left on a nightlight, haha and he slept thru the night. Too funny!

More to come, the place is still a wreck. We are going to buy plants this morning in Sosote, and then this afternoon is the childrens nativity celebration, guess where...right out front! So, stay tuned...the adventure continues.

Saturday, November 26, 2016

Pros and Cons

Our first house here, living on the Malecon was dirty, we were surprised to find moving to this house
It was less dirty. It seems the road caused a lot of the dirt at that first house, here we found the salty grime takes a minute to hold on, but when it does...the Windows need washed within a couple days, the screens on the window also need attention.

With the addition of the shade structure came algae. Because the shells and wood items are never in sunlight, the green mossy algae grows. Where as things in full sun are bleached and bone dry. The shade structure is also dirty, but not as dirty as bird shit on your clean laundry, or freshly made couch cushions. (If we had wanted to spend more money, our shade could have been better)

We never knew much about ocean tides before it directly effected our lives. We don't necessarily feel MUCH smarter, but a little. The fishermen taught us much, about the ocean and tribal living. We call them tribes of fishermen, because by this time, there are multiple branches of a family tree involved. It's not just the Romero family, because uncle Raphael and Ramon are not Romero, but related to Fernando's mother Lola. I will miss hearing them laugh out front every morning, Laureano actually lives behind the new apartment, so maybe I can still hear him laugh, he is the one I called Giggles before I knew his name. Such good people, so thankful we were able to live here and build these relationships for the past two years. 

Tourists are on the pro and con column. We actually really like that people are able to come spend a weekend at the beach. It only effects us adversely by more noise, and possible power outages because of hinky connections for temporary use. But for the most part we love to see people enjoying what we know is so special. Birds are the same, they can make a mess, but I love watching them fly over, and play on the breeze.

The noisy neighbor...we actually FEEL the ocean crashing as well as hear it. That rumble is an angry feeling, and I won't miss that, but the sound can be soothing. But it is constant, never quiet, and that too can get "jangly". It's an energy, a force to be reckoned with, luckily it didn't happen often, but you've all witnessed our struggle. The sand being moved, back and forth reeks havoc, and traps water at times leaving us lakefront. The sand is also always in the house, this would be less if we didn't have the pets. They are not as good about wiping their feet as we are, but all that wonderful ocean breeze brings in the sand too.

The salt is another I knew something about, but not near the extent of its damaging effects. My mom brought cheap "gold" metal bells, they were corroded in 24 hrs. Completely eaten within 6 months. Nails, thumbtacks, eye hooks, staples forget about it, VERY temporary fix here. The plants, gosh how many plants have croaked since I brought them here. I finally realized the more tender the leaf, the less it will like the salt and wind. For instance, morning glory no...pothos, yes. The pothos leaf is much more like leather, than the tender leaf of the morning glory. I also learned about potted plants, things that should readily reseed themselves, don't get the chance, because the blooms blow off in the wind, instead of landing in the pot of dirt.

On the Pro column of course are the views, stunning sunsets and quick access to walk the beach at anytime. The fishermen neighbors, their nice hellos and good mornings, their gifts and acceptance have warmed our hearts. We have never seen so many Pelicans, there were times we sat out at sunset and counted them flying over, into the hundreds before we lost count! Amazing!

We are very much looking forward to our next chapter, town living, but we will miss this house and the pros AND cons of living here. Hope you have enjoyed the past two years worth of stories and happenings, and will join us in our next adventure. Stay tuned, the adventure continues!