The New Year has begun – it’s the 9th day of January and already, the days are filling up!  December’s end was delightful – we spent Christmas day at a brunch hosted by Jane & Thom Golden.  We met more American friends and enjoyed the most delicious food! 

Christmas evening was enjoyed with our dear friends, Jack & Claudia Johansen (our neighbors too).   They hosted Christmas dinner inviting a number of American friends as well as our beloved Cuencanan family, the Heredias. 

We had a delicious array of food cooked by Claudia and Sue mostly.  Claudia’s famous now for getting a large turkey in her small oven – the bird didn’t know it was shoved in that oven but the way it turned out, well it was just like home cookin’!  And Claudia is also famous for making a cheesecake with a vegetable (forgot the name) a lot like squash.  Same for our friend, Rachel Miller, who made pumpkin pie without the pumpkin and with this vegetable!  Was it good?  Absolutely.  It was delicious!  Again, tasted just like home!

Sue’s favorite to cook though for the Christmas dinner, was a sweet potato souffle.  The funny part is that the sweet potatoes are purple!  Who’s gonna eat that?  Yet it tastes exactly like the sweet potatoes from USA – just purple in color!  So below is a picture – you just have to see it.

Being a part of the Cuenca tradition on New Years Eve was well, “a hoot!”  We were invited to participate in the traditional “doll burning” with Alfredo, Leonor, Sarah, Ruben, and Mateo as well as our neighbor friends, Jack & Claudia! 

Below are pictures to substantiate we did indeed, burn the old year!  Of course no one volunteered to represent the doll!  BUT there was a contest held at the end – whoever had the funniest routine of some kind of humor won the mask that the doll wore.  We also lit sparklers as our “fireworks” for the evening.  The picture at the end will tell who won that contest!

Very briefly, here’s the tradition:  dolls are sold all over the city.  Many purchase a doll and name the doll a particular person as a joke.  Some make statements of things done through the year they want to forget or tease that person about.  Others just get the doll representing the old year – of things they want to forget moving onto the new year.  Nonetheless, the traditional holds that late New Years Eve, people burn their dolls, lots of firecrackers – you name it.  It’s not New York Times Square yet it is nonetheless, a big celebration for Cuenca.

As we move onto in the new year, as stated, the days are filling up meeting more people, looking for a more permanent place to live (all last week!), and getting the daily routine down.  Most of all, learning more Spanish! 

We also are starting our Bible Study on Thursday, January 13, 2011, 7:00 p.m. at Unsion Television Station, downtown Cuenca.  Thanks to Bill McDonald, CEO of Unsion, we have this wonderful opportunity.  We hope to have a roomful of Cuencanans and Americans (both have planned to come) and share the excitement of learning more of God’s great love and mercies together, as well as demonstrating His great love to one another!

Enjoy the pictures!

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