Wednesday, July 9, 2008

la última semana

Thank you all for your sweet comments earlier! I'm feeling back to my normal self again and I really owe my return to optimism to your collaborative encouragement. I cannot thank you enough! 
This week was has been super busy! My family is getting really sentimental about me leaving so we're spending a lot of time with extended family, I've been slaving away with my 501 Spanish Verbs ;) to prepare for my exams and final projects, and finally in my spare time, haha, I've been trying to enjoy Cuenca with my friends (trips to museums, restaurants, general hanging out, and what not.)
These are 2 candies my host sister insisted that I try today, Cocita y Cheez, respectively. They second one is named for it's appearance, haha, I love Spanglish. They were both very sweet and since I'm lacking a true sweet tooth I only nibbled a bit. Didn't want to miss out though! Lunch was... bright apparently? 2 small pieces of chicken, mixed vegetable filled avocados and rice. It may not look like much but "mi abuela" is an amazing cook! The extended family got together for lunch at her house since one of my "cousins" is moving to Canada soon. Before the main plate we had a beef-based broth soup with potatoes, carrots, cilantro, yuca, etc. To tell you the truth I didn't even recognize half the things in there although I cannot rave enough about it! I had 2 large bowls, which would explain the fact that I couldn't finish my rice or chicken afterwards! This was my first meal with meat in quite some time. I'm glad I was able to enjoy it with such nice company. Oh and here's Tuesday's lunch! My host mom made a Spinach & Potato soup and a large bean and vegetable salad for me. I have not felt more satisfied, not uncomfortably full, and fueled with such nutritionally whole foods in a long time! I am so lucky that my "mom" has become aware health-conscious eating habits and cares enough to help serve me so. I hope my Chilean Mom is as considerate! And how could I forget about my favorite part of the meal? Plantains! I hardly ever have it and it was the perfect sweet fix. Yummmy! Monday night's dinner was eaten out at a restaurant that my friend's and I have been dying to try. I was disappointed that my appetite wasn't large enough for me to try more but that was certainly swept away with best bowl of Locro de Papa soup yet! This is it's third appearance, I just can't get enough! I'll be missing this Ecuadorian specialty soon :(.  Lunch that day was also eaten out. I lost track of time studying and before I knew it I only had an hour until my class and I was nowhere near home... what's a girl to do?! Go 'round the corner to Govinda's Restaurante Vegetariano, of course! This time I ordered the Menu del Dia which began with a savory Lentil & Corn soup.
Followed by Vegetables and Rice. I know, I know, it doesn't sounds, or even look, as good as I'm about to tell you it was, but really, it was! The combination of flavors from the spices was just incredible. This meal practically made my day! I wish I could bring this place with me everywhere. Speaking of, allow me enlighten you on my fun-packed next two weeks as I'm on the move :). Friday we have our goodbye dinner at a nice restaurant downtown. Our entire families are invited and there'll be speeches, a slideshow, and tears. The last part is obviously not planned but I know how sentimental I am, it's just expected. Saturday evening we depart Cuenca and return to our original city, Quito for the weekend. We're visiting the biggest market in Ecuador where I'm planning on buying the majority of my souvenirs and then drive to Otavalo for our final city tour. The big day is Monday, at which point we will say our farewell to this wonderfully accommodating country and head to our second destination, Santiago de Chile. Not for long though! We only have enough time to meet our host families, have dinner with them, drop off our bags and then we'll make our way over to Buenos Aires. We have about a week planned in Argentina and another few days in Montevideo, Uruguay. This trip will be the required field study section of our Contemporary Issues of Latin America class with Syracuse. Finally, at the end of the month we will return to Chile where we can finally settle down, attend our orientation, and actually begin our classes. Who's excited? I know I am!

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