Saturday, January 2, 2010

Here's to 2010!

So, Wilson and I decided to write down our New Year's goals this year. (Okay, so actually I decided it, but he was very nice to go along with it. Ha!) We've been so blessed in our lives so far, and we really look forward to what God will do in us and with us this next year. We had the usual stuff about being healthier and working harder at our jobs/school. But what I found most interesting was that both of us wrote down that we would like to be a better spouse in the next year. However, if you ask either one of us, we'll quickly tell you about how wonderful our spouse is already. And I guess that's why--we always want to keep trying to be better and make the other one a little happier. We have spent so much time together here that most couples never get to have. When we used to live in Georgia, we were both always so busy, and the time we spent together was few and far between. And, we're both aware that soon we'll be in that place again as Wilson will start school in February. But, I cannot begin to tell you how much fun we've had together, just the two of us. I was kind of down a few days ago and was even crying. Wilson's not one to just hug me and tell me everything will be alright. Instead, next thing I know, Wilson has turned on a music DVD of ours and is serenading me with the BeeGee's "How Deep is Your Love" and then with my favorite Wilson ballad, "Lady in Red." Ha! As we sat and just sang cheesy 80's love songs together, I looked at Wilson and realized how happy I am with him, no matter where we are living. It's so much fun to get to be married to your best friend and hang out with him all the time! So, I look forward to how much we will continue to grow in our relationship during this next year. (And, hopefully I'll stick to that "cut down on the Cokes" resolution, too! Ha!)

Happy New Year!

So, I really enjoyed bringing in the New Year here in Ecuador! First, we went with Wilson's friend Jose and his family to the Malecon (which is kind of like the riverwalk) to watch the fireworks off the water. It was so nice--the weather was breezy, the fireworks were great, and the company was delightful! Jose's little girl is about 4 years old, so it just kind of made it a little more exciting and fun! (That's Jose's family in the photo.)

Then, we went to Wilson's dad's house for the rest of the evening. (Yes, another night that did not end until 6 the next morning--oh my!) There was no real countdown at midnight. We just took all the anos viejos statues to the middle of the street, stuffed them full of fireworks, poured some gasoline on them, and then lit them on fire. Then, once they were burning pretty well, everyone turned to each other to say Feliz Ano and give hugs and all. I had a great time looking at all the different fires down the streets. The rest of the night, we ate, sang, danced, and talked. I had also made a video of photos of the family, and I think everyone really enjoyed watching it. The kids played with all kinds of fireworks--sparklers, bottle rockets, etc. And, we just had a really great time! So, here's to a fabulous 2010!!!

Anos Viejos

Ecuador has a really cool tradition for New Year's. They make or buy these paper mache statues and then burn them at midnight on New Year's Eve. Crazy, right?! But these statues are called anos viejos, which means "old years". The idea is that they burn the past or the old year and start fresh for the new year. I kind of like that. I mean, the thought of a lot of intoxicated Ecuadorians lighting stuff on fire at midnight makes me a little nervous, but the idea really is nice! Ha!

But what I really liked was looking at all of these statues all over the city. You can find almost any cartoon character you'd like in all different sizes. In fact, some people make these really huge ones and we got to ride around and take photos of them. Some were bigger than a 3 story building! For example, my favorite was the King Kong one. They had arranged it so that you could climb a ladder into his hand. Then, the photo looks like King Kong is grabbing you! So cool! They also have some that are different politicians here in Ecuador, and we even saw a few Obama ones, too. Ha!

But, of course, the most popular one for this year was Michael Jackson. Ha! So, when Wilson asked me which one I wanted, I quickly decided on Mikey. It certainly reminded me of Ecuador the most. So, we bought a small one. I didn't want to have to burn him, but Wilson said it's bad luck to buy one and then not burn it, and I certainly don't want bad luck, soooo...I guess Mikey will have to die twice in 2009.

Christmas Gifts

Gifts are certainly an exciting part of Christmas, and I had some very special gifts this year that I would never have expected to be so wonderful. Wilson and I decided to just go together and buy gifts after Christmas when we both had some time off from work. We've never been into spending lots of money on each other for gifts anyway, so this year we definitely stuck with the more practical gifts. I bought Wilson another pillow (he misses having lots of pillows on the bed) and a new belt since his had broken. He bought me a watch to wear with nicer clothes and a shirt to wear for New Year's. Neither of us spent more than $15, but we were both as happy as if we'd spent $150. The fun part was that we just spent some quality time walking around together and picking stuff out. I couldn't have asked for anything more.

But I also got two exciting "gifts" in the mail. My parents sent me a small package as we were trying to see if the mail was actually secure and if we could actually receive the package with more ease than we had when we first moved here. So, I got some socks, some pencils, a book, and lots of Kool-aid!!! We've actually already used 3 of the Kool-aid packets this week! Then, as a big surprise, my friend Holly sent me a care package full of letters and pictures from my former co-workers and friends at Collins Hill. I was soooo excited to sit and read them all! Afterward, I called everyone I knew to tell them how wonderful all my friends were!!! I always knew I was very blessed to work at Collins Hill, but I was certainly reminded again of that this Christmas. Thank you so much, Holly!

And, thanks to my sweet mom, I'll get to do Christmas all over again in February! Yay!