Christmas Eve and a new year in Cuenca, EC

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This was my second Christmas in Cuenca.  It is a lovely, unique city in which to celebrate the birth of Christ.  We watched the Parade of Children on Dec 24  – so colorful and full of family groups participating together in native costumes and costumes from the bible. The children were so pumped  for this event they look forward to all year long.  They walk miles during the parade , starting near Super Maxi de las americas and winding along to the Nueva Catedral at Parque Calderon. There were zillions of decorated trucks and cars, horses, bands, tons of different groups from all around the Ecuador province of Azuay, but the delight is in watching the children of Cuenca. Even children who can barely walk were in costume walking along with family members.

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I was a little sad on Christmas Eve.  I recall wonderful times when my children were growing up. We would open one gift on Christmas Eve, intending to save the rest for the next day.  But  often it would evolve into a frenzy of opening gifts, laughter, excitement and pleasure to see each child pleased with new things.  The beauty of celebrating Christmas is being with people you love.  I am with my dear husband in Ecuador but on Christmas Eve I missed my kids and grandchildren.  It is an inevitable part embracing life on another continent 4700 miles from them.

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In May, 2011, Lenny and I began an amazing, courageous journey for our retirement years – and I love it. It is that thing: “my heart resides in two places with no full resolution once you love both “there” and “here”. So I will continue to visit family and friends as often as is affordable while loving my new life in Cuenca, EC.

Now, with New Year’s Eve behind us, we begin a new year, exploring new adventures in South America, struggling to learn a new language at age 63, luxuriating in retirement with enough time to quilt to my heart’s content, swim at an olympic pool for $1.50 per visit, read books on my Kindle, nurture plants in my little garden. Lenny walks every day, exploring the city and speaking with people only in Espanol.

With the new year, I must get going on a new Espanol class, next week begins more visits to the pool to swim each week – strengthens my knees, among other benefits.  I am growing kefir for the first time, a mild drink that is good for repairing the conditions in the intestinal tract. And a BIG thing I have planned is to get an orange tabby kitten in March.  I will find him/her somewhere when the time is right.

What new things are you going to do this year?  What quilt projects do you want to do?

I have about 4 quilts all completed but for the binding.  I plan to work on those beginning Jan 15, until they are all done and hanging on my walls or resting on our bed.  The table runner I’m making for our table is nearly ready to quilt.  I just need to layer it and baste it.

Oh, here is an interesting  quilting thing:  in the US, I always used a product by J T Trading called 505 Spray and Fix.  It is a temporary fabric adhesive for sewing, applique, quilt and crafts.Well it is also incredibly, dangerously flammable so you cannot bring it in a container, you cannot fly with it, you cannot have it mailed to Ecuador and I have not found it here in fabric stores.   So I’ve learned to baste my quilts.  It is surprisingly easy – no big adjustment.  Just a point of interest.   But, if anyone in Cuenca finds this product, please alert me!  I am also curious if anyone has used the product that is fusible batting.  Is it hard to avoid wrinkles as you fuse your quilt top to the batting?

There is not word in Spanish for “quilt” – nothing that exactly describes what a quilt is.

OK, have a terrific new week in this brand new year!

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