January 8, 2013 by Brittany
Happy New Year everyone! Yea, so this is a little late, but it’s only Jan. 8th. The last couple of weeks since Christmas have been a whirlwind of activity and I’m only now getting a chance to sit down and write about it. So let’s start at the beginning. Christmas. I spent Christmas this year in Lima with two of my good friends. We cooked dinner, made Christmas cookies, watched Elf and How the Grinch Stole Christmas. Then Christmas morning we opened presents, made homemade cinnamon buns, and boarded a plane to Ecuador. It was the perfect Christmas away from home. Not that last year’s Christmas wasn’t good…it just didn’t feel all that much like Christmas to me. It was great to experience how my site celebrates Christmas, but it didn’t give me the feel- good fuzzy feeling that making cinnamon rolls, and watching Elf gave me. So Ecuador. A group of friends and I decided that this year we were going to spend New Years in Ecuador. One of my friends and I boarded a flight Christmas Day for Ecuador, and we spent a week exploring the country a little bit. First we started in Quito, the capital, and had a day of exploring before meeting up with the rest of the group. We toured a Basilica, roamed the streets, and just relaxed. We had dinner at the cutest little place called Cafe Dios No Muere. We ate by candlelight. Candlelight! And the food was delicious. The place got it’s name from a The next day it was on to Otavalo to go to one of the largest markets in Quito. It was well worth the trip. The rest of the day brought a ride on the Teleférico (kind of like a ski lift- only you are in an enclosed box- like thing), and Mexican food for dinner. We then went on to Baños, a smaller town up in the mountains, more near the jungle. We had a blast being all outdoorsy and soaking up the laid back, cozy vibe all the cafes offered. New Years was amazing! It is apparently tradition there to dress up like it’s Halloween, so in true PCV fashion we donned wigs and crazy make- up to participate. Like Peru, Ecuador also celebrates New Years by burning dolls (they kinda look like scarecrows) at midnight and eating twelve grapes. The doll burning signifies the purging of the old year and anything negative it might have brought. The twelve grapes are to ensure luck for all twelve months of the new year. The streets were lined with small bonfires, local residents were selling grapes at practically every corner, and we were stuffing twelve each into our mouths. I think some people might have gotten more than the requisite twelve. Oh well, more luck! We went home the 1st of January and I have to say I was both ready and not ready to leave. Traveling is exhausting. But it’s also something I absolutely love. This trip reminded me just how much there is to do and see in the world, and all at once I find myself both excited and saddened. It will be nearly impossible to see and do everything, but I’m going to have a blast checking things off my list.