I was never very good at the childhood game of tag. First off, I was not the fastest kid on the block. I really was only ever willing to run if a dog was chasing me, which tended to happen every once in awhile.
My second deterrent to becoming a tag master was my complete lack of an attention span. I've been known to get distracted pretty easily. Oh look, something shiny. Not the greatest skill in a cutthroat game of tag. I learned to avoid the schoolyard game by hanging out in the library during recess.
Once I had found my sanctuary in Mrs. Hayes library, I thought I had left my tag days behind me. Not so. My dear friend, Lisa, has brought the shouts of "tag!! you're it!" back ringing in my ears. Though this particular tag game has changed rules (no running!!), I find that my skills are still lacking. Lisa has tagged me three times, once here, here, and here. Okay, so the first time I had just moved to a new country. I was a little overwhelmed by my surroundings. The second time I never stood a chance, the tag game was centered around books! I opened my nearest book to play along but I ended up opening to one of the best parts of the story. Before I knew it, I was curled up on the couch re-experiencing the lives of the Hamilton's and the Trask's. I guess I still get distracted pretty easily.
This time, I'm in the game. I'm ready. Bring it on.
Seven Favorite Things From the Past Week:
1. Good Friends + Great Beach = Fabulous Times
Last Friday, Dave and I headed to Montanita with our good friends, Cate and Brian. We spent a wonderful weekend hanging out on the beach, body-boarding, eating wonderful food (including ceviche made right on the beach!), and spending a good amount of time talking and laughing. It was such a wonderful, relaxing weekend. Perfect experience before the onslaught of parent and teacher conferences that took place this Tuesday and Wednesday.
2. Chilling out, Maxing, Relaxing All Cool
Parent-Teacher conferences were this week. Though I love the opportunity to talk with my students' parents, there is no denying that this can be a stressful time of the school year. I always want to make sure that I address any of the parent's concerns and not overwhelm them with my own. That's why I was so happy to join our friends Mark, Sarah, Cate, Brian, and Vanessa for an after-conference pool party after the last conference wrapped up. The sun was out, the pool was cold, and the company was wonderful. The afternoon festivities were even topped off with a home-cooked meal from Sarah.
3. Sorry kids, no papers are being graded tonight. I'm rockin' out with Guitar Hero
I know it is going to sound like Dave and I do nothing but get together with our friends, but...
Our friends, Ray and Sylvia, invited us over to their house Friday night for some dinner and guitar hero. Now, I've heard all the rage about Guitar Hero, but I left my video game days way back when Mario and his brother ruled the land. After rockin' it out on "We've Got the Beat," I might now be addicted. The good company and good food also made the night a lot of fun.
4. Those seasons, they are a changing
Summer seems to be on its way out in Guayaquil and winter is making its entrance. What this really means is that the temperature is going from 90 degrees to 80 degrees, but I'll take it. It also means that the rain has stopped. I'll miss the beautiful lightning storms, but I won't miss wearing rain pants every day. The lack of rain also means that the mosquitoes are going to go back to whatever evil place they come from. I haven't been bit for the last three days. The lack of rain leads me to favorite thing number five.
5. Finally Hitting the Hills
Dave and I haven't been able to go mountain biking since January. The rains turned our nearby trails into slicks of mud, actually it was more like sticky clay. We have had to get our biking fix in by doing intervals, riding at max speed and resistance for two minutes then two minutes of recovery cycling, through our gated community. Now, don't get me wrong-I've become quite the fan of intervals. But nothing really beats mountain biking for me. I love the focus that I get while I'm climbing, and the downhill makes the climbing all worth it.
Because it has not rained for the last week, Dave and I decided to see what shape the hills were in today. We were very happy to find that the mud slicks were gone, the path (service road) had been cleared and was not rutted out, and the rain had left behind the most lush, green, and beautiful scenery. The ride is a little over three miles of climbing (oh my poor calves) but that also means over three miles of downhill. We weren't necessarily expecting to make it to the top, but it felt so great to be mountain biking again that we couldn't stop ourselves.
6. It's a bird! It's a plane! No, it's a blue morpho butterfly!
I love the lush, ever-blooming, colorful environment of Ecuador. I have seen more flowers, plants, and animals in the past seven months than I have in my entire life. My favorite are the butterflies. There are so many different and beautiful butterflies that dodge in, out, and all over the plants and flowers. While we were mountain biking today, Dave and I rode through a rock bed with a small stream running across. As we rode over the stream, thirty or so butterflies rose from the stream and fluttered around us. It was amazing. As we climbed the trail, we spotted countless blue morpho butterflies. These guys are the size of a saucer and the most vibrant blue. It was so peaceful to watch them fly over our heads as we overlooked the valley below.
7. Love like Laughter
It goes without saying that laughing with Dave is always my favorite thing. I'm not sure how he does it, but he makes me laugh every single day. He doesn't just make me crack a smile or illicit from me a restrained chuckle. Oh no, it is more like gut-wrenching belly laughs that can be heard across oceans. And each time I feel that laughter rising up in me, I fall in love with him more and more. My greatest thrill is when I can make him laugh just as hard.