Our second month here in Cotacachi, Ecuador, began with a move. Our first 3 weeks or so we stayed in a condo we rented from an American we found online (that is the condo, not some sort of Tron-American). The move was necessary to bring down rental costs. After searching out several places, a bible study attending meetings in our congregation introduced us to a couple that own a 3 story apartment. We decided it was a good fit for us and moved in the first week of December.
Our 3 bedroom apartment was partially furnished, which helped keep costs down. However we did need a few necessary items, like a couple more beds. As with all shopping, it is very different than the states. There are no big box stores that sell everything, no large home goods or furniture stores that have a hundred different types of thing-a-bobs, or whatcha-ma-call-it’s, your selection is quite limited. Our new land lord introduced us to a carpenter with a shop and store, and we had him build the beds we needed for a reasonable price.
After the bed frames arrived we found a store with a couple mattresses, and set delivery for the day we moved in. Our apartment is on the third floor, which was no problem for Wesley’s tiny mattress, but a whole other story for the queen sized mattress.
Here’s the stairs up to our apartment to help you visualize the issue.
Spiral stair case!
The mattress would not fit up the stairs. Despite my best effort to football shove it, tackle it, ride it, fold it, anything and everything, it would not go up. If the mattress didn’t get into the apartment, I might have had to sleep on the tile floor, or far more likely, have one of the boys sleep on the floor.
DESPERATE TIMES CALL FOR DESPERATE MEASURES!
Our neighbor below us on the second floor has a balcony that faces the road. So the delivery driver and I shoved the mattress up the front of the building onto her balcony, she was not home. Next, we tied a rope around the mattress and I went to the roof while the driver climbed up to the balcony. Yes, you guessed it, I pulled the mattress up to the roof of the building. The building has a flat roof with a parapet around it, it’s actually a terrace. Well, as I got it pulled up to the parapet, it got stuck. There I was holding onto a tiny rope dangling a mattress over my neighbors balcony with plants and patio furniture and then the rope began to slip, which if it fell would fall either on my neighbors stuff or the driver himself below.
I called for Logan (standing by) who came over and grabbed hold of the mattress. We pulled together as hard as we could and the mattress came flying over the parapet, I fell onto my back with the mattress landing on top of me. Mission Accomplished! The stairway down from roof had much more ceiling clearance and it was a breeze getting into our apartment from there.
Here’s our apartment building from the side.
We have been enjoying our new apartment, especially the views. From the living room and kitchen, which has large windows we can see Mt Cotacachi, and from our bedroom and Logan’s, we can see Mt Imbabura.
And from the roof at the beginning of January.
The next couple weeks we worked on getting settled in the apartment and prepared for Mel’s parents to come visit us. One of the things we figured it out in December before company arrived was the boy’s new home school. A sister living here, that used to be a teacher from Colorado, started a school that combines an online homeschool with the possiblility of adding enrichment classes that you can attend locally.
This homeschool program is way more affordable than other programs we were looking at. Plus they have classes Wes can attend, which would help him learn Spanish. So we decided to send Wes 1 morning a week, and maybe starting next school year the boys can do some enrichment classes, but for now they will just do the homeschooling.
They all got to try out the school for 1 day, here’s Wesley trying out his first day of school.
The week before Papa and Abuelita (Tom and Carmen) arrived we went to a Congregation fiesta. The party was to say goodbye to a couple that was moving away and to welcome new families into the congregation. It was at one of the elder’s house. The weather was perfect, the food was great and we had an amazingly fun time. Music, dancing, games, soccer and a kids show.
The brother has a large outdoor wood fired oven. 20 chickens were cooked all at the same time. The chicken was served with yummy rice that was very similar to Mel’s, along with veggies, corn nuts, more good stuff and a fresh homemade ají (like a salsa but better).
The young kids dressed as a bible character, Wes went as a young David, but sometimes he was also Samson according to him. At one point all the dressed kids announced who they were dressed as (in Spanish of course), Wes got confused and instead of saying he was dressed as David (or Samson) he announced he was “Wesley.” So funny and cute. Here he is with one of his friends.
A brief highlights reel.
The week after the party, which was the week before Papa and Abuelita arrived, we all got sick. We passed the stomach flu to each other but thankfully we got mostly better before they came. I’ll cover their visit in the next post, which I’ll put up in a couple days.
The weeks covered here were an important couple weeks. While it may seem like not much was accomplished, getting settled was an important step. This will allow us now to focus more on our new family and spiritual schedule. We will be able to focus more on learning the language and gradually increase our share in the ministry. We also look forward to getting to know the friends better by having them over. All of this is much easier to accomplish and focus on now that we feel settled and starting to feel that this new place, new country, and new congregation, is our new home.