Monday, October 27, 2008

Colorado comes to Conocoto

I know two people who will not be reading the daily life blog this week; my parents. No, it's not because they've become frustrated by my constant blogging about food or by my sometimes backwards sentence structuring (I blame Spanish), it's because my whole family is here visiting Ecuador for the whole week!

Mom, Dad and "little" (ie. 16 years old but already 6'2'') brother got in on Saturday, and we've had a packed two days thus far; traveling out to Otavalo with the rest of the Manna girls for a day of market haggle-ing, exploring Quito, buying the week's fruit and veggies at the Sangolqui markets, joining in on Apoyo, English class and women's exercise, AND getting to experience the wonder that is Seth and Dunc's dinner night.

I want to apologize in advance if this week's blogging is late or lacking; I want to spend as much time away from my computer and with my family as possible.

Love from Ecuador,

My dogs from home, the only one's missing in Ecuador :) I couldn't resist, sorry...

Friday, October 24, 2008

El Pobre Angelito

Thursday evenings are long ones for the girls of the Manna House; from Apoyo Escolar we head to two different English classes, and then reconvene at 7 for our rousing hour and a half of women’s exercise (which was pretty hysterical tonight; think 23 women, most STILL wearing sweaters, ages ranging from 5 year old Marjorie who tagged along with her mom to a 68 year old grandma who wore her shawl the entire workout). We staggered into the house tonight at 9:15, only to be greeted by the boys deep in a game of, you guessed it, RISK and sprawled all over the dining room table. After maneuvering some of their little soldier pieces over to the side, we proceeded to scarf down Mark and Eliah’s dinner, all the while being completely ignored by the guys who were so enchanted with their world domination strategies that they just couldn’t be bothered. And there you have a very telling example of life in the Manna house, the boys are playing RISK and the girls are eating.

After dinner we decided to put in Home Alone, which Jos got for her birthday (along with an exorbitant amount of chocolate). Translated horribly into Spanish as “El Pobre Angelito” (The Poor Little Angel), we’ve been talking about watching this movie ever since week two when Jocelyn realized she’d forgotten to bring it down with her. As the movie screened from the projector, popcorn popped in the microwave, and water boiled on the stove for hot chocolate, we all were transported back to our respective childhoods and the anticipation of Christmas fell around us all like a blanket. Yet, as Jos so correctly reminded us, we have to get through Halloween first :)


(the new sketch on my bedroom wall)

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Rosa (or: Home)

(Today's Guest Blog comes from Mark Hand, who just completed his first meal as Head Chef this past weekend! Nice work on the mushroom etouffee (and thanks to Jocelyn for being sous chef...)

"When I traveled to New Orleans a few months after Katrina, my friend Lindsey and I spent an afternoon driving around gawking at the damage. At the end of the day, I was spent; I needed home. Not Shreveport, necessarily, but some place of refuge – a bookstore, a coffee shop, a Scottish pub.

Home doesn’t have to be a physical place, I've learned. Today I went home to a person – Rosa – who for me personifies that concept in a way that I hadn’t realized.

Rosa, mother of one of UBECI's co-founders, is about about sixty-five and served as my first mother in Ecuador. When I arrived in August 2007 I knew limited Spanish, immediately landed a level three sinus infection, and was fitfully processing the previous six months as a social worker in Shreveport as I prepared for my team coming in September. Rosa listened, carefully. She also did enough talking to make me realize that this tiny old woman who guts her own guinea pigs, uses every drop of water at least four times before giving it to the pigs and is just now learning how to read, might be one of the sharpest, wisest, most determined human being I have ever met.

And for me, she is home. Not having visited in about six months, I had developed that Catholic knot of guilt in my stomach that starts to form when you haven’t visited your grandmother in too long. So when Fabián failed to show up for our meeting this morning, I swallowed hard and pointed my nose to Rosa’s.

Thankfully, Rosa did not berate me for not showing my face more often, and seemed genuinely grateful to see me and take a break from feeding the pigs. We talked about Obama (“Have you heard about his family? He used to be poor, like us!), the Rafael Correa flag outside her door and what I thought about the new president, the dwarf beans from her son in Italy that she is going to try and plant soon, and the old grandfather who se fue a otro mundo (“went to the other side,” loosely) three months ago. We laughed at the social work stories I told her over a year ago, and she asked if I could find her the telephone number for Ecuador’s Vice President. He’s handicapped, and Rose thinks if she could get him on the phone, that maybe he’d know how to help her handicapped son, too. If he knows what’s good for him – or if he takes the time to get to know Rosa - he probably will."


(Rosa and a guinea pig)

Happy Bird Day!

That’s how the kids at Apoyo Escolar pronounce Happy Birthday, which they couldn’t say enough times to Jocelyn, who turned 23 (gasp!) today. From Melissa’s handmade birthday card, oddly depicting Dana in a house with “feliz cumpleanos” smashed in the bottom corner, to Dennis’ gift of an old giraffe stuffed animal, to Carmen’s thousand hugs and extremely wet finger painted present, I’d say Jos had a pretty sweet day. Just wait until she opens house presents tomorrow :)


(The birthday girl waiting for the Ecovia in Quito. With some mushrooms.)

Monday, October 20, 2008

Soaked and Loving It

When it rains, it pours. That overused little phrase takes on a special meaning when you live in Ecuador amidst the rainy season. Because let me tell you something: it POURS. Everyday. Torrentially. Enough to knock out all our power on a weekly basis, which wouldn’t be such a problem if my bathroom wasn’t in the dead center of the house, making it absolutely pitch black at the most inopportune moments.

Anyway, I digress. Which, for those of you who have been reading since this blog’s first post, shouldn’t come as much of a surprise. Thinking about everything that we’ve got going on in the next few weeks, however, brings me right back to that little expression about rain. Not only are have the English and Women’s exercise classes absolutely taken off (five new people in each class this evening!), but our Apoyo Escolar course is also intensifying and growing every day. We’re getting ready to celebrate all the October birthday’s this week at a special Friday fiesta, planning our celebration dinner with all the kids and their families for the first week of November, and figuring out what the reward excursion will be for our students with perfect October attendance.

Add to that Seth’s fantastic new ideas about marketing (water-bottles, stickers, tee-shirts, an MPIE cookbook, and two different calendars) and we’ve all been running from room to room, printer to computer, house to programs, literally all day. Dana also moved in to the house (or apartment I should say) this weekend (FINALLY!!!), Mark’s getting ready to head out to the Galapagos next week, and my family gets in to Quito this Saturday for what will be a fantastic week long fall break. Now, if only we could find the time to clean the house...


(the boy's obsession with Risk continues. 3 games, 2 days. they can't stop)

Saturday, October 18, 2008

Humitas with Pepita

Today’s entry requires a bit of backstory, so bare with me, I promise it’s worth it. And if not, I invite you to come on over to Ecuador and demand your 10 minutes back. We’re all dying for visitors down here :)

So the backstory: at the Minga we participated in a couple of weekends ago, we worked side by side with a woman named Pepita. While she didn’t get down and dirty (aka wet) with us in the river, she was with our group the whole time both weekends, stomping bottles and sorting plastic and glass. Pepita lives close to the river with her husband and 2 kids, on the same property as her husbands brother and his family, and we walk past their houses every day on our way to Apoyo. The families invited us over for lunch after our last exhaustive Minga, and at this lunch it came out that Pepita knows how to make humitas.

For those of you who have never eaten a humita, let me just extend my sincerest sympathies to you. Humitas are, um, AMAZING. I don’t even have the right words to describe them; cornmeal-pancake batter-tamale-pieces of warmed heaven-cake wrapped up in a corn shuck...They’re really great. There’s a little place in Sangolqui that sells them right on the street, steaming over a huge pot of water and jumping out at us every time we head to MegaMaxi (yes, that is the unfortunate name of the ‘buy-everything-here’ super store) for more spicy mustard. When Jocelyn and I asked the woman selling said humitas how she makes them, we were royally snubbed when she responded, “Oh, usteades no pueden” (Oh, you girls wouldn’t be able to do it). Great, thanks for nothing humita lady. If we weren’t so addicted to your delicious treats we would totally stop talking to you. Now, would you please bag up 10 humitas, we’re going to be hungry later.

ANYWAY, the second Pepita told us she knew how to make humitas, we (Jocelyn, Serena and I) begged her to teach us. And so today, armed with two huge wheels of Queso Fresco (Fresh Cheese...don’t ask), we arrived at Pepitas house ready to learn. And oh let me tell you, did we learn. From 3 to 7 we shucked choclo (Ecuador’s version of corn on the cob), ground kernels, mixed batter, spooned meal into shucks, added cheese, and steamed the flavor into 120 humitas. It was awesome.

(Jocelyn takes a turn at the choclo grinding)

Also awesome was getting to talk to Pepita all afternoon, giving us a chance to practice our Spanish and try out different verb tenses (she’s very understanding). We’ve been invited back any time we’d like, and as we left, our arms filled with bags of humitas for the lucky boys, and Pepita waved us off with “Ciao, mi hijitas” (Bye, my dear little ones) it really felt like we were a part of the community. Just goes to show that true relationships take time, but those that come do are undoubtedly sweet.

Have a good weekend!

(batter and eggs, getting ready to be slurped together by Serena's stirring skills)

(Rolling out each Humita by hand)

Thursday, October 16, 2008

Big Steps

Just having cuddled in my bed and pulled my computer up onto my lap to write today’s Daily Life Blog, I am too tired to attempt to suppress the yawns that just keep coming out of deep in my belly. Today has been a whirlwind of a day; we successfully kicked off two new programs (adult English and women’s exercise) this evening, and everyone is exhausted yet immensely proud of MPIE’s progress in the communities in which we work.

I am going to save the more colorful details from today for an entry when I can keep my eyes open for more than 30 seconds at a time, midnight just doesn’t treat me right when trying to write cohesive sentences and/or use applicable vocab.

Until tomorrow,

(flyers advertising our two new classes adorn a light post in the San Franciscan community)

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

A Day in the Daily Life

(Today's guest blog comes from Eliah McCalla, also known around these parts as Snatch. The house vegetarian, Eliah once spent a solid 2 hours attempting to make hummus in our highly inefficient blender. A fierce Risk player and constant environmentalist, Eliah studied abroad in Ecuador and Chile during his time at Indiana University, which made the most recent World Cup game between the two that much more intense. Eliah also laughs everytime I walk into any room he's in; still not sure how to feel about that...)

"Before I start into my day, I have to give a shout out to the mangrove forests. As Holly's already told you, we spent this weekend tagging along with Seth as he visited his girlfriend in Guayaquil. Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador, situated about two hours from the beach, and everyone was excited to try the coastal food. I was not.

Ecuador's coast is home to over 100,000 hectares of mangrove forest, a type of coastal wetland. Mangroves are both one of the highest ecologically valued and most endangered ecosystems in the world. The same factors decimating mangroves around the globe has left Ecuador with only a fraction of its original mangrove coverage and the possibility of extinction for what remains. One of the primary factors in the destruction of mangrove forests is shrimp farms. Mangroves provide great habitat for shrimp, leading farmers to clear the forests to build their shrimp ponds. Sadly, these ponds only last a few years before they become too polluted to turn a profit, at which point the farmer moves to the next forest down the coast; this is the slash and burn method of getting shrimp to your plate (much of the shrimp consumed in the US is produced in this fashion). Not that these facts kept any of the other members of Manna from getting that oh-so-appetizing shrimp ceviche, but at least it came with a heaping side order of guilt. Which is why no one wants to go on vacation with an environmentalist.

And now on to my day. I'm the trash man here at Manna House, a job with the downside of making me sometimes smell like trash, but which also gives me an excuse to only shower on trash days. Three times a week I place the trash in an elevated cage outside our house, where it is collected the next morning. The real problem is the cage, whose bars and spacing appear to be ergonomically designed for dog snouts. This leads to the periodic nocturnal redecoration of our sidewalk, requiring that the trash be returned to its bag and resulting in me smelling like trash in an off day, which really throws off my shower schedule. Clearly, something had to be done. So today I took the step of buying some finely-spaced metal grates to insert in the cage. Bending the grates to size and taking pliers to wires holding them in place, I must have appeared to be doing something unspeakable to the neighborhood cage, because many of the passerbys looked at me as if there were a serial flasher on the loose and I was wearing a trench coat. Unperturbed, I carried on with my work, and the cage is now safe from the canine menace. Ah yes, it's been a slow news day here at Manna House.

Things should heat up tonight though, as we head into Quito for the last presidential debate. Former PDs Zak Schwarzman, Luke Lockwood, and I, along with fellow ex-pat Dan O'Maley have been organizing viewings of the debates for gringos in Quito, ostensibly as a way to get them their absentee ballots, but actually with ulterior motives. Because tonight, surrounded by 142 Americans, sitting in an Irish pub, watching CNN and talking American politics, it'll feel like we never left home at all. And that's the way it should be.

G’night everyone.

(Eliah and Dana bond in Guayaquil)

The 8 of Us

I have a confession to make: I posted Monday’s entry at 3am Tuesday morning. Having fallen asleep before writing the blog, my sub-conscious apparently would not let that fly and woke me up with a start in the middle of the night in order to post about verbs and English quizzes. And now Tuesday's entry is coming on Wednesday because of shifty wireless. Confused yet?

Tonight we had another Marathon Manna Meeting (3M), this time held in the much loved kitchen. As we circled our chairs around (and I put in a batch of oatmeal cookies baked with REAL WHITE FLOUR!), I found myself looking around at each of my 7 housemates, friends, co-workers, and supports with fresh eyes. Maybe it’s because we’re all finally under the same roof again now that Mark’s back from the states, but I was overcome by such a feeling of pride and awe as I thought about each of my roomies.

My last two years at Vanderbilt I lived in a house with 7 other girls; we called our house The Chimney for a somewhat inexplicable reason, and they were the dearest friends I could have dreamt up. I wasn’t sure how I was going to make the transition from the home I’d made at Vanderbilt to the strangeness and ‘otherness’ of Ecuador, but the newest 7 in my life have made it incredibly smooth and joy-filled. And I just love them all. Yes, Eliah does make fun of me for just about everything, and Jocelyn might look down on my inferior cinnamon-toast-crunch making skills, but without those little idiosyncrasies how overly cheesy would this post be?

I don’t know how I’ve been so blessed in the past three years to find myself living with two different collections of 7 roommates; what I do know is that they all color the house and my days in patterns I could never think up on my own.


(Jocelyn, Serena, Holly and Dana waste time while being locked out of the beach house)

Tuesday, October 14, 2008

Ten Verbs

Five of our 15 Apoyo Escolar students have an english quiz tomorrow, and so we all began studying last Thursday in anticipation for it. The quiz consists of ten verbs, but for some unknown reason these verbs are so daunting to our five 6th graders that endless flashcards and white boards and repeated writings and competitions still hadn't drilled them into their minds when we all parted ways today at four. Let me know what you think; it's like the gameshow "Are You Smarter Than a Fifth Grader?"...but real.

To drive- Manejar
To study- Estudiar
To play- Jugar
To eat- Comer
To cut- Cortar
To think- Pensar
To write- Escribir
To need- Necesitar
To read- Leer
To drink- Tomar

And that's the list. Keep your fingers crossed for them tomorrow morning during their exam!


(Dunc helps Cecibel work through her lingustics homework)

Thursday, October 9, 2008


As I write this, everyone is plodding around the house, trying to work off the food coma we just got ourselves into and attempting to pack for our weekend trip to Guayaquil, Ecuador. I can already hear my dad’s reaction as he reads this, “You are traveling...AGAIN?! Isn’t every day down in Ecuador like a vacation?” Well dad, this weekend is Festivals de Guayaquil, ie. all of Ecuador has a national holiday, so what we’re really doing is experiencing Ecuadorian culture in its truest form.


I can tell you that none of us are excited to get on another overnight bus, even if it is 2 hours shorter than last time.

For a study in how small the world really is, while in Guayaquil I am going to visit a friend from Belleview Elementary School, Carrie, who studied abroad in Ecuador, fell in love, and subsequently married her handsome Ecuadorian med student. They live in Guayaquil, and we are going to meet up this weekend. Carrie and I haven’t been home in Colorado at the same time since high school, and here we are, thousands of miles from home, about to have a reunion. I love you, Ecuador.


(orange mountains as seen from San Francisco)

And so it goes...

(Today's guest blog comes from Dana Conway, the newest PD to join the Manna Ecuador family. Dana hates 10 hour bus rides, has awesome taste in music, gets an amazing fresh fruit platter for breakfast every morning at her home-stay, and is the only one of us girls to have been facebook friended by Eliah. Lucky, lucky girl.)

"I've been spending my days in Quito doing language school for three weeks while everyone else is in the valley. While at times it gets a little lonesome without the crew, whom I bonded with literally upon arrival, I have been enjoying getting to know this massive city. Coming from Boulder, I´m not use to tall buildings, busy streets, hurried people. However I am easing my way into the chaos.
Yesterday was my first day exploring on my own taking public transportation, hailing cabs, asking locals for directions, etc. After a day of thrilling success I woke up this morning anticipating the same luck. To my dismay, I was kidding myself, to say the least. On the agenda was simply to venture into Old Town, check out the basilica, and make it back for class by 1:30. I hopped on a bus, and before I knew it was no where to be found on the hand held map I grasped in my palm. I quickly departed and began staring off into the midst of surrounding skyscrapers when a local Ecuadorian, at least 60 years old, asked what it was I was looking for. Upon telling him I was trying to find the basilica he insisted on escorting me the whole 25 minute walk through all kinds of hills and winding streets, enthralled by my Spanish ¨skills¨ or lack there of, (its hard to say,) literally to the front steps of the church, thank god, I never would have found it. And thank god, it was a maravillosa.
With the calculated perfect amount of time to return for class I headed in what I was now certain was the right direction to catch a bus back to my neighborhood. As I approached the doors to enter the parada, I was informed that the bus was not functioning and I would have to catch another line that may or may not be headed in the direction I needed to go, a blue one would be "best". I dogged the traffic of the maniac drivers that travel these streets and was lucky enough to find a blue bus that slowed down long enough for me to ask if it was heading in the right direction. With a rather ambiguous response I jumped on, bus still in motion, and crossed my fingers that I hadn't just purchased a non stop fair to the coast.
With broken Spanish, lots of patience, and a trying smile, the driver told me when to hop off and that I was now closer to home than I had been before. Perfect, right? Well 10 minutes till class and I had no idea where I was. Street names all ringing a bell, but not a single building I had seen before. Again I threw my head back wondering which direction next. A few more blocks, another corner, and finally, I saw the sign of an all too familiar travel agency I pass by everyday ´Happy Gringo¨. And that was when I realized I was home again. But not just home to the neighborhood I have been living in for the last two weeks, or home to the still foreign city I have been exploring, but home to what it is that I am doing for the next year, home to the experiences that will fill each of my days, and home to an adventure that has already been so fulfilling and satisfying, that I literally can not wait to get lost again."

(Dana and Serena trying to force their way into the Medical History Museum in Cuenca)

Tuesday, October 7, 2008

Alphabet Flash Cards

Our Apoyo Escolar program, for which I am the "point" PD, has really taken off this month. Up to 15 students, the course is teaching us a variety of lessons, first of which is how to do long division Ecuadorian style. Let me tell you, it is CONFUSING.

We have a wide range of students who come every day; La Mafe, who does a lot of her homework in class and is our model student in terms of study habits and work ethic; Cecibel, who meticulously works on every language assignment she gets with as much attention to detail as would a cake decorator; Jonathan, who yells across the room at each Profe asking them to give him the answer to whatever he's working on (to no avail); Dennis, who at age 8 is still learning his alphabet yet has one of the most creative minds of any of our students. Each student has their own strengths and weaknesses; the challenge we as "Profes" face lies in identifying what needs we are capable of addressing and spreading ourselves evenly between each student.

Today I was working with Dennis, coaxing him with promises of time in "La Cueva" with rompe-cabezas (puzzles) and books if he finished his simple addition problems. 10 problems and 50 minutes later, we plopped down in the tent and began to read. Dennis still has not mastered the alphabet, and so reading is an embarrassing and painful task for him. To help him with his confidence, and to encourage him to learn his letters, Seth provided me with the idea of creating letter flash-cards to go over with him before every book. As we both lay under the colored sheets of the cave, we worked our way through the whole alphabet, getting a little confused between 'S' and 'C', 'T' and 'B' (not entirely sure how that works out...), but overall gaining confidence as he identified each letter and sounded his way through the accompanying word below (LEON! HOGAR! MAPA!). When we turned to his book of choice (Donde viven los monstruos; Where the Wild Things Are), he pointed with pride at each letter he recognized.

I couldn't have been prouder.

Good night from South America,

(La Cueva, site of daily reading and alphabet flashcards)

Monday, October 6, 2008

Billy Blanks

In anticipation of the start of our women’s exercise program on October 16, the girls have been spending a good deal of time perfecting our aerobic, tae bo, and yoga exercises and specific vocab. This means that, every day, we move all the sofas, chairs, rugs and tables out of the main “family” room in order to do a workout. A Billy Blanks workout, to be exact.

Just ask the boys how much they love Billy Blanks.

Not only did Billy used to be a platoon leader, he is also the owner of many many coordinated workout outfits and yells encouraging things like “Sound off!” and “Don’t you dare quit on me now! Make it burn, baby!” and “What is this? I can’t hear you? BOOT CAMP, BABY!”.

As we’ve gotten more and more accustomed to his various videos (Basic Training, Ab Boot Camp, Cardio Boot Camp, Ultimate Boot Camp), the amount of screaming at the computer in muscular anguish has greatly diminished, much to the boy’s relief. How these workouts are actually going to translate to our exercise class comprised of 50+ year old women, we have yet to see. I, for one, can’t wait for that hilarity to ensue.


(sun getting low on the walk back from Apoyo Escolar)

Thursday, October 2, 2008

When the cat is away...

The mice will work on Saturday at our second Minga.

That was my weak attempt at a joke, trying to scare Mark (who is currently on a plane back to the states) into thinking all we're going to do for the next week is sit around feeding each other pineapple on our roof. He'll be gone for the next week, but honestly things are picking up so quickly down here that we really won't have much of a chance to even pretend to slack off in his absence :)

This post is late in coming today because we just got back from Quito, where we watched the Vice Presidential debate between Governor Palin and Senator Biden. Disclaimer: I promise I won't use the daily life blog as some kind of political platform from which to spew my ideas, unless those ideas include the establishment of a mandatory dessert hour. While we were all nervous (and some of us a little too eager) to watch Palin after having youtubed her interview with Katie Couric many times, overall both candidates presented their platforms in respectable manners. Which platform is respectable in its own right I'll leave up to you to decide for yourself.

I write about this because, for the first time in our lives, we’re experiencing a presidential election while not actually living in the States. Granted, most (all?) of us have only been able to vote in one prior presidential election, so a precedent hasn’t really been established. Yet it is incredible how passionate we’re all feeling about the whole deal. It’s as if the distance has made us even more involved, wanting so badly to taste the electoral anticipation and read as many articles and editorials as we can, to keep track of our state’s polls and to find key policy pieces which tie us to certain candidates. Maybe every young person experiences this as they become more aware of the scope of elections, but this time around it just feels different; fresher, bigger, closer. And that, written from south of the Equator, is truly saying something.


(colors in our curtains)

Fresh fruit makes any day better

Usually Wednesdays are reserved for guest blogging, but as I’m sure you’ve come to realize by now, sometimes things don’t go exactly according to plan out here in Manna Daily Life world. Just me tonight :)

Today was a packed day for everyone around the house; survey computation, food runs, finance turnovers, website edits, Apoyo Escolar poster making, church visits to advertise upcoming english and exercise programs, new handbook writing, flyer designing, minga coordinating, language school (love you Dana); we all had our spoons in about 6 different bowls today. Every time I am in charge of venta runs, I’m absolutely amazed at how far our money goes. Here’s a glimpse into this morning’s purchases.

20 bananas
10 apples
5 peaches
3 papayas
10 mini plums
30 eggs
2 heads of broccoli
3 cucumbers
10 carrots
10 red/green peppers
10 aji peppers (similar to jalepenos)
2 mangos

grand total: $10.40...
is that not ridiculous?! As was so kindly pointed out to me tonight, we’re going to have a great time adjusting back to state-side prices after this year.

As some of you may know, we’re in the process of re-writing/re-designing the Manna website, giving her a little love and attention. Mark and Dunc have been persistently pushing for a Spanish language version of the site, and our first translated page is up! Really exciting stuff.

Also, I’ve been working on writing simplified explanations of all of our programs and the first version of the page is up as well! Check it out for a better understanding of what exactly it is that we’re doing down here, other than befriending dogs and baking cookies. Pictures to come, clearly.

(random anecdote) Tonight marks a big step in house bonding, as all the other newbies were able to convince me to watch Donnie Darko. Ever since I saw that movie four years ago, I have had recurring nightmares in which the rabbit Frank watches me from the corner of my room. Serena and Jocelyn have been leaving little “notes” for me around the house (ie. IN MY CLOSET) from Frank in anticipation of tonight’s showing...I can’t tell you how sweet that’s been. I was surprised to find that I really did like the movie, and was even able to watch the parts I missed (while ichatting) later ALONE in my room. That’s huge. They're all pretty proud of me.

Until tomorrow,

(Dennis, one of our Apoyo Escolar students, playing in the abandoned altar to Mary)