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A couple pics from the best park in Cuenca! This swing set is so much fun and would never be permitted in the USA because the kids can totally kick each other if they are tall enough and get going high enough!

During school hours, we see a lot of school groups doing physical education. On this day, we saw a bunch of little children riding around on bicycles. Wouldn't it be so neat if schools back home had enough bikes for a class? I've seen older school children (like junior/middle schooled age) riding bikes too!

After our visit to the Chocolate Factory, we popped into a ceramic house. Just like the chocolate factory, this place is family run and operated. This ceramic house also offers lessons which I wish I had known about like 6 weeks ago! I guess I can't leave without a few regrets. This house was so large and interesting. So many plants and pots everywhere. The tall, heavy baseball bat looking thing is for smashing the earth into powder to make clay. 

I think I'm going to have to return here next week to buy a bowl. I'm pretty sure it won't be easy to bring the bowl home, but I'm already living with the regret of not taking classes and I can only take on so many regrets. We will just have to get creative and wrap it in the 4-6 alpaca blankets I plan on buying. 

I caught a picture of all three of my kids looking in mostly my direction and semi-smiling and that's a win in my books!

For my own future reference, this is the address... Mariscal Lamar 24-90 y F. Paredes.

Dreams come true! This week, my daughters and I, toured a chocolate factory on our last day with our tutor. I think heaven will smell the same as this factory! It was so fun to have a peek around inside. The chocolate produced here in Ecuador is so pure and so delicious and I want to eat it all. We got to sample raw cocao. The woman giving the tour spoke only in fast and quiet spanish and never once looked at me. She only spoke directly to our tutor, Bertha. That was funny to me. At the end we sampled sweet chocolate (and bought some! I need to go back for more!) and warm chocolate water with sugar, which sounds unappealing but was in fact really, really yummy. So we bought some unsweetened chocolate as well. And it was so cheap. We will definitely be returning next week to stock up on more chocolate because it is likely the best I've ever eaten in my life. 

We spent a lovely Sunday afternoon with our Ecuador family this past weekend. Monica needed help with her english course and the kids played. Monica made us a dessert from guavaja, sugar and egg whites. I love tasting the different foods here! We just love this family so much! Really, really hoping it works out for them to visit us in the USA! Today, we were showing them photos and videos from winter. And photos of our house. Oddly enough, the one thing Monica wanted to take a picture of was of our pantry in our basement. It was really funny to tell them about the ready made chicken stock, etc. It's so different to them!! Conor was telling Monica and Gustavo about some of the food we make like bacon-wrapped dates. LOL!

I had to take another cooking class at La Warmi. We made locra de papa (a thick potato soup) that was amazing and I will be remaking it for my family this weekend. The simplest ingredients made into the best potato soup ever! For the next course, we made shrimp with garlic, hot peppers, and parsley with twice-fried plantains. So simple, fresh and amazing. And for dessert, a sweet quinoa made with spices (cinnamon, clove, sweet pepper), three types of milk (regular, evaporated and condensed), raisins, finished with lime zest. It was really good! 

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