Saturday, December 31, 2011
On the 23th of December, we made a last minute call to the restaurant the Santa Clara on Monserrate to make reservations. Karina came with us too, and we got in our borrowed car and drove to the bottom of the hill it's on. It took us a while to find the parking lot, but luckily we saved a little time because we got to skip the HUGE line for tickets and go straight to the front. We also cut in line to get onto the trolley (Karina claims it's because of Mom's American face, but it's also because we had reservations). We got the best place in the trolley and got to look down at the city and Christmas lights on the way up. On the way to the restaurant, some Colombians wanted their picture with us, so we let them take one. Once we got to the top, we quickly found the restaurant and sat down. The walls were basically windows, so you could see the city through them. There was a fireplace, but we didn't get much heat from it because the waiters kept warming themselves in front of it. We all got our food, and it was pretty good–the ones that weren't too full got dessert too. When we were all done eating, we went outside and walked around to see all the lights. The city looked really big at night lit up. Monserrate also looked pretty with all the Christmas lights. We walked around and saw a few things, but we were tired so we decided to leave. We didn't get any special treatment going down, andhad to wait in a long line for the cable car. Once we finally were on the way down, we had a really good view of the city. We were tired goinghome, but Monserrate was really nice at night when you could see all the lights, and the city lit up.
Thursday, December 29, 2011
We were out looking at Christmas lights. The day before had been Christmas and we were just beginning to recover from the excitement of the previous day. The lights were spectacular and we walked through crowded parks where street vendors tried to get you to participate in silly games that you were bound to loose.
Then Elizabeth pointed to some items in a vendor's overflowing bucket on the side of the path. "Pony Malta" read one of the bottles.
I flashed back to the night before when I was drinking all of her root beer. She asked me whether or not I had tasted the Colombian equivalent to root beer. I had not, and she told me to try it when I had the chance.
Now was that chance.
We bought the drink and before I opened it Bill warned me, it was not the most enjoyable drink in the world.
Great, I didn't want to drink it anymore. But eventually I collected enough courage, and unscrewed the lid...
and immediately gagged at the smell.
I took a sip - a small one - it tasted horrible. The name was fitting. It tasted like fermented malt, if you can imagine, then that's exactly what it looked and smelled like as well. This Colombian drink might not be for everyone.
Pony Malta (Colombia):
I have a theory that after the man in this commercial drank the Pony Malta, it was so horrible tasting that he proceeded to jump off the balcony. The producers caught the whole episode on tape and labeled the man's suicide attempts as "parkour". It is a good thing I was not near a balcony when I had a drink.
From here on out, each year is going to look different during the holiday season. Each year is going to be special in its own unique way.
This year on Christmas Eve we had a relaxing day at home. I made Swedish Coffee bread for the Porteros in our building. The kids and Chad played games. We rested until 4:00 when we went to church. The service seemed like a typical Sunday service. We did not sing the traditional carols I am used to. We did not light candles. I did not pick-up on the traditions of this church because they were all new to me. But it was still a time for me to turn my thoughts towards God and the gift he gave us in the birth of his Son.
After church we came home. I put the brie in the oven and put-together a couple bags of Christmas cookies. While the brie was baking we walked over to the family we buy wood and flowers from. They were out on the corner hoping to sell some last flowers for the evening. We gave them the cookies and wished them a “Feliz Navidad”.
We took the brie over to some friends for a Christmas Eve party with many acquaintances. Being with people is nice when family isn't around, but the longing to be with those we love and are comfortable with in our sweats took over. We didn't stay long. We headed home, thankful for friends to be with and family to love, got comfy and enjoyed Christmas Eve together.
Wednesday, December 28, 2011
|Elena, Karina & Maddie on Monserrate|
|Simon Bolivar Square|
|Some friends Chad picked up along the way|
|Herbal tea for sale on the street corner|
Tuesday, December 27, 2011
Every year CGB (our school) has a Christmas Concert. Which consists of the students show casing their talents (or lack there of). Maddie played in a small band with her flute. Elena played in a group of guitars. When it comes to musical talents, I fall into the category I described above as “lack there of”. Thus, I joined drama.
The concert was a good opportunity for the school to assure the parents that their kids were becoming more artistic, as promised in the school’s philosophy. They didn't want the parents to think these classes were a waste of the older kid’s time, because year 12 and 13 don’t have better things to do (like IB work).
Maddie and Elena’s performances went as expected, and nothing out of the ordinary happened. I was less fortunate. We only started practicing our performance a couple weeks before the concert (remember we only get one class a week). Our drama teacher decided that we were not good enough at The Grinch, which we had already been practicing, so we resorted to preform Los Tres Cerditos (The Three Little Pigs) instead.
Apparently she thought, we would be much better preforming something new, instead of something we had already been practicing for weeks.
If we had preformed the play exactly how we had rehearsed, then we would have been lucky to receive a chuckle from the crowd, let alone a laugh. So we improvised. We inserted jokes when they came to us, and as a result, Los Tres Cerditos was NOT a complete fail. Once again improvisation had saved the day.
IB Diploma Program:
Friday, December 23, 2011
Thursday, December 22, 2011
|Elena rolling out Pepparkakor|
|Maddie filling the ping-pong table with baked cookies|
Saturday, December 17, 2011
Each year the Ambassador hosts a Christmas party for the embassy children. This year the Ambassador's wife wanted to invite some children from some local orphanages so that we could give to the community. This is the type of thing that makes me excited, so I joined the committee. We tracked down the groups she had mentioned and coordinated with the orphanages for 60 kids who are parentless or have sever burns to come to the party. Embassy staff donated money for gifts for Santa to give the kids. The teens wrapped presents. We decorated tables. Then the big day arrived. Kids from the embassy mingled with the guests doing crafts and decorating cookies. The teens oversaw the crafts. The girl scouts sang carols. Maddie and I played our flutes. A kids dance team performed. And Santa passed out gifts. I didn't make a huge difference in anyones life that day, but I hope my effort brought some happiness and joy to both those who have everything in the world and those who don't.
Monday, December 12, 2011
Last night Dad decided he wanted to make some homemade donuts. So, on Saturday morning we got up, and watched the Alton Brown donut making episode, and started. Dad, Damon, Maddie and I helped make them. It was a project that was mainly about learning and took a lot longer than expected. We got everything together, and made the dough first. We let the dough rise for 1 hour and then rolled it out and cut the donut shapes. We didn’t have any donut hole cutters so instead we used a yeast bottle and a cup. After we cut out the donuts we let them rise again for another hour. When they came out again we started heating up the oil to fry them. That was a mistake! The oil didn’t get hot fast enough, so the donuts that we had ready started to fall so they did not turn out very good. The first two that came out were burned but as we went along we got better and better. We had some spare dough so we started making donut holes. We used the cut outs from the inner hole on a donut and we fried those. Dad started making the icing for the donuts from the Alton Brown video and then we covered them after they cooled. A couple of Mom and Dad’s friends came over and ate homemade donuts together! They ended up turning out very good, but we also learned a couple things for when we make them in the future to speed it up a bit.
Here are the videos we followed to make them if you would like to make them for yourself.