preparation

Cartagena Clothing

Staying cool in the heat

Clothing should be practical and aesthetically pleasing. In Cartagena, the available options meet that criteria and more. Here, clothing flows and the textures and patterns make it fun to wear.

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Categories: art, artisan, background, bags, blog, Cartagena, clothing, Colombia, dresses, hat, local, making, manufacturing, people, photos, preparation, shirt, travel, weaving | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Something Fishy This Way Comes . . .

What do you get when you add salmon to a salted water pot of boiling potatoes and onions? If it’s South Haven, Michigan at National Blueberry Festival time, an amazing Fish Boil, Lake Michigan style! With over 40 years of fish boil experience, the South Haven Steelheaders (SHS) chapter of the Michigan Steelheaders and Salmon Fisherman’s Association, created a tasty treat for multitudes of hungry guests, including Two Who Trek, on August 8, 2015.

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Categories: community events, dining, festivals, fish, food, food preparation, local, Michigan, people, photos, preparation, restaurants, service club, vegetable | Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Saying Goodbye to Cuenca

Two Who Trek share some lessons learned (and not just Spanish ones)

It’s a gray morning in Cuenca – one of the few we have had.  It’s also a sad morning, as our program host will be coming with a taxi about 7 to take us to the airport to start the journey home.  As we share our last breakfast in the apartment (our favorite – a fresh fruit medley, pastry, milk and coffee, today made even more special by sharing a piece of tres leche cake left from the day before), we discuss how profoundly sad we are.  But we knew this day had to come.  Staying in Cuenca wouldn’t be the same – after all, the apartment has been sold, our fellow travelers (now friends) are heading back home, and even one of our teachers has been laid off from the school.  So it was time to leave.

But why were we so sad?  While there is usually a twinge of remorse about a vacation ending, this was a much deeper sadness.  We concluded this trip was the best travel experience we have had to date, one we wanted to continue.  Many questions were answered for us, such as:

Could we live in a foreign country?

Yes.  While we did have some structured experiences throughout the trip, much of the time we were on our own.  We negotiated in stores, found addresses, tried new restaurants, and saw amazing sites.  The more time we spent in the country, the easier it was to navigate daily life.  With more time, practice, and improved language skills, we would have a great living experience.

We only had one time when we had to ask our program host for interpretive help.  Sherri had arranged to have a lovely blazer made to her specifications – two button, hip length, pockets – like one she purchased years ago and has worn out.  When she went back for the fitting, a different seamstress waited on her and we couldn’t understand what she was saying.  Program Hostess Christine came to our rescue, and found the seamstress was saying her associate had only measured for the fabric and didn’t take specific jacket measurements.  After some quick measurements, we were done.  By the way, the blazer is amazing and professionally done, all for $25 for the fabric and $45 for the labor.

Would we want to live in a foreign country?

Not at this time.  We both realized we are closely connected to our family and friends.  Sherri still has a job to go to daily, too. Continue reading

Categories: background, blog, Cuenca, ecuador, Journals, lessons, photos, preparation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

A Vacation within a Vacation

or Why has Two Who Trek been quiet so long?

The Spanish studies program in Cuenca offers a four day “spring break” halfway through the month-long stay.  The program organizers encourage students to explore new possibilities during this period.  About half the students in our group stayed in the Cuenca area; a few took advantage of day bus trips offered by the school to nearby towns.  A couple went by van with some Cuencanos to Baños, a resort town to the north, reached by driving through the “Avenue of the Volcanos”

Our program organizers took a van load of students to a coastal resort community in northern Peru.  One couple decided to venture to Macchu Piccu, the place where Two Who Trek made their first trip outside of North America in 2006.

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Categories: blog, classes, Cuenca, ecuador, galapagos national park, lessons, photos, preparation, travel | Tags: , , , , , , , | Leave a comment

Quito Quickly

After a five hour layover in Atlanta, Two Who Trek boarded the Boeing jet to Quito, Ecuador at 5:45 PM. You probably expect horror stories about the flight.  Not in this case.  Joe had shelled out extra money to  purchase seats in the emergency exit row, giving ample legroom.  There was an added bonus.  We were seated next to a Quito native, now a citizen of the United States.  He enlightened us with tales of the delights of his country and the trip time just flew by. (Yes, a bad pun). Continue reading

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The Twelve Days Before Cuenca

In the twelve days before leaving for Cuenca, my true friend gave to me – Continue reading

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Learning Spanish the Slacker Way

If you are reading this post in December, you’ll notice a countdown clock in the right column, showing that we have just 17 days remaining before our month-long trip to Ecuador.  We are busily preparing for the trip as well as getting our Christmas gifts, cards, and traditional activities completed.

The trip organizers have been very helpful, sending weekly email messages to prepare us for the adventure.  Topics covered include what to expect, what will we need (i.e., Cuenca has the same electric power and plugs as we do so no need for converters or adapters), and lists of Spanish words and phrases to study.

Their goal is for us to learn about 2,000 words before we board that first airplane.  So far, Joe has mastered two—“cerveza” and “baῆos”, figuring that would cover both incoming and outgoing.  He was shocked to learn that “baῆos” was really a place to bathe and that he needed to ask for a “servicio”. Continue reading

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