Michelle (isn't she too adorable?) has her first English Lesson and can now proudly say her ABC's.
After our English lesson, Pedro headed for his brother's to borrow a grinder for the fresh choclo. Bo, Dora, Michelle and I headed for the 9 de Octubre mercado to buy Humita ingredients and to learn new tips on where and how to shop more economically (Dora showed us which tienditas and vendors to hit). Our Ecuadorian friends are always educating and helping us with all our questions about shopping and cooking. We shopped, headed back home, and then spend the rest of our afternoon and evening making Humitas from scratch and then savoring them with cafe con leche. I must say, Dora's humitas were the best I've EVER eaten yet (sorry Sr. Zoila, but you still have the lead on Tamales so far). Until recently, Dora owned and operated her own restaurant, and humitas was one of her specialties. Each of her Humitas were incredibly moist, abundantly filled and generously packed with cheese, perfectly seasoned and mouth-watering delicious. We ended up making about thirty or more so we would have lots of leftovers. Dora said they're better the second day. She's absolutely right!!
Today, Sunday, We had a full-house again for another English lesson and a big "Bo's Seafood Chaulafan" feast; Pedro, his sister and family, and Dora and Michelle. They each repeated their ABC's until their tongues were curling and their eyes were crossing. How we laughed and then clapped together when progress was made so quickly. At the end of today's lesson, there was a genuinely expressed desire from those who sincerely want to learn our language. Without that 100% desire, we'll see who continues to come faithfully. For now, it's been an enjoyable weekend having even more Ecuadorian friends coming over and being hungry to learn from each other. Erika who is 18 and in college, and her mom Lola wants to help Bo with his Spanish. Just being around our Spanish- only speaking friends has personally helped me to improve my Spanish tremendously as I carefully listen and continue to learn new words and sentences.
Yes, after our immigration and passport week, this weekend was refreshing, inspiring, and Ecuadorian delicious! It's days and times like this weekend that remind Bo and me why we are here and continues to give us the motivation to push on persistently and patiently in the tasks ahead.
Dora takes us to her special vendor friend who helps her cut and prepare the choclo and husks for humitas. (Photos top and bottom)
The choclo is cut and bagged, the husks are bagged, and we next head to the cheese vendor stand. (Photos top and bottom)
Onward to Dora's favorite tiendita to buy the butter, sugar, baking powder, manteca, and anis. (Now I know where to get my quality butter for so much less - yea!!!)
And an egg vendor! Here we can buy 36 eggs (Una Cubeta) for $3, or a bag (una funda) of eggs for $1. We bought una cubeta.
We meet up with Pedro back at our apartment, and while he sets up the grinder for the choclo, and Michelle applauds his success.......
......Dora begins to melt the butter and manteca and prepare the other ingredients.
Team work cracking the eggs!
Preparing the fresh cheese with some Achiote.
Now, this is what I called a generous cheese-filled choclo husk......
.......wrapped and stacked and ready to steam!!!
They were cooked to perfection and delicious beyond words!
Michelle wanted to capture us feasting on Humitas. It's a bit out of focus, but not bad for a 10 year old, and she surely captured the joy of the moment.