For those of you who were wondering, the chocolate chip cookies turned out okay. They weren't perfect, but the high altitude definitely messed with the dough. That plus, some of the ingredients were a little different (aka baking soda from a pharmacy that comes wrapped in a little plastic bag with no real packaging). But my family really liked them. They ate almost all of them, probably because they only have store-bought chocolate chip cookies here. But I did teach them one essential part of cookie-making: eat the dough! I'm pretty sure my sisters ate more cookie dough than actual cookies. It was a lot of fun though. Several cousins came over to help make the cookies, so there were about 7 kids in the kitchen attempting to bake at once.
The weekend went very well. On Saturday, we went to a National Park called Cajas. It was beautiful in a rather stark, rainy way. There were lots of mountains, mountain streams, lakes, and marshes. Very wet, rather sparse vegetation, but still very majestic. There was an entire forest of these trees called paper trees, very twisted, with red, flaky bark and mossy leaves. I think that was my favorite. It was a pretty muddy hike. It rained the entire time, and sometimes hiking seemed more like a controlled slide down a muddy, narrow path than actual walking. But I really enjoyed being able to be outside. Afterward, we ate some trout fresh from the nearby lakes and headed back down to Cuenca to warm up.
Then, yesterday after church, my family took me to a nearby city to see the cathedral there. We got some fresh coconut to eat from a street-vendor, and then we went to a restaurant to eat lunch around 2:00 (lunch is pretty late here). The food was delicious, and we got to watch the end of the Brazil, Ivory Coast game. My little sister almost started to cry when Brazil's best played, Kaka, got red-carded unfairly by the ref. He'll have to sit out the next game. Too bad for Brazil.
Another interesting experience was watching the movie Remember Me with my family. If you don't want to know what happens in the movie, SKIP TO THE NEXT PARAGRAPH. But anyway, it's a pretty depressing movie, and it ends with the main character waiting in one of the Twin Towers on the morning of Sept. 11, one of the surprise, twist endings that just makes you gasp or feel sick to your stomach. It was interesting to see how much the movie affected me as opposed to my sisters. I had to explain to my little sister that I still remember where I was on Sept. 11, even though I was pretty young. Just another interesting intercultural experience.
We only have a few more days of class left. I'm very excited to be done with school. I love learning Spanish, but having an entire extra semester after a difficult semester of classes at Taylor is just wearing me down. Looks like my prof is coming to start class. Chao!