Fanesca: the soup of 12 grains
What is Fanesca? Definition help from good ol' Wikipedia: "Fanesca is a soup traditionally prepared and eaten by households in Ecuador during Holy Week. It is a rich soup, with the primary ingredients being figleaf, gourd (sambo), pumpkin (zapallo), and twelve different kinds of beans and grains including chochos (lupines), habas (fava beans), lentils, peas, corn and others, together with bacalao, salt cod, cooked in milk. It is also generally garnished with hard boiled eggs, fried plantains, herbs, parsley, and sometimes empanadas. The twelve beans represent the twelve apostles of Jesus, and the bacalao is symbolic of Jesus himself. Fanesca is usually consumed at midday, which is generally the principal meal of the day within Ecuadorian culture. The making and eating of fanesca is considered a social or family activity." So there you have it folks. These 3 next photos below are not mine, but just meant to show what it looks like.
In the morning I went for a run far out and UP a huge hill and back down and around. It's funny how I lived here a year but there are still places very nearby that I don't know very well.
Family reunions are common for this family, especially since everyone lives so close. Wilmer is a long-lost cousin of the family whose grandfather is the same grandfather as one of the two sides... I haven't figured out everything because this family is so huge that it would be a whole lot of effort to actually find out how everyone is related. Either way, I showed up with Mamarina, Luis, Hugo, and Dome's tia (Andrea's mom) to find a house full of people I had never met before. Eventually Dome and Sara and Elssie and Victor and Amelia showed up, and so did Carlos, his wife, and Amelia, and later on so did Carol and Sandra.
We were there to celebrate somebody's graduation, and we ate Fanesca even though it isn't Holy Week. It's so filling, and they give you more than you'll ever eat. My favorite part was the empanada balls and fried bananas on top.
There was a singer! It was fun to have live music. I went upstairs with Sara for a while, we played pool with Amelia and Dome, and then people danced.
Yikes it just makes me so uncomfortable to dance... and I don't know why. I just get really nervous because it feels like everyone is watching how my feet get stumbled. Just like somebody freezes when they're afraid of heights, my whole body stiffens when somebody tries to teach me how to dance. Strange, I know. It's even stranger because speaking in front of 1000+ people doesn't phase me in the slightest.
We drank Norteno, which is a tequila-based drink with lots of lemon and sugar. All the 20-something-year-olds hung out outside on the patio chatting. Fei is going to do a 3-month placement in Minneapolis, which is pretty cool--I'm excited to hear how it turns out. I was reminded that people here smoke cigarettes a lot more than back home. We talked about which beaches are best to visit and some of the most difficult learning curves for language (ie. por vs. para). Afterwards, I hung out with Carol in Mamarina's house and we caught up about lots and lots of things.
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