Caramel Apple Coffee Cake & Rio Tomebamba

Lest you think I am Alice and I fell down the proverbial rabbit hole into some kind of South American paradise let me dispel that myth. I have been somewhat miserable this past week. Let’s suffice it to say that I have had some kind of allergic/nervous reaction going on that at first caused me to “feel” like I was breaking out in hives, and then I actually did develop hives. One of my friends told me that she suffered with the same thing for about a year when she first moved here, another sister said she had the same thing..for a year and they thought it might be the water. Cuenca has the most drinkable water in Ecuador, but it also has a fair amount of chlorine in it so some immigrants, like myself, don’t drink it. But baths are another story. So maybe gringo skin has to get acclimated I don’t know. Anyway, at times it almost feels like something is taking tiny bites on your skin, and no it’s not my imagination my friends felt the same thing! There seem to be 3 things going on with my skin here, 1. The weather is much drier here at the high altitude so your skin gets dry quick, for instance we hang out clothes and they are dry within 2 hours or less. 2. I had an insect bite and it triggered my histamine system to go nuts, not used to the insects here of course. There are very few thankfully and I have yet to see a mosquito. 3. Nerves, we still haven’t quite settled the sale of our house although we closed on it Friday and my residency status is still up in the air. My fingerprints were rejected by the FBI as being of low quality so we had to go back again on Friday for me to get fingerprinted all over again. This time we took our attorney and the “policia” was extra thorough this time. Hmmmm, I wonder why?

Chet says the itching is mostly my nerves. Alrighty then, he is entitled to his opinion. Anyway, after stocking up on B-complex stress meds and homeopathic allergy meds, downing mega doses of Omega 3’s,  flax oil in my morning smoothies,  Histacalm from the local pharmacy to slather on whenever and wherever, taking coconut oil orally everyday to combat dryness and going back to good ol’ Vaseline as a topical after bath (short, tepid baths not hot) I decided to take my mind off my misery. Ahhhh, hospitality, that’s it! Do something for others and heal thyself!

So we decided to introduce the friends here to mid-morning service break. The groups here, at least in our congregation, don’t take a break. The group meets at 8:30 a.m and they stay out until 11:00/11:30 and then onto return visits, etc.  All walking territory of course. If you know Chet you know he relishes his break time. Good ol’ Chick-Fil-A where art thou? So anyway, the group meets close to our house on Monday and thus the territory closest to our house is worked. So yesterday we invited everyone who came to the group for a short break at our house about 10 a.m. The menu: Caramel Apple Coffee Cake, fresh pineapple, coffee, hot tea and ice tea. As it turned out it was a perfect day for a break, chilly, rainy and windy. Yes!!! Good excuse. I don’t have pictures of everyone (about 10 friends) but I do have the link for the cake. This cake is a bit labor intensive but so worth it and DELICIOUS especially with the caramel drizzle, it got rave reviews, as did the idea of a little break. This cake is perfect for fall, hospitality or to take your mind off of allergic nervous reactions. Here it is: http://www.myrecipes.com/recipe/caramel-apple-coffee-cake-50400000123170/ Advance Warning: This cake is loaded with butter and sugar, not healthy at all! Yay!! sometimes you just have to eat it!

I mentioned in an earlier blog that there are 4 rivers that run through Cuenca. Thus the full name of this city, Santa Ana de los cuatro rios de Cuenca. The rivers are the  Yanuncay, Tarqui, Machangara and the Tomebamba. The Rio Tomebamba is a block away from our house. Today was sunny and beautiful so I took a walk after our Spanish class to the Monay shopping center (for fragrance free detergent) about a 1.5 miles from our house along the bike/walking path by the river. Thought you might enjoy seeing some pictures, the last one is just a selfie of me prepping my hair for my henna treatment after I got back home, relaxed, refreshed and not thinking about hives!

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