Cuenca - Macy

Fun times at Hacienda Chan Chan

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Hacienda Chan Chan is a dairy and working farm near Chiquintad, a small town kind of close to Cuenca. They named it Hacienda Chan Chan because Chan Chan is a river right next to the farm.

Milking Cows
When our family was at the farm Jasper and I got to milk some cows bare hand. It was really fun, I had never had a chance to milk cows in my life. The family that owned the farm had about 30 milking cows. A lot of the cows were embarazada (which means pregnant in Spanish). A machine milked the cows, but the workers let me milk them just to try it. The cows are milked at 5:30 am and 3:00pm, 2 times a day. Wow that’s a lot!!!!!

Horses
Patsy is a donkey and Fiona is a caballo. They are really nice. Patsy was a snuggle bunny so she really likes kids and snuggles. Fiona the horse was not trained yet, because she was only two.

There was a girl named Gwen (one of the kids who lived on the farm) and she said that Fiona was going to be her horse when Fiona was trained. I was able to go horseback riding on a horse named Ben. Ben was a bit stubborn but I am still grateful that I even got to hop on a horse at a working dairy farm. When we were done riding Ben we were told just to take off the saddle tie him up to the post again. So we did, but Ben kept neighing and neighing because he wanted his friends. Of course my mom wanted Jasper and I to go tell Julie (she owns the farm with her husband Luke) what we should do with Ben. Julie said just leave him there, and…that’s what we did. But about half an hour later I saw Ben trotting to a field of barley. I told my mom, Ben is running to a field of barley. Mom said it is okay.

The next day my dad and I went to see if Ben was okay. So I went first, and saw that Ben was still in the spot eating away. I noticed that the rope was on him from the day before. I grabbed the rope and got Ben to walk with me. He was kind of trotting so I got a little scared and let go of the rope. Ben stopped so I tried to get a hold of it again. I could not because he almost bucked me right in the head. Luckily he didn’t.

After a little while my dad finally came, and we helped Ben into the other field but we just couldn’t quite figure out how to get him past the fence.

On the last day when we had to say goodbye to Patsy and Fiona I cried because I did not want to leave them. When everyone else left I was still there with Patsy and Fiona, but when my dad was walking towards me I walked closer to Patsy and Fiona.

My dad called out “you will want to hear this”. He told me that Julie comes into town every Friday and maybe one of those Fridays we can have a sleep over at the farm. Now I am happy about that because we will get to have a sleepover in 2 weeks and stay at the farm again with Lyall Nash and Sheryl Nash (my grandparents).

Adios hacienda Chan Chan

Cuenca - Macy

Día de la Independencia

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What’s happening in Cuenca? 

It is currently November 8, 2017. I am getting so excited for Hacienda Cha Chan (Hacienda Chan Chan is a dairy farm). We are going to the farm on Friday and it is Wednesday early night.

I am really tired because today was an exhausting today, as I hiked to a viewpoint with a church. The church is called la Iglesia de Turi. To the church it is about a ONE-HOUR walk. It is on the other side of the city. You have the option to take a tour bus but our family walks.

Half of the way is walking to the stairs and the other half is going up the stairs. I have done Turi three times. I did a walk there today, another one yesterday and one time in October. Turi is pretty easy for me because I have done it 3 times. The viewpoint is beautiful, you can see all of Cuenca. You can even see Cajas, a hiking spot. I would go up there every day if I could.

Independence holiday is over!!!!!

Nooooooooooo!!!!! Independence day here is apparently a popular thing. Tents are set up. People stay up late, music when I am trying to sleep. But after Independence Day is over there are not a lot people walking around, no more festivals, and last but not least no more stages.  

It was really weird last night there WERE FIRE WORKS, EVEN THOUGH IT WAS not Independence Day. Anyway back to Independence Day. Independence day was a really big holiday. SOMETIMES MY mom would even go check out some of the festivalS that were happening at night. When she was out my brother my dad and I would be watching a movie or doing something else.  

Near our house there is a park called “Parque De La Madre”. In the park there were tents set up with people selling crafts and decorations. Some people were selling boxes made out of wood; people were also selling scarves, bracelets, and posters, spectacular things made out of metal. I thought it was really cool to see things in Ecuador that I have never seen in my life. I miss Independence Day. 

Get this, sometimes when my mom would arrive and my brother and I would Already Be in bed. One time, when I was getting ready for bed and reaching out for my pajamas, I saw this gigantic spider. It was so big that I cried, my dad heard me crying so he came over to my room but he could not see any spider. He said “Macy what’s wrong?” I said “there is a spider in my room”. My dad thought it was just a little spider, but when he saw it in his mind he said to himself OH MY GOSH THAT IS BIG. Luckily, we caught the spider and put it outside.

By the way this was supposed to be posted about a week ago.

Extraño el Dia de la Independencia porque no voy a regresar. En el Dia de la Independencia hay artesanos con decoraciones. Además hay muchos festivales. También hay personas cantando y bailando. Me gusta el Dia de la Independencia mucho. Yo compré una caja con mi dinero.

Durante toda esa semana las tiendas venden un pan que se llama pan de guagua. Yo tengo un maestro que se llama Luis y él nos traia pan de guagua para mi hermano y para mí todas las clases.

 Después de las fiestas de Cuenca no hay muchas personas en los parques.

 Mi hermano y yo vamos todos los días a una piscina para nadar durante una hora y media.

Me gustan mucho los mercados y las plazas porque hay personas locales y ellos hablan muy bien español, y aprendo de ellos cuando escucho.

El clima de Cuenca cambia durante el día. Normalmente hace mucho sol en la mañana, y llueve mucho en la tarde. Es muy importante tener siempre un paraguas en la mochila por si acaso. Para mí el sitio más bonito es el “mirador del Turi” porque tú puedes ver toda la ciudad desde alli. 

Genial.

Macy

Cuenca - Jasper

Festival Time

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September 29 to November 5

It is getting nearer to the Independence Day weekend and I’m getting really nervous. The actual Independence Day is November 3, but it’s pretty much just a weekend of fun and buying things. One thing that I’m nervous about is there are workers that are setting up these enormous stages outside. Two, people are staying up later and partying way more than they usually would, on a normal day.

I think that everybody is getting nervous/anxious. Even though is not even starting yet. Bam! It just hit me, it was the start of the Independence Day weekend

There are food tents on one side of the river and artisan’s tents on the other side of the river. Luckily there was going to be no school even though it was a weekday, and we normally did school. That was a relief, and a surprise. That day we saw a school parade and then at night we saw some traditional music. While we were walking to the music we went to the travel agency and got a timetable that showed us what was happening and when.

We could see that this was going to be a lot of different music concerts. I couldn’t really understand it because the singer was singing really fast and it was in Spanish. At least we got to see it. My mom and I stayed longer because my sister was really tired, so she went home with my dad. During the time that my mom and I were there we were able to get some enormous lollipops, from a vender with lots of other things. We didn’t leave until around 9:45pm. It was still going when we left. Man these people stay up really late. I guess that is just normal for them.

I had a REALLY good sleep that night. I got to sleep with my mom, I felt more safe with her. The next day it was more festivities. We got up a little bit earlier, I didn’t like that. We did this because we wanted to see the military parade. Man! “It’s hot out” I said, as we walked out of front door. It was actually pretty hot though, around 27’C. Even my mom thought that it was hot, and she normally thinks everything is cold.

The road that the parade was on was near the Italian restaurant that we went to previously. Come on. There were already about a billion people waiting for the parade to start. Almost all of the people had those dang umbrellas. It’s like there is a giant wall in your face so you can’t see. It seemed like they were putting their umbrellas even higher so even my dad couldn’t see. People are just weird these days.

The concert started and it was upbeat and fun. During the end it got pretty boring because firefighters just kept coming not really MILITARY people. So it was a so-so parade.

I actually sort of forget what we did or went to after that, so I’m going to tell you what we did that night. Well truthfully we didn’t do much. My sister, my dad and I stayed home and watched a movie, and my mom went out to see a different concert. It was another late night.

The next morning we set off at around 10:30am to go for some more festivities. Yes more festivities. It was called battle of the bands. The bands were really bad, it sounded like they didn’t even practice one day. My mom was really disappointed because it was her idea to go and see it. She thought that it was going to be good, but it turned out pretty much the opposite of what she expected. I’m pretty sure that that was all that there was to the Independence festival/weekend. So I guess that I will see you next time. Which will be about Hacienda Chan Chan. A farm.

Bye (American way to say Adios)

Jasper(Jásper in Spanish)

Uncategorized

So, what DO we do all day long?

 

**Warning…… this is a rambling exposition.

This (the title) is a great question, sparked by one of Macy’s classmates during a Skype chat with the whole class the other day; which, by the way, was really lovely to witness.   One of the kids asked, “Macy, so…like…what do you do all day?”   Brilliant.

I noticed I have felt less driven to write a blog entry the last while, and I suppose it’s because the kids are writing about the “exciting things”, and I default to “what’s left”?  Life is becoming normalized here for us in a way…and…isn’t that what we were going for?  Situating ourselves in one place so that we can carve out a shortened version of a simple, normal, daily life in a totally different culture?

Suddenly I hear a shrieking voice inside my head berating me, “Emily… have you become complacent?!?!? NORMAL?!!? Seriously??  You are wasting your precious time here falling into some safe bubble!  What’s wrong with you?!  You’re throwing this once in a life time opportunity away!!!!!!”   Next, an extended “uh-oh” sinking-type feeling, and then the storm passes with only slight collateral damage that I’d like to believe I transform into motivation.  Eventually, I step back, take a breath, attempt to access my rational brain, and remind myself that what we are doing is pretty incredible.  There simply has to be an ongoing “balancing and rebalancing” of some form of adventure with basic living.  The question then becomes,  what is our basic living like here?

It’s awesome…

….mostly……except…. that although I had ridiculous hopes and visions of my kids turning into complete angels, I still have to parent.  What?!?   I still have to deal with brother-sister asinine fighting…..absent-minded crossing of the streets…..enforce manners… …squash “attitudes”……nag about cleaning…etc..etc.  Also, just quickly – folks who are able to homeschool their children and remain a sane and somewhat effective parent are freakishly amazing.  This could never be something I do regularly.  Wow.

Doing homework

**Kids sitting nicely, doing homework.  Hmmmm….suspicious….

Jasper doing dishes

**Jasper washing the dishes.  Rubber gloves a must as the hot water BURNS!!

 

What has fallen into the backdrop of our “normalized life here” is the buzzing noise, including the incessant cock-a-doodle-doo of the rooster next door and the traffic hum-drum right outside our door amongst other cacophony.  We have also inserted white noise into our sleeping routines, which has helped.  So, I must admit that we sleep in every day.  (insert shame-faced emoji here).   For instance, it is currently 8:50am and the kids are not up yet.  Granted, they went to bed late….but…….

I enjoy waking up early (relatively speaking 😉  ) and coming downstairs to have my coffee and either study some of my Spanish or write in my journal.  Eventually everyone makes their way downstairs, Myles usually first, and we have breakfast.   Breakfast can be Cornflakes, toast and peanut butter (which is not popular here and incredibly expensive), yogurt and fruit, or a personal favourite of the kids’ – a plate of quail eggs!

After breakfast and cleaning ourselves up, we jump into homework and studying Spanish.  Luis, who is from Spain and has lived in Cuenca for 9 years, comes every Tuesday and Thursday to spend 45 minutes with each kid and an hour with me!  It’s incredibly helpful and I appreciate his informal way of teaching.  Sometimes on those days, as I’m last to have my lesson, Myles and the kids will take off right after their their lessson to go swimming.  Once I’m done mine, I find any excuse to go walking around.  I’ll head to the market (which I still LOVE, but has become “normal”) or the grocery store, or the other day I walked over half an hour to find a store that had rain ponchos.  We all reconvene at the house where I hopefully will have begun some creation of dinner….simple, or a few notches above simple.  Then it’s just hanging out.  Being on the equator, the sun is essentially gone by around 7pm all year round; so although the temperature is fine (jeans are perfect and a sweater is necessary), the day feels “done” by then.  We haven’t any toys or games to entertain us, and there’s only so much you can do as a family inside at night, so admittedly we sometimes sit around the computer and watch something on Netflix.   For those of you who know our family, tv is a privilege, especially during the weekdays, so the kids are pretty amped when they get to watch something and stay up until 9:30pm!!

Market

**The market…….just one, small section of it.

Cuenca musings 8

**There are 3 rush hour times throughout the weekdays….morning, lunch, and after work.  Here’s one of them.  The streets are narrow and in our area are most often one-way…so the traffic can line up!!

 

Mondays, Wednesdays and Fridays Jasper has his soccer at 3pm, so we do the “schooling thing” in the morning, and then head out around 2:15pm to walk to his soccer.  Macy was initially more keen on going to soccer when the family of adorable and very dirty puppies were there, but since they were stolen (yes, stolen), the lure of watching the 9 rabbits stuffed into a make-shift metal cage and the chickens and roosters wandering all around has faded.  Often she and I will walk there (20 minutes) with Myles and Jasper, watch for a bit, and then head off to the market or some such thing.

Soccer pitch 1

**This is the bench seating area where we watch Jasper’s soccer from.   Thankfully there is the cover overhead as it often dumps rain!  The chickens and roosters run the show here though, and they wander all over….including almost stepping across our feet on a regular basis.

Macy's puppies 8

**One of Macy’s little puppy friends.  The location is similar to a junk yard, so if you look closely, you’ll notice the puppy’s toy is some part of an old car.

 

Weekends?   Well, no regularity…but thus far we find some small or medium-sized adventure….be it the zoo, a hike, or simply walking around to explore the city somewhere.

If it isn’t yet obvious, we walk everywhere.  I deeply appreciate that part.  I am not exercising in any way, shape or form….so I’m grateful for the walking.  Once in a while we take a taxi, but not often.  Really though, walking affords the opportunity to really observe and take in the nuances of the culture.  I absolutely love walking along inconspicuous streets and witnessing daily life unlike anything we see back home.  I often wish I could take pictures to capture things, but that feels gross and like these people are a zoo exhibit.  So I don’t.

Cemetary 3

***This is a big and beautiful cemetery I came across one day on one of my walks.

Cemetary 4

**This is one of the outside walls to the cemetery.  This paintings are at least 10-12ft high, and I am guessing they are images of important people….possibly buried here??

 

Cuenca musings 2

**Just an incredibly hard-working woman pushing her cart of goods….maybe heading home for the day.  Not an easy living.

What do I cook?  Wellllllll, not ever having been known as a fanciful cook, I still keep things mostly simple.  I have ventured into making some nice meals, even an Ecuadorian arroz con pollo, (rice with chicken….whoopee); but I love leftovers, and some nights it’s sandwiches.  I can get almost everything I need from the grocery stores, so that’s great.  The fruits and vegetables are most enjoyable and cost-friendly to purchase from the market just 9 minutes from our house…..e.g., 3 lovely red peppers for a dollar, 3 or 4 avocados for a dollar, a big bag of tomatoes for a dollar….you get the point.  Sometimes we go out for a meal and my favourites are the ones where it entails cheap, local cuisine.  We have had a few nice meals at “fancier” places with more western gastronomic choices, but they are expensive when you are on a budget and often filled with expats or other gringos.   Obviously we somewhat fit into that category, but my skin crawls a bit when we are surrounded by these folks and being swallowed up by an Ecuadorian attempt to set the expat mind at ease by creating a North American experience.  That isn’t why we are here.

Arroz con pollo

**Arroz con pollo.  Fancy.

Graffiti 3

**Loads of graffiti all around.  I like this one in particular….a creative embellishment of a boring door.

If you’ve managed to stomach my rambling – thanks!  I have so, so many more things I can ramble on about, but perhaps I’ll leave those for another day.

 

Chau

xo

Cuenca - Jasper

The hike of amazingness.

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Saturday October 28

The time in Cuenca has passed by sort of fast and sort of slow. It has passed by fast because I’m having a really fun time exploring places and just being out of the house. It has passed by slowly because most of the days we’ve just been walking around and I sort of want to do other things. I just don’t know what I want to do.

Overall it has been a pretty fun time more than it has been not fun though. The other day I went on a hike with a guy named Donald who my mom connected with through Facebook. I finally realized that he didn’t want to get paid or need to get paid. Wow! He’s a really nice guy I kept thinking to myself before we even left for the hike. Sadly my sister couldn’t come because she had a very big belly ache. I was sad that she couldn’t come because then it would have been way more fun with her.

On the day that we went on the hike I was really nervous because I was going on a hike with somebody that I didn’t know. I had to get up at 7:30am. I was super tired during the time that I had to get changed and stuff like that. It seemed like I got shocked the second that I stepped into the bus terminal. I was shocked because it was actually going to happen. I was going on a hike in South America.

Mi mama y yo necesitaban caminar y ver por Donald. El dice que iba estar cerca la fuentes de agua. El razón que no le vimos, es porque el taxista nos dejó en la parte de atrás de la terminal de autobuses, no en la parte en frente. Estuve enojado con el taxista por hacer eso. Finalmente encontramos a Donald y dijimos nuestros holas. El estaba con otra persona que se llama Steve. Las dos personas estaban muy amable.

OMG! We almost missed the bus, because it was supposed to leave at 8:30am but the driver was ready so he left at 8:10am. That never happens in Calgary I thought. We were able to get some snacks at the little visitor centre. They were very good. I hoped that the hike was long and not very short. Donald said that we had the option to go the extra hour and a half. I wanted to do that.

The actual hike was really fun. There were quite a bit of differences about the actual hike. Number one there was no real pathway/trail. You basically just walked on this big brown dirt road. A long time ago the road was used for donkeys to haul things along. Well that’s what Donald told us at least. For snack break we stopped at a little meadow near a lake that we were going to be going around. I tried to make a statue of rocks but sadly it failed. I ate too much I thought after we started to go again. Wow! That went quick. Please don’t end I thought, but it had to. It was the most fun hiking experience in South America ever.

Bus come right now or else I will kill you. I was saying that because we had been waiting one hour to flag down a bus. Finally it came and I napped all of the way home.

See ya J-man

Cuenca - Jasper · Cuenca - Macy

Nuestra experiencia con los niños.

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Mí Experiencia – Jasper

I have never volunteered in my life. So it was kind of a surprise when my mom and dad said that we were going to volunteer at a daycare. I was nervous because they only spoke Spanish and I was still learning the language. About an hour before we left for the daycare, I got “nervous poo” and/or butterflies in my stomach. I thought that all of the kids were going to be sucking their thumbs. Gross! Either that, or just sitting on their bums doing nothing. Boring! The daycare was located in a plaza, I forget the name of the plaza. I still know that it was in a plaza. When we got to the plaza there were two Caucasian, American ladies that were going to be helping us out. One was from Minneapolis, and I think the other was from Oregon; which meant that they spoke English. Phew! Sadly one of them was a little bit deaf.

The daycare was in a school, and the school was huge! I think that it was junior high and high school. Wow, two big sections of grades in one school! That never happens in Calgary. When I saw the kids at the daycare, some of them looked very tired and a bit ragged, and their mom’s were really young. I would never want to be in that situation, but I still feel badly for them. Also, I felt badly for them because they were going to get picked up at around 10:00 o’clock pm after their moms were finished their schooling. Wow that’s late! It turned out that they were some of the nicest, funniest and loving kids in the world that I have ever met. They varied in all ages: there were some that were two, and others who only came on Thursdays that were eight and nine years old. The younger kids were a little more fun, I have to admit.

There was this one two year old, I’m pretty sure his name was Coli. He was the most fun toddler that I have ever met. He turned out to be my best friend. He was a very, very squirmy kid! At one point I was piggybacking him and he had no hands on me. I got really scared that he was going to fall off, so I told my mom and she took him for the time that he was going to be on my back. It seemed like all of the little kids wanted to grab on to you and just hold you until you really had to do something, like go to the bathroom.

Luckily the kids got to have dinner at the daycare because the two ladies that we met at the start brought dinner. The dinner was a sausage casserole; they only gave the kids a little bit because there were a lot of them. They could have seconds though. There was enough that Macy and I got to try some. It was just ok…. well…actually I didn’t like it very much! All of the kids really liked it though, and that’s what’s most important.

After dinner we went outside because the teacher didn’t bring the keys for the classroom. I felt really badly for her. Still it was really fun outside. We played a lot of different games. The first one that we played was almost like a hide and seek game. It was really fun. At one point during the game, Coli just wandered off and people went to search for him. I found him first so I asked him if he wanted to try to find people with me. Of course, I asked in Spanish because that’s the only language that he knows of. It was soooooooooo funny watching the little kids run. It was like my walk, but they were still trying their hardest.

The second game that we played was pretty fun too. I don’t know what it was called, so I will try to explain it the best that I can. There were two or three people in the middle, depending on the age of the people. All of the other people that weren’t in the circle were holding hands and singing a song. After we were done singing, the people in the middle, who were the wolves, would say if they wanted to eat us or if they were just doing something completely random. If they said they wanted to eat you, you would have to scram immediately or else they would “eat” you. It was not very hard because the kids were pretty slow.

By 8:30pm, it was getting pretty late, so we had to go. It was the first and the most fun experience of volunteering de mi vida. Luckily we get to go every Tuesday and Thursday until we leave for our next place. I hope that next time we go we get to see inside the classroom.

Adios Jasper Me gusta los niños y niñas mucho.

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Mí Experiencia – Macy

Omg…. I had the time of my life four days ago. I volunteered at a daycare for young mamas that did not complete their school and they are advancing their education now.

The way it works is the kids would go to school for the day in their hometown, then the mamas would do a one hour drive to drop them off at 5:00 at the Cuenca daycare, then the mamas would go to their classes for 4 hours. After their classes the moms would come and pick up the kids.

The kids would probably be really tired because they are really young kids. It would then be a one hour bus ride home and the kids would not be in bed until about 11:00 pm. They would have to wake up at about 6:30am the next day.

I have never volunteered in my life, it was a pretty good experience volunteering. We did not once touch a toy, and the kids still had a blast. We had a sausage casserole for dinner. There was enough dinner for me and my brother to have some, it was really yummy.

All I had to do to help was just basically play with the kids. I made a friend, she was nine years old. I taught her how to do cartwheels. There was this one girl that was just starting grade one, she became my dad’s best friend.

The kids were awesome to play with. I felt like the kids liked having another kid to play with, it looked they had a great time. I think my brother, my dad, my mom and me had a great time.

Adios amigos Macy

Cuenca - Jasper

I did it.

Before we even left for the trip, I had some expectations, some worries and some hopes. A lot of those feelings changed drastically. My expectations for the house were that it was going to be a very tiny house that is really dirty and super old. No, no and no it is a giant house that has two ginormous floors, three bathrooms, and 5 beds. It is still really old but it seems like it was built a day ago. I already knew that there was going to be no clean water. So when I got here it wasn’t much of a surprise.

The most recent interaction with somebody that I didn’t know was with my Spanish teacher, his name is Luis. He is a really good, fun, nice guy. The very first lesson that he did with me he didn’t know how good I was at Spanish so he just tested me.

I was almost crying because I was soooooo nervous about going to soccer. I had to wear a orange jersey because it was Wednesday. When I got there there were some kids playing a soccer game. It looked like they were having lots of fun. When the coordinators came I had to go on the dust field. I was so nervous because he introduced me to the whole group. I almost cried. During the first drill I sort of made a friend. His name was Miguel, he was a pretty nice guy. He was the friendliest at least.

Jasper_1st_Academy
My first Academy in Cuenca

They talked at about 999 999 999 kilometres an hour. Well the point is that they talked really fast. It was sort of hard to understand because they mumbled a lot. They also wanted me to talk in English, so I said hummingbird. Then they asked me to say a sentence, so I said I like to play soccer. They asked me what it meant so I said it in Spanish. Almost like this A mi me gusta jugar fútbol. It was really funny knowing a language that they don’t.

It lasted 1 hour and a quarter, of very exciting and nerve wracking minutes. After it finished I was relieved, I was also very happy. I got to have very yummy peanuts and raisins after. It was a twenty minute walk back to our house. It was very fun because I got to talk in English.

That night I got to pick the movie because I went to the soccer academy. I picked a very funny movie called Change Up. It was to0 inappropriate so I picked a movie called Anchorman. It was a movie with Will Ferrel. He is a comedian so it was really funny. It had a lot of humour to it. We didn’t get to watch the whole movie because it was too long. I still got to read Harry Potter though, it is very romantic right now.

Chau Jasper