February Holidays

Two holidays happened this month: Dia de San Valentin and Carnaval.

For Valentine’s Day, Laura and I had a little get together at house for all of our single female coworkers. It was a nice gathering to appreciate our friends, drink some wine, share stories, and eat good food.

 Handmade Valentines for all of our guests

Valentines Party spread- cheeeeeeese

My school went crazy with Carnaval Queen elections, the closest thing to Prom Queen we have. There is no King, but the girls quite make up for it. There are three candidates, one from tenth, eleventh, and twelfth grades. The 12th grade girl won, but the other two put up a good fight. To be honest, it seems like a waste of money, but it’s a tradition and not likely to change any time soon. The girl candidates campaign spending was capped at $10,000 after spending got a little out of hand a few years ago. Our school celebrates by ending the week with a huge outdoor fair. They had above ground pools with kids in bubbles that looked like hamster balls running on the water, a huge stage, walls made of Velcro that you would stick to, food stands, etc.

 11th Graders flooding the Assembly Area for Carnaval Campaigns

Giant Velcro Wall at the school Carnival

10th Graders campaigning between classes

Carnaval (Latin American Mardi Gras) was spent in Cuenca. We knew that it isn’t really celebrated in Cuenca because most Cuencanos go to the coast to celebrate, but Laura’s friend is living there, we had a free place to stay, and figured it could be a fun/cheap getaway for the four day weekend.

In the cities, it seems like Carnaval is pretty much an excuse to be a jerk to strangers on the street, and by jerk I mean someone who throws water balloons and dumps buckets of water from balconies on complete strangers. Because that’s all that happened. It was all fun and games until I got super sick my last day in Cuenca from being constantly soaked, cold, and covered in foam spray.

 Stand selling supplies for Carnaval: Foam, Silly String, Confetti, etc.

We definitely took part when we first got to Cuenca. Some middle aged women were sitting on a roof dumping buckets of water on the heads of everyone walking by, so our group invested in some foam sprays and water guns and started an epic battle. After four days of potentially getting water dumped on you every time you walk under a balcony, or any time a car drives by with a window down, you get kind of paranoid. I know now to pack more dry clothes for where ever I end up next Carnaval.


  1. Hi McKenzie, my husband and I will travel to Cuenca later this year. Could we meet your friend Brian, sounds like an interesting local to know. Thanks Lisa. We're also from Tallahassee.

  2. Hi Lisa, I don't know what Brian's schedule is like, but give me your info and I can forward it to him and maybe he can help you out with some travel tips, restaurant/hotel advice, etc. Email me at mckenzieaday@gmail.com


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