There are only 2 days left before we board a 6:30am flight back to the States on Thursday! I haven’t blogged in a while because we have been so busy. I’m pretty sure we have done everything we could have possibly wanted to do in this country, and then some. Here is the last couple of weeks through pictures:
One day after school, a couple of our teachers took us into Old Town (or El Centro), to look at the churches. They were so insane: huge and covered in gold. We had been to Old Town by ourselves once before but we were lost and overwhelmed so we didn’t stay long. It was really nice of our teachers to spend an afternoon–in the cold rain, on public buses, after working all day–giving us the full historic experience. My teacher has been particularly helpful throughout this trip. I’ve had her Lonely Planet guide book on loan since Day 1, she calls our hostels for us, buys our bus tickets in advance, tells us the architectural significance of whatever we’re looking at. She’s great.
We were here on Mother’s day, and while we missed our Mamas back home, we had a great time with our Ecuadorean mom. We have gotten very close with Raquel. For Mother’s day, we bought her a small carved elephant figurine for her living room collection, a cupcake, and a rose. Raquel treats me like I’m her daughter. Last night she rubbed milk of magnesia on my sunburned face while I sat sulking about it in my bed. At dinner, she makes me try things and when I say I don’t like it she laughs and eats the rest. She guides us through the city and we follow her like little baby ducks. We’re all really going to miss her. Her daughter, Paola, lives in Missouri, so Raquel visits America occasionally. There will definitely be a reunion.
This beautiful slice of cobblestone street is also in Old Town. We ate empanadas that were two feet wide, drink Canelazo, a spiced Ecuadorean drink, and bought souvenirs at a cute store that made stuff out of recycled coke bottles. Obviously I bought a repurposed coke bottle dog figurine.
In this picture you can see some of my Ecuadorean students. This was in the bus on the way to our field trip to an Ecuadorean museum in downtown Quito.
And then there’s Papallacta, natural hot spring heaven about 2 hours from Cumbaya. It was like an oversized hot tub at the hands of Geology. We stayed in for hours until we were dizzy and kind of nauseous because it just felt too good. No regrets.
These little pups were best friends at the hostel we stayed at in Mindo. We bonded the entire time we stayed there. At night, it rained very hard (I mean, it was the rainforest), and I got really scared that we were going to be washed away. I couldn’t sleep so I went out on the front porch of the hostel and watched the rain at 3am with these guys by my side. It was super comforting.
Also in Mindo, atop the roof of a Chocolate factory we toured.
Hammocks in our tree-house hostel in Mindo.
We visited a butterfly sanctuary, also in Mindo, and it was really cool. Some were so big they looked like birds when they flew around. They would come sit on you, and it was both mesmerizing and terrifying–because they’re still bugs.
We spent our last full weekend in Atacames. It was a very authentic experience, as this beach is meant for locals and not necessarily tourists. It was beautiful and we stayed at a very friendly hostel. We talked at night to a couple people from the States–from Montana and Kansas City, and to an Australian account seeing the world before starting a new job. We did a lot of reading and lying around and it was much needed.
Last Friday I finished my last student teaching lesson ever–a science lesson that involved three experiments involving condensation and the water cycle. I’m so relieved to have no more responsibilities and be able to enjoy the couple of days I have left.