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We were super lucky to have made friends with a family from Cuenca. We met the wife in the airport in Quito and they have been so kind and generous towards us. This past week, we invited them over for lunch and I made soup that didn’t have enough salt! Our friends adore Maeve just like every other person in Ecuador. Her bottom scoot is so unique and endearing. 

We’ve generally found that the men here in Cuenca are more friendly than the women. I’ve had a harder time making friends than Conor has, which could just be because of me? I don’t know. The woman at church are kind but they aren’t as warm and friendly as the women in Quito. We are hanging on to the friendships we have and working to forge new ones. 

Okay, here it is… the crazy “when in Ecuador” experience! Cuy or Guinea Pig is a traditional dish here in Ecuador but specific to the city we are currently in, Cuenca.

A family that we met last Sunday when we flew here from Quito invited us over for roasted cuy. We couldn’t pass up the opportunity, plus friends! Our friends, Monica and Gustav are so generous. Not only did they pick us up from our apartment, but they also made us an amazing meal of cuy, chicken, rice, potatoes, corn and salad.

The cuy… oh gosh, reflecting on it, I can’t believe I ate that! I would compare the meat to dark meat, but silkier (maybe because of the fat content). There isn’t a whole ton of meat on the cuy. I would guess that it weighed about 3 pounds. Conor and I were each served a hind quarter. And it’s eaten with your hands. I just can’t get the image of that little claw so close to my face out of my mind! The skin is really thick and difficult to eat. While it was roasting, we sampled the liver and that was actually really good.

Don’t get me wrong, the meat was tasty, or bien rico. However, it’s the getting my mind around eating something that is a pet, a rodent back home. Super glad I did it. Not biting at the bit to do it again!

Oh, I have to note that while the cuy was roasting over the charcoal, rain came. And to solve that problem, Gustav and Conor brought the grill into the house and opened a window. Not going to lie, my first thought was that we were going to die of carbon monoxide poisoning in Ecuador. It was fine, but the grill did go in and out of the house a few times! 

Also have to note, that when we asked our friends in Quito about cuy, they thought it was yucky to eat. So it’s definitely a regional dish! 

After lunch, our friends took us on a driving tour around Cuenca. They were seriously so generous to spend so much time with us!

Our last Saturday in Quito…

Funny how I was so overwhelmed and crying when we arrived, but leaving was SO hard. We loved the people we met. We hope to make similar connections here in Cuenca.

Our last Saturday, we went to a park with our friends. It was wonderful and chill. Then we went and ate comida rapido (fast food), which may have made Conor sick… It was that or tap water. 

Our last Saturday in Quito, we went to our friend’s for lunch and it was AMAZING! The lunch was soup with fish, yuca and fresh tomatoes, jalapenos and onions. Just like the ceviche at the church, the soup was topped with popcorn and plantain chips. It was so good. I did not want to stop eating! We were also served naranjilla juice and a fruit that only grows in Ecuador and is only available for one month of the year. It’s called Sapote and it’s very different from any other fruit I’ve ever eaten.

Holly and Greta got to have a soap fight and a water fight with their friend, followed by a warm shower.

We were so incredibly blessed by the hospitality of this family! They had actually invited us for lunch the Saturday previous and we feel so bad that we didn’t fully understand!

We were so blessed to have found the best person to care for Maeve 2 hours a day for the last two weeks. Ariel was Maeve’s niñera, and Maeve loved her! Maeve would come home with lipstick on her neck and in her hair from all the love she received. Maeve would give Ariel hugs when she said goodbye, something that she only does for her immediate family. 

For me, it was a huge blessing to so quickly find someone to help care for Maeve while I was at Spanish school and Conor worked. I completely trusted Ariel from the beginning and never worried about her once. Maeve likely ate more sugar than I would care for her to (babies and sugar seems to be cultural! No one would ever feed my baby a marshmallow in the USA to start, but it would absolutely not happen without shamefully asking the mother first!), but I knew that she was safe and loved. I thank God for putting Ariel and her family so quickly in our path. The entire family became so dear to us during our 2 weeks in Quito!

P.S. I think Maeve is closer to walking thanks to Ariel! Maeve’s still quite the late bloomer, but maybe in the next month or so, she’ll decide walking is for her!

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