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One of our last times with our dear friends Monica, Gustavo, Juanito and Nicole. 

We just had to visit this chocolate factory one more time. I think I understood that one day a week, older women come in a make chocolate using the traditional method, but maybe I didn't understand? Anyways, not to worry. This chocolate factory is incredible. We went with out friend that I met at yoga class in Cuenca. It's so fun to have real live friends! I bought some unsweetened chocolate. Hoping it makes it home ok with me so that I can make hot chocolate and ice cream. 

Holly and Greta wore their new traditional Cuencan outfits. Finding these skirts and blouses for a decent price was a big win! 

Last weekend, we drove from Cuenca to El Churro waterfalls. It was so beautiful, and lush, and muddy. I have a serious love for the Ecuadorian countryside in the mountains. It is breathtaking. While at this place, we heard a zipping sound and then we realized that there was a zipline set up here! At that point, we had to find out more. I'm not sure if the ziplines were 680m each, or 600m one way and 800m another, but they are the second longest in Ecuador and only $25 for 3 people. Conor and I convinced Gustavo to come with us. And Monica was a saint and watched all 5 of the children. The zipline was incredible and a definite would do again experience. We flew over a valley with a river flowing through it. We had to hike for about 15 minutes between the two ziplines and that definite rivaled the zipline itself. The land here is so beautiful! This was a real treat of a day!

After the zipline, we drove for a lake and got lunch. Fog kept blowing through and so most of the time we couldn't even see the lake. The afternoons in the mountains have very reduced visibility. 

While we were at the Good Friday reenactment, an older women came up to me and asked me in Spanish if I knew Monica. Yes, I know a Monica. It turns out that she was Sarah, the mother of Monica, and she recognized us from photos Monica had shown her! Sarah invited us to her home for lunch with her big family (she has 9 children!). Everyone was so friendly and welcoming. We ate soup and popcorn and drank morocho. Some of the family members played songs on the guitar and Holly and Greta cuddled puppies. It was seriously so great! I had plans to eat Fanesca, a traditional Easter soup, but spending time in a kind family's home definitely trumped soup!

Today, we invited our Ecuadorian family over for lunch. First things first, Juan asked for juguetes (toys) and Monica did Maeve's hair. We so enjoyed spending the afternoon with them. All the fun adventures we've been on and pretty much all the new Spanish we've learned is thanks to them. We've spent so much time with them that now we are all comfortable hanging out together for hours chatting. This is what we came for. We are SO GRATEFUL!!!

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