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“Friends”

We spent a good chunk of our last day in Ecuador packing. We did bring home some souvenirs for sure. It was a little stressful making sure everything could fit because we didn't want to purchase a duffle bag or another piece of luggage. We ended up just using our feed sack market bags. I'm really proud of us! 

After we packed up, we went out to lunch. Maeve ate so many french fries in Ecuador! For dessert, I ordered something traditional - sweet figs and cheese. It was good!

After lunch, we went to one of our favorite parks, but unfortunately the zipline was out of use. It was kind of disappointing. 

We went to some new friends' home for dinner. The kids got to help make empanadas. It was super fun. And then we went home. And now we are home. And Ecuador feels like a beautiful dream. 

We spent out last couple of days in Ecuador in Quito, where it all started. We got to go to the same ward we went to for our first three Sundays. It was so much fun to go back! I think having our Spanish complimented was so gratifying! (Now I need to the discipline to continue to practice!) We got to spend a lot of time with our good friends, the Gavilánez family. We feel so blessed to have had such wonderful, amazing and memorable experiences in Ecuador. Being members of our church and being able to attend church everywhere we were was a huge blessing. I especially appreciated knowing there would be a ward family everywhere we went. 

One big lesson we learned in Ecuador was that it only takes one person, one family, one friend to make a huge difference. We didn't make a ton of friends everywhere we went, but the people who did come into our lives and cared for us made a huge impact on us. I'm so grateful to those friends who welcomed us into their lives. 

For a couple days, we had some pretty cool upstairs neighbors. They are a family of 3 who have been living in Latin America for 8 months and will continue on indefinitely. We went out to dinner and ice cream with them one night because Conor and I both wanted to ask them lots of questions about their experience thus far. We had the best time swapping stories and laughing. What a treat to meet such a neat family! This will be us when Maeve is 12!

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! 

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