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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. 

On our way from Cotopaxi to Otavalo, we stopped at Mitad del Mundo (the middle of the world), which I thought would be just a monument but was actually quite the thing with restaurants, shopping, small museums, etc. Because I wasn't expecting all that, I felt a little overwhelmed (and tired from the very sleepless night with Maeve, traveling with babies!). Generally, a lot of the things felt like repeats for us because we've been in Ecuador for 3 months. We've visited a chocolate factory, and Guayasamin's Capilla de Hombres, etc. I think that this would be a better stop for someone who is only in the country for a short period of time. Overall, I really liked the celebration of all the different cultures that exist within Ecuador in the different regions. Fun fact, did you know that the equator is 5km wide to account for variance? It's really fun to have visited the equator. Traveling to Otavalo was the first time we've been north of the equator in almost 3 months. 

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!

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