Ecuador made our top destinations list almost by accident. The dates from our target departure and Costa Rica trip to our Machu Picchu hike suggested we could visit one more place “on the way.” A dear friend from college was from Quito, so I thought of contacting her to check if she’d be around, and her enthusiastic response sealed the deal. We had done little research and were looking forward to visiting with Augusta, meeting her son Martín, and taking their lead for key spots to visit.
Little did we know it would turn to be such a fantastic experience. Augusta welcomed us with open arms and opened her beautiful home to us. Spoiled doesn’t even start to describe it – she’s definitely taught me a lot about being a thoughtful and generous hostess. The best part was reconnecting after so many years – love her and wish her all the very best!
Her son, Martín had been visiting his aunt in NY, and was due to arrive just a couple hours after we finally made it into Quito. I expected him to be exhausted and figured it would take him and Elena a few days to warm up. Make that a few minutes! Martín (almost 11) was full of energy and busted in the house with his cousins – Daniel (Dani, 10) and Alejandro (Ale, 12) – giving us all warm hugs and kisses.
Not sure how the kids all made it upstairs but it wasn’t long before we heard a plants vs. zombie battle ensue, and all 4 were fully engaged and having a blast. Ahhh, the connecting power of video games!
Jacked up on mere enthusiasm, since neither Martín nor Elena, and it turned out Ale, had had much sleep the night before, next they were out an impromptu soccer game on the patio. What fun! The boys generally carried a ball wherever we went, and got to kick it around, play basketball, and just run about. Love that Elena fit right in and could hold her own, coach would be proud.
Elena joined the volunteers (thanks, Martín for giving up your spot) and it meant a lot to her. We were at the finish line – Elena and Augusta would hand out swag bags to the runners. Since we had a bit of time to kill, we all went for ice-cream. It was definitely another uniting force for our kids – the chatter, the giggle, the deep satisfaction of the delicious frozen treats.
Travelling for 10 months is a significant family undertaking. And it’s the ordinary days, when we are embraced with a human connection so true and strong, which make the experience extraordinary and most fulfilling. Thank YOU!
~ Gaby Orwick | Sept 23, 2015