Sometimes it seems I have two conflicting personalities. There is a part of me that truly loves traveling. I revel in discovering a new place, and so many of my most salient memories are of my trips to Europe and Central America. But I’m also a homebody. I take great comfort in the familiarity of home and routine. And I always miss my family so much when I’m away.I will admit, leaving my kids on Saturday morning was hard. Really hard. I had to leave in a hurry because I didn’t want them to see me cry. I barely got to hug my husband. I was also running late, which didn’t help. They handled the actual good-bye really well, which was probably because I took BART so the wouldn’t have to watch me walk away at the airport. They were happily distracted by the TV when I finally shut the front door.
I wish I could say I skipped away from all my responsibilities, excited for a new opportunity, but instead I spent the walk wiping away tears, wishing I could wipe away the enduring sense of dread.
My actual trip to Ecuador was nothing but luck. A BART train was pulling into the station as I came down the escalator (they only come every 20-25 minutes on the weekends) and there was no line to check in at the airport. For some reason I got bumped up to the “sky priority” seats, which means I was basically in first class. I’ve NEVER flown first class, and to say I was excited would be a grave understatement. They served drinks in actual glasses and gave us dinner and the movies were free. I even enjoyed a tequila, just because I could.
I had a five hour layover in Mexico City. That sucked, but I killed an hour in a book store (oh my how I LOVE Spanish language book stores, I’m like a kid at Christmas in them) and treated myself to dinner (and two mezcals), before I watched a movie on my iPad. (I had downloaded movies on the Netflix and Amazon apps, along with Hoopla so I could watch without wifi – technology is f*cking awesome).
My flight to Ecuador left at 1am (11pm my time – Central and South America don’t observe DST so they are only two hours ahead of the west coast right now) and I tried to get a little sleep. I managed better in that giant seat than I would have otherwise and I think I got a good two hours in. Still, I was pretty exhausted when I landed in Quito.
My host family came to get me, but they were bringing their son to the airport too, so I had another hour and a half of waiting until they came.
They are a very nice couple, and have hosted MANY students over the years so it all comes really naturally to them. Their house is very cute. They have five dogs who don’t come in the house, but are very friendly when I go into the yard. My room is very cute, and the bathroom is right next door. So far they’ve served two meals I would never eat at home, but I enjoyed them both well enough.
I slept for about three hours after breakfast, until noon Quito time, then I just hung out in my room for a bit reading. After almost 24 hours on planes or in airports, I soaked in the silence of the little house on the hill.
After lunch they took me to a nearby park and they took the dogs in one direction while I set off in another. I ended up hiking for three hours! It is a beautiful park with some incredible views; I look forward to running there a couple times this week.
My husband asked that we not FaceTime tonight because my son has had a really hard time with me being gone. I miss them and wish I could talk to them, but I understand and respect my husband’s concern. Maybe tomorrow.
Now it is almost 9pm Quito time, but only 7pm my time. I need to fall asleep soon because I have an early morning tomorrow. Luckily, between the lack of sleep last night and the long hike, I don’t think it will be that hard to fall asleep.
I’ll leave you with some pictures from my hike.