First, sorry for the long delay in publishing this post, as you all know, time can easily slip away when you are busy. Although I am currently not working, which obviously has freed up a lot of my time, there are things about living here that require extra time. Let me list just a few.
One thing is we don’t have a vehicle. Our main mode of transport is on foot. Which we actually do enjoy, however takes extra time to get places, and requires a lot more energy and effort- which we are still getting used to. Another major mode of transportation for us is riding the bus. The buses here are very regular and inexpensive. However, sometimes we do have to wait for them at the bus stop, or they don’t go right to the place we need, so we still end up walking some, and although all the drivers must be former NASCAR drivers based on how they drive, it still isn’t as fast as having your own car.
Another major time vacuum here is that stores and offices don’t always have regular business hours. Por ejemplo: I went to go pay our electrical bill recently but when I went to the teller the amount seemed incorrect. The teller told me to see the manager, but I was going to need Melanie’s help with the Spanish. Mel and the boys were waiting for me in the town plaza a few blocks away so they didn’t have to walk the extra distance to the power company’s office. So I walked and got them and we all went went back to the power company. But by the time we got there, 10 minutes later, they had closed for lunch. So we decided to go run a different errand. We walked across town to a different store that we needed something specific from, and they were closed. We were told to wait a few minutes. 30-40 minutes later, no one came so we left and went back to the power company. Now the office was open, but the manager was gone. So that particular morning, from about 10am to 1:30, we ran 5 errands but only got 1 of them done. Waste of time.
Just to mention one last time sucker. It is hard to get or find what you are looking for. Although Cotacachi does have a number of small grocery stores, clothing stores, hardware stores..etc, they don’t necessarily have what you need. These stores are tiny in comparison to what we are used to, and we have been adjusting to what is locally available. But sometimes they don’t even have what they normally have, or there is a particular item you just need. Por ejemplo: I recently built something small for a friend and I needed a few items to build it. More than 1 day, 4 hardware stores, 5 misc shops, a few miles of walking, 3 taxi rides, and 2 bus rides later I had what I needed. Finding the items for the project took longer than building the project. 😜
With all that being said, there are still many things we are adjusting to, and it just takes time to get used to them, even to how much time is needed to get things done.
So with so many different experiences and new aspects of life, it was so nice to enjoy something familiar, something from home, the visit of Melanie’s parents.
They stayed with us in our new apartment for 2 weeks. The first “hurdle” to overcome once a visitor arrives at the airport in Quito is the 2 hour drive to Cotacachi. I say this not to deter any would-be visitors, cause we would love for more friends and family to come and visit, but just to highlight the unique experience it is to be driven here.
The drive is mountainous with curvy roads all the way. Also, Ecuadorian drivers are special kinds of drivers. It’s like combining a NY city taxi driver with a squirrel that’s jumping from tree to tree. They have no fear and road rules don’t apply to them. Pass a bus uphill on a blind curve? Sure! Tranquilo.
After their arrival, we tried to lay low for a day or so to help them avoid altitude sickness, which they did. Then we showed them Cotacachi and introduced them to our congregation. Here we are at the bus stop on the way to meeting.
Now, I’ve prepared a music video with some of the highlights from their visit but let me first explain some of the things we did together.
The music you hear is actually a brother from our congregation. One evening, we had some close friends over for dinner and a brother brought his guitar. Both the Dad and his 20 yr old son play. The Dad is playing and singing the song in the video. We loved it!!!
Of course, we got to enjoy going to meetings and field service together including Mel and Carmen doing cart witnessing in the plaza. Also, Tom gave the public talk the first Sunday they were here and he helped us one day at a KH workbee.
We took a 2 day trip to the center of the the earth, the equator, and we also visited a rainforest. We went to a museum right on the equator and performed some interesting “experiments.” One such experiment was trying to walk in a straight line directly on the equator line. This is surprisingly very tough, basically impossible, because the forces of the earth are pulling you each way. If you lean a fraction one way, south pulls you, if you lean the other way, north pulls you. So it’s not like normal where the same force is constantly pulling you. You quickly lose your balance and walk off the line. It’s hilarious to watch.
Another experiment was watching water drain. Exciting right? Hahaha or actually here they spell laughing as: “jajajaja,” because the ‘H’ is silently in Spanish and the ‘J’ sounds like an English ‘H.’ (Funny to see but not as funny to have explained I see now, jajajaja.)
Back to the experiment, directly on the equator line, and yes there actually is a line there at the museum, the water goes straight down without spinning, but a few feet on either side of the line and it will spin in a different direction. Go north of the line a few feet and it spins in the direction most of us are used to, but go south a few feet, and yep... you get it, no need for me to spell it out to you, although I just used enough words saying this that I could have, doh!
One more was standing an egg 🥚 on its end. Standing on the equator line makes it easier to accomplish this task and we all took a shot at it with varying degrees of success.
We then went to a butterfly sanctuary. Thousand of different kinds of butterflies all over the place. You could even feed them with a little banana rubbed on your finger. It was spectacular! Jehovah has made the most beautiful butterflies and soooo many different kinds. Even their cocoons can be different. There was one cocoon that was shiny metallic colored. So amazing. The butterflies loved Wesley!
Sometime during the trip we ate at a restaurant known for having humming birds. Not to eat! Gross! But hundreds of humming birds would come and go and fly all around, it was amazing. Large, small, green, blue- all kinds. Dr. Seuss should have visited and wrote a book about that restaurant.
We also got to do zip lining through the rainforest and a gondola ride together. It was an amazing trip and so special to see Jehovah’s creation like that. It was a tiny glimpse of what paradise will be like. We were so happy to experience it together.
Here’s the music video with some of my favorite pictures from their visit.
We all had such a great visit with Papa and Abuelita! We are so thankful they came for a visit!
It’s been a number of weeks since they left and a couple of incredible things have happened since then, which I’ll explain in the next post.
-And loving it!