I have been rather silent since Europe. To be honest, Houston was not very exciting and we spent a lot of time packing and organizing. I’m sure someone out there would’ve loved to hear about our quest for extra large suitcases, but I didn’t feel like writing about it. As the time drew near I started to have doubts. I mean what in the world did I think we were doing? If someone else told me a year ago they were selling their house, quitting their jobs and moving their family to a foreign country they’ve never been to whose primary language is not English and only one person in the family has some knowledge of the language I would’ve said, “that’s cool.” But behind their back I would’ve been saying, “that’s insane.” Yes, I am insane.
So on September 10, 2013 our family of 4 went to the airport with our 6 extra large suitcases, 2 car seats, and a stroller (we’d also hoped to bring our cats but they could not fly in the cabin and it’s too hot in Houston for them to fly in the cargo hold). We flew to Panama City (First Class-thanks, dad) then to Guayaquil, Ecuador. We made it through customs easily. I was a bit worried they may not believe we were just here as tourists for six months but they never even asked. The caretaker of my father’s farm, Tulio, picked us up and we stayed overnight at the Marriott (thanks again, dad). After breakfast the following day we loaded up in my father’s two trucks and set out on a tour of Ecuador.
Guayaquil is the largest city in Ecuador and it sits on the western bank of the Guayas River just before it terminates into the Pacific Ocean. The temperature there is much warmer and humid than in the mountains. Our travel luck followed us from Europe and we were stopped by the police not once, but twice in the first hour of driving! It seems that Tulio forgot the registration papers for my dad’s new truck. The first cop finally let us go but the second took some convincing with a little dinero. What fun! About 3 hours after leaving Guayaquil we arrived in Cuenca for a bathroom break and some food shopping. We both were not overly impressed with the part of Cuenca we saw but I want to live closer to the city so E can attend the Montessori school. Plus there is so much more for us to do in Cuenca and there are tons of ex pats for when we are feeling homesick.
After our stop we got back on the road and traveled up into the mountains. I don’t often get carsick but mountains are not my favorite terrain to ride in! No vomiting here but it was not the most pleasant experience. The roads are actually well-maintained but there was a lot of passing slow cars and trucks on very windy roads and E wanted me to read to her. We saw a horse running free, trying to escape its owners, llamas roaming along the road, and some gorgeous mountain views.
About 2 1/2 hours after leaving Cuenca we arrived at Rancho Baja Estrellas, my father’s farm. Luzbia, Tulio’s wife, had a delicious chicken soup, salad and rice prepared for us. Cory was not too thrilled to find two very large spiders, but they weren’t anything a shoe (in my hand, not my arachnophobic husband’s hand) couldn’t take care of. Of course, if I find a snake he’ll have to handle that. We all settled in to bed early and were awoken by the rooster crowing. We explored the ranch today, finding chickens, turkeys, rabbits (conejos-one of my new words today), sheep, cows, and the trout farm. The only animal we didn’t see were the pigs. I can’t imagine why my dad keeps them away from the house. (Wink, wink).
E made a new friend, Elkin. He’s Tulio and Luzbia’s 5 year old son. She talks away to him in English and he has no idea what she’s saying, but they’ve bonded over their love of conejitos (rabbits, for those not paying attention) and electronics (he loved E’s iPod).