We had an uneventful travel day on Wednesday - with flights to Bogota and then Quito, where we spent the night before catching a bus to Baños the following day. We thoroughly enjoyed our first night away from the Caribbean heat - actually being able to use our bed covers and not worry about the multitude of mosquitos that would surely feast on our exposed skin. That had to be the best sleep we had in a long time, and we took our time getting up and to the bus station.
And what a welcome back to Ecuador we had! On Thursday morning we couldn't have been in better spirits - as we drove through the lush green mountains, we were reminded again how incredibly beautiful this little country is, and how lucky we are to be able to call it "home" for the next two months.
And perhaps it was these euphoric, comfortable feelings that caused us to just let our guard down oh-so-slightly - just enough so as to have our first theft occur in our 8 months of travels. On the rack just above our heads on the bus, we placed our smaller travel bag, which is something we normally never do, knowing that it leaves it entirely susceptible to sneaky thieves. Sure enough, within an hour of our journey we became concerned as another pair of gringo's beside us realized that they had been thieved from the bag above their heads. Luckily, we had ensured that it didn't contain anything too valuable before placing it up there, but some ladron still managed to take the most valuable thing in the bag - my North Face rain jacket. Such a thing is not easily replaceable where we are, and I am hoping that it won't be needed in our few months left.
It feels a little weird to be back in a familiar place, without the awe of seeing something new for the first time, or the required deciphering of a map to get to where we need to be. We checked back into La Casa Verde - still our favourite hostel in South America - and let the tranquil comfort of it wash over us. I slept. And slept. And slept! No rush to see the sights, no pressure to fit it all in to a few days before moving on to the next place. It has been a long time since we've been able to relax like this.
It feels good. And it feels right. After six months of constantly being on the move, we are so excited to put our bags away for awhile and immerse ourselves in the community and the culture.
On Monday we will really dig in our roots here, as we move into our shared apartment for the duration of our stay (at $250 a month). It is basic, but comfortable, as they reportedly bought a new bed for our impending arrival! We will be sharing it with other volunteers at Arte Del Mundo - and on Monday afternoon we will join them in our first day of duties.
We have had a couple of meetings with Jody (one of the organizers) since we arrived on Thursday. She is as excited to have us as we are to be here, and we are sure that our time will be well used. Gone are our carefree vagabond days, we have a job to do! We can expect to be reading with the kids, changing the organization's website, cataloguing books, teaching English to people of all ages, among many other things - I am sure! We are both very excited to have "purpose" again, especially for this very worthwhile cause.
And so, now that we are "stable" for the next few months - it sure would be GREAT to feel a little love from home in the form of a care package (Hi Mom!) We'll forward our address to any of our loyal readers who would like to share a bag of Dill Pickle Chips, Dentyne Fire Gum, leftover Mini-Eggs, or any other yummy treats we miss from home (We love you Mom!)