With friends in QuitoThese past two weeks have flown by as I turned in midterm papers and finished up all sorts of projects before the break for Semana Santa. This past weekend, then, was my opportunity to rest a bit before starting term papers and final exam preparation, and it was a very welcome time of relaxation and fun with my friends and family here in Quito.

Liga futbol in EcuadorLast Wednesday evening, I attended my first Liga futbol game, a crucial experience necessary to complete any successful visit to Ecuador. The game ended in a tie (that was a little anticlimactic I suppose), but our group of BCA students had a great time and I made sure to purchase a Liga jersey before leaving the stadium.

Though the futbol game was exciting, I have to admit that the highlight of last week was Thursday night’s baking extravaganza. A few girls from my study abroad program came over to my host family’s home to make brownies, Oreo-stuffed chocolate chip cookies, and no-bake oatmeal cookies (I had never even heard of those before, but they were definitely a success).

Baking nightThe whole baking process in general was a slight mess for various reasons. First, the oven…. The ovens in Ecuador do not have any sort of preheating mechanism, nor do they even show a temperature. You simply light the flame and you’re ready to go. Needless to say, this makes setting the oven to 350 degrees a little tricky. My family was wonderful though and helped us out with the technical details, and I feel like the results were generally pleasing to everyone. It was a great night to just spend with good friends, and it made me so incredibly thankful for the friendships that have formed here in the last few months.

With friends of the familySaturday was a bittersweet day for my host family because we said goodbye to some wonderful friends. For the past two weeks, we had two important visitors living with us. The two boys (both of which were from Switzerland) were friends of the family, and one actually lived with my family as an exchange student 6 years ago. They brought a lot of life to the house, and I really enjoyed the opportunity to get to know them in the short time they were here. Before their departure on Saturday, my family went to lunch near Mitad del Mundo and enjoyed a perfect afternoon full of good memories and lots of laughs. The pictures speak for themselves…they’re a fun group and it was sad to see the boys head back home.

We said our goodbyes at the airport, and it was a strange feeling to realize that I will be back in that airport saying my own goodbyes in just 6 more weeks. I have experienced so much personal growth and change here in Ecuador, and it’s hard to believe that the whole trip will be over so soon. The thought brings excitement (I’m definitely ready to see friends and family again) but also some sadness (I’m not quite ready to leave the mountains and people of Quito).