When the plane leaves the ground, I can finally let go of everything, close my eyes and relax, feel free. We are heading back to Quito, which feels good, and I am looking forward to more adventures and experiences in Ecuador. Hopefully, I now have more experience in Quito and will have adapted enough to avoid being a victim of crime. Ojala!
I worked furiously all night looking through all our mail and paying all bills. Luckily or unluckily, there were several repeat invoices, which when ignored were sent to collections and initiated a series of nasty reminders. It was a relief to take care of them, but in truth I was unaware that they existed until three days ago, so there was limited suffering associated with the process, and now it is behind me and almost forgotten. It is my habit to take care of all possible business the night before I leave on a plane, which usually necessitates a sleepless twenty-four hours, but the feeling of completion is reward enough.
It was sad to leave the Benichous, who have been so generous, allowing us to invade their space and park ourselves and all our belongings seemingly in every room. Maya has treasured her time with Belina and Marius, but Eric and I have been far too busy and preoccupied, so our time with Julien and Daphne has been limited. It is remarkable how easy it feels to become part of their household and feel entirely at home with them.
When I was not dashing around madly, it was a treat to sit down with my friends and catch up. The best part of Baltimore are our friendships.
Waiting in Atlanta
Today was a traveling day, with lots of waiting and reading and reflecting. All the professors practiced remembering the names of the 25 students during our layover in Atlanta, which is a far better flight than when we fly through Reagan to Miami and wait over five hours. The time rushed by, and before it seemed possible we were on the plane to Quito, and instead of flying first to Guayaquil, which Aerogal does regularly as does American Airlines, we flew directly to Quito. I still get absolutely thrilled when the plane has private movie screens on the seatbacks, so both Maya and I enjoyed our own private movies and the five hours passed quickly.
The students were initiated immediately to the realities of living in Quito. Margaret, as she walked up some stairs to find a bathroom after leaving the baggage claim area in the airport, was approached by a young boy who tried to sell her candy but also brushed up close against her and managed to slip his hand in her pocket and steal her passport. She immediately became aware of the theft and ran after the boy to check his pockets to see if he had it, but when he did not, we got the police involved. The passport was ultimately found by the cleaning personnel in the bathroom (the boy got rid of the passport because it is not useful to him). I was impressed with Margaret. Usually I do not realize I have been pickpocketed in time to identify the thief and retrieve my lost item. Her fast thinking and her willingness to go after the boy and challenge him and then insist that he stole it was effective, and we are all relieved that we do not have to spend the time and effort it would otherwise take to get a new passport. The incident delayed us over and hour and we arrived at the hotel very very late/ in the early morning.
Arrival in Quito
Finally, we are in our apartment. It looks exactly as it did when we left. Home sweet home. Time for bed.