Our journey to Ecuador was long but delightfully uncomplicated / uneventful. We departed Seattle at 9pm west coast time, landed in Miami the next morning around 5am east coast time (to spend a few hours with the Borks), and finally arrived in Quito around 6pm central time. Needless to say we were pooped, and didn't do much but sleep that first night. Luckily we got a solid night of rest, and were ready to go for a much more eventful second day of our trip.
After touring the CMT center where Irene lives (and we were staying), and saying hello to at least 60 adorable kids, Irene and a (native speaking) center worker led us on "house visits" to homes of local center families. The CMT center is big on family connection, and likes to stay in touch with parents who've been lacking in involvement from time to time. It was amazing how welcoming the families were, even though many lived in tiny one room houses, and Cary and I are atrocious at Spanish. There was lots of smiling and rough translating from Irene, and overall I think they were excited to have visitors from such a far away place.
The craziest part of our day was by far the local transport. In the mountain regions of Quito there are very few buses or taxis, so its common to hail passing pickup trucks and ride in the truck bed. The first time our guide jumped in the back of a truck we were shocked (especially since she looked to be in her mid 60s) but we soon got used to it, and after the initial nerves & general concern for safety, it was super fun!