Sunday, May 31, 2015

Day 1- Ecuador!!!!!

I made it to Ecuador!!!! I’ve never been to the lower Hemisphere before! It was awesome and it wasn’t even as hot. We were like 9,000 feet above sea level or something so it wasn’t as hot as I originally thought it would be. Dad said that his ears didn’t even pop when we were descending in our plane.

So if you’re asking, great…why Ecuador. Simply this, my Dad served his mission to Ecuador about 40 years ago and my ‘ever the amazing traveler’ sister found a deal online through groupon for a cheap trip there. My Dad was all for it and I thought it would be an awesome trip!

Alright I guess I should get down to actually sharing what we did for our first day in beautiful Ecuador. Very first thing we did when we arrived in Ecuador: slept.

We arrived in Quito at 4am; yeah too early to function so we got to our hotel, Hilton Colon, and collapsed on the bed. They were pretty nice beds and the softest ones during the whole trip. All the others were so hard it would have been better if  we just slept on the floor. Thankfully, we were so exhausted from the day that at least I fell asleep right after I got on those hard beds.

Getting on with it. After we had breakfast, which was a buffet, and they had fresh pineapple! Also Bananas, which is Ecuador’s top export. Extremely  tasty; we then headed to church; the building was about a mile from our hotel so we decided to walk it; that was fine even though I got a little huffy which I am blaming the altitude sickness. But we made it. Unfortunately, it was Stake Conference. There was no one at the building and it was all locked up, we couldn’t get in and it was 10 minutes till the start of the meeting. As we were standing there a little confused a member showed up and was able to help us find the Stake center. She called a taxi for us and it ended up being only 2 dollars, cheapest taxi I’ve ever had, and that includes the taxi’s in Korea!

At the Stake conference, they had a fair amount of speakers, I was surprised at how much I actually understood from the meeting. Of those speakers the mission president spoke along with his wife. While speaking he said he had been a missionary in Ecuador about 40 years ago. This perked my Dad’s attention cause that was exactly the same time he had been on his mission. So after the meeting we went to see if he remembered my Dad from the mission days. He did! And they chatted about old times and new times. He and his wife were amazing people; they had a daughter there and she wasn’t their only child, no they had 11 kids; that is awesome! They seemed like amazing people and amazing leaders of the Ecuador mission.

We watched very closely as we took our taxi to the Stake center and figured that the church was just a mile from our hotel in the opposite direction so we decided to walk back and a good thing we did too. We ran into  a bakery on the way and got a few pastries and a sweet bread.  It was delicious; we ate the bread on the way back to the hotel then when we got to the hotel we discovered that there was a park across the way so we went there to eat our pastries.

It was Mother’s day and the park was absolutely filled with families and children running everywhere. It was amazing see that many people in one place! Along the edge of the park there was a market that stretched all along the border. They had everything from wood carving to blankets to paintings. It was fun just to walk about it and see all the fun crafts. Also to get an idea of what to look for in the next coming days :)

When we finished with our treats and exploring the market we still had a bit of time left in the day so we went to the concierge to get ideas of what we should do . He suggested the cable cars that went up the mountains next to the city. These were beautiful green lush mountains that surrounded the area so we were very keen. It was only a ten minute cab ride and we were there. Then 13,000 feet above sea level later we were at the top of the mountain!

We hiked about for a while and saw a Volcano and a few other trail we didn’t go down but it was a fun time.

After a while we were all getting pretty tired; so we took the cars down the mountain. Enjoyed the view and got to the bottom. There was an amusement park at the bottom of the mountain where we got the tallest cotton candy I’ve seen.

It was a perfect ending to our adventure up the mountain/ Volcano. We caught a van ride back. We were packed in there pretty tight; we got to the hotel ok and spent the rest of the evening skyping and face timing family. It was mother’s day; we had to make the most of it.

Tuesday, May 19, 2015

Sorry not Ecuador but look Tulips!!!

I know you want to know about my awesome Ecuador Trip and no worries you definitely will hear about it. I am planning on doing a day by day blog like I did for my China trip last year. The thing is, I sent my SD card with my sister so she could download the pictures and put all the pics from my camera and her camera and Dad's all on one device. So I will begin my blog as soon as I get my card and all the pics back from her. Should only take a week or so.

In the mean time, I realize I haven't updated you all on the comings and goings of my adventures here is Canada and generally the Great Northwest. As for a basic update; I've finished school! Graduated with Honors (it was a surprise to me) and the very next week started my job as a PreVis Artist at Nerd Corps. Life is a whirlwind sometimes and you just have to enjoy the ride.

So a couple weekends back, around mid April I headed to Skagit for the Tulip Festival; this is an annual festival in Skagit WA where just like in Holland there are fields of Tulips.
 The better place to see these colorful fields are in Tulip Town; where there are a few little shops and of course the fields.
 We came at the very last day of the festival though and because it was a warm spring most of the tulips had already gone through their bloom but there were some rows left for us to play in.
 I keep saying 'we' because I came down with a couple of friends; Cassandra and Erin. Part of the reason we came down along with the Festival was for Cassandra; she is getting married in August and wanted to check the states for some wedding dress options. Along with that we also hit the outlets at Burlington. So awesome! We succeeded in attaining some awesome shoes and boots along with some gloves that originally were $90 and we only paid $10; sweet deal and they were leather!

 Me at the top as Farmer Jon, Erin's my Farmer Mame, and Cassandra's the little Tulip

Ok, no blog is good without an fun story, so here it goes. Along with shopping at the Outlets we wanted to go to Trader Joes and get some fun treats but we spent a little longer at the outlets than we thought. We realized it was getting dark and knew that Trader Joes closes at 9pm. Cassandra had never been to Trader Joes and I'm sorry if your life has not tried the sweet nectare of Cookie Butter than that is just unacceptable and must be remidied. In anycase when we finally checked the clock we realized that it was 20 minutes to nine and it was a twenty minute drive to the store which was in one town over. So we booked it to the Green Machine (my car) and I only sped enough to get there... nothing too dangerous... in anycase we get there by tearing down the road, catching a u-turn into the parking lot and I zoom up to the front, screech to a halt and yell 'GO, GO, GO' all military style to the girls all the while the store owner is standing at the doors just about ready to close them. We made it, he was laughing at us enough to show us pity and let us in. As we checked out he described how he watch us zoom down the street and thought those girls know what their doin'. It was a success and Cassandra got to try her Cookie butter and we were some nice entertainment for those at Trader Joes.

I hope you enjoyed the story; like I said at the start, I'll be updateing with my trip to Ecuador in the coming weeks. Totally worth the wait it was an amazing trip!

Adventure is out there!