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Two Years Ago Today…

we landed in Quito to start our adventure as Peace Corps Volunteers! Now, two years later we are back in the States and reminiscing about the crazy, wonderful, surprising, challenging, and exciting time we spent in Ecuador. Here’s what two years looks like…

Enjoy, Mari & Paul

Last Day in Ecuador

Today is our last full day in Ecuador, a place we have called home for two years. It’s hard to believe that our time here is over and that we will be embarking on a new journey in the US and as first-time parents. Who knows what the future will bring or where we will settle down next but until then, here are some final thoughts on our time here in Ecuador.

I will miss…

  • Walking on the beach in Palmar with the sand between my toes, Max chasing birds and Paul’s hand in mine.
  • Juicy mangoes, sweet pineapples, and the wide variety of bananas all available from street and bus vendors for pocket change.
  • Feeling a part of the community – whether it was with the women in San Pablo, the youth group in Palmar, or our best friends from Peace Corps.
  • The clouds in the Sierra.
  • Simple pleasures like taking a hot shower after months of bucket baths, finding a favorite food from the US in the supermarket, or freezing the perfect moment with my camera.
  • Taking my time – to visit with someone, to enjoy a lazy lunch, to spend a day relaxing at home.
  • My host mom’s ceviche.
  • The pescado encocado from Esmeraldas.
  • Taking Max for a walk in Parque Carolina.
  • My amazing doctor here who has held my hand through the first two trimesters of my pregnancy.
  • Having someone to call at the Peace Corps Office when I need help or support.
  • Speaking Spanish regularly (though not on the phone – still hate that).
  • The cost of taxis ($1 to most places) and home-cooked 3-course lunches ($2.50-$3.50).
  • Feeling like my work was making a difference.
  • The thrill at arriving at my destination after a long (8-12 hour) bus ride.
  • The enthusiasm of the elementary-aged kids I taught on Saturday mornings as they learned something new.
  • Learning new things everyday.
  • Being challenged and growing constantly.

Top Twenty of 2013

Here’s a rundown on some of our favorite images from 2013. Just like for 2012, we decided to do the Top Twenty because we couldn’t decide on a Top Ten.

Enjoy & Happy New Year!

Mari & Paul

1.

Best Abstract

Abstract Clouds

Abstract Pants

2.

Best Vacation Postcard

Puerto Engabao

Galapagos Landscape

3.

Best Max

Max Tongue

Max POV

4.

Best Silly Moment

Mujeres Cambia Fans

Frankie!

5.

Best Mari & Paul Moment

Mari & Paul

Mari's Birthday Kiss

6.

Best Frame

Frankie & Jess in Galapagos

Paul at Guayasamin's House

7.

Best Animal

Galapagos Crab

Galapagos Sea Lion

8.

Best Aerial Photo

Mujeres Cambia Table

Palmar Roof Shot

9.

Best Bird

Galapagos Red Eyed Bird

Galapagos Bird in Flight

10.

Best Interacting with Nature

Paul Cascada

Galapagos Splash

PaulMar Prensa Last Issue

It’s hard to believe we’ll be back in the US in a little over a week. Here’s the last issue of the PaulMar Prensa about our last few months in Ecuador as Peace Corps Volunteers. Click on the image to see the full newsletter as a PDF.

Enjoy, Mari & Paul

PaulMar Prensa

The Home Stretch

It’s hard to believe but we’re in the home stretch of our time here in Ecuador. This past week has been jam-packed with milestones and despedidos (farewells). In addition to visiting various doctors we’ve given away most of our stuff and are in the process of closing all of our Ecuadorian accounts.

The fun part was seeing **Clare** for a day on a lucky layover and hosting 3 of the members of Mujeres: Cambia. Three of the women and one of their daughters took a 10-hour bus journey each way just to say good-bye to me. I haven’t been able to visit the coast like Paul has so they saved up money and we spent a lovely day together, including a visit to the Botanic Garden.

Finally, I had my last day of work at The Nature Conservancy, which coincided luckily with the holiday party including a BBQ and gift exchange. I handed in my last work product, a PowerPoint presentation that can be used for all different audiences (see the cover slide below).

I feel so lucky to have so many incredible people to despedir. It’s always hard to say good-bye but I know we’ll be back someday. Enjoy some images from our crazy week!

Mari

The Little One Looks Like Me

Munchkin

Mujeres: Cambia Members Visit

Botanic Garden Entrance

Enjoying the Botanic Garden

In the Greenhouse

The Nature Conservancy Presentation

TNC Title Slide

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