As blunt and exaggerated as it sounds, this past week was one of the coolest and most precious weeks of my life! My spring break was split into two parts and both equally memorable. The first half of my spring break was spent with my Mom (I know I said that last post but it is a highlight for me), mostly in Puerto Lopez. We spent a day touring Quito and I got to show my mom everything the locals showed me when I first arrived in the gorgeous Historic Center of Quito. From the 13,500 ft. city view to the ancient cathedrals, we loved and enjoyed the beautiful city buzz of Quito. We then flew to the Pacific Coast of Ecuador to the small beach town of Puerto Lopez where we enjoyed a few relaxing days in hammocks overlooking the ocean. We stayed in a cute hotel where we slept with bug nets surrounding us in our own mini beach hut. We enjoyed beach walks, seafood, wildlife, game time, sunshine, and simply talking until we had to say goodbye at the airport a few days later. My heart felt so heavy with my mom leaving, knowing that my physical support was going to be gone again, but I was so overwhelmed with gratitude that she was able to come to spend that precious time with me. I know her heart broke as well because she is such a compassionate and empathetic mom, who didn’t want to leave her child again.
All is well. Mom made it home safe to the rest of our family, and I took off for part two of my spring break with my study abroad program. This final weekend of spring break was spent on one of the Galapagos Islands in the Pacific Ocean off of the coast of Ecuador. If you have heard anything about these islands, I am sure you have heard of their extravagant beauty and wildlife, that I can say is constantly evident. They are Ecuador’s version of Hawaii with more wildlife, but also formed by volcanos. There are 13 islands in all of the Galapagos, 4 of which have small populations of people who live there. One of those islands is San Cristobal where I spent the past 4 days. Since we were a bit short on time, we couldn’t do the island hopping tour unfortunately, but we were able to pack the 4 days we had on San Cristobal with snorkeling, hiking, and boating! By boating to different parts of the island, and completing a 360 tour around the island one of the days, we were able to see everything that San Cristobal has to offer. The bright side to a short Galapagos trip in March, their hottest month, means less sunburn from the intensity on the equator! (I am proud to say that I didn’t burn, but I have also never worn so much sunscreen or wore a jacket in 85 degree weather!)
We saw all types of wild life– sharks, sea lions, sea turtles, fish, the ginormous land turtles, sting rays, eagle rays, iguanas, blue footed boobies, fragatas, and mocking birds. We were able to see these animals up close and in their natural habitats. We snorkeled in the bright turquoise water in the bays that entice wildlife and walked the white, powder beaches that look like the actual google images photos. Our walks on the black volcanic rock provided no shade but unique experiences with the endemic wildlife of the Galapagos. (Yes, endemic is the one biology word I learned and understood while I was there haha). I am not sure if I’ll ever make it back to the Galapagos again, but I know there is so much more there to explore on the other islands that will be awaiting me!
Getting back from the incredibly exhausting travel week Sunday night with school the next morning, isn’t my ideal way to jump into midterm exams, but the once-in-a-lifetime experiences were definitely worth it! To all my Hope friends and Michiganders struggling in the crazy weather that is changing daily, your break is coming so soon and I will soon be jealous of you :).
Thank you everyone for your continued prayers and support as my journey continues to unfold! I am thankful for the week I had to break from academics.