Our apartment sat on the 12th floor of the building, it consisted of a large open plan living / kitchen space, a toilet and laundry room, a bedroom with en-suite bathroom and walk in wardrobe, the decor was modern with a homey feel. What I loved the most about living here was the huge glass windows that gave a breath taking view of the city and mountains. Each morning I got the chance to look out and watch the sun rise, some mornings the sky was clear and the only cloud in sight was when it rolled over and in between the mountain tops. One morning I woke to watch it in the distance, it looked like a white fluffy river rolling over the city, I grabbed my camera to capture this moment. As I stood in awe watching it get thicker and flow from every direction I could no longer see the mountain tops , nor the tall buildings across the street. Then all of sudden I couldn’t see out the window, just cloud covering every angle. I had literally woken up in the clouds, and it blew me away how amazing it was.
Another night I lay in bed with my daughter snuggled next to me, and all of a sudden I felt the bed sway, like a wave of sea sickness had hit me. I lay there thinking if the bed leg has broke I wont be impressed. I looked at my daughter still snoozing away then glanced up at the open wardrobe, the clothes were swaying, then the door, then the rattling of kitchen items could be heard. I shot up to look out of the window, the whole building was moving, a weird worry filled my body, my daughter still asleep I wondered what an earth was happening. Then everything stopped, it would of only been for a minute or so but the feeling stuck with me. So I did what any average person who had never felt this before would do, I googled the news for Quito, asking had their been an earth quake. To my surprise there had been a few most days, none of which I had felt. This one however was over 200 miles away in a different city, but at a magnitude of 7.2 and due to me being on the top floor I felt the shake. Dad who was working in the tunnels underground didn’t feel a thing! Now Quito itself also sits along the tectonic plates underneath the Andes mountain range, something I had read up before going but didn’t dream that I’d experience an earth quake, well a small tremor in comparison to the city it happened in.
During our stay we were lucky enough to have mostly good weather, not too cold for that altitude, jeans and a jacket were enough but the sun’s heat was felt and sunscreen was definitely needed.
Every Sunday we got to spend the whole day with dad, so we spent as many of them as we could exploring! We had taken a train ride up the mountains to see the volcanoes, a spectacular sight. Our daughter got to meet some Alpaca’s too, we had a guided walk through forests with trees hundreds of years old, we got to eat leaves (yes leaves!) that were rich in vitamin c and tasted just like oranges. Although our daughter was not too keen on the leaf eating she enjoyed our day out.
Another day was spent hunting down ‘the old English book shop’, a bookstore that was owned by a lovely elderly man who had lived in Quito for 35 years, and opened his shop. His love of books shone through his personality, and as a fellow Britt I got to enjoy an English cup of tea! Something I hadn’t tasted since I left due the disaster of a postal system. The store had a huge range of books and we found some children’s ones, ‘Charlie Cooks favourite book’ being one of them, the first in our collection of Julia Donaldson books. The things you take for granted when you can pop to the local shops and are surrounded by English books meant so much to us. If you ever find yourself in Quito, this shop is worth a visit just to chat to the owner.
Now the postal system, or lack of in this case, was just another hurdle to overcome. My mum had posted a ‘care package’ for us from the UK. Nothing of value, just some snack food for her granddaughter, good old Tetley tea bags for me and a homemade Popsicle stick dog from one cousin to another. After 7 weeks the parcel finally arrived, it felt like Christmas, and we were extremely lucky to get it, some mums I had spoken too advised it could takes months to receive post even after you register that you are expecting it. To this day we have no idea where the other 2 ended up.
During one weekend we had booked to fly out to the coast, more for myself and daughter to be at sea level for a few days and for her to enjoy the beach. It was a short flight and the moment I stepped off the plane I could feel the difference, taking in huge breaths I felt the oxygen fill my lungs. I was like a dog hanging out of the window in the taxi to the apartment! We stayed overlooking the beach and had the most wonderful 2 days as a family, us whale spotting and our daughter shouting DOG every time one walked past. When we arrived at the tiny airport ready to go back to city, we got onto the smallest of commercial planes I’ve ever seen! Just two seats on each side and only about 10 rows. I was seated next to another mum and her son and dad was sat behind us. Just a 40 minute flight I thought, no problem, I got the milk ready for take off like every other flight we’ve flown. About 10 minutes left till landing and the seatbelt sign came on, and within seconds our tiny plane felt like it was about to be blown out of the sky! Now I’m lucky enough that I’ve never had a bad flight really so I’ll apologise in advance to anyone that has had worse. The announcement was made that we were hitting some strong wind, all normal for landing in the mountains. This however didn’t make it feel any better, the plane jerked and shook and with every jolt screams came from various seats, adult or child I had no idea,but the screams kept coming and for a moment I thought, this is not good, then from the tiny person sat on my lap came vomit, fountains of it! I opened my knees and held her over my arm, trying to console her but ensure her head was forward. She cried and so I did as we got shook on this plane covered in sick. Bless the lady next to us shouting her husband for wipes whilst she had handfuls of my daughters sick and what felt like forever could have only of been minutes and we landed safely on the runway. After apologising and thanking the nice mum next to me we stayed seated on the plane and let everyone else get off first. I stripped her off and put her in a clean vest and got off the plane, trekked through the airport stinking of sick, stains all over me and with bare feet (the flip flops did not survive the sea of sick). My daughter who was now o.k had fallen asleep for the journey home.
It wasn’t long before we were due to start packing again. Our 9 weeks ( what felt like months and months) in Quito was coming to an end. An emotional but successful first temporary home of our new life!
Our next destination of dads work was in… but before his job started we were lucky to have a few weeks off. So we took a holiday first to the mother of all nature islands.