This is Katie.  A root of mine. And probably the best friend one can imagine.  If you don’t believe me, keep reading.

Katie’s been mooning over a trip to Ecuador for awhile and she decided on a whim to leave her husband and two young children at home, and book a flight to visit me during her Spring Break.  As her trip neared so did the Coronavirus, and we considered all the angles.  She and I spoke to several different medical and state department authorities and they all said that she should be safe to travel.  No cases of Covid-19 had yet appeared in her state, and it was “unlikely” that this virus could spread fast enough to interrupt her travel plans.

So, with that advice, Katie traveled for 22 hours from Anchorage, Alaska to reach Quito at midnight on Sunday, March 8th.  I picked her up at the airport and we headed to my favorite spot- Mindo.  We spent two days there catching up and laughing like only best girlfriends can, but pouring rains kept us from a lot of the local fun.  Good thing the chocolate tour still functions in downpours!

Katie’s only request of her trip was that she spend time with my Ecuadorian family and go to school with me to learn more about the education system.  We left Mindo on Wednesday, March 11th and headed for Ibarra.  We enjoyed a quick dinner with my family and planned more with them the next day.

In the night, Katie became seriously ill and had to stay in my bed for the next 48 hours.  I went to school on Thursday morning leaving her to sleep, only to find that my schools were closing down at the end of the day on account of the virus scare.  By Saturday, she was feeling better, and we headed out to the farmer’s market and wandered around town finding mostly empty streets and shops shuttering their doors.  So, we returned home and spent some of the evening sharing her Alaskan gifts with my family.  We had no idea that this was the only time she would get with them.

That night, Ecuador announced that it was going to close its borders in two days and the reality of the situation really hit; Katie needed to change her flight plans and get back to Alaska, and her family, as soon as possible.  She cut her trip three days short and made an epic journey to Quito and beyond, through Mexico City, Los Angeles, Seattle and Anchorage for almost 34 more hours of travel.  I can’t even begin to imagine how much money all of her original flights and her change of flights cost her… essentially for three days of rainy fun!

I’m sorry you didn’t get to see Ecuadorian schools or meet my students, Katie.  But I’m so glad I got to share a little of my world, and my love Ecuador with you.  You’re the best!
Be well my friend!