(One last trip to the library of the Ministerio de la Cultura, a tea with Ximena, and then back to pack and prepare for the trip home)
It's always so weird to be at the end of a trip to Quito. As much as I've floundered for focus these two weeks, it's hard to leave without really having gotten to go through more of the newspapers I've been reading. I hate just getting a "taste" of things like this and then letting it go. I gathered a lot, but there is always so much more to be had. And even though I don't particularly like living in Quito (it's too big for me--and those buses, spewing black smoke and actively trying to run me over--blech), this city, nestled in mountains, does have its grandeur. And of course I will miss lunches with Ximena.
But I love coming home. I love home. I love Howard and the kids. I love sleeping in my own bed. I love cooking in my own kitchen and working in my own office space and taking a bath whenever I want rather than waiting two hours for the water to heat. And the ocean is just as grand as those mountains. I love Friday Family Movie Night and listening about the kids' days at dinner each night. I love listening to NPR while I putter around the house. I occasionally even love having the cat around. And I have a sense of community and purpose at my university that I lack when I work here.
I've sometimes found myself nostalgic on this trip for the days when I came to Quito and could stay a while, on my own. When I didn't have responsibilities. When I didn't simply "collect" documents to read back home, but actually took close notes while in the archives (even when I took a photocopy). I miss the days when the Biblioteca Ecuatoriana--set in a lovely old monastery out in Cotocollao--used to have cats roaming all around the building, including into the stacks (though I was warned not to pet them: fleas). When the Mariscal area of Quito was safe rather than dangerous.
But my life has moved on from those days. I have responsibilities now, lots of them. And while the juggle of my varied duties is sometimes overwhelming, I wouldn't trade this richness of life for the freedom of 20 years ago.
And so goodbye to Quito. I will, for the present, continue to come and go from here. But home is in New England, with that crazy family of mine.