I have been in language school for one week. I am progressing in my Spanish skills quite well and am enjoying practicing throughout the town. I am now officially friends with the cleaning ladies and feel like a whole new world of friendship has opened up now that I can speak another language better than just ordering food. I must admit, I am still better at charades than Spanish, but I will keep practicing.
The little town of Montanita is gearing up for New Year’s. The flocks of people that come to the coast for New Year’s is amazing. The next few days here will be similar to MTV Spring Break, but with nothing being illegal. It is not bad during the day, but the nights get very loud. In fact, the music at the discoteca just went off at 7 am.
We escaped the busyness of the beach here yesterday and went to a Ecuadorian National Park, Isla de Plata. Isla de Plata is known as the “poor man’s Galapagos”. The smaller island has many of the same species of birds and animals that the famous Galapagos has, but much cheaper to visit. We took a boat out about an hour into the ocean to the island. We saw dolphins swimming next to us, large sea turtles that we fed watermelon to, and a whale. We were able to hike on the island and saw blue-footed boobies. Blue-footed boobies are amazing birds that are only found in 3 places in the world: Galapagos, Isla de Plata, and one other island in Ecuador. We ended the day snorkeling on the island and a very choppy boat ride back to the mainland.
As we were coming off the boat, we saw a very unusual bug. We stopped to inspect it and ran into 3 families that were also looking at the bug. We started talking to them and found out that they all volunteer at Casa de Fe (the orphanage in Shell that we visited). Since we are about 15 hours from that small jungle town, it was a surprise to see them here. We talked for over an hour and were able to hear more of their heart for how they are serving in Ecuador and what led them to Casa de Fe. We see clearly that God is at work and are waiting to see how it all fits together.
Today we are having church on the beach, surfing, and then getting all these Ecuadorian and European new friends to cheer on the Packers. (I found a restaurant in town that is willing to switch channels from futbol to American futbol for a few hours this afternoon so we can have a Packer party!) Go Pack Go!