It’s hard to believe I have less than a week left in my trip now! (Yes, originally I was coming home the 14th but changed it to the 7th, as I realized it would be better to allow myself two weeks at home to get things sorted and see family before I head off to Sweden.)

It’s amazing how time on the road goes. While I remember there were many times when it seemed to be moving so slowly, it now feels like it went by all too fast! Though at the same time, thinking back on my first day in Buenos Aires, or even back to Bolivia or southern Peru, seems like ages ago! While at the same time, it’s impossible to believe that Halloween in Lima was already more than a month ago. Strange how time goes.

I’m also having trouble grasping the fact that it’s going to be snowy and freezing when I get off the plane in Ohio. It’s so hot here at the Equator…and every time I see Christmas decorations up — a Christmas tree in a hotel, tinsel in the airport or on a small house in a jungle village — I first find myself thinking, “Weird that they have decorations up now for Christmas.”

Then I remember that it really is Christmastime! But it’s hard to feel it, without the rituals of putting everything up at home, going overboard decorating our apartment at school, hearing Christmas music everywhere you go, watching Christmas movies and TV specials…without all that it seems so strange!

The Thanksgiving dinner attendees...can you tell me and Maaike? I didnt realize how tan wed gotten!

I’m back in Quito now, trying to figure out how to spend my last few days on the continent. It’s also weird being alone again. The past month I’ve always been with people; I had two weeks with Lauren and Kassia, and then two weeks of Galapagos/jungle tours with groups and with Maaike (the Dutch girl who was my cabin-mate on the Floreana and was on the jungle tour with me). Now I’m back on my own, in the same hostel as I stayed in before in Quito, but without all the familiar faces. And I’m back to battling with my travel agency about a refund for the cruise. Before they seemed ready to hand it to me, now they are not sure if I will get one or not. So frustrating!

But I updated the Galapagos post, adding more pictures. I will try to get a post on the jungle up as well, but it might take a few days.

Oh and also, I did attend a Thanksgiving dinner last Thursday, in the few hours between the arrival of our flight from the Galapagos and the departure of our night bus for Lago Agrio and the jungle. Both Maaike and I were exhausted and probably weren’t the most exciting dinner guests, but it was nice to be in a real home (it was the apartment of an Ecuadorian family that was housing the two American students hosting the dinner), and having a real Thanksgiving dinner.