One week left until we head home.

I’m sorry that I haven’t posted each week consistently. Whirlwind January sapped us of enthusiasm for logistics, and my work schedule has gotten so overwhelming that I don’t have the three hours a week I need to update these blogs. That’s how long it takes to do on the Android, anyway.

However, now that I know what to fix and how, the rest of 2015 will be much smoother and I’ll have periodic updates about our United States and European adventures. I intend to continue this blog, since our adventures will continue. The rest of the year promises to be as amazing as the beginning.

April: Virginia, Washington D.C. June: Ohio. July: Iowa. And our wedding.

What’s a marriage if not a journey?

And then our next continent. From July through December, we will travel in Norway, Holland, Poland, Czech Republic, Austria, Italy, Greece, Bulgaria, and Turkey. Quite a grand honeymoon.

Anyway, one of my favorite parts of traveling is heading home. Specifically, giving gifts. By which I mean, shopping!

I’ve been hunting for a wedding dress in Medellin and Bogota, Colombia, but sadly haven’t found one that I’ve liked. I want to purchase my wedding dress for under $100. Quito is my last chance this week as the clock ticks down, but if it doesn’t work out, I have a perfect backup. But I’m not telling.

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Wedding dress hunting in Medellin, Colombia. Aaron loves shopping malls.

We did find a good deal on wedding bands, so we will exchange rings at our ceremony. (Aaron’s younger nephew doesn’t want to bear rings so he won’t be enjoying any cake.)

For the two simple, thin bands we paid just over $200. My mother said that’s how much she and my father paid for their bands. Must have been nice, those gold prices back in 1984.

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Marriage is the most epic journey of all.

Now we’re in a little hill town called Mindo, near Quito, where we’ll be flying out next week. It’s a quiet place where we’re relaxing for the remainder of our time. By relaxing I mean slaying more deadlines. But we spent the weekend hiking to beautiful waterfalls, sitting in a butterfly sanctuary, and watching hummingbirds.

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We’re spending the last of our time in South America amongst hummingbirds, butterflies, and orchids in the cloud forests of Mindo, Ecuador.

There’s a bit of shopping here, too – I bought some interesting food items to share with our families, if the universe could just provide some bubble wrap so I can get them in my luggage without breaking them. So much for surprises. They’re jams.

I don’t want to completely ruin the surprise about we’ve been buying for the folks back at home. Just suffice to say, we miss our family and friends terribly, and can’t wait to be home! Maybe I’ll take pictures of people’s faces as they open their gifts.

I asked Aaron if he’s concerned about my shopping, and he said, “It’s your way to show people you care about them, and that you’re thinking about them.” I sure hope they understand that!

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Written by Ada Kase (Kulesza)

Ada Kase is a freelance journalist and photographer from Philadelphia. AJKTravels is her personal travel blog documenting her adventures with her husband, journalist Aaron Kase.

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