A Home Away from Home

My little sister, Paola, and I dressed as Otavaleñas

My (biological) family recently visited me in Ecuador, and we went on a trip to the Galapagos. During my week away from my home away from home, I realized how much I missed being with my host family. I realized that the main reason my stay here in Ecuador has been incredible is my host family, about which I feel obliged to share with the rest of you. Every day I get home from work at about two, which is when the entire family gathers for a delicious lunch cooked by my host mom. This usually (by usually, I mean always) consists of rice, some kind of meat, fried plantains, and some sort of scrumptious tropical fruit juice (changes every time!). After lunch, we usually all play cards around the table amidst racuous laughter caused by my horrible Spanish pronuciation. Next, I go outside to play either basketball or volleyball with my two brothers (needless to say I usually lose by a large margin.)

At this time, everybody usually goes off and does their respective chores, work, and/or homework. At about 7 pm, I begin helping my mom prepare dinner, while the rest of the family watches Ecuador’s national television show, Los Simpson. This is then followed by dinner, a loud affair where everybody needs to talk over everybody else to get a point across. Not very efficient, but pretty hilarious.

My host brother, Xavier, and I

I have five immediate family members here in Ecuador (about twice the size of my US family), and not to mention the siblings I have who don’t live under the same roof. Let me start with the youngest: my thirteen-year-old sister, Paola, constantly watches herself dancing in the mirror to the tune of “One Time” by Justin Bieber. She has a severe affliction of Bieber Fever. She loves watermelon, the color pink, and Disney movies. Next: my brother Esteban (just turned eighteen!), champion volleyball player, loves Nutella, horror movies, and beating me at gin rummy. Next: my (also) eighteen year old brother, Xavier, who absolutely adores dogs, and spends most of his time (as far as I can tell) annoying me (he’s muy adept.) My host father, Pablo, never tires of having philisophical discussions about human rights or religion with me, even though our opinions often differ. And finally, my host mother, Susanna: she’s fun, caring and extremely hardworking. She’s always there to listen to my problems with work, and always ready with a good joke to laugh off those problems.

As I draw closer to the end of this experience, I realize just how hard it’s going to be to leave these people behind. I never thought I would grow so attached to a family in Cayambe, Ecuador, my home away from home.

My host mom, Susie, celebrating her birthday.