And it begins,

We were told so many times that our global citizen year would likely be the hardest year of our lives so far. So I expected to be torn by cultural differences and exhausted by constant discomfort. I expected to cry, a lot.

Then I got my Ecuadorian host family. Mom and Dad, six brothers, one sister, two sister-in-laws, two nieces, one nephew, two dogs and two cats. My first week with them, I was treated with such care and kindness. They would joke with me, even though I barely knew what they were saying. I immediately knew that I would be happy with them despite my worries. The next week we spent as a cohort reflecting and preparing for the upcoming weeks in our community. I had only known my family for a week, but we were gone for five days and I missed them.

Back in the US, I try to describe my experience, but there are some things that can only be understood when you know the personalities of my family or even which way you’d walk around my house. So, it’s okay if you don’t understand all of my stories, but if there is one thing I want you to know it’s that my host family aren’t just the people that I lived with”