Finally a Ñaña

Anna Sophie Tinneny - Ecuador


February 25, 2019

I’ve always wanted to be a big sister.
I tried to get my fill through playing with friends’ little siblings or hanging out with younger cousins, but it’s not quite the same as actually living with the tiny rascals.
On September 7, 2018, I finally realized my childhood dream of becoming a big sister. No, my mom didn’t have another baby. Rather, I gained a new family.
From the first day in my homestay, I was already cuddled in bed with my three younger siblings. We watched awfully dubbed American movies and giggled through tickle fights. They dubbed me “ñaña” (“big sister” in Kichwa), a name that’s stuck so much that I’ve never heard them say “Anna Sophie”. From that day on, it was clear that Flor (then 11), Franco (7), and I were going to be a packaged deal.
Flor is the sweetest thing you’ll ever meet. She loves listening to all the new music- and belting it out when she thinks she’s home alone. She bakes cakes whenever possible, so I’ve made sure to show her some recipes from my country.
Franco is trouble with a capital T. You can usually find him watching cartoons, eating yet another bowl of food (and throwing the dirty dishes outside?), or coming up with some intricate practical joke probably involving the dogs.
Not to sound ancient, but they make me feel young again. We spend our time together doing things I haven’t done since my biological siblings and I were their ages. We climbs trees, play tag in the fields while we’re supposed to be tending to the cows, and spend hours trying to solve the Philadelphia-themed jigsaw puzzle I brought all of those months ago (I swear we’re missing some pieces!!).
As my Global Citizen Year comes to a close and I reflect upon all that’s happened, I think my relationship with them has been my greatest accomplishment. I love them like I love my own siblings, and I know they feel the same way. Opening my site placement in August, I realized I was going to gain some little host siblings, but I didn’t realize they’d also become my best friends.
I don’t know if they’ll ever read this post, but if they do:
Flor and Franco, thank you for accepting me, loving me, and letting me finally become a ñaña. I love you.
Now go do your homework before Mamá starts yelling.
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Anna Sophie Tinneny