Live From The Field

Callista Helms - Ecuador

October 17, 2017

From being in Ecuador for a little over a month, I have been catching on to the differences in this culture from the one I left back home. Here is a list of things that I have either observed or experienced from my time here.

Differences in Culture/Daily life

  • Rice is served with every meal

  • The diet here is heavily based on carbs

  • We eat everything with a spoon including meat

  • They put popcorn in soup

  • In the markets, they have whole roasted pigs and they sell it by the plate

  • One of the most popular delicacies is Cuy-which is guinea pig-(I have yet to try it but I’ve seen it many times)

  • Granadillas are weird looking fruits that are similar to passion fruit-(they have become my new favorite)

  • Horchata here is an herbal tea, not milk mixed with cinnamon-(I was confused when I ordered it because I was not expecting a pink tea)

  • My host family heats up my cereal in the microwave so it's not cold

  • Milk comes in a bag

  • Lunch is usually the biggest meal while dinners are smaller

  • Ecuadorians drink coffee before bed

  • When stray dogs chase you, you have to throw rocks at them

  • Stray dogs are always on the streets including really cute puppies-(it's hard not to pet them)

  • Walking in my town I usually pass by many chickens and cows

  • There's no post office in my town

  • There are no addresses for houses

  • You’ll get warm water for showers if you are lucky

  • Families here are usually larger than back in the states

  • It is normal for children to live with their parents until they are married (or even still when they get married)

  • When a girl turns 15 she has a big party -(it's the same thing as a Quinceañera but here they call it Quince Años)

  • There is a big machismo culture here-(men are always served first, there is lots of catcalling and gender equality is not very relevant in society here)

  • Many men pee in public places even if it's crowded-(it doesn’t matter where.. It's normal here)

  • There is an atmosphere of racism-(the biggest I’ve noticed is towards Chinese people)

  • Ecuador is a very conservative country

  • Here there is a heavy Catholic Culture-(it’s a little awkward telling people I’m not religious and I get asked a lot)

  • My host family does the sign of the cross after every meal

  • Public schools here are not very good, parents if they can try to send their kids to private schools for a better education.

  • The school bells sound like some type of natural disaster alarm

  • Because I live in a small town I say “buenas días, tardes or noches” to everyone that you pass, especially if they are older as a sign of respect

  • When a female is introduced to the same or another gender you greet them cheek to cheek and give a kiss-(but you don’t actually kiss their cheek you just make the noise)

  • The cost of living is much cheaper here, but that also goes with earning less

  • Cars have the right of way, pedestrians do not

  • The majority cars and buses are stick shift

  • Many families do not own a car

  • The currency here is the same in the US, but they mostly use dollar coins instead of bills.

  • Most people air dry their laundry because they don't have dryers

  • Equatime is real- everyone takes their sweet time and doing something now could mean in 30 minutes or an hour-(life here is at a slower pace than back home)

  • People call me “suquita” which means blonde -(there aren't many people with light hair)

While I do miss many people and things from home, I find comfort that Ecuador continues to surprise me with its new traditions, beauty, and differences in its culture.

Callista Helms