My place at the table

Andrew William Dunn - Ecuador


September 7, 2015

My place at the table

I am unsure of what I am feeling. Could this be what culture shock feels like? That every time one of these people with whom I live, open their mouths, I sit there with my hands in my lap, with nothing to say, no way of saying it. We went to visit “abuela” (grandmother), and it was there where I felt terrified. I thought that she must be thinking “estupido” (stupid) or something related to this word. I felt overwhelmed… The amount of times just today that I have said perdon (excuse me), and not because I didn’t here, but because I could not understand anything. It’s as if I was trying another time to try and find at least one word in the entire sentence which I could depict, but alas, my response would always just end up being “no entiendo” (i do not understand). I also know that I am being too harsh maybe on myself, because this is but merely day 1, however I can’t help but think “What am I doing here? This is difficult and I don’t even know if I am capable of all of this. Will I make it? Will I actually learn to speak Spanish within these next few months? What could I have been doing at home? Is this what “culture shock” feels like? All the training and experience that i thought I had on “culture shock”, was simply thrown off a cliff, and I was so unsure of my true intentions of being here, in Ecuador, being a fellow.

” **sigh**

(So today is a week since I wrote that and I must say. I am doing better. I made it. 6th December made it a week since I have been living with my new family. It has been tough, but i would like to think that the worst is over. I hope.!!!)

And so when we got back home, I came and sat down, ready for dinner, and somehow I just found myself sitting on the same spot I sat for lunch that same day, and I have been sitting on that exact same seat ever since. This made me realise that I don’t have to put so much strain on myself. That if I just stopped for a second and look at how far I’ve grown in this 1 week, I will be able to see just that. And as I am doing this right now, I am realising how confident I have become. I still feel shy about my level of Spanish, but strangely I feel a little bit more liberated to actually say if I do not understand, and besides, if I don’t have a growth mindset about this, then I doubt I would be able to learn not only the language, but the culture as well.

                                                                                                             I’m Dunn

 

 

Andrew William Dunn