Never Make Friends with the Pigs: 21 Things I’ve Learned from Living in Ecuador

  1. It is the slowest pace of life, EVER…”Ecuatime” is real, people!
  2. Life has never been more intriguing.
  3. A different way to love. The completely selfless love that my host family, and English students, and everyone has. The love that cannot be put into words but only felt, the love that warms rooms (which is more than likely already too warm.) The love that breaks down the barrier of language, the love that I’m now beginning to absorb.
  4. The newfound ability to laugh at myself (and often) … I guess you could call it humility.
  5. To never make friends with the pigs your abuelita takes home, because you end up serving them for lunch or dinner the next day.*
  6. That it is unbearably hot during the day and freezing cold as soon as the sun sets behind the mountains.
  7. To take a rain jacket EVERYWHERE, because if you don’t, the sky knows and will make it pour.
  8. That rice is everywhere, I have never eaten more rice in my entire life.
  9. My family’s empanadas are a gift from heaven.
  10. Having to translate for tourists is one of the greatest feelings EVER!
  11. How to pull out the stomach and innards of a pig… yes a pig …
  12. A guinea pig is not a pet, but rather a tasty treat for special occasions.
  13. Smiling is a universal language, it also really helps when lacking language abilities.
  14. Personal space isn’t a real thing here. I thought my family in the United States had trouble with the idea, but it’s now a part of life and I’ve given up all concepts of it.
  15. God is everywhere.
  16. To work at a market is one of the most exhilarating feelings to experience.
  17. There are animals everywhere all the time, cows, dogs, chickens, cats, pigs, etc.
  18. Jugo de coco is God’s gift to the world
  19. People get really, REALLY into fútbol games, any kind, pick up games, or professional games.
  20. Vamos (let’s go) is the key word to some of my craziest adventures with my family so far.
  21. And most importantly, that everywhere I look there is beauty – in the people, in the place where I live, in the love people have, in my host family, and in every experience thus far.

*Disclaimer: The pigs pictured were taken to a fiesta in town my family catered for the next day.