This is my new host family. By far, they are the most welcoming and loving group of people I have met in Ecuador. My 18 year-old host sister is this athletic ball of energy that monopolized my attention the first time I met her. My host brother is a jokester. My host parents, caring and understanding. I really could not have asked for a better, more down-to-earth family.
One thing that really caught my attention about this family is how they interact with each other. During mealtimes or even when one finds the other in the same room, they immediately become wholeheartedly engaged in a conversation. This might be the norm in Ecuador but in the U. S. I cannot count the number of meals I didn’t eat with my family or even when I did, everyone seemed to be in his/her own world. Therefore, witnessing the physical and mental presence this family has with each other was beyond refreshing.
When I was in the U.S. the last two years of high school were a giant source of stress. I never had time for my family. When we were together, I was always in my mind, worrying about this paper and that exam (and also boys). My parents were also preoccupied with us or their jobs.
I highly doubt the members of my family don’t have preoccupations or worries, because I think every person has his/her own problems. Accordingly, I’m amazed by their ability to set aside their anxieties and to talk and laugh as friends do. Their interaction creates a relaxed and cheerful environment. When I’m with them, I feel content just to watch and feel no pressure to engage in the conversation. But unexpectedly, I find myself talking and laughing along.
I really admire them for being such a close-knit family despite the presence of distractions of youth and technology. I regret not making time or being present with my family when I was home. But regrets are not the only thing I’ve gotten from observing this family. I’ve realized the value in making an effort to be present in each moment with those whom you love.