This blog post is going to feature more pictures as I realized that the last two posts were quite wordy….
I was walking around Gualaceo today taking short video clips for my work (I am volunteering in the tourism office of the municipality for all who don’t know). One thing that surprised me about Ecuador which I mentioned before was all the street art. However, I never quite realised how much art you can find in my city until today. Sooo, this blog is going to show you some of the beauties I discovered, tell you a little about my daily life and have a little reflection about what it’s like to live with a family again.
8am – 1pm work: take short video clips of Gualaceo for a promotional video
After lunch: hand-wash my clothes; clean my bathroom; do my Spanish homework and try to learn more vocabulary; edit some of the pictures of the weekend; cafesito with my host fam, watch friends on Netflix, do some yoga
7:30pm dinner; afterwards a party of “UNO” and bed time
9:20am take bus to Cuenca
11am meet my team leader (something like a personal tutor) for a coaching session
12:30am meet two friends from UWC who are also in my language class for lunch
2pm – 5pm language class
7:30 dinner; afterwards hang out with my family and bed time
8am – 1pm work: again taking videos of Gualaceo
2pm take bus to Chordeleg (close by small town), picked up by another UWC friend from the program and explored the mountains around his village
5:30pm cafesito with my family, practice Spanish, work on his blog post and edit pictures, prepare apprenticeship presentation and cultural value activity for the next debrief circle next Wednesday, workout
7:30pm dinner; afterwards Netflix and bed time
8am – 1pm work: edit videos together which I took the days before, publish a Facebook post with pictures I took a while ago from the local artisan stalls in the central plaza of Gualaceo
1 pm lunch; afterwards I practiced Spanish, worked on the cultural value activity, watched some YouTube and Netflix, went on a walk with my family, edit pictures and this blog post
I didn’t have to work because of the current situation in Ecuador. So this day was very different from my normal working days as I spent my time hanging around the house, reading, watching Netflix and YouTube, working on this blog post and editing pictures. In the afternoon, me and my family went on a walk around the local river for two hours.
8:00am me and my family went to visit a close by city, Paute. We walked around the river, had lunch and explored the city a little. Afterwards I met with another fellow from UWC who also lives in Paute and spent the afternoon with her discussing the program, life in Ecuador and reminiscing about UWC.
11am breakfast; afterwards workout and cleaning my room a little
People from my extended host family came to visit, so I chatted and had lunch with them. Afterwards I had to wash my clothes (which takes about two hours as I have to wash them by hand) and clean my bathroom and room. Then I uploaded this blog.
As promised I am going to reflect a little on what it means to live with a family again. In order to understand my reflection, it is important to know what my background on family life is. Before going to Ecuador, I lived in a boarding school for two years and the only restrictions were posed by the college rules which I also liked to view as a little flexible. Before boarding school, I lived with a family, but all of us had their own daily routine and lived (compared to now) very independently of each other. For example, I would often not eat with my family because I was either still in school or at volleyball training. I would also not ask my family for permission to do anything, I would merely inform them of my plans. It was also normal to retreat to one’s own room and not spend a lot of time in the common rooms, such as the kitchen or living room. To shorten the whole story, my parents always raised me to be very independent.
As you can imagine, living with a family who spends a lot of time together, having to be home for dinner, eating with the family what my mum cooked for us, not having that much liberty to do whatever you want, my host mum telling me when and how to clean my room is quite hard to adapt to. I am used to living with my friends and spending most of my time, especially the evenings with them. Here, this doesn’t seem to be as common culturally, but my host mum also doesn’t want me to be out on my own after dinner, when it is dark because she worries about me a lot. With all these restrictions one thing was very important for me to realize. Even though I view them as restrictions, these are all just ways of expression love and care. My room and bathroom have to be clean because hygiene is very important for one’s health (this is what my host mum said). She worries when I am half an hour late because she cares about me just like she cares about her own daughters. Spending a lot of time with the family is a lovely thing because it shows how much love they all have for each other. To conclude, I again had to actively practice what I learned at UWC: understanding where other people are coming from to understand their actions and viewpoints and not just judge with harsh feelings.