The Comfort of Food and Friends

Maryanne Roughton - Ecuador


March 8, 2017

Hello and welcome back for my third blog post!

As you may or may not know, a part of every fellow’s bridge year is language learning. For my cohort, our Spanish classes are every Thursday. Since we were all going to be in the same place around the same times, it only seemed logical to spend part of our day seeing each other, eating lunch, and sharing our latest crazy adventures. One of our very first days together we stumbled upon what would become our regular lunch place— Tacos Del Rey. And so began the tradition of Tacos Del Rey on Thursdays. Each week, I can rely on the comfort of friends and Mexican food to help me make it through anything.

To me, food has always been a very comforting thing. Bad day? Ben and Jerry’s Fish Food ice cream is there to wipe away any stress with creamy, caramely-chocolatey goodness. Sad about something? Homemade beef stew hits the spot and makes you feel a little warm on the inside. What I didn’t think about before embarking on my bridge year, is how much I would miss my comfort foods. Now, maybe eating isn’t the best way to deal with homesickness or finding comfort, but being abroad has made me appreciate even the smallest connections to food back home. There is a Mexican restaurant in my town back in the U.S. that is kind of an iconic, unifying landmark that everyone in Lake Orion can bond over. This kind of universal connection to this restaurant parallels the connection and bonding my cohort shares through Tacos Del Rey and is a weird, but comforting, reminder of the home I left while creating a new one in Ecuador.

I am biased when I say that I have the best cohort, but we totally are the best. Never have I been around people who love and care for each other the way that we all do. I have been blessed to have such an amazing group of people around me to share this year with. There is some weird kind of bonding magic that happens when you move to a different country with nine other people. We all witness each other’s struggles and victories, and celebrate the growth and progress that we have made here. I have a crazy amount of love and admiration for these people who have basically become my family in such a short time frame. Through our travel adventures together in Ecuador, growing and learning from our experiences, laughing at our mistakes, indulging in our gringo foods, and being there for each other, they have been my greatest source of comfort and most absolute favorite part of my time here. Each individual has impacted me in their own unique way and I have become a better person because of them. I know that even when we are outside of Ecuador’s borders, these people are going to stick around, and words cannot explain how indebted and grateful I am for my lovely cohort family.

Maryanne Roughton