Now that I’m over two months into my semester abroad (crazy, right!), I wanted to talk about being part of a host family. My host family is made of my host mom and dad, who are about the age of my real mom and dad, as well as a host sister who is a year younger and one who is three years older than me. My older host sister lived with us in the beginning, but has since moved out to start a new job.
In the beginning of my stay, it felt like I was a guest. It was probably because I wasn’t familiar with the house at all, and wasn’t fully comfortable moving around on my own. Now, though, I feel comfortable in the house and feel like a part of the family. In fact, It doesn’t hurt that my host parents introduce me to their friends as their “other child.”
I’ve met a lot of the extended family, especially since I went to my host dad’s niece’s wedding. I also spent some time with my mom and great aunt making traditional bread and fruit drink for Día de los Difuntos (similar to Día de los Muertos).
Also, I had the joy of celebrating Halloween with my host family, who very sweetly went out of their way to put on a little family party for me, Ecuadorian style. In addition to candies and pigs in blankets, we had empanadas and bolones! Even better, though, is when I’m able to just kind of chat with my family and watch tv with my host parents or go out with my sister. We have a family dinner pretty much every day, which means that we chat about what happened during the day. My host dad hassles me the same way he hassles my host sister. It’s a bit like the way my real dad teases me, and my host mom likes to gossip to me about what’s going on in with her friends. My sister and I spent about half an hour, the other day, commiserating about classes and work.
I consider myself very lucky to be living with such a wonderful family. I now feel comfortable wandering around the house on my own, and taking charge of making food or doing laundry. At this point, I feel comfortable spending time with the family and even the extended family, which is really exciting for me.