March 10, 2012

Family Dinners

During the past month I have learned more about the Ecuadorian culture due to living with a family. (I think that was the point of the past month so good job Study Abroad, goal accomplished). I have observed a lot and sat through a lot of awkward conversations because I can't understand the language. One thing I learned about Ecuadorians is that they are family oriented.

The past month I get to spend a lot of time with JuanSe's parents, and Carla's family. Tonight we went over to JuanSe's parents house. They live in a little apartment on the opposite mountain that makes Quito into a valley. When I say they are family oriented I mean we have been to their house twice this past week and many times before. Families here show they love for each other in a very affectionate way. There is not much personal space to begin with in the Ecuador culture, but when you love someone it is perfectly fine to show it. And I don't mean that in a weird way. However, if an American man was to observe the way JuanSe shows he loves to his father- he might question him. But, Ecuadorians are not ashamed of showing there love in an affectionate way and I think it is cool they don't care.

Whenever we go to JuanSe's parents house we have bread, tea, and jam. I know that sounds silly to mention jam, but I never have jam anywhere else but when Martha (JuanSe's mom) is serving 'dinner'. Yup, what I described above is my normal dinner. Before you judge, lunch is served at 2 and it is a huge meal. I always think I will be hungry after but normally I am not. So bread, tea, and jam works just fine. We always seem to have really good bread at Martha's house. (Carla's mom also makes the best tea I think I've ever had. Carla said she can't even make it that good. Its delicious.)

Conversation is held throughout the night, while Martha cleans the dishes. Its part of culture for the dishes to be cleaned while the guests are still at the table. I am normally lost but try to pay attention. I just think it would be really funny to see a picture of a white girl with Ecuadorians around the table (which will always have a table cloth and place mats). Sometimes its humorous to me, and other times I kick myself for not knowing more Spanish because those conversations can get real long.

Family get togethers are normal in JuanSe and Carla's life no matter what day of the week. I am thankful that for the past month both sides have accepted me in and treated me so nicely. I hope that I have not unintentionally or unknowing offending their family culture.

JuanSe's parents

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