Tuesday, August 18, 2009

Cuenca- Advantages of Homestay

There are so many benefits to a home stay and I’m glad we chose to begin our year with a 3 week stay with an Ecuadorian family. For one, we are in someone’s home, not a hotel, which makes us feel more like residents and less like travelers. The girls have their own room, which they have already decorated with posters from teen magazines and the family wants us to use the whole house and really make ourselves at home.

By far the greatest benefit for us all is seeing how important the family is in this culture. Because we are living with a family, we get kissed at least 10 times a day. While the kids seem to find this a bit squeamish and rarely return the kiss on the cheek, I personally love seeing it among family members and participating in the daily ritual. The parents kiss me every morning, afternoon after language school, and in the evening before going to bed. One simply never walks in a room without properly greeting and kissing a person. On a daily basis, 4 or 5 family members stop by for a meal or just to say hello and there is more kissing. It warms my heart to see a father kiss his son of 30 years hello and goodbye on a daily basis.

Meal time is another important family time and our kids are seeing how this family lingers over a meal and one person talks at a time (unlike in our household!!) and everyone contributes to the conversation. The afternoon meal, served at about 1:30, is the main meal of the day with several courses. Dinner is light (usually leftovers) and the kids are getting used to the different eating schedule.

My goal is to learn how to prepare a myriad of Ecuadorian dishes and really take advantage of all the different foods here so that when we live on our own, we don’t just fall into cooking what we’d eat in Seattle. Although salmon and pasta and pesto and a Pinto Noir sounds pretty good to me right now…..

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