Sunday, January 23, 2011

Me Encanta Mi Familia


This post is a little mish-mashed because I wrote it over the period of a couple days. Also- Mom, I haven't heard from you lately and I miss you. Send me an email.

I’m really starting to love my family. Not only the one I am living with, but also Lauren, Johann, Sara, and all of the other students. The house I am staying in is rather nice for the area. The whole town is rather unfinished and yesterday Johann told me this is because they don’t have to pay property tax if the house is considered under construction. Many (my house included) have metal rebar sticking out of the roof. That being said, my house is amazing.
We have a linoleum floor and an actual plaster ceiling while most have concrete floors and tin roofs. The doors are made out of beautiful wood and my walls are purple. The bathroom tile is so beautiful.
In order to be considered appropriate to be a host family they must have hot water, but we do not have it yet. I really don’t mind because after the first initial shock, a cold shower is perfect when you live on the equator. A new water tank is being installed so I currently have running water here for 3 hours a day. If I want to shower outside of the hours that the water is running there is a trash can full of water in the shower with a pitcher. I haven’t had to use it yet except for washing my feet off late at night when everyone is asleep and before I go to bed. All the roads are made out of sand so dirty feet are constant. A lot of the houses are in really bad shape. I am very fortunate that I live with a family that has so much money.
My mother, Lorena, is one of the nicest women I have ever met. She is super patient when we are trying to communicate because she speaks no English and I speak selective Spanish. She cooks me all my meals and won’t let me help although I’ve offered numerous times. Yesterday she did my laundry for me and it is currently hanging on the clothesline outside my window. I try to communicate my plans the best I can with her and everything is “no hay un problema”. Last night when I got back from class she asked me if I was going out to a bar with my friends before I got a chance to tell her. She says I am so quiet when I come in at night and no one wakes up. She offers me food whenever I am in the house whether it be jello, some kind of pie she made, or fruit. She also doesn’t let me clean the dishes. She always tells me to go sleep or shower or do whatever. Last night she gave me and Maythe pedicures and it is one of the best I’ve ever had.
I haven’t spent much time with my father, Junior, but he seems nice so far. He is definitely the head of the household and is always working or spending time with his extensive family that lives in the area.
Maythe is the sweetest 5-year-old ever. She has so many toys, but treats them all with care. They are perfectly lined up on her shelves and floor. We watch Disney movies together which I have found is a great way to learn Spanish. If I have Finding Nemo memorized in English I just listen for the Spanish equivalent. Right now she is on vacation from school, but during the year she goes to private school, which costs $40 a month. Lorena told me that she also has a tutor to help her with homework because Lorena doesn’t have enough patience after work. That also costs $40 a month. That is a lot of money to invest in education in this area. Maythe has a workbook from school with different colors and numbers in English and yesterday we went through it together.
The food here is very interesting. Lorena makes a wide variety of food. Yesterday we ate ceviche for breakfast, which is typically not a breakfast food, and today we had hot dogs and French fries for breakfast. I didn’t like the ceviche, but the rest of the food she has made has been really good. Every day for breakfast she gives me a bowl of fruit, which is absolutely amazing. Today it was a type of banana and white pineapple. They have 2 different types of pineapple here, white and yellow. They taste the same to me, but they are still distinguished. They also have fruit juice with pretty much every meal here. So far there has been papaya, mango, tree tomato, lemonade, and others. All is amazingly fresh and sugary.
I was so unsure about this family at first, but I am definitely starting to feel at home here. Even though Lorena is only 8 years older than me, she takes amazing care of me and makes sure that I am happy at all times.
We all (the family plus Maythe’s aunt and several cousins) went to the beach today. It was the most fun I’ve had in a while. The beach is right in front of a few hotels that all the tourists stay in and I got many strange looks from fellow Americans who saw me with my family especially when Maythe holds my hand while we walk. There was a white couple on the beach and the guy starting doing push ups. I pointed it out to Lorena and the two of us were dying of laughter. We went swimming in the huge waves and saw some marine iguanas on some lava. I made friends with one of the cousins named Roberto. We jumped over the rolling waves together. It was a bonding experience. Lorena ditched the kids on the beach with an aunt and we really went swimming. I enjoyed spending time with the locals and kids digging in the sand while the tourists were sitting farther back on their hotel properties on lounge chairs. I never want to be a tourist again.


  1. I'm so glad you're having a good time! Your host family sounds great! xoxo.

  2. Hmmm... 8 years older than you! Sounds like someone I know who also takes great care of you! Sister Sarah says Hello! We miss you and are so glad you are having a blast. I'm so thankful your living situation is working out and that the change has worked out as it's supposed to!

  3. Hi Hannah! The Galápagos sound amazing. I'm happy everything is going well. We miss you back here in Miami.

  4. OMG... is that your little sister?! She is SOOO adorable!!! Can you bring her back with you?!

  5. keep blogging! the pictures are super fun to look at/live vicariously through. this is delayed but my address is yours but Room 402. I keep miscounting our group because you're not here! How did I not know about the spanish lizards? I knew Marina had applied but not you. Congrats! my bio lab ta Nate studied lizards... ciao!