The homestay is a very unique and special experience. It allows for a glimpse into the everyday life of a family in the host country. The three of us (Aly, Lorin, Rachel) were very lucky to be placed with Mariana, Kiko and Mario, an incredibly welcoming and generous family. The family is unique in that they are from Ecuadorbut all spent significant time in the United States and thus speak English fluently. This has been incredibly helpful because, while we have been able to practice our Spanish, in times of doubt we are able to communicate effectively with them.
On our first full day in Ecuador, our host father, Kiko, brought us to two significant areas of Guayaquil- Malecon 2000 and Las Peñas. He narrated our trip, in both Spanish and English, providing us with interesting information about what we were seeing. We particularly enjoyed Las Peñas, an historical district marked by a 444 stair climb to the top which provided the visitor with a glimpse into the past as well as the modern lifestyle. The stair area is surrounded by a colorful neighborhood populated by restaurants, homes, and small businesses. At the top of the climb was a small church, a lighthouse, and canons which had been used to defend the port of Guayaquil from pirates. The view of the city and the river Guayas was breathtaking (and terrifying for those of us scared of heights).
Living with this family has also allowed us to spend time with them doing things they would typically do. For example, we were able to go out to dinner with them for the 2 for 1 sushi night at a local restaurant. It was delicious! In addition, we attended a play celebrating Guayaquil’s founding and history. We also were able to tour our host mother’s place of work, an early intervention center for young children offering educational testing and various kinds of therapy including physical therapy, psicopedagogia, yoga and laugh therapy.
Our first week has been great. Our guilty pleasure with our family has been trips to get fruit yogurt and pan de yuca. Hopefully there will be many more visits before the trip is up. We are truly looking forward to the next four weeks with them.