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Published: January 14th 2020
I have reached day 5 of my Ecuador trip, and I have noticed some things that have affected me emotionally and mentally. For the first few days, I had a lot of information and observations coming at me, and I did not have much time to process my reactions or feelings towards certain events. As I have mentioned in previous blogs, Ecuador’s culture is very collectivist, and individuals value quality time. I do value this as well, however, back home, I prefer to have space to be alone in order to relax my mind and collect my thoughts. I do not know what I was expecting on this trip, but there has not been as much time for that as I anticipated. I am not alone until around 9pm, and by the time that 9pm comes, I am ready to sleep. I have noticed that I am a bit emotionally drained as I do value time for myself to relax and be alone. Despite this, I have been very receptive to the time I have spent with my mama, and have been respectful of the time she wants to spend with me. By the end of the day, I am thankful
that I did not spend time alone, and took each opportunity to see Quito with my mama.
Another cultural value for Ecuadorians is the bonding over meals. In America, I am not used to eating each meal with my family. At home or at school, I eat a quick yogurt for breakfast and head to work or school. Lunch is usually quick and small. Then, I am with my family or friends for a bigger dinner. I did not even think to ask my mama what time breakfast would be, and what the meals would entail. One of the first few days, my mama woke my roommate and I up because we were sleeping too close to the time we needed to leave for school. This certainly confused me. However, I quickly realized that breakfast and lunch are heavier meals meant to be spent with the family. Eating meals together is viewed as a way to build trust (Livermore, 55). This has been a tough adjustment for me because I am not very hungry early in the day. I have been eating what is served so that I am being respectful, but I think that the amount of food I have consumed is starting to catch up with me. The food I am eating is also very different from food back home. This reminded of the book I read in preparation for the trip that emphasized how important it is to at least try a food once (Livermore, 54). This shows that you are willing to adapt to the culture and are respectful to those who have served it. There is a lot of value in simply trying a food as it shows that one is willing to appreciate the culture (Livermore, 55). I have felt overwhelmed with the amount of time spent as a family here, as I do really enjoy just taking time to be by myself. More energy is required for social interactions and making connections with other cultures, which can cause one to desire “creature comforts”, and my own desire to have alone time (Livermore, 56). The overwhelming and long days here have made me feel a bit burned out, but I am starting to feel like I have more of a routine here. While this is a challenge for me right now, I am excited to see how this problem takes me out of my comfort zone in the coming weeks.
Something minor that did give me a bit of worry was the way that laundry is done here. I am private about my laundry, and will do it myself at home or school. However, here, my mama’s maid takes care of the laundry by washing it, hanging the clothes out to dry in the yard, and then ironing the clothes. When I found this out, my initial reaction was surprised, shocked, and I did not want my laundry being hung in a courtyard for all the neighbors in the apartment complex to see. However, this is the way that laundry is done here, and refusing this would be disrespectful. This has made me more open minded already and I have chosen to move past the worry to instead be more attuned to the culture and more understanding of diverse patterns.
I feel like I have created more of a routine the past few days, but have battled my introverted side more than I anticipated. However, with CQ Drive in mind (Livermore, 43), which explains the importance of finding motivation to explore and learn about a culture, I have chosen not to fall into old habits of prioritizing alone time, but have and will continue to challenge myself to explore the city, bond with others on the trip, and be up for any opportunity my mama gives me to get to know her, or Ecuador. Attached are a few photos of our group’s visit to the equator yesterday!
Tot: 0.513s; Tpl: 0.064s; cc: 9; qc: 48; dbt: 0.0465s; 1; m:saturn w:www (18.104.22.168); sld: 1;
; mem: 1.3mb