First Impressions


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South America » Ecuador » North » Quito
January 10th 2020
Published: January 12th 2020
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Although Matt and I have only been with our host family for about twelve hours, and about nine of those were spent in bed, I thought I’d share a few impressions I’ve had.

Personally, I’ve really enjoyed the interactions that I’ve had with the host thus far. Fernando and Ximena seemed a little awkward at 2:30 AM, but I think that was a poor first interaction because this morning has been much more interesting. At lunch, we had conversation with Fernando about a variety of things and got to try a few new things as well. Ximena was out this morning but came in towards the end of lunch and was very warm and welcoming to us both.

I mentioned that we tried a few things at lunch. A few highlights of the morning so far: Some pretty tasty french bread with Fernando’s favorite “queso cremoso.” Some more bread with cheddar cheese and goose liver pate. Scrambled eggs with mayonnaise. Gringo cereal. And, a nice smattering of American television dubbed in Spanish.

During conversation with Fernando, we found that he has served in the Ecuadorian air force and has received very high honors for his service, particularly in the war between Ecuador and Peru in the 80′s. Although the book on leading with cultural intelligence recommended not getting into political discussion, Fernando didn’t take much time before getting into discussion about the US in Iran and the death of Soleimani. I haven’t followed the situation in Iran and Iraq very closely, but I it was still a good topic to talk about. I think that I disagree with the goal of avoiding political discussion. Fernando was certainly more informed than me, but I found that it was a really great opportunity to learn about his view of the world and to encounter one perspective of Ecuadorian opinion.

I’ll really need to watch myself in conversation. I really tend to say I understand things, even if I didn’t quite catch it all. It could cause issues and they are very glad to repeat things I don’t understand. I also need to make sure that Matt gets all of the information they give me in Spanish. He catches some things, but I can’t forget to share the instructions with him. Otherwise, I’m very glad that my Spanish is coming along fine and I think I’ll be able to improve myself quite a bit over the next few weeks.

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