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By ELIZABETH WARREN
When I first arrived in Ibarra for my home-stay week, I was filled with mixed emotions of meeting and becoming part of my second family in Ecuador; the family I would be living with until returning to the United States in April. I was excited, anxious and nervous, but my first week there was good: my family was really nice but I was still pretty shy.
When I returned to Ibarra after two more weeks in Quito, I felt pretty confident with my new family, though I was still pretty shy and quiet. I thought I had been growing more confident throughout the next weeks after settling into my new home, until one night it was just me and my host mom at home and while we were sitting at the table eating, she was talking about my host sister’s and brother’s personalities – my host sister is silly and talkative while my host brother almost always has a more serious look on his face. When she got to me she said I was timid and shy; I explained to her that I’m usually not, that at my house in the US, I’m crazy and talk a lot. She laughed when I told her that; I knew I wasn’t really a guest but I still didn’t feel like I was fully a part of the family.
Then, one night my sister was working on her homework for school, she was making a family tree. When I walked in and looked at it, she asked if I had a picture she could use to put me on the family tree! I actually had one and it was funny when she was saying how I am the oldest. Right then is when I really felt like part of the family. We have had some fun, silly times with paper ball wars between my sister, my brother and I, and my brother tying the door knob so me and my sister couldn’t get out of my room. Or when we went to the pool and we would sneak up one on another to push each other in, running errands with my host mom and sister or just laughing and talking together and them wanting to know more about my life in the U.S. The other day I got some S´more ingredients, I waited until everyone was home that night to show them how to make S'mores; we couldn't make a fire so we toasted them over the gas stove. They loved the S'mores and we had fun making them, I like showing them typical things I do in Florida, even if they´re small.
All it took was for me to fully be myself and just be open to my new Ecuadorain life and making sure I enjoy every second I’m here with my Ibarra family, I can’t wait to see what more is in store for me these next few months.
Elizabeth Warren is spending a year between high school and college doing community work in Ecuador as part of the Global Citizen Year program.