Ecuador in one week

I leave for Ecuador a week from tomorrow.

I’m in a mild state of panic about it. Mostly I’m just nervous about the unknown. I haven’t been out of the country in a LONG time; I hope I still remember how to travel abroad.

I’m worried it will be weird living with a host family. I mean, it will be weird, so I guess I’m just worried I won’t handle it well. I am almost 37 years old. It’s a very different experience to live with another family when you’re middle aged than when you’re in your teens or early 20s. I actually think I’ve only lived with a host family once in my life, when I was 16 and spent a summer in Madrid. But a friend from Hong Kong’s family lived in Madrid at the time and I spent most of my weekends with them, so really I hardly lived with that woman that summer. So yeah, I have VERY limited experience in living with a family I don’t know, who speak a language that is not my first.

They do seem very nice though, from the email they sent in response to my own.

And of course a week of intensive one-on-one classes will be… intense. It will be weird to be the student again, and for such a long, focused day. My ADD will be rearing its ugly head all over the place.

So yeah. I’m nervous.

I have my passport, which I had to renew. I got a wireless keyboard with a track pad so I can hopefully publish a few posts (I’m assuming the school will have internet, but I’m realizing as I type this that they might not have wi-fi). I got an international plan put on my phone, so worst comes to worst I can post that way. And call my family, of course.

My family. They are who I am most worried about. I’m really concerned with how they will do. I did not handle it well when my parents took the occasional trip when I was young. Of course, I stayed with family friends and not my grandparents. Perhaps the grandparent component will help my kids fair better than I did. But they are very attached to me. I am the primary parent in most ways and my son especially makes a big fuss when he calls for mommy and his dad tries to help. In the end I know they will survive, even if it’s really difficult for them.

I feel like I should have more to say, but I don’t yet. So far I’ve been avoiding my feelings with reminders that it’s still over a week away. Next week I’m sure some more difficult stuff will pop up. And some more excitement. Because I am excited. I really want this to be a huge boost to my Spanish, and I’m excited about the commitment I’m making to myself professionally with this trip. It’s just a lot easier to be worried that I won’t like the food my host family serves than it is to think about all the interesting experiences I will have.

One thing I keep trying to remind myself: Yes, I may be more set in my ways, and less adventurous than I was in my early 20’s when I lived in Madrid and traveled all around Europe, but I also have more experience and perspective, and have learned that most of the time, whatever difficulty I’m facing is not that big a deal in the grand scheme of things. Perhaps that perspective will take me farther than adventurous ever did. We shall see.



    1. I know they will. I’m realizing that I’m just as worried about missing them. It’s going to be hard to be away so long!

  1. Practice with skype or whatever program you will be using. BOTH children are old enough to use it. My grand was using it at age 2 and it worked.
    Your family may think they will not survive with out you. You may feel the same way. But the reality is you will all come through it and you will all grow through the process and experience. (personally when it is my time to have such growth experiences I HATE THEM when they are happening. But afterwards is good.)
    Congratulations and huge support, parts will be hard, parts easy and then it will be over. Hurrah for you!

    1. I use skype a lot and so does my husband. I know we’ll be okay talking to each other that way. I’m realizing more and more that I am worrying as much about how much I will miss them as I am about how much they will miss me. I honestly didn’t think I would miss them as much as I am realizing I will!

  2. I bet you’ll do great with your host family! For some reassurance (I hope), I happen to be a 37-year-old reader who stayed with a host family in S America (Peru) just last summer while taking Spanish classes. 🙂 And I can guarantee you that your Spanish is better than mine! It was a very different experience than when I had stayed with host families in the past (8 – 10 years ago) but different in a *better* way. Also, I would be very surprised if your school doesn’t have wifi! The host family may not but I think most schools do now. Even the language school I went to in Nicaragua in 2009 had wifi. The classes last summer felt long and were mentally exhausting but you’ll be fine, especially for just one intense week. Just make sure you are very clear on the first day about what you want to get out of it and be assertive if you feel they aren’t covering what you want to cover.

    I’m so excited for you!!

    1. I really appreciate you relaying this info about your experience. Thank you! And it’s nice to know that the school will probably have wi-fi. I honestly haven’t thought much about the school or what I expect it will have or not have. I hope I like my teacher! I will be spending more time with him/her than with the host family, or at least as much.

  3. I think it sounds great! I also think a week or so at grandparents sounds really exciting. They may be disappointed if your husband comes when they call for you, but if you are not at home it may be easier or less frustrating for them. Does your husband get a 10 day staycation with no kids?!?!

    1. No, he will be around the first five days, but when he is alone with the kids he relies heavily on his parents, so they will all basically be over at their grandparents’ house. Then he will get five days kids free when my parents have them. If he were away for 10 days, you better bet I would be left to deal with everything for 10 days, there would be no “kids at his parents’ house for half the time”.

  4. Dude, I am SOOOOO excited for you and for this trip.

    As far as the kids go, they will feed off your energy, so if they feel from YOU that you’re anxious about leaving them and how they’ll handle it, they’ll react accordingly. Give your kids some credit and talk up what a cool experience this is for Mom and how much you’re going to learn and how someday soon you want to take THEM on an international trip too. #positivevibesonly 🙂

    1. That is a good point. Right now they are really okay with me talking about it, which helps. For a while my daughter had a meltdown every time I mentioned it, but she can talk about it without crying now. I’m realizing I am going to miss them a ton too, but they are being totally difficult this week, which helps me to be excited about getting a break! 😉

  5. I’m so excited for you! You’re doing something that you need for yourself and that’s huge. I know it’s hard to leave your family and wonder about all the unknowns. Cant wait to read all about it.

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