My Ecuadorian host family was such an important part of my year abroad. I remember my very first interactions with them were awkward- I was communicating in the little spanish I learned in high school and using weird hand gestures for words I didn’t know. Of course, as I continued to navigate my way through language, the awkwardness turned into opportunities to learn and connect. To share more about myself and my culture. The time I spent engaging with them was valuable to me.

I mentioned before in a past blog post that connecting with my host family was a challenge that constantly pushed me out of my comfort zone. But if there’s one thing I learned this past year it’s how to be more intentional with my time. That in order to be present with my host family I must take the time to be present with myself first.

Pictured below was one of those moments, when my host parents took me on a weekend excursion. We started the day with an early morning drive up through a small mountainous community, La Argentina, and continued our hike up to the peak on horses, where a small farm family resided. I rode my first horse!