Monday, September 23, 2013

Let's talk about my host family.

After nearly 2 and a half months living here I can now say that it truly feels like home. Everything that once nearly brought me to tears with frustration (please take note that I'm just a crier in general) like ordering or asking directions has now become simple. In fact I think I've become more comfortable doing things alone and asking for help here than I ever was in US. Having a wonderful family also helps that immensely.

I know I say this all the time but I just can't talk enough about how great my host family is to me. I really, truly feel like I am a member of the family not just a student they are taking care of in exchange for compensation. We laugh at dinner when I accidentally say a dirty because of my miss pronouncations. We get very intense about what's happening in our soap operas, which I vaguely understand now!

From our music videos!
And my host sisters come to my room all the time wanting to make music videos and watch movies. When it's rainy out we curl up with blankets and popcorn and have a Chucky marathon. My youngest sister, Paloma wraps herself around my arm and asked every 2 minutes. Ahora? Ahora? Maybe I'm not doing studying abroad the right way because I don't spend all my days going out and seeing new things and partying at the boliches. But for me, having a family I can call my own in Argentina is something that will stick with me for a lifetime. These are the kinds of people that years down the road I imagine I'll still be talking to and that will bring me back to Argentina again to visit them. They're more than a host family, they're my family and I'm already dreading having to leave them so much.

We can do this ALL DAY
I can't wait to see my own family and sometimes seeing how happy the girls are when their dad gets home from a trip gives me a pang of wanting to see my own dad. But the way that I am hugged and treated just like a daughter or a sister makes the whole experience so much better and easier.

It would be pretty easy to treat your host family as simply a home to stay in while you're on your out of the country adventure. But I think it's a great opportunity to add new people to your list of family. I can say that about not only my Argentine padres and hermanas, but also my Argentine grandparents that I love.

While it's not the easiest thing in the world, really trying to have a connection with your host family can be life changing and take your experience to a whole new level. Instead of staying in your room sit in the kitchen or living room or where ever they gather. Help out around the house, by doing the dishes in the sink when you have a minute or helping with clean-up even when you aren't asked. Your willingness to be a full member of the family won't go unnoticed or unappreciated.

But I think the most important key is to ask questions and listen. They're probably a host family because they want to share their culture with you. Give them an opportunity to do so! I know more about my host parents history, views, and what's going on in their lives than I do most other people. They're the best tools for learning you have so don't waste it.

I apologize for once again going on a giant rant about my family but they're just soooo wonderful and they have made a huge impact on my experience here!


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