Ellie Shilling ’21 shares her first impressions of Cadiz and her homestay family.
After spending two nights in a camp on Wakana Lake, we finally arrived in Cadiz yesterday afternoon.
The camp was super fun, as we got to bond and do many different activities like kayaking, swimming, and archery. However, when we were in Wakana it seemed like everyone was anxiously waiting for the main event of the trip, arriving in Cadiz and meeting our host families. We had many conversations about what it may be like when we arrived at our new homes, but nothing could ever completely calm our nerves as every homestay experience is different.
I could feel rising anxiety among my peers on the hour long bus ride from Wakana to Cadiz. However, when we arrived, our new Mamás were waiting to greet us with open arms. After sharing the traditional greeting of two kisses, we all headed our separate ways to our respective houses. At first I was a bit nervous, because I am very outgoing and like to talk, but didn’t want to overwhelm my new family. However, my host mom, Mari Carmen has a very similar personality to my own, and is extremely talkative and patient.
When we arrived home we met our host dad, Juan. Juan is more quiet than Mari Carmen but is also super nice. During dinner we all talked for three hours, and he opened up and became a lot less shy. We even figured out that we both play/played field hockey!!
I make a lot of mistakes while talking to my host parents, but they always try to understand and never encourage me to give up. Mari Carmen always tries to give me time to correct myself so that I can learn which is extremely helpful.Despite all of my verbs not being conjugated correctly, and my tenses probably sounding like a scratched record, I think that we have found an effective way to communicate between talking it out, talking slowly, and using a hand gestures.
I also like having a roommate because if I forget a word I can always ask her, and we both push each other to speak Spanish even when our parents are not in the room.
I can’t wait to see what is to come next.