Pin It
Tuesday, May 7th, 2013

Traveling to Ecuador for Two Months of Immersion

By
Traveling to Ecuador for Two Months of Immersion/ incultureparent

I’m on the verge of traveling from San Francisco, where I reside with my family, to Ecuador where I grew up. Though I have most of my family there and have maintained contact with a lot of childhood friends, I’m nervous. Although I love to go, I don’t feel completely settled when I’m there. I’m left with that feeling of not belonging anywhere anymore—you know how when you grow up in one place but live in another for many years, you stop belonging to a specific place and are never fully at home in either. I guess you become, as people say, a citizen of the world, whatever that means.

 

I take my two kids, ages 10 and six, with me each summer so that they are exposed to the Ecuadorian language and culture, particularly since they go to a Mandarin immersion school in San Francisco. They need this two-month Spanish immersion, which includes visiting with my large family, doing a summer camp, traveling around and visiting the beach, to be fluent in Spanish again. Although I speak with them in Spanish and only Spanish, because my husband is American, at home we speak in English when we are all together. It is also important to me that my kids enjoy many of the positive experiences I had growing up in Ecuador such as going to the beach with my parents and/or grandmother for a month and feeling the freedom of life without constraints or dangers; or going to the countryside and riding horses at my grandmother’s old farm; or hanging out on Sundays with the big family and being able to relate with members of all ages with care and respect.

 

girls

 

Unfortunately though, although I visit all the same places I went to as a child, the actual houses I used to live in are gone. The houses have a complicated history of their own. Some were sold as my family needed the money, like the house I lived in from the age of 10 and our apartment at the beach. Some are physically gone like my grandmother’s beautiful art deco house that I lived in with my family from ages one until nine, after my grandfather passed away. That house was sold due to pressure from an expanding hotel company next door. Finally, the environment took its toll on others, like my grandmother’s 200-year-old Spanish farm that was the epicenter of an earthquake in the town of Pomasqui, Ecuador. We had houses galore when I was a child, but barely any when I became a teenager as my dad went bankrupt.

 

Luckily (though like many siblings of course not so lucky) my awesome family will house us even in the closet if need be. My younger sister—who has two kids around my kids’ age and is not currently living in Ecuador—and I recently rediscovered our favorite place from childhood: the beach of Salinas. For the past four years, we have rented a place there for two weeks, or we borrowed it from one of our cousins, who share similar fond memories and managed to purchase an apartment.

 

I’m also nervous to go to Ecuador as my younger sister might not be there this time. Going to the beach solo with the kids is a little trickier and just not the same. But I envision doing many fun things on this trip. In the city of Quito, the capital, I plan to go walking in the amazing parque Metropolitano with my kids, mom and sisters where I can see the snow peaks of Cotopaxi and Cayambe. I can’t wait to go out with my friends for lunch or dinner to great Ecuadorian or Peruvian restaurants, visit museums and travel. I want to rent a car and drive from Quito to the jungle with the kids and a couple of my sisters. I’m hoping to visit Misagualli, Tena and Puyo, passing through the mountains via the Papallacta hotsprings at 4000 feet, and returning via Baños or possibly the beautiful colonial town of Cuenca. I also want to go to the cloud forest in the town of Mindo and to my sister’s countryside house to ride horses. I’m hoping my husband comes for the last three weeks of our stay so we can go together to the beach at Salinas or maybe Bahia for a couple of weeks as well as a trip to the mountains. There are so many things I plan to do in Ecuador with my kids. We’ll see!

© 2013, Carmen Cordovez. All rights reserved.

More Great Stuff You'll Love:


Family History

Who knew that becoming a mother merged our histories of loss and grief

All I Want for Christmas is Perfectly Bilingual Children

Why OPOL has been harder than we thought.

Why African Toddlers Don't Have Tantrums

The secret of why African babies don't meltdown like Western ones.

ABOUT THE AUTHOR


Born to a large family in Quito, Ecuador, Carmen Cordovez went to bilingual Spanish/English school from kindergarten through high school. Her childhood was happily spent going to the beach and riding horses during the summer. She studied and worked in advertising in Ecuador, before moving to Brazil to study computer science. She then moved to San Francisco and worked as a database administrator for Oracle, followed by a start-up. She has always loved traveling, and before having kids, traveled as much as she could to places like India, Burma, Turkey and more. Since having her two American-Ecuadorian kids, she spends her time raising her children, creating art, traveling and doing occasional consulting projects. Her children are currently fourth and first graders in a Mandarin immersion school and are able to communicate in Mandarin. They are also fluent in Spanish and English. She happily spends her summers on a yearly pilgrimage to Ecuador (or other Spanish speaking countries) to visit family for her children’s bicultural/bilingual experience. Carmen blogs at playinghopscotch.com about her experiences traveling.

Leave us a comment!

2 Comments
  1. CommentsInCultureParent | Lessons from Ecuador on Raising Multicultural Kids   |  Monday, 03 June 2013 at 11:15 am

    […] year I go on a two-month pilgrimage from San Francisco to Quito, Ecuador with my two kids, ages nine and five, so they can practice Spanish and get immersed back into my culture. I’m […]

  2. CommentsInCultureParent | One of the Best Ways to Teach Kids Tolerance is to Live It   |  Tuesday, 02 July 2013 at 11:24 am

    […] Sebastian and I arrived in Quito a couple of days ago. Oh, how I love looking at the majestic mountains surrounding the city and the feeling of thin air […]









Notify me of follow-up comments via e-mail.
Or leave your email address and click here to receive email notifications of new comments without leaving a comment yourself.

Get weekly updates right in your inbox so you don't miss out!



Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get

Travelling with children, while definitely more of a mission, contradicts the old saying that “life is about the journey, not the destination.”

A Diverse Book for Preschoolers in Celebration of Multicultural Children's Book Day

A book that honestly and simply celebrates the every day diversity that children experience.

Why My African Feminist Mother Gave Me the Identity of My Father's Tribe

She gave me an identity so different from her own.

2 Children’s Books about Jamaica

Explore Jamaica with your child.

Costa Rica with Kids: Two Weeks of Family Travel

Two weeks of Pura Vida in a country with so much to offer families.

Should I Worry about My Child's Accent in Her Foreign Language?

See why Dr. Gupta takes offense to this question and where children learn accents from

How to raise trilingual kids when exposure to Dad's language is limited

My kids only get 1-2 hours of the minority language per day-help!

What Cultural Norms Around Bare Feet Taught This Mother in Guatemala

Her baby's bare feet ended up being a lesson on poverty and privilege.
Hi Kim! I am so glad that this article was useful for you and made you feel validated as a parent. It's not often in this judgmental world of parenting we get that, right?! That's the main reason...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
I love reading your work. I can olny imagine what it would be like to have such beautiful customs and true community. I understand why it is so very very important to keep these traditions alive. Be...
From No Kids Allowed: How Kenyan Weddings are Changing
Your mother in-law seems somewhat reasonable. Many Chinese Mother In-laws are not. In their scenario, they would be number 1 to the child and you would be number two. Many want to have a bond closer...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
I think Konstantina is actually responding to what is probably more familiar/praised/or preferred socially as well. I was an English teacher in Poland with a distinct accent. I struggled to get Engl...
From Should I Worry about My Child’s Accent in Her Foreign Language?
Noor Kids' title "First Time Fasting" is another great rea...
From 6 Favorite Children’s Books about Ramadan
This article was shared in a community I run to connect globetrotting parents and everyone LOVED it. You should join us! We all relate to your experience. Many of us, including me, are in the same b...
From Why I Travel 13 Hours Alone with My Kids Every Chance I Get
Please help: I Love my wife and my son. I am also EXTREMELY involved as a dad. I had to move to china ( in a tiny tiny town) where I am the only foreigner so that my wife can take over the family bu...
From How My Chinese Mother-in-Law Replaced my Husband
Thanks for writing this!! My baby is 7 months, and I love having her sleep in my room. I don't mention it too often to people who have had kids because they seem a little judgy on it. So tonight I...
From The West’s Strange Relationship to Babies and Sleep
Honestly, it looks like the author married into a very backward and old fashioned family. Not stimulating children's curiosity, differences between boys and girls, and women slaving in the house, wh...
From French versus Italian Parenting in One Multicultural Family

More from Our Bloggers