Nancy’s mom, Alicia is so kind and accommodating, taking me to all of these events and cooking me vegetarian meals. Same with Nancy—she has patiently described so many cultural entities to me that I will talk about in the next blog post. For that, I am so grateful. I met Nancy’s dad properly on the first Thursday of my exchange. He is extremely kind and made the effort to talk to me in English.
Nancy’s parents share the duties of driving their kids around on a weekly basis. We never have dinner together because everyone is always on different schedules with work, school, extracurriculars, etc. Usually I eat with Nancy. We did eat out once as a family for Father’s Day at La Ruina (a large outdoor eatery with diverse food options).
Nancy’s sister Alice and I have a lot of similarities. We both love Shawn Mendes; in fact, she is driving up to Phoenix to watch his concert in a few weeks! Aside from similar music tastes, we also both loves many of the same shows. It’s nice to be able to relate to someone here. My youngest host sibling, Christina, is the funniest girl. Often, I am home alone with her when Nancy and Alice are out for church activities. It’s fun to see Christina amusing herself by watching tv or playing with toys or the dog. She and my host mom fight a lot (as is normal for a rambunctious little girl and her mama). Nancy’s older brother is in university, and I haven’t really spoken to him. He sometimes drives us around but he is out of town at the moment.
Nancy and I get along quite well. One thing I appreciate specifically about her is that when I ask her questions, she takes the time to explain her answer in depth and give me examples. She comes off as a very intelligent person, and I also know she has big dreams. She wants to move to Spain and pursue either fashion merchandizing or dermatology. We can relate because we are both quite driven and enjoy traveling—she was just in France and Spain last month and I will be traveling to the same places next month. Sometimes, it is hard to converse with her simply because of the language difference, but I hope that I can get to know her better in AZ.
In terms of family culture and structure, I do think there are some differences. I genuinely think kids get their way a lot more here than in the states. In fact, Jaden and I were discussing this a few days ago: When our younger siblings beg for something—whether a new toy or ice cream—their mom’s always say yes. With minimal begging. It’s crazy, we’re not so used to it. Parents seem less prone to punish in general, with every mistake or problem being fixed with a quick kiss on the cheek. They also don’t really have many chores. The main focus of teenagers appears to be on maintaining a social life and having fun. There is so much less stress and much more leniency. It’s quite a nice break.
In terms of transitioning from being an only child to living with a large family, I have experienced less differences than I expected. The largest adjustment has been sleeping in the same bed as Nancy, just because I’m used having my own space. Even though I live in a house with 6 other people, I rarely see more than one at a time. Everyone is doing something, usually just separately. Occasionally, the cousins come over and the house turns into a zoo—kids chasing each other around and yelling (it’s actually quite fun). But usually, the home is quiet, which I didn’t expect for such a large family. My host mom is always driving one kid somewhere, then picking up another kid somewhere else, constantly. She cooks meals for everyone, everyday, and the funny thing is, I don’t think I’ve ever seen her eat (like ever).