>My host parents have had 14 exchange students live with them over the years. They also have a “casita” (little house) attached to their house where many foreigners (and one Chilean) have lived. There are usually many different nationalities coming and going.
Last night we had a goodbye party for A., a Brazilian student who has been living in the casita for about six months. At her party, various countries were represented, including: Brazil, Chile, New Zealand, Canada, India and the US. Incredible, no? At one point in the night my host sister M. commented, “Weón estamos practicamente en la ONU!” (Dude, we are practically at the United Nations!)
We made many toasts, to A. obviously because she was living, to the girl from New Zealand because she’s leaving soon too, to the cooks, and finally to the recently arrived. During this last toast, he only talked about the two gringo exchange students that are staying with my family and at M’s house. I didn’t even realize that he hadn’t mentioned me. Then my other host sister said, “Y la Abby?” Everyone started to laugh and my host mom said, “But Abby spends more time here than you!”
And then I realized, I really do feel at home here, even more so than when I was studying abroad. Even though I’m technically paying rent, this family is so incredible that I usually forget that tiny detail. Things will change when I move into the casita, but I know that I will always feel comfortable coming over to the main house to hang out with my Chilean family.
Side note: M.’s sons are so incredibly cute. I wish I had had a video camera to film their “presentation” last night. They told jokes, did “magic tricks”, recited poems and sang songs. I almost died because they were so adorable. When we were studying abroad, my friends and I each liked one a little more than the other. F. and I liked Cuca, while J. liked Igorcito. We called each other “Cuca’s Team” and “Igor’s Team.” Now I don’t think I can be on either team. They are both equally cute in their own ways.