Two days before departure and it seems that all of the pieces have finally fallen into place. Just after I'd finished up packing most of my stuff into one wheelie suitcase and my old trusty backpack, I received an email telling me my family placement for Machala. It's a relief to finally know.
I'll be living with a couple in their 30's who have a 5 year old son. The description says I'm living in a centrally located apartment with my own bedroom and bathroom. Amazingly enough, I lucked out with hot water, which is a rarity on the coast. The father is an electrical engineer and the mother is studying to be an English teacher, so I'm sure we'll have some great conversations and practice with each other.
Another cool thing to look forward to is the aspect of having a little brother. I'm the youngest child, and I've always wondered what it would be like to have a little brother to show the ropes to. Hopefully I'll be able to teach the boy some English and teach him a little bit about the U.S. When I was volunteering in Uruguay we worked closely with some kids and it was a great experience. I'm glad I'll be getting to do it again. Living with a child will be a culture shock on its own.
When I studied abroad in Spain I also had a home stay, but it was quite different than I'd imagined. Our Señora ran the place as if it were a bed and breakfast, rather than like a family. With two other American guests from my program, we were joined by constantly coming and going Europeans from England, Ireland, Germany, Austria, Italy, you name it. She had her moments, but could also be crazy, and it made life difficult.
Now that I'll be living without any other roommates and totally immersed in the culture and lifestyle, I'm excited to see the difference and just how much Spanish I can pick up in the process. Less than 2 days now until I check out...