The look of confusion people give me when I am walking around with my host family is hilarious. It is like watching a constant game of “Which item doesn’t belong”. It’s more than obvious that I look nothing like them, with my paler than pale skin, freckles, and blue eyes. There’s also the fact that I am a giant here. Taller than every female and 97% of the males in this country, I stick out like a sore thumb. And my accent is just icing on the cake.
But people seem to ask the question “is this your daughter?” to my host family more than you could ever imagine. At first, we would explain. We would go into the story about me being a volunteer and how I am living with them for a few months while I teach at one of the schools in town. But that story is pretty long, especially in another language, and got boring after a while. Now we just go with it.
“Um… yeah, actually, she is my daughter? Why?”
It wonderful to watch their faces contort trying to think long and hard about how that could ever happen. How they could possibly have made something that turned out looking like me.
After a few weeks we even started to make it a bit of a game. Constantly coming up with mew stories about our lives. My host mom, Alba, now introduces me as her daughter just see how people react. Two young men at our gym are completely convinced that I am her biological daughter.
My host dad, Darwin, likes to tell people that I am his “daughter from another woman”. A few weeks back, he even want as far as to tell the man who is trying to buy his house that. Personally, I think that’s a pretty brave move on his end. Even though these were a few awkward moments that followed where the man tried to come up with something to say, he still bought the house.
But my favorite is when we ignore the fact that I am not Ecuadorian all together. When people ask if we are serious after Alba calls me her daughter and we respond with something along the lines of “yeah, why wouldn’t she be?” or “I really just don’t understand what you’re trying to get at here”. It is funny watching these strangers struggle to put into words why I couldn’t possibly be her daughter. They obviously don’t want to say anything rude, but they are striving for answers to the mystery.
Every one of these conversations makes our days just a little bit brighter and we walk away laughing. As time here s coming closer to the end, Alba tells me she doesn’t know what she is going to do without her new “daughter”, but I tell her not to worry because she will be getting two new ones from Germany in September.