We´ve just wrapped up our first week in Cuenca and I´m sorry it´s been so long since my last update!
On our way from Riobamba we stopped at Ingapirca, the site of Inca ruins in the Cañar Province or Ecuador. Originally, Ingapirca was inhabited by the Cañaris until the Incas took over and blended their customs with that of the city´s previous inhabitants. According to our guide, the Cañaris worshiped a moon god and the Incas a sun god. When the Incas took over, they allowed the Cañari priest to remain as the leader of the new Inca religion. The Cañari customs were fused with the Incan customs and the Cañaris were incorporated into the Incan lifestyle. Our guide showed us how the Incas lived including showing us a replica house and by using actual grinding stones used hundreds of years ago. The view was beautiful from the top of the ruins. The whole tour was really interesting, but what made my day was getting a chance to kiss Grandma the llama
We arrived in Cuenca fairly late and went home with our host families. Our mamá, Elsa, is so sweet and reminds me a lot of my grandmother. The father, Patricio calls us his “amores” and loves to joke around. The two youngest children, Claudia and Christian (who are both in their late twenties), both live at home and I see them every day at lunch. I´ve been told that lunch was the biggest meal of the day, but I had no idea what a big role it played in family life. Everyone comes home for lunch and catches up on the day before returning to work. It’s really cool to see how the family interacts with one another… They’re all so close. It’s a totally different dynamic than in the US where most people grab lunch to go and move on with their day. It’s a chance for the whole family to sit down together and be a part of each other’s lives. It’s comparable to family dinners in the States, except you have to stop in the middle of your day and make time for the family. I was talking to our mom, Elsa, and she mentioned a family that didn’t really do lunch together anymore and she was saying what a shame it was that they were drifting apart. Of course, another important feature of the mid-afternoon break is the traditional siesta. I haven’t been taking many of those, but it’s a tradition I would love to bring back to school with me 🙂