Why I’m Excited About the Super Bowl

I’m excited about the Super Bowl but the reason has nothing to do with sports. On Sunday, Ecuador will be promoted in a Super Bowl ad. The Ecuadorian government shelled out more than $3 million, and it will be the first time another country has had a Super Bowl commercial in order to generate tourism. The campaign started early last year with new sculptures constructed in the main cities of Ecuador, buses around the world adorned with the slogan “All You Need Is Ecuador,” and the same hashtag sprang up on all social media platforms from Ecuadorian and foreign tourists alike.

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Ecuadorian Food 101 (Part I)

If you were to ask me what the best thing about my country is, I wouldn’t stutter at saying it’s the food. Whether it’s typical food from the coast or the sierra, the taste is equally delicious.

And now that I only have a month left here, I’ve set out to eat my favorite plates before I go. Wherever I may be, I know that I’ll get a craving for the citrus juice of a well made ceviche or the peanut salsa on some llapingachos. All of the following pictures were taken by me recently, whether at a restaurant or at my house. If you ever come to Ecuador, don’t even dare leaving without trying these:

  • Encebollado

A fish stew with yuca, tomatoes and onions (cebolla). I can personally put onions on anything, but if you’d rather have it without onions, that’s an option, too. Although you’re kind of going against the etymology/purpose of the plate. You can have it with different type of fish and shrimp. It’s so good!

  • Ceviche

Mix shrimp, fish, octopus or any other sea food you want in lemon and tomato juice and this is what you get. According to Ecuadorians, this is also the best type of hangover food. Just one plate after a night of drinking and you’ll be as good as new.

  • Cangrejos

Favorite food ever.

When we make cangrejos at home we put them in this huge pot with my mom’s secret recipe and eat them with the whole family when they’re cooked just right. I think the pictures say it all.

 

  • Llapingacho

Potato patties with  fried eggs, sausage, avocados and salsa made from peanuts. Yuuuum!

  • Fanesca

Fanesca is always made during Holy Week, so I only get to enjoy this plate once a year. Since you can’t eat meat, everyone makes fanesca, which is a fish stew usually made from salt cod. Add many types of grains (habas, chocho, corn, peas, etc.) and you get a tasty (and fattening) stew.

Shock a Culture or Culture Shock?

Culture shock is a more formal way of saying “What the &^*% is going on with these people? We don’t do that back home!”

I think it’s exciting when I get a little bit of culture shock. Through the whole process you learn about a new culture, point out the cultural differences between your own culture and a foreign one, and most importantly, you learn to accept something you probably thought was nonexistent.

Sometimes we get so caught up in our day-to-day routine that we think that in another part of the world they do the same thing as we do in the exact same way. The thing is, in certain places there is no need to cross the border to find out things work differently than we imagined them. Since I have spent most of my life between the US and Ecuador, which means that since I was small I knew that even the way you cook food is different, I have had an open mind to all people and things that are foreign. Nevertheless, that doesn’t mean that I can shy away from getting culture shock now and then.

My semester abroad in London, Ontario (Canada, for those of you who don’t know)  taught me this, and the following are some of the “shocking” things that occurred that have made either go huh? or laugh out loud when they happened.

Remember, “shocking” is completely subjective depending on where you were raised and the life you lead.

1. Oh, so you want some beer?

It’s 11 pm. First Saturday in London, Ontario. 3 South Americans. Nothing planned for the night. What to do, what to do? Buy some liquor, of course. As any Ecuadorian or American would do, the first thought would be to walk down to the corner store or the nearest supermarket to grab a beer. We thought it would be that easy. When we arrived to the nearest corner store, the three of us inspected each and every fridge, liquor to no avail.

South American #1: THERE ISN’T EVEN NON ALCOHOLIC BEER!

South American #2: Calm down, there has to be some type of liquor.

South American #3: Let’s ask the clerk. Sir, where do you have the liquor hidden?

Clerk: You’re in Ontario. There’s no liquor at any store. Only the beer store and LCBO.

South American #1: But we can get some at the supermarket… right?

Clerk: You can’t get beer at a supermarket.

All 3 South Americans:

It turns out, we were liquor free that night. It was only after a couple of days that we were fully informed about the weird Ontario liquor laws. You can only get liquor at LCBO (Liquor Control Board of Ontario) and The Beer Store (the creativity amazes me). Well, I don’t know the reasons why it’s like this in Ontario, but please let Ecuadorians know before going. Shall ya? At least we can avoid having the clerk at the corner store laughing at us.

2. Take off your shoes, please.

There’s an unwritten law in Ecuador.

You don’t take off your shoes unless you’re in your house. Period.

Unless you’re at the beach, sleeping over a friend’s house or getting in the pool/ shower.

In Canada when you walk into a person’s home, you just simply take off your shoes. Here’s the evidence:

3.Bring Your Own Beer

BYOB……Wait…WHAT?!

Just how in spanish you say “Mi casa es su casa” we also believe in “Mi cerveza es su cerveza”: My beer is your beer.

When there’s a party it is more or less expected that the host have liquor, and while as a guest you can arrive with some to the party, it’s everyone’s liquor.

It’s simply ludicrous not to share. Even among people you’ve just met, sharing a beer eases the tension.

Alfer all, I think we all learned to share in Kindergarten.

Not Quite “Write” Wednesday

Mistranslations, misspellings, grammatical errors, or just plain wrong! We’ve all seen them, we’ve all laughed at them, and some of us have even made them.

It’s amazing how many companies all over the world can’t seem to avoid making silly mistakes. This is what happens when you rely on anything but a real translator/interpreter. Just yesterday I was eating at a local mall, when I came upon the following Burger King ad. Spell check, anyone?

Oh, so very chessy!

Bilingualism and Biculturalism

Right now I am about to finish my Bachelor’s Degree!

To be able to graduate with a Bachelor’s in Ecuador you have to do a thesis. In my case, I chose a topic that hits close to home: bilingualism and biculturalism.
I’m researching how return migrants that are adolescents and young adults cope with self-identity issues after coming back from living years in the United States. Now this is where your help comes in. If any of you know an Ecuadorian living in his/her country between the ages of 15-25 and that has lived a couple of years in the United States, you can contact me through here or at victoriabuitron@gmail.com.

Thank you!

¡Estoy a punto de terminar mi Licenciatura!
En este país es necesario hacer una tesis para graduarte con una licenciatura. En mi caso, escogí un tema con el cual me identifico mucho: bilingualismo y biculturalismo.
Estoy investigando como adolescentes y jóvenes adultos que han retornado a su país de origen manejan sus problemas de identidad al haber vivido algunos años en Estados Unidos. Es precisamente por eso que necesito su ayuda. Si conocen a ecuatorianos que solían vivir en Estados Unidos y ahora tienen entre 15 y 25 años de edad, me pueden contactar por este medio o a victoriabuitron@gmail.com.
¡Muchas gracias!