Not speaking Spanish in Ecuador = not good!

by Wendy
(Philadelphia, PA)

I have an Ecuadorian brother. He is my brother's best friend from back in 8th grade when they were in boarding school together. My Ecuadorian brother would come home to our house for all the long weekends, short holidays (like Thanksgiving and Easter), for a couple weeks at the end of the school year and for a couple of weeks at the beginning of the school year from 8th grade through college. For all intents and purposes, he is my "brother."

Well he got married and invited us all to Ecuador for the wedding. Now, having "lived" with him for so many years, I was used to him speaking 4 different languages. He would get on the phone with his parents and within the course of one sentence, he would start in Spanish, move to Italian, then onto French with English words thrown in for good measure. He did this because his father spoke Italian and Spanish. His mom spoke Spanish, French, a bit of Italian and English. The English words were thrown in only when he couldn't find an equivalent in one of the other languages they were speaking.

So naturally I assumed when I went to Ecuador that most people would speak multiple languages. NOT! Not only did they not speak English, but naive me thought if they didn't speak English, at least some of them would know French (because I can get by speaking French). Wrong again.

We had the worst time getting information from people. When we went to the outdoor markets, the only way we could communicate was using a calculator to barter on stuff we wanted to buy.

I learned very quickly that should I ever want to go back to Ecuador, I either need to drag my Ecuadorian brother along with me everywhere I go, or I need to learn to speak Spanish!!

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