First blunder with our host family. Yesterday, we were in a session at school regarding living with national families and one American announced boldly an observation they had made regarding Ticos: “They all like to eat their meals together as a family.” Trying to offer a different viewpoint, we said that in our host family, we don’t eat together and we take turns eating around a small table in the kitchen (much like Joel and I do in our own home when we have guests) and that there really wouldn’t be room to have the entire family around our little kitchen table.
Well, today in the middle of another delicious lunch and great conversation with our hosts, the phone rings for our host mother and it is the director of our school. The director wanted to have the school send over a table for the family so that we could all eat together!
That was an awkward situation for us but we just honestly explained to our hosts what was said at school and that we are indeed extremely happy with our new home. They asked us to please tell that to the school and other students so that others would not think we were displeased with our accommodations.
I think it was a good thing that we were forced to have honest communication but we were thrown unsuspectingly into a culture that uses manipulation as a form of communication and were surprised to learn that our mentioning something like this, even at school, may be a signal that we want a change and those who hear it should take action to improve our situation. We’ll be very careful with what we say from now on.