All in Culture

Reflection | The United States in Ecuador

Sometimes you have to go away to understand what you left behind. The phrase goes along something like that. While being in Ecuador over the past five months, I feel like I have learned more about my own country. The US is always in the conversation here, especially at my elite private university in Quito. I see the US involvement and influence in two ways: politically and culturally.

Tereré: Yerba Mate and Social Practice in Paraguay

As we place our lips on the communal straw, we are acknowledging humans and their peculiar disposition – one part self and one part other. In this practice, the unintentional neglect is broken down. It’s an opportunity to learn. It’s a social tradition I came to cherish during my time there. It’s a social behavior that briefly turns strangers into companions. Sipping and passing. Learning and loving.