A Thank You Note to My Spanish Host Parents
Paloma, Juan, and Yoki the dog, I cannot thank you enough for your kindness and the impact you had (and still have) on my life. There is not a day that goes by when I do not think about you and the effect you had on me. If you’re considering a host family for your study abroad experience or have had a host family of your own, you will appreciate the following letter.
Thank you for introducing me to wonderful Spanish food. I still dream about tortilla Española, paella, croquetas, empanadas, and all of the other goodies you introduced me to while I lived in your house. Thank you for never letting me leave the dinner table without dessert or even a bon-bon. Although maybe it was not the best for my health, the sweet treat was always something I looked forward to and something I now miss. Every morning before my roommate and I left for class, you made us freshly-squeezed orange juice, and it was the perfect way to start the day. Anytime we went on a trip, you packed us a little lunch. You packed us little sandwiches for school, which were a great snack when the day got long. All of these gestures you showed us made us feel so at home and comfortable.
Thank you for being patient with me in the early days when my Spanish was not so good. I know I probably asked several times what type of meat was on our salads, and I know it took me several weeks to figure out that “cangrejo” meant “crab meat.” Answering that question over and over again must have been frustrating, but you answered anyway. You took me to a pilates class earlier in my term, and though I did not understand much of what was going on, I appreciated the effort of trying to immerse me in real Spanish activities. I will never forget the time you saw a peacock in Retiro and showed me the video at dinner because you thought it would make me smile. When my roommate and I were still a little uneasy about using the public transportation in Madrid, you took the time to show us how to use the bus and the Metro. Soon enough, we became confident, knowledgeable passengers of the Spanish Metro system.
Lastly, thank you for still caring about me and keeping in touch. I love the inspirational memes you send me on WhatsApp; they brighten my day more than you know. I know over twenty students have lived in your home, and I know you likely remember all twenty by name. Thank you for welcoming me back into your home when I returned to Madrid this March and for having me once more at your dinner table, just like old times. We consider ourselves so lucky we were placed with you all. You went above and beyond to make my experience the best possible, and for that, I am forever grateful.
Kayla V. is a CEA Alumna. She studied abroad in Madrid in the Spring of 2017 and is currently a junior at the University of Mississippi.