To My Spanish Host Family-Not Farewell, but See You Soon
For those of you who have been keeping up with my blogs, I’m sure you’ve noticed the close relationship I’ve developed with my Spanish host family. After being here a glorious 7 months, my time here in Spain is quickly coming to an end. Unfortunately, this means I not only leave Seville, the city I fell in love with, but also my beloved host family, who I now view as my true family.
Many students who live with a Spanish host family don’t take advantage of the many benefits of a family homestay. If it wasn’t for my host family, I would’ve never gotten to know the real Spanish culture, I would’ve never tasted authentic Spanish cooking, I would’ve never improved my language skills, and most importantly, I wouldn’ve never developed a close, personal relationship with them. This blog is just one of the ways to express my appreciation for everything my family has done for me, and to recount some of my favorite memories we shared together.
First, I want to thank Antonio, Isabel, and Oliva for offering their home to me. It’s not easy to let strangers live in your home, but they welcomed me with open arms and treated me like another family member. In addition to providing everything for me (food, laundry, etc.), they always went above and beyond to make sure I felt comfortable. They took a personal interest in my life back at home and offered their comfort when I was feeling down or homesick. I felt like I could talk to them about anything. I recall the countless nights when Isabel and I would talk about our favorite TV shows, our bucket lists, and of course, boys. We love to watch First Dates (our favorite TV show…yes, you can imagine what it’s about just by its name) and eat chocolate. The best part about being close with her is that we never felt like we had to talk; in other words, just being in each others presence was comforting, neither of us felt like we had to force a conversation. It was in these moments where I really got to know my Spanish host family.
Besides being close as a family unit, they introduced me to the rest of the family. I remember my host dad, Antonio, asking me what my plans were for Semana Santa (Holy Week) and invited me to join him to Jerez to experience the festivities first-hand and to meet the other side of the family. I met everyone…the grandparents, cousins, aunt/uncles, and even close family friends. From the moment I stepped foot into abuela’s house, I was treated as if I was her own grandchild. Some of the funniest moments upon meeting everyone was them mistaking my name for ¨Georgia¨ (because that’s what they heard instead of ¨Jordan¨) and also, them asking me every five seconds if I understood what they were saying. Haha! They quickly figured out that, despite being non-native, I understood nearly everything. I’m going to miss abuela teaching me how to cook, taking pictures of sleeping abuelo, watching Disney movies with the cousins, and family barbecues.
Another best moment with my family is when Isabel, Antonio, and Oliva taught me to dance la sevillana (the traditional flamenco dance from Seville). A month before la Feria de Abril (April’s Fair), we would hold dance class every day before dinner. I would plug up my laptop so Isabel could play flamenco music and she would go step by step, teaching me the moves. Antonio would sit on the couch and clap to the music while Oliva would just flop her hands in the air and spin in circles in attempt to dance with me. So cute! Such a precious bonding moment…olé!
I could go on and on about the fun and crazy memories! I guess I just want to express to others how essential and fun living with a Spanish host family can be. Through all these experiences, I have learned so much. Not only about my family, but about myself too. I have grown to cherish the Spanish life style to the point where I want to move back to Seville next year. My host family has been supportive of me and helped me organize the big move. I can’t wait to come back and continue living the Spanish dream! Thank you Antonio, Isabel, Oliva, and the rest of the family for welcoming me as another relative and for being there for me through thick and thin. I will miss y’all a lot, but I know we will stay in contact! Besos!