Normally, by this time in our exchange the long awaited “parent visit” has passed. Yes, it’s an amazing feeling seeing your family after such a long period of time and tears are shed, but (like almost everything in life) this visit has an ulterior motive. You can deny it all you want, but you and I both know that it’s all about showing off. Your language skills, your new independence - it’s all just a way to say “Hey! Mom! Dad! Look! I did it! I did it on my own!” or … in other words: without you!
At first, it all seemed like fun and games - that is, until I realized the laborious task that had been assigned to me for the whole visit: translating. Yep, that’s right. I had to translate back and forth anytime anyone wanted to say anything. Let’s just say I had run out of Tylenol by the third day. Okay I might be exaggerating a little but; I’m making this seem way worse than it actually was . . .
They came on my birthday (best birthday present ever, right?!). I was originally sending my host dad to pick them up at the airport and going to school but at the last minute, I changed my mind and tagged along to surprise them. I hid behind a pile of suitcases and waited what seemed like forever. When they came out, I ran up and squeezed my mom from behind and … well, lets just say I was happy to have stuffed tissues in my pocket before leaving the house.
We only had ten days so there was absolutely no time for resting. The plan was to show them as much as possible. Their first few days here, my best friend and I took them around to see Madrid (which is no small task) and introduced them to my host family and her parents (basically my second Spanish home). The third day, my aunt and uncle arrived and we all headed off to the beautiful city of Toledo. Later that week, we took the high-speed train to the coast - Barcelona to be exact. As you can imagine that exciting for me too considering I had never been there. We met up with my other aunt and uncle there and spent three gorgeous, sunny days going around to see Gaudi’s architecture and well . . .eating.
By the time we got back to Madrid I was exhausted and my brain was in need of a break from the constant back and forth between English and Spanish. So, I sent them off to Segovia (a city about an hour from Madrid) and spent the day sleeping.
All in all, the trip was incredible for me. I got to see my families – American and Spanish - together, laughing; my two worlds molded together for that short period of time. Of course, it was melancholy seeing them go at the end of their visit but knowing I’ll be home so very soon . . . and the remnants of a killer migraine . . . made it easier to hug them goodbye.