My Spanish Mirror, Mi Hermana Española

Ashley Simmons
March 19, 2016
March 19, 2016 9:43pm When I came to Spain I never thought I would meet someone so much like me. Let alone a person who spoke an entirely different language. I thought that living with my host family would be much like simply living in someone's home, and gliding in and out of my own accord -- and it is this to an extent. My host mom checks on me often, I tell her before I leave, and when I'm back, and text her when I'll be back late. This isn't done out of her hovering over me or making me feel childish, but out of respect for her household and the fact that she cares. In other words, though I, in retrospect, started off living with strangers in a foreign space (how strange is that, they're no longer strangers now!) I'm also living with an actual family who cares about me and my well being. When texting my friends and family back in the US, instead of saying, "I'm heading to my homestay", I started to say, "I'm heading home". Living with a host family here in Spain has been one of the primes of my experience thus far. Actually, I think it will always be the prime. I come from a huge family back home and just so happened upon one just as large, just as caring, just as loving and hilarious, here. In the beginning, I was worried about not being able to have my personality of who I created Ashley to be, in Spanish. I didn't know how to fully express myself in a different language and stay true to me. I thought all of the important parts would be lost and only belong to English and to America. Yet here, with my host family, I was able to be exactly who I've always been. A loving, crazy, goofball, nerd, athlete writer person...yeah. On Tuesday, my hermana española left to head back home to her family in Brazil. It was crazy to meet her and then watch her and see she was so much like me, in her mannerisms and her personality. We got excited and laughed over similar reactions to things in the way you do with a friend. Yet, the positive thing about living in a technology driven society is that there are plenty of ways for us to stay in contact and update one another on life periodically. It is more bitter than sweet for me to see her go, but I'm grateful for the moments we had to bond and paint nails and discuss life and discotecas and good tapas places. Though I will miss my hermana española, I can still come back home to my host mom. My host mom is by far the most amazing host mom on Planet Host Mom and she deserves an award just for being. I'm forever grateful for her too. To anyone wishing to study abroad in the future, a homestay, a homestay, a homestay. I may be just drowning in luck but my homestay has been beyond perfect for me. I have been blessed with loving, warm people and interactions, delicious food and laughter, bonding time and memories. I wouldn't have had it any other way.

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Ashley Simmons

Ashley is the 2015-16 IES Abroad Blogger of the Year! A Junior at Brandeis University, Ashley studies English, Creative Writing, Film, Television, and Interactive Media, as well as Creativity, The Arts and Social Transformation. On campus Ashley is an English Undergraduate Departmental Representative. Originally from Washington D.C., she enjoys cooking, reading, playing the piano, playing video games, and being with her family and friends.

2016 Spring
Home University:
Brandeis University
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