So far in November, all that has kept me occupied can be captured in one word: family. I started my month by taking a trip north to Alcobendas to visit my first host family from my high school student exchange program. I spent an entire Saturday with Adrian, my partner from the exchange, and his family. Even though I had only lived with them for three weeks–almost two years ago–in a way it was as if I had never left their family. Just like old times, I went out to lunch with them, watched brother Alberto play in a futbol match, had great conversations with parents Ignacio and Elena, played with little sister Marina, and went to a nearby mall with Adrian. With my Spanish having had vastly improved, the day was even better because we were able to talk about complex subjects (like politics and computers) and really communicate like we never had before.
Last week, my parents along with my grandmother and aunt came to visit me here in Madrid. I spent all of my free time from November 8th to November 16 showing them around the city and having a great time! While I went to class, the four of them took day trips to Toledo and Valencia. I worked extra hard to make sure I could spend the maximum amount of time with them and show them how fantastic life has been for me in this city the mast couple of months. Together, we got to pass plenty of hours exploring a couple of museums (the Thyssen and especially the Prado), eating in some great restaurants, and just wandering the streets of Madrid. We were even lucky enough to meet up with my aunt and uncle for dinner one night at a Basque restaurant while they were in town celebrating my aunt’s birthday.
I was very happy to have my family finally meet and get to know both of my host families, Jose & Maribel and then Adrian’s family. On both occasions, we talked about Spanish and American life and ate fantastic homemade Spanish food. When we ate with Adrian’s family, Ignacio taught my dad how to properly make Valencian Paella. Of course, I had to be interpreter on both occasions–both a fun and exhausting task! Above all, everyone was able to come together with me and actually see how they have all shaped me and my life. It was a couple of very memorable occasions for me.
Whereas I was not really missing home before my family visited, I definitely am now. It will surely be a bittersweet occasion when I leave my family here to go back home to my family in Philadelphia. The relationships I have forged here with Jose & Maribel and their family will last a lifetime, and I truly feel like a part of their family! That alone, despite any schoolwork stress and all financial costs, makes studying abroad and living with a host family worth it. I feel bad for the students in my IES Abroad program who are living in apartments with each other because they have no idea what they are missing!
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<p><span style="color: rgb(29, 29, 29); font-family: Arial, Verdana, sans-serif; font-size: 12px; line-height: normal; background-color: rgb(237, 237, 237);">My name is Nick Taglianetti. I am from Philadelphia, and I study computer engineering at Hofstra University in New York. Anything related to music, computers, traveling, soccer or deep frying, I'm your guy! I love learning about and sharing experiences of new places and cultures. Follow me for an intriguing insight.</span></p>