Josie B. is currently a junior at SYA Spain and a blogger for the Campus Reporter program. She comes to SYA from Lakeside School in Washington.
A few weeks ago, SYA Spain celebrated Thanksgiving as a school. We students dressed up and sat, 61 of us, with our 14 teachers in the basement of a Spanish restaurant. We dined on mashed potatoes and turkey with cranberry sauce (and, of course, croquetas) made by chefs who had never before cooked or tasted a Thanksgiving dinner. We all ate happily, chatting, singing, laughing, and appreciating our beautifully unconventional SYA Thanksgiving dinner. This was my first and only SYA Spain Thanksgiving, and it was truly special, which is why I dedicate this blog post to giving thanks: Spain edition.
The first thought that comes to mind when I hear “gratitude” is “parents.” I am thankful every day for the two super-humans that I get to call my parents, but I am in Spain, so instead of bragging about my real parents, I am going to brag about my host parents.
Marta, my host mother has a lot to juggle. She takes care of three (now four) busy young children and has a full-time job with minimal free time. However, she still manages to give me a kiss each night before bed. She doesn’t forget to check in on me every day with a smile, asking “¿Qué tal cariño?” or “¿Cómo te vas hoy?”. And every time I leave the house, she scans my outfit to determine whether I may be even the slightest bit cold; if the answer is yes (the answer is always yes), she rushes to the back of the apartment and returns with a mound of different colored scarves, hats, gloves and jackets.
Her husband, Juan Carlos, is the warmest person I have ever met and the main reason I feel so at home here. He works long days but always returns home calm and positive with bright eyes and a sincere smile that never fails to put me in a good mood. His lightheartedness reminds me to have fun with life and not take anything too seriously; his goofy humor always gets my siblings and me laughing at his weird jokes; and his remarkable ability to be kind and patient with everybody inspires me to be the same.
Up there with mamá and papá are my three little hermanos, Marta, María, and Juan Carlos. I can imagine that it would be weird and perhaps annoying to find out that some girl from the U.S. is coming to live in your home for nine months- a girl who is going to eat, travel, and (attempt to) speak with you. I figured there would be a bit of natural awkwardness and possible coldness from my new siblings for a while, but I could not have been more wrong. From the moment I arrived, those three little gems have been nothing but welcoming and loving. The younger two snuggle with me, play with me and even nag me. My oldest sister, Marta, is the little sister I always used to ask my parents for over the holidays; we have slumber parties and gossip, laugh about dumb stuff, and play with face masks.
Every person in my big Zaragoza family, from my cute baby cousins to my wise old grandpas, has treated me like just another member of the family, so to them I give my thanks this year.
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- SYA Spain