Family Ties

Tyler Wigington is a a student at Texas A&M University and an official API Student Blogger. Tyler is studying abroad with API this spring in Madrid, Spain.

When you study abroad, it is like being in a different world.  You have your life back home and your new life abroad.  It is rare that these two worlds collide.  However, a couple weeks ago, my worlds came together when my parents arrived in Madrid and met my host family from three years ago. 

Between my junior and senior year of high school, I participated in a Rotary International exchange and spent three weeks in Galapagar, a small town outside of Madrid.  I lived with a wonderful family and at the end of three weeks, I brought Rodrigo, my host brother, back to Dallas for three weeks.  Over that summer, I grew extremely close with them, but never thought in a million years that they would meet my family.

On Friday night, though, my parents and I took a forty-minute trip out to Galapagar for dinner with Rodrigo and his parents.  We met them and walked over to their favorite bar and restaurant in town.  I have to admit that I was a little nervous about this meeting, mostly because of the language barrier.  My dad doesn’t speak Spanish and Rodrigo’s mom does not speak a word of English.  However, conversation was a lot easier because in addition to Rodrigo and I, my mom speaks Spanish and Rodrigo’s dad speaks a little English.

Once we got over the introductions and ordered food, we began talking about all sorts of things in an interesting mixture of English and Spanish. We chatted about anything and everything from Rodrigo’s and my exchange to our favorite bands (which aren’t as different as you might think) to our families.  You would have thought we were all old friends by our laughter and how much we had in common.  My dad is quite the jokester, and with a little help in the translation department, was able to be his funny self around Rodrigo and his family.  No matter how difficult it may be to communicate, laughter is a universal concept in any language.

After a night of tapas, wine, great conversation, and new friends, we made our way back to Madrid.  It is hard to fully explain, but an experience like this only happens once in a lifetime.  I obviously have family in the U.S., but I also have family in Spain.  Having them meet was incredible, because they have both played such big roles in my life.

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