Meet My Madrid Familia

Interwebs, please meet my Madrid familia!! In case you are new here and were unaware, I hosted a high school foreign exchange student. She is from Madrid and lived with me over the last school year. I fell in love with her and her family, so when an unexpected opportunity came up to visit them, I took it!


I hadn’t seen her since June so when I first arrived, naturally there were happy tears. But, it was the first night of family dinner, when everyone was gathered and laughing, that it hit me. I was experiencing true Spanish family….and a family that I now claim as my own! It was emotional to say the least.


Before I introduce them individually, I have to tell you (although my limited vocabulary is not nearly enough to do so), that these are the kindest people you will ever meet. Their hospitality and love to two handfuls of American girls, has gone unmatched. They went out of their way to be our taxis, tour guides, cooks and to make certain that our stay was more than we could’ve imagined. I don’t know how I will ever repay them! And currently, after so many days and SO MUCH shopping, I am just extremely grateful that they didn’t put us on a plane earlier.



Meet Susana – The Madre

From the time I knew Monica was coming to live with me, Susana has been the best support. She is humble, kind, PATIENT (heavy on the patience), positive, understanding and if she was ever frustrated at any point over the last few days, we haven’t even seen a hint of it.
We got to spend some time with her a couple of days that was just with her. Even on her birthday (Sunday), she toted is to the CRAZY street market (more on that later) and never complained about walking THE WHOLE market, not once, but three times, just so we could find “that one” thing we wanted. She entertained us with participating in silly tourist pics. And if she didn’t want to throw us out of the car after the thousandth “oh let’s stop and get a pic here” moment, then she just might be a real saint.


She is an artist who is way too humble about it. Look at some of the work she has done at their beach house! She is also the one who painted a portrait of Moni and me and sent it for my birthday! Definitely one of my most treasured gifts!!



Anyway! Susana is simply the best. I will always value her as my Spanish Madre and look to her for calm and wisdom!

Meet Jose – The Padre

Oh how he loves. There is no way that you don’t know it when you’re in his presence. He is comic relief. He is agreeable to all the ladies of his household. He has just the right amount of facetiousness about him!! He shows love. That’s quite different than what I grew up with and I couldn’t help but sit in awe of how he is constantly hugging, picking on and kissing on his girls. He creates a house of love and protection. He is a good papa!!!!



 


Meet Mari and Moni – The Girls 

Most of you know Moni from all I shared on social media while she lived with me. What you may not have known is that she has a twin sister Mari! Mari also did an exchange program and lived in North Carolina. I have missed Moni EVERY SINGLE DAY since she left. She took a part of my heart with her when she left America! However, seeing her “in her element” at home and adding Mari to the mix has been the most fun to watch! I didn’t think I could love them more until I came here this last week. Now, I have no idea how I am ever going to leave them!! They are just the right mix of opposites and definitely the hardest studiers I have ever met (seriously, they studied the whole time we were here….smart girls, they are)! Beautiful inside and out!!!


Meet the Cousins and friends

Well, meet some of them! I apparently failed to get a pic with a couple of them 😞 (SO SORRY LUISA)!! They are just good. The most welcoming and precious girls! I felt like we had already been friends forever! It was approximately five minutes before we were all laughing, making jokes and picking on each other!!


Meet the Abuelas and Tias

Can you even handle them? THEY. ARE. PRECIOUS. The abuelas have wisdom and pure grace. Abuela Luisita made me a total crying mess with her swet words. Abuela Maricarmen is just a smart cookie. She exudes it from the minute she enters a room.
Then there is Tia. Oh my. She is our very own American version of “gives zero cares”. She loves to sing and recite poetry. And believe you, me, she did her fair share during our visit! Check her out in tgis video!! All the love and feels for Tia. I offered to bring her back with me, because duh, America needs her! When I get old I will be her!

 


Meet Cleo – The dog

Last, but certainly not least, there is Cleo. She has about as gentle of a spirit as I have ever seen in a dog!

It’s hard to even type about them without getting emotional. I don’t know how I am going to leave them! How lucky I am to have not only visited this country and take a great vacation, but to have this family come into my life, is not (and will never be) lost on me. I do not deserve them! ❤️❤️❤️❤️

P.S. There is also Jose, the brother!! He just wasn’t around for photo ops and visiting til family dinner tonight. He is a complete sweetheart and I am not sure anyone on Earth treats their dog as good as he does!

Madrid Is For Lovers….And For Me 

Well. HELLOOOOOO Madrid!!! We started the last leg of our trip today. Madrid had a lot to live up to after such amazing times in Marbella and Barcelona. What I have been most excited about for this part of the trip is the family aspect. I have been anticipating a true Spanish family feel and have NOT been disappointed (you’ll meet all of them in tomorrow’s blog).

I wasn’t sure if the city exploring was going to live up to what we had already seen. Then, once we got off the metro, it was like Madrid said “girl, please….get over here and let me show you what we got”

SITES

At first it was cloudy and colder. We needed to sit by the heaters to enjoy lunch outside. But then, the skies cleared. The bluest sky came through and we enjoyed THE MOST BEAUTIFUL park walk. This park made Central Park feel uninteresting and underwhelming (Sorry NYC, you still have great pizza going for ya). Most of my pics were taken on the real camera today (thanks Apple for crappy iPhone battery life these days), but the ones I did get on my phone didn’t even need a filter to make the colors pop! The sky really is that blue!!!

The very first thing I noticed when we got into the park (after I scooped up a pair of fake Nikes from the street vendor) was how it could be so easy to fall in love here. There were people kissing, street musicians playing, little rowing boats. Ah. I couldn’t even hate it! If my future husband is reading this, go ahead and book a trip for us……kiss me by the fountain, buy me an ice cream and then let’s rent a segway and laugh at how clumsy I would probably be on it😝


FOOD

It will be hard for America to convince me to have certain things again, like cappuccino and tuna. I don’t know of any places that could match what I have tasted here. The food is just so good. I neber thought I would be this rmotional about food or even have that mich to carry on about it. But here, you definitely do. So much in fact, that when we shared a table with some other people who didn’t even show ANY emotion over their tapas, I was annoyed at them! The homemade food is even better! Tonight for family dinner we enjoyed homemade paella and a pear dessert that is probably illegal somewhere, it’s so good!! I LOVE that dinner in itself here is an event. It’s not just eat and done. We visit for hours with lots of laughter! If anyone in this country goes to bed hungry and sad, they are crazy!!


SHOPPING

I hate shopping. I truly do. But I sure found a way to love it with all the fantastic shops here. Any shop you could ever want. Our fav from today was Primark. It’s 5 stories, cheap prices and good stuff! I fell victim to so many things that I have had to buy another suitcase. How silly of me to declare before I came that I wasn’t interested in buying anything I was here. I really thought I meant that 😜


I have two HUGE regrets today. Not following through with buying this sequined fanny pack (I wish you could see how flashy it was in this pic) and letting the pink glittered wallet get away…….sigh…..


I also am quite envious of this unicorn tape dispenser my friend snatched up!

Today was good! Tomorrow is family lunch with the WHOLE Madrid family and I can hardly stand the wait!!

❤️❤️❤️❤️