Kate Williamson, one of the Office of Education Abroad Peer Advisors had the opportunity to spend spring quarter 2009 in Toledo, Spain. In this post she recounts one of her favorite moments while traveling abroad. Read more of Kate’s experiences on her personal blog at: http://spainkate.blogspot.com/
One day, my host mother, Sayto, decided to show me around some of the hidden sites of Toledo. I knew the day was going to be great, but the best part of the day came when I least expected it. Sayto and I spent the first part walking around the city visiting secret sites of the city while she told me Toledanos (little stories or fables about Toledo). As we were making our way back home, Sayto asked if I would mind coming with her to wish her good friend a happy birthday. I gladly said yes and I am so thankful that I did because it turned into my favorite experience abroad.
As we were walking to the house, Sayto told me that this woman came from a very powerful family in Toledo and that she was very rich. As we walked in the house, up the stairs to greet this woman, I was very nervous, yet excited to experience this. Nothing could have prepared me for what I walked into.
This woman was surrounded by family and friends who came to celebrate her life. People brought gifts and sat and talked with her. She looked beautiful. Sayto and I stayed for about 2 hours. It felt like 20 minutes. The women were so strong and welcoming and all of them talked to me. I learned so many insights into the Spanish culture from this one night of celebration. We ate tapas and had the best sangria I have ever had. The women told jokes and stories and asked me about life in America. One of the most exciting parts about it was the fact that I understood most of what everyone was saying. I felt very energized and confident after that. I could not have asked for a better way to spend a day and I will always look back on that day with the best memories. Though Sayto was just one woman, she was my host family and she treated me like her daughter. I felt so loved the whole time.