With our friends, Paula, Josep and Angeles.
Last week we reconnected with dear friends from Seo de Urgel, Spain near the border of the principality of Andorra, 200 kilometers from Barcelona. Their daughter Marta lived with us for almost a year. During this time Marta introduced us to Gisela from Brazil, who would several years later, become our daughter-in-law and Shanita from South Africa who lived with us for a while. Marta also arranged for my friend Paula and I, when we "went to Barcelona to write" in 2000, to be guests of her sister, Xell, in Barcelona and her parents in Seo de Urgel. While Marta was in our house, her mother came to visit and stay with us for two weeks. When Xell came to the US to study English she stayed with Paula and her husband. Later, after Marta had married a Colombian-American and made her home here, her parents and Josep's sister stayed with us for two weeks. This time they came to celebrate their daughter's birthday and we joined them for the combination birthday/Superbowl party last Sunday. It was a celebration not only of birthdays but also of travel, cultural diversity and multilingualism. People from Spain, Taiwan, Colombia, Brazil and South Africa joined the fun. All were bilingual and many were multilingual.
We were able to see all four of the young women who had stayed in our house during the same period. The two who are not married are here studying at universities on student visas. It was good to see and catch up with the lives of all of them.
I am constantly amazed at the cultural connections that are common today. I remember when, 25-years ago, we hosted a man from Hong Kong. My then 11 and 13-year-old sons bonded very strongly with him, crying when he left and saying, "I hate this hosting program. We'll never see him again." Of course they did see him again ten years later in Denver. Then more recently our oldest son and his wife visited in his home in Hong Kong when they traveled to China to bring home their adopted daughter. None of us imagined what a truly "connected" world we would come to know--and value..