It happened when I came home after a three-hour class. Our first two weeks of school were focused on a three-credit intensive Spanish-business class, three-hours a day, every day. I was mentally exhausted from having to think and process the lecture in my second language.
When I finally got back to the apartment and opened the door, this overwhelming tranquility washed over me. I inhaled the familiar smell of la casa, went to my room, and plopped down on my bed. That was the first day I realized I was home. Truly home, in the apartment in Seville.
Even this graffiti-building knows Sevilla has become my home-away-from-home.
I started to realize how much I cherish our regular family dinners and (sort-of) being a big sister. I’m usually in my room, late in the afternoon when my host sister gets home from school or dance class, with my door open just a crack. It’s always the same—I usually hear them get home, so I sit up in my bed, waiting. My sister always wants to make sure I’m not taking a siesta (nap). I watch as the door creeps open and laugh when I see her little face light up, happy to see me. She whispers, “Hola,” and I reply, “Hola, chiquita! Qué tal?” (Hi, little lady! How are you?)
My host mom snuck a photo while I was holding onto my sister to make sure she didn’t get too excited and fall off the chair… After all, what are big sisters for?
These little conversations have been bringing us closer since day one, but my absolute favorite sister-bonding moment was when we wrote a short story. She has a book that has one phrase, some scenery, and two blank pages to fill in. It even gives you some stickers to use for inspiration, but you get to write the story. Our given phrase was, “Once upon a time in a land full of dinosaurs…” I translated this to Spanish for her, and we went on with creating the story. My sister told me in Spanish what we should say, and I translated the phrases to English, spelling the words slowly, letter by letter. Now she can say she wrote a story in English! It was precious.
We also like to wear masks, play card games, watch kids’ movies (with Spanish subtitles, for me), and take silly photos. She also gives the best abrazos y besos (hugs and kisses) every night!
After dinner one day, she randomly whipped out these masks. She loves play-taking photos on an old mobile phone, so I decided we should take a real photo on my phone. It’s the little moments, you know?
She’s the little sister I never had—and even though I’m only here for four months, I plan on keeping in touch with her for much, much longer. ¡La quiero a ella! I love her!