By Rebeca Becdach
Over the course of the nine months I spent with my host family, we got very close. My host mom, Maria, treated me like a daughter and was always open to talking about anything I was dealing with. My host sister, Irene, and I shared music with each other and went on little excursions every once in a while. We had long conversations, watched an obscene amount of vine compilations, and practiced doing make-up on my face, among other things. She is 15, just like my little brother. Towards the end of my nine months in Madrid, Mikel, another fellow in Madrid, gave me the idea of doing an exchange of sorts with our siblings and host siblings. Maria and Irene loved the idea. For the month of October Irene stayed with my family in my hometown in Alabama (Huntsville). My brother and Irene got along pretty well. Irene got to go school with my brother and visit Orlando with my family (thank goodness because Alabama is not that exciting). I went to visit her on one of the weekends she was with my family. We took her to the lake (classic Alabama activity) and had a great time catching up. The following weekend, my family and Irene came to Boston to see me and we toured the city together. Seeing her again after a few months was wonderful and so much fun. It was like my two worlds, the U.S and Madrid, had finally met. Maria told me after Irene went back to Madrid that Irene benefited so much from the change in environment and meeting new people. She seems to be more outgoing now, which is exactly what happened to me after living in Madrid. Irene and I now share this experience of living with each other’s families, which I think is really special. I know I always have a home in Madrid, and Irene knows she always has a home here in the U.S.