That’s what I’ve been calling them. I don’t really know if there’s a way to say ‘host family’ in Spanish and saying ‘the family that I’m living with for the four and a half months that I’m in Spain’ has been getting a little old. I have a host mom, Celestina, who works for the University of Oviedo. She is so nice and we’ve been getting along really well. And she loves to cook! Jackpot! I’ve been eating so much interesting and new food out at restaurants but even more so at home. Apparently all of it is typical cuisine for the Spanish but I’m having the time of my life tasting and trying their cuisine. I’ve fallen in love with tortilla española, an egg and potato dish that I will insist that my host mom makes the best. And a few days ago I had chipirones, or small squid, cooked in a sauce made with squid ink. I was hesitant to try it at first, but, as with everything else I’ve eaten here, it blew me away.
My host dad used to be a television producer for canal uno, channel one, and he recently retired. Now, he has more time to for his hobby – raising horses. They’re called asturcones and they’re a breed of horses native to the region of Spain we’re in, Asturias. I also have a host brother, Diego, and a host sister, Henar. Diego is 29 and lives on the other side of Oviedo. I haven’t gotten to meet my tandem partner yet – tandem is a program in which two people who are learning the language that the other one speaks natively meet weekly to practice both. But Diego wants to practice his English and I’m always looking for people to speak Spanish with so, even though he doesn’t live here with us, we hang out regularly and spend an hour or so speaking each language. Henar is 28 and she’s in the navy. She was recently in Brazil, she’s in Mexico right now and she’ll be stopping in Houston after, but she should be coming home to Spain in a month or two.
Apart from the human members of my Spanish family, we have two pets – Lluna and Gala. Lluna is a Spanish water dog, a breed similar to better known Portuguese water dog. Her name means moon in the Asturian dialect. Notice ‘lluna’ is very similar to ‘luna.’ One of her puppies, Deba, lives with Diego, and the other, Trufa, lives with my host mom’s sister. Gala is our cat. She loves to fall asleep on me when we’re watching Spanish TV, which I’ve gotten a lot better at understanding by the way. Game shows are a lot of fun and el canal cocina, the cooking channel, always has something interesting on. Gala also constantly follows me into the bathroom because her litter box is in there. We’re an interesting bunch, but I’m starting to feel very at home here. This is a picture of our foyer:
And here is a photo of my bedroom:
During the first week, I was a little unsure about how to go about everything, but I’ve quickly grown accustomed to staying with my family. This is their first time hosting a student but I definitely think they will continue in the coming years. Celes always tells me esto es tu casa, this is your house, and that I’ll always be welcome to stay here. With me knowing how well she cooks, that may be a dangerous offer to make 😉