In Seville I have a family. It is compiled of the friends I have made, the students and the professors from the school, the waiters and waitresses in the restaurants where I often go, the people that I exercise with in Maria Luisa Park every week, my intercambios, my roommate and especially my señora, my Seville mom: Carmela. She is an incredible person and thanks to God I have had the opportunity to get to know her. There have been many moments that we have laughed together at silly things, we have grieved together over sad things, and we have celebrated together happy things. I have had the opportunity to learn about her extraordinary life and I have seen how she continues living her life that way. She inspires me with her words, her actions, her heart, and how she always acts out of her love for God.

I loved Carmela even before knowing her because she accepted Emily and me even though she hadn’t planned on having students this year. It was really a blessing from God because Emily and I weren’t happy with the other family we lived with, and Carmela told us that she had missed having students in her home. It was perfect. From the moment that Emily and I arrived at the house for the first time after deciding to move, I loved Carmen and even more because of the experiences we have had together.

I remember a moment when Emily, Carmela and I were seated at the table eating. When she was telling us a story she began to laugh so hard that she spit a piece of food on the table. Emily and I couldn’t control our laughter and we began to laugh too. From that moment on one of us has always spilt food on the table in some way every meal and we all laugh every time. Messy eating has become a sort of tradition for us at the house. Other memorable moments include the conversations that Emily and I have had with Carmela about her life. One was about the adoption of her daughter, Julia. It was the first adoption in the history of Spain in which a Chinese child was adopted by a Spanish family. Another conversation was about transitioning from traditional Spanish Catholicism to becoming a Protestant Christian. Another was about her travels around the world, and many others about her family. Every meal Emily, Carmela and I pass hours just eating and talking about whatever. I am going to remember these moments forever and I am going to miss them a lot. But I know that one day we will see each other again because we have talked a lot about traveling together with the confidence that it will happen (if God allows for it).

Carmela calls me daughter and I don’t think she knows how much joy this nickname brings me. I feel like part of her family, and as her family is a beautiful one, I consider it a great privilege to be even a small part of it.

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