La Familia and Independence

Ah, la familia. Mothers and fathers. Sisters and brothers. Cousins, aunts, uncles. Grandparents. Godmothers and godfathers. “Aunts” and “uncles”. The friends who feel like family. In Spain, there is a saying, or perhaps more of a refrain: Madre, sólo hay una. You have but one mother. If I’ve learned anything about Spain—and oh, there is much to learn—family is important. And mothers … well, you’ve only got one.

The stereotypes are (somewhat) true: Spanish children don’t leave the nest as early as those of us in Anglo-Saxon countries. The average age for leaving home in Spain is 25.2 years old (source). This is not seen in a bad light here; it isn’t shameful. In fact, even if a 20-something does have a job, they may choose to stay at home with Mom and Dad, just because they can. After all, why pay rent when you can stay at home rent free?

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Why Did You Go?

I was born in Podunk, Indiana. I love my hometown, but it’s not worldly. I grew up sheltered and went to college at a small, private Christian school. After a year, I realized such an environment was counterintuitive to my own ideals. I decided to go to Indiana University Bloomington. It was a great place, full of local food, ethnic restaurants, and diversity. It was still in Indiana, but it was honestly the best place for me. I blossomed there. In the spring of 2008, I went to study abroad in Toledo, Spain.

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