One weekend while in Zaragoza, I had the opportunity to experience a true, authentic, Spanish family gathering with my host family. Around 1:00 pm on a Sunday, we arrived at my family’s cousins house right outside of Zaragoza to swim and “eat lunch”. I knew from previous experiences that eating lunch in Spain has a much different definition than in the US, but I could have never predicted the feast that was prepared. I spent the midday/early afternoon in the pool with the three 13-year-old girl cousins speaking to them in Spanish and asking them questions about what they were doing this summer etc. They all wanted to practice their English with me and were asking me very nosy questions about my life in the US such as if I had a boyfriend etc. I learned that no matter where you are in the world, 13-year-old girls are all the same! They reminded me of myself when I was their age. About 4:00 pm, we were called inside for lunch. We walked in to see a dining room table completely covered with almost every Spanish tapas, three full chickens, multiple bottles of wine, and much more. I was seated with the grown-ups who then took their turn at asking me many questions. Two of the aunts had worked in the US before so they spoke some English. The uncles were working to learn English too, so they asked me to teach them some common sayings. Just as I was observing their culture, they were just as interested in getting to know mine. Everyone got louder and louder as the lunch went on (I assume from the wine) and every single bit of food on the table was consumed. I am always surprised after we eat our huge lunches to be offered dessert, but they eat it following every lunch and dinner. We had two options, either fruit or ice cream; no one chose the fruit. We did not end up heading home until around 9 pm, so I had the full day experience with a huge Spanish family. It was awesome.

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