Here, in Palma, I have been blessed to be given such an amazing host mom. Before coming, this aspect of the study abroad experience was probably what I was most worried about: living in someone else’s home and feeling comfortable living there for a year. Two full months have passed, and I feel completely at home in my apartment with my host mom. She has made my transition between countries smoother than I ever thought it could be.
As soon as I entered through her door the first night, I have been treated like family. She cooks for me, cleans my room (including making my bed everyday), does my laundry, listens to my complaints, shares stories of her past, and helps me with the Spanish language, just to begin. On the fourth day living in her house I told her I had blisters on my feet from walking so much. Next thing I know, she has gone down to the pharmacy and bought me blister pads and disinfectant and insists she applies for me.
Magdalena is a one-of-a-kind person, the type of people you meet and change your life for the better. She has more patience than I have found in any other person in the world. At 45 years old, she lost her husband before they ever had kids. Instead of dwelling on his absence, she tries to be as happy as possible under the circumstances. For 12 years she worked on a bus with children with special needs. Although she has been retired for 5 years, whenever these children see her in the street, they run up to her and give her a giant hug. Most of these children ask their parents when she will come back. Her motto is to “disfrutar la vida” or enjoy life. She is kind to everyone she meets, never has a bad word to say about anyone, and is always genuine. I thank God everyday for bringing her into my life, because I feel that already I have learned so much from her.
Just recently, I lost someone at home. Being abroad proves tough in these situations. I wanted a hug from my mom, a joke from my dad, and a kiss from my dog, but none of this was possible. Magdalena sat at the dinner table and cried with me, the night I told her what had happened. Without her, my experience here would not nearly be as great.