A Small, Happy Tale of Cultural Exchange

My husband and I sit close on the sofa, eyes glued to the computer screen. A whiney roar travels from our daughter’s living room in Spain, to us. Our video-chat call has interrupted their weekend tidying up, and their weekend tidying up had already been interrupted by the discovery of a lost remote control car, and then- oh joy- two new batteries were found. Hence the roar traveling across all those miles to us.

Our grandchildren play in the background. Sometimes the car rides up their daddy’s back and somehow gets trapped in his armpit, wheels spinning, for a little while. Sometimes one of their dear faces looms large in the screen and shows us a party favor they got, or blows us a kiss, or small hands make a heart shape and then explode it sending their love our way. But mostly, this call, we get a little time to talk to their mama, our daughter.

How was the birthday party in the park? We ask. I am proud of my daughter for making the effort, being hospitable in a different language, and for designing her own six year old birthday party instead of buying one ready-made from a party room that is common where they are living. We learn the weather was fine, and the kids were happy. They enjoyed running free, as well as using the black paper and colorful pastels she had brought. They especially loved that she painted each of their faces elaborately as they requested. They liked the goody-bags, and ran around blowing those paper noisemakers- party blow-outs.

And the adults enjoyed the food. My son-in-law had made a seven-layer dip. You know the one, with beans, guacamole, salsa, sour cream, shredded cheese, olives, dipped with corn chips. Everybody RAVED. What a great food! Can we have the recipe? On a hot day, wouldn’t this be great with a beer?!
Yes, my daughter and son-in-law cheerfully replied to it all. Cultural ambassadors they were, sharing 7-layer dip, a good, good thing from the U.S. of A.

And their Spanish friends shared as well. They shared their children (who are actively teaching my grandchildren Spanish), their friendship and their support to this young family. And they shared a new vocabulary word in Spanish. You know those blow-out sound makers? There is a word for them in Spain. Matasuegras. Translates to “mother-in-law killers”! Ha!

3 thoughts on “A Small, Happy Tale of Cultural Exchange

  1. What a great glimpse you give us into the hectic world of a young family through the lens of a video-chat. I can see you and your husband sitting on the sofa in anticipation, sitting nice and still, while the grandkids run in and out of the picture (the conversational thread with the young’uns running amok.) It sounds like they are adapting so well to their “new” country.


  2. A wonderful slice, reminds me of when my daughter was studying abroad in Spain. She called on a Skype phone which had a special ring. I would go running through the house, shouting out, “It’s Skypper girl!” No video then, but I was thrilled just as you are now, to talk to my girl. Matasuegras is definitely a better word than party blowers. And your daughter is rocking her time in a different culture.


  3. I loved getting a glimspe of your daughter’s life in Spain as she hosted a birthday party. A little sad, though, because you couldn’t attend. I bet you would have made a lovely USA appetizer to share, too and then spent all your time enjoying the children! At least, you can check-in using technology.


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