Thursday, October 13, 2016

Exploring Spain with My Children

This post is part of Multicultural Kid Blogs' Hispanic Heritage Month series. 

You may have noticed that I had a lot of guest posts here on MommyMaestra over the last few weeks. That's because, for the first time in 11 years, my husband and I took our kids to Europe. He had a conference in the Netherlands, Germany, and Belgium that he had to attend, and I JUMPED at the opportunity to go a week early so that we could visit my family in Spain. 

Do you have family that lives far away? The visit to Spain was probably the most important thing to me this entire year. It's been 11 years since I last visited. My daughter was only a year and a half and I was pregnant with my son. Before last month, my father had never met my son, his only grandson. My daughter had been too little the last time we were there to remember anything about it. So they only "knew" their abuelo from a few photos and Facebook messages. 

So we saved and planned then saved some more to make the trip a reality. And although we will be paying off this trip for a little while, this one week of time spent with my family is one my children will never forget. They had the opportunity to experience the beauty of Spain - it's culture, food, architecture, landscape, and language. 

My father was eager to share the beauty of his country with his grandchildren. Together we walked the cobblestone streets of his town, peering into shops and admiring the beautiful details that families add to the front of their homes. My son was over the moon to discover the candy/ice cream shop on the plaza that opens each afternoon when school lets out. Both kids were less than thrilled with their tostada Catalán for breakfast...they preferred the CHURROS!!  And both my kids marveled at the number of beds and bedrooms in my Tías house, which used to be my grandparents' home where I spent time in the summer as a child. "You could sleep 30 people in this house!" my daughter exclaimed. And we often did when I was little. 

A s luck would have it, one of my cousins was getting married. I was delighted when I heard about it because I knew that meant that I'd be able to see most of my extended family and introduce them to my children. However, the wedding took place in Zaragoza, which is quite a ways from my dad's home in southern Spain. So in the space of a week, we rode on board the bullet train three times to my son's extreme delight.

Zaragoza itself is a beautiful city. My cousin got married in the Basilica de Nuestra Señora de Pilar, a truly remarkable cathedral, whose beauty I cannot possibly do justice in this post. It is reported to be the first church in history dedicated to the Virgin Mary. Inside, gold glitters everywhere. Your footsteps echo on the marble floors, and my children stared at the murals on the vaulted ceilings. Nine chapels line the walls, each a miniature testimony to the wealth of the Catholic church at that time. But my favorite piece is the single, stained-glass window...

And the outside is just as breathtaking as the inside with its multiple cupolas and towers.

The wedding itself was a very formal affair and my kids giggled at the elaborate hats worn by the women who attended. At one point during the reception, my daughter said, "I feel like I'm on Downton Abbey." (My cousins were highly amused - who knew they were Downton Abbey fans in Spain, too?) Shortly thereafter, my kids were whisked away to the children's table, where they were watched over by a nanny, who kept the kids busy playing all sorts of games while the adults went inside to eat. I'm pretty sure my kids had a good time because, by the end, my son looked like this...

The trip is one my children will always remember and it came with valuable life lessons. They discovered that when it comes to family, time and distance mean absolutely nothing. They were showered in hugs and kisses from people they didn't know. When someone loves you so much, so sincerely, it's hard not to love them back. And the joy my family showed upon our arrival made a huge impression on my kids. 

The experience has cemented the bond between my children and their Spanish heritage. What's more, it has provided the motivation my kids need to continue learning Spanish. 

Hispanic Heritage Month Series 2016 | Multicultural Kid Blogs
We are so excited for our FIFTH annual Hispanic Heritage Month series and giveaway! Through the month (September 15 - October 15), you'll find great resources to share Hispanic Heritage with kids.

October 12 MommyMaestra
Don't miss all of the great posts from previous years as well: 2012, 2014, 2015


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