Over Thanksgiving break, my family came to see me here in Bilbao! It made me so incredibly happy to have them here for an entire week! In fact, when I finally laid eyes on my dad, my mom, and my sister for the first time in almost three months in the Bilbao airport, I definitely cried out of happiness. I was just so overjoyed and relieved to have the people who know me best here with me in Bilbao, my “home away from home.” The whole week was me familiarizing them with Bilbao – I showed them my favorite spots for a drink or a coffee, to study/people watch, to wander and explore, and to shop! And of course, I had them try pintxos – lots and lots of pintxos! (My mom kept saying that we were “eating our way” through the city – but what better place to do that than in the gastronomy capital of Spain?!) For those of you who do not know what they are, pintxos are little appetizers/snacks that people in Bilbao have in between meals at bars, usually with a glass of wine or beer. They are very similar Spanish tapas. In fact, I’m rather certain they are the same, even though my host brother Ignacio insists they are not – although I think that may just be Basque pride speaking! Here are some pintxos and us trying them at the bars in Bilbao, as well as us at other yummy stops!
One of my favorite things about having my family in Bilbao with me was that they were able to finally meet my host family and get to know them. Some of my favorite parts of the week were just when the seven of us were gathered around the kitchen table over a meal! Speaking of which, we had a very pleasant cultural exchange at mealtimes between my two families: My host mother made my family a traditional Spanish three-course lunch upon their arrival to Bilbao and on Thanksgiving Day, we made an (almost) traditional American Thanksgiving meal for my host family! I think both sides were very pleased with the exchange, if I do say so myself. Although we couldn’t have an exact American Thanksgiving (chicken instead of turkey, no pumpkin bread, etc.), it was still delicious – and my Spanish family absolutely loved it. I think they were surprised that we Americans eat healthily on occasion (even if it is in unhealthy amounts)! They also got a kick out of the fact that we have this day off of work and school in order to spend time with friends and family giving thanks, and instead we slave away in the kitchen all day. (“Always going, going, going – you Americans never stop, even on your day off!!”) I guess that’s what it looks like from the outside looking in, you guys!
Sharing Bilbao with my family was so fun and really important to me, so I’m so glad they could make it happen! It was so great to show them the places they have heard so much about from me, and for them to get to know my Spanish family that I’ve come to love. It was a very special Thanksgiving!