I love my host mom. When I studied abroad three years ago (I can't believe it has been that long!) my host family made my experience so special. Our house was nestled in a quiet urban neighborhood in Brussels, Belgium. Most host family came from Spain, so the house was always full of dancing, Spanish music and love.
My host mom and dad took me in as their own. I met their friends, we salsa danced until midnight and for my twentieth birthday, they threw a party just for me. I will never forget how they took me into their home, fed me (a lot!) and above all, loved me.
This past week, my host mom, Carmen, came to America for the first time. She stayed with me in my Brooklyn apartment to live the New York dream. We walked through Central Park, sang at Mamma Mia!, danced across the Brooklyn Bridge, iced skated at Bryant Park, ate "real" New York pizza in Little Italy, shopped in Chinatown, cooked tortilla espanola and reminisced about my time in Belgium.
Carmen is the definition of vivacious. She possesses a true love of life, joie de vivre. Carmen is always chatting, dancing, singing and loving. She reminded me that this is what life is all about. When we work all the time, it's easy to not take that trip to South America or cooking class. We all get caught in making a living that we forget to make a life.
I'm beyond happy that I was able to give back to Carmen and host her in the city that I love. She has taught me to live, really, really live. And to eat a lot of Belgian chocolate too!