Growing Up

September 2016

About a year ago, I was introduced to a group of Spaniards and told to “say something”. Everyone was very amused by my southern Spanish accent. (It was a step up from the older madrileña I met on a flight once who asked “Can we speak in English? Your Spanish is ugly,”). One of these Spaniards became a good friend of ours in London.

A diminutive but strong woman, proudly feminist (rare in a country that sadly still believes feminismo to be the equal and opposite of machismo) and intelligent to boot. She can’t, however, be praised for her punctuality.

Still, a good friend. When her housemate brought bedbugs back from San Francisco, she stayed at ours. We took every precaution to make sure the beasties didn’t accompany her and to avoid our own housemates finding out why she was there.

I like having guests and a full house but particularly loved having our surrogate daughter around. I grew used to leaving a third portion in the fridge, sleeping with half an ear listening for the door.

Our twenty-six year old teenager moved back home for a week before coming back at the end of her tenancy for her last days in London. (And I learned I will not handle it well when my actual child goes to uni).

We had some Italians staying with us the weekend of her leaving party and took them along. During the party another man hailing from the Spanish capital put me in a (fleeting) good mood. He talked knowledgeably about Brexit and tried to assure me that the Europeans were still my neighbours and would recognise this as what it was: a matter of internal politics. I still give the Leave vote greater significance and doubt the rest of this continent is so magnanimous. But it eased my mind at least for one night.

When we left, there were some difficult farewells with our friend. Then, in the taxi home, I remembered that in fact we would both be in Barcelona in two weeks time. Still, it is always hard to let the kids fly the nest.


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