My host mom told me a story the other day. We were talking about differences between the U.S. and Spain. Spaniards live, in many ways, simpler than those in the U.S. Their houses are smaller and are often tiny apartments. They take quick showers and unplug devices instead of leaving them in the outlets. They also walk everywhere instead of taking a car. My host mom told me about an eighteen-year-old boy whom she hosted during the summer for a month. She’s hosted many students before me, but she said that this boy is the one who cried the most. She told me that he was rich. He grew up in a huge, fancy house. He had three people in his family but five cars. He had everything people dream of, but was never very happy. When he came to Spain for a month he couldn’t stop crying. He told my host mom that he never thought living with so much less would make him so much happier.
I’ll never forget that story. Living in Spain has certainly shown me that the American way of life isn’t the only way to live, nor always the best. Many of the things I learn here I hope to bring back to the States with me. Overall, I’ve seen that it isn’t items or money that will truly bring me joy, but rather how I choose to live my life. That little boy will forever hold a place in my host mom’s heart.