The Story of How We Met


Dear Kathy,

We realize that we’ve now been writing you these letters for over a year and while we’ve been opening up so much about our unique experiences living abroad in Spain, there may still be a lot about us you wish you knew. Most obviously, you might be curious about how we originally met! It’s a funny story, too, that two American Midwestern girls would meet in southern Spain, so let me tell you about it…

Claudia and Dani having wine

But wait! Did you read the el mundo es un pañuelo post that explained this “what a small world” kind of expression? If you didn’t, take a moment to do so as I think it will help you smile and appreciate my and Claudia’s story (perhaps not as incredible as some of the other examples from her life that she talked about here, but interesting all the same).

Okay, you’re back? Perfect! So now that you understand what a pañuelo the world can be, let me just say that Granada is a SUPER small pañuelo! I found this out quite quickly as my very first intercambio (which you can read about here if you missed it) pretty much connected me with half the people I know today, in one way or another. Without going into all of the details again, let’s just say that Claudia was the very first person who spoke to me when I walked into the intercambio that day...but I still wouldn’t consider that ‘how we met.’

After that first intercambio, I probably didn’t see Claudia for weeks but another girl I met during the same intercambio talked about her a few times as they had hung out through a mutual friend. Then Halloween rolled around and I decided to go out looking for a mysterious cemetery with another American friend. Neither of us had any clue where we were going—I’ve just recently found out (five years later!) that we were on the completely wrong side of town—but we eventually came across of pair of French guys who looked even more lost than we did so we offered to help them find their way instead.

They said they were looking for a restaurant where they were supposed to meet an American girl who they hadn’t yet met but who they ‘knew’ through friends.

We’ve since spent other Halloweens together, too!

We’ve since spent other Halloweens together, too!

[Details from Claudia: The ‘friends’ Claudia knew were actually a pair of sisters the French guys were sharing a hostel with, one of whom was sharing a flat in France with a friend of one of Claudia’s classmates. She was meeting them because her classmate wanted her to go have tapas with all of them just in case they couldn't communicate. To further add to the el mundo es un pañuelo vibe, Claudia later visited one of the sisters in Munich and she also came to see Claudia in Lisbon. But anyways…]

When we finally arrived at their destination that ‘American girl’ looked awfully familiar to me and I don’t know which of us it was that connected the dots but after looking sideways at each other for a few moments we figured out where and how we had met previously. Being the friendly person she is, Claudia immediately invited us to join her and so we found ourselves sharing an amazing fondue with (essentially) strangers.

You might imagine this story ends with “and we’ve been best friends ever since” but I would be lying if I painted it that way. Claudia and I often laugh that “we’re only friends because everyone else left” and while that was perhaps part of the equation as to why we became closer, we certainly have a stronger connection than that now. Remember the other girl I mentioned meeting at the intercambio? Well she became my best friend just as the American friend I was cemetery-hunting with became close friends with Claudia. Over the rest of that year, I saw Claudia from time to time, but mostly only through one friend or the other.

You may have seen these photos before because we don’t take very many together…we’re trying to work on it!

You may have seen these photos before because we don’t take very many together…we’re trying to work on it!

We’ve been in each other’s lives for years now, but probably not genuine friends until the last year or two. Still, I consider it a beautiful friendship as we’ve been through many of the same things while also living very different experiences. We know a lot of the same people (especially as Claudia is a great friend-sharer), but we have different relationships and different memories with them. So, our ‘how we met’ story is probably not so typical but I like to think of it as the epitome of expat friendships here in Spain. Lots of people come and go (YOU may even be someone who comes and go—I was at one point), but the experience of constantly building and rebuilding friendships only makes you appreciate the ones that last that much more. And I, for one, am sure glad that Claudia and I met and continued to develop our friendship to the point that we’re are at now, and are thus able to bring this blog to you!

Do you have a funny ‘how we met’ story with one of your friends here in Spain? Or are there more things you’d like to know about Claudia or me? Drop us a comment!!