We realize that we’ve now been writing this blog for nearly three years and, while we share with you our unique experiences living abroad in Spain, there may still be a lot about us you feel that you don’t know. If you’re new to our blog or just want to learn more about our backgrounds, we highly encourage you to check our “About Us” pages (there’s one for Claudia and one for Dani). There, we share our individual journeys but today we want to tell you about how we originally met. It’s a funny story, too, that two American Midwestern girls would meet for the first time in southern Spain…
But wait! Did you read our Spanish expressions article about el mundo es un pañuelo, which 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 our story even more (perhaps it’s not as incredible as some of the other examples from Claudia’s 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 (language exchange) connected me with nearly half of my current friends in Granada (you can read about that here). 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 language exchange, I probably didn’t see Claudia for weeks but another American girl I met during the same intercambio talked about her a few times as they had hung out through a mutual friend. Thus, I continued to know of Claudia without really feeling like I knew her. When Halloween rolled around, a completely different American friend invited me to join her in search of a mysterious cemetery in the Albaicín area (a neighborhood of Granada notorious for getting lost in). Neither of us had any clue where we were going—in fact, I found out years later that we were on the completely wrong side of town—but we had a good time looking. Eventually, we came across a pair of French guys who looked even more lost than we did so we gave up on the cemetery and offered to help them find their way instead.
The guys 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.
[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 found their destination, that ‘American girl’ looked awfully familiar to me and, 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 them for dinner and so we found ourselves sharing an amazing fondue spread 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 from the intercambio? Well she became my closest 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. Try as we did to fully immerse ourselves in the Spanish culture and make friends with Spaniards, both of our close relationships with other American girls goes to show how it’s often easier to bond with other foreigners.
Anyways, Claudia and I have been in each other’s lives for years now, but probably not genuine friends until the creation of this blog. Even so, we felt comfortable undertaking this huge project together because of our unique bond. I like to think we both recognized that what we had was a beautiful kind of friendship–we share important values and have similar perspectives for having lived many of the same experiences. We grew up in the same region of the United States, then both ended up in the same city four thousand miles away. Still, we learned many of the life lessons and grew into the people that we are today separately and in different ways. The differences in our experiences and personalities helps keep us balanced, hopefully, unbiased on this blog.
While our ‘how we met’ story is probably not so typical, 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 built this blog. Not only is Sincerely, Spain something we both love and believe in, it plays an important role in our friendship.
As life gets busy, it’s so easy to lose touch with friends, especially those who live in other countries. While I like to think I’m decent at keeping in touch, I don’t maintain a weekly Skype date with anyone other than Claudia and for that I must thank this blog and YOU for reading it!
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? If you enjoy the personal side of things and you haven’t already, be sure to sign up for our monthly newsletter. That’s where we share our life updates, resources we’re loving, etc. You can also follow us on social media, especially Instagram where we’re currently participating in the #MayontheMove Expat Challenge and sharing a lot more about ourselves in the process. Or, as always, drop us a comment below, we love hearing from you!
P.S. We made this video just for you, so check it out to hear more!