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Los Reyes Magos Come to Columbus

In less than a month I will have back from my grand European adventure for already half a year.  The weeks fly by faster than they did in Spain where here, my never-ending to do list leaves me with the constant regretful voice of “I should have…” When I catch myself thinking back to the long weekday lunches and truly lazy Sundays of my madrileña life, I have to remind myself it was my reality.

A post-Christmas melancholy fell upon me this week, the back-to-work blues after a fulfilling two-week holiday.  That to do list once again reigned supreme and I was treading water spending long hours at school trying to catch up and get ahead— at the very least try to feel some balance.

Yet in a week where Spain felt light years away, it returned to me once more.  Entering the office Tuesday morning, I rushed past a large box on the counter towards my mailbox, yet my peripheral vision caught one familiar word, “correos” and in an instant I knew that package could only be meant for one person.

My students’ pen pal letters had finally arrived from Navalcarnero, the town I taught in last year.  I grinned seeing that signature Spanish handwriting and the turrones and polvorones wedged between the envelopes, reminding me that the following day, January 6th marked a special day on the Christmas calendar, Día de los Reyes.  What better gift could the Three Kings have left for my students?

I watched in joy as each student read their letters and Christmas cards and showed off their gifts— a hardback Spanish novel, euro coins, stuffed animal, sports medal…. all sent overseas with careful thought.  And in a click that sweet simplicity of snail mail was upgraded for the ease and instant gratification of Instagram.  I laughed at how archaic the notion of a real “pen” pal had become. Nevertheless what beauty I found in my students’ enthusiasm, “Profe, I found him!  He’s talking to me!  What does no pasa nada mean?”

Could this be the moment that converted a few more teens to the meaning of speaking another language?

And perhaps it was the Reyes Magos who pushed me to blog again and finish a little project I “should have” finished months ago.

The video footage is jerky and blurry at times, but its worth lies in the smile it brings to my face every time I watch it.  And the song pretty much sums up my year in Europe, “I lived.”

<p><a href=”″>A Year in Europe</a> from <a href=”″>Kara</a&gt; on <a href=””>Vimeo</a&gt;.</p>



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