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A Small Gift From Across The Sea

, , , , , | Related | October 19, 2020

This takes place during the prehistoric days before a global health crisis. I’m an American ex-pat living in Barcelona, about ten years after high school graduation. Because I can’t afford to go home every year, I get into the habit of having a tourist day on my birthday.

The week before my birthday, my mom calls me to chat. Near the end of the talk, she casually asks where I’m planning to go for my birthday. I mention the famous park I’m going to, designed by an extremely Modernist architect. We say our goodbyes.

On my birthday, I’m walking around the park at noon. Near the museum, I see a group of teenagers and an adult chaperone. As I go into the building, I hear their accent — American, from the Midwest, like me. That’s not that unusual, since the park is a big tourist area. I glance up and see the chaperone’s face. She looks slightly familiar, so I focus a little harder. I think I recognize her and I step closer.

Me: “Excuse me. I know this sounds odd, but is that a Midwestern accent I hear? I grew up in Wisconsin.”

Chaperone: “Yes! We’re actually from Wisconsin, too. These kids are from my Spanish club. We take a trip to Spain every couple of years. When were you last home?”

Me: “A couple of years ago. Otherwise, I’ve been mainly here since graduation, ten years ago. Wait a second… Do you teach at [My Old High School]?”

Chaperone: *With a smirk* “I do…”

Me: “[Chaperone]?!”

We laugh and share a quick hug.

Chaperone: “There’s another face you might recognize.” 

We meander over to a display where a young teen girl is standing. The girl hears us and turns around, a giant grin on her face.

Me: “[NIECE]?!”

We hug tight, and then I walk around the park with them, catching up with my niece. I get permission from her teacher to kidnap her for supper. BEST. BIRTHDAY. EVER.

I called my mom the next day, and the first words out of her mouth were, “Were you surprised?” The brats in my family had this set up for weeks!

This story is part of our Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

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Read the Feel Good roundup for October 2020!

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