Spring semester of my junior year in college I studied abroad in Valladolid, Spain. A mostly industrial town in the northwest of Spain, Valladolid is quintessential Castilla y Leon. The Spanish spoken here does fair justice to its heritage and arguably is the heart of this beautiful country.
I lived with a nice family who regularly took in exchange students. Their 6th floor apartment was just across the Pisuerga River from the downtown. It sounds far, but I walked to the city center every day to go to class.
I lost touch with the family but this spring marks 20 years since my stay there and I figured it was about time to find them. I knew I had kept a letter from their oldest son, Pako (yes, spellcheck, he spelled it with a “k”), which I had received about a year after returning to the U.S. I found it this morning and decided to drop them a letter. Hopefully they still live in the same place.
I’ve translated the letter below.
I hope that this letter finds you well. It’s been a long time since I’ve been in touch – I’m lazy to write and even more so in Spanish.
When I finished my University studies I moved to Washington, DC. There is more opportunity to find work here and it’s also very close to my brother (and his wife and two daughters). My father still lives in Pennsylvania – in the same house where I lived as a child. My mother died in 2006 – she had heart trouble for many years – even before I stayed with you.
I haven’t gotten married and don’t have any kids that I am aware of 🙂 I have a consulting company that helps people and companies improve their strategic communication. I used to travel a lot, especially to Latin America – I lived in Brazil for three yeas from 2003-2005. I’ve been back to Spain – but just to Madrid and Barcelona for work.
How are you all doing? Mr. Manuel, Pako, Manolo? I’ve tried from time to time to find you all on the internet but failed. This morning I found a letter that Pako wrote to me in 1996 and it had your address – I had forgotten it.
Well, I hope that you are all well. It would be a great to hear back from you.
A big hug,
Jason Reed Sandridge
P.S. Sorry for my Spanish – I don’t get to practice it much anymore and I’m forgetting it.