As I boarded my flight in DFW heading for Miami and eventually Ecuador, I found my self sitting beside two sisters that were lovely, intelligent and worldly traveled. They both were fair skinned and blond headed, but spoke perfect Spanish. I was puzzled to say the least. We started a conversation as I inquired about the hats one of them was holding. You know how I love hats! This was after hearing them converse in excellent Spanish. I asked them where they were headed and where they lived, etc.
One was 23 and working on her Master’s thesis in London and was studying Neurology and Photography. She was mature and we discussed her eventual plans to lecture. The other happened to go to high school in Austin and now was attending The University of Texas studying Fine Arts. I was amazed and asked them how they came to be such excellent Spanish conversationalists. They replied they were raised in Argentina, Switzerland, a few other stops and had moved on.
One particular story from Sofia and Victoria was very charming and I must relay it. It seems that one of them went to school in Austin on their first day and when the teacher came to class (a male) she kissed him on both cheeks, as is custom in Argentina. The teacher immediately drew back and stated that they would have to discuss this after class. She was shocked and did not know what she had done.
The teacher after discovering her heritage, instructed her on appropriate customs in the US and relayed to her that this was inappropriate in the US. She was very upset and made sure she didn’t perform this custom again. They also told me in Switzerland that it is customary to kiss three times on the cheeks. I thought that was a little extreme. I thoroughly enjoyed an intelligent conversation with these two young ladies for two hours and was grateful I ran into them. They proved that all is not broken in the world!