Hosting Friends from Spain, Part 1

Earlier this year I found out that my penpal who lives in Spain was planning to come to the US to travel and visit our family!  And she wasn’t just coming alone but also bringing her sister, her sister’s boyfriend and her cousin as well.  We were thrilled with the opportunity to host them during their visit.  

Aaron and I picked up Maite, Marta, Marcos and Ana in Chicago on July 1.  We talked as we drove home and stopped for food at Buffalo Wild Wings.  Spaniards typically don’t eat dinner until about 9 p.m., so this was their first experience with an early dinner.  And Spanish cuisine is not known for spicy foods.  They opted for the milder side of the menu and very much enjoyed their chicken wings.

We arrived home after 9 p.m.  It was a cool evening, so we lit candles and sat on the deck.  Our girls came home from Grandma & Grandpa’s house, and our Spanish friends presented us with many gifts they had brought.  

All of us except Aaron

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 The gifts they brought

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The next morning I made pancakes and bacon.  Then after a light lunch of wraps, Madeline and I took them to the Grand Rapids Art Museum and MadCap Coffee.  My mom stayed home to watch the other three girls and prepare a traditional Thanksgiving dinner of turkey, mashed potatoes, gravy, sweet potatoes, corn, cranberry sauce, apple pie, pumpkin pie and ice cream.

Pancake breakfast

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Madeline at the art museum

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One of our favorite piece of art:  paper folded & shaped in such a way that silhouettes of various faces appeared

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“Thanksgiving” Dinner

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After dinner we drove two vehicles to Summersweet Orchard in Caledonia for cherry picking!  With ten of us picking, it didn’t take long to fill up our buckets.  Together we picked 41 pounds of cherries!  We ate cherries for breakfast, lunch and dinner for the next week and also shared many with friends and family.  Some of those cherries would be used by Grandma Kerr for cherry pies on the 4th of July.

Marcos serving as a ladder for Savannah

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Maite & My girls 

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On July 3 we had a simple breakfast, and then Aaron took the group to pick up their rental car.  I made homemade pizzas for lunch.  Our original plan was to have a picnic around 5 p.m. and then hike to the beach at Saugatuck Dunes State Park.  Since we didn’t eat pizza until about 3:30 p.m., we definitely didn’t feel like a picnic at 5!  So we hiked to the beach first, enjoying some time swimming, playing in the sand and dune climbing.  We hiked back through the woods and had a picnic, complete with Spanish tortilla de patatas, around 9:30 p.m.–the latest picnic I’ve ever had!  We enjoyed having Aaron’s parents join us on this adventure.  

Marcos helping with pizza

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Marta, Ana & Maite making tortilla
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The finished tortilla

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Picnic at Saugatuck Dunes State Park

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I made The Pioneer Woman’s Cinnamon Baked French Toast for 4th of July breakfast, and then our friends experienced the American supermarket Meijer for the first time.  They came home saying it was very different than what they’re used to in Spain.  I made food for our 4th of July party, and people started arriving around 4 p.m.  All together we had 19 people:  our family, our Spanish guests, Aaron’s parents, one of their coworkers, my mom and my mom’s neighbors.  I was grateful for everyone’s contribution to the meal.  We had such a large spread–we probably could have fed 50 – 60 people.  
Our 4th of July cookie
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Marta, Madeline, Kayla, Ana & Pico 
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We drove to a place in Grandville to watch fireworks, arriving just in time.  The fireworks weren’t very long this year, but from where we were sitting, we could turn around and see Jenison’s fireworks.  So we watched those, too.  

Early the next morning, our friends started their travels to New York, Boston, Niagara Falls and Toronto.  But in just one week, they would be back for more adventures with the Kerr Family! 


1 thought on “Hosting Friends from Spain, Part 1”

  1. Thanks for the great pictures and the picture by picture events. It was such a great time for the Kerr family and those of us lucky enough to be included. It was really awesome how your guest loved entertaining the girls. A great time for all.

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