The most beautiful people, part 2

I really wasn’t much of a drinker, but they coaxed me into trying some Sangria, Cuba Libres, and heaven knows what else… I didn’t want to seem ungrateful OR rude, so I tried to drink as much of whatever they gave me, as I could. And I while I was already really comfortable with them, I found myself relaxing even MORE!! I was willing to separate myself from my dictionary, and take a change using incorrect grammar and talking around the words I did not know… and while I certainly caused a lot of laughs; it was all in a fun and loving sort of way. They and their friends would correct me, and then ask me to help them with some of their English, and I, OF COURSE, agreed… TO EVERYTHING. And I probably should have paid more attention as to what I was agreeing TO, but I was SO caught up in the moment, there was NOTHING I wouldn’t do.

As the night went on, the grandmother figure with the energy and spirit of a 20 year-old pulled her chair closer to mine and talked to me more and more. She told me more of how I reminded her of her granddaughter, and showed me pictures. I have to say that EVEN I THOUGHT the resemblance was ASTOUNDING! She told me more about how similar our personalities were, how when we smiled we just lit up the world, how stubborn we both were, how devoted we both were to our family and friends, and most of all how we both cherished the time we spent with our grandparents. Her eyes were watering up and I saw the first tear fall… it was just us at the table because everyone else was dancing, so I pulled her in and hugged her tight and she sobbed harder. Just think, I hadn’t even known this woman 12 hours and she was bearing her soul to me? I was certainly not worthy of that, but I felt very honored. I held her and rocked her, and told her everything was going to be just fine. We obviously met for a reason, and I thought it was her granddaughter wanted her to know that her spirit is all around her, all she has to do look. I also told her that I was SURE her granddaughter continued to love her very much and was always watching out for her, but did not want her to suffer so… at that point she looked up embraced my face, looked me straight in my teary green eyes, and said, “She sent you to me. She is the reason WE met, and YOU are the reason I will go on living”. I burst into tears just as she seemed to be doing better, and she held me close. She said things like no matter we both thought the universe acts in strange ways, and that I had renewed her faith in God, humanity, and her will to live. …. I was SHOCKED.

I just continued sobbing. I told her I was sure that her granddaughter was a far better woman than I could ever hope to be, but I would try to make them both proud.

She then asked for a favor, and I instinctively said yes with tears still dripping down my face. She asked if we could meet the next morning in her hotel room and she could do my hair like she used to for her granddaughter, in a couple different ways, and asked if I wouldn’t mind leaving it that way for the day, and I agreed and asked her what time she would like me to meet her there and what I should be wearing. She told me she had something she wanted to give me to wear… I told her I couldn’t accept it, but she insisted…. Then someone noticed we were all alone and pulled us both up to dance. We danced the night away and the last few things I remember were us getting a cab and going back to their SUITE, not room, at the Ritz…

I woke up when she came in with some orange juice. I looked around and she had tucked me into this amazing bed in this gorgeous room, drawn the curtains put my heels at the end of my bed, and gone to my hotel and gotten some items of clothing for me to wear and took the liberty of getting toiletries and the stuff I use to keep my hair from frizzing… I do have naturally dark, thick, curly hair. I must have showed some alarm, because she told me what had happened, while I came up to say goodnight, she was too tired to go out again, and as she was asking me if I would mind staying the night in one of their guest rooms, I fell asleep!!! How bad am I!??? So, she woke me up enough for me to get into bed and she tucked me in, and did all the things you LOVE your grandma to do… make sure everything is just right with the pillows, not too much light, but just enough, left some water and aspirin by my bedside… made sure my purse was in sight and left a note next to me on my pillow saying if I needed anything or anything happened simply to call her name…. I looked over, and sure enough, there was the note, I had completely and embarrassingly PASSED OUT!

My eyes watered up, and I could see hers start to as well… so I thanked her for the OJ and asked her to sit next to me, and tell me what was really wrong, and how I could help. I told her I knew the man was not her husband, from conversations last night, and he was not there when I woke up. She told me that he was an old friend and squired her about when she came to Madrid, so she wasn’t alone.

The truth turned out to be that she lost her husband AND her granddaughter at the same time, the same day, same car… Her husband has taken their granddaughter out to buy a new dress and a gift for her grandmother’s BIG birthday celebration… On the way to dress shop, while driving, he had a heart attack and drove the car off a cliff. They were both pronounced dead at the scene. So, ever since then she has houses all over Europe, and Latin and South America and friends everywhere, and when she gets too lonely she leaves… and that’s what she did that lead her to Madrid…

I grabbed her and held her tightly because I could see she was trembling and very afraid I would be upset. I told her I couldn’t express how sorry I was for her losses, but if in ANY small way I could help her, I most certainly would. She then asked if I had any plans for the next few days, to which I replied, “not anymore, I am 100% yours”. And she hugged me and kissed me and thanked me, over and over again.

She told me that I must not feel too great because my color was a little off and I clearly was not used to drinking. She told me she was going to get me some more aspirin and she expected to see all the juice gone when she came back because she was bring me more; we had a big few days ahead 🙂

I did as she requested and fell back onto, what was quite possibly the world’s comfiest bed, and closed my eyes and pictured each of my grandmothers, who were still living then, and saw them smiling. I knew I was doing the right thing. I opened my eyes spread my arms around on the pillows and took a sniff of the air, the sheets, and looked around the room because I wanted to REMEMBER THIS MOMENT EXACTLY THE WAY WAS!

To be continued once again….

Jamie Bonnette, Founder & Owner

Found In Translation, LLC



The most beautiful and loving people I ever met…

I will never forget the first of MANY language mistakes I made when I moved to Spain. I had a little Spanish under my belt, albeit NOT Castellano, so I was feeling pretty good when I stepped off the airplane and into the wonderful world of Madrid. And then I looked up at the signs, which were in Spanish and English, and I thought, “Easy”. WRONG!!!!

Apparently, I look Spanish, so some woman came up to me said she was from Buenos Aires (all in Spanish), and was wondering if I might help her around the airport and suggest some restaurants she might like in Madrid. I UNDERSTOOD what she was saying, but when it came time to reply, I was at a total loss. Don’t get me wrong, I sputtered out something and did indeed help her, but that was a MAJOR ego blow. I knew I had to reassess my attitude then, and there.

There happened to be a sweet elderly couple who were having trouble with their bags, so I went over and picked them up and put them on their luggage trolley. The woman reminded me of the sweet grandmothers you always see portrayed in Italian, yes Italian, movies… As it turns out, they were quite wealthy Argentines, and I was the only one who would help them, and I did so without asking… I pushed their trolley piled high with my luggage and theirs to the taxi terminal. When we arrived, the woman couldn’t stop hugging me and telling me that she had just lost a granddaughter who looked very similar to me, and that she was just sure it was her granddaughter’s way of looking out for them. She started to cry, and her husband teared up and stared at me as I helped the cabby put their luggage in the trunk.

I walked back over, and tried to figure out what to say in my head, BEFORE I opened my mouth and screwed everything up…. TOO LATE… They started asking me all these questions.. And all I could get out was that I was from California here to study and that I missed home. And because the woman was crying and so was the man at this point I had NO IDEA what to do… They begged me not to leave them. Apparently, their granddaughter had died while they were on a trip to Madrid before, and they were convinced I was there to show them they had a second chance with their granddaughter. How could I say no?? These people were clearly distraught and for some reason, needed ME.

Before I knew it, we were in two taxis, due to all of our luggage. They took me to my hotel and took care of the Spanish speaking and got me settled in my room, and then they took me to their hotel. Where I did everything I could to act like a good granddaughter, and tried very hard to communicate how appreciative I was for ALL their help and kindness.

And then they asked me to dinner, did I mention they were staying at the Ritz??? I tried to say that I couldn’t impose, and even got someone at the hotel to translate for me, but the woman begged, and had the same person translate back to me, saying “Please, this would be the greatest gift one could ever have or give, more time with my granddaughter”. What kind of JERK says NO to that????? I was in WAY over my head…

They took me to some very upscale restaurant, where they introduced me to all sorts of Spanish food and culture. And as I found myself relaxing, something strange started to happen. I understood them…It was almost as if I had stepped into the twilight zone!

….To Be Continued

Jamie Bonnette, Founder & Owner

Found In Translation, LLC



For those of you out there who speak more than one language, I would LOVE to hear how you went about it.

We all remember those days in school being told to memorize crucial phrases such as: “Where is the library?”, “Where is McDonalds?”, “Peter likes to eat pizza”, “Where is the garbage?”, and the timeless classic “Where is the bathroom?”. Granted most of these have their proper and time and place, but overall they do nothing for you.

I took Spanish in Elementary school, French in High School, and went back to Spanish in college. I had ONE good language professor, a Spaniard, throughout my college years studying in the US. Since I didn’t find college terribly challenging, and I LOVE adventure, I used office hours to ask my professor about what Spain was like and his home town… And, then I had the idea that changed my life forever. If I was really serious about learning another LANGUAGE and not just asking about a bathroom, I needed to STUDY ABROAD.

A roommate of mine had done it before, and gone through a specific program, called ISA. This may be a shameless plug, but I assure you that I am not being paid or receiving any perks for mentioning their name. I just want them to stay in business because they are the THE BEST company out there for this. All my friends have HORROR stories about the various agencies they used, and I do not have even ONE complaint about ISA. But that’s not the point…

All these translation companies that NEED your business talk about such generic things, but luckily, I am NOT like that. While I would LOVE your business, I do not expect it. Business is like trust, it should be EARNED and not given. So, my blogs will be PERSONAL, for the most part…. the others will be FUNNY, INFORMATIVE, and I’ll try to weave in as much personal info as is relevant.

Jamie Bonnette, Founder & Owner

Found In Translation, LLC