Growing up my family was very close: Every day we had lunch together or met at the family restaurant for dinner. My cousins lived next door, and my grandmother visited us daily. I thought this would always be our family dynamic, until I moved to the United States five years ago. Suddenly, I only saw my family twice a year, and when COVID hit, I spent 2 years seeing them only through a screen.During that time, I thought of my grandmother often. At 17, she moved to London. She was scared and often had morriña- Galician for homesickness. Her first Christmas away from home were hard. On New Year’s, she was crying at a party when my grandfather saw her for the first time. He sat next to her and said “Smile, girl! We all feel the same”. She wiped off her tears and asked him to dance.Two weeks later, they were dating; in five months, they were married, and in a year, they had their first baby. “It was quick!” She recalls chuckling. After that, if she felt morriña she had someone to hold. When she returned to Spain, she moved many times until settling in Cáceres. She opened a restaurant that became the support for my whole family. It’s the place where I spent my childhood, where I had my first job, and that made all our dreams possible.When I get morriña, I think of my grandmother. Like her, I also have someone to hold when I am scared. If I miss her, I can call her and see her on video. She screams the whole time because “we are too far!” but I always feel her close to me.
– Mamen Rodriguez. -Audio: My grandmother tells the story of how she met my grandfather (Spanish)