“I packed Barbies in my suitcase, hoping we could play together. She was sneaking out of our bedroom window on Emilio’s motorcycle from the first night I got there.”
So, unfortunately, striking up a friendship with Maria didn’t seem likely. But Maria had an 11-year-old brother named Luis. Katie and Luis became fast friends. He educated her on the culture, and she learned how to speak Spanish primarily through Luis.
When the time came for Katie to return home, she pleaded with her parents to let Luis go back with her instead of Maria. But her parents didn’t like the idea of a boy staying in their home with their daughters.
So they stuck with the original plan, and Maria went to stay with Katie’s family in the U.S. The first night they landed, Maria ran away with their paperboy.
“My dad was on the phone with the head of the FBI of Madrid telling him we lost his baby girl on the first night,” said Katie.
Luckily, someone spotted Maria, and they were able to retrieve her from the paperboy’s basement. In the end, Katie did not end up staying friends with Luis or Maria but said she would always remember them with fondness.
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