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Having a Baby in Spain - Part 7 - Accepted at last !

By Jo Green - Sun 4th Oct 2009

After living in Spain for 5 years, and 2.1/2 as a parent, it finally seems as though we are getting somewhere close to being accepted into the local community.(Speaking Spanish as badly as we do, and both working with native English speakers, it is hardly surprising that it has taken us so long and we wholy accept that this is our own fault).

At nursery our daughter has a best friend who is a local spanish girl, and with her birthday being yesterday our daughter wanted to make her a small card and give her a little token present to take to nursery to give to her. This was followed up yesterday evening with a call from the girl's mother (Who we have never actually met!) Thanking us for the gift and card and inviting her to a small birthday party today !

Wow ! - For a Spaniard to invite anyone to their home is an honour – especially “ Extajaneros “ like ourselves ( one might also call us “ Guiri's “ ).

It may seem slightly odd but last night we found ourselves thinking about this – and we have no idea what the etiquette or protocol is, or what we should expect. In England a toddlers birthday party would be a barrage of balloons, jelly and ice cream and party games - should we expect the same or are there vast cultual differences that we didn't yet know about? - Were we expected to leave our daughter or stay at the party with her ?

It turns out that I needn't have worried. We could not have been made to feel more welcome. The family spoke clear Castellano to us (Not forgetting that this was their second language – their first being Valenciano, so this in itself was a real effort to make us feel welcome on their part)- and our daughter, as "the best friend", was made to feel esepcially welcome.

The customs and protocols were pretty much as you would expect in the UK for a toddlers party – plenty of food and cakes and pop and crisps – plenty of screaming and shouting and playing. All in all I am really pleased that we were invited – and happy that we made the effort to go and would recommend that anybody in a similar situation came out of their comfort zone and did the same.

Tips : Take a change of clothing for your child – in situations like this it is aswell to be prepared, and learn the words to “Happy Birthday“ in Spanish, as below ... (Although you may find that there are a few regional variations, you should at the very least be able to wish them "Cumpleanos Feliz")

" Cumpleaños Feliz,

Te deseamos a ti,

Qué los cumplas en tu día,

Qué los complas feliz !"

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