Meeting Carla

June 04, 2009 By: erik Category: Offspring, Photos, Travel 500 views

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Carla and NoraIn Spain, it’s very common for people to have a pueblo, a little town where they grew up or where their family originated from, where they go to spend vacation time. In August and Easter, these small towns throughout Spain come alive as the towns’ sons and daughters return to maintain both their houses and friendships. The family I married into goes to a tiny town in Extremadura named Higuera de la Serena. Marga has been going there in the summers since she was born, and thus has many friends that also summer there. As we all know, over the years, some friendships weaken, but the special ones remain strong. One of Marga’s best friends from the pueblo is Emi, a woman who is three days older than Marga and lives in a Madrid suburb. Last year, when Marga was four months pregnant and starting to feel like her independent life of youth was ending, she called her friend Emi.

Marga: “Hi Emi! I have some news!”
Emi: “Hi Marga. I have some news, too.”
Marga: “I’m four months pregnant.”
Emi: “I’m four months pregnant.”
Marga [annoyed]: “Hey cut that out. I’m really pregnant!”
Emi: “That’s great. I’m really pregnant too!”
Marga: “Really?? That’s fantastic!”

Marga came out of that phone conversation happier than I had seen her in the four months of her pregnancy. She had apparently been fretting that in 2009, she’d go to the pueblo and all her friends would be going out and partying, and Marga would have to be caring for her daughter while her friends were having a good time. The idea that she wasn’t the only one shackled by offspring pleased her immensely. Emi’s daughter, Carla (she had that name picked out long before we picked one for Nora), was born 25 days after Nora. Last weekend, we went to Madrid to register Nora at the US Embassy, and we visited with Emi, Carla, and Mario (Carla’s dad).

We had been telling Nora for a couple weeks that we were going to see “your friend, Carla,” as we entirely expect them to be childhood pueblo friends like their mothers. It was quite a shock to meet Carla. She is could not be more different from Nora. Carla is shorter (only 50% as old), weighs 1 kg more, has enormously wide arms and legs, a ton of hair, and has breastfed from day one.

Marga and Nora

Marga and Nora enjoy a beer in Madrid’s famous Parque del Retiro.

Emi and Carla

Emi and Carla

New Dads

Dads, Erik and Mario, letting their paellas get cold.

Emi, Carla, Nora, and Erik

Carla and Nora didn’t have any paella.

Carla, Nora, and Moms

Bench moms back in the park.

Wait! You're not my mother!

Wait a second! You’re not my mother!

Carla, Nora, and Dads

Bench dads.

Carla and Nora

Carla and Nora meet. Notice that, by skin tone, it looks like Nora is Emi’s baby and Carla is Marga’s.

Needless to say, after all the baby switching, we were able to finally tell them apart and each go home with our own child. We had a wonderful time meeting Carla and Mario, and we can’t wait to spend many summers with them in the future.

  • [S]hackled by offspring is what in Discourse Analysis is known as a felicitous collocation.

  • Josh

    How did the registration thing go? I\’ve been putting it off for months now, just because visiting the consulate is such a PITA.

  • It went pretty well. Slow, lazy government employees behind such thick bullet-proof glass that we had to shout to one another. Also, the security is (not surprisingly) ridiculous. No cell phones in the embassy. It’s kind of like looking back in time to watch bored people without their cell phones to play with.

    I’m convinced that one woman was there to fill out paperwork for her child that died in Spain. She was so grief stricken and wouldn’t sit within 15 feet of her husband. That was pretty horrible. But on a more positive note, the Americans there whose passports were stolen were very nice. One girl had on a t-shirt from my university.

    The list of required documents is pretty extensive. But it’s all doable. Plan for 2-3 hours in the embassy. We just barely made our flight at 14:30 after our 10:30 appointment.

  • I was going to suggest that “shackled by offspring” become the blog’s subtitle…

  • Very funny, Simon.