It may be the last couple weeks of summer, but for me the fun is just beginning. From the moment my “Bolivian twin” Michelle Echenique arrived at my house, the days have been action-packed and full of laughter.
We kicked off her stay by going to a big Triola family party, which was to celebrate my cousin’s trip to Texas. Michelle was able to meet many of my cousins, aunts, uncles, even grandparents. As we all sat around the table outside, chatting and eating hors d’oeuvres, Grandpa Triola walked over to greet his grandchildren. “Hello Caitlyn, Leah, Nicky, Paige…..” He squinted at Michelle. I quickly introduced Michelle as my Bolivian friend from college. He smiled and remarked, “Well, she could pass as one of us!” This made us laugh, because Michelle always introduces me as her “twin,” much to the skepticism of others. Finally someone saw the family resemblance!
The next day was dedicated entirely to one of Michelle’s beloved pastimes: shopping! After an hour of driving, we pulled up to the massive King of Prussia Mall. We gaped at the size of it, grabbed a map detailing the location of every store, and made a beeline for Forever 21. We then proceeded to spend 4 hours in the labyrinth of dresses, tops, and skirts. It was a successful trip for both of us, and we were both exhausted yet happy at the end of it.
For dinner that night, Michelle and I helped prepare my favorite food: ravioli. I come from a family that is Italian on both sides, so various pasta dishes are common fare for us. Michelle and I assisted my mom with the sauce and the cooking of the ravioli. As we cooked, we asked Michelle about the food in Bolivia and which dish she prefers. She told us that she loves “salteñas,” or empanadas. The way she described them made us eager to try some for ourselves. I’m sure that when I visit her, I will have that opportunity! We finished cooking the ravioli and had a delicious Italian dinner with my parents, brother, and sister. Michelle got to experience the two things we value highly in life: famiglia e buon cibo (family and good food)!