Making Friends:

Jonathan and Anthony Porras of Salina, Utah

By J. I. H. Porras

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    Two is an important number to Jonathan and Anthony. Not only are they the only two children in their family, but they speak two languages, have lived in two countries, and can even claim two last names. Their father is from Spain, where the mother’s maiden name is added after the father’s surname, so that there they would call themselves Jonathan Porras Holt and Anthony Porras Holt.

    Jonathan (5) and Anthony (2) live in a house with a fenced-in yard. Their favorite playmate is Linda (pronounced LEAN-dah; Spanish for pretty), the family’s collie. The boys are hard workers and love helping Dad clean the local high school. All summer they help Grandma Holt plant, weed, and harvest her garden. A special treat is getting to help Grandpa Holt in his meat-processing plant.

    Like most American children, they like macaroni and cheese—but they love corn on the cob fresh from Grandma’s garden, and hamburgers from Grandpa’s plant.

    A five-minute drive from home gets them to almost everywhere in town. Besides going to church, they love family home evening, their new family project of memorizing the Articles of Faith in both Spanish and English, trips to the local library, family outings to the mountains, having Mom teach them to ride Grandpa’s horses, and playing soccer with Dad, an ex-pro soccer player from Barcelona, Spain.

    Last summer Jonathan and Anthony spent the summer in Barcelona with Yayo and Yaya (their names for their Grandpa and Grandma Porras).

    Yayo and Yaya live on the sixth floor of an apartment building, where the boys soon learned the dos and don’ts of elevators. Anthony and Jonathan spent many hours looking down on the world from their bedroom window. Instead of Linda as a playmate, there were lots of neighborhood kids who never tired of showing their American visitors a good time. Instead of a fenced-in yard, there were concrete play areas and a park down the street. And what did they play most? What else but Spain’s number one sport—fútbol! (It’s called soccer in the United States.)

    Food was the biggest change in the boys’ lives, but they soon learned to love chorizo (pepperoni-type meat), tolerate paella (rice with shrimp, octopus, clams, etc.), and beg for more of Yayo’s homemade fresh banana or chocolate helado (ice cream) on a stick.

    Instead of going on trips to the mountains, riding horses, and visiting the library, they went to the beach to feed the pigeons, to the Barcelona Zoo, and to two amusement parks.

    Both boys loved the airplane ride to Spain and home again—in one plane they were given a tour of the cockpit! But they were just as delighted to ride buses, taxis, trains, and subways in Barcelona. They really learned to appreciate the five-minute walk to church in Salina compared to the forty-five minute walk in Barcelona from Yaya’s house to the chapel.

    Jonathan and Anthony love being a part of two worlds. Although they missed their life in Salina while in Spain, they now talk excitedly of returning to visit their other world, where they’re known as “the Porras Holt kids.”

    Photos by Manuel Porras

    Practicing horsemanship on their rocking horse


    With Mom and Grandpa and Grandma Holt in front of the garden

    Jonathan at Grandpa’s meat plant

    Ready for church

    Feeding the pigeons with Dad at the beach

    With Yayo, Great-Grandma and Yaya

    Anthony in Spain

    With friends in Spain; the blond boy in front is their Uncle Israel

    Riding a tank in an amusement park in Spain