Spanish teen enjoys time in Worthington

WORTHINGTON -- Clay and Dannielle Weg have three daughters of their own -- Anneke, Bailey, and Ellie. However, they added a temporary fourth last month.

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Natalia Salve Restoy (from left) stands with Dannielle, Ellie and Anneke Weg on Thursday outside the Wegs' Worthington home. Missing are Bailey and Ellie Weg. (Cameron Jenson/Daily Globe)

WORTHINGTON -- Clay and Dannielle Weg have three daughters of their own -- Anneke, Bailey, and Ellie. However, they added a temporary fourth last month.

Natalia Salve Restoy, a 13-year-old from Madrid, Spain, joined their family on June 18. She has enjoyed a variety of experiences during her time in the Midwest.

While this is not Natalia’s first visit to United States, it is her first time travelling to Minnesota. Her initial trip was at the age of 5 with her family, and she later traveled to New York for month-long visits at the ages of 11 and 12.


“I took some classes when I went to New York with another family,” she said. “I go to so many places to improve my English, so now it’s better than the school level.”

Though Natalia may speak better English than the average Spanish student, a typical pupil is still quite good because language instruction begins at a young age.

“We usually learn English since we are 3 years old, and now most of the schools in Spain are bilingual,” she explained.

Natalia’s connection to the Wegs traces to her sister, Marta, who stayed with the family in 2010.


“Her older sister came for the first time six years ago, and then she came again two years later, and then I spent time with their family in Spain, briefly,” Dannielle said. “And now Natalia has come, so we’ve developed a relationship with their family.”

Worthington’s population of about 13,000 people is a stark contrast to her typical environment of Madrid’s nearly 3.2 million. Despite the extreme differences, Natalia said she has appreciated experiencing a smaller community.

“It is obviously different than a big city,” she said. “It is more relaxing, people know each other, and it’s more safe than a big city.”

“The people are nice and they treat you well,” she continued. “It’s a small place where you can do so many things.”


Her favorite attractions offered by Worthington are its agricultural qualities and lake, which are two things she doesn’t encounter often at home.

“The lake was super cool with the jet skis,” Natalia said. “It’s just really pretty.”

“In Spain where I live is a big city, so we don’t have those lakes where you can go,” she explained. “Also, the farm was cool because I haven’t seen a farm.”

Dannielle said Natalia’s unique perspective on the community was one she hadn’t considered.

“I think one of the cool things that Natalia said when she first got here was, ‘It looks like the towns in the movies,’” said Dannielle. “We don’t often think of it as being that serene, but she said that the space we have available to us is something that we probably take for granted.”

In addition to the showing her the surrounding community, the Wegs also took her to other places in Minnesota as well as the state of Michigan.

“We went to Lake Michigan, which was really cool, and to the dunes, which was a great experience,” said Natalia. “We also went to the Mall of America. It was super big and kind of different from the malls we have.”

Despite her interest in the physical places the country has to offer, Natalia’s favorite thing about the United States is the people, which she says are “super nice” and “treat you well.”

Natalia returns home Monday, and the Weg family is sad to see her leave.

“It’s been a privilege,” said Dannielle. “She’s very easy to have, and her excellent English makes communication easier. She’s just been willing to do the things that we do normally -- go to the lake, learn how to jet-ski and water ski --  and she just participates easily.”

In addition to everything Natalia has learned from the Wegs, Dannielle said that their family has also benefited from her.

“Learning a different culture is important for us, too, that we understand that the world is a big place and there are many people that make the world go ’round,” she said. “It just brings the world together more.

“We have broadened our horizons, and now we have friends across the sea,” she continued. “They are willing to open their door to our kids and us as well.”

“It’s fun having another sister,” added the Wegs’ oldest daughter, Anneke.

“It was cool to be in their house and they treated me very well,” said Natalia.

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