I recently went on an extensive study abroad in Spain, and I had a wonderful host family who really went out of their way to help me learn the language. However, one thing I never understood, and this might be cultural, is why my Spanish host mother called me "hijo".
In context, this is just how she would usually address me. If I thanked her for something, she would reply "nada hijo". Now directly, I would think this translates to "it's nothing, son", which always seemed odd to me. My family recently hosted a girl from Germany and I can't imagine a situation where my mother (or most English speakers I know) would have addressed her as "daughter".
Maybe I'm misinterpreting the word or the culture, and I figure this would be the best place to find out which. Does the word translate literally, or is this just a common way to address someone who is staying with you as part of a host family situation?