The time has come when I must say goodbye to this wonderful city, country, and all of it's fantastic citizens. In three hours I will head to the bus station, take a three hour bus with about 10 other Cal Poly students, arrive in Madrid at 3 in the morning, and hang out at the airport until my flight leaves at 7. Maryn and I have a flight to London and then about a 2 hour lay over before our flight to SFO. It will be a very long day.
The past few days have been jam packed with so many different things to do and different emotions to go along with them.
For one, we had finals which took a lot of energy. I had a 2,000 word essay due on Monday for my wine class (I got an A on it!), a history final that afternoon (even though I studied a lot, the essay topic I received was very hard), and two Spanish finals on Tuesday in grammar and culture. I am not sure how I did on the grammar one, but I studied and I did my best. The culture test wasn't too hard.
Kristen and I taking a break from studying to drink some tea... I love her
Afew of my Taiwanese friends. I'm gonna miss these girls a lot!
This past weekend was full of "last weekend in Valladolid" celebrations as well as studying and packing and everything else that we had to do. All in all, it was a fantastic weekend... only a little exhausting ;)
After our finals on Tuesday we were all so relieved to be done! But we headed back to our houses and everybody (I think) packed up their suitcases and prepared for the next 24 hours which have been slightly crazy. I also got to go ice skating with some of the Wisconsin kids (who I will miss dearly) and it was such a blast! Wow, I just realized that Tuesday was YESTERDAY!!! I feel like I've done so much in the past 24 hours...
Some of my friends from Wisconsin :)
Last night we ALL got together and went out for one final Hurrah! Wisconsin kids mixed with Cal Poly kids (and other people who were in our classes) and we all went around town together. There were so many of us but it was an absolute blast to be able to spend my last night in Valladolid with all my new friends from not only Poly but every where else as well.
Ashley, Marian, Paul, Kayla, and me!
This morning at 12:30 we had our graduation ceremony at the same location that we had our Cal Poly classes. It was very nice, we all received diplomas (which my mamá made!) and had a very nice snack-social afterward. That is where I said goodbye to my Wisconsin friends. It was sad, but I held it together and didn't cry (which is a big deal for me... I used to cry at every single holiday/family get together because I didn't want to leave my family). We all took pictures together and had fleeting goodbyes so we wouldn't get upset. I got to take pictures with all of my professors which was super exciting!
Some of the most amazing women I've ever met. So glad they all go to Poly!
Me and Mamá!
La Comida after the ceremony
One magical thing that happened this morning was that it SNOWED!! It wasn't a heavy snow, but it was light and nice and beautiful. On my way to graduation I was walking in the snow and listening to Christmas list. It was such an amazing gift to experience that on my final morning in Spain. Not to mention that Valladolid has a bunch of Christmas decorations all over the place which just make the whole city feel like a giant winter wonderland.
Plaza Mayor all decked out for Christmas!
Me in Plaza Mayor
As of right now, I am all packed up, waiting for my last "cena" with Mamá, and then heading back to the United States. I can't believe my time here has gone by so quickly!! Although I was so nervous about it before I came, I am so glad that I allowed myself to go on this amazing adventure and that I enjoyed every single minute of it.
Today, when I was talking to Dr. Hiltpold, he marveled at how much he has seen me grow these past few months. He said, "The girl I am looking at now is not the same girl who came into my office six months ago crying because she was so anxious and scared of this experience." That was such a big compliment to me. In my Spanish classes, as well, we were talking about what has changed in us since we've been here. I said "Ya, no tengo miedo de las experiencias nuevas" ... Now, I am not scared of having new experiences. I am still a little nervous about new things, but I know that I can survive them. I know that I am a bigger person than I thought I was and I can do whatever I set my mind to. Yeah, there are still things I need to work on, but I think I have come such a far way from who I was before. Maybe I'll still freak out and have breakdowns and get anxious, but I'm stronger and better for this experience.
I'm not going to be able to say how much this experience has changed me and altered my life for a really long time; maybe I will never be able to fully see the changes it has made in my life, but I am thankful for what I can see and what it has done for me.
To be honest, I am a little nervous to go home. I feel like I have been dreaming for the past few months. I don't know how home has changed. I don't know how the new me will fit in with my old routines. I guess I just need to wait and see. I can't wait to see my family and friends though. I miss you all so much, you have no idea. I'm going to miss Spain a lot, but you are all my home. You are the ones who have helped shape me into who I have become over the past 21 years, and you are the ones I can't wait to go home to.
Thank you for supporting me through this experience. I am so lucky to have had these past three months in this country, and I can't wait to continue traveling and learning about many other different places, people, and cultures. I also hope to continue my Spanish education in the hopes that one day I can claim to be fluent. It is going to take a lot longer than 3 months in Spain to be able to speak this language with no problems.
This journey has been eye opening, full of lessons and self growth, fun, difficult, but all the while amazing!! I seriously cannot wait to see what other adventures I will get to experience throughout the rest of my life. This was just the beginning!
As for now, I am going to say goodbye and go soak up my last few hours in this apartment with my mamá.
España, tienes un parte de me corazón por siempre. Te amo, y ojalá te vea otra vez. Hasta luego.
and now, just like we say "And they lived happily ever after..." at the end of a fairy tale or story, the Spanish say....
Colorín colorado, este cuento se ha acabado!