It feels like just yesterday we were getting ready to go to Spain. Applying for my passport, buying plane tickets, and meeting with JCC faculty to prepare for our departure; all of these events seem like they JUST happened. However, it has already been two weeks since we returned home. Where does the time go??
I can’t believe that it is over. No more churro Tuesdays, no more soccer Sundays. No more daily Instagram posts of photos depicting our daily adventures as English instruction interns in Valladolid. My three months working, studying, and living in Spain may be over, but in many ways, as Luci has already mentioned, our adventures have just begun.
On a lighter note, let me tell you a little bit about my final two weeks in Spain! I had an absolutely perfect conclusion to my time abroad. For the final week of classes, we interns were given complete control of all of our classes. We were responsible for coming up with and executing lesson plans entirely on our own. Although we had led many activities with our classes prior to this, it was the first time that we were truly “teaching solo.” Because Semana Santa (Holy Week) was the following week, we did Easter activities in our classes. For my classes at the elementary school, we made Easter Bunny baskets and talked about both American and Spanish traditions for Easter – all in English!
That was the first week of bitter-sweet goodbyes. As each class finished, we explained to our students that we would be traveling back to America very soon. We got hugs from many of them, and I even received a book filled with handprints shaped like crabs from my babies in my daycare class. This priceless souvenir from them will be something I will be able to hold onto forever. I miss them already!
For my final weekend in Spain, my host family took me to Galicia, which is in the northwest part of Spain. There, my host dad’s side of the family owns a summer house that has a beautiful view of the Miño River that separates Spain from Portugal. We were able to go to Santiago (where the Apostle James is buried), briefly cross the border into Portugal, and spend time with the extended family. We had even more traditional Spanish foods (including paella – my personal favorite!), and I was able to meet my host cousins, aunts, and uncles who do not live in Valladolid. It was the perfect final weekend!
When we returned to Valladolid, I had the opportunity to watch Semana Santa processions. Valladolid is famous for their elaborate processions, which are actually very somber religious and cultural demonstrations that lead up to the remembrance of Christ’s death on Good Friday and the Resurrection on Easter. These processions can last literally all night. I was very fortunate to be able to experience this during my time in Spain!
The following Wednesday, it was time to do our last minute packing before taking the train to Madrid to catch the flight home on Thursday. I said goodbye to my host family, who assured me that I would always have a place to stay whenever I’m able to return to Spain. I’m definitely going to take them up on this offer someday… I miss them already too!
There are honestly no words that can do justice to the experience I have had over the past three months. I have learned more than I ever thought I would through my experience of traveling to Spain through JCC. If you have any interest in having a life changing experience like I had this semester, I encourage you to check out both my previous blog entries and the JCC experiential learning page for more information. ¡Adios!