Saying Goodbye.

I wish I had a euro for every goodbye I’ve said this week.  Actually, I wish I had a euro for every tear I’ve shed this week.  Let’s just say this week hasn’t been easy.

My time here has almost come to a close.  My dad arrives tomorrow morning so we can take a final jaunt around Europe, and then it’s adios to Spain and hello to the US.  Therefore, this is my last blog post from Spain, so don’t be surprised if I start crying mid-post.

Last Day of School
Our last day of school with the kiddos was last Thursday the 22nd.  Wow, was that weird.  After spending nearly an entire school year with these kiddos, we couldn’t believe it was time to say goodbye.  Each grade did a special performance (the 3rd graders sang, “La Aventura de Vida” and the 4th graders danced to “Move and Freeze.”) and we had a mostly chill day.  Of course, I cried when I had to say goodbye to my students, and they even gave me a group hug and told me not to be sad.  One of my fave kiddos, Diego, came to me and said, “Tranquila,” which means, “Calm down,” haha!  He’s adorable.  Well, really they all are.  I’m definitely going to miss them.  After the students left, the teachers got a special lunch at school as a thank you for the year, which was nice.  I just can’t believe it’s already over.

Pool Party with Cons and Meri
After the last day of school, the family I tutor for invited me and Anahí and her girls over for a pool party to celebrate the end of the year!  We talked, swam, played with water balloons, and ate snacks.  They wrote me really sweet cards (Meri wrote, “I don’t want you to leave,”) and even gave me a tote bag in Spanish that said, “All the love we have for you won’t fit in this bag.”  Of course, I cried again, but I told them I couldn’t handle another goodbye that day, so I met up with them a couple days ago just to officially say goodbye.  I just felt very fortunate to have worked with that family all year.  María, the mother, and Antonio, the father, were always so friendly and welcoming towards me.  María constantly worries she won’t find another good English teacher for her girls next year!  Cons and Meri were great students and have improved in English a lot  They are both so sweet and energetic!  I’m definitely going to miss all of them.

Friday Shenanigans
Even though the students had finished, the teachers all had to stay at school the next day and the following week to help clean and organize the classrooms.  So, on Friday, Lauren, Mike, and I helped organize the tutoría and then went to get some drinks afterward.  Mike kept saying, “Otra ronda,”  to the server, meaning, “Another round.”  Lauren questioned it, but we decided it probably didn’t matter what we said, as long as we made a circular motion towards the table with our hand.  So we dared Mike to say, “Tres gatos más, por favor,”  which really means, “Three more cats, please.”  He did it and the server actually brought more drinks!  We couldn’t stop laughing.  We also decided to have a random water balloon fight in the town square too.  I’m definitely going to miss hanging out with the assistants.

Night Out with Anahí
Lauren went home for the weekend to surprise her dad for his birthday (Happy 60th, Patrick!), so on Saturday, Anahí and I spent some quality bonding time together!  We went to the pool, got drinks and some Mexican food, and then made an impromptu trip over to Brunete to get these insane milkshakes at the food truck festival happening there!  It was a lot of fun spending time with her.

Cleaning and Saying Goodbye to the Teachers
This past week, the assistants continued helping the teachers take things down from their classrooms, as well as helped move desks and bookshelves so the 3A classroom and the library could switch places.  We also organized the gym supply room, and in the process decided we would play badminton, tennis, volleyball, lacrosse, and baseball.  Then on Wednesday, we got the executive order that we didn’t have to come back for the rest of the week because the teachers had meetings we didn’t need to go to.  So, we had to say goodbye to everyone, which was sad of course.  And you’ll never guess, but I cried. I had some pretty great co-workers this year, and they definitely made my time in Spain more enjoyable and entertaining.  Wishing them the best of luck on their English teaching exams!

Aquopolis
Lauren’s mom and aunt got here earlier this week, so it was really great spending time with them!  One thing we did was to go to the water park here in Villanueva de la Cañada, which has been on my bucket list for so long.  Of course, the heat from the past couple weeks decided to disappear the week we wanted to go to the water park, so it was pretty chilly, but totally worth it.  There were so many fun and crazy water slides, but they were all freakin’ dangerous!  I don’t think a single one of us came away unscathed.  The best one was the last slide we went on:  Lauren, her mom, and I all squeezed into this giant raft to go down this tubed slide.  Basically, you go down a hill and into this giant vortex where your tube slides up the sides and water rushes at you from all angles!  So while we tried not to drown, Lauren’s mom was screaming bloody murder as we made our way towards what seemed to be death.  We went down some more hills and our momentum carried us side to side on the slide so forcefully that we were thrown from the raft at the very end.  Cate got a scraped hand and elbow, and my slow motion fall on top of Lauren gave me a skinned knee.  Lauren somehow came away unharmed…well, except for the intense sunburn she got!  It was a great (and eventful!) day.

Two of the Hardest Goodbyes
Today was rough.  Actually, rough is an understatement.  Today, Lauren, Cate, and Jane headed off to Valencia for one last holiday before heading home.  So what did that mean?  Tears and goodbyes.  I headed into Madrid with them this morning and had to part ways with them at Moncloa.  Let the water works begin.  After spending the last 6 months with Lauren as my flatmate, it was impossible to say goodbye, and I couldn’t stop myself from crying.  I am so thankful to have lived with her and to have her as a friend.  We had all sorts of crazy laughs and adventures together, and I’m going to miss her and her family so much.

And if that wasn’t enough, I met up with Minorka for one final Thai food run and shopping sesh.  But before long, I had to say goodbye to her too.  I told myself I wasn’t going to cry; I told myself I should just imagine that I would see her again for brunch soon.  But I couldn’t do it.  We hugged and cried and today has just been miserable.
Lauren and Minorka were my two closest friends in Madrid, and I can’t imagine my time without them.  I am so thankful for their company and companionship while here.  I definitely wouldn’t have enjoyed my time in Spain without these two, so the fact that we are all living in different countries kills me.  But it’s not goodbye, it’s seeya later…but I’m still gonna miss them.

Well, this is it…tomorrow morning, my dad arrives, and we’ll be off.  The next time you hear from me, I’ll be back on US soil, and probably stuffing my face with the macaroni and cheese I’ve been craving for the past few months.

Thank you, Spain. Thanks for the experiences, the memories, and the wonderful friends. From the bottom of my heart, I am grateful.  I’ll see you again one day.  XOXO.

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