Well, the program ended last week and I saw off pretty much everyone I could this past weekend. I went to the bus station on Friday night to say goodbye to the first group, which included Rachel M., Arlene, Katie, Alyssa, Hannah, Lauren, Marcus, Ashcon and Laura, all heading for Madrid, some going directly home, others traveling around Europe. I went back the second night to send off another six (Jess, Tressa, Ashley, Prabhat, Amy and Sam) also headed for Madrid. I went the next day to say goodbye to Steve, and I had sidra one last time with Nina before she headed to Italy the day after that. Somehow, Rachel T. and Zach managed to get away without me seeing them…
Now it’s my turn to get ready to leave Oviedo and head home. Right?
WRONG! I’m staying until the end of June! That’s right, I loved it here so much and I wasn’t ready to go home that I pushed my return flight back a month. I would have stayed even longer, but I couldn’t change my ticket to a date more than six months after I arrived or I would have had to buy a whole new ticket. Ha. Like I can afford that. And it just so happens that my friend Alissa is staying too! I have another five weeks here though and I’ll definitely be taking advantage of that time to travel some, improve my Spanish even more and spend more time with my friends and host family here.
What else will I be doing to keep busy? Well, now that I don’t have class at the university, I can finally go to spinning at the gym I belong to. In fact, I just went this morning…and there were spinning lights hanging from the ceiling like those in a club. It was certainly different than the spinning I’m used to but I think I’ll keep going back.
I’ll also be working part-time giving English classes to people preparing for exams and/or wanting to improve their conversational skills. I’m also going to be doing a little bit of traveling. I’ve got a trip to Morocco lined up this coming week, and afterwards I might try and get back to Italy or just do a few day/weekend trips to some parts of Spain that I haven’t seen yet.
This will be my last post though, so I thought I’d sum-up the experience.
I can’t think of any other way to say it. I got matched with the perfect host family and I’m going to miss them so much when I leave. They’ve been so helpful, kind and generous – they’re even letting me stay here with them even though the program’s ended. I can’t imagine having lived with another group of people and I think of them an actual part of my family.
I also made an incredible group of friends. I don’t know how it usually is during other years, but everyone in our program got so close this year that I feel like I made 20 new best friends. Being in Oviedo without them definitely feels strange, but I’m sure they’re enjoying traveling and seeing their families in the U.S. I miss them all already (and it hasn’t even been a week since they started leaving!) but I’m sure we’ll all see each other soon enough. I also became really good friends with my Tandem partner and her friends and I’ll miss them so much too.
Other than that, I ate. A lot. I traveled. I laughed. I cried (from laughing so hard). I hiked up the Naranco. I ate more. I spoke more Spanish than I ever have before. I even started thinking and dreaming in Spanish here and there. I experienced another culture. I saw mountains, beaches and plains. I stepped foot in churches over a thousand years old. I got really close with our cat Gala and I may have to adopt her. I ate more. I ate octopus, barnacles, intestines, tongue, to name a few interesting dishes. I ate tortilla española, lentils, fish, fabada, patatas fritas, döner kebap and, of course, jamón. I ate a lot of jamón. I poured sidra. I drank sidra. I fell in love with sidra. I danced and acted during our school’s workshops. I ran around Oviedo at night A LOT (my friends know how much I ran). I did so much during the past five months that I almost can’t believe that it wasn’t a dream. And I still have time here to do even more. I know that when I say goodbye, though, it won’t be adiós, but rather hasta luego.