Wow, what an experience as a foreign exchange student in Spain. What started as a bad day for me in school thinking of how I was missing out on Prom back home ended up transforming itself into a Birthday Prom organized by my classmates.
I remember coming into class on March 21 in the morning quite sad after having talked to people back home. I felt stupid at the same time because a semester in Spain as a minor in high school is such a surreal experience that cannot be compared to other experiences, but I remember expressing these wistful feelings to one of my classmates Lucia. I’m not sure how things progressed so quickly, but less than 24 hours later, there was a group chat for “Prom Night/Cumple de Vis” (cumple is “birthday” in Spanish). Obviously, this was not an actual Prom, but we did decorate the place all by ourselves, and this whole gig was organized by a bunch of 17-year-olds (so we’re pretty proud!).
I was surprised by the turnout, and the picture above does not even show everyone who came. We were unable to get a group picture of every single person who arrived, but there were many individual pictures.
Here are some of the many pictures I took with some of the sweetest classmates I’ve ever had. Everyone sang me Happy Birthday as I cut the cake with some of the coolest firecracker candles I’ve ever seen. The sweetest part of the day was the gift I received.
I came to Spain wearing a necklace gifted to me before I left. As most of my friendship dynamics have shifted over time, I’ve found myself growing apart from most of my friends back home. Although there are those who have genuinely continued talking to me and maintaining our friendship, there have been a few fall-outs. My classmates here know how much I value and appreciate jewelry given with the best intentions because of the association it has for me with the person/people in my life who gifted it to me. When they heard about this, they decided to gift me a necklace. This necklace is so special to me because it not only has my name engraved on one side, but it also has an engraving of the day I joined my class (1 Bachillerato C) which is written like the way they write the date here (February 4, 2022 is written as 4-2-2022). I remember Lucia telling me that now I have a special jewelry piece that serves as such a beautiful memory of my birthday and my time here, but also replaces the necklace I used to wear. Apart from the necklace, my classmates wrote me a really beautiful card, and the whole class signed as well.
Here is what the card says in Spanish:
Para Vismaya de tus amigos de España.
Espero que todo te haya gustado tu cumpleaños en España. Te llevas un recuerdo de todos nosotros, siempre nos tendrás para lo que quieras.
Nos ha parecido precioso el tiempo contigo, esperamos que te lleves muchos momentos especiales y personas que recordar. Para nosotros ha sido una experiencia única, nos has parecido una persona inolvidable de la que aprender y a la que apreciar.
Esperamos que no recuerdes con cariño y hayamos hecho esta etapa de tu vida bonita.
Un recuerdo de la clase, nunca olvidaremos de ti.
1° Bachillerato C
A translation into English:
To Vismaya from all your friends in Spain.
We hope that you have liked your birthday in Spain. This is a memory you can take with you of all of us, and you will always have us for anything you want/need.
To us, our time with you has been precious, and we hope you take with you many special memories and people to remember. For us, this experience has been so unique, and you are such an unforgettable person for us whom we can appreciate and from whom we can learn.
We hope you remember us fondly and that we have made this period of your life beautiful.
A memory of the class — we will never forget you.
- 1° Bachillerato C
I cannot believe how lucky I got when it came to being a foreign exchange student, and I cannot believe how quickly the weeks have flown by with these people. I think about how I have 6-7 more weeks in the classroom with them, and I am going to miss the family we have built so much. This brings me back to my first beautiful memory in the classroom when my teacher Juan told the class to take care of me. And they couldn’t have done a better job. I love all of you guys, and I am so thankful for all the memories. I entered my 17th birthday party in a dull mood because of the distance I had with my friends and family back home. I had expected to receive messages from some people back home, but ultimately, time and distance change dynamics. When I left the party, however, I left with my heart full. Thank you, thank you, thank you for this experience I’ll never forget.
To my parents back home, thank you for letting me have the night of my dreams as a new 17 year old. To my parents here, thank you for being cool when you crashed the party :)
Belated happy Birthday Vismaya 🎉🎊🎁
Hi Vismaya, I am coming here after some time. Very happy to see that you enjoyed your birthday. Wonderful pics . These are memories that you will treasure your whole life.