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My Last Day of Junior Year
I'm officially done with junior year. It's been almost two weeks since first semester ended and I have less than a week before I leave for Spain. These past two weeks for me have been a rollercoaster of the most extreme and random emotions. It's been so much preparation yet downtime at the same time.
My last day of junior year here in the United States was oddly one of the calmer days this year. Given that first semester was ending, I had all six of my classes to attend instead of the three I would on any normal block schedule day. Ironically, my Spanish teacher was the last of my teachers to find out I was studying abroad in Spain. Having studied in Spain while in college, she had the sweetest reaction and was probably the only person who recognized Badajoz as a place in Spain (which she pointed out was near Cadiz). The night prior, my mom and I had gotten all my teachers gift cards and it was so endearing to see their reactions when I told them it was my last day and handed them the cards.
So many of my friends had written me cards expressing their well wishes and sadness at my departure. I remember sitting in the library in the morning; I was later than usual this morning to arrive to school and one of my friends had arrived earlier than me (which never happened usually). As more people began to arrive (my friends and I usually sat in the library or "learning commons" in the morning), I began to hand everyone the farewell cards I had written them. One of my friends arrived with a lovely stack of cards for me, what we called a "letter box" of "open when.. letters". The idea of these letters was to have specific messages pre-written for the person to open when their emotion/circumstance matched what was the message was about. I had expressed my love for such a "letter box" early in the school year and so many of my friends seemingly remembered this, coming to school with many letters for me to open during my time in Spain when I couldn't necessarily reach out to them or talk to them.
I received so many cards on my last day at school :)
The latter half of the day was both very fun and very sad at the same time. I think the right adjective to use here would be "bittersweet". My friends and I ventured downtown to eat a late lunch and we shared so many laughs that stemmed from a variety of anecdotes and our own goofy natures. Returning to campus after our meal, we were hit by the reality of the evening in that it was my last outing and day with them for the rest of the school year. My day ended with hugs and a feeling of emptiness at the thought of returning to campus for my final year of schooling in the United States.
My friend Melissa put together the sweetest gift bag for me with so many unique "open when..." ideas.
A couple more friends gave me some sweet letters to open, specifically focusing on my journey to Spain.
Given my birthday this year would fall during my stay in Spain, I was spoiled to have received so many early birthday presents (many of which included the letters). Some of my friends personally dropped off these gifts at my doorstep. With the many COVID-19 protocols for international travel, I was not allowed to meet anyone in my last few days before my departure; knowing this, my friends have been so accommodating and loving to drop me off gifts and cards.
Quite a few people gave me such thoughtful gifts. The journal above has "contigo para siempre" enscribed in it and the book is a beautiful collection of short stories in Spanish.
The love and well-wishes that I have received these past few weeks have been so overwhelming and such a huge blessing. I want to do everyone proud but most importantly, I want to grow as a person and come back with a wider view of the world. In documenting my journey here, I hope to be able to look back on reflect on what I predict will be the most memorable six months of my life.