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My Last Day of School in Primero de Bachillerato - Badajoz, Spain
Today was my last day of school here in Spain, and the experience could not have been more bittersweet. The sweet part was kicked off right in the morning with a class churro party. It was such a fun way to end the school year with a typical Spanish treat. The whole class along with our English teacher and language teacher met up at a local churro cafe, and we enjoyed many churros together.
My friends talked to me quite a bit during our breakfast, and I remember one of our conversations distinctly. Irene, Hugo, and Dani were bantering with me and at one point they asked me if I was in love (¿estas enamorada?). I responded sarcastically and said yes to which they inquired curiously as to the source of my enamored state. When I told them I was in love with Badajoz, both Hugo and Irene responded with que mono and que bonito (“aww how beautiful/cute”)!
The picture on the top left is a picture with my friends Natalia and Irene. On the bottom left is my sweet friend Elena. We certainly enjoyed the best churros with the richest chocolate.
We returned to school walking and our literature teacher Pedro came into our room. He explained a bit of his grading system — and this time, I understood everything he said (my first day of school, I understood nothing) — and the class applauded to thank him for a wonderful year and for being a wonderful teacher. We had a bit of free time after this, so all the kids of El Fondo Sur (the region of our class in the back with the funniest souls) decided to take a picture with me — since I was the newest member of the club.
Here is our iconic ‘El Fondo Sur’ picture — these are the best and kindest people I have met here. The earrings pictured on the top left were a gift from my sweet friend Noelia — her father works at an army base and she made me those earrings from screws her dad used at the base so I can always have a physical part of Extremadura with me. Adela carries the ‘Huesitos"‘ chocolate bars in her hands in the bottom left.
Our next class was human anatomy, and our incredibly sweet teacher Carmen spoke to the class and asked us what our summer plans were. At one point, she inquired as to who would not be returning next year. When I raised my hand, she asked me if I was ready to leave; she expressed that a sense of longing to see the family was expected since I had no family here in Spain. As soon as she said that, one of the boys in my class said (Hugo S.) said, “Pero, somos su familia” (“But, we are her family”) :)
The school day was short today and ended at 12:30pm itself. For this reason, we had a short break after human anatomy and then it was free time until we left. Many students left before the break, giving me hugs along the way. Some of them agreed that the next time we met, it would be in San Francisco (this is an interesting one because the central plaza of the city is also called San Francisco, so this could really be either SFO or Badajoz). During the break, my sweet friend Adela took me to a local candy shop to buy me a typical Spanish chocolate: Huesitos. She wanted to give me a small goodbye gift, and I said goodbye to her and her boyfriend.
My incredible friend Lucía G made me this painting of Extremadura, my beloved province. From organizing my birthday party to always helping me in class, she is one of the kindest and most hardworking souls I know. I am so lucky to have gotten to know her so well, and I want to thank her for this precious souvenir I get to bring back home. Te quiero Lucía.
I made my way back to school with Alberto and some of the boys in my class. As we sat in class with nothing to do, most of the girls played hangman while I talked to Alberto and some of the students. We talked about my very first day of school and they remembered every detail while the day was a blur for me. Alberto even told me how he was the only one in the class who knew of my arrival as a foreign exchange student while the others were told the morning of. The bell finally rang, and I left the school with a heavy heart after having given all my beautiful friends hugs.
I got home and had a little down time before returning to school to pick up my little sisters. As I got home, I sent a message on our class group chat thanking all my friends for the incredible semester and telling them that I would visit soon. I was so touched by their responses, and it definitely made me more sad. If it wasn’t for my music practice later in the day, I definitely would have wallowed in my room playing back all the moments this semester.
I feel like it was just yesterday I wrote about my first day in Primero de Bachillerato. It has been the most beautiful experience being integrated into another world. I got so lucky with my classmates and my teachers — they are all such good people, and I wish them nothing but the best. I will visit my class next year, and I know I will stay in touch with these people for years to come. My first day of school left me with dread, especially after my philosophy and literature classes, as I got a look ahead into the complexity of the Spanish language. Today, having conversed the whole day in Spanish with everyone, I am so grateful to have been with people so willing to help me; and ironically, my literature and philosophy teachers are amongst my most favorite people in Badajoz and favorite people ever.
^Here are some of my classmates responses to my informal message on the group chat. Below are the translations into English.
Vismaya’s message: Guys, I want to thank you for an unforgettable semester and for always helping me in class with everything. I hope to visit you all next year :)
Daniel (and Miguel): Vismaya, you are the best without a doubt. It’s been an honor to have you be a part of ‘El Fondo Sur’ these past months.
Irene: I hope you have thoroughly enjoyed your time here :)
Laura: Vismaya, I love you
Elena: Aww, thank you for having come here and for having spent these past few months with us.
Claudia: I hope you have felt a sense of belonging with us — till next time :)
Hugo S: Thank you Vismaya. Have a good travel.
I am racing against time here, as I really want to publish this post before the day ends, so as to keep the publication date the same as the date of the events described. I’ve been repeatedly thanking these people, but I cannot even begin to describe how grateful I am. I came to Spain with a magical idea of a semester and my reality has been far beyond magical — not because every day was perfect, but because I knew I could lean on these people everyday. I’ve been preparing myself for quite some time to walk away from these friendships I’ve built, but I’ve realized that I don’t have to walk away. These people are my family now. And I am so proud of them too — this was their first time with an exchange student and they made sure she felt safe and comfortable. I wish them all the very best in everything they do, and I am sure we will meet soon.
Acho — no me lo puedo creer que mi tiempo en el colegio en Badajoz haya terminado. Sois las personas más generosas y cariñosas que he conocido. Nunca me hubiera imaginado que mi semestre en España hubiera sido así. Siempre os llevaré en mi corazón y gracias por darme una familia en Badajoz. Espero que no olvidéis de nuestro tiempo juntos. Os quiero mucho.