El Ultimo Vez, Saying Goodbye to Spain

 Written by University of Arkansas student, Alison Michalak on our Veritas Spain program! Check out the rest of her blogs at http://wildandjoyfulsoul.weebly.com. Check out the Spain programs here!

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                                                                                            Hola todos!!
My goodness, how is it that I only have a week left here in Sevilla? This past month has flown by… You could say I am starting to get into my feels as the end of my time here gets closer and closer. As my host sister said, everything this past week has been el “ultimo’ (the last). The last bible study, the last intercambio, the last mascarpone coffee date, the last meeting with my mentor, the last days of classes. Everything is coming to a close and it has me reflecting on some of the things I am going to miss most about this place:

-Walking the streets of my cute neighborhood
-Running in the beautiful Maria Luisa park
-Chatting with my host sister, braiding her hair, making up dance routines.
-Seeing artists and performers on every corner
-Playing FIFA with my bros
-Chatting with our sweet housekeeper Irma
-Greeting people with Besitos
-Seeing cute old abuelas and abuelos all dressed up on the streets
-Laughing with our intercambios in Spanish cafes
-Consuming tons of quality olive oil on the daily
-Late night chats with Autumn
-Dinner time jokes with the host family
-The coffee
-Seeing all my girls every day (U KNOW WHO U ARE)
-Constantly being around the Spanish language

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In light of the last point above, I have a couple stories for you guys. 

This past week I feel like I have really gotten into my Spanish speaking groove and it’s made me realize how much I am going to miss having those casual Spanish interactions every day. I want to tell you about a couple Spanish victories I have had this past week. Remember my taxi driver I told you about earlier, the one I held a whole conversation with on the way to flamenco? Yea him. Well, his name is Raul and he gave me his card in case I ever found myself needing another taxi. It just so happened that, the other day as we were leaving the Feria our feet were killing us and the line for the taxis was a mile long so I shuffled through my wallet and there was Rauls card. I called up Raul and somehow (by the grace of God) I explained to him our location and we spoke completely in Spanish and bam, 5 min later he whips up in his car and we hop in. We all chatted the whole way home, he has a very sweet demeanor and such light heart and I am so glad our paths crossed even if only for a quick taxi ride or two!

Victory number 2 occurred two days ago when I had to go to the eye specialist because my dang eye has got some problems- it’s just been super itchy and dry for too long now so my host mom insisted I go to the specialist. Anywhoo, normally for these things they have a translator waiting for you in the clinic to help you navigate paperwork and directions and such. However, I walked in and I was the only English speaker around but no pasa nada because I spoke Spanish the whole time and understood everything the doctors were saying and DANG IT FELT GOOD!!!  The doctor and I chatted a lot as he was in no rush to get to the next patient (very different from the U.S.) and at one point he was even showing me different apps on his phone that are great for studying medical terms as I told him I am studying to be a nurse! It’s little interactions like these that I really am going to miss. I will have to find a way to practice and keep up with my Spanish when I am home that’s for sure!

Although I am sad to be leaving Spain, and all these wonderful people it has led me to, I am ready to be back home in Texas. I am ready to hug my family, sit on my porch, play some tennis and b-ball with dad, eat some of my mom’s cooking, wrestle with Emi, workout with Grant (or as he says “disrespect some weights”), sleep in my bed, see my friends, sleep in Miranda’s bed, watch a Texas sunset, watch my sister graduate, and be with people I miss so much. However, I still have a couple of weeks of traveling before I step foot on American soil, so I’m gonna soak it all in while I can. But once May 19th comes around I know I will be so ready to be back in the good ole Lone Star State.

Today I am feeling a little overwhelmed with all the things I must do before my last day here in Spain. Mainly I’ve got lots of projects and tests and planning to do. However last night my mentor said something that has stuck with me, she said “Let God’s peace completely envelope every part of your heart” and that’s what I chose to do. God offers us a kind of peace like no other, so I am going to take it and run with it.

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TGod for his peace and T God for these past 3 months!
(T God stands for Thank God- a little something Maddy Hopkins has taught me lol)
Thanks for reading yall! Hope everyone is hanging in there as the end of the semester is nearing and final exams are upon us!

Sending lots of love and joy your way!
❤ Als

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