Where does time go? It feels like just yesterday I was getting dropped off at the airport, Grandma was telling me to not come home with a Spaniard, and I was freaking out about losing my passport. Just yesterday we were pulling into Alcalá, I was forcing down meatballs, and the trees in the Plaza were nearly leafless. It seems like such a short time ago that we were awestruck in Toledo, I was flashing people on the streets of Madrid, and Brittany was soaking us at Retiro Pond. Was it really almost two months ago that I tasted my first Neopolitana, learned the ins and outs of public transportation, and made 28 new friends? It's surreal. It's confusing. It's really sad. Don't worry- I am coping by eating another Magnum.
Spain is a place I will not and could not ever forget. I've had so many memorable times, met so many amazing people, and could not forget anything about my time in Spain even if I wanted.
ya te echo de menos, España
With that said, we lived it up today. This morning I woke up with a little over 5 hours of sleep under my belt, and hurriedly got ready for graduation. Yes, that is right I graduated from Alcalingua University and everything! And don't worry, it is legit because I've got a certificate. And it's signed. Nothing of great importance happened during the ceremony... besides the fact that ya'll can rest assured that I passed my classes, so all this Spain travel wasn't for nothing!
When I got home from graduation we had a little time before going to Madrid, so I spent that time printing and printing and printing things for our trip which starts TOMORROW. Map after map, confirmation after confirmation... it was great, and I still can't even believe tomorrow I will be sitting in Marseille. It's crazy!
For lunch, it was Madrid time one last time. We all met and went to a paella place right off of Gran Vía, where I ate my last dinosaur egg, vegetarian paella (I didn't even have to pick out all the seafood for once!!) and a nice little rendition of Spanish cheesecake. Mmmmm my last Spanish meal was a memorable one.
After lunch we had free time awhile, so we did what we do best in Madrid- shop. I have no concept of money in these parts. Maybe it's the fact that I am in denial about returning to the Marriot, or perhaps it's the fact that the money looks like it belongs to a board game. All I know is that I tend to align my life with what has become our group's mantra: When In Spain.
As a final Spanish hoorah tonight, we went to, "Carmen", which is a flamenco ballet. Boy oh boy I love flamenco dancing. The story was a little hard to follow.... basically all I got out of it was that Carmen had a lot of lovers, and in the end one of them killed her. Moral of the story? Avoid being a whore at all costs. But really- the dancing was amazing, and all the tapping, clapping, shouting, flute playing, and guitar strumming made me really really happy. In my next life I wouldn't really mind being a gypsy as long as I get to wear cool flowers in my hair, twirl castanets seductively, and hang out with guys who wear their pants just a tad bit too tight.
After Carmen reality set in as we all began to go our own ways. It was our last time together as our little family of 29, and people passing by probably wondered why in the world there were so many loud Americans hugging and carrying on right in the middle of the street. We just couldn't help it! I really hate goodbyes.
Leaving Madrid and walking down to the Tirso de Molina metro stop for the last time was a very strange experience. Like I said in previous posts, I feel like Madrid has become my home- I've gotten to the point where I know how to work the metro, I know where to get the best pastries, and loud American tourists bother me. Leaving it all for the last time was sad, but all I know is that Spain better be ready, because this is not the last it has seen of me!
Our train ride back to Alcalá was one of the best ones thus far. We were all a little giddy from lack of good sleep, nerves, and flamenco high, so when I spotted Tall, Dark, and Handsome across the way, folding his newspaper into some sort of tube looking thing, and staring right at us. All Jenessa and I could do was laugh. "What is he doing, making a flower?!" I said. "Oh yeah, I bet it's for you, Alyssa!" She joked, as we continued to tell stories, laugh, and make the metro bars into our own personal jungle gym. Don't worry, the train was basically empty, all except for Mr. Spaniard, who kept looking right at us! Our stop came, we waited for the doors to open, he got a little closer to me, and that's when it happened. "Tengo algo para ti," he said. I looked up, his words catching me off guard a little. There in his hand and coming towards my face was the most ginormous paper flower I'd ever seen! I tried to stifle my laughter a little, praised the man with many thanks, and told him I needed a picture with my new Spanish friend. He quickly corrected me, told me he was Argentinian, we snapped a pic, and as fast as he'd come, he was gone, and I was left with a paper flower the size of a table fan.
As he walked away we all broke into fits of laughter, as I declared that night the best day ever. I was completely flattered, and I have come to the conclusion that I live in the wrong country.
When we finally got home from the train station I tried to pack- I really did, but we ended up eating dinner shortly after our return, and then after our meal together I went off with Miguel.
Oh Miguel, if you're reading this, ¡¡pues estoy escribiendo este para ti!!
This boy is my favorite Spaniard. He was in my ward, we played lots and lots of fútbol together, he is muy guapo, tan excelente, and we've got a funny story I will never forget. Anyways, we spent the night at Cafe Renacimiento talking, laughing, and saying our last goodbyes. It's times like these I wish the Atlantic wasn't quite so big :/ ¡Todavía te echo de menos mucho, chico!
And now it is almost 3:30 AM, and I am supposed to get up in less than 2 hours to start packing/get to the airport where it will be hasta la vista España y bonjour France. It's going to be really weird not having any idea what people are saying... that is for certain. I downloaded a nice little French tutor on my ipod though... so I'm hoping that'll help me out somewhat.
Well, now I am out. It's been quite the pleasure blogging my way through Spain, writing up a storm, and having random people tell me they enjoy reading what I write. I'm not taking my computer to the rest of Europe, so unless I find myself with free WiFi and a lot of patience to type an entry from my itouch.... well, I'll be home by July 1.
Ahora, adiós España. He disfrutado mucho mi tiempo aquí, y he dejado un parte de mi corazón contigo: con sus ciudades, su comida, su gente y un chico especial. Guardalo hasta la próxima vez estoy aquí porque no es la última vez que me has visto. ¿Vale?