Over the past nine months my blog has been about my reflections on Spain, so for this hasta luego (see you later, not goodbye) post I asked my Spanish friends to write reflections of me in Spain. Here’s what I got:
Far in the distance I can hear somebody roaring with laughter and... I fall in love.
Ellie introduced herself grinning from ear to ear and her irrepressible hunger for learning: the best résumé ever.
After spending a whole school year with her, she is no longer the language assistant, but that friend we all adore and need, always ready, camera in hand; that friend who knows how to preserve the best of the American lifestyle, but has also appreciated everything that Adra offered.
I am sure she will do her best in Washington DC and that she will change the world for the better, like she changed ours.
You’re not the language assistant, you're Ellie, you're one of us!
You are going to be very lucky wherever you go because you have a very positive attitude – it’s true, you’ll see!
Out for tapas with the teachers then another group of friends my last few nights in Adra. Even though both spoke a mile a minute in accents I couldn’t always decipher, nothing has made me happier than laughing with them, smiling with them and trying my very best to participate in their conversations and lives.
On Thursday there was a flash mob, confetti and balloon filled dance party at the school during the first recess. I heard the music from the teachers’ office and wandered to the courtyard with my co-workers. I soon went outside to take photos with the school camera. I felt myself enveloped in this world, this madness, noise, color, laughter – a world that made no sense to me, but one that I tried to enjoy in nonetheless. After a few minutes of fire juggling, dance instruction and balloon throwing, the kids began a conga line. They started to pass me, waving and smiling as their heads fell back in laughter. My year in Spain has been one extended flash mob, confetti and balloon filled dance party. It has been spontaneous, it has been boisterous, it has been filled with hilarity, and, in the end, I am so happy I participated.
Crisis: Trying to cancel my Internet account without knowing my Spanish home phone number.
Success: After the conga line settled down post-flash mob, a few of my youngest students came up to me and said, “No te vayas Ellie!”, “You are incredible!”, “The most incredible!”, “In the magazine I write – Ellie is the best teacher!”
Key Spanish phrases/words: The continuing consequence of only taking a summer Spanish course before this year is my utter lack of necessary vocabulary. I can carry on a conversation involving past, present and future, but throw in a simple word or two and I may be lost. As I was writing hasta luego notes to all my co-workers and friends this week I discovered just how little of the basics I knew. This is embarrassing, but learning is all about failure and now I know these really key words: tan (so), suficiente (enough), te voy a echar de menos (the proper way to say “I will miss you” ), orgulloso (proud), te admiro (I admire you), agradecido (grateful), abildad (ability), comodo (comfortable), afortunado (lucky), inclusivo (inclusive), quedarse (stay), cuentame (tell me), aprecio (appreciate), illuminar (illuminate), casero (landlord, homemade, type of bubbly drink).