I'm leaving Spain for good in eight days! I've been counting down to this for a long time, and now that it's here, I wish it would all just slow down and I could have more time with the students here. Preparing my kids for me leaving has been tough. To them, I may be American, but I live in Spain. Why would I want to go back to the States? We've explained that I've got my family there, and I'm getting married, but then they want to know when I'm coming back. I must be soft-hearted, because I am incapable of telling my sweet little kids that I don't forsee me coming back to Spain to live anytime soon, if ever. So I just tell them I won't be back next year.
I think my favorite has been Loles, a first grader, who kept asking questions about it. I told her I was going to be a teacher, and that I hoped I'd be teaching first grade. She thought about that, and then asked if I'd be teaching in English and was shocked that I said yes. I explained, again, that we speak English in the States, which was mind-blowing to her. She processed that, thought about it, and then wanted to know if my boyfriend (they say novio here for boyfriend/fiance, so it's not like they don't know that I'm getting married) spoke English. She was astonished that he could. So Tom is super cool now, which I'm sure he loves...being discussed by unknown first graders.
Today, in another first grade class, we explained that I was leaving, and where I was going and why, which was enough for most of them. Hugo, who is always thinking/participating/involved, had a question. I heard it in Spanish, but didn't think I'd heard it right, but the teacher translated, and he wanted to know if I knew Scooby Doo, because he loves Scooby Doo. I said yes, I knew the show, and then he wanted to know if it was in English in the States. I love what they associate with me and the States, especially when it seems so random.
My 6th grade English class had a treasure hunt today for something special since it was my last day with them, and they loved it! They got to run around outside, find tickets and redeem tickets for candy- who doesn't love that? Afterwards, when we told them it was my goodbye "present" for them, I got a huge round of applause, led by some the boys. I'm alternately exasperated and pleased with those boys, but I know we've made a connection because they'll always stop and say hi in the halls, and aren't too cool for that, even if they're with friends, so it meant a lot to me. It kept going, and the whole class was applauding, which was both awesome and awkward. I'm not sure if they're applauding because of me and the work I did with them or because I brought them candy today, but I'll take it either way.
I'm so lucky to have made such good relationships with the teachers and students here, and I'm grateful that I've gotten to do more then just teach from books, and have been able to put my interests and personality into the activities, because those are what are the most fun for us. I can't wait to do that for a full-time job in the States! But mostly, I'm so thankful that my kids are so hilarious, smart, adorable, fun, sweet and awesome. I've gotten to spend this year with the coolest kids ever, and they're all going to do great next year! Wish I could be there to see them graduate and move on to the next grade!