Yesterday was my last day of work, last morning in my piso and last day in Roquetas de Mar, the town I’ve called home for 8 months. Feels surreal. I don’t think it’s hit me yet. Saying good-bye is always difficult, always strange. I say I don’t believe in good-byes because I always feel I’ll see people again, I just don’t know when. I don’t know when I’ll be back in Roquetas or if I’ll ever return. It’s always sad to end a chapter in your life and I feel I’ve been distracted with my boyfriend visiting- who helped me pack up my life in Roquetas and now we’re traveling together before I meet my brother and friend in Madrid. I’m also excited for all that comes next- 2 months of travel in Spain and Portugal and then whatever the future brings when I return home to California in July!
I told my students 2 weeks in advance when my last day would be so it wouldn’t be such a surprise.
After my last class with my third years (15-16 years) on Tuesday, a group of girls and one boy came up to sing a song from their favorite band, One Direction. Every time we talked about music, they’d always talk about this boy band but I never bothered to youtube them. One song turned into four. 10 girls and a boy singing with joy, excited to have a listening ear. I felt honored, all of them comfortable with me. Meanwhile, my boyfriend taking a video and snapping photos.
Many students asked if I was coming back next year and I felt bad telling them, “No.” For a moment, I thought to myself, “Why not? Why am I not coming back?” But I know why. I told most of my students “it’s time for me to go back to California” and for my students who had a surprise visitor for their last class- my boyfriend, they understood why when I said, “it’s hard to be long distance.”
One sweet student told me, “I’m happy for you. I wish you the best in California” and another boy asked if “are you going to get married?” I wasn’t prepared for that question but it makes sense coming from a teenagers mind.
What I didn’t expect was how many of them came up to me after class and said, “I’m going to miss you” and asked for hugs. Some were students who went unnoticed, were really quiet all year or seemed indifferent to my presence.That’s the beauty of working with youth- you never know what impact you leave behind. Sometimes you know, in this case, I know many are sad for me to leave but often, we have no idea. Who knows what these students will remember a year from now or five? I know I did things differently- like stretching at the beginning of class, which they resisted the first time I tried.
On my last day, I only had one hour of conversation class with my third years. My favorite year to teach. Then, it was time to say good-bye to my coordinator (who was an awesome boss!) and to all the teachers in the teacher’s lounge. Lots of besos and Pasa lo bien y buen viaje, Have a good time and have a good trip. And then I slowly waved good-bye and walked out of the high school.
It’s been an awesome 8 months.