T-30 hours until the bus comes to my door to take me away from my home for the past 6 weeks. Although it has been about 2 months I feel like I have spent years here. The each street of Salamanca holds separate memories. From the streets that take me home, to school, to clubs, to food to the Plaza Mayor, to shop each takes me somewhere different depending on my purpose.
This is my final Spain post and I know that I am forever changed from this trip. I thought I knew what I wanted my life to look like after walking that JMU stage and holding my diploma. That image in my head has slowly changed each day I have been abroad. Ideas of travel and studying other languages (aka Portuguese) swirl my mind.
Yesterday was the perfect way to end the trip beginning with my conversation final. Although challenging, I forgot “da me asco” means grosses me out def important to know, that class was my favorite. Everyday we laughed about cultural differences and joked about our Spanish accents or lack of one. Leaving the final I felt happiness from all the knowledge I have gathered about the Spanish society while being here.
A quick glance through some stories allowed me to be the tourist I was semi denying myself to be from the beginning. Now I have some classic Salamanca souvenirs although I probably could have spent 3x what I did, restraint. Some frantic searching on Calle Torro left me with a forest green dress for my ropa elegante for our JMU reception. I said I would not really buy new clothes here but walking to the reception at 1 oclock in my new dress, carrying a new beautiful black deep bag which held my new black heels with a wood bottom, I realized I had lied.
The reception ends around 330pm, there is 30 minutes until the Brazil Portugal game. Is that enough time to run home, freshen up and run back to one of the bars that has a big screen? We thought so… arriving only 13 minutes late we watched the game front row thanks for the other Americans who went straight there. With a large Paulener in hand we screamed and cheered. I think I was in the minority rooting for Brazil but like 5 people think I am Brazilian… just trying to rep the homeland. (Is that jumping on a bandwagon?)
0-0 Brazil Portugal and 2 hours until Spain Chile. Europe sure does it right watching these games so passionately. We move to get tapas seeing as our lunch reception was cheese and salad. My tapa did not do justice since I am used to the lunches from Rosa which are 3 courses so to BK we went. Ordering a numbero 2 con papas fritas I became excited. It has been 6 weeks since my fast food experiences wildly different from JMU school weeks. 2 bags of ketchup and a Coca Cola light later it was time to change into our Spain outfits for the game!
Chaos as always met us at el Corte Ingles. Drums bang, vuvuzela squeal and Spaniards scream “hijo de punta” meaning son of a bitch at the refs. Gamos and Villa score and we go crazy chanting “Amarillo y roja” Spain’s colors.
The party doesn’t end when the games does. The music cues up and “Stereo Love”, “I Gotta Feelin” and other pump you up songs drive our feet and a flash rave begins. Walking away from el Corte Ingles we chat along with the Spaniards and dance in the sidewalks. 30 minute pause to eat and then the festivities continue. All of us clad in our Spain colors fit in with the locals. We enter the Chuputeria and dance to Mambo #5, I Gotta Feelin, Be My Lover and La Vida Loca. Someone shouts “this is our last Friday in Salamanca, go all out!” as the climax of “If We Ever Meet Again”.
I have loved every moment, person and experience I have felt here in Spain. Another chapter in my life has been written and it was nothing I every could have predicted.
Thanks for the laughs, memories and chaos Spain… can’t wait until we meet again