We're down to three days. Today was our Composition final, tomorrow we have Grammar and Lit, and then Wednesday finishes off with Conversation, Culture, and Linguistics. All of my books have been read. All my papers have been written. Class projects have been completed. My bags are not packed but they will be soon. We've used up the last of our leftover food—half-used bags of pasta, cans of sauce, tubs of hummus. My walls are almost empty, but I've left the large maps up because I don't think I could stand them to be bare already. Thumb-drives full of photos are making their way between the rooms, trying to share all the memories we can. 

It's really hard to focus on studying when all we want to do is spend time with everyone before there's no time left, pack, and clean. On Sabbath our teachers all brought food for us and we had a nice potluck outside before the ceremony of planting our class gift—a tree with a time capsule next to it. That evening Rachel and I sat outside with the boys and talked until after ten. Sunday included pancakes, pasta, and much less studying that should have been done. 

Everyone is ready to go home in their own ways, but it's really hard on a lot of us to imagine leaving ESDES. I've lived within shouting distance of some of the best friends I've ever had for nine months, and suddenly we're going to be sprinkled across a country much larger than the one we're in now. I know we'll keep in touch and I know I'll see a lot of these wonderful people again in four months, but it's going to be a big change for sure. 

Last week Juan Antonio gave us a small presentation in Aula Cultural (assembly) about the "choque de cultura" (culture shock) we'll have when we get home. He warned us that we shouldn't talk about Spain non-stop or start everything we say with "Yeah, when I was in Spain..." because we would lose friends fast and no one would want to talk to us anymore. It was funny and true but it's going to be hard not to miss Spain and the people here.

After his presentation Ana gave us all the information we'd need to know about how the DELE worked. That was Friday, and I could not be more happy that it is over. I tested a B2 level—avanzado. It wasn't actually as bad as I thought it would be to have to take a test all day, but the difficulty was much worse than I imagined. The format was the exact same as what we've been doing on our DELE packets all year but none of the hundreds of colloquial phrases we've been learning were on it. The vocab was hard, the listening seemed more difficult than usual, and by the end of the grammar section I was pretty sure there wasn't a lot of hope for receiving the required 70% to pass. The good news was that none of the tests actually took that long and it was a little more relaxed than the ACT or PSAT. And the best part is that none of it actually matters for life or my degree, so not passing doesn't really mean anything. After the written part we had a few hours before we could have our spoken conversation. This is the part that most people were most nervous about, but it turned out to be the easiest! My conversation topics were all the same exact ones we'd had in class, and the interviewer was nice. I also didn't feel any pressure because I am pretty certain that I didn't pass the written so nothing was really hinging on the interview. We got back to the school by 5:30 and had a relaxing Friday evening. 

Taking the DELE wasn't the best way to spend my last Friday in Spain, but by Saturday I hardly even remembered that I'd taken it. Instead I remembered Friday night with the girls, hiking up the mountain, and seeing the Mediterranean out my window. I know these are the things I'm going to remember in a year, or two, or twenty. So finals? Sure, I'll study. But I'm going to make as much time as I can for friends and experiences before I go. Thursday will be here before we know it and Justin and Ryan and I will be parting ways with everyone. I've already got chocolate and tissue packets and I'm sure I'll be needing them.
5/27/2013 09:51:31 am

Somehow I knew, Shelby, by Monday morning this week your books would all be read, your papers would all be written, and your projects would all be completed---and I bet your bags are just about packed by now. I'm so happy you had a relaxing weekend after the DELE on Friday. Just soak up the last bit of time with your friends and teachers, look from your balcony out at the Mediterranean, grab a kebab if you get a change and we'll see you Friday night in California. Love you real good, Shel. Grandma

Sheri Seibold
5/27/2013 10:48:47 pm

Can it really be the last three days for you in Spain? It went so fast in some ways, and so slow in others, but it was an amazing experience for you in so many ways.

I'm glad Juan Antonio gave you all the talk about your return home from Spain. I remember having the chance to sit with him on the flight when we left you in April and he shared some of that same useful knowledge with me. He put my mind at ease that day, letting me know things about my daughter that he and the fellow teachers were learning about you and how well you had taken on your life there.

I could see pride in his eyes. That is a wonderful feeling to know that you and the other students have made these teachers proud. They have done their jobs well and they have about ninety and nine reasons to be proud as you all leave the campus filled with the knowledge they have given you over the last nine months.

It will be fine for you to come home and talk about Spain for the next four months. I just look forward to hearing your voice and seeing your face right here at home. love ya good, mom


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