So the last week was kind of a whirlwind between goodbyes and finals and last minute activities. But it was an absolutely splendid last week.
Monday we had our last FHE with a white elephant gift exchange, games, and testimony meeting. It is so cool to see how much everyone has learned over that seven week period. We have been so blessed!!
Tuesday was study time for our finals which we had on Wednesday. They weren’t too bad, but it was also nice to have them over with in one day… and before lunch! That night we had one last dinner all together. I had salmon and it was delicious. The directors gave us all gifts (a plate with Las Meninas on it) and we gave them a gift (chocolate and candy and a picture with all of us). And we spent the night like real Europeans, staying late at the restaurant just chatting. Real Spaniards, that’s us!
Thursday we were given our diplomas for going to school at Alcalingua. It was super casual which was kind of funny, but it was also awesome. We celebrated with ice cream afterwards. After lunch and a quick nap, we made our way to Madrid to tour El Prado again (we got to finish the tour with Velazquez and Goya and even got to see some more around it). That was so awesome! Again, we have been so blessed! To end the evening, we saw The Lion King, the musical, in Spanish. It was awesome! The sets and costumes were just incredible. Most of the singing was enjoyable and it was just a lot of fun to be a part of it all.
Friday we (meaning Karisa, Colby, Mitchell, and I) decided that the most appropriate thing to do on our last day in Spain is go to the most somber place in Madrid: El Valle de los Caidos (the Valley of the Fallen). It’s a church that was built to house the tomb of Francisco Franco (Spain’s dictator). There is a huge cross on top of it that you can see from miles away. It serves kind of as a memorial for the Spanish Civil War as well, but for the most part, the Spanish don’t really like it. So many horrible things happened during that time period and it is just better for them not to remember it. However, the building is quite majestic. It kind of feels like something out of The Lord of Rings with this great stone building built on a tree-filled mountain. Gives you chills.
I’ll write a wrap-up post later. Just know that I will be forever grateful for this experience, for the people I met and the history I was able to walk in to. Spain is a BEAUTIFUL country!