Monday, July 30, 2012

so much to do, so little time

I feel like it's been awhile since I last blogged, but it's really only been a couple weeks. The official countdown until September 5th -the day I have to be in New York- is just 36 days. I leave in a little over one month, but there's still so much to complete here at home.

So far, my summer has been filled with many unforgettable experiences.The past few weeks, especially, have been some of the most amazing and rewarding weeks I have ever had, for many reasons. Around three weeks ago, early one Tuesday morning around midnight, all of my family drove together to pick up and welcome Silvia, the exchange student we decided to host for three weeks. Out of all of us, I was clearly the most excited, mainly because I benefit from this hosting experience the most. Also, I was allowed to choose the student we hosted, so I was anxious to see how well I did. When the car pulled up with all of the Spanish and French students, I could instantly pick out Silvia from the rest of the group. Soon, she came running up to my family and greeted me first with a big hug and two kisses on the cheek. At this point, I already knew I had chosen the perfect girl. Throughout the following weeks, my opinion didn't change one bit, but instead grew stronger. Silvia has easily become one of my best friends, and I have learned more than just the Spanish language from her.  Together, we created so many inside jokes, laughs, memories, but most of all- pictures.

                                                       "we're not friends, we're sisters!"

                                    video
Thank you so much for this video, Silvia! Thank you for not only being a best friend to me, but also my sister! I love and miss you more than anything.

Also, on an AFS related note, I went to the Spanish Consulate in New York last Tuesday to apply for my student visa. Almost all of the students going to Spain with me had no complications applying for their visas, except for me. My visa appointment was a nightmare.
It all started when my family, Silvia, and I had to leave the house at 4am, to make sure to be in time for my 10:15am appointment. Although there was some traffic, we made it to the Spanish Consulate in good timing. After grabbing some Starbucks coffee, we took the elevator up to the 30th floor. As soon as we walked inside, security officers greeted us by checking our personal belongings, and we proceeded to find the closest employee to ask for further instructions. Not surprisingly, the people spoke only in Spanish, and the entire office was filled with Spanish instructions, poems, and pictures. Seeing my confusion, Silvia grabbed my hand and lead us to yet another employee, where she asked for directions in Spanish. While she was in the middle of translating the instructions back to me, I heard my name clearly called over the speaker. Silvia and the rest of my family, stayed behind, while my mom and I went nervously up to window one. I wasn't expecting to have to talk though a glass window and relay visa papers through a little opening at the bottom of the glass. After a brief introduction, the young girl helping at my appointment, Paola, asked a bunch of curious questions as to why I was at the Spanish Consulate. I soon found that, coincidentally, she lives in Valladolid! Paola flipped through all of the documents I collected over the past months, and finally came to a halt. As she looked up asking me if I had my host school information, I was speechless. AFS was supposed to send me a few 'support' documents, necessary to obtain a Spanish student visa, such as a medical/financial form and more importantly, my host school information. Most others going to Spain had already received their support documents, and I was instructed to still attend my visa appointment, with or without the support documents. There I was, standing in front of glass window one, totally helpless. I tried over and over to explain my situation to all of the staff at the Spanish Consulate; as sincere as they were, my visa still could and would not be processed unless I had proof of a public host school in Spain. As soon as we heard the dreaded news, both my mom and I, were at the point of freaking out. Luckily, Hector, the other helpful employee, and Paola promised that we would work this problem out. It took over an hour, and many phone transfers, to finally get in contact with the AFS visa coordinator. After a long and even more confusing conversation with AFS, I couldn't be happier to find that they actually had my host school information available. It only took another hour for AFS to fax over the completed information to the Spanish consulate. I was finally able to relax when I found out that my visa would indeed be processed. Lets keep in mind that this visa appointment was scheduled for a mere fifteen minutes, expecting no complications. So after two grueling hours, teary eyes, and a bunch of finger crossing, my visa was FINALLY accepted. Now, I'm just waiting to get my passport, affixed with the visa, returned by mail to me. Hopefully I get it in the expected three-four week time frame..my fingers are still crossed!

As July turns into August, my emotions shift drastically as well. I have gone through a complete wave of emotions, from being doubtful of this dream a year ago, to being thrilled hearing of my acceptance and host family placement, to being nervous more than anything now, with only a month to go. I have so much to finish here before I depart in September. Although there is a lot of unfinished business, it's mostly little things such as my senior project and pictures, packing a whole year into a suitcase, and more importantly- saying a temporary goodbye to family and friends. Saying goodbye is definitely going to be the hardest part of leaving this place I call home. This coming Saturday I am attending a Speedwell Scholarship Luncheon, with all the other local AFS students, where I get the amazing opportunity to meet my full scholarship donor! It also will be a time to see and say goodbye to my friends leaving for their upcoming year abroad in countries throughout the world. I am more than excited to meet the donor and see all of my friends again, because we're all pretty close knit and get along very well. I would say all of us together are one crazy group, but that is definitely an understatement. Also, I have a going away/birthday party coming up in less than two weeks where I have to say goodbye to most of my friends and family for the last time. Goodbyes are hard and they always will be; there really isn't any 'good' in goodbye, as I have found out the hard way. I already had to endure my hardest goodbye, by far, not with a friend or family member though, but someone I hold just as dear- someone who is and will be closer to me than anyone here at home, and someone who is going through the same situation I am. Although, I don't know how, when, or where, this isn't a permanent goodbye. It just can't be; that's a promise.

With only a little over a month left to go, I have so much to do, with so little time. With only 36 days left, Spain can wait for me because, although right now my mind is in Spain, my heart is content right here. 



6 comments:

  1. Maybe I'm too late to read your wonderful blog :) But late is better than never. Really I'm proud of you than you could live abroad. And for each word that you wrote is like a magic, I can imagine how it was if I were you. Keep posting, girl!


    Cheers,
    Fefi

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  2. it's never too late! i'm glad you took the time to read it; i hope you continue to do so.
    it definitely takes a lot to do what i'm about to do, but i'm positive it is going to be worth it.

    thanks a lot :)

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  3. Of course, I will. I have a blog but it isn't as wonderful as yours :''( haha
    Anyway, nice to meet you :D


    Best Regards,
    Fefi

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  4. good, i'm so glad to hear that!
    i looked at your blog, and it's pretty awesome too! trust me.
    nice to meet you too! where are you from?

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  5. I'm from Indonesia, do you know a little thing about it? :) And you, where are you from?

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  6. yes, i know a little bit!
    and i'm from the USA!
    :)

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