Julia Axtell attended SPI’s San Sebastian, Spain Month program in summer 2015. To read more about Julia’s adventures in San Sebastian, check out her blog, Thoughts by Julia.

July 10, 2015

Today was my last official day in San Sebastián, and as you can imagine, I am so upset that I have to say goodbye. This has been the most incredible month of my life and I would give anything to relive it again. Thank you to everyone who made this trip possible (especially my parents!!!) and to all of those who have followed my journey through my blog! Words will never describe the experience I had here and San Sebastián will forever be a home for me. I will miss it so much; I cannot even imagine the homesickness I will feel for San Sebastián when I get back to New Jersey. I could not have asked for a better homestay family, nor could I have asked for a better experience. Mertxe and Martín [my homestay family] will always have a place in my heart and a place in New Jersey to live if they ever want to visit!

Last night was another sleepless night, so classes were impossible. I was super bored largely from exhaustion. I am not sorry school is over, but I am sad that my Spanish immersion is coming to a close. Lacunza did an excellent job teaching me and I hope to return as an adult someday! Instead of a project, Caroline, Eva, and I walked all the way over to the Lacunza school in Gros, where all the other SPI students are, with the assistance of Ignacio. We had to wait for a while before the other kids returned and today was yet another scalding day. Once the other kids arrived, we received our certificates stating that we completed our classes and therefore receive some form of college credit.

We were too far from our home and the heat was unbearable, so Caroline and I took the bus home instead of walking. For lunch, we had Mertxe’s delicious pizza (for the last time), which was amazing as always.

After lunch, Mertxe was kind enough to sit down with me and explain how to make her salsa de españa, paella, and her pizza dough. She was kind enough to even give me some of her recipe packets, as well. I can’t wait to cook Spanish feasts for everyone back home!

I had barely finished speaking with Mertxe when we had to meet the group at La Perla for our final beach day together. The bus got stuck in traffic, so we ended up being a little late (even though we practically ran from Boulevard to La Perla) but it was fine because we weren’t even the last ones there.

While we were waiting for everyone to arrive, we played a trivia game for prizes. I got the first question right (How do you say hi in Basque? Caixo!) and got a minion peep as a prize. After the trivia game, we all went to the beach. I was so ready to lie out in the sun, and I think we waited maybe ten minutes before leaving because the wind was so strong and was attacking everyone with sand. Since we couldn’t go kayaking, Maya [my program director] decided to treat us all to ice cream instead. I’m sorry to say that was the last Boulevard I’ll have on this trip. Of course I had chocolate!

After hanging around and saying our goodbyes to Lettie (which was truly hard), Caroline and I went shopping to pick out gifts for our host mom. We got her a box of chocolates from an artisanal store and begonias from the market (as recommended by the florist). I also stopped by Massimo Dutti to pick up a jacket I’ve been looking at for the past week. Then I hauled it back home to pack before dinner.

Packing flustered me so I ended up just shoving everything in my suitcase and hoping it fit. Luckily everything has a place – it’s just a matter of weight at this point. Mertxe doesn’t have a scale so I’m not sure if I’m over the airline limit, but I might try repacking in Madrid.

I showered after packing and before dinner, Caroline, Martín, Mertxe, and I took a lot of photos together to have forever. Unfortunately, my hair was still wet from my shower, but I will forever treasure these photos.

For dinner we had our last tortilla de patatas and we all reminisced on the wonderful times we had together. It was so sad to have our last dinner together; none of us could believe how fast this month went by.

After dinner, Caroline still had to pack, but I met up with my friends at McDonald’s (she came out a bit later). It was so fun spending our last night together but also incredibly sad. I can’t believe that we’ll never all be in San Sebastián together ever again. This trip has afforded me wonderful experiences and the rare opportunity to meet insanely cool people. I’m grateful for everything and I hope this is only the beginning of my future of traveling!!!