It's been said that a picture is worth "a thousand words" and I believe that these two shots live up to the expression. Having an early start and a very long day ahead us, Saturday morning brought a much-too-soon end to our stay in León. With their final purchases made, their suitcases (over!)packed and their lunches and snacks thoughtfully prepared by their Spanish moms one last time, the students said their goodbyes. Among the hugs and the tears, though, there were many hopeful promises of return.
Before all of students headed out for the evening with their families, someone managed to catch me on the 'other' side of the camera along with the other profes! The woman with us is Sira Quindós Martín-Granizo, our onsite coordinator.
Here are the program and the coverpage of our libro de recuerdos (or "book or memories"), designed by our students Bre Gibson and Logan Foreit. These books were presented to the host families along with flowers. In an effort to prevent suitcase overload, all of our participants will be receiving their memory books upon return to the U.S. Be sure to take a look at the various photos and studnt contributions!
As a special surprise for two of our students, Amelia Erlandson and Sean Nolan, longtime Honors Program host mom Camino stopped by to meet them and see our performances Thursday night. Camino hosted Amelia's brother Anothony a few years ago (and has since been back to visit!) and Sean's brother Jim stayed with her just last summer.
After our rehearsal we went to our regular restaurant, Casablanca, for the last time with the students. On the menu today? An international favorite: pizza, or the Spanish-version of it! Be sure to ask the students about the varieties they tried! :)
Here are a few pics from the rehearsal for tonight's big show, to be held in the Ayuntamiento. The students will be performing 5 songs and two short/adapted plays for family,friends and even (hopefully!) the proprietor of their favorite spot in the city for ice cream, Holy Cow.
At Camarote Madrid, students had to make the difficult choice between two Spanish favorites - salmorejo, a gazpacho-like cold soup but a bit thicker and served with egg and bits of cured ham for garnish, and patatas, the thick-cut potato crisps.
After four stops, lots of laughs and some serious negotiating for a space inside or on the terraza - the students' smiles gave us every indication that this excursion was a HUGE success! Be sure to ask the students about the various tapas that they tried!
Last night, we started what we hope will be a program tradition for many years to come - a night of tapas with the students! Although not common throughout Spain, here in León, tapas or small portions of appetizers (ranging from pizza to ham and cheese croquettes to potatoes covered in a wonderful, garlic mayonaise and beyond!) are given with the purchase of a beverage in many of the local dining establishments. The origin of these delicious tapas varies from person to person and region to region, but as you can see from the pictures, the students certainly made the most out of this gastronomic experience!
Last Thursday, the students were treated to a special visit from IUHPFL – León 2010 alum, Maya Wahrman. The students had previously met Maya at our orientation in April, but we were lucky enough to have her stop in and speak to the kids (in language, of course!) about the importance of ‘keeping up’ their Spanish upon return to the U.S. and how to make the most of the final few days here in Spain. She even stayed for our afternoon activities, helping to prepare the students for the songs and plays they will be presenting at tomorrow night’s Función de despedida.
On behalf of Equipo León 2011 and all of the students, we’d like to say "thank you!" and wish Maya the best of luck as she continues her travels to Israel, where she will be spending the next year.
Before heading back to León, we stopped with the students in the seemingly timeless town of Castrillo de los Polvazares. In Castrillo, both the streets and the homes are stone-covered and while restaurants were a plenty, tourists were few and far between. Apart from the few “pilgrims” we saw who were following the Camino de Santiago, the students were quick to notice the differences between here and the much more “urban” León.
Also shown is the "friend" (of the four-legged and furry variety) that the students made during our brief visit.