Final Days, Final Exams, Final Goodbye’s
I have one full day left in Mendoza. One. In less than 48 hours, I will be on a bus to explore the southern half of the country. I am beyond excited to go to Patagonia, but there have been so many things going on here in Mendoza that it really hasn’t hit me yet that I am about to travel to “the end of the world” in just a couple of days, and then return to my ‘real’ life back in the States. Here are a few anecdotes and pictures about my final week in Mendoza:
There were holidays on Monday and Tuesday of last week, and instead of traveling outside of Mendoza like most of the IFSA kids decided to do, I decided to be a “tourist” in Mendoza with my neighbor. On Saturday, we went to Potrerillos in Luján de Cuyo and we did Canopy across the dam (canopy is like a zipline course, in this case, from one mountain to another). We went to a ranch on Sunday and went horseback riding. The sunset and the view of the mountains were gorgeous, and the weather was absolutely perfect. On Monday, I went with a couple of IFSA kids to Maipu for the “Bikes and wine” tour, where you rent a bike from a man named Mr. Hugo and he hands you a map of all of the bodegas within 10 kilometers of his house to pick and choose which ones to go to and tour/do a tasting.
I have decided that final exams here are just ridiculous. My first final exam was supposed to be last Wednesday. **Supposed to be**. I showed up only for my professor to tell me that they were just kidding about the exam, because the exam date was actually the following week (which is tonight, now.) The following day, I was supposed to have an exam at 4pm. My professor had told me previously that I would be done by 4:45. We didn’t start until after 7pm, and we didn’t leave until almost 8pm. This morning, I had another exam. It was supposed to start at 8am, so I showed up at 7:30 to review a little and make sure I was there on time. The professors didn’t come until 8:45, and the first part of the exam ended around 11am. Then, they started the second part of the exam, the oral exam part. Each student is called in individually and the professors can ask you whatever they feel like, and to my understanding, they base your grade on the time and manner it takes you to respond, as well as the accuracy of the answer. That was one of the most terrifying tests I have ever taken! I walked into the classroom, and they told me to sit down. They all sat around me, about 2 feet from my desk. There were three professors in the room, two of which were my professors from the class, and I have no idea who the other professor was. For what felt like 10 minutes, they took turns drilling me with questions. I was so caught off-guard by the entire experience, and my Spanish definitely suffered because of it! I had more trouble finding the words I needed in Spanish than I did at the beginning of the semester when I first arrived! Nonetheless, I got through it, and finally headed out at 12:30, FIVE hours after I had arrived. Tonight’s exam will most certainly be the same situation as all of the others: the exam time is only a number, and the amount of time out of my last day in Mendoza that I will end up spending in the School of Music waiting to take a test will greatly succeed the amount of time that I had hoped or anticipated.
I don’t want to expand too much on this topic because I have spoken previously and extensively about how hard goodbye’s are, but the time has finally come and I still hate goodbye’s more than anything. A few of my closest friends in the bass studio arranged a “fiesta de despedida” (goodbye party) for me on Sunday. We all had a great time, and no one wanted to say goodbye yet, so they decided that they would meet me at my exam tonight, and take me to the park to drink one last mate together before I pack up and head South. Last night, I also said goodbye to the English class in Ugarteche that I volunteer at on Mondays (see photo below). I never thought it would be so hard to say goodbye to middle-schoolers. I realized last night just how much they mean to me. This afternoon will be my final goodbye with the remaining IFSA students, and tonight, my host family is having a special goodbye dinner in which I was asked to choose the menu. Tomorrow will be the most difficult, and I am dreading the moment that I step on that bus in the terminal with all of my luggage and only photos and memories of the last 5 months here.