The night of the Star Party was a night of surprises. Firstly, we found out that the Macarena was composed in Sevilla. We played it and everyone danced the Macarena together. I felt like I (Jess) was a kid again dancing, singing and playing silly party games with my friends. I was extremely happy to find out that the Macarena came from Spain and in the spirit of Spanish culture I asked my Academia friends to teach me how to dance the Sevillana (an amazing Spanish tradition). I followed along step-by-step but at the end I still wasn’t able to dance the sevillana. I think I need a lot more practice before I can go out on the dance floor. However, I loved learning a little more about Spanish culture and as great as it is to teach others, it is even more fun to be the student!
After dancing, we played a few games. The interns taught everyone the game of musical chairs, an American party staple. In the game, the group circles around a group of chairs while music plays. When the music stops, everyone must find a chair to sit in. The person who does not find a chair is out. The game continues until everyone but one person is out. A few of our friends taught us their own version of the game, which seemed like a cross between the American games of musical chairs and hot potato. The players dance in couples and try to pass around a broom (in our case, a tube of lipstick) while still holding hands. The couple holding the lipstick when the music stops is out. I really enjoyed the game, but was way to klutzy to be anywhere near competitive!
Later we walked out into the fields that surrounded the bed and breakfast and gazed at the millions of stars that sparkled in the night’s sky. It was incredible! I (Julia) had never seen so many stars all at once. We were able to see Mars, Saturn, the Milky Way Galaxy, and several constellations. Juan, an expert in astronomy, gave us a very interesting lecture on the universe. He was able to present in both English and Spanish, which was very impressive to all of us. We stood, huddled together in the field, stunned by the expansive universe above us, and never wanting to leave.
We ended the night with the biggest and most wonderful surprise of all. In a small ceremony, the ayuntamiento of Villanueva presented us with going away gifts. We received a Villanueva de Córdoba pin and key chain, both of which we will use and wear with pride for this amazing town. It was a true honor to be recognized by the ayuntamiento as well as by our students and friends. We were deeply moved by this gesture, and as we gave short speeches, we tried not to cry. Villanueva is an incredible town with such kind and caring people. Thank you for welcoming us into your town and making us feel as if we were at home. None of us could have imagined a better experience – it has been a summer that we will never forget. We wish you all the best in the future and hope that one day we can meet again.