Hello everyone! My name is Melisa Lavin and I’m the Leader of the Day for our Final Reflection Day. I grew up in Crockett, CA, I currently attend John Swett High School and I am planning to attend San Jose State University to study Urban Development. Honestly, I chose to be the Leader of the Day today because it was the last option left on the board after I came back from the bathroom but I am happy with my choice even though it has been one of the more hectic days of the trip. I was very excited to lead my delegation on our last full day together.

Our day started at our usual wake-up time at 7:00 am which was followed with breakfast at 7:45 am. Today’s breakfast included eggs, pancakes, pineapple, papaya, and fresh orange juice. We continued the day with a 3-hour reflection where things got very emotional very quickly as we played interactive activities, one of them being “Someone Who Touched Me.” The game required that half of the group sit in chairs with their eyes closed while the other half of the group was standing in the center facing the others’ backs, then one person would read a prompt, and if you were standing and thought of someone sitting down that the prompt applied to, you would tap their shoulder. During this activity, most of us realized that today was the last full day we have together of the trip and it might be a while until we are able to meet each other again. We felt seen, valued but also sad. We also passed around a paper with each Glimpser’s name in the center and each of us had 30 seconds to write our appreciations to one another, the time limit became a bit stressful for us because we all had much to say.

After this seminar, we had an amazing lunch at Alto Cerro, the food restaurant that caters our daily meals. Today’s lunch was special, which consisted of BBQ ribs and moist chicken, baked potatoes, juicy sausage, and grilled onions. And because they did such a wonderful job providing our food during this past 16 days we handed out awards to our amazing team of cooks, ambassadors, and bus drivers in attendance. The rest of the day was full of laughter, tears, and photos as we sang our hearts out during karaoke at a lounge at Alto Cerro. There we also played volleyball and played on the play structures up until we rounded up and headed to the school graduation which was also filled with much laughter, pictures, tears, and final memories. The graduation consisted of many heartfelt speeches from our ambassador captain Francis, student Geovanna, Global Glimpse manager Karina and our own delegates Jerome and Jenna which our GG Leader Farima translated. Awards were handed out to all the graduating students and we all celebrated with cake and soda.

Once we arrived back to the hotel we said farewell to our ambassadors where we shared many tears and emotions, mostly including those of joy and grief as we said our final goodbyes and came to the realization that they live in the Dominican Republic …. and we don’t. It was very hard watching them walk away from our hotel and there were many moments of departure and tear-filled returns. At this moment I felt the upmost gratitude to them and Global Glimpse for connecting us to these amazing young people who we all now call our friends. We then proceeded to work on our letters of appreciation to GG donors. When we went to dinner, we were surprised with the dinner that we all had on our first day here which included spaghetti, fettuccine alfredo, salad, and some really good sweet tea. Next, we had some transition time before the nightly meeting which was also filled with many emotions and information needed for our upcoming trip back home! This farewell has been so bittersweet for many of us as we will miss the family and tight bonds we have created with each other over the past 16 days, but also fulfill the craving to return home to the rest of our loved ones who we miss so much.

Personally, I am ready to go home and I am very happy at the realization that we are all from the Bay Area which makes it very likely that we will see each other again after the end of this trip. The memories and experiences I’ve had here have been indescribable, with the many trials, tribulations, and triumphs. While this farewell has been bittersweet, I’m grateful that this is not a goodbye but a see you later.