The number seven doesn’t normally seem that large, however living in an unfamiliar place for that many weeks is enough to make it familiar and feel like home.
After spending eight weeks abroad, and seven of that living and studying in Barcelona, while traveling Europe on weekends, I have fallen in love with Europe. It took only the moment upon arrival in Barcelona to know that I was going to experience a love affair with Spain. At first I was a tourist, but it didn’t take long for this beautiful city to become my second home.
People began to come and go, but it was all the same. I realized about half way through that I knew the hot spots around town and the nights that they are best. Barcelona is a city that really appeals to tourists, so the vibe from many places got to be all too familiar each night we went out. The music is the same, the type of people are the same, the prices don’t change, and you begin to realize the small things that make the city tick. As I started noticing this, I knew I was no longer an outsider, but an insider. I knew the feeling and the ways of a typical night out on the town in Barcelona.
I gained a schedule. Breakfast, class, lunch, class, siesta, dinner, homework, go out. Weekends: travel or stay home and explore Barcelona. I quickly became accustomed to the schedule of the Spaniards. Each day you wake up later, be productive for a few hours, eat a big meal, nap, have a semi-productive evening, then go out from 12-6 a.m.
Along with schedules is transportation. You learn quickly the hours of the metro and what time you should make all departures. You know when a taxi is trying to charge you too much, so you begin speaking Spanish and it all works out. I know the Barcelona airport probably better than anyone living here for just the summer would want to.
I knew the way of the hagglers and figured out the bartering system. After being around a time or two, you begin to know the actual prices of things. So, you learn to never pay more than you should.
The bakery down the street knew me and my typical order. The café by school was my hideout between classes, and they never stopped asking me if I wanted coffee. (Duhh I was only there for the beignets and free wifi) I will miss these two places dearly.
Barcelona is my second home. It will forever hold a place in my heart. I studied International Business…internationally. I studied art in the city where many of the most famous artists gained there inspiration. Not many people can say they went to Dali’s house, saw the rocks he was always painting, and kayaked in the cove that was one of his big sources of inspiration in paintings. I lived by one of Gaudi’s biggest masterpieces. I have seen many artists’ work first hand, and now have enough knowledge to interpret these magnificent pieces of work. I learned some Catalan, attended celebrations for one of their largest holidays, and now know much about their culture and political system. The experience of living with females for the first time ever…well, it was an experience. I tried and saw many new and marvelous things. I have lost so much money, but I guarantee I am returning way richer than I could have ever anticipated. While abroad I finally learned the importance of being present, and my how I wouldn’t have changed a minute of this great adventure for anything.