So at this point I’m sure it’s determined I’m a wordy person. So I figured I would let a list do the talking for me (thanks for the inspiration countless BuzzFeed articles I read).
Here are some of the reasons why I inevitably fell in love with Barcelona, my home for exactly four months.
10. The tapas
So I’m putting tapas at number 10 because really I have a love-hate relationship with them. As a girl with a mighty fast metabolism and a hearty appetite I can’t really consider tapas anything more than a snack. But I’m not going to lie, I’m going to end up missing those patatas bravas, calamares a la plancha, jamon and the Catalan messiah of all bread: pan amb tomaquet.
9. The beach bum life
For all my lovely friends who were in Evanston this fall quarter let this sink in; I was at the beach tanning on October 30. Yes you read that correctly, that was not even two full months ago. I can truly say that I was a lucky girl because there aren’t too many fall study abroad locations that have beautiful beaches lining an entire side of the city.
8. Catalan culture
As much as I found the Catalan culture and language somewhat different from what I expected, it was quite an experience to be in a region of the world so different from anything else I will probably ever encounter. If I ever thought American patriotism was strong I was only proved wrong by seeing how Catalan pride isn’t something you just take on every Independence Day. Having pride in Catalunya, its language and its culture is a way of life for the Catalans.
7. The classes
So I don’t have a picture for this one because well who really takes pictures of themselves in class? But as much as I complained about the lack of structure in some of my courses it was a nice change of pace to be in classes that didn’t give you midterms every two weeks. One of the perks of being directly enrolled in university courses is that professors acknowledge the difficulty you might be having as an American student and they in turn become very flexible with their expectations and assignments.
Before coming to Barcelona I didn’t have much interest in architecture. That’s until I saw what Antoni Gaudí managed to do in one city. His buildings and parks are truly places that continue to mesmerize me. To be honest, it will be quite odd not to look out my dorm’s kitchen and see the meticulous nativity façade of the Sagrada Familia as I cook my mediocre food.
5. The nightlife
As a 20-year-old college student I couldn’t talk about my experience in Barcelona without mentioning the nightlife, of which is amazing. Although it may come off as me claiming I was a clubbing extraordinaire, it really was the quite the opposite. I would only go out an average of maybe once of twice every two weeks at the most. But when I did go out, the nights never failed me. Of all places I’ll be missing my beloved Razzmatazz the most, the grungy club a block away from my dorm that gave me some of the most fun but hardly remembered times.
To say I am a well traveled person would probably be a little much, but in the matter of four months I did manage to fly to five different European cities and in all explored a total of 10 different cities. Although I went through a big chunk of my savings (I paid for every single trip with my own money because it’s not like my parents have money to blow), it was completely worth all the expenses I made. It was truly amazing to do it all on my own or with the companionship of friends and see what traveling on a budget can get you.
3. Making Catalan friends
Part of the reason I was able to appreciate Catalan culture was because I was lucky enough to create friendships with local students. They were relationships consumed by constant questioning as I asked them questions about Catalan and Spanish culture and they asked me questions about American culture. But beyond that, they were people who made me feel comfortable in a place that took me a long time to get acclimated to.
2. Volunteering as an English tutor
One of the experiences I will forever remain thankful for was the opportunity to volunteer as an English tutor at a Barcelona elementary school. I got to work alongside 7-year-olds with rather hostile attitudes towards practicing their English and with that became somewhat emotionally attached to a group of kids who never failed on asking me if I was Chinese.
1. Being able to capture it all
One of the most important things I set out on doing when I realized I was going to be in Barcelona was to become the embodiment of my grandfather’s nickname “El Turista.” I wanted to capture every single one of my adventures either via pictures or this blog. But more importantly I wanted to visit all the places I knew my abuelito would visit had he had the opportunity. Overall, I think I may have made him proud.