Hasta Luego, Barcelona
Barcelona. In one word? I don't know how to describe that. In one word, I could say Barcelona was new. A whole new world for me different from what I've lived so far. Away from home. Away from my family. But in the same way it was like home as well. Walking through the city was almost like walking down the streets of Manhattan to me. Having my eyes wander off to the street art and getting excited at the sight of coffee (my greatest weakness). Waking up and rushing to the metro to get to school felt so familiar to my life at home. Going to all these new places and striking up conversations with strangers felt like a second nature of mine; one I never realized I had. Barcelona was both hectic and calming. The rush of exploring this new city as time was running out, but every afternoon time would seem to stop as I'd sit at the terrace eating dinner while talking to my host mom. If I had to describe my experience in Barcelona I'd have to create a whole new dictionary because I've felt so much over this trip that it's hard to pinpoint one specific definition. There was this rush of excitement and a swarm of nervousness in me at the same time. Yet, in the end the excitement won over me and I ended up having one of the best summers of my life in Barcelona.
Throughout this one month in Barcelona, so much has happened that it becomes hard to list them in order. In my heart, Costa Brava will always hold a special part for me as it was one of those places I took a great risk that ended up turning into a great memory and good friendship. People always say to jump and see if you swim or drown. I actually did that. I literally jumped into the water, with no idea what I was doing whatsoever, and I learnt how to swim. The strangeness of this memory always makes me smile as I remember Ari holding on to me smiling as I struggled in learning how to swim. If I were telling this to someone logical they would look at me like I'm crazy and what I did was stupid. It probably was I could admit that, but it was important to me as well. It was important for me to teach myself that sometimes decisions can't always be made in an analytical style with outweighing every pro and con. Sometimes decisions that are made in a haste are the ones that pay off the most and mean the most to you.
Moreover, Barcelona taught me that sometimes choosing to do something that you don't want to also pays off. Like the time I was hesitant to go to the Picasso Museum because honestly I was never a big fan of Picasso or his style of work. Picasso’s work never seemed attractive to me and I could never feel something looking at his work. It just felt empty, but after visiting his museum that all seems to have changed. There are so many paintings that Picasso has done that I didn't even know about and they're all so beautiful. Visiting the museum really opened my eyes to Picasso and his work. He did countless paintings revolving around portraits, landscapes, and daily life in the city and he also did ceramics with his own strange twist. Wandering around the museum it felt like I was in touch with him and I could see a greater message in his paintings than I could before. In all, I'd definitely recommend going to check out the Picasso Museum if you'd ever visit Barcelona because it is just so beautiful and even if the paintings don't interest you, the beautiful architecture of the area will definitely impress you.
In the last week of my trip, I decided to hike up all the way to Los Bunkers del Carmel to watch the sunset. It was a lot of work and kind of painful as well as I didn't think this through and wore sandals all the way up. However, it was worth it one hundred percent. This is probably the gazillionth time I'm saying this, but it was BEAUTIFUL!!! From there, you could see the whole city and after walking around for quite some time I plunked myself down and started to write. Suddenly, at such a great height my emotions started going to new heights as well. As I sat there, watching the sky change colors, I felt a wave of pride, sadness, and happiness. Pride because I made it in Barcelona. Sadness as I'd have to leave in a few days and happiness because I had the chance to live here in Barcelona and I made the best of it. I can still remember that feeling and I think a majority of it was pride. That I came here. That I lived here. And that I had a great time because the thing I've learnt through my travels is that a great time doesn't just come out of anywhere; it comes from you and your choices. Whether you choose to take the risk or not. Whether you choose to try something new or not. Whether you choose to keep a positive attitude or not. In the end, I kept myself happy because the truth is even I had some bad days where I could've easily been dissuaded, but I wasn't. I held onto my optimism and looked for the best out of every situation. At last, all I can do is thank Barcelona and the people at CIEE for not only giving me this chance to explore a new city, but letting me have a taste of what life in Barcelona is like.
For the last two weekends, students have had the opportunity to visit Empuries, the site of ancient Greek and Roman ruins. On the same day, they spent some time kayaking... keep reading