Barcelona is not Murcia. Yes, I am fully aware that this is a statement that would be evident to most literate human beings that retain cognitive function, but for me it is a relatively important statement. Barcelona is not Murcia. Coffee in Murcia is 50 cents; coffee in Barcelona is 2 euro. Bars in Murcia are comfortable and welcoming and around every corner and lack an entrance fee; bars in Barcelona are few and far between and more formal and charge an entrance fee more than the average college student can afford. I can get you wherever you need to go in Murcia almost without hesitation; in Barcelona I need a map. I don’t have to watch out for pickpockets in Murcia because it’s one of the safest places in Spain and the people are (yes I know I sound naïve) on the whole, good people; in Barcelona I have to keep my hand over my bag and in front of me not hanging to my side. In Murcia I know exactly where all the best places are to eat, whether you want a kebab or tapas, and I know when they close; in Barcelona I have to walk and wonder and hope I pick a decent place to eat that doesn’t cost me the blood of a unicorn and my first born child. Murcia may not be a landmark city of Spain, nor does it have many more sights than the Cathedral and the Roman Theatre, but Murcia is home. To quote Goldilocks, Murcia is just right. The perfect size, the perfect people, the perfect place for me at this time in my life. Truly, I don’t know how I got so lucky as to live here, but God knows I’ve enjoyed every single minute of it. Barcelona is truly one of the most beautiful cities I’ve seen in Spain, if not ever, but it will never be home. It’s too big for my taste. For any of you who have been to Portugal, I’m the kind of girl that would absolutely love to live in Porto but would rather not live in Lisbon. The size, the tourism, the prices, none of it makes me want to call a place like that home. In short, beautiful to visit, but for me, never to live in.
Want to hear something scary? Every time I go to a new place, my first thought is whether or not I would be willing to live there. Ky noticed it on our first day in Barcelona, I looked at the city as not only a new adventure but also a prospective next step. I catch myself saying things like, “Well, when I live in Portugal, I want to live in Porto, because..” and realize the kind of life I’ve been blessed enough to live while simultaneously coming to the conclusion that there is no way on God’s green earth that I will be able to stay in one place for a very, very long time. Countries in which I plan on living include: Germany, Spain again, Portugal, Brazil, Australia etc. The list of countries I want to visit…. Pretty much all of the countries…. Ever. But that’s the thing; I’m 20 years old and in my life I’ve been all over the States and have thus far visited 11 countries. How many 20 year olds get to say that? I personally blame mom, she started me traveling on my own when I was 7 years old. Don’t get me wrong, I know at some point I’m supposed to grow up and settle down and make life happen, but I think maybe for me, settling down is something I’m going to do over and over again, all over the world, and I will love and appreciate it more and more every time. How could you not?
There’s something about traveling that gives you so much more perspective than anything else ever could. On the one hand, there is the sentiment that traveling the world shows you what a small part you really play in the grand scheme of things, and while that is truly humbling and an absolutely overwhelming idea that I have come to accept and even embrace (because obviously that means whatever problems I have can only really be so big), it is not really representative enough of my view on travel. It makes me feel big. Significant. Important. Things happen when you travel. Friendships are formed that never could have existed otherwise. Horizons are broadened. Yes, absolutely, travel is humbling and shows you how small you can be, but it can also show you the astronomical effect you can have on the world, even if only little by little. Yesterday I met and exchanged numbers with a guy named Miguel, who just so happened to take Ky and I’s order at McDonald’s. I began ordering in Spanish and by the end of it he asked me where he was from, because he couldn’t tell if I was from elsewhere in Spain or from out of the country. First off, I was floored. As a linguist (nerdy as it sounds) that’s literally the best compliment you can get. After talking to him for a bit he told us he was learning English and had been to the States several times. The kid’s English is fantastic, by the way. Anyway, he got my number and we’ve been talking ever since, about travel and language and life and meeting up sometime, because he was precious and we have so much to learn from each other. How FREAKIN AWESOME is that? All because I walked up to his register at McDonald’s.
Speaking of the effects travel can have on the traveler and the world around them, Be is freaking leaving me. LEAVING ME. I know I’ve mentioned her several times throughout this blog, but for those of you who don’t know, Be is the first friend Er and I made when we came to Spain. And the bitch is leaving me. Let’s see, how to paint an adeaquate picture of Abbe with just words.. Be is a solid like 5 feet flat. Her hair game is even stronger than mine, basically imagine a Persian princess and you’ve got your mental image. Gorgeous. And then she’s like the nicest person you’ll ever meet. Don’t you hate those kind of people? Be is precious. She’s all of the joy in the world embodied in one little person. She’s the kind of girl who you can have the deepest possible talks with but then she jumps around the room dancing like a psychopath and doesn’t care who sees. She’s the girl who sees you across the street and instead of a casual wave, you get this adorable little creature jumping up and down waving and waiting for the cars to pass so she can run up to you and give you a huge hug considering how tiny of a person she is. Be is a huge part of the reason I had such an amazing time in Spain, and I’m truly so much more than blessed to have met her. Luckily she goes to school a few hours away from Er and I, so road trips will be taken, I’m not even worried about it. The Dynamic Duoz will be reunited, and sooner rather than later.
Alright so I guess I’ll actually talk about Barcelona now, huh? Ky and I got 2 hours of sleep and took the 6:30 train from Hell from Murcia to Barca. We arrived around 1.30 and took the metro to our impossible-to-find hostel, where for the first night I was the only girl in the damn place. The owner was an exceptionally friendly Scottish guy who showed us where to go and how to get there (thank God, because Lord knows Ky and I need all the help we can get to get around). We hit pretty much everything we planned to the first day, including the Boqueria – a famous Spanish market that just so happens to have the best chocolate delicacies ever tasted by mankind ever – and then a magnificent park with beautiful works of art placed sporadically throughout which was truly breathtaking. Day two involved a lot more tram travel to get to Camp Nu – the FC Barcelona stadium , the Olympic Arena from the 1992 Olympics, and Park Guell, a park that took Kyle and I about 37 years to find and was subsequently remotely underwhelming considering all the effort that went into finding the damn thing. Also it was hot and there were a lot of stairs, so that may have had something to do with it. Yesterday Ky and I slept in and went to the beach for awhile – he got to put his feet in the Mediterranean for the first time! We soon realized how tired we were and went back to the hostel for a quick nap. Post nap, Ky and I went to a bar to watch the game and then grabbed dinner (at a few different places, actually – but we made sure Ky got his beer from McDonald’s, more for the principal of the matter than anything else). We grabbed some coffee and headed back to the hostel, where I started to study and Ky got ready to go out with some friends of mine. After they’d been out a few hours I got a message asking me to meet them for a bit, and they didn’t have to ask me twice (I was so over studying by that point I thought my brain was going to fall out – it’s small, it can’t handle much) so I headed out to meet Ky and Jake and co. We went to some super cool bar that served super cool drinks with super cool straws – mine looked like a dog bowl, which Ky and Jake enjoyed immensely – and talked with the rest of the group for awhile before heading out and eventually heading back to their hostel to play some pool and ping pong and relax before we all headed to bed (at 5am mind you, because this is Spain). Ky and I were up by 10:30 today because la vida es una putada and we had to catch our noon train back to Murcia. I currently sit 3 hours into said super fun train ride, with a little over four hours to go. I’ve only been gone 4 days and I already miss Murcia like crazy. Suffice it to say in three weeks, marbles will be lost. LOST, PEOPLE. But I refuse to think about that, I am currently living in denial and let me tell you it is a WONDERFUL place to live, almost as great as Murcia.
The word of the day is actually going to be a sentence and instead of Spanish it will be German, because that’s what I’ve been studying most recently: Wir koennen es schaffen. Basically, it means “We can do it.” To be honest, I’m not sure it’s an entirely true statement, but with the impending finals I figured I’d try to offer some sort of encouragement type thing… or something. Good luck my Spanish lovelies, we got this <3
Till next time
PS. So I wrote this two days ago and since then, I have tried and failed to get Ky to Librilla for the FOURTH time this week - mind you this time it was because I had us on the COMPLETELY WRONG TRAIN, walked both Be and Ky to the bus station at some ungodly hour of the night, eaten and drank away my sorrows with Palomitas and Desperados, and watched a beautiful sunset over one of my favorite places in the world with a pretty awesome person. As hard as it will be to leave these people and this amazing place, I'm realizing that I will see them again, and all I can do is enjoy what little time I have left with some of the coolest people you or I could ever have been blessed enough to have met.
I wrote this blog while living in Spain my second year of college - figured it wouldn't hurt to share.