I am really glad that my school decided to start me off slowly. Everyone else I know in the program started a full day on Monday, and I have been going off and exploring the town. I am excited to start school, of course… but I am also extremely excited to explore Barcelona!
Tuesday morning I agreed to meet with my tutor to be introduced to the classes briefly and be shown around the school. The school is such a maze! There are millions of flights of stairs going every which way; it will definitely take me some time to get used to it. I guess the original buildings were houses that they converted into the school which gives it a very unique feel. My tutor took me to one class after another, telling the students who I am and that they cannot speak castellano or catalan to me, only English. I waved awkwardly at them all, wondering how this year would go. I only have experience teaching high school students, but this year I will be working with students as young as 3 years old. Gulp. I don’t know what it is about small children that intimidates me… but I guess we will find out.
By the end of all of the introductions I was exhausted. I took a small nap when I got home and then decided to explore a little bit more of Barcelona since I had a few hours before I needed to meet with the family. I looked up a few locations on Trip Advisor and decided on trying one of their “suggested iteneries.” There was one called Barcelona’s Secret Block that sounded intriguing so I tried mapping it out by metro and then headed off. Once I got to the location I did my best to find the buildings and specific areas that Trip Advisor pointed out but ended up walking around in circles. Without an internet connection (and very little patience) it was extremely difficult so I finally decided to just head off in a random direction and hope for the best.
I ended up at the Parc de la Ciutadella, which is a very large and beautiful park near the ocean in Barcelona. I did not see much of it, but after a few minutes of wandering around aimlessly I came across this gorgeous fountain that took my breath away. Sometimes I guess it pays to just go with the flow. I decided to spend some time there and ordered a cappuccino and just sat there in front of it, taking in the fact that I am in Spain. That little fact seems to allude me daily… it is so surreal. But there it is. I am in a completely different country on my own, and everything I have experienced so far has been amazing. I feel so blessed.
I sat there for awhile taking it all in, sipping on my cappuccino, and also reading from the book “Eat, Pray, Love” (I thought it to be a smart choice in reading material considering the situation). After some time, I decided to walk around some more and see what else I would discover.
And then I found the Arc du Triomf. So beautiful and majestic, yet simple. There was a gentleman blowing large bubbles, which seems to happen at all of the main monuments in Spain (I also saw something similar at Plaça de Catalunya). I don’t know why, but seeing it all… the trees, the street performers, the tourists, the beautiful palm trees, and of course the monument itself… it just transports me to a very happy place.
I found a small cafe nearby and decided to have a sangria and a sandwich while I continued to enjoy the monument. Toward the end of my meal, I heard a loud peal of thunder… I haven’t heard thunder in years! But then I realized I forgot to bring an umbrella (the weather said it would rain but it had been sunny most of the day), so I finished up my meal and got onto the subway.
I exited at my station and felt the rain pouring down harder than I have felt in a long, long time. Everyone was hiding underneath the overhangs or staying in the station, but who knew how long the rain would last? I shrugged and decided to trek home, smiling as the rain drenched my clothes. I arrived home dripping wet… If I was back home in America, this would have ruined my day. But something about doing this in Spain… no problem at all. I have noticed that I have this overall feeling of contentment ever since I have come here, and I hope that it doesn’t go away.