International Travel

Truly Drifting into Exploration

When your phone gets stolen a part of you disappears.  My phone was my comfort object, especially in Spain. I was completely dependent on my phone. My phone had Google Maps (offline) of Barcelona and the surrounding areas.  It had Google Translate with Spanish and Catalan (offline).  It had my Spotify playlist (offline) as well as WhatsApp (where I kept in contact with my host family here in Spain).  My phone had thousands of photos and lots of useful information written in my Notes.  What happens when you leave your phone in your back pocket for 5 minutes?  It gets stolen.  Just like that.

I was out in Barcelona having a good night with some (new) friends and boom!  I noticed my phone was missing within 2 minutes of it happening. But there was no rewind button to push. The thief and I went in opposite directions (as he undoubtedly planned).  And what would I have said to him if I did chase after him?  It was such an unfortunate thing to have happen.  But it’s life.  And I wasn’t injured.  I brought an old iPod with me from home and have been using that for WiFi when I can.  I think this week I’m also going to buy a cheap flip phone to keep in contact with people here.

Since this awful event, I have explored more of Spain.  I took the RENFE train an hour North and visited Vic, Spain.  It’s a different climate and landscape than in Barcelona.  The true beauty of Spain is shown in this mountainous, green region. Some of it reminded me of home. I met up with a friend, Sara, and she showed me around her hometown and surrounding areas. We went out to a couple pubs and met with some of her friends.  Good people & good vibes. I even tried paella (traditional Spanish dish) for the first time since being in Spain.  I can’t say enough about the food in Spain.  It’s simply amazing. The traveling gave me a little bit of anxiety since I didn’t have my phone maps for that reassurance.  I was second guessing everything and it was hard because if I were to try to ask someone, HOW would I go about it?  I doubt myself more than I probably should.

On the topic of food, Spain is wonderful.  Last week I had tapas for the first time and I was not disappointed! There are some main differences I’ve noticed with food (comida) here.  First, the Spanish love their tomatoes.  The tomato sauce used on pastas is similar to what we use as tomato paste in the States.  It’s a lot more full of tomato flavor than spaghetti sauce, for example. One of the common foods is “Pan con tomate” which is “bread with tomato” smeared on it, topped with olive oil and salt.  So simple, yet so delicious. Yogurt is viewed as dessert here.  WHAT?!  At home I eat yogurt ALL the time; for breakfast, for a mid-day or midnight snack, or after a workout session.  But here they view it as a dessert.  It’s so interesting because I thought yogurt was viewed as a healthy thing not an unhealthy thing.  The milk and eggs are on the shelf like normal items, instead of in the refrigerated areas. Furthermore, the coffee.  If you order a coffee, it will be smaller than you probably imagined.  They drink their coffee here as an expresso. I was never a coffee drinker before coming to Spain, but I’ve learned to enjoy the taste, and the alert feeling afterwards.  Lastly, JAMON. Jamon (ham) is the most common food here.  Jamon serrano is a common variation of ham that is dry, yet so tasty.    I could go on and on about the food because there is so much and it’s all so yummy.  I might have to dedicate an entire blog post to food in the future.

I’ve caught myself wondering why I’m here.  I’ve had some really tough moments and I just question why I moved to Barcelona in the first place.  I know why I’m here though.  I’m here to experience a new culture and learn the Spanish way.  I want to open up more doors for myself, gain new knowledge.  It’s just a lot different and harder than I ever imagined.  One month in and I’m thinking that the Spanish lifestyle is not my first choice.  However, why should I shut it out just because I don’t think it’s my style?  Or is it not my style because I don’t know the language? I guess this is how we learn as people.  We put ourselves in places that might not be our favorite and we grow.  We learn.  Who knows?  Maybe I’m speaking too soon and I’ll learn to love the lifestyle here.  After all, I already love the food!

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