sooo my apartment got robbed at the end of september. fun times, lemme tell ya. but I just got settled into my new laptop and promise to start blogging again!!
"para ponerse en los zapatos del otro, primero hay que quitarnos los nuestros"
So today marks my 19th day here in Barcelona, Spain where I am studying abroad for the semester.
In these past 19 days I have settled into one of the most beautiful cities I have ever seen / lived in. I am ABSOLUTELY IN LOVE with Barca— the people, language(s), culture, art and architecture, lifestyle… I want it all. I already feel so comfortable in the city and often contemplate living here for more than just the 3.5 months I get.
1. My living situation: I’m living in an apartment in the newest part of Barcelona called Poble Nou. During Franco’s dictatorship, this area was all factories. But since I guess the remodeling of the city for the 1992 Olympic games, this has become the most newly renovated and modern part. However, the area is not touristy AT ALL. It is extremely residential and extremely Catalan. It is very obvious when my roomates and I go out that we are foreigners, but this also means that I have gotten a lot of Spanish practice in seeing as very few people here speak English. I am also just a 15 minute walk to the beach. <3
My apartment is AMAZING. Its a 3 bedroom 2 full bath apartment with wood floors, all new stainless steel appliances, air conditioning (rare), washer and dryer (barcelonians air dry everything. literally no one has a dryer. it is considered stupid and superfluous to have one), and a PRIVATE ROOFTOP DECK. That’s right… ima boss.
2. My academic situation: I’m taking classes through CEA Global Campus. My classes are all really interesting and taught by some really awesome professors. Most of these professors teach at the University of Barcelona or other universities in the city as well as being professionals in their field. The course load is pretty light which I appreciate but I am studying things that are extremely beneficial to understanding the city the culture and the people.
I’m taking this one class that’s called Communications and Global Competence which is is all about intercultural communication. We learn techniques to suspend judgement and describe/interpret situations first through various cultural frameworks as well as how to communicate across cultural barriers. This class has really solidified the fact that I want to go into a communications profession (possibly PR) and that my focus throughout my hs / Duke career thus has been intercultural communication (Breakthrough, defMo, and the Office for Integration with DukeEngage). It’s nice to finally be formally studying something that I have been doing for the past couple of years.
3. My travel situation: Thus far I have traveled within Catalunya quite a bit. I have visited Girona, San Pol de Mar (beach town in Costa Brava), Montserrat, the Freixenet Cavah factory just outside Barcelona, and the Pyrenees Mountains. It is such a beautiful region and I can’t wait to explore it more. I also will be going to Munich this weekend for Oktoberfest. My other trips include Paris, Amsterdam, Tarragona, Valenica, Florence, Rome, Granada, and Possibly Ireland. HELLO EUROPE I LOVE YOU.
4. My friend situation: I miss my best friends so much but I have been extremely lucky to be living with some amazing old / new friends. I LOVE MY ROOMIES. There was only one roomie I didn’t know at all before, the others (excluding my best friend from hs and dukie as well Tiff) are sorority sisters that I knew but was never close with. They are amazing and I’m so happy we are living together. Other than that there are a SHIT TON of Duke kids here who some I knew but majority I didn’t so it’s really nice to be making new friends that I can hang out with when we all get back in the Spring! The other students on this program are all really nice and I’ve met a couple that I’d like to be friends with….. but others have questionable levels of intelligence (sorry not sorry).
5. My language situation: Although Barcelona is the capital of Catalunya and they speak Catalan, everyone also speaks Spanish and I have been getting a lot of great practice. A surprisingly small amount of Spaniards speak English so I’ve really had to brush up on my Spanish while I’ve been here. Restaurants and taxi’s serve as the greatest form of practice as well as just hearing it all around you and thinking of how you would communicate for a specific situation should you need to in Spanish. I’m also taking two classes in Spanish which helps quite a bit.
6. My nightlife situation: Clubbing here is RIDICULOUS. Something is happening every night. Not kidding. Monday-Sunday shit is poppin. I go out probably like 3/4 times a week and it is always always amazing. People dance in Europe and I greatly appreciate it. All the bars / clubs along the beach like Opium are great. Though stuff is getting pricey so I’m probably going to have to cut back… but ohh is it fun. Because of our rooftop deck though, its pretty easy to have friends over for some drinks / hookah and have chill nights which I do love just as much as clubbing.
I love all my family and friends all around the world and at home and am missing you all terribly. But for now, Barcelona.
1. Every Duke student who has the opportunity or the time should apply for DukeEngage. It is the single most privileged and amazing experience that Duke provides for its students. The ability to go to a completely new city, state, or country without the stresses of finances, safety, finding a place to stay, or finding a job is beyond rare. We essentially get paid to indulge in a new lifestyle and culture and contribute to a community that has requested some help… FOR FREE. I’ve experienced Dublin and Ireland like I could have never done without DukeEngage, and for that I am forever grateful. Duke rules, your school drools.
2. My new life goal is to travel. Granted, serious money is needed for the type of travel I want to do so I guess I should say my life goal is to make money so that I can travel. There is just so much beauty in this world— so many breathtaking and impressive products of the earth and humans— that not even trying to see them would be sinful. Here’s to traveling the world.
3. I love food. Ohhh how I love food.
4. Life is meaningless unless spent with the family, friends, and people you love. If you can’t share the most spectacular and the most mundane moments with people you love… then what’s the point?
5. The universe is so fucking cool. It’s really calming for me to contemplate the vastness of everything and to know that my life on this earth is all a part of the energy that ties everything together. And although in comparison, our day-to-day lives are so small, they are still significant. To think, the light of our lives travels forever through an infinite universe is crazy. We live forever in our light.
6. I can only drink wine, beer, and whiskey. And the occasional tequila based drink. Cheap ass college vodka has ruined me.
7. I have found a person I want to spend my life with. Who knows if he’s THE person… but if he is, well then I will be very happy.
8. Watching episodes of One Tree Hill, Sex in the City, or Keeping up with the Kardashians over and over again is all the TV I need.
9. I have the BEST friends in the world. Soulmates.
10. Going abroad was the second best decision I ever made. DukeEngage being the first. BARCELONA HERE I COME!!