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Barcelona week 4

I’ve noticed some interesting, and different, things about living in Barcelona for one month- 3 of which come to mind as I write this (If you want to skip the rant, skip the next 3 paragraphs).

One, is that every cultural difference is fascinating. For example, I was talking to my friend Lorenzo (from Italy) about Socialism, Palestine vs. Israel, and Guantanamo Bay. He says that in Italy they are pro socialism. It is so interesting because in the U.S., we are taught that socialism has never worked, bad leaders rise in the ranks, the economy worsens. However, Lorenzo said that it did help with inequality. All I could think about was that Benito Mussolini was a dictator, and killed so many Italians. However, I do think that socialism on paper makes sense; however, it has never historically worked, and probably won’t in the future. Lorenzo also sided with Palestine more than Israel, though the U.S. has always help Israel.

Along those lines, I have noticed that every American I have met thinks that America is the best country in the world. This has really annoyed me, and I can tell it annoys the locals (or foreigners) that I have encountered in this situation. Many Americans are so closed minded by our flaws because all we can think about it “’Merica.” Now, I want to specify that I love my country, and really am patriotic and thankful for the opportunities it has given me. However, if we are globally ranked 17th in reading and 32nd in math, and continually take money away from our schools, how can we brag that we give the best education? We spend so much on foreign aid, which I personally think can be excessive, and yet our economy, unemployment rate, and infrastructure is still not up to par with other countries. I think that every culture and country runs things differently, and some (yes, just some) may do it better than the U.S. (though, I have to again reiterate, I love my country, just not some of the egocentric people).

The last couple things I have noticed are that everyone is short, and everyone stares. There have been plenty of times where my 5’9’’ self has almost had to duck under a doorway, or where I look around and am a full head above everyone. There have also been times (or, basically, every time I leave the residencia) where people just stare at you. And stare. And stare. Here, it’s not rude, or awkward. I know I don’t look ridiculously attractive or obviously American with my darker features. People just have no shame staring.

Anyway, a couple of really cool things happened this week. On Tuesday, I went to a “fashion show” at the W hotel! The W hotel is a 25 floor hotel that sits right at the coast of the beach. And okay, it wasn’t really a fashion show. But there were designers there of the brand MarcLuis (spelling?) and the fashion slow was a slideshow. But the view was beyond incredible. Eclipse is on the 24th floor of the W hotel, and so we saw the city bright up at night with incredible views. They played excellent music, and me and Fred almost snuck into the VIP section. There were a lot of older people there, so it was a little different crowd than I was expecting, but it was still very cool. 

On Thursday, I decided to go on an adventure and see the beach at sunset. I just sat there and watched the crazy surfers (surfing in January?) and enjoyed the view. A dog even came up to me on the beach and sat next to me for a minute, so I got to pet and love it while enjoying the sunset. 

I got to see some of my best friends back home this week. They are both studying abroad in Barcelona, though they live on the other side of the city. On Thursday night we went out with them and had a crazy night filled with the police randomly stopping us on the street, meeting a lot of my other friends, and dancing the night away. The next day we went to Port Vell, got gelato, and walked around La Rambla. Then, on Sunday, we got Kebab together and again went to Port Vell and walked around the Gothic quarter. 

The best part of my week came on Saturday. After having a calm night in, cooking Salmon, brussels sprouts, and rice with Sammy, then watching Super Troopers, I woke up at 5:15 in the morning to go on an all day trip to France! The trip was so cheap because I went through a promoter, and it was the best and cheapest way to see France. I slept on the bus, but woke up in time to watch the sunrise over the mountains. We got to Narbonne at around 10, and it was beautiful (but cold). We started off the tour by going to a Cathedral that was built in the 14th century, next to a tower built in the 9th century. We went in and it was one of the most beautiful churches I have ever seen. The high walls, images, detailing, and stained glass were unmatchable. We also went to some underground storage parlors, where they used to store salted meat. It was even colder down there, and really creepy- it reminded me of the catacombs in Italy. Sammy, Lauren, and I then went and found some freshly made delicious Nutella crepes- the best I’ve had in my life. We then went shopping and went to this cute French café.

After Narbonne, we then travelled to Montpellier. Unfortunately, it was raining the entire time we were there, though the city still managed to be beautiful. The tour took us to a majestic church, walked around the city, past fountains and plazas and beautiful places. It was hard to hear to tour guide because of the rain, but it was still nice to walk around. After the tour, we found a place to eat. I got a really good sandwich with French fries, and we had calamari to start. We then went shopping (I bought a shot glass for my collection), and just walked and took pictures. Great day :) 

The only disappointing this about this week was that my plans to watch the Super bowl with 3 different groups of people failed, and I (unknowingly) fifth wheeled my friends to dinner and a bar. But if those are my only complaints, I am obviously still living the dream.

 

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