November 6, 2008

The Last Day. The Final Adios.

They just put these up on a bunch of poles down in Plaza Catalunya and I couldn't resist taking a photo as it seemed a perfect design way to send me off...I love the graphic icon of Barcelona (from left to right at the top of those globule things are the silos of: MNAC, Christopher Columbus statue, the "needle" on top of Montjuic, Sagrada Familia, two towers that are down by the water at Port Olimpic and the funny-looking Agbar Tower)

I am incredulous that I am sitting here in Aroma Cafe for the last time of my stay here in Barcelona; in awe, in fact, that I am typing what will be my last blog posting from Spain. I never thought this day would come, or I did, just not what seems so soon. When I first arrived and was looking out the window of the bus and thinking "how did I even GET here?", November 7th wasn't even a blip on the radar of "near future". Even a month ago, it seemed fairly close but not realistically close. Now? Well look what happened, my trip is done, my 79 day stay here is over, and I am off to the airport with my FULLY stuffed suitcase tomorrow morning.

Without a doubt I can say that this trip has been the experience of a lifetime and if I had second thoughts about it at any time during the year (which I know I did), I am glad I ignored them and decided to come anyway. The things I have seen, learned, heard, smelled and tasted have all been amazing (well not all, but MOST). The journey to a country where I knew no one and didn't know the language all too well was an experiment in mental toughness and I think I came out fairly unscathed. There were definitely times when I longed for things very American; a good brunch, peanut butter, English speakers at transportation terminals, warm water that I don't need to "heat" first, and a small myriad of other things I am sure I will notice once I get back.

In terms of getting everything I wanted out of this journey while being here, I can confidently say I have. This also seems like it has been the biggest "field trip" of my life. I just hope my memory can retain all that I have learned and taken in; especially my Spanish. Though I am definitely not fluent by any means, I feel much more confident about talking to people and asking about things; I've even been watching "Anatomía de Grey" with my flatmates and have come to understand MOST of what's going on (though its still strange to me not hearing the REAL Cristina or George's voice) though I'm excited to watch it in English.

A few people have been asking me what my feelings are about coming home. I remember right before I arrived to Barcelona and wondering that same thing, what would I be thinking on November 6th? Well, I can say that I am ready to come back to the States. I feel very fortunate that I was able to do this for myself and seen what I have but "real life" calls and I am ready to: go back to working fulltime, seeing my friends and Matt, picking up my cell phone to call people whenever I want (without having to do the math of the time difference), being able to dry my clothes in a dryer and not on a clothesline where I pray to god that the neighbors above don't empty their buckets of water, knowing how to read all of the menus in any restaurant I may go into, not having to inhale second hand smoke (like I am right at this very mooment) in all public places, drinking water from the faucet and overall living in New York City!

In case anyone was wondering this is a quick list of things that I have accumulated since being here:

• 6 times I have gone to the Sagrada Familia
• 10 times I will have been to the Barcelona Airport (I am up to 9 now and tomorrow morning will make the 10th)
• 4 flatmates I have had since living here
• over 2500 photos I have taken since leaving JFK Airport
• 2 articles of clothing I have dropped from the clothesline - but retrieved with the handle of the broom
• 9 flats I looked at when needing a place to live
• too many to count are the number of olives I have eaten
• 5 friends/family I was lucky enough to see while being over here
• 1 trip I will never forget

I want to thank all of you who have been reading this blog since I came here. Thank you for your kind words in either the comments or in your emails you have sent me. It means SO much that my friends and family have been reading and 'seeing' what I have been doing; it feels good to have "been in touch" even if I haven't physically seen or talked to anyone.

Signing off from Barcelona for the last time...

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