The process of me leaving America was so abrupt and so different from how I expected it to go. I pulled up to the airport and I expected either my mom or sister to get out and help me with my bags and at least walk me through security. Once I got there my mom said, “Goodbye Marc have fun and text me when you get through airport security.” In my head I was so confused I thought this could not be happening I have two big suitcases and you aren’t going to help me. Although this happened, I honestly think that made me leaving home so much earlier since saying goodbye to my family happened so quickly. I was blessed enough to be on the same flight as one of my best friends from home and ended up making friends in the airport due to my six hour flight delay.
As the plane touched down in Barcelona I could not help but feel beyond excited, yet nervous for what changes would happen in my life over the course of four months. I knew I was going to experience things such as growing up and learning to survive on my own, but due to my personality I wanted to know what these experience were so I could mentally prepare for them. Clearly life does not happen this way. Mentally I was so ready to explore and become with the Catalonian/Spanish lifestyle. Physically I was too tired to process anything about Barcelona along with what it had to offer me upon arriving. The next day I woke up and met up with a few friends that I had went out with a night before and grabbed breakfast.
Barcelona sort of reminds me of home, since it is so urban yet has a few suburban/ cultural parts. I am not sure if that may be a good thing or a bad thing because Slimbach said, “ …emotional dependance is double-edged. Although it may provide vital support, it can easily lead to stagnation in terms of cultural adjusting and learning (160).” I think so far I have been adjusting to the Catalonian lifestyle in terms of taking a siesta because those are the key to success here and trying not to always go to a place where many tourists go and interact with young locals. Some of the young locals here are so nice and always willing to tell you what are the best places to eat or go to in order to have a great night.
So far the communitas I have a around me is big there is about 16 of us. We all support each other and are willing to try new things that are not “touristy.” I love the fact that these bonds formed are so strong since with all came in with open minds and let our guard down. There has been some situations where Slimbach would see as double edged. For example, often times we break off into little groups and make a little plan for the day, but no one sees a problem with that which makes me happy because that doesn’t cause drama amongst our group.
I am not understanding the whole concept of the liminal state. In this state you are very vulnerable and experience things such as tricksters and tough challenges that make you want to take the next flight home. After getting settled in my room I decided to go find one of my friends, Nadia, that I met the night before. Usually in America if I don’t know where I am going I would just get directions on my iPhone and begin my journey. That day I had no data, no idea of how to take the metro, but decided to go on an adventure. Finding her was so difficult because she lived on some street that ran throughout the city. I am blessed enough to be a Spanish minor so asking for directions wasn’t hard for me, but I think it was the fact that people in Barcelona are not good at giving directions. Most just point and say the famous terms that I have grown to love, “Vale!” I kind of wanted to give up and go back to my room, but I decided not to I took this as my opportunity to grow up and get to learn the area since she was only two stops away. Eventually I found her and we enjoyed an amazing lunch at a local Spanish restaurant. I learned how privileged I was to have data and just go on with my life, but I also learned that sometimes you need to unplug from certain things to be in touch with your area.
Everyday I have decided to do something new whether it is take the metro somewhere and walk around or see something touristy. Through this I have discovered so much about Barcelona and the beauty it has to offer along with the great food and music. I try to do something after class everyday to keep myself busy and escape what Slimbach calls paradoxical living.
This picture is of me and my friend Nadia looking out at our new home. The two of us have experienced so much together and cannot wait to officially call this place our city. I have just become so grateful of everything I have been able to see and experience here and this picture sums up all of it so far.