Travelogue 4: “Studying Abroad…It`s More Than Just a Walk In The park” by Dejanay Richardson. Barcelona, Spain

The walk I took for this travelogue was an eye- opening experience. Since I used the walk as my “teacher”, I did not try to impose my opinions, religious affiliations, or political standpoints on anyone else. During this walk, I made sure to be observant of my surroundings. One of the norms that I have seen that is the most popular here is how people spend quality time in each other`s presence during lunch time. In Barcelona, the word “lunch time” has no correlation to sitting at a cubicle and eating. It is a time to spend at least 2 hours with family or friends at a restaurant and share laughs, jokes, and personal experience. Back at home in New York, people consume food on the go and do not set time aside for this quality time unless it a part of a national holiday (Thanksgiving, Christmas, etc). I am starting to get accustomed to the fact that here eating alone is deemed as a don’t. However, if I am alone, I should consider reading a newspaper, since many elderly Catalonians do this during lunch or breakfast.

As I crossed the street to head down Las Ramblas going towards the La Catedral de Barcelona, I felt more alert because my program had warned us about pickpocketers in this area. Besides this part, I did notice that the streets became lumpier. This is due to the fact that in Placa Catalunya, the old city resonates here. The old city refers to the term of the city the Romans established here over 2,000 years ago called Barcino. Around PlaCatalunyayna you can find streets that are lined with cobble brinks instead of concrete pavement. Along with this, the buildings are made out of bricks that slaves once built to house Romans and other immigrants thousands of years ago. To see this antique architecture really solidified the historical history of Barcelona, and how the modernization of Barcelona reflects the progress of the business of travel and tourism.

The most beautiful thing that stood out to me is people`s expressions towards their partners. Barcelona is an accepting city overall, and the locals really pride themselves on intimate relationships. Whenever I saw people meeting up with others, they would always give two or three kisses on the cheek. This was a cultural shock because Americans value personal space and rejecting too much PDA. This was an aspect of the “teacher” from this walk because I learned that expressing love never needs to be a private thing. As a more reserved person, I always thought an expression of love and strong emotions are dealt privately, however in Barcelona, expression of emotions are a strong value. Yet the locals show these emotions to really close friends or family. When I walk along Laiteain, which is a street that runs parallel to CEA Academic building, locals usually give me stares of curiosity without pleasant smiles.

On a personal level, during my walk people would come up to me to ask me a question or try to help me out. Around Placa Catalunya, there is an area called Passeig de Gracia. This area can only be compared to a smaller sized 5th avenue in New York. It has high and low-end stores. If you walk north, there is a metro stop that goes toward my building called Sagrada Familia. This street is lined with tall trees and old post lamps that still work. When I was trying to figure out how to get a pass for the metro stop at Passeig de Gracia, a local was trying to tell me how to operate the machine. However, because of my pre-dispositions about strangers in a foreign country I, at first, ignored him. When I later saw his sincerity I opened up and was quite happy to have someone help me. Slimbach talks about the dangers of being too friendly with locals in Chapter 7. My reflective attitude towards the man who was trying to help me supports Slimbach`s point “Many of those we meet in the community will exude an easy friendliness and be genuinely interested in encouraging and helping us. Others are intent on one thing and only one thing: fleecing culturally naive travelers”. Since I did not want to be taken advantage of, my initial reaction was to flee and dismantle the situation. Although this experience taught me that sometimes it is okay to open up while being cautious of the people around you. I am happy to say that Barcelona is a considerably safe country, and I am starting to understand the ways of the people who live here.

While these cultural experiences in Barcelona are great, my travelogue, Driving Over Lemons: Optimist in Spain,  has given me quite a different perspective on traveling to a different country. The author of this book, Chris Stewart, has set out to El Valero with his wife Ana in search of a new life. Originally from London, his wife questions his antics to abruptly moving to a sheep farm in Spain. The movement of a big city like London to a sheep farm must have definitely put him in a liminal state. In  El Valero,  the sights and smells are quite different from the United Kindom. The farmland is vast with sheep manure, and like most people who start their travels, Chris Stewart is exasperated my excitement of the big move. With new neighbors, and a new setting it just reflects on the ways that separation is world wind on new emotions. However, Chris, in this case, choose to separate for a new purpose in his life, which mirrors the transitions of life that everyone goes through. In sum, the travelogue demonstrates the emotional, behavioral, and cognitive effects through the Rites of Passage.

Lastly, the picture I choose here demonstrates the “teacher” as being my walk of incorporation in the civilization because I get a sense of scenic environment here. Back at home, the smells filled with nature and the effervescent sun is a part of my overall global experience. I am happy to say that I am getting accustomed to my surroundings. In this photo I was walking on mount Tibidado on sunset hike, which made me tap into my emotional feelings that I have been experiencing. I am glad I went on this trip.

 

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The “teacher” of the walk. Spring/Fall 2016

Slimbach, Richard (2012-03-12). Becoming World Wise: A Guide to Global Learning (Kindle Locations 3441-3443). Stylus Publishing. Kindle Edition.

 

 

 

 

 

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2 thoughts on “Travelogue 4: “Studying Abroad…It`s More Than Just a Walk In The park” by Dejanay Richardson. Barcelona, Spain

  1. Hello! Here in Italy I see that there are very similar customs to Barcelona! I too am so surprised by the amount of affection that is not only accepted in Europe, but also encouraged! I find it shocking sometimes to see couples taking a few minutes in the street to kiss on their walk to/from home and how touchy some people are when you first meet them. I think it is quite the change from America but at times I find this custom heartwarming.

    I also noticed that eating here is a HUGE part of culture. When we go out to eat in Florence, dinner turns into a two or even three hour event. I find that more care is put into meals and portion size is very controlled (and they are a lot tastier!). At first I felt like having long meals was a hassle but I now realize that it forces people to take a deep breath and relax. Do you enjoy the long meals in Barcelona or do you prefer to cook at home and speed up the process?

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  2. Currently, I try to balance out the time I take to both cook and go out to eat. I also agree that at first eating was a hassle because it took a lot of time out of my day. I have also noticed eating is a social activity, therefore, when I eat alone I break the “Barcelona eating code” that are a part of the norms. However, I enjoy eating with new friends and having time to actually relax after long busy days.

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