BACK IN ESPAÑA YAY.
I think leaving home the second time was harder than the first, maybe because I already know what's here and it's not a totally new adventure, but getting into Spain felt so, soo good. Anyway, I'll do a quick recap of this vacation.
So my family came to visit the first 10 or so days of my break and I got to play tour guide around Sevilla, then be equally as confused and touristy as them in Barcelona.
View from our apartment.
So this is the Catalan independence flag. These were hanging EVERYWHERE in Barcelona. The normal flag doesn't have the blue triangle and star; I think someone told us that part is adapted from the Cuban flag. But anyway, most of you probably know that Catalonia wants independence from Spain. If you don't know that, maybe you've been living under a rock for a very long time, but I forgive you. This is a dispute that goes back many, many years and is based mostly on the fact that Catalonia has a culture that is unique and very separate from that of Spain (they even have their own language-- it is NOT a dialect of Spanish) and they contribute a very large part of money to the government that is not proportional to the amount that is then distributed back to them. Catalonia has probably the strongest economy in Spain. There's been a lot of talk about this in the past year and there was even a referendum in November about it. However, the referendum was completely unofficial because the idea of Catalonia seceding from Spain is actually totally illegal and against the Constitution. Because of that, not everyone went out to vote, and because of THAT (along with the fact that, inherently, an unofficial election is sort of unreliable) the national government discredited the results, which came out as something like over 80% in favor of secession. But at the end of the day, Catalonia is still part of Spain. Who knows what will happen next, but they definitely haven't given up the fight even if nothing has really happened since then.
La Catedral de Barcelona
Bustlin' streets of Barca.
"Iconic" Barcelona taxis
Gaudí's amazingness ft. Random guy with a great looking nose
More from Gaudí
Not really sure what this building is but I like the picture.
Sangría with the fam.
Las Ramblas, the main street in Barcelona. SO MANY PEOPLE.
Street vendors getting creative with the displays.
This is in Park Güell, a park that was owned by a guy with the last name Güell (creative, I know). This guy commissioned Gaudí to design the park, and this patio thing is one of them. So cool.
So we also went into La Sagrada Familia later in the trip and it was SO amazing. This is an example of the stained windows that were all around the cathedral. I think what really stood out to me the most about the place was the colors and lighting. I've seen my fair share of cathedrals during my stay here and they're all very beautiful, but a lot of times the lighting is kind of dim and mysterious and churchy and what not, which was not at all what this one was like. La Sagrada Familia was brightly lit through many, many windows and some lights inside, too, and because so many of the windows were stained class, it was also incredibly colorful. Apparently Gaudí was really obsessed with getting the lighting right in the cathedral and I personally think he killed it.
We love/hate audiotours. And look like losers.
Look at that organ all colorful and nice.
Gaudí got a lot of his inspiration from nature and La Sagrada Familia is a good example of this. I don't really know (kind of doubt) if this was his intention, but the outside (of which there are pictures earlier) looks SO MUCH like a mud drip castle to me. Like the ones we used to make at the beach?? Those. Exact replica, I swear. But anyway, the inside is also a reflection of nature. The columns are like tree trunks (notice the knot things), and then the ceiling kind of looks like a forest canopy. Pretty neat.
We got to go up into the towers in the cathedral (see pic again) and there were some pretty incredible views of the city. So, quick bombardment of Barcelona vistas.
Sagrada Familia graffiti
Fam fam fam
Mom wasn't feeling this staircase.
This is La Boquería, the big market on Las Ramblas.
You've already read my blogs about this before probably, but these are little champagne glasses with 12 grapes in each ready for New Year's Eve. WOO.
Sorry this is gross and I'm sorry but I had to.
Dad's artisan coffee
Arc de Triomf, Barcelona style.
This is, obviously, after getting home. Maura and Gab came to visit Sugarloaf. SOO cold up there but we muscled in some runs and hung out in the warmth of the condo. It was so good to ski again!!
Ok, I'm doing something for the New Year this year. I'm not really into New Year's resolutions (I've actually never even made one I don't think, unless you count maybe kindergarten when you all draw pictures and write yours in a little bubble and post them on the cork board and what not) just because I don't think I have that kind of long-term patience to complete one. HOWEVER, this is a year (school year?) of new things and new adventures and things, and thus, 2015 will be a year of new goals as well. Here is my list of 15 things to do in 2015, and I will do my very best to stick with them. Results to follow in 2016.
1. Take a photography class.
2. Hike Mt. Katahdin.
3. Travel alone in Europe. (Kind of already did this but maybe again?)
4. Learn how to play guitar.
5. Run a 10k or at least two 5ks.
6. Volunteer at least 35 hours.
7. Visit 3 new places (in the US).
8. Film/edit a video.
9. Write down three things I'm grateful for every week.
10. Send a postcard every week. Or a letter.
11. Knit something more than a scarf or hat.
12. Learn how to cook three new things.
13. Get up on one ski while water skiing. (Ugh)
14. Read The Shining.
15. Maintain a blog. (woohoo)
I'll admit I've been slacking on the weekly ones, but the new year starts now and I just finished my first letter. Who will be the lucky one to receive said letter? Only time will tell. XOXO Letter Girl.
Being home was definitely weird. This is how most initial conversations went with people when I got home:
Person: Oh my god, how was Spain?!!?
Me: It's so incredible. I love it so much!
Person: Is it good to be home though?
Me: Yeah, it's good. It's weird, but it's good!! (Really strong, overly aggressive smiling and head nodding)
Pretty much word for word.
But anyway, it was tough at times (definitely some reverse culture shock) but I loved being able to catch up with my friends and family and see faces that I was used to seeing daily that I hadn't seen for over four months. I think the hardest part about being home was a kind of feeling of other-ness. (This is much less dramatic than it sounds, but it's the best way I can describe it.) I loved hearing about all of my friends adventures, and sharing mine too, but I couldn't help but feeling like they had faced similar challenges with one another and had maybe grown closer because of it. It was also a little bit tough to see people with whom I hadn't spoken in months and reconnect when maybe there wasn't as much of a connection as there used to be. All in all, the toughest part was the fact that I felt a little weird about talking about the deeper parts of my experience (what I've learned about myself, etc.) because I didn't want to come off as aloof-- think "Oh, I'm so worldly now!!!" (I'm not, don't worry). I was able to do that with some people, but it wasn't like I was going to go into that when someone asked me, "How was Spain?" I think I kind of reconciled with myself by the end of the trip, though, and realized that people change and there's nothing wrong with that-- in fact, it's a good thing. Change is good. It's healthy. The only reason I think it was a bit hard for me was because it came as a shock; I had always thought that this year would change the way I think about things in some ways, but I never really considered how it might affect the rest of the people and relationships in my life. Ok, but wow, I feel like I'm sounding negative but in reality, I had an awesome time at home and was really glad I got to catch up with everyone and everything. Just my thoughts on the whole thing. Cheers to perspective, right?
Anyway. Onward. So excited for this semester and all that is to come. Time to make new friends with the new semester kids (so scary-- there are so many of them). Best wishes for the second semester to everyone back home!!