Saturday, August 9, 2008

Spain- take 2...

Two days in Barcelona- and it feels like a year. A good year.

Three nights ago I was flying in- (of course after paying an exorbitant amount in extra luggage)- and staring wide-eyed at the city below me as the plane began its decent.

There was a part of me- a nagging thought in the back of my mind- that thought, “no. not again.. I don’t want to do this again.” After a while, the moving “thing” gets tiring. 
Exhausting, in fact. Eventually, the novelty wears off and the despondency sets in. In most cases, I’ve left someplace I’ve loved- and with that, the people I’ve loved. And regardless of how fantastic the new city is- it is still that- a new city; with unfamiliar streets, new faces, an alien language, and many tasks to complete. Starting from zero. 

As I was going through this list in my head- preparing myself for worst-case scenarios- the mishaps I have experienced time and time again…something else came to mind.

I glanced out over the lights of the city- the coast line- the 11 pm traffic- and a memory came to mind. Its actually funny I didn’t think of this before- considering the parallel… but here it is; I was 15 years old. It was the summer before my Sophomore year of high school and there I was- in a plane- different airline, same hour- flying in darkness over Spain. If I am not mistaken, I landed in Seville- before I was transferred to Barbate where my mother had arranged for me to live with a family for a few months. I remember I was terrified. My friends were all going to summer camp or on teen tours with their best friends. My mother, on the other hand, put a crisp passport into my hands and through my tears- told me I would appreciate this opportunity later in life- 
and appreciate it, I do. 

But back then- well, that was a different story. I remember showing up in this tiny fishing village- being served a bowl of cold snails swimming in tepid water- and trying to convince my homestay family about my vegetarianism SO unsuccessfully that my mother got a call from the program the next day regarding my supposed anorexia. It was then that I realized what a problem this language-barrier thing really was. 
Needless to say- we got it all cleared up- I learned Spanish and was fed Tortilla Espanola for every meal until the end of the summer. 
Now, over a decade later, here I am in an apartment in Barcelona- having just eaten Tortilla Espanola at the tapas bar down the street- ready to begin another life-altering phase of my life.

It was that summer in Spain that began this whole “international” thing. It opened me up to everything America is not. I would like to think that it was that experience that set me on the path that lead me to where I am now…right back to where it all started. 

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