Sitting in El Prat, Barcelona. I just paid over 6 Euro for the worst food I’ve had the entire trip. Crappy overpriced croissant—no croissant will ever be as good as the mascarpone filled, perfectly light and decadent one I had from Pastelería Hoffman in El Born—and this bad airport croissant is accompanied by the shittiest cappuccino, hands down, ever. I don’t know why they bothered to call it a cappuccino because it’s water. It was served too hot, and the barista sprinkled some crappy cocoa and dribbled chocolate sauce on top. It’s the only option in E Gates—which sucks because there is basically a shopping mall available for Gates A, B, and C. Even the McDonald’s is something I can’t access, and it looks like appetizing—that’s how bad this breakfast is.
We’ll begin boarding soon. I popped some sleeping pills, or sleeping aids. I have so much sleep to catch up on, and my body still hurts so much. I’m happy to go home, but worried that this entire trip will end up feeling like a dream, like this surreal out-of-body experience I had once.
I am sitting on the balcony of my apartment. It’s my last day in Barcelona. Looking down Carrer dels Assaonadors I see laundry gently blowing in a breeze, airing out. Plants fill some of the balconies, and vines cascade down towards the street. This is one of those bittersweet moments in life, where I know I am sad to leave, but happy to return home.
I drank plenty extra at lunch today. It has helped make me feel more relaxed and fluid. This trip has been the best thing I have ever done for myself, and I realize how important it is to take care of yourself. Taking care of yourself is work, and both simple and difficult. It’s taking care of yourself physically, but emotionally and mentally too. Knowing when you need a break, knowing when it’s ok to cry, and knowing when you need to laugh. It’s also knowing when to stop crying, stop worrying, stop fixating, and pay attention to the life that is right in front of you. It’s allowing yourself to feel pride in the things you do, in your work, and finding joy in simple things.
Today, I am exhausted beyond belief. My legs are stiff, my feet are more sore than they have ever been, and my back feels like it is compressed, pressing down on my lower back and my hips. It’s quite an effect from the waist-down, I think I’ve hobbled many times today. I woke up already feeling stiff and sore… and then I went to Park Guell.
Getting up to Park Guell is a serious hike. I don’t care that there are escalators (five sets if I remember correctly) to help you. The first hill felt like there should have been climbing rope to assist everyone. I’m the kind of person who thinks, Oh my god, I am definitely going to collapse, my legs are going to fold under me and my back is going to give out… And then I pick up my pace, so I don’t collapse until I get to where I’m going.
My iPhone says that today I took 22,742 steps. That’s 11.45 miles.
Last night, was hysterical. I was on the roof of Casa Batllo for a Spanish guitar event. The sun was setting, strings of lights hung across the roof, drinks were being poured. There were only a few people at first, and I had time to pick a prime people-watching, guitar-viewing spot. Settling against the railing next to a table I watched as the roof began to fill up, and I started to feel the awkwardness set in.
So far, I had felt fine being on my own in the city, on my very first day. I had landed in Barcelona earlier in the morning and my excitement and interest trumped any worries. But now, in this setting, where couples were reaaaally interested in canoodling, and kissing each other out of nowhere, and holding hands, and giggling into each others faces… well, I felt great.
I don’t really mind couples, it doesn’t bother me that much, they’re happy together and they’re showing it (if you’re happy and you know it, canoodle your mate?) But the stringed lights, the almost-full moon, the music they set the mood with… ironically enough Frank Sinatra. Frank Sinatra’s All Alone. COME ON! I don’t know why I didn’t start drinking heavily. I felt safe at my little perch.
My first day continued, luckily without any additional nose-running issues. I visited La Pedrera:
I am very behind in keeping up with my blog. Jet lag (or I like to think of it as Jet Launch, only because I’m ahead six hours) has gotten the best of me. I also love to walk, and am making up for years of not being able to walk as much as I used to. When I lived in Denver, I walked everywhere and knew the public transportation back and forth. In Highland Mills, you can’t get by walking places, unless you’re going to Jay’s and only need a sandwich.
When I got to Las Ramblas, it was like being on 16th Street in Denver again. But very different. Highly pedestrian, street performers, mainstream shops, and vendors. Lots of tourists. It was wider, and had more trees, and of course, the buildings did not match. It was a comforting flashback to be on Las Ramblas, which quickly turned into its old annoyance of being surrounded by tourists, and tourist traps.
Before I ventured to Las Ramblas, I went to MUHBA, Museu d’Historia de Barcelona. I thought it would be best to go back in time, first. It’s funny, there was a sense of reverence after traveling below the city to see the ruins. I want to call them Roman ruins, but really, I feel confused because it seems like a lot of different people had an effect on the shaping of Barcelona. Visigoths. Visigoths makes me think of playing hours of Age of Empires.
In two days I will be traveling roughly 3,800 miles to Barcelona, Spain. I am terrified, anxious, excited, and sometimes—literally—scared shitless.
I can’t remember now, why I chose Barcelona. I remember I wanted to go to Spain. How it came to be Barcelona, I don’t remember, but I do remember the idea that if you throw something out to the universe, you will receive an answer. Maybe I just believe in everything Paolo Coelho’s The Alchemist taught me. Maybe this is my own dream quest—Barcelona kept coming up in my life, on the TV, in songs, in books. And so I decided to listen and take a chance on a crazy adventure. Why not go? I have nothing to lose.
I considered going on this trip with a friend, but I knew I needed to go alone. Why venture off into a country where I admittedly cannot speak Catalan, the region’s first language? I can speak Spanish well enough. I know not to say, “Estoy embarazada” because it does not mean “I’m embarassed.” I’m going by myself because there is a part of me that feels alone. And instead of sitting on my bed wishing that the feeling goes away, I’m just going to face it, and throw myself into a very alone experience.
I finally made a decision.
Well, I’ve actually successfully made a ton of decisions. And in true Diana-form, I waited, considered the options, weighed the options, asked everyone—thanking them and then saying, screw whatever they think!—thought for longer, agonized, waited for signs, waited for dreams…
Point is. In two weeks-ish I will be shipping off to Barcelona. Technically flying off, but I feel heavy, so shipping off sounds more appropriate. What am I getting myself into?!
I did my usual deep-steep thinking, and then purchased my plane ticket. I love to take action on impulse, and I pretend I am this spontaneous free-spirit… truth is I spent hours, maybe even a year, talking myself into taking this trip. I may throw myself joyfully into the wind, but I wouldn’t dare throw caution in there too.