"We have more reasons to love each other based on our common humanity than to victimize one another because of any difference."

Saturday, January 30, 2010

Coincidence? Or DESTINY????

I love thrift stores. It's one of my favorite things to do with my mom. We go thrift store hunting and end up laughing or (sleeping in the display chair) the whole time! So while over break I was on a mission to find a cute pair of boots. Every woman in Barcelona has a cute pair of leather boots.

And waalllaaaa I found a pair! A cute pair of brown leather just above the ankle boots. No heel. Could that be more perfect? Well, yes...they were half a size to small. But pain is beauty (I suppose) and I bought them anyway. Three dollars. CHA CHING!

Foolishly I let my mom borrow them from me one night and lo and behold they fit her perfectly. And somehow ended up in her closet the next morning. In the end we traded. My boots for her cool chunky turquoise Lucky bracelet. I was happy. She was happy. But I was still bootless....

Fast Forward one week. I was getting cabin fever in my little room and needed to take a walk. Now, I should mention something. Although Spain does have thrift stores people usually just dump old clothes and whatever next to the dumpster. I have no idea why. That's just how it is. You may think you see where this story is going...and you would be right.

As I was walking I found a pair of size ten, in very good condition, brown leather, calve high boots, sitting on the street. Did I grab them? Is my name Caitlin? Of course I did! Did they fit? Of course they did! This was DESTINY people. Or...no one else in Spain is a size ten....which is also true... But either way I have a fantastic bracelet and a fantastic pair of boots.

So this, in part with other little things, have left me with this fantastic unexplainable optimism about this semester. I woke up this morning and said, "I can't wait to start classes!" I mean, really, who says that?

Ps: I'm going to wear them today.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

Cai Chai

I went to my all time favorite tea place in all of Barcelona yesterday. I went with Liz who is also studying in Barcelona. Although, I have to say her classes are way cooler than mine...I should have been an art major.

I have to take the same exact route to get to Cai Chai each time because it's tucked away in the Old Gothic District specifically the old Jewish barrio. You can see the Star of David on the streets that actually have signs although most streets aren't labeled.

The place has a quaint, homey, bohemian feel. One of the guys who works there likes Andrew Bird, we both went to his concert at the Apollo...so I know he has good taste!

Their menu of teas is made out of banbu sushi rolling mats and is extensive. I never know what to choose from the six pages of teas. But hey, tea, feng shui, and good company and conversation...you can't go wrong!

Ps: How do you cure being nocturnal? I couldn't fall asleep until 5am last night....NOT GOOD!
If anyone has any ideas, I'd love to hear them. The game plan tonight is self medication. I'll keep you posted...fingers crossed.

Tuesday, January 26, 2010

Back to the Basics

1. I remember how to speak Spanish....barely. I'm hoping to fall back into a rhythm again. I realized today at lunch that I told Pilar yesterday that we had a huge earthquake in San Diego before I left which shut the airports down and not a huge rainstorm. Thus, leading her to believe I lived near Haiti. Opps.

2. I taught my 38 year old host brother some English phrases for when he leaves for Thailand tomorrow. In addition to a hand written list of important phrases like 'What does this beer cost?" He has memorized the phrases: Beef yes. Pork yes. Fish no. Dog yes. I can't imagine why you would agree to eat dog before fish but whatever.

3. I am going out into the wide wide world tomorrow in attempt to make friends. I am meeting, Liz, who went to Cathedral. I met her through Shmo and Sakura at a Christmas cookie exchange. Then Thursday, another girl who I met at the same Christmas party is visiting Barcelona and so I'm going to show her around the city too. Hannah, aren't you proud?! Now, if only one of them could help me with the hat I'm crocheting...

4. In keeping with my New Year's Resolution to read read read I've become fully engrossed in the book, "The Good Earth" which my mom insisted I pack along with ten other books which, set my suitcase over three pounds. Luckily, my good looks and smile charmed the woman behind the counter and she let it slide.

5. Pilar has already started to tell me I can't leave. She slips it into conversation casually like when I told her the apples here were better she said, "Well you can just stay here." I replied, "If I didn't go back my mom would come and kill me and drag me home." To which she said, "Well if she is going to kill you just stay here." I'm glad she likes having me around sometimes I feel like a nuisance...just wait till she receives the scarf I made her. (I'm waiting for Valentine's Day)

So all in all I am really looking forward to this semester and all the adventures to come. Even more exciting is the fact that I have an ample amount of friends and FAMILY coming to visit :) How lucky am I??????

Monday, January 25, 2010

I'll Be Back Baby!

Well guys here I am. It's approximately 30 hours since I said goodbye to a sleeping Ben and Minerva. Believe it or not my 18 hours of transit really weren't all that bad.

On the way to Chicago we had a great tail wind that cut off 40 minutes. I had a long layover there that I used to call and say hi and bye to some people and got some grub in my tummy.

It turns out that on International flights the wine and beer is free...So I ate my chicken and fries which was really chicken, rice, and corn had two glasses of wine, a couple sleeping pills and when I woke up we were almost there. Once again the seat next to me was empty. NICE! We even had the TVs in the chairs on the flight. I only watched one episode of Foster's Home For Imaginary Friends. The episode was, "Foster's Goes to Europe" so I thought it was highly appropriate.

Then I slept the entire flight to Barcelona because I was so exhausted so that was no biggie. Next thing I know I'm wandering around outside trying to find a bus to take me to a metro. Found the bus, found the metro, and Pilar was waiting for me and fed me. I managed to stay awake until 5:00 and then fell asleep until 9am the next day.

I've got a bit of a headache and neck ache but THIS TIME I remembered to pack IBProfen. I'm ready for my next adventure!

Love and kissed from Spain!

Friday, January 22, 2010

The Return

Today is my last day in San Diego. I leave early tomorrow morning. I'm packing right now and thinking about how I don't have time to go to my turbo kick box class I like so much. I have an anxious stomach from all the things I am stressing about. As I was packing all my yarn and books, and journals I came across something I had written on the plane ride home from Barcelona. Here it is:

I came to Barcelona with few expectations, largely because I didn't know what to expect. I was determined to make 'Spanish friends' and become a fluent American student living in the most cosmopolitan city in the world. Things didn't go as planned...Spanish friends are hard to come by. But I met a lots and lots of people. Including Hannah, one of my best friends. She is an incredible person with a feisty spirit, a natural knack for crafting, and an enthusiastic adventurer. We bonded over our love of tea, making Christmas cards, our need for thriftiness, and most importantly over the fact that we were both in a new and foreign place trying to figure out where we stood in it all.
I remember very vividly (and probably always will) spending one of my first days with her, Allan, and Tom. We were sitting at the dock at the end of Las Ramblas eating our lunch and talking. The sun was warm, the weather lovely, and I remember thinking what a fantastic place this is. Soon after Hannah and I started formulating a to do list. We put things on the list that we thought were significant or would be fun. Cliche things like staying out till the sun rises and ride a motorcycle. After the first few weeks the list slowly disappeared from our lives...and for a good reason. The most important things that happened to us in Spain were never things we would have ever thought to put on a list. Things like crocheting on Monday nights in the Baguetina and getting free wine, going to a chocolate fondue party with strangers that would become friends, hunting for mushrooms, or having my first language exchange and the intense feelings of pride and accomplishment that went with it. Or, as Hannah wisely pointed out making life-long friendships was never on the list.
As we now start our decent into Chicago it's beginning to sink in a little how weird it will be next semester without her. Especially with her essence all over Barcelona.

We've already started planning her summer visit to Juniata.
So I've got to get back to packing and trying to take deep calming breathes...Next time I write I'll be back in Europe!

Sunday, January 3, 2010

New Year's Resolutions

This year I wanted some concrete goal so at the end of the year I didn’t have to wonder…did I even accomplish that? I toyed with Shmo's idea of painting my finger nails according to the colors of the liturgical calendar, but I didn’t like any of the green nail polish at Target so once again I was at ground zero, completely unprepared. I mean where did the time go?! I feel like this day completely snuck up on me.

So what was I to do? I didn’t want to resort to googling New Year’s Resolutions….but I did. Most sites weren’t very helpful. I got a lot of fake fitness gym promises, spend time with the family, and learn something new resolutions. I think the learn something new is a cop out personally. That’s way too easy. Why, just this week alone I learned how to throw pottery and do a triple stitch in crochet. Come on google, don’t fail me now!

But google did fail me. I found nothing I considered worth while. And just when I was about to give up after reading a depressing wiki post about how only 12% of people achieve their goals I came across a friends facebook post. Her goal? She wants to read a new book every week for a year. Now that’s something I can get behind.

Book number one is the The Guernsey Literary and Potato Peel Pie Society I’m about 100 pages in. So if you have any recommendations hit me with em.