Friday, 31 March 2017

Un cambio de ritmo | A change of pace

Let me tell you, Spain is treating me very well.

I am relishing in how much more balance my life has here (finals week aside). I have been able to cook so much more, spend afternoons sketching, go to yoga classes, socialize at night, and go to museums on weekends. Balance is something the Spaniards have nailed. Here in Spain, they hold their weekends –especially their Sundays— in high regard which means that almost the entire city shuts down and everyone takes the day off. Likewise, periodic breaks are always taken in classes so the students (and the instructor!) can go out for a smoke. This relaxed manner was forewarned by my uncle who lives here, and he taught me some of Spain's most useful phrases: "poco a poco" meaning "little by little", "no pasa nada" meaning "nothing happens" or "it's nothing", and "mañana" –"tomorrow".

Visit 1/2 to Sitges was on a particularly quiet and cloudy day. Sitges is a small town about a half hour train ride away from Barcelona and is considering one of the gay capitals of Spain.

Some highlights include going to Sitges for the annual Sitges festival. Everyone dresses up in costumes, confetti carpets the streets, and a party ensues for almost a week. On the Sunday night there was a parade with themed floats that blasted music. After the parade, the group of people I was with decided to go to one of the main plazas and dance to the music pouring out of the nearby bars. Another day my photography class took a day trip to a nearby city called Girona where we ran around taking photos and attended a museum of cinema. I went to a Glass Animals concert (10/10 would recommend) with a fellow international student and one of the best friends I have made here –Megan of England.

Xocolata i xurros - chocolate and churros (Yeah, learning some
Catalán! Just kidding, there are just signs for it everywhere)
There have been a couple setbacks. My phone was pick-pocketed on the metro and I had to dish out a sum of money to replace it. I have also been sick pretty consistently for the past month, requiring two rounds of antibiotics. Additionally, I often find myself craving little things from home; for example, one day that I was feeling particularly homesick I really had a hankering for Kraft Dinner Mac and Cheese but KD, nor any type of instant mac and cheese, was to be found! I had a similar experience when I wanted to bake some cookies. I went to Carrefour with my list of ingredients in hand to find that the baking "aisle" consisted of a five foot length of shelf tagged with crazy prices. I have to keep in mind and as my mother told me before she left: "when in Rome, do as the Romans do", so I am embracing all of the delicious pastries they have here instead!

La Boqueria: arguably Barcelona's most famous market which
is only a five minute walk from my apartment. Here is where I
do all my fruit shopping every week!

Kwinten the KPU Eagle posing with something
Spain is famous for: jamón (ham)
After nearly a month of being sick and being swamped in school work, I am excited to get back out into Barcelona and be a tourist. Now that the weather is getting warmer, beach days and bike tours are definitely on the agenda. With a lighter course load I also hope to venture out more into the rest of Europe, and I start that tomorrow when I leave for Italy! I will be attending the "Salon de Muebles" in Milan –a massive, week-long design expo that takes place every year. The design spills out of the main fairground into the rest of the city as design firms and other creatives show-off around the city. From Milan I will take a train to Nice, France and spend a week exploring the French Riviera. Wish me luck!

In a few days I will publish a secondary post explaining more of my academic experience during the first semester.

Go take a break today.

#KPUInternational #KPU #KPUStudyAbroad #Barcelona #Spain # Catalunya #travel #exchange #relax #changeofpace

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