Was I really in Vietnam 3 months ago? In that short time, I’ve been to Japan, Oregon, Washington, California, Arizona, Canada, and Ireland, and now I find myself back in Spain, where this TEFL Adventure started 7 years ago. Well, not EXACTLY where it started. This time, I’m in Mediterranean Barcelona, and for the first time in years, I’m a student in the classroom instead of the teacher.
After a summer spent screaming on the phone to the people at the Spanish consulate, visiting friends and family around the continent, and tearing my hair out waiting for my passport to be returned, I somehow managed to leave Oregon on my intended departure date and made it to Ireland where I got to spend 2 weeks on beautiful Achill Island, my 2nd (3rd, 4th?) home.
And I got to play with this guy:
But we were talking about Barcelona.
I first came to the Ciutat Comtal when I was 18. My dad, who is currently sailing from Washington State to Mexico (go Dad!) relented to my endless begging, and took me on my first European trip as a sort of “good job, you managed to get through high-school” gesture. I don’t think he realized how bad of an idea that was, because once I got that first taste of life outside the USA, I was hooked.
I don’t remember a lot about that trip. I think my brain was overloaded with all the new sights and smells, but I remember I LOVED Barcelona. Nevertheless, as I got ready to leave Vietnam behind and make the big move back to Europe, I worried –
Would it be as nice as I remembered it? Did I only like it because it was my first trip to Europe? Would I miss Vietnam so much that I would forget to enjoy it? How bad would my Spanish be after 4 years away? How poor would I be? HOW COLD would I be?
It turns out, I didn’t need to comerme el coco so much. Barcelona is just as I remembered it. Beautiful, charming, vibrant. My Spanish came back to me after about a week, and so far nobody’s gotten angry at me for using it and not Catalan. Also, while more expensive than Vietnam (isn’t everywhere?) it’s not as costly as I feared. Now, do I miss Vietnam? Of course! I miss my students, my friends, my motorbike, and especially, the food. But overall, life is pretty great here in Catalonia.
So – The only thing I still have to worry about is the cold. So far it’s still t-shirt weather, but considering it’s only October and I haven’t had a winter in 3 years, maybe I shouldn’t speak too soon.
We happened to arrive at the perfect time to witness the famous Mercè Festival. Here are some shots from the past few weeks, compliments of a handsome Irishman.