I'm here, I'm here! After planning, packing, and some more packing, the time has finally come -- and what a week it has been! I willingly admit that I have had the worst luck in the world (which you will come to find is not unusual for me).
I first arrived at the airport, only to find that both bags were nearly 10 LBS over the weight limit. After re-arranging my bags and making some "hard" decisions, they were down to 50 LBS each (although I still had to pay for an extra bag). Ugh.
Once in Barcelona, my good friend Haley & I grabbed a cab to our home stays. After the cab driver dropped her off, it was my turn, and just two blocks later he pulled over and helped me to the door with my bags. I soon realized after he left that he dropped me off at the WRONG house. How? I'm not quite sure, after I specifically showed him the address on a piece of paper I was given and repeated it multiple times. After several attempts to buzz myself in, I decided to hit a different button, and thankfully, it worked. I entered the dark, narrow hallway of an apartment building and went to the nearest door, where a girl in her 20's answered---denying me entrance or any kind of knowledge as to where I was supposed to go. I thanked her anyway and began to walk away (nearly about to pass out at this point). Shortly after, she yelled for me to come back, and was pushing a baby stroller out into the hallway as a gesture that it was safe. I returned to her door, where a man in his 40s (possibly her father) was standing. He took my paper with the address and somehow understood what had happened. He helped me with my bags, called a taxi, and sent me to the correct address. I don't think they will ever know how much I appreciate what they did for me, and I will always regret not retrieving their original address to return some kind of thank-you.
As I write this, I am currently at my home stay, in my 2'4 quaint room, which I absolutely LOVE. I am living with a roommate (who also has her own room), my home stay mom, Rose, and her cousin, Rosa. (Both appear to be roughly in their late-sixties.) Rose speaks absolutely no English, which is exactly what I had hoped for, and she cooks like any top chef would. Rosa, who speaks perfect English and will not let us speak any, is like a tutor. She explains what Rose is saying and coaches us on how to respond. Together, they are a hoot.
This past week was orientation for IES, as we figured out where our classes were and what opportunities were available for us. Orientation also consisted of a short lecture on pick-pocketing, which is a HUGE problem here, and has already happened to multiple people in our program, including myself. I am now ID-less (no worries, I still have my passport) and Ray-Ban-less, BUT there is always a bright side. I went to a BARCA game on Wednesday night and had front-row seats and a wonderful time. Unfortunately I did not get to meet Cristiano Ronaldo because they were playing Cordoba, but that doesn't mean I have lost hope.
I have joined a running club that will allow me to sightsee, all while getting a workout in, and I am working for Apartment Barcelona through a marketing internship, which I had an interview for on Friday and begin tomorrow (EEK!). It's about a 35 minute-walk for me to class, which most people would hate, but I know I will thoroughly enjoy considering my surroundings. I will provide pictures as soon as I have time to explore my town (this coming weekend).
This past weekend, our Spanish section went to Tarragona, a city located in the south of Catalonia. We visited the Monastery of Poblet, as well as the Ancient Remains and the Tarragona Cathedral. The Cathedral was stunning, and overlooking the Ancient Remains was breathtaking.
Unfortunately, this picture does no justice.
We also visited Colla Vella, where we learned about building "Castillas," and got to build a mini one ourselves. Every two years, the town of Tarragona has a festival that consists of building these Castillas and competing for the best-built Castilla. Here is a link to a video for further explanation of this emotional hobby:
^Our mini Castilla.
One fact: It is considered disrespectful to wear only socks in the house. Needless to say, I will be buying slippers tomorrow. For now, I have a long day ahead of me tomorrow, as I start my Internship from 9 am - 1 pm and have class at 2:05. Off to bed I go!