oh those European ways!! 3 weeks in Barcelona

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Not everything about studying abroad is magical, even thought it may look like it from everyone’s perfect Instagrams and Facebook photo albums but LEMME tell ya nobody’s life is perfect and my blog ( et moi) are an open ass book so if you’re sick of all the fake smiles and facetune body photoshopping stuff all these basic ass hoes are using just read my blog LMAO

I slept through my alarm for my orientation for my classes at Pompeu Fabra, a local public university in Barcelona where both myself and Sarah (from Tulane) are taking classes. My wifi and connection had also not been working on my phone for those past two days because Orange SIM is annoying af, so trying to navigate myself to a place I’d never been to before with an offline Google Maps was bad. Also I stupidly thought a taxi would be quicker (and easier) than the metro but I thought wrong because the traffic was nuts, so I spontaneously made him stop and then it took another five minutes for the goddam card reader to validate my drive charge because OF COURSE I had just run out of euros the day before and the taxi driver did not speak a lick of English.

But the good news is I made it on time for the presentation! And i got my phone fixed, and I’ve just today had my first two classes at Pompeu Fabra and I’ve got a good feeling about both of them.

Experiences like that make you mumble ignorant european stereotypes  to your American self under your breath and make ridiculous complaints about how Europe is so annoying for never taking card at places and its slow pace and creepy-staring men. But then there are the times after those experiences where you look back on them and contemplate. Was it really EUROPE and it’s “culture” to blame, or is it the way me, as an American, tries to justify my own struggles by blaming them on a way of life I simply don’t understand? I think that sometimes we try to deal with our senses of discomfort, vulnerability and lack of understanding of other cultures and ways of life by comparing them to OUR way of life, and we always percieve that “other” way in a negative sense. In It’s like anything that seems out of the norm to us or threatens what we understand and feel comfortable is something we classify as a weird, senseless European “custom”. But in reality, the only senseless thing about it all is the fact that we are always comparing American culture to European culture and trying to make it fit the same mold, and blaming it when it simply won’t shift and accommodate us. The coffee is just NOT going to be iced (unless you ask for a cup of ice and do it yourself that is) and the men will NOT simply stop staring at you and the weirdos will NOT one day wake up and decide to buy deodorant. So all you can do is enjoy and appreciate Europe for what it is instead of trying to make it something you want it to be (they also have Starbucks if you’re really desperate for an iced caramel macchiato like me every once in a while lmao).

Other than experiences like that which ignite some philosophical thoughts lmao, I’ve been doing more exploring and TRAVELING!!!!

Before this week (my first week of Pompeu Fabra classes) I have only had my one CEA journalism class for two weeks. Thus, I’ve had a ridiculous amount of free time. So, I’ve been exploring!

I had heard that El Borne, an area of Barca near the Gothic Quarter was like the boho of the city, filled with unique boutiques and quirky locals. IT IS! I loved it so much.

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I had read rave reviews about a pastry shop called Hofmann in El Borne, so that was my first stop. I got a fresh croissant filled with marzipan (that delicious almond butter cream stuff) and it honestly was the best croissant I’ve ever had. The French ruled over Spain for a bit and they border each other so YES the croissants are just as good and I’m not exaggerating. It was nice to sit on a bench at a nearby terrace with my cafe and croissant alone and enjoy them as I watched people walk by. Such a #euro thing to do ugh luv.

Afterwards I simply wandered the streets of El Borne and wove my way through shops of bright chunky jewelry and thrift store hawaiian shirts and quirky old books. Nothing I like more

 

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I also took a solo trip to a newly popular, fancy food court called El Nacional!

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I ate half a dozen raw oysters with some white wine and chatted with the guy who cracked the shells for me for a good bit. I told him I was looking for more beaches like Sitges to go to and he went out of his way and wrote me an entire list of beaches he recommended for me! This is what I mean when I say that the people are just awesome.

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Not only have I been exploring different sectors of Barce, but I’ve been exploring different areas of my own neighborhood, L’Eixample! All this time my housemates and I had been wandering the streets north of my apartment, only to find some quaint bakeries and grocery stores and the likes, but nothing too eye-catching or funky. Not until this day, when I went to the Bloody Mary Bar and Cocktail Lounge with Sarah, Caroline and Christine! Firstly, our bloody’s were awesome. And secondly, that whole side of L’Eixample is so much cooler and filled with shops and restaurants and cafes and flower shops and little terraces and quarters!!! Exactly why wandering aimlessly is the best way to get to know a city.

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After our Bloody’s, Caroline and I decided we weren’t done, so went to a famous G&T Bar called, Bobby’s Gin. Gin and Tonics are THE drink of Spain and I’m NOT unhappy about it bc I recently found a love for G&T’s this summer before coming here. The bartenders gave us advice on bars and restaurants they liked and that night we went to a bar called Mr. Robinson. The drinks were super gourmet and awesome for their price. Caroline’s drink was literally on fire, so that was fun.

Some day at the end of the week (I’m starting to lose track of what I did when) Olivia Sarah and I met up by Barcenoleta and rented bikes for 2 hours (only for 4 euros) and biked by the water. Stunning to say the least.

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We biked down to the actual beach and walked along the water for a bit, admiring this beautiful city that we somehow are lucky enough to call home until the end of December. Another great thing I’ve come to find about study abroad is that not only have I been incredibly lucky to meet awesome new friends here from all different schools, but I’ve gotten so much closer with both Olivia and Sarah from Tulane. Ugh i love dem all !

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And then I went straight to heaven bc I saw a POKE SHOP out of the corner of my eye. OBVIOUSLY I had to get it.

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Spicy tuna and salmon and avocado and crispy onion and spicy aioli and seaweed and the works. Barcelona, you ARE MY KWEEEEEEEENNNNNNNN sorry to basic but like a girl needs her poke.

Something interesting is brewing in Barcelona and if you (my small number of readers) don’t know about it then I shall inform you!!!! I’m about to live thru some crazy ass mufuckin history here in big barce. Currently there have been tons of PROTESTS AND RALLIES for the Catalan Independence Referendum that is going to be voted for or against on October 1st. Basically, a TON of citizens in Catalonia, potentially a majority but I’m not completely sure,  wish to be independent from the country of Spain. They have been under Spain’s control forever and have various credible reasons for wanting to be independent. Flags that say “Si!” (representing an agreement with the attempted movement to seceed from Spain) cover the windows of apartments, posters supporting the referendum splatter the walls of UPF (my university) and people roam around the cities with the Catalan Flag banners on their back with immense pride. However, the Spanish government is NOT A FAN OF THIS BECAUSE TRYING TO BECOME INDEPENDENT OF SPAIN IS LEGIT ILLEGAL. So basically this whole vote that’s going down is 100% unconstitutional and going against Spanish law and the Spanish government already arrested a ton of Catalonian officals for starting a protest the other week. SO WHO’S TO KNOW WHAT S*** is GOING DOWN ON OCTOBAH FIRST Y’ALL!!!! I’m excited to be able to experience this and learn about it in my political science classes while it’s going on, but also a little unsure and weary to see if any protests or events get out of hand and dangerous.

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Do you see that big green banner in the back that says Si! Hola Democracia!? Banners like this COVER Barcelona buildings right now. Dis is da real deal you guys better read up on CNN or something, or maybe share my blog to inform people lmao. Like legit people open their windos and bang pots and pans as a signifier that they support the referendum. Emma dn i heard it today from our window so we opened ours and banged the pots back. TBH im not even sure whose side I’m on and need to get more educated on the subject, but I might be leaning towards Si !!!!!

Also, this weekend was the Festival de la Merce which is one of the biggest festivals in Barcelona!!! It celebrates Catalan culture and features TONS of different artistic, musical and interactive events and shows for citizens to engage in and enjoy. INCREDIBLE food trucks cover the city and a million babies and dogs were rolling around in the beautiful parks and people were strolling and drinking and smiling and wow I love BARCELONA! I was actually at Oktoberfest this weekend, but I got to enjoy all of this on the Monday after I got back because it was the offical Catalan holiday. We saw some crazy ass drum performances and singers and dancers and they concluded the festivities with a stunning fireworks show featuring amazing music and enough George Michael to melt my heart. Way better than Disneyland let me tell youuuuu!

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Cute photo of Taylor Caroline and I being kweens at a club called Razzmattazz

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ummmm YES we pretended to chug unopened bottles of Cava in front of Spains Arc de triomfe ?!?!!? what’s the issue?

I’m super happy I chose to do my specific CEA program where I take courses at Pompeu Fabra University. It feels like I belong to an entirely new university with a bunch of awesome locals and international kids and we have our own library and gym membership discounts and bookstore and clubs we can join and GORGEOUS libraries and they even sell cerveza in the cafe on campus LMAO typical Spaniards. It makes me feel ike I’m truly blending in and living more like a local than I could ever be by just taking my courses at the CEA center with all American students.

That’s all for now CIAOOOOO

~xoxo Ali~

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