It’s been a little while since my last post so I’ll try to answer your questions and also go a little more in-depth about life here in Barcelona.
First of all, el tiempo. Mientras he estado aqui, hace mucho mucho calor. In fact, Carmen (my Spanish mom) says it’s been way hotter than normal for this time of year but hopefully it will cool down within a week or so. But cooling down doesn’t mean the same thing here that it means back home. Apparently it never really dips below the 50s for any long period of time and it never snows. Also, it rarely rains here and has only done so twice while I’ve been here!
La comida tambien es muy diferente aqui en Espana. Traditional Catalan food is pretty good (though I’m not exactly the best person to ask about foreign food) and can be really different from American food, including dishes such as gazpacho (cold tomato soup), paella (a rice mixture usually with seafood or other meat), and Mongetes amb botifarra (a sausage and bean dish). Another big thing for Spain in general is jamón, or ham, which is cooked in a bunch of different ways here and is always delicious. Other food, however, is really similar to things that we eat. For instance, I’ve eaten a lot of pasta and salads since getting here. As for the time of meals, it’s also a bit different than in the US. Breakfast is generally when you get up and will be something small like a pastry and coffee. Lunch is much later at around 1 or 2 in the afternoon and for me is always bocadillos, or sandwiches with either meat or cheese. Dinner is around 8 or 9 and is pretty large, consisting of bread, fruit, a salad or pasta, and a meat dish (at least for me). On the weekends, though, it’s common for people to be eating dinner as late as 11 or 11:30 PM.
Now as for my day-to-day routine, it might not seem exciting but I am enjoying it immensely. During the week I get up and go to class just like normal, then have my packed lunch and then depending on the day I might do a few different things. On Mondays and Wednesdays I have more class from 1-3 and 3-5. After that I try to finish my homework and generally end up wandering around certain parts of the city with a friend or two or exercising with said friends at a certain park in Montjuic (one of the two “mountains” in Barcelona, the other being Tibidabo). After that it’s dinner and then the day kind of tapers off. The other days, however, I only have my first class from 9:30-11:00 AM and the rest of the day is free time. With this much free time you’d think I would always be caught up with my homework but really that’s not always the case because there are just so many better things to experience in this city than a worksheet. The most common for me is just exploring the city. My friends and I will simply look on a map, point out a place we want to go and then either take the metro there or walk depending on how far away it is.
Quick side-note: public transportation here is phenomenal. The metro (subway) is really easy to use and is fairly cheap and anywhere it can’t take you, se puede llegar por bus. Tambien, hay una sistema de tranvía (like a trolley thing) y unos funiculares (cable cars) para subir las dos montañas de Barcelona.
Back to free time, other than exploring there is a ton of things that I’ve been able to do. From going to the beach to seeking out the touristy things that are absolutely essential to see, it doesn’t even seem as if I have free time, but in this case that’s not a terrible thing. My favorite places so far are my aforementioned spot on Montjuic and the Barri Gòtic (gothic quarter). Ask me about other places in Barcelona and I will be glad to share my insight, which I like to think is steadily expanding.
Lastly, I just joined a great and cheap gymnastics gym in the Gràcia neighbourhood, so if you’re ever here and are searching for a place to keep up your training, shoot me an email and I’ll pass you the information. Sorry this has been such a long post I’ll keep them a bit shorter in the future. Also, keep asking me questions and I’ll keep giving you guys (directed at students at Anderson High School) something to do during class.