Adjusting to My New Life in Barcelona
It’s been a little over a week since I’ve arrived in Barcelona and it has been surreal so far. Being alone at college is one thing, but being alone in a foreign country is a completely different thing. Thankfully, a lot of people from my school are also studying here, so it made adjusting so much easier.
The hardest thing I had to adapt to was the food. The lifestyle here is way more relaxed than back home; meals take longer and happen much later. We went to dinner at 8:00 one night and were the only ones in the restaurant–normally people eat around 10:30 here. Also, don’t expect to be given free water (that is not a thing here), but on the other side it is not culturally acceptable to tip, so it balances out.
The adjustment here has been good for me so far. I have had to become a much more patient person, which I desperately needed. You just have to get used to the longest part of your meal being the wait for the check; there’s no room for impatience unless you want to be the rude American.
Not only have I become more patient, but also I am much better with a map. I have very limited data here. Wifi has basically become my best friend, so navigating around this large city isn’t easy. Without my map telling me when to turn, I have to figure out which streets to take and when to turn all by myself (finding the street names is also another struggle). The best part of this, though, is the amount of times I have gotten lost. Getting lost in Barcelona has led me to some of the coolest places. Everyone knows about Sagrada Família or Park Güell, but there are so many other things to discover here.
I had heard of the Arc de Triomf, but one day when I got lost, I came across it and decided to ditch my original plans to find the market I was desperately searching for and explore. I ended up spending a lot of time at the Parc de la Ciutadella, which is right there. It was so pretty and there were tons of people tanning and reading in the shade and the zoo is even right there too. It probably would’ve taken me awhile to get out and go to the park on my own if I hadn’t just gotten there by accident.
Adjusting to this new culture and lifestyle has been very interesting. Even though it hasn’t been long, it has gone pretty smoothly so far, although I do miss having air conditioning everywhere. I can’t wait to keep exploring and getting to know more about the city aside from the touristy stops. Looks like I’ll have a lot to cover over these next four months!
Anna Q. is the Fall 2016 CEA MOJO in Barcelona, Spain. She is currently a junior studying Journalism and Sports Leadership & Management at Miami University.