I’ve learned that when it feels like the world is falling apart, it’s important to consider vulnerability factors in order to gain an understanding of what’s happening and why. So here are mine:
My French friends went back to France this morning. They made my week so lively and funny and I’m sad to have had to say goodbye. And Petter is working today. And it’s my second to last day in Barcelona. AND I have my period and decided to go clothes shopping, which may be one of the worst ideas I’ve had in a long time. I feel gross. I smell like shit. I’m being a whiny human, but you don’t have to read this if you don’t want to, so I’m going to keep doing it. I miss the French boys. I miss my family and friends. I miss my cats.
Most importantly, I would have been getting married on Friday. It’s surreal to think about. I miss Dustin. I still feel like a total asshole, but I’m done apologizing. As painful as it is to admit, I know I made the right choice.
All in all, things have been good – great, even. But it’s hard. Above all, it’s hard to sit with myself, especially as someone who struggles with self-hatred.
This is one of two, maybe three, days I’ve had when I’ve felt utterly lost and alone and afraid. I want to be hugged by my loved ones, but you’re all an ocean away. It’s okay. It’s an opportunity to grow.
Sadness doesn’t last though. I’m finally learning to see the grey areas in life — some days are amazing, some days suck. Sometimes I’m ecstatic to be alive, sometimes I want to crawl into a hole and sleep forever. Streaks of pure joy are lovely, but they’re not sustainable. If sadness didn’t exist, happiness would be flat and drab. Maybe I’ll be bouncing off the wall tomorrow. Maybe I’ll cry for ten hours. I don’t know. But whatever happens, I’ll make it through. You will, too.
So on Saturday, I’m taking a BlaBla ride to Nice. I’ll stay overnight at a hostel, then leave first thing in the morning to catch a ferry to Corisica. From the ferry stop, I’ll hop on a bus that takes me to Le Potager du Nebbio, the organic farm/restaurant I’ll be staying/working at. It looks amazing.
I have another few weeks of WWOOFing set up at an apple orchard/farm near Lille in northern France. I’ll be there starting September 15. At some point before or after that, I’ll likely spend a few days in Paris, hopefully with my new French friend.
My French still sucks, especially with my very very American accent, but as I got more comfortable with the French boys, I also grew comfortable with speaking French like a moron. They taught me a lot. I taught them the term “fuck boy.”
On a more lighthearted note, here are some vague generalizations/things I’ve learned about Barcelona in the three weeks I’ve spent here…
Barcelona from a dummy tourist’s perspective:
1. People really like boston terriers and chihuahuas and most other super fucking annoying little dogs. One particular boston terrier clung onto my French friend’s leg in an extremely aggressive fashion and began humping him as the dog’s owner chain smoked, smiled, and tried to explain that her dog was just “very happy.”
2. Skateboarding is very much alive. If you are still a preteen pop punk girl like me, you’re gonna either have a great time or you’re gonna lose your fucking mind. Also, skateboarders will not hesitate to shred past and scare the living shit out of you on any and all sidewalks.
4. Don’t plan on sleeping past 9 am. Because it’s so hot, keeping the windows and doors open is a requirement. Unfortunately, that means your daily wake up call is a combination of recycling trucks gathering what sounds like a million breaking glasses and this lovely phenomenon where people selling gas repeatedly bang on metal containers with sticks.
5. Being constantly surrounded by sunshine and beautiful people seems to have created an adversity to work, which means you’ll meet a lot of “freelancers.” It’s great. Don’t hate.
7. You can’t technically buy alcohol past 11, but there are gentleman who wander the streets with beer for one euro. This beer, however, is stowed in sewers and trash cans when cops drive by. That said, I would be lying if I told you that knowing the truth keeps me from buying it anyways. Immunity building, whatup?
8. If you’re drunkenly yelling at innappropriate times, you might get a bucket of water poured on your head by angry people from neighboring balconies. I have seen this twice. A friend told me that he once saw someone dump a bucket of white paint on two very posh women, who immediately began crying. You’ve been warned. This is very real.
9. Don’t assume that locals identify as Spanish. Catalonian independence is a big deal for a lot of people in the region. They may very well identify as “Catalan” — period. Street signs, etc. tend to vary between Spanish and Catalan, which is a combination of Spanish, French, and bit of Italian.
10. Barcelona smells like pee… Like, everywhere. The peeing problem is so bad that the official city brochure essentially begs people not to pee in the street. What looks like an innocent brick wall from afar may very well be a bathroom. Er, a self-designated bathroom.
11. The beaches aren’t real. The sand is imported from Egypt, if I remember correctly. They are also disgusting. Most locals stay away from the city beaches and opt to go further away because, as Petter puts it, you’re basically rolling in dead skin and cigarette butts. Also, the palm trees in town aren’t native to the area, but were planted by the city for the Olympics. (This information is brought to you by Petter, the best ever tour guide.)
And some quick notes:
1. Restaurants with a terrace are generally more expensive.
2. A “tortilla” is an omelette.
3. If someone is actively trying to get you to go to their restaurant, it is probably both touristy and expensive.
4. Don’t trust people who say they love you within ten minutes. Duh. Looking at you, French boys.
5. That said, it is very easy to fall in “love” in and with Barcelona.
6. Fruit is so cheap. The US has everything backwards in terms of food costs, Jesus lord.
7. You can hear American tourists from miles away. We have a bad reputation. I’ve watched a lot of Americans refuse to even try to start conversations with “hola.”
8. Barcelona can be a land of gluttony if you want it to be. But it can be lots of other things too. Depends on the company you keep. I learned this lesson the hard way…
More soon. I could go on for days, but I’m feeling the need for a siesta.