It’s been a while since my last blog because I’ve been busy doing nice things, as well as spending a fair amount of time worrying about what I will do with my life next year (and in more general terms). Here is a condensed summary of my Jan/Feb/beginning of March, for anyone who cares:
- My wonderful friend Judith came to stay for the weekend, and we ate and drank and walked A LOT. What was meant to be a fairly quiet weekend escalated (this tends to happen when Dutch and English friends drink together in Spain). Besides the sleep deprivation and strange-smelling hostel dorm, it was fabulous.
I attempted to be a tour-guide, and we visited Parc Guell (it’s a classic), Montjuic, Barceloneta, El Born, El Gotico, El Raval… all the usual beautiful spots.
- My oldest friend (since day one of nursery) Emily came to visit, with her beau Victor, for a week. It was raining a lot on the first couple of days and I was worried they’d think I was lying about the good weather here. Luckily by the end of the week we were on the beach, and Victor even went for a dip in the sea (a very bold move, but he is Bulgarian and therefore made of stronger stuff). We ate and drank a lot together, and they fully embraced pincho culture (which is not specifically Catalan, but still).
They also discovered a fantastic Mexican restaurant in El Raval. I will be returning.
- I ran the Barcelona half marathon in 1 hour 41 mins (Just over a minute off my 1.40 target, dammit). This run was fuelled by Harribo, porridge, and a 90s trance album on my Ipod shuffle. Bit of a different experience to the Sheffield half. Less hills, and also less portaloos (apocalyptic scenes).
- Finally visited Joan Miro’s foundation/gallery/exhibition space on Montjuic which was pretty interesting. As you walk through the gallery, you start by seeing his early works (which were fairly realistic paintings) and then they just become more abstract and crazy through time, as he ages. The gallery essentially walks you through a man’s path to complete disillusionment with politics/ life in general and progression to insanity. At the end of the exhibition he is just setting fire to canvases.
- I also went to a small gallery in El Born at a place called the Blue project- one exhibition was on feminism, and the other was a single installation of books which have been banned throughout history. Was pretty interesting and has inspired a new reading list for me.
- I went to visit my favourite German for a weekend in Munster. We ate a lot of lovely food, I met his pals, and relaxed in peace. I also humiliated myself in a German café by speaking to the waiter in Spanish. He got very confused, and I was very confused.
- I have been sampling various salsa nights/classes, but only one of them was formal. My friend at work took me and my two American pals to a place called Antilla where everyone else are basically pro dancers. I accidentally hit a man in the face when he was attempting to teach me some complex arm-ography (In salsa, men lead women, but this is difficult when you don’t know how to be led. For example, I didn’t know the signal for, ‘I’m about to drop you backwards so your head is nearly touching the floor’. Did not see that one coming, but it did. I don’t think I was particularly graceful). Onwards.
- With regards to my Spanish language learning: mixed reviews. I have good days and bad days. I helped a lady find her departure gate- in Spanish, naturally- at the airport when I flew to Germany. That was a small triumph. I am making an effort to watch more Spanish films. A couple of my exchanges said they have noticed improvements, but I don’t know if they are just being kind (the likely case).
- With regards to tutoring, I am very busy, and thinking about reducing my hours in spring (so I can utilise the beach a little more).
- I’ve been offered a two month summer job teaching English in Taiwan and I don’t know whether to take it.
- Also- I have eight days to decide if I will stay at my school in Barcelona for another year and I have no clue what to do. None whatsoever. SOS.
It terrifies me to think that when I write my next blog post, I will have decided where exactly the next year of my life will be spent. I also have to decide if I want to go to Taiwan, stay in Spain, or work in England for the summer holidays. As a person who struggles to select my favourite flavour of yogurt for breakfast, this is proving to be a real challenge.
If I don’t stay in Barcelona, there are other options elsewhere in Spain, or potentially further afield, teaching English, or not teaching English (that’s another decision to make)… it’s impossible for me to decide! This morning I woke up early and along the coast, with the sun shining, the sky blue, and the paths empty (but for a few early-rising tourists). It is precisely moments like this I question whether I could possibly leave in June. I will probably end up tossing a coin and letting that decide for me.
In the next few weeks I will be…
skiing in La Molina
salsa dancing (I hope)
improving my Spanish (specifically speaking about the past, because I struggle with that, among many other things)
my cousin will visit
I will go to Germany and Istanbul and back to Germany again.
Needless to say I am pretty busy!