FC Barcelona v. Bilbao

December 1, 2012

FC Barcelona 5 – Bilbao 1

Such an exciting game to watch, even though it was beyond freezing, I couldn’t help but be amazed by Piqué’s beauty, I mean skills. As per usual Sr. Messi did his thing.

Força Barça.

Stockholm, Sweden

Stockholm, Sweden November 23-25

Brrrrrrr…

Vanessa, a good friend of mine, and I travelled to Stockholm for the weekend. Stockholm is a lovely city but too cold for me. It got dark every day at around 3PM and most shops closed by 6PM. We visited many places thanks to the Stockholm card that we purchased when we arrived. The card provided us with unlimited transportation and free entrances to over 80 museums and places.

A glimpse:

  • Filmstadens Kultur
  • Fotografiska (Contemporary photography exhibitions)
  • Kungliga Slottet (The Royal Palace – Museum Tre Kronor)
  • Kungliga- Skattkammaren (The Royal Palace- The Treasury)
  • Nobelmuset (The Nobel Museum)
  • Nordiska- Museet (Museum that displayed trends, traditions, life and work in Sweden)
  • Skyview (Ericsson Gobe- The world’s largest spherical building)
  • Vasamuseet (The Vasa Museum- Home of the Vasa which is the world’s only surviving 17th century ship)

It took us a little bit to figure out the transportation system and how things function in Sweden. Either way, we had a good time exploring the city!

Bonjour, Paris!

Paris, France. Nov. 16-18

I wish I would have taken my French classes in middle school seriously.  I would have loved to speak more than a few words in French. Paris is a place I would like to return to in the future. Enjoy the photos!

 

14N

“14N” could be found all over the city. It not only indicated the general strike on November 14th in Barcelona but also the strikes in the rest of Spain, Greece, Italy, and Portugal. This protest was in response to the financial crisis which has led to substantial budget cuts, tax rises, etc. which is detrimental to Spain’s troubled economy with a reality of 25% unemployment and among the young about 40% It was the first time I have ever seen so many people, young and old, coming together to stand up for each other.

The day before the protest, business knew what was coming. I saw banks boarding up their windows to avoid damage and people triple locking their businesses. I went out in the morning, afternoon, and evening to see all that unfolded on the 14th. Just about everything was closed and if businesses were open, people were sure to surround that business until they closed. People stopped buses from running, painted over bank signs, threw paint at bank windows, started fires, chanted, marched, and more. There were many hours of peaceful protesting but many filled with violence, destruction, and chaos. The Mossos d’Esquadra, police force of Catalonia, were out in full force to make sure the protest was safe. When it got intense they began shooting loud sounds to shake people up and even rubber bullets. It was sad to see many people involved in the protests injured and even worse to here about what happened to some people.

This protest showed me how much Barcelona, Spain and many other countries are suffering due to the financial crisis. It has impacted the lives of so many. I hope that these people will see a better future as soon as possible.

All Saints Weekend

November 1-4

This weekend consisted of reflection, prayer, and many good moments. I made my way to a cathedral and church in search of serenity. I couldn’t help but think of my great grandmother who passed away the day I arrived in Barcelona and my cousin Michael who would have turned 23 this month. Some are taken from us too soon which is why I express my love to many every single day.

I visited Tibidado, a mountain that overlooks Barcelona. The view from Tibidado is impeccable and one that I will always remember. I entered the Temple Expiatori del Sagrat Cor, a church on the summit of Tibidado, and was impressed with its interior.

Quick story. I was upstairs hanging with my friends in their apartment when in came two people. I quickly glanced over and said “hello” and then continued talking to my friend Njeri. I looked up again and saw a familiar face. It was LIV. I went to boarding school with Liv and she came to Barcelona with her friends for a few days and one so happens to be friends with my friend, Corinne. Liv is studying in Italy and it was nice to catch up with her. It’s a small world, after all.

It was Dylan’s last weekend in Barcelona and we did all that we could to enjoy it. Her trip was cut short due to personal reasons and we miss her! We ate Wok to Wok for the first time, went to Camp Nou to watch Barça win, visited the Picasso Museum and capped off the weekend with dinner at Rosa Negra.

  • Wok to Wok (Asian fusion) was yummy.
  • Camp Nou is a beautiful stadium and it was thrilling to watch FC Barcelona beat Celta de Vigo. It was my first pro “futbol” match and am excited for the next!
  • Pablo Picasso’s work is incredible.
  • Dylan’s dinner @ Rosa Negra was great because of the company and laughs. Love these kinds of moments with the girls!

Special Report- This weekend, I drank water from the Font de Canaletes! The Local Legend: one who drinks from the Font de Canaletes will always return to Barcelona.

Tienes tu camisa negra? / It’s been Real Madrid

18th of October – Tienes tu camisa negra?

The night before I went to Madrid, I went to the Juanes MTV Unplugged Concert at The Palau de la Música Catalana. The setting was intimate and lively… one of the best concerts I have been to thus far.

My favorite songs: Volverte a Ver, Es Por Ti, Para Tu Amor, Nada Valgo Sin Tu Amor…actually, I like them all.

19th-21st of October- It’s been Real Madrid

I, along with my program, took the Renfe Train to Madrid. The ride was a smooth and extremely comfortable 2.5 hour ride. Once we arrived, we checked into our hotel, which was conveniently  located in the center of Madrid. Everything about Madrid is lovely…the food, the people, and the whole atmosphere. I cannot wait to go back!

Day 1 Highlights: 

  • Walking tour throughout Madrid
  • Ate at El Mercado de San Miguel
  • The Chocolatería San Ginés where I had the best hot chocolate. It was thick, creamy, and rich in flavor. On the tour, we were told that Chocolatería San Ginés had the best hot chocolate and churros in Madrid…so we had to try it…TWICE.
  • Dinner at a restaurant (forgot to take its name down) The food was delicious! Must go again!

Day 2 Highlights:

  • The Museo del Prado: home to many masterpieces by artists such as Diego Velásquez, Francisco de Goya, El Greco, and more.
  • The Museo Nacional Centro de Arte Reina Sofía, which is home to Pablo Picasso’s Guernica and many other works of artists such as Joan Miró, Juan Gris, Julio Gonzalzález and many more. 
  • Had the chance to catch up with my friend, Capeto, from Nicaragua.
  • Got to grab tea with Pablo and Rocio! I went to boarding school with Pablo and we hadn’t seen each other in two years. My friendships from KUA are truly one of a kind.
  • Discoteca Kapital…the best I have ever been to!

Day 3 Highlights:

  • El Parque del Retiro which seemed like Madrid’s version of Central Park
  • Walk through the open flea market called El Rastro

Keeping up with Greydy…

Love

Everyone has been telling me that I look so happy and they are right, I AM.

Class

I have 5 classes that are held twice a week Monday through Thursday. This means I have zero Friday classes!

  1. Politics of the Developing World
  2. Cross Cultural Management
  3. Managing Services
  4. The Image of Barcelona in Literature
  5. 7 Wonder of Spain (Architectural History Class)

Gym

I joined a nice fitness club, which I enjoy going to. I take advantage of many of the classes and facilities offered.

Language Partner, Uris

I signed up for a language partner and was paired up with a gentleman named Uris. When he first met me, he expected me to not speak any Spanish but when I did, he was taken aback. He then told me I could be his English teach, although he speaks English very well. I noticed we were speaking a fair amount of English when I realized I wanted to learn Catalan. He has been teaching me Catalan ever since. Uris and I meet up about once a week and hang out. We have gone to a concert, walked around Barcelona, gone running in the hills that overlook the city, and more. He is fun, easy going, and a great friend.

Fun Fact: The first time I ever rode a moped was with Uris! Seeing Barcelona, while riding on a moped, is an exciting experience.

Uris!

Grocery Shopping

There is no meal plan provided in my apartment. This means the cooking is up to me. I go to an average of 3 different grocery stores to get the products I would like. Although this can be a bit time consuming, I enjoy it because I get to walk through different areas of Barcelona. Also, every once in a while, I join my friends in the upstairs apartment for a family dinner!

Sleep

For the first month and many days, I had a hard time falling asleep at a decent time. I would lay down and hope to fall asleep but I just couldn’t. Perhaps living my dream, of being in Barcelona, has something to do with it.

Switzerland

On October 11, I ventured off to Switzerland with some of my roommates. We flew to Geneva then picked up a rented car and headed to Interlaken. We stayed in Interlaken for two days and spent one day in Geneva. Interlaken was everything I imagined Switzerland would be. It was beautiful, beautiful, and beautiful. I enjoyed the peace that swept through the air.

How do I explain Geneva? Banks, on banks, on banks. Well not exactly, Geneva is home to the European headquarters of the UN, Red Cross, and many more significant international and intergovernmental organizations. It was pretty incredible to be in a city of such political, social, and economic importance.

Not a fun fact: Everything in Switzerland is expensive. Plan accordingly.

Bon dia, Montserrat

I travelled to Montserrat, a mountain outside of Barcelona, on September 6th. Montserrat stands for “jagged mountain” in Catalan and many of the rock formations depict many different things if you just  use your imagination. It was a very relaxed day spent enjoying the fresh air, hiking, and reflecting inside La basílica de Montserrat.

La Mérce

The Festival of Barcelona

It was such a lively long weekend which comprised of endless concerts, pride, fireworks, and overall great times. Concerts took place all over the city and coincidentally, there was a huge stage set up in front of La Catedral (right in front of my apartment). We could watch concerts from the balcony and were able to hear the sound checks and singing from everywhere in the apartment.

Extra Extra! I took my first trip to La Boqueria. After walking around, seeing all of the products, and having a bite or two, I understand why it is ranked one of the top fresh food markets in the world and it just so happens to be located right in my neighborhood.

Favorites:

Castellers- Human towers… The epitome of team work

Music everywhere… this is common in Barcelona but having concerts everywhere was a treat.

La Sagrada Família…What a wonderful church designed by Antoni Guadí. His work is brilliant.

Gigantes- Giants Parade… Huge giants with effigies of kings, queens, nobles, and more graced the street of Barcelona.

The Correfoc- Fire Run…I guess I didn’t get the memo that observers should wear protective clothing including hats, thick long sleeve shirts, protective glasses, a bullet proof vest, and riot gear. Ok, so i’m just joking about the bullet proof vest and riot gear but I did not know that the crowd would be sprayed with flames from the sparklers and that big bangs would be released rapidly. At one point some sort of debris stung my eye. Nevertheless, being at the Correfoc was quite terrifying yet exhilarating.

Fireworks @ Plaça Espanya… Joined a sea of people for the finale of La Mérce

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