By far the best (if also the most terrifying) thing about the Year Abroad has been meeting lots of new people. Thankfully, most of said people have turned out to be more hilarious and incredible than terrifying.
Two such people are Dan and Sarah. Dan put up with me for about 10 hours a day as my teaching partner in Korea, and Sarah and I met on our first day as interns in Paris. They were introduced to each other when Dan came to Gay Paree to visit.
It just so happens that they are both living in Barcelona at the moment, providing an all too perfect excuse to take a break from the excitement (!) of Surrey in favour of vino tinto and jamón ibérico.
So last Monday I hopped on a luminous orange Easyjet plane and headed for the Spanish sun (boo hiss say the Catalan nationalists).
This trip was already destined to be fun, but I was extremely happy to find out that two other guys from the Korea trip, Alex and Tim, would also be in town.
Les gusta bailar.
We went to the beach 🙂
NO BEER was illegally consumed there.
Climbed a mountain. Okay, took the funicular to the top and then walked part of the way down… Go to Montserrat though, it’s cool.
Not only mountains were climbed
We also became acquainted with a terrapin called Coquito
(some of us more than others)
We stood in awe of the Sagrada Familia
Introduced Sarah to Korean food- when in Rome…
And, of course, soju.
Gaudi was kind of cool, right?
Almost as cool as strawberries, city views and park naps.
OH and how could I forget vermouth and Ray Bans?
The only slightly problematic thing was quite how great all this was.
Anyone who knew me at school will know that I used to be somewhat obsessed with Spanish. Until about age 16 there was no doubt in my mind that I was meant to study it at university, meet someone on my Year Abroad in Seville and end up with a double-barrelled name like Morton-Rodriguez. For some reason the pull of Eastern Europe and French cheese won out over my passion for Spanish pop, and I was content that any desire to become fluent in Spanish was well and truly buried under reams of Pushkin and Bulgakov. Not so, it would seem.
Apart from seeing these wonderful people and eating excellent steak, one of the biggest pleasures of this trip for me was attuning my ears to the difference in sounds between Catalan and Castilian, and attempting to bring to life whatever dormant language knowledge there was inside my head. There was some! And it felt amazing to understand it and speak a little again.
Although, my renewed passion probably has more to do with being reminded of excellent music such as this:
One more thing added to the post-uni ‘I don’t want to get a job yet’ plan: take up Spanish.