The thought of venturing out of my comfort zone and tackling a whole new city is nerve-racking. Back in Chicago, it took me nearly a month to finally familiarize myself with just the few blocks of UIC’s East Campus and even afterwards I still get disoriented walking out of the Behavioral Sciences Building. Now I expect myself to jump into a whole new barrio and become one with Barcelona. While exploring this new neighborhood that I will call home for the next few weeks, I continuously compared my current Barcelona experience with my previous transition from suburban life to urban life back in Illinois.

I love dogs, and one of my favorite places in Chicago where I spend my time admiring dogs is Lake Shore East Park, a beautiful green space surrounded by skyscrapers. Walking through Barcelona I came across a large open space that reminded me of my favorite park back in Chicago filled with my favorite animal.

On the way to Universitat de Barcelona is a wide walkway that welcomes people on bicycles and scooters (right) along with many beautiful canines that I admired from a distance. This area, similar to many others in Barcelona, promotes lounging and activity in an aesthetic way.

 

Experiencing night time in the streets of Barcelona reminded me of the first time I wandered down Chicago’s Taylor Street at night. The liveliness of urban nightlife was comforting for me. As a child I used to associate nighttime with just quiet emptiness. However I now appreciate nightlife as an active time, too.

Even at 10:30 pm many residents of Barcelona enjoy a night time meal on the terrace of Miu (left), a Japanese restaurant. A row of motorcycles (right) alludes to their common use here in Barcelona, which is different from my experience in car-heavy Chicago. Next to the row of motorcycles is a bike lane, which displays how active modes of transport are promoted here. Still, inactive lounging is supported, as displayed by the many benches (left) that line the streets.

 

As a child my favorite piece of playground equipment were the swings. There was just something about the swinging sensation that was soothing and made me feel as though I was a bird without the fear of falling to my doom. Zarbab proved to me that enjoying the swings is not just a childish activity, but one that can be appreciated by those of all ages.

Nestled within an intersection in the Eixample neighborhood of Barcelona, Plaça del Doctor Letamendi offers green space and a jungle gym. Spaces like these encourage activity even within a large bustling city.