Barcelona has been home to me for the last week, and the experience has been wonderful thus far. I have had the opportunity to absorb the people, the art, the design of the city, and history as well as the rest of the components that makes up Barcelona and Catalan culture as well as the people.
Taking selfies in Barcelona was somewhat more challenging than the first half of the project in Chicago. There, I was familiar with the surroundings and knew how to get around the city easily; there, I was not a stranger. Chicago is my home, and in a way, my comfort zone. Here in Barcelona being a new face and body and still learning the way things work, I am constantly trying to be aware of my surroundings to avoid any mistakes or anything which may un-camouflage my tourist disguise, like grinning with a selfie stick in front of random points throughout the city.
This first week, we first experienced traditions of Catalan culture through history at the Gothic Quarter and art at the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya. It was interesting to see how Barcelona is an old city within a new, growing city and how that impacts the people. I can see tradition has grown and while newer generation individuals may not celebrate or carry on as it once was, I see nothing wrong with the improvements or new additions to the culture, such as capturing memories with cameras and phones.
One of my favorite parts of Barcelona so far has been the inclusion of art within the city. Often times, we see art work in Chicago but we see it through the architecture or a museum itself, or we may not even know an art piece when we see it or what it is supposed to represent.
It was a long journey to get to Barcelona, but the adventure has only begun. I am excited to see what I learn and what I take away from the end of this program. When the travel began on the airplane to Barcelona, I was kicked for 8 hours by a woman’s 3 year old, and had her one year old son behind me screaming the entire time. I did not say anything because there is not much you can do when a child’s ears pop, and of course how can you be mean to a big brown pair of eyes? I ended up taking a selfie with the mother, Sharon. I wonder if people living in Barcelona struggle with the frustration of when and when not to say something to a tourist if they’re doing something they shouldn’t necessarily be doing? Where’s the line between just letting something go and putting your foot down? I guess I’ll find out in the coming weeks.