Taking selfies in Chicago was no big deal as I met up with Kaisa and Tiffany and we quickly walked or used public transportation to get to our destinations. Even though I had been living in Chicago for 10 years, I was unfamiliar with many of the monuments and landmarks such as: Chicago Bronze Cow, The Flamingo and Miro’s Statue. I found the selfie project in Chicago fairly easy, but interesting as I learned about some monuments that I had no knowledge about. Now that I am more familiar with the landmarks downtown I acknowledge them more than I did before and I appreciate their presence as a part of the city.
Taking selfies in Barcelona, I felt extremely uncomfortable as if I did not belong in this city. Having watched the Bye Bye Barcelona video, I was a bit worried due to the implication of the video that the local people of Barcelona have unpleasant attitudes towards tourists. They feel that their city is being overtaken and they are being pushed out of their own unique cultural space. Prior to doing my project, I thought I would be given a hard time by the local people of the city; however, my experience turned out to be quite positive. Walking around Barcelona I attempted to speak the little Spanish that I had learned, which I believe eased the tension the locals might have had towards me. When I attempted to speak their language, it made them realize that I am not a typical tourist and I am here to actually learn about them and their culture.
My experience of taking a selfie with a stranger was extremely difficult and challenging in Barcelona compared to Chicago. In Chicago I just politely asked a stranger if I can take a picture with them and they seemed happy to say yes. In Barcelona asking a stranger to take a picture with me was awkward because I did not speak the language fairly well and they might have thought my request was impolite. My limited Spanish skills was a cultural barrier because it prevented me from expressing my thoughts. After being denied by two people, I was finally able to get my selfie with a kind stranger. These two projects made me realize how much you can learn about a certain place and the world around you through the experiences you encounter in unfamiliar places and interacting with new people.