Feeling a Little Nostalgic

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While I stand by my last post that Spring is most definitely in the air (the daylight is sneaking in through the gaps in my curtains to greet me each morning and I get to drive home from work while it’s still light), I have to say I am a little disappointed that my plans to sit by the castle during my lunch break are not yet a reality.

I forgot about those pesky April showers you see. Yesterday I was positively teased with beautiful sunshine until about 11:50am when all of a sudden dark clouds started to creep across the sky threatening rain. For the rest of the afternoon the weather alternated between brilliant sunshine and light showers leaving me stuck at my desk until 5:30pm when I dashed to the car.  

I don’t actually mind the rain. I find the sound of it so relaxing, almost as if it’s washing away all the crap ready to start afresh. Of course it is nice to have a bit of sunshine too. On the odd days this year when the sun has made an appearance, the feeling of it’s warmth on my face has filled me with joy and hope. That’s why I’m counting down the days (33 in case you wanted to know) until Mum and I fly out to Barcelona for our holibobs.

Barcelona has a special place in my heart as it was my first placement abroad while I was studying languages at university. Leaving home to go to university wasn’t that big a deal. I went with four friends from school so while it was new and exciting, it wasn’t scary or lonely. This placement was six months in a country that I’d never been to before and with a language where I could barely string a sentence together. I went there with one girl from my course, but she came out a bit later than me so when my parents left me in my grotty apartment in floods of tears, I was starting to think that my choice of course had been a huge mistake.

After a little while I decided that I couldn’t sit on my thin, uncomfortable, single bed crying all day so I grabbed my bag, found my way to the metro station and went into the city centre to explore. Now this was 12 years ago and my memory isn’t as great as it used to be, but to this day my parents still remind me of their shock when they received a cheerful text from me saying that I’d been to the city, had a little wander and got some shopping.

Those first few days when I was there alone started a big change in me. I was experiencing true independence for the first time. I had to rely on myself and it was bloody empowering even if it felt terrifying at the time. Even simple things like buying a bunch of flowers to brighten my room or getting a SIM card for my phone felt like huge achievements and gave me the confidence to carry on. A few months later when my friend’s bag was stolen, we went to the police station to report it so we could get her a new passport. Doing something like that would kick start my anxiety here in the UK, let alone in a country where I couldn’t speak the language.

Whenever I start to feel like my degree was a waste of time and money, or I get annoyed that I can’t remember the subjunctive in French or how to ask for a beer in Spanish (ha, like I’d ever forget how to do that!), I remind myself of those first few weeks on that first placement abroad and I realise that it was all worth it for that alone.

The weeks and months that followed are all a blur in my mind now, but every now and then a random memory will make me smile. It could be something like sitting in the computer room writing one of my long emails to everyone back home, or sitting on the beach sunbathing before my next lecture, but they all remind me of one of the happiest times of my life.

I’ve been back to Barcelona several times since. This will be my fourth time and I’m hoping to do some things I haven’t done before. I’ve done Gaudi to death and it’s getting so expensive now so I have no plans to revisit any of those tourist hotspots. Instead I am looking forward to a week of wandering around the city and finding some of its more hidden treasure. I’ve always wanted to visit Mount Tibidabo (and not because of Joey’s story in Friends) as I’ve heard that it has one of the best views of Barcelona at sunrise. That would mean a 5:30am start though which I don’t think my mum would be too keen on.

And when I get back I won’t have the post holiday blues for too long because yesterday Mum and I booked to go down to the villa for a week in August. I need a break apparently. Not going to argue, especially if I get to go to the pottery shop and pick out a few bits for my future house (even if they do have to go into storage when I get back!)
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