We’re only a day away from our first return trip to the U.S. after the beginning of our Barcelona adventure and it’s an interesting feeling.
When I think back that it’s been nearly 15 years since I made the move from Canada to the U.S., it stays with me that I have never lost a certain sensation every time I go back and step again on Canadian soil. Saying it’s the warmth of being home again is probably an overstatement, since I don’t think I’ve ever been so homesick for Canadian shores to spur that feeling, but there is a certain level of comfort that comes with being back there. I expect it will be no different this time around when we head north.
More interesting may be how it will feel to step foot back into the U.S. again, even after just a few short months. No doubt there are things I have missed, although many of them surround the conveniences and comforts that had become the norm of everyday life in the US. What will the feeling be beyond that? Well, I really don’t know yet. I’m curious, to say the least.
At a minimum, it will be a relief not to be frantically searching for the right Spanish verb conjugation every time I need to have a conversation. That continues to be toughest part of the transition to Spain and I’m sure will be for months to come. I highly recommend learning a second language – just do it when you’re five!
And as odd as it sounds, there will also be some relief in knowing I can find a meal no matter the time or place. I would have never guessed that the unusual eating hours of the Spanish would prove to be as much of a challenge as it has turned out to be, but I’ve yet to fully adjust to the total lack of dining options before 8:30 at night and likely not even then on a Sunday. No wonder I’m down a few pounds. If it wasn’t for the great (and widely available) fresh bread, I might even be a good weight by now!
It will also be a comfort to climb back behind the wheel of a car on a regular basis again, knowing that wherever I need to park, the space will actually be equal in size to the dimensions of the car, and more! I could get used to that.
I don’t want this to sound like a complaint about Barcelona, since it definitely is not. It truly is a remarkable city and is proving to be a great choice for our big move. If I started from scratch to build a big city to live in (and be livable), there are few things I would dream up that would differ greatly from the reality that is Barcelona. The locals here are getting a lot of things right. Time will tell if it’s our long-term destination, but it has been a great choice in the near term.
Once we land back in the US, no doubt we will hit up a few local favorites to restock some items that have proven challenging in our new locale. It’s not that teabags are tough to find, but I do like my usual brand more than most. Some restocking of Liam’s wardrobe is in order as he continues to sprout upward. And, of course, he has made it clear that a trip to Outback has to be on the schedule. It’s not my first choice for dining, but the peace of mind he gains from a bowl of bacon and potato soup is worth the price of admission all day long. That’s one feeling that I know is coming.
RANDOM THOUGHTS: We ventured out yesterday to one of Barcelona’s oldest shops, Dulcinea, that serve churros and chocolate. It’s a very common treat in Madrid, but less popular here. Regardless, you can still find some storefronts that look frozen in time from decades ago that still specialize in a warm, doughy churro and a cup of hot chocolate for dipping that is thick enough to make the spoon stand straight up (and that’s no exaggeration!). Not surprisingly, the treat received a strong passing grade from Liam, as evidenced by the chocolate mustache on his face… Barcelona has come remarkably alive for the Christmas season. Down in the main square at Plaza Catalunya, there are enough lights to be spotted from the International Space Station, running up buildings and illuminating the fountains. There’s even an ice rink operating in the middle of the square, which is no small feat when the temperature has snuck over 60 degrees the last couple of days… Speaking of weather, we wandered the beachfront yesterday and saw a group taking a surfing lesson. Even with wetsuits, it was pretty impressive for three days before Christmas… I’ve always been firmly in the camp that could care less about celebrities’ opinions. I fail to see how acting or singing or even being the Oscar winner makes one person’s opinion on world issues suddenly more valid than anyone else’s. That said, it’s refreshing to read the sensible and collaborative words attributed to actress Emma Watson. Especially for someone barely into her 20s, it’s encouraging to see such a strongly positive message not aimed at tearing someone else down or focusing solely on a single group. I wish some of her fellow thespians and musicians could take the hint…