11 Nov 2008
The firs t morning was a bit of a fiasco on my part. I went to go pick up the parents at the airport (imaging the airport greetings from Love Actually), and ended up getting there an hour after they arrived due to the fact that I missed the earlier train since the green line was moving so slowly! Oh well, I’m just glad they got to Barca safely (despite their terrible flight). So we took a cab to their [first] hotel, brought their stuff in, and I showed them around the apartment and the University of Barcelona. They got to see the mob of cats and the gardens in the university, which was nice. Then I gave them the “grocery store demo.” I think they understand now why I eat so terribly here. They literally have none of the basic ingredients needed for making American food. Needless to say, they bought me a TON of groceries at Corte Ingles and Jespac! My section of the pantry is now overflowing with food!
After making the parents a French toast breakfast on Friday, we walked down the Rambla and down to the port. We passed the Placa Reial, which I hadn’t seen yet, so I was excited about that. I got to show them the crazy street performers and the little pet stores on the street. I still can’t believe they sell chickens on the Rambla, haha! We took a break down by the port after checking out Cristobal Colon’s statue. Once our feet stopped throbbing, we headed over to the Parc de la Ciutadella to see the Catalunyan Parliament and some cool fountain which was, unfortunately, under construction. While we were walking, I heard something rustling in the bushes on our left and when I went to check it out, I found this huge turtle crawling along the fence! I have no idea how he got up there (unless he’s a cliff climber), and I have no idea how he’ll get down safely. I was worried about him, but we decided to call it a day and say maybe it was laying eggs. So who knows… We left through the top entrance in hopes of finding the Arc de Triumf, I got confused, and then felt really stupid when we found it in the totally obvious spot. It was really pretty though! I like the way its colored more than the one in France, but I like how you can go up to the top of the one in France. Oh well. They got their first metro experience as we headed back to move them out of their hotel in the ghetto and terrifying Raval. Note to anyone who ever wants to come to Barcelona, STAY OUT OF THE RAVAL/BARRIO XINO! Sorry Mom and Dad for that one! We got them a room in the Hotel Inglaterra, which is in a better area and closer to my piso. Smooth sailing from there on! That night, Allie took us to the Oveja Negra since none us had ever been. So adorable! My first thought upon entering was “OMG, this place smells a bit like Kams!!!” Kams is the really disgusting smelling bar at U of I that we all have grown to love. So we ordered 3 pitchers of sangria to split amongst the 6 of us. Amy and I won by drinking ours the fastest—go us! After all 3 pitchers were drained, Dad wandered away (supposedly to go to the bathroom) and came back with a 4th pitcher. After finishing that one, we all headed back home.
After making them a scrambled egg breakfast, we hit up the Block of Discord. It’s really not as crazy as it sounds. We got to see Casa Batlló (by Gaudí) which tells the tale of how St. Jordi defeated the dragon. The roof of the building is supposed to look like the dragon’s back and the balconies like the skulls of its victims. Gnarly! Then we walked up a few more blocks so they could see the Pedrera. Much to our disappointment, the line was incredibly long so we decided to just continue. While walking back up the Rambla Catalunya we found a Muy Mucho (one of my favorite stores) and saw that they were selling Christmas trees and decorations!!!!! OMG, loved it! We browsed and then headed home. Mom and I went to Sants for some unsuccessful shopping (unsuccessful since the stores were closed for siesta), but we found fortune back near the hotel and piso. I ended up getting a pair of new jeans and some sweet black boots! Later that night we went over to Placa Espanya to see the Palau Nacional and the magic fountain show. Good stuff, good stuff. All we needed was some gelato to polish off the night…check.
After Sunday morning’s egg sandwiches (I know, I’m quite the little chef…not), we took the bus to Parc Guell. We wandered around and stole some Estrella beer glasses. You know, just the usual day in the park! Afterwards, we took the metro to the Sagrada Familia where we met up with Allie! Allie and Amy helped me pick out some lovely scarves so I can look more Euro. I don’t know if I’ll ever get it down right, crap! They’re adorable though and I cant wait to wear them all around Europe!! Afterwards, Allie took us back to her area and WE GOT TO MEET ROSA! She is seriously so adorable! I’m so glad Allie has such a nice host momma! Then she took us over to the football (soccer) stadium, which was enormous! I’ll definitely have to try to catch a game before I leave!
Monday was pretty chill since I had class from 10:00-2:30. The parents had a lovely and productive morning and when I met up with them, they had bought me a space heater and a huge, warm, and soft blanket! I’M SO SET NOW! Uuuuuh, I love it! No more winter hats in the piso, woo! We went back to Muy Mucho and got a Christmas tree, lights, and some decorations—I seriously cant wait to put them up!! That night, the parents, my roomies, Allie and I all went to Hard Rock for a hearty (meat-filled) meal! When sufficiently stuffed, we headed over to the shot bar! Yay parents for doing 3 shots each! Mom did a Boy Scout (roasting a marshmallow, dunking it in the shot, eat it, take shot) and Dad did a Gloria for grams, haha! Then they both did a Finding Nemo (which involved fishing an M&M out of some whipped cream at the top of a shot and then taking the shot), and then our final one was an Indecent Proposal. We headed out soon after since it was so hot in there…probably because they’re always lighting the bar on fire, haha!
Tuesday (the last full day =( ), I got out of class at 1:00, we got some final groceries and then headed over to Scobie’s Irish Pub! Yummy! We hung out there until Allie got out of class and then we all wandered the Gothic Area. After leading them around in circles (again, sorry about that), we went into the Barcelona Cathedral, which I had never really seen before. Very cool, even if there were goofy looking geese in the middle cloister =/. Then we headed home since it was getting dark. A little later, Mom, Dad, and I went to Hard Rock again. We all got burgers, and then we all got desert. By the time we left I was about to enter a Food Coma, which goes beyond the level of Food Baby. We laid around at the hotel and then I decided I better head back so they could pack and get a good night’s sleep. Not gonna lie, I didn’t want to leave. But since I knew I had to do it at some point, I figured I better not delay the inevitable. So we headed home, boooo. Mom cried again which made me sad. It upsets me to see her crying and knowing that I am partially the cause of it. Sorry boo, but please don’t be sad! Get a web cam and we can see each other much more often! Dad’s hugs are so reassuring. I know I’ll be okay in the next 7 months here. Now that they know I’m safe, and I know that they know, I think it should be a bit easier.
In retrospect, my last words probably should not have been “See you in June!!” but I’m socially awkward and always choose the worst things to say at the most opportune moments. So sorry about that too. After locking my door and literally running up the stairs (not sure why I did that), I went out on my balcony and watched them walk out of my view hand in hand. They’re so adorable! It’s nice to think that the next time I see them I’ll be back on the home turf and 21!! I still have 3 big holidays, 1 new year and 1 birthday til then, but time will fly for me since I have so many exciting trips to look forward to! So until June Mom and Dad, I’m just going to keep on walkin the world!
12 Nov 2008
So I called the parents today at 5:35 am to wish them a safe trip home. Hopefully this flight is more enjoyable than the first one!
Classes were alright. I have one midterm next Monday, one Tuesday, and two on Wednesday. In addition, I have to present on part II of this book we’re supposed to be reading in Cine, I have to do the take home part of the test, and read and summarize 5 difficult articles for Tuesday’s midterm. Booo! In other words, I wont be leaving the piso for a while. Friday we’re going on an excursion to Montserrat with the group and then going in some caves? Should be interesting. I’m glad it’s only a day trip though—that way I can get more stuff done this weekend!
In other news, Allie is such a doll. She came over in between classes and brought us both hot chocolate from Starbucks in their red Christmas cups (THEY CAME) and cookies. She said she knew I was probably having a crappy day since the parents left and it was cold and rainy today. She’s such an awesome cousin—I’m so glad she’s here with me!!
PICTURES!! I'll be putting more up as they come in or whenever Jude sends me her pictures (hint hint)
Please watch the adorable dancing granny on the right!!
He was just a good singer...you go Espanya!!