Que mono

Mono: Spn. for cute, friendly, nice

¡Hola desde Barcelona! 

It is officially Day 7 in one of, if not the most beautiful city in Spain! It's winter here, but let me tell you that I'd take a Spanish winter any day over the 30 inches of snow at home -- it's been about 65 degrees and sunny every day (although my family did tell me that this is very rare)!

I arrived early last Wednesday morning (about 6:30am BCN time) and have hit the ground running since. Orientation, meeting my program, host family, & roommate, excursions, exploring – it's definitely been a week of meeting a new people and places.

The Host Family + Roommate

Ellos son MUY MONOS! I could not have asked for a better Spanish family; they have been incredibly welcoming and accommodating. I have a host mom (Elena), dad (Lorenzo), brother (Pablo), and sister (Clara). Pablo is currently studying at film school in London and Clara is also a student at UB, but she's currently traversing India all by herself. We live in an apartment in a residential neighborhood called Sarria – it's in the northern part of Barcelona near the mountains.

 

My host family is quite the global family – they speak Castilian Spanish, Catalan (as does 90% of Barcelona bc we are in Catalunia!), Italian, French, German, Portuguese, and a little bit of English. Most of our conversations are in Spanish and even over the past 7 days, I feel 9876567x more comfortable and confident when I speak. My roommate and I have breakfast and dinner at home with our host family and they've even brought some of their friends and family over to meet us!

Mi host madre, Elena

Mi host madre, Elena

My roommate's name is Amanda! She's originally from NorCal and she goes to Yale. She's so, so awesome and together, we are slowly becoming cat ladies. If you know me, you know that I am NOT a cat person, but we have 2 cats (los gatitos) that they call "dog cats" because they're so tranquil and all they want to do is cuddle with you. Many cat pics and snaps have been taken, and there will be many, many more.

 

Los dos gatitos

Los dos gatitos

Tigre helping me unpack

Tigre helping me unpack

Tigre helping us make our grocery list

Tigre helping us make our grocery list

La calçotada

On Saturday, we hiked for 2 hours up to Tibidabo – the mountain that overlooks Barcelona – to a restaurant called Can Marti for a traditional Catalan dish called "calçotada" -- it's a Spanish onion (calçot) and you dip it in a salsa. It's also served with pan con tomato (bread + garlic + smeared tomato + Spanish olive oil + sea salt) and meat. 

 

Tibidabo

After lunch (a 3 hour lunch!!) some of us took el funicular (tram) up to the highest point of Barcelona where there is a cathedral, an amusement park, and some of the most amazing views EVER. 

 

Tapas

Todas las tapas: las potatas, el cangrejo, el jamon, la tortilla, etc.

Todas las tapas: las potatas, el cangrejo, el jamon, la tortilla, etc.

Notice that the menu is in Catalan!

Notice that the menu is in Catalan!

Sangria!

Sangria!

Here are some other highlights so far:

 

What about the "studying" part of study abroad?

School starts next Monday (!!!) and today I finally picked my courses! 3 of my classes will be through CIEE and 2 of them will be through the Universitat de Barcelona (direct enrollment). I'll be taking:

  • Curso avanzado de redacción y estilo (a Spanish grammar / discussion class)
  • Literatura y cine en España 
  • Obras maestras del arte Catalán (Art History class where you visit a site for each class)
  • La poesía española del siglo XX 1940s-2000s (Poetry)
  • Realismo y naturalismo en España: la novela (Spanish Lit)

And yes, I'll be taking everything in Spanish! Wish me luck! 

Can't wait to see what the next week's adventures bring! 

Until next post, 

Kate