kpuck's Travel Journals

kpuck

  • From United States
  • Currently in Spain

¡Hola España!

Welcome to my blog! I will use this site to update friends and family about my adventures in Spain.

You can make the bread!

Spain Spain  |  Jul 08, 2010
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 Hey, I never said I was Rachael Ray 

Greetings from Spain!

My fifth week in Barcelona is coming to an end.  A lot has happened since my last blog, so prepare to read!

Last Friday our group ventured about an hour outside of Barcelona to the town of Girona.  It’s a cute city with gorgeous views!  It was nice to get out of the busy city and be in a more peaceful place, even if it was just for a few hours.  After spending some time touring Girona, we took a bus to another town, Figueres, which is home to a museum of Salvador Dalí’s mind-blowing artwork.  Seriously, you need to read about Dalí or at least look at some of his work on the Internet.  He has a crazy life story, and his art is even crazier. 

Last weekend was the Fourth of July.  It has never been my favorite holiday, mostly due to unnecessarily loud fireworks and temperatures higher than I care to recall, but this year I was a bit sad to be away from the States.  Living in Europe has increased my American pride because I realize how great our country really is.  We have it good, folks.

Tradition is something to be cherished, and the Fourth of July is no exception.  My family always gets together to grill and shoot off fireworks.  Oh what I would do for barbeque chicken and homemade ice cream right now!  This simple family get together never seemed like a big deal to me in the past.  This year, however, I couldn’t help but wish to be back in Kansas, trying to tolerate the heat.  Thankfully I was able to video chat with almost everyone in my family through Skype, so it sort of felt like I was there.

In other news, I finally got to play sand volleyball this week!  It took me a few trips to the beach to figure out where the main volleyball courts were set up, and then it took me a few more trips to build enough confidence to ask some of the players if I could join their game.  Why was asking to play a game so hard, you ask?  Well first of all, I wasn’t sure what language these people spoke because it likely could’ve been French, German or one of the many other European languages.  I’m also quite shy to begin with, so approaching people I’ve never met, on top of not knowing what country they’re from, didn’t exactly seem appealing to me.  After a bit of wishful longing on the sidelines, however, I sucked it up and asked a few people to join their team.  Thankfully they were native to Spain, so I didn’t have to worry about trying to understand French or German!  It felt so good to spend a few hours in the sun playing my favorite sport. 

A few days ago I was walking around the neighborhood near Las Ramblas (shopping, of course) when I noticed a young girl studying a map.  She looked confused, and as I was passing her on the sidewalk she asked me if I knew how to get to the cathedral in the Gothic Quarter.  That’s right, friends… now three people have asked me for directions in the past few weeks!  And this time I actually knew where to tell the girl where to go!  It was really gratifying to realize how much I’ve learned during my time in Barcelona. 

Last night our group got to participate in a Spanish cooking class.  It was really cool to see how traditional food is prepared.  I’m not a huge fan of most food I’ve tried here so far, but it was still interesting nonetheless.  My cooking skills are, well, limited to say the least, so I was hesitant to try and prepare anything that looked too difficult.  Our cooking instructor (who was absolutely HILARIOUS) was insistent that I at least make something.  I chose to “make” pan con tomate (bread with tomato).  I say “make” because the only thing I really did was chop a few tomatoes and coat the already pre-sliced and pre-toasted bread with olive oil, salt and the tomatoes.  Hey, I never said I was Rachael Ray :)  Our instructor also tried to convince me that I needed to try the seafood that is present is so much Spanish cuisine.  I finally agreed and actually took a few bites!  It wasn’t terrible, but I’ll stick with my bread. 

Today is Thursday, so that means Chinese food day at my internship!  I ordered chicken fried rice and it was very good.  It tastes practically identical to fried rice in the U.S.  Fortune cookies aren’t very common in Spanish Chinese restaurants, though, so I didn’t get to have my favorite part of a Chinese meal :)   

My office isn’t just fun on Chinese food Thursdays though.  I absolutely LOVE going to work everyday.  The public relations work I’m doing is just normal stuff, but it’s the people in the office who make it so fun.  I’m definitely learning a lot through the work I’m doing, but I’m learning more by interacting with people from a different culture.  I’ve never laughed so much at a job.  It’s funny to communicate with people who have a different perspective on language.  Sometimes my coworkers will say an expression that makes total sense to them, but when translated to English sounds absolutely ridiculous.  I’ll try to find a comparable expression that they would understand, and by the end of our conversation we’re laughing so much that it’s hard to remember what we were talking about in the first place.  It’s been a blessing to work with such great people who make me feel at home.  

Okay, I’ve rambled enough for today.  Tomorrow I’m going to the famous Parque Guell, and then on Sunday Spain is playing in the World Cup soccer, excuse me... “futbol” championship.  Adios! 

-Kourtney

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    Marcia Hedges Smith wrote: Thu Jul 8, 2010
    Kourtney,
    I have really enjoyed reading your blog!! It sounds like you are having a great time and learning not only the language, but so much about yourself and another culture. I am so proud of you for stepping outside your box and taking on this wonderful adventure. Take care!!!
    Marcia