“Somos los Mismos”

Well, it’s officially been one week since I arrived in Barcelona for my senior project! It’s quite incredible to think that I’ve already spent seven days here, completely absorbed in Spanish culture.  How do I even begin to describe all the places I’ve visited, all the things I’ve seen, and all the connections I’ve made? Honestly, I could go on and on, so instead I will try to summarize my experience thus far.

To begin, I -as well as the Westtown group- have visited almost every corner of the city in Barcelona. I’ve learned about the city’s history, seen the cathedral, toured the museum of modern art, and explored a number of the city’s neighborhoods. Tomorrow, we are going to learn about the modern architecture of the city, including the work of Gaudi. Most importantly for me, I’ve witnessed the everyday life and culture of Barcelona. This past weekend, for example, my host’s mother took me out around the city and for lunch I got a taste of Spanish tapas, a classic Spanish dish. They were delicious!

While we were eating, my host mom and I began talking about the differences between the lifestyle of Spain and of the United States. As we noted these differences, we also discussed that, aside from the differences in language and culture, people from the United States are no different from people from Spain. “Somos los mismos” was what my host mom said. In English, this means “we are the same”. Certainly, I’ve heard this idea repeated over and over again in school, but for whatever reason this conversation has stuck with me. Perhaps for me to comprehend this idea it was necessary for me to go away, leaving my homeland entirely and living with a different family. Whatever the reason, my host mother couldn’t have phrased it better. Indeed, my comfort with my host family is a clear indication that, aside from our linguistic and cultural differences, we all share many things in common with one another.

On the days when I haven’t been touring Barcelona and other sites, I’ve been attending classes at AULA. I have to say, things are a bit different from what I expected. After all, when I first arrived, I thought I was going to be able to take art classes such as drawing or photography in school. Contrary to what I thought, there aren’t any art classes at AULA! Students that want to do art have to do it outside of school because there is simply no time in the day for these kinds of classes. As a result, the artistic part of my project will have to be limited to what I do outside of school. I’ve been taking photos with my digital camera, as shown in my last post. I haven’t had enough time to use my film camera yet, but I plan to bring it along for my next visit in the city.

On a final note, the students at AULA are quite kind. This past Friday, we all went out as a class to visit the ruins of Ampurias as well as the small town of Cadaqués. The more time I spend with these students, the more comfortable I’m becoming with speaking Spanish to them. Many people have commented that I speak Spanish really well which has been the quite the confidence booster! Overall, I’m going to miss my host family and the AULA students when we leave for Madrid this coming Monday.

That’s about all for now! I hope to post again soon.