Repeat the Sounding Joy (December in Barcelona)

I’ve adequately set myself up to not sleep tonight. At only 9p.m. in Barcelona, I wandered across the street to get a small hot chocolate and ended up with a medium peppermint mocha. Tis the season. Tomorrow, I’ll rise early for a three hour train to Madrid and I am getting myself on the night train to Lisbon no matter what the rail company tells me the price is. I’m so excited for Lisbon.

I just went online to look at hostels in Lisbon. I’ve been a hostel snob, always picking a top-rated one (never more than $25 a night, generally picking one of the lower-priced but still top-rated). The top-rated ones come cleanest, best showers, internet, but most importantly, the best chance of being bedbug free. Usually in every city, there are a couple in every city that hit the 90% rating mark. In Paris, it was 82.

I might backpack through Lisbon hostels.

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I’m so excited for Lisbon.

A few quick things promised from yesterday- my darling Toulouse hostel bedroom, what replaced the red purse (Nancy says I must be ready to get home, it’s “pretty”) and my new knife.

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Back in Barcelona, where holidays are in full swing. As I said yesterday, so much has changed since I was here last. I remember the day Dad flew home. I walked from our hotel, checking out hours after he left for the airport, backpack on in blazing heat across town. It was my first resistance of public transportation and it was hard. The bag was heavy, I broke a sweat within ten minutes and I felt like all eyes were on me. All I could think was This is really going to be something. This is hard. I didn’t post pictures back when I was in Spain – I only found a memory card adapter existed by chance while I was in Istanbul. I can’t believe I went into this trip thinking I’d never post pictures. These were the first backpacking friends I ever made – two being Ron Weasley and Neil Patrick Harris.

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Today, I sat out on the lawn of that same last hotel Dad and I were at. It was a gorgeous day – enough wind by the water to give me goosebumps but otherwise perfect for reading On the Road and thinking.

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I liked this couple. If oddly positioned, comfortable with each other.

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The thing I’m going to miss most about this trip is the conversations. I had such a fun time chatting with Pele. Short on details last night, the reason I felt safe were the multiple references to his twenty-one year old son and wife. The offer to stay in my own master suite in Bangkok “and hang out and talk to my wife about all the girly stuff you want, I’ll just be there to give you the key to the house.” I’ll never forget one moment. He was telling me about a trip to Southern California “in 1990, so that would have made you how old then?”

“1990? An infant.”

Pele broke into giggles he couldn’t contain. He obviously knew I was young, but I think 22 surprised him. He’d already called me an obviously very social and brave person and told me law school would be a very good future for me… But at “an infant” he was off laughing.

Today, I woke up at 7, listened to some songs and wrote a few emails…and fell back into a deep slumber. I woke again at 11:15. An hour and a half later, I’d walked far too far without food or water when a waiter talked me into an all-you-can-eat lunch buffet for 9 euros. I’d wandered into the otherwise very expensive Port Vell area and the only other option was going to be equally expensive McDonalds fast food. I said okay to the buffet.

Oh, it was such a good call. Not just because it was all you can eat greens and pasta and soup, main course chicken and paella and pizza, dessert… But the waiter serving dessert made me laugh. Out of the blue, he asked if I was a part of “the Obama party.” I laughed and hedged, saying technically yes but semi-jokingly said I don’t really like any of them at the moment. He asked me if I thought the future was good.

I hope so. One of my favorite pictures from this entire trip sums up my feelings right now – Barcelona in August.

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I ended up at Cafe Zurich, where Dad and I shared so many coffees, and it really is the best cup of coffee I’ve had on this trip. I sat at our exact table, wrote down some thoughts I’d been thinking over all day, people watched.

I remember telling Dad I’d be spending a lot of time everyday just writing. Maybe pick a bench, write a story about that person. Write a poem about that boat over there. Yes, I’ve done plenty of writing, but it never came in the fashion of daily hours sitting pouring over thoughts of a random object. I’ve been far more mobile than I ever imagined.

I said I’d be indoors by dark every night. Solo girl, I’d explore by day and stay in and read at night. False. So false. The nights (not necessarily night-life, but night-time) is stunning. I’m two-thirds through one book on this trip.

I also thought there’d be no pictures of me from this trip. False. It’s how I make half my contact with humans.

Those are just a few, but this post is getting long. I’ll leave you with Christmas lights in Barcelona because the city is stunning and life is magical.

And because I’m counting my blessings it was nighttime and I didn’t get mugged for these shots, because we all know I’m not pulling Pele’s knife on anyone.

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3 thoughts on “Repeat the Sounding Joy (December in Barcelona)

  1. I don’t know what I am going to do without my daily dose of Europe seen and spoken through you. Really. I’m feeling emotional for you (and for me). Have a great time it Portugal! I love you!

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