First Thoughts of Barcelona

I recently wrote a post discussing my next big step in life: living in a foreign country. At the time of starting this post, I am in Barcelona, Spain. Saying that I’ll be living here still feels surreal. I’ve wanted to go to (and live in) Spain for so long. I joke that the Cheetah Girls 2 movie is what introduced Spain to me, but honestly that may not be far off. Of course I’ve heard of the country before then, but I was introduced to Barcelona and Spain due to that movie.

Thirteen years later, here I am in Barcelona. Crazy, right? Here are my first impressions of the city as well as venting about a stressful day of travel.

Getting to Barcelona

If paperwork scares you, you’ll either have to face your fear or get over it if you decide to move abroad. To get to Barcelona I had to spend a lot of time, and money, getting my Visa. I will admit early on in the summer I procrastinated some of the paperwork because I was feeling overwhelmed and stressed. Don’t be like me. I ended up having to stress whether my Visa to stay in Barcelona would be ready up until the day BEFORE my trip.

But after wondering if I’d even be allowed to live in Barcelona, I got my Visa and all was well… or so I thought. I couldn’t sleep the night before I leave. So I woke up and was on my phone. At 5 a.m. I received a message saying my flight was CANCELED. Yes, not delayed but CANCELED. I jumped out of bed and without much sleep had to begin my quest to get a new flight and get a refund.

New Flight, New Airline, New Airport

I spent over $40 on an Uber to the airport I was set to leave from because I was told I wouldn’t be able to buy a new ticket over the phone or online from this one airline because it was last minute. Then when I arrived, said airline wasn’t there and wouldn’t have representatives for hours. So I was going to wait. But then that flight shot up in price by HUNDREDS of dollars. So I had to buy a ticket that was double my original, pay for my checked bags and find a way to a new airport.

Oh, and I didn’t get my refund still (fast forward more than one week since the canceled flight, still no refund). Yeah, Norwegian Airlines are not my favorite.

But I Got to Barcelona

My flight to Barcelona was normal, still a little flustered with everything that happened but hey, I got here. And wow, I felt so lucky being in Barcelona. Cheetah Girls movie aside, I’ve always felt a pull to Spain. There’s something about this country that makes me need to discover it more. Whether it be here, Madrid, Seville, Valencia or another city. This chapter will be in Barcelona.

So once in Barcelona I went through the passport control and nervously went to meet my host family. Two of the four family members greeted me at the airport and I immediately had to switch my brain from English to Spanish. It was nerve-racking and still is. Everyday is a challenge and I get embarrassed due to my lack of skills each day. But it’s part of the process.

Although it’s hard now, this speaking practice I’ll have everyday will greatly improve my skills in the long run.

It Hasn’t Been Easy

Embarrassing and awkward moments lost in translation, not being able to figure out simple things, getting lost, taking the wrong train, feeling tired all the time, adjusting to a new schedule, trying to figure out your paperwork. WOW. Who would’ve known moving to a new country that speaks a foreign language would be so hard? Being in Barcelona has been a wonderful whirlwind. Ups, downs and everything in between. Plus this is only the beginning.

I’m so lucky to be here, have a super nice host family and have the opportunity to travel around Europe a bit. That’s one thing that keeps my spirits high during my low moments. I’m already planning my Christmas vacation. I’ll have about two weeks. All I know is I want to be in Rome for Christmas and I think Prague for New Year’s Eve.

What do you recommend?

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