is this what it feels like to come home?

So I’ve been at my house for less than a week now after being gone over a month and I have to say coming back is both disorientating and comforting. Flying in to Barcelona over the ocean, I recognized buildings and places and I know this place. After a month of arriving in random airports/train stations/cities where everything is new, its strange to be back to knowing where I am. The bus dropped me off in Plaça Catalunya and I know how this metro works and don’t even need to look at the map and it just feels so normal. When did all of this become normal? When did this becoming going back to normal life? Anyway, back to coming back to Barcelona later. 


I arrived in Strasbourg on a Sunday morning after flying in to a tiny German airport with Ryanair (13€ flight!). Mostly I just remember being horribly shocked by the cold and snow and having it become so apparent that Spain had made me weak. I literally walked out of the airport and thought oh my god there is so much snow, like what do you even do when there is this much snow?? in reality, there was maybe 6 inches. Needless to say, the friend I was visiting made fun of me the first few days for complaining about the snow and cold (maybe like 32 degrees) even though I’m from Ann Arbor and “know real winter”. But in Spain, if there was ever that much snow or if it was that cold, school would be closed, now one would leave the house, everything would stop. Here though, its like Ann Arbor. You just walk around in the snow and cold and its life, whatever. 


I love the Strasbourg Cathedral because it is just so ridiculous. You walk down a street that looks just like all the rest, turn a corner and then WHAM, the street dead-ends in just a massive cathedral. It is by far the tallest building in all of Strasbourg and can be seen from so so far away. However, most of the week I was there the spire was hidden by clouds. We went to Christmas mass here which was very beautiful, as in the building is very beautiful. The mass was in French… 


In all those cute little cabins of the Christmas Market they sell hot spiced wine, perfect for winter. The other thing I remember being suprized by but shouldn’t have been was that it was just overcast all the time in Strasbourg and Germany. I think I saw the sun once in 2 weeks. Its like that in Ann Arbor too in the winter, but in Spain, its sunny everyday. 


In the extra cute part of Strasbourg called Le Petit France, which always seemed a little funny to me. “Little France” like Little Italy, except it is in France. Just shows the history of Alsace, where Strasbourg has always been switching back and forth between France and Germany. 


Its kind of a long story, but my bad and camera got lost/stolen in Barcelona later in January so I have no pictures of Germany. Anyway, I was there at a camp with a bunch of young German kids in Herrshing which is a summer resort town with lakes. It was so cold! like 5 degrees fahrenheit, so so cold. New Year was really fun! The German tradition is to shoot of fireworks at midnight so the camp had a ton of them over the lake. 

Back in Barcelona

I spent like 5 days in Barcelona staying with friends before my host family got back. I went to La Sagrada Familia (pictures also lost) and just hung around Barcelona. We went out a Mexican restaurant one night because I’ve been dieing for some spicy food, it still wasn’t very spicy, no diablo sauce in Spain! 


(also no photos)

So my 18th Birthday was the 8th of January, but the party started the 7th. First, during the day I went sale shopping with my host brother and sister. It was crowded and kind of crazy, but everything was SO much cheaper, well worth it. Then went back to the friend’s apartment my host sister and I were staying at, got changed and went to Vila Olimpica to meet up with like 15 exchange students. It was a party for my friend from montreal as well because her birthday is today! So we found a little cafe to have a sandwich for dinner around 10. They closed at 11:30 so we went walking around until 2 when then discos opened. We ended up hanging out on the beach for a long time that night/morning. THE BEACH! In JANUARY! for my BIRTHDAY! I could not get over it. It was like 55 degrees the night of my birthday, just crazy. Then a bunch of us went to a pretty average disco, but it was free and we were a big enough group to make anywhere fun. Got the first metro train home at 5, slept till 10, went back to my host grandparent’s house for awhile. Finally got back to my village after being gone for so long around 3, ate lunch. I spent the afternoon unpacking and trying to get my life back together a little. My host mom baked me a cake so we did all that stuff. Then I went to a friend’s house in Berga and had a party with my Catalan friends. Around 12 we went bar hopping a little and then I went home around 3. So that was the birthday!


At the house before we went out and met up with more people.

Sash reads: “Avui en faig 18!” Today I turn 18.