Local News

During Easter, Barcelona was a great city to celebrate. It had religious and cultural activities, great local dishes and breezy, beautiful sunshine. Furthermore, the city has great traditions that many practiced during this very important holiday.

This year’s Easter coincided with Sant Jordi, which is one of the most important days in the Catalan calender. During this tradition, roses, colors and books brought the streets to life. Men gave ladies a rose, and in turn, ladies gave them a book. Therefore, the streets were filled with many vendors trying to sell these items that many strollers would purchase.

Ultimately, many people were on vacation and enjoyed their Easter holiday for Spain is a Catholic country. Many, however, also remained in Barcelona and were celebrating their religion in their beautiful city.
For Easter, people generally avoided meat, which was why this seafood enriched city was perfect. Cod was a very popular dish amongst everyone, and easter cake and chocolate eggs soon followed. It was a festive holiday to say the least, and people were proud to celebrate such an important event in their lives.
The main activities programmed for Easter were the procession of Nuestra Señora de las Angustias and The procession of Nuestro Padre Jesús del Gran Poder and María Santísima de la Esperanza Macarena.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cultural Experience 3

For my Spanish course, my class and I were to do an assignment where we had to meet up with people who lived in Barcelona. We were to talk with different residents, and we would practice our Spanish language skills through constant conversations. In exchange, they would speak English to us and we would help them get better as well.

At first, I was really nervous because I was not very comfortable with speaking. I didn’t think that I was very good at Spanish and I was embarrassed to make mistakes. However, I was also excited, because I knew practice made perfect. I needed more experience with talking, and conversing with someone whose native tongue was Spanish was the perfect opportunity to embrace. Therefore, I turned my anxieties and negativity into positive energy and I welcomed the experience with open arms and a huge smile.

I spoke with two very nice men who greatly helped me with Spanish. They spoke slowly and clearly, and I therefore could understand what they were said. In turn, I helped them exercise their English knowledge, and when they needed my counseling, I was quick to assist.

The experience really was amazing, because I was connecting so much with people I had just met. It was a very easygoing environment, and I was completely myself. We laughed, we joked, we learned. I discovered new phrases and slang, and I learned about new restaurants and Barcelona areas to visit.

I think that I was able to improve my language skills just by conversing for an hour with several men. I felt so lucky that I had this opportunity, and I realized that all of my anxieties were so silly. When the time was up, we all exchanged numbers and names for future communication. My partner told me he would show me around town, and I was thrilled to have such an invitation.

Through this experience, I realized how important the Spanish and Catalan culture was to me. It made me want to learn more about the way of life in Barcelona, and I wanted to assimilate with the citizens. I love speaking a different language, and I hope that one day, I will be fluent. This experience has made me want to work very hard toward that goal, which I think could be reached in the future.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Cultural experience 2

Recently, my class and I were given the wonderful opportunity to venture to the radio station in which our journalism 2.0 professor, Pipo, works. I thought it was really neat that he welcomed us into his personal life, and we were able to get a taste of the real world in Barcelona. Ultimately, I felt this was a cultural experience, because I got to learn more about Europian media, and I could see it hands on.

The station was very large for it consisted of radio announcers, writers, editors and more. It was very interesting to learn about the different procedures in radio, and I enjoyed seeing the various rooms and aspects of the workforce. Of course everyone

spoke Catalan, so understanding was difficult, but it was really neat seeing the show live. Pipo explained to us that often times people would stroll by the glass windows of the station while the radio broadcasters were talking. He said that they would inch toward the windows and wave, and sometimes, the announcers would speak to them. They would giddily talk back through the outdoor speakers and boom, they were on the radio! Five minutes of fame right there.

I thought it was really interesting that our class was able to tour through the station, because I feel like in St. Louis, where I am from, that opportunity would not be as accessible. I loved the hands-on experience, and I learned that radio broadcasting really does interest me.

Though some of the technical equipment looked quite intimidating, it seems like a profession that I could possibly pursue. Pipo said we could visit the station with him whenever we like, so some friends and I may hold him to that proposal! I guess we shall see. Until then, this is Amanda Cohen, live, from Barcelona, Spain. Stay tuned, for I will be back shortly.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leisure – night life

 

The clock continues to slowly tick in my ear. Though I hear endless annoying clicks echo the room, the big hand is frozen in time. I just want the long, skinny pointer to strike the teasing, bold three, and for it to be 7:15. I want to pack up my bags and leave this strung-out, horrible class. I can’t concentrate, and I can’t work. All I can do is fantasize about the wild adventures I will soon undergo.

 Finally, the time has come. I lazily swing my backpack over my shoulders and excitedly exit the classroom. No more monotone teacher, and no more horrendous notebook doodling. The Monday Loco Lunes festivities, which will begin in several hours, are all I can think about.

The outside air feels brisk against my skin under the thin leather jacket, and I inhale the candied, minted scent. The dark, ominous sky welcomes my presence and hugs me with silence as I trace my footsteps into the darkness of the night. I walk the desolate streets to the metro stop and enter the crowded, noised bus humming with foreign phrases and words.

My foot impatiently taps on the metro, bare ground as the Spanish murmurs ring in my ear. Each stop, a body exits and another enters, always ending with a new companion sitting nearby. Finally, it is my stop, and I can go home to my three awaiting friends.

I speedily walk to the apartment as I pass flashing streetlights and speeding cars. The wind impatiently rushes to my face as I walk to the door and tease the knob with my golden key. The warm, cozy apartment air invites me up the stairs and into my room, where I am melted with happiness by my best friend’s smiles and laughs. We share our days’ stories, enjoy one another’s company, and cook a nice meal. After many bites of delicious food and sips of soothing wine, we all walk to our rooms and open our forbidden closet doors where our treasured items await us.

My staring contest soon begins with a cocktail dress or short skirt and lace top. Who will capture my eye and take the competition? Each item taunts me with desire, but only one can win.

After a short mirror fashion show and approval nods from my three friends, I go with the short skirt and lace top. Now, it is time for makeup, jewelry and hair. I part my locks, lash my eyes and gloss my lips. I highlight my cheekbones with a caramel tint, and I shimmer my lids golden brown. Three twirls of mascara and perfume pumps later, I am ready for the night.

The four of us lock the doors and leave the apartment with a powdered trail scent and high-heel hounds. We walk down the runway steps, open the gleaming door and walk toward the paparazzi cabs. Our directions are clear and the car submissively roars to our destination. We pay the fee, and step into a crowd of beautiful women and handsome men. Our fancy outfits blend into the massive blob of club anticipators and we are soon sucked into the mouth-entrance of the party. 

Glamorous women sip on their sophisticated cocktails as they line the exterior of the marbled countertops. Men lean against the stools and wink their audacious eyes and flash their cute, crooked smiles. The bartenders behind are quick at work with flashing hands and darting eyes. They soon ask us our drink of preference, and my ice-filled, liquidated glass soon appears. I take a greedy gulp and walk into the heat of the party. I then lock my body into a tight dance circle with my three friends, whose hips magnetize to mine.

We throw our arms into the air and our hips to the ground. We sway our bodies to the rhythmic music and thump our fists to the pounding beat. The lights flash dark and bright as we twist our bodies into different moves and directions. Purple, pink, black and red splatter my skin, which soon fades to darkness. We silently listen to the passion-filled music in the black room, waiting for a new flash of vibrant colors. 

Our circle continues to grow as we meet friends, old and new, and it shrinks as people wander deeper into the warm dancing melting pot of blending colors and bodies. Our circle soon distorts into triangles and squares as each girl finds a dancing mate and goes off on her own into the intimacy of the night. In the end, however, we are once again together in our comfortable, safe, smiling circle.

After the 5 am group reunion, my feet plead to go home. They can no longer endure the throbbing sensation of my pointed heels and the weight of my body. I thank them for being so supportive the whole night and promise to soon nurse them with bareness. My friends and I hug our dance partners goodbye and leave the buzzing, bright rooms that vigorously cling to us. We shove off the tug-of-war exhaustion and take the metro back to the lingering streets that lead us to our cozy apartment and comfortable beds.

I take off the victorious skirt and top, neatly hang them in my closet with the jealous neighbors, and jump into my comfortable, purple sweats and loose top. After a soprano sigh of contentment, I curl under my protective blanket, which covers me with sweet dreams and a sunken sleep.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Epilogue

Barcelona has been the most amazing experience of my life. Before living in Europe, I can easily say that I was very different person. I was a scared little girl who had a lot of growing up to do. I had always my mother and father to help stitch up my rough patches, and my friends at school to rely on for help. When I came here, however, I had no parents, and I had less school friends. In the end, I learned to rely on myself more, and to finally become more independent. In the end, I grew up.


Living in Barcelona for four months went by too fast. I really can’t believe it is all over. My small apartment holds so many wonderful memories with my three roommates, and we have become a family. We have formed a home. My uncomfortable, narrow bed now brings me a perfect sleep, and my small, space shuttle shower finally soothes my skin. I can now open up our apartment door with one hand and a key, when before, two hands yanking the knob for ten minutes would still not bring a budge. I can now order my coffees with a perfect Catalan accent, and I can cook meals other than an omelet and piece of bread. I am master-metro taker, and I am an expert street stroller. I know the good shops, I’ve experienced the good meals. I am a proud promoter of the cheap vodka, and cheaper wine, and I have accepted the fact that water costs money at meals. Right when it seems like I am adjusting to my new life in Europe is right when I have to leave. Right when I feel like I am the happiest is right when I am shattered with grief. I can’t believe it’s over. Where has time gone?

In Barcelona world, the students are friendly, the teachers are fun, the workload is good. I have busied my days going to class and returning home to my three loving, best friend roommates. Our nights were filled with crazy adventures tackling the town and venturing to the flashing, bright clubs. And our days were filled with beach adventures and city exploring. Many friendships were formed, and many memories were made.

I feel sorrow for those who were not as lucky as I to experience such an amazing 4-month adventure. I learned so many things about the world, and I learned so many things about myself. But am I ready to leave? I still do not know.

I am so scared. Change devastates me. I have become so adjusted to my new, near perfect life in Barcelona, that I can’t even imagine returning to the United States. What will it be like? I have so many questions and no answers.

I will no longer take the metro, I will no longer eavesdrop on spanish conversations, and I will no longer share my apartment with me beautiful three best friends. I will no longer visit Park Guell, the beach, the fountain show, the mountains. I will no longer see all of these wonderful CEA students and faculty that I have grown to love so much. The faces will vanish, and the school will be gone. The euros will be replaced with dollars and the sunshine with breeze. No more CEA or moodle. No more tapas or cheap wine. I will no longer be dancing in the clubs and lounging at the bars. And I will no longer be standing in my favorite Bo’De B line or splurging on gelato. My Barcelona figure will become a ghost in the shadows, and I will only have memories and dreams.

It hurts so much to think that I am leaving. I don’t want to, but I know that in order to begin one chapter, I must end this one. But it’s a happy ending, because it was an amazing experience. I am so lucky, grateful and proud. I will return to the United States, and I will scream I love Barcelona. Everyone will hear of this amazing city, and I hope they will see the light in my eyes. I will never forget Barcelona, and I hope it will remember me as well.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Leisure-Soccer

I thought it was going to be a typical beach day. We would lay under the sun, chat amongst friends, and dip into the cool waves. I was excited for such leisure activities, and I prepared for a relaxing day. But when we arrived to our destination, and I saw the round black and white ball sitting in the sand, my excitement grew to a whole new level. It was time for beach soccer. It was time to relive my proud highschool moments.

The players were soon assigned to different teams, and we huddled in intimate groups to discuss strategies for victory and smothering our opponents in defeat.

I was my prized position from many years ago. I was forward. Butterflies viciously fluttered through my stomach as I realized it had been years since I had played this wonderful sport. I was so excited. I was so happy. I was so free.

I allowed my body to carry me through the game as I softly passed the ball, swiveled my hips, and dodged my opponents. I faked to the left, and I sprinted to the right. I ran ahead, and I stopped the path of the ball. Soft touches, quick feet, observing eyes. I was hot, I was sweaty, I felt great. My rosy cheeks screamed victory, and my panting breath yelped win. The game was ours, our pride was magnetic.

I missed playing soccer so much, and simply kicking the ball on the sandy Barcelona beach was so amazing. I will never forget that thirst to win and that smell of accomplishment.

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment

Roman Barcino

On our first field trip, my class and I met at the Cathedral and ventured to the history museum. I had a great time because I felt like experiencing the museum hands on taught me more about Barcelona than someone could have by just explaining it to me.

During our time at the museum, we watched a video, which summarized some of the very important aspects of Barcelona history. For instance, if one did not pay taxes, they were not considered a protected citizen and had to live in the outskirts of Barcelona. Furthermore, they were sheltered by the high walls that bordered the city, and they were vulnerable to outside attacks.

As we continued our experiences in the museum, we were able to get a deeper glimpse of ancient times in Barcelona. We walked through the uncovered city, which I found very eye captivating. Through this journey, we learned many things that I will remember forever. To begin with, people were very connected to nature. Wine, for instance, was a drink of worship. Every family always had a vase of wine at their table even if they did not desire to drink it. Furthermore, they were even more connected with nature by the process of making the wine. Children would make the drink by jumping on clusters of grapes, which would soon turn to liquid. I thought this concept was very intriguing. Another nature fun-fact was how people utilized urine to remove stains from their clothing. I thought it odd that they cleansed their stains with a liquid I have always perceived as filthy.

During our field trip, our teacher also stressed to us the importance of wooden cooking utensils. He explained that wood was from nature so it was much healthier to eat from spoons and bowels made from those materials. He claimed that when one consumes food from plastic, he or she puts bad chemicals into his or her body.

While our teacher stressed the importance of healthier ways of eating, he mentioned that fish was very prevalent amongst the Barcelona people. In order to preserve the fish, individuals would place them in deep, stone pits so they could have future use out of them

While the museum showed us the importance of food and health, we also learned that beauty was of main concern. In glass cases, our class observed small perfume bottles and makeup utensils. Our teacher explained that appearance was very important, and the people of Barcelona always made sure they were well groomed.

 Ultimately, walking through the museum and directly seeing items that were used in ancient history really taught me about Barcelona in the past. People can always tell you something or give you an informative fact, but then soon, you may forget it. I know going to the museum, I will remember and cherish Barcelona history forever.

 

 

Posted in Uncategorized | Leave a comment