One Year Ago

2 Jun

One year ago, I was about four days into my 88-day trip (conveniently just short of the 90-day cutoff at which I would have had to get a visa) to Europe. I kept a journal diligently over there. Here, with snarky comments added, is my journal entry from one year ago today:

(Okay, I lied, this is from one year from yesterday. Because it’s much longer than today’s. Also, names have been removed to protect the guilty)

Wednesday, June 1, 3:30 pm

The beach, in front of Catwalk (I wrote down the location of all of my journal entries. Here, I was lying on the beach in Barcelona in front of the strip of clubs, one of which was Catwalk)

Somehow I didn’t write all day yesterday, which is weird, since I didn’t exactly do much.

We had a meeting in the morning about safety and all that stuff. I feel like we just keep having the same meeting over and over without getting any new information, it’s kind of obnoxious.

After the meeting, I went to Tapas Locas with a group of girls. It was fun, but I still felt that awkward sense of not belonging. I was in the middle of the table, but not a part of either conversation. (That never went away. For the six weeks I was in Barcelona, there were definitely a few times that I felt like I clicked with my roommates, but it was incredibly rare. Let’s just say I don’t miss them.) I just can’t seem to click with anyone, to have anything in common. My roommate and I bonded over the ridiculousness of two of our apartmentmates’ spoiledness, but that’s about the closest I’ve gotten. It just seems like whenever we walk anywhere I’m alone in the middle of the group.

But the thing is, I’m not unhappy. (Okay, I kind of lied. I was unhappy, I missed having friends terribly much – maybe not yet at this point, but definitely throughout the trip. I was just less unhappy being alone than trying to fit in) I’m perfectly fine exploring and looking around and being on my own. Which bodes well for my travel month. I think the problem is really just that I’m worried about what everyone else thinks of me. But if I’m the weird loner chick who doesn’t go out, so what? Every group has a weirdo, and as long as I’m happy, I don’t see a good reason to change who I am just to fit in with them. My theme song for this portion of the trip? Jimmy Eat World, The Middle. Read the lyrics.

I did a lot more of what made me happy yesterday. I got a book – My Sister’s Keeper, the one two of my friends from home have been telling me to read for the last five years – from the API offices and curled up on the couch. I made dinner – rice cooked in chicken broth with shrimp and veggies. It was delicious and way cheaper than going out again. It made me excited for next year and not having a meal plan. (I was pretty good about cooking for a while, then I just moved toward the Trader Joe’s frozen food section. But I’m doing better now!)

Speaking of next year, I talked to one of my housemates last night. They’re moving into SBOPC today (did I mention Willard’s buying a new stove? Hooray!) and I’d be lying if I didn’t say I was a little bit jealous. I definitely don’t regret being here – I’m lying on a beach by the Mediterranean! – but the one thing that keeps going through my head, the moral of these first five days, is “it’s not where you are, it’s who you’re with.” I can’t help but think I’ll be more excited to pull up to Camp Reed than I will be sad to leave Barcelona (I was.) Which I think is a good thing. I’ve always seen Europe as a sort of magical place, but it’s not. It’s beautiful and fascinating, but it’s not magic. Hopkins is magic. I wish I was here with people I really like, then it would be beyond amazing. And maybe it’ll get better. But if it doesn’t, I have a month and a half to live in Barcelona. Then I get Herräng and hanging out with Eric for a week after that. Then 17 days to be completely on my own schedule (Amsterdam, Brugge, Cologne, Bern, Munich, Bad Gastein, Vienna, Prague), then I get to explore Budapest with Jamie, which will be awesome. I seriously need to buy some plane tickets. I’m going to go to Florence next weekend and hang out with people from Gonzaga (I didn’t, I accidentally went to Paris instead, it’s a great story).

Anyways. Last night a ton of people came over to our apartment before they came out. I wasn’t being terribly social, but it was fun.

Then I somehow manage to go off into a paragraph-long rant about boys from home. We’re skipping that. 

Everyone went back to La Ovella Negra last night, but I stayed in. I just enjoy it more. I talked to both of my parents about how things were going and all that stuff, which was nice. They were really understanding and it’s great to have a tether to home when you’re lonely or down. I just Sype’d then read then went to sleep, and it was awesome.

We had a 9:30 meeting today. It was for UAB, so kids from other programs were there and I’ll be taking classes with them. If I can find a friend in my classes I can hang out with their group and that will be awesome. There are 260 summer students at UAB and 27 in my group, so I’m feeling pretty positive about meeting people (I didn’t) Also I’m going swing dancing this weekend, so maybe I’ll get really lucky and make friends with a local. That would be awesome. (I didn’t, but swing dancing in a gazebo in a park in Barcelona was still awesome)


I walked home after the meeting since I had leftovers from dinner and that was cheaper than going out to eat again. I did laundry and explored the neighborhood.

I left my cardigan at Tapas Locas yesterday, so I had to come back to the beach for it. I took the Metro and got off at the right stop and everything, but somehow I took a wrong turn and got completely lost. Oh well. I found it eventually. I’ve been lying on the beach for a while now, but it’s kind of cold. Also there are people walking up and down the beach hawking massages and beer, which is really annoying (masage? cerveza? MASAGE? CERVEZA? This is why I quickly took to sneaking into the rooftop pool of the hotel next door) Everyone else is supposed to be here, but the beach is huge and my phone is dead, so I’ve just been by myself. Hopefully I’ll be able to meet up with them for dinner, because I don’t want to be completely antisocial.

I never made friends although my roommates were perfectly nice girls. Barcelona is a gorgeous city that everyone should visit. API is a well-run study abroad program. I just did a very very bad job of picking a study abroad program that I would actually enjoy.

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One Response to “One Year Ago”

  1. ianmulligan08 August 3, 2013 at 6:35 am #

    The Middle by Jimmy Eat World, a good song for sure. After you mentioned it I listened to it.

    Your study abroad experience has always interested me and I’m glad I can read about it now too. I would be curious to see a follow up on this. How you feel yet another year later about your study abroad experience.

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