El Tibidabo

Priority 1 today is to meet with my new employer and collect some of the course materials so I can start planning my lessons. I head over to the school early, to get it out of the way in addition to looking as eager and committed as I can. It puts me at ease a little, as the woman who interviewed me goes over more details about the class I’ll be teaching (intermediate level adults) and what I’ll be doing this coming Tuesday. My big first day!! 

can’t believe I’m being trusted with an adult job

I’ve been staying at this hostel for the past 10 days or so. My stuff is everywhere. I spend some time packing in preparation to move tomorrow. I have plans to meet my new roommates for a quick drink at my new flat tonight, which is a sweet opportunity for me to drop off some stuff early, too. I’ll look like less of a tourist tomorrow if I’m not carrying a backpack on my chest AND dragging a suitcase. My goal is to live in Barcelona without being robbed, but even one of my bigger and local male friends says he’s been robbed 3 times. It doesn’t feel like a dangerous city, but I know I need to stay on my toes. 
My roommates are chill af, as expected. Gary, the guy who’s renting me his room, has been a huge help to me in my time here. If I have a question, I ask him, and he’s more than happy to explain. A total gem. The house looks a little more…boyish…than I remember. Dishes, weed, and cigarettes everywhere. No decorations of any sort. But hey, I’m not an overly tidy person, so I can totally handle this. We have a dishwasher which is a damn luxury (and a washing machine! and a cat!). I will not be cleaning up after people, but I expect it won’t always look this way, either. 

We hang out on the patio with cervezas and chat. I’m more than ready to move in here tomorrow. It’s going to be so good to have my own space. 

I leave to go meet Mazen for dinner. We find a nice Menu Del Dia (Menu of the Day; usually of superb value and include a drink, tapas appetizer, and main for 10€) on La Ramblas (central and famous Barcelona strip). (So many parentheses.) 

One of my friends, Jorge, has been living in Barcelona for the last 10 years, but has decided to move to Mexico where his father lives. He’s leaving tomorrow, and is in the stages of doing all the last minute things one must do when moving to a new country. One of those things, is driving out to Sant Cugat to drop off a borrowed guitar to a friend. Sant Cugat is only about a half hour outside of Barcelona and is home to El Tibidabo, the largest mountain in the region. He invites me to come on this little drive so he can show me a cool view of Barcelona. I’m stoked on this, because I clearly don’t have a car and am not sure I’ll ever have another opportunity to go and see it. 

Our first stop is the friend’s house. It’s 11pm, and although he told Jorge he’d stay up and wait for him, he’s stopped answering his phone and it’s not looking promising. We wait around for a bit before deciding to go find a restaurant and have a drink while we wait a little longer, instead of just hanging around on the streets of the suburbs. I google map “bars” and we choose the closest one. I’m hoping it’s a sketchy dive bar where all the regulars know each other and we stick out like sore thumbs. 
On our drive over we see a family of wild pigs!!! Jorge hasn’t just taken me on a drive, he’s taken me on a safari!! Wild pigs!! We see one big fat one with like 10 babies, all poking around a garbage can in a park. Apparently this is common. So casual, yet so strange. “Careful on your walk back from little Fernando’s house honey, watch out for the pigs!”

We get slightly lost on our way to this random bar, but instead find a restaurant that’s still open, too. It’s getting late so I’m actually surprised there’s anything open here at all, let alone an actual restaurant. We get a table for 2 on the patio, which is beautifully lit and surrounded by a little garden. What a fun find; definitely better than the dive bar I had envisioned. 

2 cervezas and some tapas later, Jorge’s friend finally responds. We go back to bring the stuff and stick around to hang out with him and his girlfriend for a little bit, and then head towards the mountain. I get his friend’s info on Facebook. I have now acquired about 5 friends in Barcelona, so I’m improving, but I’m always in the market for more. 

The drive up the mountain is beautiful and winding, as you would expect. It’s so nice to see the glowing lights from the houses sprinkled all over the hills of the town around us as we circle up and up. It’s not a giant mountain, but tallest enough to mess with my ears. 

At the very peak there is a gigantic, old, classic European-style church, and very small amusement park; both of which are of course closed at this hour. It occurs to me that place must be super accessible to tourists, I just hadn’t heard of it yet. Sometimes I try so hard not to be a tourist that I miss out on general local knowledge too. Oh well, I’m here now. 

We see some more wild pigs up here, roaming around the amusement park in search of trash. They seem pretty mean, but luckily they’re on the other side of the fence. Crazy mountain pigs. 

We park and walk out to a small look-out point where you can see all of Barcelona, stretching right out to where it ends at the Mediterranean Sea. Is there anything as beautiful as a skyline at night? A city full of lights, in contrast against the empty darkness of the ocean beyond it. I’m an awful photographer and these things simply don’t translate to photos, but I stole some from google just to give you an idea of how fabulous it is. 

my view looked a little something like this
view from the bottom of the church. It wasn’t lit up so fabulously when I was there

What a beautiful way for Jorge to say goodbye to his city. I couldn’t be happier that he was nice enough to bring me on this little adventure, and share something so cool with me. I definitely want to come back some time and check this out during the day like a true tourist. 

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Could This Be a Job? 

It’s day 10. I am still unemployed and most classes are starting Monday. Things are looking BLEAK. So bleak that I’ve started considering restaurant work again, which I’d basically promised myself I’d never do again. Especially in Europe. What’s the point if you’re not making tips? You have to be…what? Nice to people who aren’t paying you? Seems silly. But as I’ve said before, desperate times. I do have two job interviews today, so at least there’s still a small glimmer of hope. 
The first woman I meet with is, as per usual, not impressed by my lack of experience. She asks me a grammar question and I’m really not certain of the answer. If someone asks you to identify the difference between “I have eaten” and “I ate”, would you be able to pull the terms past simple and past participle out of your back pocket? I couldn’t. I just explain the difference by using an example, which lets me survive and move on to further questions, but I walk out shaking my head. I’m DONEEEE. I can’t teach! Guess I’ll go buy myself an apron. 

I go straight to my next interview, which isn’t at an actual school. I’m meeting a woman outside of a subway station. Very official. I get there half an hour early by accident, and send her an e-mail detailing what I’m wearing so it will be easier to find each other. She doesn’t respond. I wait the 30 minutes to when our meeting is scheduled. Still no reply, no sign of her anywhere. I wait another 10. Nothing. I’m being stood up by a potential employer. Not only is this extremely unprofessional, but it’s a sign from the heavens that teaching is just not going to happen for me. Just as I’m about to get up and head back to my hostel in defeat, a woman comes over and introduces herself. She doesn’t even apologize for being late, Spaniards just don’t care. I don’t really care either, PLEASE JUST HIRE ME! 
She only has one class available on Monday nights, for a group of 3 year old kids. I’ll take it, I do not even care. She’s a gem and says she’ll hold the position for me, but as classes don’t start until the 17th, she knows I’ll be looking for other jobs and just asks that I e-mail her to confirm next week. For now though, the job is mine!! I’m kinda sorta employed!! This is huge!! It’s only 16€ 4 times a month… so the 64€ is not exactly going to cover my rent, but it’s a start! 

Feeling stoked on life, I go to meet up with Lindzee, Mazen, and Mikaël (this is my Barcelona squad; I see them daily.) to attend another friend’s DJ show at a restaurant. His name is Francisco but when he’s DJing he goes by Freak-sisco, which I love. He’s also the front desk man from my old hostel where I met the squad. It’s a big night for him because a famous photographer for a magazine is going to be there, so he’s asked that we come and dress up a little bit. I dig for the only semi-nice going out dress that I have in my backpack, and wear it with my Toms because the only heels I have are boots, and it’s 26 degrees out. Ain’t nobody got time for that. As long as no one looks at me from the ankle down, I’ll look fab. 

We’re served free fancy drinks and tapas. Yeah. FREE! And it’s GOOD tapas. I’m in heaven. I’ll support freak-sisco wherever he goes. 



During our luxury meal I get a phone call, and it’s the woman from my first interview offering me a job working 3 hours a week, teaching a class of adults. I guess my lack of grammar terminology didn’t ruin her entire opinion of me. I say “YASSSSSSSS queen”, and accept the job. I might have said “yes, thank you so much”, instead. I don’t remember. Same same.

So now I’m making at least 200€ a month. I actually forgot to ask what the hourly rate is, but I’m not in a position to be picky and it’s not likely that it’s below 15€.

We’re getting somewhere. 

What a good day I am having!!! Tomorrow is the last in my wretched hostel too, so that’s another thing to look forward to. 

I am equally excited as I am scared, but I figure I’ll just have to sort it out as I go. I’ll make it happen. 

Interviews

I was electrocuted by the toaster in my hostel this morning. Twice. Now I’m having a bad hair day. I couldn’t be more excited to move into a real flat soon. Counting down the days. 
In other news, I have 3 job interviews this week. Only 2 of them seem somewhat promising, and are only for a few hours a week, not the “full time” 20 hours I’m hoping for. Yes, you read that correctly. An average work week in Spain is a mere 20 hours. I don’t even know what I would do with all that extra free time!!! I could get two full time jobs and feel right at home. But I need to chill. Step 1: secure ANY job at all. 

I’m settling in to Barcelona a little more now; it’s a great city. 

Things I’m loving:

– The weather. 25 and sunny almost every day. 

– Patios everywhere. 

– €2 for NICE beers, not just the cheap ones. Estrella is usually €1, but I’m pretty over that already. I can get a Paulaner or Heineken for €2 at the right places. 

– Being able to drink anywhere I want at any time. Including the metro, the street, and probably a children’s nursery if I should so choose. (But won’t, don’t worry)

– No tipping. Yes, I was a waitress, but tipping is stupid. Don’t get me wrong, I loved it because it allowed me to save money to do things like this, but the practice itself is ridiculous. So nice to know that when my bill says €5, it’s €5. 

– Beautiful buildings on every. single. street. I’m not even a big architecture buff but I’m constantly in awe. Balconies everywhere!

Things I’m not used to:

– Slow walkers. It’s painful. 

– The whole speaking Spanish thing. I struggle to even order my own food. 

– Everyone smokes. Absolutely everyone. I don’t really struggle with this, I don’t care, I just find it strange. 

– Police Officers with AKA 47s (but I think I feel safer here than I would in The States right now). 
I spoke of cheap beers earlier; we have even found strong mojitos for €4, BUT, fun fact, when the bars close and clubs are the only place to go, drink prices sky rocket. A single vodka soda at Shoko is €12. I do not drink at clubs. 

I go for my very first teaching job interview. It’s accessible by metro which is great, as so many of these jobs claim to be in Barcelona, but turn out to be in the outer suburbs, where you have to drive or take a train. Ain’t nobody got time for that, even when you’re as poor as I am. 

I sit down with a very nice British woman who’s been living in Barcelona for the last 7 years as a teacher. She’s looking to fill a one hour time slot every Tuesday night for a group of 3 year olds. 

3 year olds intimidate me. What if they cry? What if they fall or something? What if I hurt them? I can’t care for children. Why am I applying to be a teacher? Gotta go, byeeeeeee. 

Just kidding. I stay. I put on a brave face and try to appear as confident as I can, instead of displaying how wildly unprepared and terrified I actually am. She doesn’t seem too stoked on the fact that I have no previous teaching experience, so I don’t think I really killed the interview, but it was practice if nothing else. I’m not too gutted about losing out on 16€/week. 

This interview makes me question my entire existence. What the hell am I doing here? Who am I kidding? I don’t know how to teach people things, TEFL certified or not. I’ll probably end up being a waitress for the rest of my life, and I should just come to terms with that. I’m panicking. I call on Ma. She helps. I’m still worried I’ll never find a job here and will have to go home, defeated. 

During my existential crisis, Lindzee invites me to an open mic night at a craft brewery she found online. I’m so down. We meet up with our two French friends and walk over to this hidden gem of a bar, literally entitled “craft”. It’s absolutely precious! They have live music in what is essentially a stone cave in a basement, tapas, and craft beers on tap, some of which are even brewed on site. However, they’re not cheap. I order a pint of their house Amber Ale and have to fork out €5.25. Ouch. 


They alternate between comedians and musicians, and some of the acts are fantastic. Seriously. It might be the best open mic night I’ve ever been to. This is now my favourite bar. Check out Liam Cloud for cool acoustic jams (on Spotify or iTunes), and Ellen Daniels for some hilarious comedy. Just do it. 

Fire Run

This morning some friends and I have decided to go to the beach. I’ve been living in Barcelona for a full week now, and have yet to put my toes in the sand. Preposterous. I meet them at my older, better hostel where visitors actually speak to one another; very unlike my current abode. I miss it here, but saving €10 a night is 100% worth the silence. We make the 40 minute trek down to the water to avoid an unnecessary metro trip. It’s a nice day, and walking is the best and only way to become truly acquainted with a city, isn’t it? The beach is pretty busy, even though the peak summer season has ended. I can’t imagine what this looks like on a hot afternoon in July. 

squad

After a couple hours of lounging, we’re starving. It’s a hard life here in Spain. As we walk back towards the central part of the city, we find a restaurant offering a Menu Del Dia (menu of the day) that includes a drink, appetizer, main course, and even dessert for €9.95. I’m trying to keep all meals under €5, but it’s our friend Mazen’s birthday today so we can justify a little indulgence. Treat yo’ self, I always say. (Literally always. It’s a problem.) 

We all order the same seafood paella (considered by many to be Spain’s national dish) as our main course. Instead of giving us 4 boring individual plates, it comes in one giant dish for us to enjoy family-style. It looks and tastes AMAZING. Mussels, prawns, and grilled squid are all served a top a bed of spiced rice in a hot cast iron dish. 


Midway through our meal the skies become extremely ominous, and suddenly we are being drenched in rain. Did I mention we were sitting on a patio? You can always just go ahead and assume I’m sitting on a patio. 

The nasty change in weather is unfortunate for many reasons. 1. We have to move inside. 2. Now it’s cold, and Lindzee and I are only wearing light summer beach dresses, a.k.a., freezing. 3. The Correfoc will be ruined tonight if this storm continues!! 

The Correfoc. Correfoc literally translates to “fire-runs”, which already sounds pretty cool, right? It’s the main event of the Catalonian festival, La Mercè, held in honour of Our Lady of Mercy (Roman Catholic holiday). There have been events going on around the city all weekend, including a big outdoor concert for a famous Catalonian singer that we attended last night. Here’s a photo of us sardined into the metro on our way to the show. 


It was cool. A LOT of people were there. 

Our French friends, from both Quebec and France, were familiar with the music and sang along to every song. I have never heard of him before, but he’s pretty good! Check out Manu Chao

Now back to the Correfoc. I got distracted. 

It’s raining, which is not ideal when you’re trying to run down the street amongst a bunch of flames and fireworks. We’re also cold, which is not ideal when you’re trying to run down the streets, ever. We’re 100% not ditching on this epic event though, so we suck it up. Luckily by the time we’ve walked up to the street on which this flaming parade is held, the rain has stopped. There are no words to describe how INSANE this party is. People dressed as devils, holding staffs and pitchforks covered in active fireworks, run down the street, dancing, jumping, spinning, and showering the crowd in fire. Yes, this is real life. 


For the first time in what feels like a long time, I am in absolute awe of my surroundings. THIS is what traveling is all about for me, THIS is life. The streets are full of fire and smoke, the air is both fresh from the evening rain, and suffocating with the pungent odour of sulphur. Groups of drummers dance through the streets, while crowds cheer and shout, shielding themselves from falling embers. All of my senses are being abused as I try to take in this moment and ingrain it in my mind forever. Though I don’t think this is something one can easily forget. 


We join in the festivities and dance through the streets with the devils. It’s a constant balance between getting as close to the flames as possible, and trying to keep my eyelashes intact. 

I think I’ve made a good choice by moving here. 

Apartment Hunting

I wake up eager to go see an apartment. I’m finally kinda sorta maybe getting my shit together. This is probably the most questionable real estate engagement I’ve ever made in my entire life, but desperate times call for desperate measures. This time of year is Barcelona is the busiest for finding a flat, as students and teachers alike have all come to settle in at the same time. I’ve been told that it will be a struggle to find a place. 
However! Two nights ago, as I was leaving the club early in the morning with my friends, we ran into some strangers and chatted for a while. About 5 minutes into my conversation with a random French guy, I jokingly stated that I was looking for a roommate, and he told me he’d be moving to England in two weeks for work. He was looking to sublet his room. 

Usually, I don’t rent from strangers I meet at 6am on the street, but like I said, desperate times. 

So today I take the metro 5 stops to meet him at his flat with relatively low expectations. Is this area sketchy? What if he’s some kind of junkie? A murderer? What kind of people do you find on the streets of Barcelona at 6am? Then again, I was one of those people. 

From Universitat to Clot. Barcelona has a glorious metro system


He meets me at the stations and shows me around the neighbourhood a little. This place is god damn precious. A fruit market and a bakery are within 100 meters of my potential door. We walk up a couple flights of stone steps, to a surprisingly clean and bright apartment. I’m shocked at how cute this place is. My room is not huge, but bigger than that of my two roommates. There is a big wrap around balcony, and they even have a cat! I’m pretty sold. My two roommates are both French boys, which will be a change for me after having lived alone in Toronto for the past two years, but at least if I don’t pick up Spanish I can practice my French. 

Gary, my landlord-to-be, shows me around the area a little more, gives me the keys, and says he’ll see me on October 1st. I am STOKED to have found a place and feel like a huge weight has been lifted off my shoulders. Now I just need a job. 

When I arrive home I check my e-mail to see that one potential employer has responded to me. I have a Skype interview on Wednesday! My life is on the up and up, I tell ya. 

I spend more time working on this TEFL course. Now that I’ve applied to jobs and claimed to have the certification…I have to actually do it. 

There is a big festival called La Mèrce that is going on this weekend, so later, I plan to meet some friends to check out some live music along the streets. 

Until the thunder storm begins. 

Huge damper on our evening. Instead we head to Barceloneta, a district near the beach, and get some drinks indoors. Hopefully the rain will stop tomorrow and we can check out this festival!  

New Hostel

I wake up at 5am which isn’t ideal, but I’m feeling INFINITELY better so an early rise is a small price to pay. I just slept for the better part of 24 hours, so I should be okay. Maybe I just unintentionally beat the jet lag with all that sleeping? 
I kill some time hanging out in my room before I go downstairs for breakfast. I haven’t eaten in 24 hours either, so I try to low key stuff my face with the free cereal, fruit, tea, and toast that is available. I ask to extend my stay one more night, but they’re fully booked. 

This is a blessing in disguise, because it’s a little pricey at this hostel anyway. I found one a few subway stops from here, about 10€ cheaper, and booked myself in for tomorrow night when I was unsure of how I’d be feeling today. Guess I’ll have to go online and book another room for tonight then tote all my stuff over there. Now is as good a time as any I suppose. 

I pack my things silently while the two boys who thought I was weird for always sleeping…slept. Who’s laughing now? It’s going to look even weirder when I’ve seemingly disappeared, but I don’t care. Byeeeee. 

I try to act cool and like I know what I’m doing as I navigate the metro system. It’s super straight forward, and I’m only going two stops without having to transfer, so it’s easy to look confident; I am. 

Finding my new hostel is a little challenging, only because it’s behind a big sketchy iron barred door that I have to buzz into. I walk by it 3 times. This was not advertised online. At least I know I’ll be safe as fuck? 

As per the usual struggle, I had to check out at 11, but can’t check in until 2. So I leave my bag at the front desk and head out to explore the area. 

Barcelona is beautiful. Every damn building has 100 small balconies, and old classic European architecture. Every so often there’s a cool modern building amidst the historic ones, which makes for a cool mix. I guess I’m in a pretty central area, because there are tourists EVERYWHERE. Like proper tourists. Big DSL cameras around their necks, maps out shamelessly, Bermuda shorts type tourists. I swear. 

I’m a bit of a stereotypical tourist myself, and wander into a burger place for lunch. I don’t know how to explain how it happened. It looked cheap, it was organic, and it looked trendy and cool. I swear it wasn’t a McDonalds or anything! But also not tapas or something actually… Spanish. I shall try to justify it by saying I have tons of time to explore Spanish cuisine in my indefinite time here. It WAS a damn good burger. #NoRegrets 

I still have some time to kill before check in, so I continue on an aimless stroll. Someone strikes up a conversation with me about the weather. Usually I’d ignore him or smile and run away (strangers on the street are weird), but I have no friends so whatever. Turns out he’s staying at my hostel and just arrived this morning. He’s been to Barcelona before though, and leads me on a walk through the city to one of the Gaudi buildings and to a chill park. It’s a beautiful day to be strolling around. 25 degrees and sunny. Who could complain? My company is kinda weird…but like I said…no friends. 

I’m still not finished this TEFL course, and obviously as someone looking for employment, that is priority numero uno. 

I insist on going back to the hostel so I can spend some time hammering through this online class. It turns out I have a stage 5 clinger on my hands. Not only does he try to make me stay out longer, he follows me back to my hostel, all the way through my checkout process, and to MY ROOM. I almost never book all female dorms, but it’s all they had available, and I have never been happier. Had I been stuck in a dorm with this dude I’d have died. He’s nice, but he’s a lot. Never speak to strangers on the street. Why haven’t I learned? New goal is to never run into him again. 

Once in the safety of my dorm, I open up my laptop and get to work on my course. Almost every other woman in here is on their laptops too. No one speaks. I’m kinda disappointed that this isn’t a social hostel, but at the same time, I need a space like this where I can focus. 

The interior of the hostel doesn’t look half as bad as the exterior, but it’s definitely a significant down grade from my last accom. Cheaper though, and therefore worth it. 

A couple hours go by and I meet up with a friend from my last hostel. We go out to an Irish Pub (these are literally found in every city in the entire world, I swear), and then to a club. Clubs in Europe are not like clubs back home. I look at clubs and Toronto and would rather die than enter 99% of them. It draws a certain kind of crowd, and it’s rarely the cool kind. In Europe however, clubbing is standard and everyone goes. Here, bars close around 2/2:30, but clubs are open until the sun rises. We walk absolutely everywhere to get around, who can afford a cab? Certainly not me. So I’m getting to know the city a little better, which is nice. I kinda know where I am now. Sometimes. 

That One Weirdo in the Room

Aaaaaaand I’m sick. Not sugary shots bar sick, like actually sick. 

I think I’m dying. 

Being sick in a hostel is the worst because I don’t want to be a big baby drama queen, but I also don’t want to just lay here all day and have people thinking I’m a weirdo. 

This happens. 

I’m in and out of sleep all day, as it’s the only time I’m not uncomfortable and dying. As I’m waking up I hear two guys in my room go out on the balcony for a cigarette. One asks the other “have you ever seen this one out of bed?” and I’m like NOOOOO ITS HAPPENED. IM THE WIERDO IN THE ROOM. I consider telling them the door isn’t fucking sound proof, but realize it hardly matters. I wake up and start chatting with them a bit when they come back in. Making sure to mention I AM SICK. Not just here for the white walls and metal bunk beds. By the end of our conversation I’m confident that they think I’m less of a weirdo. Bueno. 

Some friends from last night send me a message inviting me out to a university event (some of them are students here, obviously), and I have soooo much FOMO but I know I can’t do it. I lay in bed and die instead. 

An older German woman in my room, who I heard trying to communicate with the front desk earlier, offers me a tea. She speaks 0 English but is an absolute angel. After bringing me a chamomile tea with some honey, she offers me Advil, an apple, and makes me snort some peppermint oil which WHOA, have you ever tried that? Yikes. My sinuses will never clog again. 

We don’t converse much, but we’re besties now. She gets up every few hours for a cigarette on the balcony. I work on my laptop to finish this TEFL course in the hopes of one day being employed. 

It’s day 2 and I haven’t really seen Barcelona at all yet. I better feel well tomorrow or imma lose it.

Welcome to Barcelona! 

Landing! I’m here! It’s allllll happening. I take my time getting out of the airport, as it’s 8:30am and I can’t check into my hostel until 2pm. I’m in no rush to do anything, but I’m also not a dawdler. I follow signs to the taxi stand at the airport before I realize it’s entirely unnecessary to waste my money on such a luxury form of transport. I see a sign advertising €29 euros for a trip downtown and immediately try to find my way outta here. There’s only an escalator down to this area, not back up, and while I can see a city bus across the street, I was feeling more up to something like a shuttle. All I have is an address for this hostel, I hadn’t mapped it or anything. I talk myself into allowing myself ONE taxi ride. I’m fresh off the plane, tired, in a new place… I can take one. 

I join the queue and get assigned to a driver. He’s super nice at first but calls me guapa about 15 too many times. He gets a little weird, asking me very personal questions that I eventually can’t laugh away and have to start ignoring. He also keeps saying “welcome to Barcelona!”…what a welcome indeed. 

Arriving at the hostel is chill. I leave my backpack in a big locker so I now I am free to roam around without all my luggage. The time is 10:15am. Only 3 hours and 45 minutes more before check-in. 

I take advantage of the wifi for a bit before deciding to venture out and get myself set up with a phone. One of the first buildings I see as I turn the corner on the street, is an Orange store. Orange is like, Telus, Rogers, etc., for those of you not familiar with Europe. 

The shop attendant doesn’t speak any English, but luckily I am just so fluent in Spanish that I muster up a “yo necissito una SIM card” and point to my phone. Boom. SIM card given. She starts trying to explain to me the difference between a 10€\month and 20€\month option, but the language barrier is real, so I just choose the 20€/month because even that is cheap as hell. 

Back at the hostel, I am now able to check in to my room, which is up three flights of stairs from where I’ve left my backpack in a locker. I take a much needed nap before even pretending to go downstairs and collect my luggage. I’m beat. I set an alarm for 2 hours, and 4 hours later I wake up. 

After collecting my luggage and taking a shower I feel like a whole new person! I chat with a Kiwi guy in my room who invites me out to dinner with a crew of other people from the hostel. One of the guys is Canadian and from Montreal, and 3 others are from different parts of France, so not only do I practice a bit of Spanish ordering dinner, I also get to practice my French. We dine at a nearby strip of tapas bars with outdoor seating, but everything is so full we end up eating inside. I order something that has pesto and cheese, which turns out to be a sandwich on foaccacia. Not very Spanish, but good regardless. An American girl at our table orders gnocchi and I look at my sandwich with shame. 

After dinner we head out to everyone’s favourite shot bar. I take it they’ve been here a lot this past week. The walls are FULL of different drink names and no explanations as to what those drinks are, so we each take turns picking a mystery shot and ordering 9 of them. 

They’re not “real” shots obviously. Lots contain juice or weak liqueurs, but I know I am going to be so full of sugar that I will likely die tomorrow. 

Take me there!

Adios, Toronto! 

Oh, the sweet, sweet high of beginning an adventure. The day is finally here. Today I board a plane to Barcelona, and attempt to create a life for myself. I have completed (well, have almost completed) the International TEFL Course, and am going to Spain in search of a teaching job. The plan is to stay for a year but who knows where this will take me?
Currently, having a UK Passport enables me to work abroad without a visa, but since this whole Brexit thing my freedom of movement throughout EU countries has been put up for negotiation over the next two years…AKA possibly ruining my life. So I’m trying to take advantage of this dual citizenship while I still can. Filling out all that paperwork was too tedious a task for it to go to waste. 
I’m also hoping to pick up some Español, which I currently do not speak, but feel I should be able to pick up quite quickly if I just immerse myself.

Packing is more of a challenge today than for my previous trips. Countries like Thailand and Nicaragua require nothing but a few pairs of shorts, light weight shirts, and a couple bathing suits. Barcelona will eventually dip to mild temperatures, and I’ll need sweaters. Sweaters are so big! Not efficient packing material. I’ll also need some more presentable or professional attire if I plan on landing a real person job. How do I fit a year’s worth of clothing into one backpack? 

Mom and Dad drive me to the airport and see me off at the security check point. They plan to come visit for Christmas so realistically, I’ll be seeing them soon. 

Almost immediately after I get through to my gate, an announcement is made asking one passenger with flexible travel plans (me) to take tomorrow morning’s flight instead. I guess they over booked. I’m not sure I want to be a good samaritan and sacrifice my direct flight for one with a layover, until I hear them say they are offering EIGHT HUNDRED DOLLARS CASH in compensation for the switch. I literally run to the desk and call my parents, asking them not to leave the airport. Some middle aged man who doesn’t particularly look like he needs $800 as much as I do gets to the desk before me, and steals my chance. 

Note to self: always choose to be a good samaritan right away, and wear performance running shoes to the airport. 

I talk to the guy about it and jokingly/not jokingly try to convince him to stay on this flight, but he’s not budging, so I accept my defeat and wait to board.

I don’t think what I’m doing has actually set in. I’m not sure when it will. Maybe tomorrow when I land, when I’m checking into my hostel, or maybe not until I’m starting my first day on the job (assuming I find one). For now I’m just excited for a change.