Let's be honest. I was nervous. Excited, yes. But also nervous. Boardering on scared. Un poquita asustada.
I've never really been on my own.
I arrived at my aparamento on the fifth floor, unpacked my bags and promptly blew the fuses in the apartment by plugging in a powerstrip attached to an adaptor. Pop went the power strip. Poof went the lights.
Evidently, I needed a converter. Lesson numero uno.
After panicking for about ten minutes in the dark and unsuccessfully attempting to call everyone and anyone I could think of (which is, count them, 2 people at the moment), I realized that if I opened the door to my apartment, the light from the hallway would shine in and hola! There was the fuse box, right near the door. Crisis averted.
After such an exciting arrival, I decided to "stay in" for dinner. (OK, lets be honest, I was not wearing my big girl pants and I was un poquita asustada, remember.) I feasted on leftover trail mix and a lemonade I bought at the airport and called it a night.
Day one started early. 3:45 a.m. to be exact. My gal pal Lesley caught me checking facebook posts and promptly began texting me. "You're awake at 3:45?" my phone buzzed. "Yes." I replied. Caught red handed.
Somehow, sin cafe y desayuno, I managed to walk the six blocks to the language school to begin my first day of Spanish. Within moments of beginning our first of 5 "intensive" classes, it became evidently clear to me that I will not, I repeat, will not be bilingual at the end of this week. Damn. I had so hoped. Instead, we spent several hours refreshing our memory of the preterito perfecto and imperfecto and when to use each. After four hours, I'm still not clear.
I managed to shop all by myself in the supermercado that is close to my apartamento. I bought jamón, pan y tomate amd una botella de vino because, well, I think I'll be needing it. The jamón was delicious and although the tomatoes weren't juicy enough to squeeze on the bread, the olive oil and garlic made up for it and lunch, the first real food I have eaten since I've arrived in Barcelona, was delicioso.
After lunch it was time to wander. I walked several blocks to the Passeig de Gràcia, a street lined with trees and cafés and mopeds too numerous to mention. There was even a Starbucks (blah) which, for the life of me, I couldn't begin to understand. There are literally cafes on every block. How on earth do they do business?
Passeig de Gràcia is home to several of Gaudí's buildings, La Pedrera and Casa Batlló, both of which were easy to spot as there were dozens of tourists looking up and snapping pictures. I did too, of course. They're amazing structures. Whimsical in a Dr. Seuss kind of way.
I wandered back along the Carrer de Catalunya and, having put on my big girl pants this morning, stopped for my first solo cup of café. It was delicioso. Creamy. Strong. And just what I needed on three hours sleep.
Which brings me to now. I'm sitting on my tiny (and I repeat, TINY) balcony, sipping a glass of wine and eating my own version of pintxos, olives and un poquito de queso on toast. It is, you guessed it, delicioso.
So, after surviving my first real day alone in Barcelona, here are a few things I have noticed.
Catalunyans don't jaywalk. Most of the streets are one way in Barcelona. They are narrow and the cars (and mopends) drive very fast. If you happen to step off the curb unexpectedly, you many not survive. Hence, Catalunyans wait for the light to turn green indicating that it is their turn to walk. The cars and mopends do stop, even if they are blocking the intersection, but it works in a disorderly sort of way.
There are no big dogs. Every dog I have seen is a small, fru fru kind of dog, groomed to the nines and being walked on a jeweled leash.
Everything is small. Smaller than you can imagine. My refrigerator is the size of the fridge in my son's college apartment. The stove has two burners. The oven would never fit even an 11 pound Thanksgiving turkey.
You have a choice of bags at the grocery store. Many people bring their own, but if you don't have one (like yours truly) you have the choice of grande or pequeno. I chose grande, and proceeded to stuff the leftover fruits and vegetables in my school sack.
The washer is dual purpose. It washes AND dries. How cool is that?
And last but not least, the first floor of any building is not the first floor. The piso primero is actually the second floor. The piso principal is the real first floor.