Wednesday, December 17, 2014

Sounds and smells

Hola! Here I am.  Back in the beautiful Catalan city of Barcelona.  Being back (for almost a month now!) has been nothing short of amazing.  I am remembering why I fell in love with this wonderful place the first time around and at the same time.. I am falling in love with it allllllll over again.  

Unpacking, getting situated, and walking around the city my first few days back I felt a sense of being "home".  Hearing the weird ambulance noises, the sound of the singsong like Catalan language, the waves of the Mediterranean Sea crashing in, and also smelling the tapas and paella down every little street mixed with the smell of freshly made croissants in the tiny, quaint bakeries on every corner brought back so many sweet memories and also feelings of happiness and joy that I am here again to stay.  (For a while :)) It truly is so amazing how sounds & smells can bring back SO many memories. 

I am blessed beyond words to have had a little bit of a different set up this time around which includes an apartment with my boyfriend, Carles.  He had been preparing for my arrival by buying and setting up new dining room tables and chairs, cleaning, purchasing us a chia pet like Christmas tree (pics to come later) and even buying us both slippers as our bathroom is a bit different than a normal bathroom you would see (again, pics will come later). We had not seen each other since May 3- nearly 8 months- so being back together has been wonderful.  

Our first few weeks together were spent enjoying all of my favorite tapa places, setting up our apartment & joining a gym, me interviewing for jobs/ meeting my old students, Carles working long hours at his new job, and meeting up with both of our friends and Carles' family on the weekends.  It has been amazing.  People often take for granted coming home to their significant other every night.  After spending this past year in a long distance relationship, on opposite sides of the world from each other.. we have learned that every minute we get together is important! 

Being back in Barcelona also means I am back to living a 2 minute walk from the Mediterranean sea.  We lived in this same neighborhood last time (it's called Barceloneta) and loved it so much we decided to live here again.  It is a bit touristy at times.. But who can complain when you are steps away from the beautiful sea. :) I made a promise to myself that I would take full advantage of living so close to the beach and go there every chance I get.  I will keep you posted with how that goes.. So far- so good :)

As far as work goes.. I am slowly but surely getting my schedule set up again, with a mix of private lessons, my old students, and working for an academy.. I am about half way to where I want to be.  I decided not to go back to the old academy I worked for last time I was here due to the fact it is very far from our apartment and there are lots and lots of academies in the city/more centrally located.  I'm looking forward to having more privates this time around and not having to spend 3+ hours on the metro everyday. :)

As always.. I am going to close this post by leaving you with some pictures from my first month back!

Our first pic together again! And this time.. On our own couch!

The Barcelona Cathedral being as pretty as ever.

Big smiles :)

My beautiful backyard

Turning our house into a home (while using my Pinterest finds at the same time) 

Pinterest really is the best!

Date nights on date nights on date nights 

Back to not having a dryer (Insert crying face here) :( 

Our chia Christmas tree Carles bought for us.. Tiny yet so thoughtful :)

Short story to go along with this one.. Thanksgiving was a week after I got here! And because Carles wanted to make me feel "at home" during this holiday.. He surprised me and bought this 18lb turkey for us to cook! Great!!! NOW WHAT?! I've never in my life even thought about cooking a turkey however with the help of FaceTime calls with my family (who were at their own thanksgiving dinner), text messages with my sees (Mal) and the rest of the Tiemann fam, and an hour or so of YouTube videos later... I did it! The funny part was we didn't have any sides and only 1 fork.  What a memorable Thanksgiving!  Carles and I invited his closest cousin, David over to come join in because not only is he Carles' best friend but he also spent 8 months in California studying a few years ago so loves any and everything about America and he also had a very traditional, plentiful Thanksgiving dinner last year in New York when he was visiting.. Ours definitely didn't hold a candle to his past dinner but we did get to provide him with some turkey! We decided that this was a stepping stone to learning how to host a real Thanksgiving dinner.  Next year we are aiming for a few sides and enough forks for everyone to not have to use a spoon to cut their meat! ;) 

Carles' parents and his adorable & super sweet little brother Aleix (pictured above! His name is pronounced 'Al-ish'.. It's a very Catalan name) came to check out our apartment and take us to a nice Sunday paella lunch last weekend! It was awesome getting to see them after a whole year and catch up.  We all always find it quite funny because if you were to hear our conversation at our meals you would probably do a double take.  In between my broken Spanish, Carles' mom who doesn't speak but about 10 or so words of English, Carles' dad who speaks quite a bit of English, along with Carles translating for his mom in Catalan or translating for me in English.. It is a Spanish/Catalan/English mess! Needless to say.. Our dinners together are very fun and interesting and I always walk away learning SO much from just a simple dinner.  The beauty of language and cultural differences. :) 

Revisiting one of our favorite tiny little restaurants where the owner catches his own fish and makes his own wine. SO delicious! 

A sunny Sunday well spent playing in the Mediterranean :) 

Did I mention how our apartment has an INCREDIBLE rooftop terrace?! AMAZING views of the city.. Be prepared for lots and lots of sunrise/sunset pictures... 

I didn't even have to put a filter on this picture! 

I have a feeling we will be spending lots of time up there!

You can even see the ocean in the bottom right hand side of this one!

This view never gets old.. It takes about 3 minutes to get here from my apartment door.

He's not annoyed at all about me making him take 9263629 selfies of us :)

The cutest cafe ever.. "Cup & Cake" 

Have I mentioned how beautiful I think this city is? 

Thanks for reading friends! Stay tuned.. Lots more posts to come!!!!! 

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