Considering how adamant I apparently am that I don’t live in Amsterdam, and how unlikely it is that’s going to change anytime soon (spoiler alert!), the place where I do live has received very little recognition on my blog lately. And considering that I may be the only person, currently or ever, producing content on the Internet about that place in English, it’s especially weird that I’ve forsaken it so frequently to write about places for which that is certainly not the case. Well, no more!
I feel like, so far, every post I’ve made about Barcelona has involved some kind of happy accident.
Whoops, we just happened to ride up this hill during a beautiful sunset; whoops, we went on an angry walk and just happened to wind up in this awesome park that helped me refocus my entire life. You’re probably thinking, “yeah, whatever, who in Barcelona is paying you to promote it as the city of miracles?”
Despite the assumptions of a good many people who know me (and, frankly, should know better), the fact that I live in the Netherlands does not actually mean I live in Amsterdam.
I don’t. In fact, I live on the other side of the country from the Dutch capital city. How do you like that?
While we’re making confessions, there’s something else you should know about me. I’m…kind of a city person.
This doesn’t mean I refuse to set foot in any place without at least six Starbucks and 500,000 people complaining about public transit. One of the best summers of my life was spent in Kaikoura, a teensy-weensy coastal town in New Zealand. My parents started taking me and my sister camping all over the United States before we could walk. Hell, I spent twelve weeks in the Australian outback, chasing cows in a helicopter and showering in water our host wouldn’t use to clean his car. I am no stranger to dirt, isolation, or small-town life.
I’m a bit of an imposter when it comes to this whole “outdoor flea market” thing – it’s time I just came out and said it.
In my dreams, I stroll through such markets at a leisurely pace, lovingly eyeing old rotary phones and vinyl records, chatting to the stallkeepers who have worked there for decades, and then magically discover something breathtaking that I will cherish forever (/sell to someone else for 100x what I paid).
I’m fairly certain we didn’t plan on visiting Montjuïc at sunset.
After all, Simon and I had just arrived in the northern hemisphere for the first time in two years via three planes and more than thirty hours of traveling. We didn’t even know what season we were in, let alone what time the sun would set.
After living in the US, New Zealand, and Australia, moving to Europe takes some adjustment.
I mean, I’m used to space. I’m used to great distances, usually made of water, in between me and other people. When I move from one country to another, I’m used to grand trips, long immigation lines, annoying customs forms, and habitually ridding myself of half of my possessions so I can fit everything I own into one suitcase. For four years, this was normal life.