Monday, December 8, 2014

A Tale of Two Cities : Part One, Barcelona

I'm sure you have all been wondering "Oh my goodness where is Tanika and her smiles!?" or maybe I'm just giving myself too much credit here. These passed few weeks have been ridiculously filled with adventure and if I get into every story and detail my fingers will fall off and I'll be asleep before I get through the first description of our first magical destination. So to save my finger strength and your reading time I'll break it up into two posts, two parts, a tale of two cities. Here we go!

 Chilly air and the world is going golden. Fall to Winter in Pamplona.


Before continuing I'd just like to clarify something to the rest of the world. Barcelona or BCN is a city (an amazing and beautiful city) Barça is a fútbol team (an amazing and talented fútbol team) just clarifying before you make the journey out there which I know you all will because once you see this place you will never know another city like it. Ok on with the before-grandeur.

It had been a week of exams (sleeping in and hanging out with 10 year olds for me) and after presenting our school show in which I displayed my extreme capacity for embarrassment, it was finally time for the weekend. I'm going to skip Friday night because that's a story not worth sharing (as the Spaniards smirk at me and the Americans begin swarming me with questions) But Saturday was quite the opposite.

Taking pride in my baby bird, Twerky the Thanksgiving Turkey!

Thanksgiving!! I was a tornado in the kitchen swirling from oven to fridge picking up and putting down bowl spoon and -is this a whisk or a spatula? I was dizzy from the spinning. But after hours of Food Network worthy cooking I had finally done it, my first Thanksgiving all cooked by me and boy would Martha Stewart be proud of the presentation! I couldn't bask in the glory for too long because pretty soon it was on to the packing Barcelona awaits!

Barcelona Bike Tour

The blinding and beautiful Barcelona sun.
At first it started as a glow and then it started to grow! Until this Spanish sun, which I swear burns brighter than any other, was shining its way through antique window panes into my sleepy eyes, early morning imploring me to cease the day! 5 more minutes beautiful world! But the bike route had been planned and my super American neon coral Nike's were telling me and any onlooker within a 3 mile radius, that I was ready for it.

Here's the thing about Barcelona, its hilly... really hilly. We'd go up up up then down down down only to go up up up once more. I wasn't complaining though, the sun was out and even the run-down fruit stands looked like something you'd find on a vintage magazine cover (yes any vintage magazines looking for amateur photographers I am happy to apply!) I'd made it to the top of the world and back again and as I looked out from the artful over hanging of Parque Güell, or the open balcony atop the magisty of Sagrada Familia or even from the dusty roof of our host apartment building, thoughts over took me. I'm going to stop the touristy stories and instead share these thoughts with you.

Pieces of Me

I first had a thought, as we were biking. I had repeatedly passed mosaics, pieces of pottery beautifully broken and put together. They climbed buildings of low rent hostels and created the staple for Gaudi master pieces. No matter where they showed up they served the same purpose, fragments from other places coming together and forming something new, something magnificent. Without sounding too vapid, I thought of myself. Part Pervian, mix in some Boston, dash of Carolina and a sprinkle of Califonia now slowly adding the Spaniard its a recipe for something unique and I love the taste of different.

A master piece made of pieces.
The better thing about the mosaics is that they aren't perfect. They have bumps and cracks, smooth and rough. And that's life, at least that's the life I want to keep. Not perfect, but whole. I can always be working for something and know that things can get better but still take a step back and look at my life, look at myself and be happy with what I have and what I've worked for. In the end the cracks and the rough edges are what make beautiful things real. And when you step back the master piece is still just as beautiful and more unique because of them.

A Thank You to the Rainbows 

I admit, I haven't been to church since before I could spell "Conquer" (for my love of writing you think I'd make a good speller too but no I didn't get passed the 2nd round in the 3rd grade spelling bee) Any way it was a long time ago and only because my mom bribed me with ice cream but in Sagrada Familia, despite the tourism buzzing around I felt drawn to take a moment. Sitting on the wooden bench as stained glass rainbows washed over me, I bowed my head because it just felt like the thing to do. 

Afternoon sun became afternoon inspiration.
I wasn't really sure how to pray or if praying was even what I was doing. I smiled as I awkwardly made my way through a thank you letter to the air and whoever else may have been listening. So God or Universe or simply listener, I know we haven't talked in a while but since this is all your doing, I'd just like to say thank you. And on I went, smiling as I thanked for my mixed up background, for my mixed up families, for my mixed up life that I wouldn't change a day of. I just wanted to send out thanks not only for the people in my life but for the chances their presence had brought me, every chance. There had been so many, and the only thing I could say, I wish I'd taken more of them. But to whomever or whatever I was thanking I also made the clear promise to live this year and the rest of my life to the absolute fullest, day in day out, happy or on the lesser but still likely sad, I would be giving it 100% no matter how strange, hard or impossible it seemed.

Just outside Sagrada Familia, I love bubbles!
I know I got rather heavy on you all in that passed part but as my Spanish has begun conquering (yes I did spell check for that one) my English I just want to see if I'm still capable of thinking oh-so-philosophically. That was Barcelona. Now your thinking "What the heck Tanika you just talked about biking and how you compare yourself to a piece of art or soup or something?" Well fellow readers in another philosophical sense I've come to realize that the points on map, the moments captured in a lenses, even the emotions of seeing them, can't nearly match the significance of the thoughts we have in the moment or in retrospect and I'll do my best to keep those thoughts on record.

When I said you'll know no other city like it, I quite mean there is no other ciry like it.
So with a little lighter ending I have Part Two, Madrid under construction for you all! Holiday hecticness (I just found out that this isn't an actual word) is also on the horizon so if I disappear again just know it's because my love of Christmas has me embedded in a gingerbread baking, Jingle bell rocking, How the Grinch Stole Christmas marathon!

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