So…in my last blog post I mentioned the unpredictable Missouri weather and my pre-departure orientation. Guess what happened: the orientation got postponed because of a storm.
I was in a computer lab on campus when I heard the thunder. Within the next minute, MUJA (MU Journalism Abroad) sent out an email. I LOLed reading this:
“After that loud bang, and watching the radar for a while, I think that it will be best to reschedule our Orientation. Please stay home and be safe…”
(In terms of the “stay home and be safe” part, well, I did my best.)
So instead of meeting up and getting to know all my Barcelona buddies, I went into the office last Friday and (unexpectedly) received a neat little folder that was supposed to be given out to us at the orientation. I found a few different things inside this folder:
- an emergency contact card with MUJA, MUPD and MU International Center’s phone numbers. This is one of a few things I know I will bring along but hope I will never actually need to use.
- A very durable-looking luggage tag. I probably have a dozen more of these, but aren’t they just the most delightfully useful things? The more, the merrier, please.
- An ad of a company that rents out (?) cell phones abroad? Haven’t really figured out what’s that all about, I mean, can’t I just take my own phone and get a new SIM? Anyway, this seems utterly useless to me.
- A very considerate tip that says: in Spain, temperature is measured in Celsius, not Fahrenheit. Hee hee hee. I’m saying what I’m about to say as someone growing up outside of the U.S. until I was 18: Americans, welcome to the REST OF THE WORLD! Oh, and along with that note: no invisible tax money and no tipping! Man, it feels so good to be back (even with just the sound of it.)!
- Packing instructions: well, here’s a tip from a pro – when traveling internationally, arrive with a smaller suitcase fit into a larger one and depart with two full suitcases, because a. you can generally check two suitcases for international flights and b. yes, you will need that extra luggage space more than you think.
Last but not least, I found a bucket list for studying abroad in Barcelona. Here it is:
- Stroll down the famous Las Ramblas
- Learn a little bit of falmenco from a local
- Sample delicious food at La Boqueria
- Watch some of Spain’s best fútbol in Camp Nou
- Visit Antonio Gaudi’s famous apartments on Passeig de Gracia
- Stare at a church over 130 years in the making – La Sagrada Familia
- Dip your toes into the Mediterranean sea
- Take a cable car to visit Montjuic Castle
- Get lost in El Born neighborhood
- Hike in Spain’s first National Park, Montserrat
- Take a short train ride to Sitges for the day
- Witness the Catalan Gothic architecture at Santa Maria del Mar
- Ride the Ferris Wheel at the top of Tibidabo mountain
- Speak a bit of Catalan with the locals
- See many of Picasso’s original works at Museu Picasso
- Eat lots of fresh seafood and Spanish tapas
- Get a panorama view of Barcelona at the top of Parc Guell
- Soak in some Catalonian art of the Museu Nacional d’Art de Catalunya
- Visit one of the many sites used in the 1992 Summer Olympic Games
- Experience a light and music show and the Magic Fountain
There are 20 items on this list. Ok, of course, some things on this list were the deciding factors for me to go to Barcelona at the first place (Picasso Museum, Gaudi and, oh yeah, maybe not listed here, but paella, yum!). But most others, nope, never heard of them. For example, this one, ferris wheel on top of a mountain? Ok, maybe I don’t know what that looks like, but that sounds damn awesome!!
Also, 20 items would mean that if I want to complete them all during my stay in Barcelona, I would have to check out at least two each week. That is no easy task. I guess I will keep you all posted on my progress in this blog, so stay tuned and don’t forget to give me a push once in a while!