Wow. Time has flown this past week. I haven’t had time to sit down and journal, let alone upload photos and post online!
Tiana was a wonderful experience. Two weeks of living like a local while getting a chance to explore and relax as well was so much more than what I even imagined. I couldn’t recommend doing it more. As I’m saying that, I’ve realized I haven’t explained what I was doing! So through a random blog post, I discovered Workaway. Essentially, it’s a volunteering / cultural exchange website where ‘workawayers’ link up with hosts. The type of work varies, the locations are all over the world and you could spend an endless amount of time traveling and working with hosts and average of 25 hours per week. My host family was a couple with two boys who wanted practice with conversational English, so the work was spending time with them and talking in exchange for room and board!
The first week was much more interactive since the boys weren’t in school yet, so I did much more with them. They’d started school the second week I was there, so my mornings were for me to adventure about and my evenings were for family time. I went to soccer practice, learned to play chess (and got my butt kicked by a 10 year old five times – yikes), and helped with laundry and meals. After dinner, the host parents and I would sit on the patio sipping coffee and chatting about anything and everything: politics, Spanish history, slang, Tennessee football (duh), local customs. Those were my favorite times I think; there is nothing like having a genuine conversation with someone and living with them.
I spent time walking around Barcelona seeing the Arc de Triomf and Citadel Park and did a whole day walking from the Sagrada Familia to the ocean. I walked countless miles, discovered incredible side streets and views and was mistaken for a local several times! A note on the Sagrada Familia: woah. I had seen it from outside on my last trip and didn’t think much of it. This time I bought the ticket and audio tour online the day before (100% recommend) and was in awe. There is no other way to describe it other than WOW. The forethought, plans and detail that went into it over 100 years ago is incredible. The amount of light that pours in, the way the stained glass windows coordinate with the rising and setting of the sun, and the fact that every single spec of the building has some religious significance is mind-blowing.
There are plenty of other places in the world I want to travel to, but I’ll definitely be back to visit Barcelona again!