Since I was a teen I always remember having foreign exchange students. I lucked out because I have always been around the coolest ones but that is beside the point. I never could understand why they don’t adapt as well to being in the states as let’s say an American does. I have always known that religion and language segregate all of us but I never really grasped the fact that humans are literally just like animals. Everything about the way we live is completely different. The things people endure their way of thinking, their way of eating, education, work, family life, activities, and living in general is completely different everywhere you travel to.
This past week I had the privilege to spend some much needed time with some of my previous students throughout my life. I noticed some things here that I am so excited to start doing in my own life. I do understand that I can’t just close shop during the afternoon like everyone does in Spain for lunch, but what I can do as I travel is take things I can make different in my life and utilize them to become a better and more well-rounded mother and person. I don’t know that it is true for every American but every American home I have been in; I noticed that no one makes it a priority to make sure the entire family is together for meals, this will be something I change for my children and myself. I took from the situation I was in that these people I love care and love me as well and we can sit and talk without being on our phones the entire meal. These people I was with during every occasion made me feel so important to them I never wanted to leave them. We shared plates and laughter like we never skipped a moment together.
I had arrived in Barcelona right after a beautiful holiday they call Sant Jordi or Saint George. This tradition started on April 23rd in 1926. To celebrate legend and rituals a woman is to bring a man a book and a man is to bring a woman a rose. I would explain more about the legend of the dragon and the princess and the lamb and the gentleman but I’ll keep it hidden until you take the time to look into the beautiful stories yourself. Because of this holiday by the end of the day almost six million roses and 800,000 books will have been purchased. Most women will carry a rose and half of the total yearly book sales in Catalonia take place for this occasion. This holiday would be like our lovely Valentine ’s Day except I think it’s awesome they celebrate as a community together. I remember looking up at lights and seeing leftover roses and falling in love again and again.
My best friend and I realized very quickly we had a limited time do anything with stores because they would eventually close for lunch, our breakfast would be at 9am then our lunch at 4pm and our dinner at around 8pm before we all went out to dance. I know that I was on vacation but just taking the time to learn what their days consist of and how much they actually spend with people they love is absolutely incredible. A huge thing I learned about the Spanish culture is that these students study more than any American student I have met in my life. These younger high school students are never caught up in things like did my parents get me the best car in my school, Do I have more popular friends, am I wearing enough make up for a boy to like me. Most of these kids go to the same school as long as they possibly can and know all of the same exact people and the only thing they want to do is get through school with the best grades.
I also learned that I don’t have to be as ashamed of my government as I am because that is probably the only thing that stands true in all countries is that most politicians and people of the government are crooked. Sadly I heard stories of how long Catalan has been trying to become and independent country. I heard stories of real police brutality (not to shed darkness on our situation) People were trying to protect their polls and voting so they stood by their schools and protected buildings all over the city just to vote all through the night. Let me shed some light on this certain situation in Spain that breaks my heart. Catalans strive to preserve their economic, historic, speakers, and cultural dimensions which actually makes them more favorable than Spanish also meaning that Spain as a whole really profits more from Catalans than any other autonomous communities inside. Catalan has always wanted to become and independent country but sadly they still have yet to succeed, because of horrible dictators and crooked governments, recently because of this there are Spanish police attacking people and they have put their prime ministers and advisors in jail until further judgment. I had to do some digging on my own just because I am curious and I came to realize that it may be a very long time before Catalan becomes an independent country because they have yet to form a Catalan coalition government, and honestly how can they when the Spanish government has exiled or imprisoned their leaders and ministers. I always get so intrigued by what’s going on in other countries because it really humbles me about the very privileged one I live in.
Now that you know the few things I have taken from my trip I am positive I have so much to share but I want to share most importantly my point to why I think it is so important to get out of your element and your country.
- Traveling gives you the complete opportunity to be the best person you can.
- Traveling opens your eyes to the struggles of the world that simply make yours seem a little smaller.
- Traveling will make you feel alive because to have seen the world means that you have truly lived.
- Traveling allows you to be culturally aware of not just your rights but actual HUMAN RIGHTS.
- Traveling allows you to close your mouth for just a moment and listen to emotions, needs, wants, dreams, and goals from people all over the world.
- Traveling allows you the moments you will never regret with people you will never forget.
- Traveling allows you to take a moment and breathe and forget all of your stresses at home.
- Traveling will change the way you think you “should” live your life and will allow you to “choose” how you want to live your life.
If you would like to see some pictures of my beautiful trip I have uploaded them for all of you in the travel page of the menu bar.
or just click here < Dancing in the Streets of Barcelona >