The week was off to a good start. I met this girl at the bar a couple of weeks ago who did an exchange in College Station, Texas when she was 15, just like me. She ended up taking an “English Speaking Lesson” from me, giving me 20 euros and paying for my coffee in exchange for two hours of my time speaking to her in English so she could prepare for her upcoming proficiency exam. Funny enough, her host family happened to be mormon. We sat around and made fun of them in good spirit, laughing about soaking, Joseph Smith, and the whole cult-y nature of the religion. I was hoping to get another “lesson” out of her a couple of days later, but she ended up cancelling last minute. Guess she came to her senses LOL.

After my English lesson, I ended up going to play soccer with Gabriel and his father and some friends of theirs. Didi really wanted to see me play soccer so he volunteered to take me on his motorcycle. It was a super fun ride all the way across Barcelona, because we could take the freeway and go super fast. I ended up having a lot of fun, but got shoved into a waist-high broken concrete wall, tearing up my arm, putting a nasty looking gash in a very annoying spot of my thumb, and jamming my thumb. I also got hit really hard after passing the ball by one of the other guys there. But I ended up nutmegging both of them right after in the same run down the line. There is no revenge for getting hit better than a humiliating nutmeg. Not sure if they liked the fact that the American boy was showing them all up LOL.

The next day, since I was falling behind on writing my blog, I wrote my blog for the PREVIOUS week. It was so long and action-packed that I procrastinated starting it all weekend. I ended up spending way too long writing it, while both Radek and Junior waited on me all day to go take pictures. Four hours later, Radek and I headed out to Glories to take some instagram-worthy pictures. We ended up having a lot of fun and getting some really great pictures, which I will post eventually.

After pictures, Radek invited me to go out to the bar with some of the people from his school. I guess his school was doing like a “welcome” drinks thing to get everyone to meet each other from all the different classes. The first drink was on the school for the students, but the lady that was in charge of it was so nice that she ended up giving a free drink too! We ended up meeting people of all ages from all across the world. In fact, we had such a good time that we were one of the last people to leave. After that, we decided to go home and cook a very delicious balsamic and veggies pasta with good ol’ Estrella Damm.

The next day was my appointment with the immigration lawyer. I never thought that I would have an appointment with an immigration lawyer in life, but here I am LOL. My original plan was to come to Spain three months, go to Romania three months, and then come back to Spain. This is because the way that (I originally understood) the Schengen visa works is that you get 90 days in a 180 day period, meaning that you get to be in the Schengen Zone for three months as a tourist, but you have to leave the Schengen Zone for three months to be able to come back as a tourist. That is where Romania came in. Since Romania is outside the Schengen Zone and I have the hookup there (shoutout Tony Soltani), it was the perfect place to pass the time. Unfortunately, the COVID situation in Romania is a MESS. They have about 20% of the population vaccinated (the lowest in Europe), they have all of the hospital beds in the country so full that they are sending people to other neighboring countries to get treated. It is looking like they are going to have to shut down the country. And while I actually am SUPER excited about going to Romania, I think that it might not be worth the risk of not only getting covid, but getting stuck in a locked-down country. PLUS, apparently the Schengen tourist visa lasts for 90 days, but you have to be outside of the zone for 180 days to be able to come back in. SO, all that being said, I had to find a way to stay in Spain.

The two solutions given to me by the lawyer were the following: pay for Spanish classes and student medical insurance and get a student visa OR get an internship (not a job) directly related to my field of study. The first option is pretty much out of the question, because I don’t have 1500 euros for three months of a Spanish class that I don’t need just to stay here. The second option is to find an internship here in Spain that would allow me to stay for the duration of my work contract. This is a law that I didn’t know about originally, since it is unique to Spain and only available for those who have graduate degrees. They don’t give you a visa, but they give you a temporary residence permit. And they won’t give you the permit for a job, only for an internship. The problem is that you only have 60 days to apply for it after you get to Spain, leaving me just 6 days as of today. In other words, it is not looking so good for me in terms of sticking around. I have contacted just about everyone I know here in Spain, so I basically have an army out looking for internships, plus myself on LinkedIn, InfoJobs, and Indeed. I think that the biggest detriment to my search is going to be the rapidly closing window of opportunity, because there has to be a contract and everything. I have no doubt in my mind that in a month’s time I could find something, but one week seems like mission impossible. SO it looks like I will be coming home in December in time for Christmas. I obviously feel sad because of how much I have been enjoying my time here, but I think I will go back home contently. While I am not really sure what I was looking for by coming to Spain, I think that I have found whatever it is that I was searching for. I have learned a lot of things about myself and about my life in time here, and I am grateful for the journey and the people that I have managed to surround myself with here.

After the whole lawyer thing, I was feeling pretty depressed, so I decided that I wanted to surround myself with people at the language exchange. PLUS, I figured that it would be a really good way to meet people and network a little bit. Unfortunately, I didn’t really meet anyone that could help me out, but we went for drinks and met some really cool people from all over the US. There was this one guy that was crying about how worried he was about the Virginia governor elections and how he tried so hard to do a mail-in ballot. I guess we will see how many times they count his ballot. After his friends came along (fellow migration studies majors) Radek and I decided to avoid the cancer and move on to a different meetup. Only problem was that when we got to the next meetup, the vibes were so weird that we decided to say screw it and went home to drink the rest of our Estrella Damms.

I woke up the next day with lots of determination. I spent pretty much the whole morning contacting everyone I knew in Barcelona (whether they could help me or not), asking them if they could help me find an internship in any way. I have a couple leads and am waiting to find out next week. Hopefully there is enough time to set something up. After spending the whole day on the computer, I was happy to go out and play soccer with my friends from school. My half-decent skills impressed my friends, but I ended up taking a nice hit to the eye, leaving me with a welt the size of a grape runt. It also starting POURING down rain, soaking us all. I haven’t seen rain like this in a very long time. When I say it poured, it POURED. Luckily, I ended up subbing out RIGHT before it started pouring and refused to go back in, so I didn’t get THAT wet LOL. After the game while rushing into the building to get out of the rain, I ended up randomly running into my old soccer coach, who apparently now runs the amateur league that we played in. It was really nice to see him again, but I had to leave with my friends to go eat a kebab.

It was raining so hard that on the way to the kebab we had to avoid stepping in the 2-inch-high puddles of water in the street. Luckily, one of my friends had brought a sleeping back to lend to another one of my friends. So 4 of us huddled under the sleeping bag, holding it over our heads to keep out of the rain. We were walking like a caterpillar and took about 30 minutes to get to somewhere that should have taken about 10 LOL. Never had a nice, warm, juicy kebab tasted any better. Of course, the next morning it would sentence me to a couple of hours on the toilet :(

So there is this girl Madi that I went to elementary, middle, and high school with, who now works as a dancer on a mediterranean cruise line. About a month ago, I sent her a message after seeing her in Greece, saying that if she were to come to Barcelona I would love to meet up. Sure enough, she was going to be in Barcelona on Saturday from 7AM to 4PM. I ended up heading downtown to meet her and her friends at about noon, where I showed them all around downtown. I tried my best to spew lots of facts about different neighborhoods, Barcelona history, and landmarks. Plus, some funny stories I have associated with different places. It was really unfortunate, though, because it rained for all 9 hours that they were in town. In fact, it actually stopped rain as soon as I got home at 4:30 LOL. Anyways, I got to meet some very cool and talented people from different parts of the world. Plus, I got to learn a lot about the world of dance and how it works. I always admire talented people who are passionate about what they do, and Madi definitely fits the bill.

After my “early” morning and long day of walking all over the city, I went to Radek’s house to have some coffee. I ended up having a little too much coffee and got a little jittery. I ended up going home and trying to take a nap before an all nighter at the discoteca, but for whatever reason, in the two hours that I wanted to sleep EVERYONE decided to call me. I got woken up by my friend Brian, by Radek, and finally by my host mom. After a sleepless nap, it was time to go to Radek’s watch the Barcelona game, and pregame for the club. We ended up drinking a whole bottle of wine and a beer each before heading to my house so I could change and get ready to head out. I decided that I wanted to bring my brick of milk with me onto the metro, so I could drink it on the way to the club. Gotta get that calcium!! I ended up getting made fun of by a group of girls, who were signaling towards me and laughing. If they were cuter, I would have offered to share. Sucks for them.

Once we got off the metro, we headed to a cheap bar in Marina to continue the pregame with my friends from school. We had to wait for like thirty minutes at the bar to get drinks, where I tried to cut in front of everyone with a very rude Brit. Like dude, we both speak English, can’t you just put all your ethics aside and let me cut for our linguistic unity? Anyways, by the time we got our drinks and got back to the table, my friends had to go into the club. By the time we finished our drinks and walked over to the club, we had to wait in a line that went ALL the way around the building. Luckily, we made some friends behind us and the line went by quickly. The club was SO FUN!!! I danced, sang, and partied the night away. I had a great time with my friends and made new friends, all without getting grabbed by the neck or swung at. Once they stopped playing reggaeton, the music got kind of whack and the vibes were lost, so once I heard them play “YMCA” I knew it was time to dip out, and STAT. Somehow, someway, I ended up leaving the club with a ghost mask and a hat. Don’t ask me how, because I just managed to acquire stuff over the course of the night.

I ended up making some friends on the way to the metro, but Radek wasn’t having it anymore, so he just disappeared. Once I got to the metro, I realized that I forgot my mask in the club, meaning that I couldn’t enter the metro (since there were a bunch of security guards out in front). Although I tried to use my trump card, “NO ENTIENDO”, the security guards wouldn’t let me in. He told me that I had to go buy a mask for FIVE EUROS in the vending machine around the corner. I said screw that and started walking up to random people entering the metro and asking them for a mask. This one girl finally had an extra mask. I was so happy that I told her “I love you” and gave her a super big, grateful hug. I then turned around and ran into the metro station, where I got on the metro RIGHT as it came, only to find Radek sitting on the metro already LOL. We ended up making it home by 7 and sleeping for the rest of the day.

The next day, we ended up going to walk around Poblenou in the evening with Junior. But since we were exhausted and hung over from the night before, we ended up slugging around like zombies. I stopped by McDonalds to get a 1 euro coffee to sip during the cold, damp night. After walking around for a while, we decided we wanted to go get McFlurries, so we went to a SECOND McDonalds. We are true fats Americans; we go halfway across the world just to eat McDonalds not once, but TWICE in one night. God Bless America.

By the time we got home, I was really ready to go to bed. In fact, Radek actually went home at like 9PM because he was so tired. Unfortunately, Diego invited me to go to a party with all of our friends at one girl’s apartment. Although I went, deep down I just wanted to curl up in my bed and pass out. Once I got there, however, I overcame my slump and had a great time. We danced, and played drinking games (I drank with Coca-Cola), and even baked some brownies a-la-stoner. Me and Diego ended up being the only sober people at the party, but we still had a blast. Well, I should say that I took a shot of absinthe when I first got there, which really messed me up. Absinthe is actually illegal in the US because it is so toxic. I think it is like 92% alcohol. I could feel that stuff burn all. the way. down. Once I finally convinced the people to give me aux, everyone was so surprised that the American kid could play such good Spanish music. The girl that was hosting the party developed a little crush on me, and offered me to sleep at her house if I wanted to. She added in “but you can’t sleep with me in my room haha”. I responded by saying, “no no, on the couch if anything”, but in reality I wanted to say “I wouldn’t want to sleep with you anyway” LOL.

By the time 5:30AM rolled around, I was feeling pretty dead and ended up crashing on the couch. I sat down and closed my eyes for a second and woke up to two girls trying to cuddle me on either side of me. Unfortunately neither of them were the girl that I wanted to be cuddling me. In fact, the host girl was kind of fat and crushing me a little bit. Needless to say, I was VERY thankful when Diego told me it was time to leave. He told me “hey Mana, I am going to leave right now, but if you want to stay the night here you can”. I immediately took my opportunity to get up and go, saying “NO NO LETS BOUNCE”, giving him a few winks of desperation. When I tried to get out the door, the one girl kept grabbing me from behind, not letting me leave. I was trying to be nice and I definitely didn’t want to be rude, but I sort of just pushed her off me, thanked everyone for letting me come, and left more than happy to be on my way home.