Barcelona

Last week, I had the great joy of being able to meet my dad in Barcelona!! It was always my mom’s dream to travel Europe, and it feels like we are living her dream for her. I feel like our travels are made simultaneously selfish and purposeful to say, “We are doing this in lieu of her,” but I want to be hopeful in believing that some dreams are worth living out even when the dreamer is gone. For the past year, it has felt like my dad and I are figuring out how to orbit towards light when the sun has been taken away from us. But for the first time, we are choosing to learn from one another and walk through this together.

Four days ago, my dad boarded a boat named “Costa Serena,” like my mom, without knowing the name of the cruise ship before purchasing his tickets. I don’t want to give things more meaning than they should hold, but it has to be true that there is something special about this trip.

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1. I was super stoked to finally see La Boqueria market and all its hustle and bustle. The colours were an absolute dream, and all the food was so incredibly fresh and yummy!!

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2. Two friends recommended me a restaurant called El Xampanyet for tapas and cava. Our server never let our plates empty for a second, and I was amazed by how they could constantly be making food and charming customers at the same time. When we gave up our table for the people who were next in line, our serve yelled, “God bless you!” and gave us free tapas for being kind and patient.

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3. La Sagrada Familia absolutely blew my mind, not only because of how grand everything was, but because every detail was made with intention. It’s crazy to see that even decades after Gaudi has passed, the church is still under construction and how he planned everything in full knowing that he would never see it finished. My favourite part of the tour was when we learned about the stained glass windows, and Gaudi’s specific instructions for how they should be.

Most people would assume that the more light in a church, the better, but Gaudi insisted that the light be moderated, because both too little and too much light can be blinding.”

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4. “Can we see a menu?”

“You’re looking right at it.”

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5. My father’s heart belongs to the ocean. He cannot help himself but look over the shoulders of fellow fishermen, and his gaze is always locked on ocean. Like him, I am also learning that you only need to lift your eyes slightly over the horizon to set your sights on heaven.

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SAN SEBASTIÁN

I spent this weekend in Spain, thanks to the AOC (a wine association at school) who organized the trip! We spent our first day in San Sebastián, then headed to Estella where we camped for the night, and then made a quick visit to Pamplona to stuff ourselves with tapas before heading back to Bordeaux.

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1. In San Sebastiàn, we went to a place where the land was covered in mist and waves looked more like giant hills than the ocean. People couldn’t help but pause to watch as the tide crashed in every direction and surfers, who looked like they were walking on water, dared to dive in and out of the white foam. Before this, I have never seen the kind of swells that break into themselves, and I think it’s where the phrase, “moving mountains,” comes from.

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2. We visited a couple wine chateaus during our time in Spain, and I don’t think I will ever get the hang of this whole wine tasting thing (seriously, how do people smell almonds in their wine or know what kind of grapes they’re made from just by tasting it?!). But it was crazy to learn about how much time it takes to make a good bottle of wine, and how some people dedicate their whole life to finding different tastes and pairing them with food. Passion comes in so many different forms.

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3. “Most areas in the world may be placed in latitude and longitude, described chemically in their earth, sky and water, rooted and fuzzed over with identified flora and peopled with known fauna and there’s an end to it. Then there are others where fable, myth, preconception, love, longing or prejudice step in and so distort a cool, clear appraisal that a kind of high-coloured magical confusion takes hold.” – John Steinbeck, Travels with Charley

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4. They say the Spanish don’t like to work very much, and we saw it to be true, because everything was closed in the middle of the day. We drove through desert hills to arrive in deserted streets full of pastel houses and people lazing in the sun. They were like ghost towns filled with life, and I think that we should all practice a little bit more how to rest like they do.

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5. Charlotte was telling me about her sister and her boyfriend and said, “I’m just a third wheel in that constellation.” I like how even stars are never alone despite being lightyears away from each other, and sometimes they don’t know that they belong to something bigger than what they can see.

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6. During the trip, the wine never stopped flowing, dancing was a must, and the singing never came to a halt. Sometimes you don’t need an excuse to celebrate apart from being here, now, and together.

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