I am sure that some other IES Abroad blogger one day had this headline for their post "How lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard?" Well, it is true! I miss Barcelona more than I thought I would, waaaay more! But it's not only the vibrant city that today I consider one of my homes that I miss, what I truly miss is the whole experience that I lived during the Spring semester of 2017. Of course, Barcelona is where most of the experience took place, and it was the place that I called home for four months. However, it wasn't only the place... it was the people, the culture, my friends, my family! Yes, you will probably end up with a whole new family too.
During my time in Barcelona I lived at a homestay, with an amazing lady called Lleonor, today she is my third grandmother. We keep in contact through WhatsApp (get on that guys, it will save your life while abroad). I remember the first day when I arrived at my house at Rambla del Poblenou, the busy main street of the neighborhood called Poblenou. It's busy as the street is filled with restaurants and stores, during the weekends the streets are filled with families walking their dogs or just hanging out at one of the restaurant's tables that sit in the middle of the street (since they close it for cars most weekends). But at the same time, it is calm, I lived three blocks away from the beach, I walked every day by the beach, and on my way back I became familiar with the faces I saw every day, it was comforting, it was home.
When I arrived at my house on January 8th, my roommate Kristen and I took our luggage out of the cab we shared from the airport and squeezed in the tiny elevator that would lead us to our future home. Lleonor was waiting for us at the door. Her excited smiled as soon as she saw us made me feel at ease, she quickly embraced us in a warm hug and showed us where our room was. She had placed a box of Ferrero Rocher in each of our beds, and by our beds, she left a photo frame so we could put a picture of our family and us to feel more comfortable. We were exhausted and hungry, it was around 3 pm, and we weren't supposed to have lunch at home (at a homestay you usually have breakfast and dinner) but lucky us, Lleonor had made us a welcome lunch.
In Spain dinner is served very late, usually between 9 and 10 pm. So that meal was truly appreciated as all I wanted to do was eat, take a shower and go to sleep. Llenor still made us dinner, which she served at 9. She was so excited for us to be there, and that made me excited to the weeks to come. Even though at that point all I wanted to do was sleep (there is a 6hrs time difference from NY to Barcelona). We stayed at the dinner table for over an hour hearing Lleonor's stories and answering her questions about our life, families, culture, etc.
As the days passed, we learned more about each other, one day I caught myself calling her grandma. Lleonor lives by herself and she treated us with so much love, she treated us like her granddaughters, and she became part of my family. On the day before I left, she gave me a necklace with a little pearl so I can remember her when I look at it.
I can't express how lucky I feel for the pleasure that I had in meeting her, and for the relationship we got to develop throughout the time that I was there. So again, how lucky I am to have something that makes saying goodbye so hard? Barcelona will always have a piece of my heart.
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<p>My name is Beatriz, but most people call me Bia/Bea. I'm an IES Abroad alumni from the Barcelona liberal arts and business program from the Spring 2017 term. Studying abroad had such a fantastic impact in my life that I decided to do it again, during my last semester of college!</p>