My time in Barcelona has been a combination of highs and lows. My feelings seem to act like waves, rising and falling in an unpredictable fashion. My experience here has changed me, but I don’t think I’ll really know how much I’ve changed until I am back in the United States. However, I was fortunate to have a huge part of my home come to me. My parents’ visit to Barcelona was highly anticipated, and it gave me a sneak peak into how much I have changed in my time here.
I had never been away from my parents for such a long period of time. Most people dealt with being away from their parents when they went to college, but I was lucky enough to choose a school only about an hour and a half away from home. When I finally embraced my parents in a park by my homestay in Barcelona, I felt comfortable. Despite my feelings of immense joy, there was something else. In the past, I looked to my parents when I had questions. I looked to my parents when I didn’t know what to do or how to act. This time, they were in a city that I knew better then they did, and that had never happened before. They asked me, “So where to now?”
I was so excited to show my parents all the wonders that I had discovered on my journey in Barcelona, so I started in my neighborhood of Gracía. We didn’t get too far because my Mom wanted to stop at every single shoe store to browse. My dad and I spent most of our time in Gracía sitting on a bench in a shoe store. I didn’t care. I was just content to be with my parents.
With my newfound independence, my parents and I were on a different level. I had never been able to legally drink in their presence before, but we drank in Barcelona as if we had been doing it for years. We even went out for drinks with my friends at a bar. It wasn’t significant that I could legally drink alcohol. It was the fact that I was able to partake in this activity that was tabooed for so long. I wasn’t drinking to get drunk, I never took more than one or two glasses during a meal. No, I was drinking because I was finally an adult, and I could have a drink if I fancied one.
On the last night of my parents’ stay in Barcelona they stayed in the hotel right across the street from my homestay. They looked out from their window and waved at me on my balcony. Neither of us wished to leave, so we just stood there waving for a couple minutes. Eventually, it was just my Mom left in the window. Soon, she too reluctantly turned around and left the window empty, and the light went off. That was the last I saw of my parents in Barcelona.
My parents’ time in Barcelona made me think about where I belong. When I came here, I was an American who knew very little about the world. Just like many other people my age, I was struggling to figure out who I was. I wish I could say that my time here has made me realize who I am, but I’m even more confused than ever. I’m an American living in Spain. To be honest, I don’t really like to think of myself as an American. At the same time, I am not Spanish, but I have adopted many aspects of the Spanish lifestyle. I have learned how to speak the language, eat the food, and know the culture, but ultimately I am going to go back to my home in the United States. I no longer feel that I can function as I did in America, but I will never be Spanish. Now I am a foreigner to not one, but both countries. I am stuck between worlds.
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<p>My name is Torin Anderson and I am a junior English major at Gustavus Adolphus College. I am involved in hockey and ultimate frisbee as well as the Gustavus Choir. Aside from making various painful puns, I enjoy writing just about anything, and will take any excuse to travel.</p>