antiques and long walks: the makings of a perfect Sunday

Last Sunday, I took the train to Sant Cugat de Vallés, about 40 minutes north of Barcelona, to visit Mercantic, an antiques market of some 80+ vendors. The first Sunday of every month is delivery day, when merchants get new shipments of items, so there was tons to see, including a warehouse-sized room of international books (mostly Catalan, Castilian and French).

A collage of pics from the day:

Mercantic

When I got back to Barcelona, I wandered around el Born district for a couple hours – and got considerably lost, as always, in its snaky streets. I was on a mission to watch the Packers vs. Cardinals game, but none of the three sports bars I’d read up on online were showing the game. (I’ll try again for the next game, but, hell, why’s it so hard to find the NFL here?)

In fitness-related news, I found a cheap yoga studio, and it’s next door to my new building! For 30 euros/month, I can go to up to three classes per week.

I went to my first class yesterday, and it was … different. A lot slower than yoga I’ve taken in the U.S. No sun salutations or warrior poses, instead a lot of back and neck stretches. It seemed more like meditation than yoga, but I left feeling refreshed and relaxed, and that’s never a bad thing.

I’m off to squeeze a quick run in before heading to my friend, Shelby’s, for dinner. We’re craving spicy, ethnic food like no other and are cooking up a homemade feast of enchiladas and guacamole tonight.

What about you? What are you up to this weekend? Running any races?

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some pics of Spain

My weeks are filled with teaching, applying for teaching jobs, eating, stressing, stress-eating, and the like.

My weekends are a bit more chill, thankfully.

So I’m putting together a Flickr album of my adventures in Spain. Take a peek here, and tell me where I should travel on a budget!

Weekend getaway to Cadaqués, Spain

I can sum up my weekend like this:

boats in Cadaques

TRANQUILITY.

Shelby and I headed to Cadaqués, Spain by way of a train to Figueres, then a bus ride over the mountains into the dreamy bayside town of Cadaqués. It’s one of those places that takes your breath away – all white-washed buildings with blue shutters, charming older couples winding their way through the streets and children playing ball on the beach.

We had our fair share of red wine, pizza, chocolate desserts and deep, contented sighs. (Totally worth the carsickness on the bus ride there and the inflated price of tapas in the town.)

I also read a book while I was in Cadaqués! Yes, it’s true! (This is likely not shocking to you, but it shocks me since I’ve had precious time for anything but my TESOL course since I arrived in Barcelona.)

Take a look at some of the pictures I snapped with my phone (I’ll post again when I’ve uploaded my camera’s pics to Flickr), and put Cadaqués on your must-visit list when you come to Spain …

A fancy little shop:

shop in Cadaques

Shelby, leading the way to our hostel:

Shelby in Cadaques

We only got lost *every* time we tried to walk back to our hostel. The narrow streets all looked the same.

A view of the town from where I went jogging:

View of Cadaques

I think I fell in love on this run. Who wants to buy a house in Cadaqués with me?

The town at dusk:

Cadaques

Cadaqués doesn’t have much in the way of things to do (if you’re on a budget), but that’s part of the appeal. We wandered the streets and simply relaxed. We walked to the nearby town of Port Lligat, where Salvador Dalí lived, and we lingered over glasses of wine at several seaside cafés.

More than once, I thought to myself, How is this my life right now? How am I so lucky?

While it’s easy to get caught up in some of the uncertainties here and begin to stress about money and visas and plans and to-do lists, I let most of that go this weekend.

I’m happy to be here. I live in Spain right now. Wow.

I’m grateful for the chance to have this experience, no matter how long it lasts.

adiós los estados unidos

Recently I wrote about making big life changes, and now I’m ready to tell you mine!

In less than a month, you might find me at La Playa De Vila Olimpica:

La Playa de Vila Olimpica

picture via barcelonaturisme.com

Or getting lost in narrow, winding streets:

Fernando Stankuns

photo by Fernando Stankuns on flickr

This will be my commute:

JasonParis

photo by JasonParis on flickr

I will eat tortilla de patatas and drink cafe con leche:

minusbay

Photo by minusbay on flickr

I’ll be surrounded by architecture by Gaudi:

Casa.Battló by frankartculinary

photo by frankartculinary on flickr

And this will be my skyline:

CrashSunRay

photo by CrashSunRay on flickr

That’s right, I’m moving to Barcelona. ¡Olé!

I enrolled in a program to get a TEFL (teaching English as a foreign language) certification, and I’ll try to find a short-term teaching position after the program wraps.

There’s no guarantee I’ll get a position (luckily, the TEFL certification is internationally recognized so I can use it anywhere, if I choose), so the shortest amount of time I’ll be gone is 3 months. If I do get a position, I’ll be able to get a work visa and stay longer (six? twelve? months, whatever I want).

Sweet, right?

And thrilling and scary and unbelievable, too.

Since I studied abroad in Seville nine years ago (woah, nine years), I’ve always said I wanted to return to Spain. I talk about wanting to live abroad, be a nomad, travel even more than I do. Become fluent in another language.

Yet … I’ve often held back. Stayed put for a job, a man, a lifestyle. And, no doubt, my lifestyle in Portland is pretty wonderful. But it’ll be here for me when I come back.

This summer, in a strangely mystical series of events, the universe revealed to me that it’s time to fucking woman-up. To quit my job, because it was no longer a fit for me. To pursue this plan, even if it’s not traditional. To take a leap, even if I don’t know what’s on the other side.

So here’s how it breaks down by the numbers:

  • In 1 day, I’m done with my job – and my apartment. (Oh, and most of my possessions. I sold a ton of stuff.)
  • In 7 days, I fly to Peru to hike Machu Picchu with my mom. (Why not throw in another epic adventure right before Spain?! My mom and I have actually been planning this trip for almost a year.)
  • In 27 days, I fly to Barcelona to start the next chapter.

And, then?

Who knows?

I’ll figure it out as I go.

And the uncertainty, surprisingly, feels really invigorating right now.

Know anyone in Barcelona? Or Spain? Do you have recommendations for places to go, things to see? Dígame, por favor.