Saturday, September 7, 2013

je suis un peu fatigué

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What does a man with no financial or personal obligations do, in a bid to change his life, in his late twenties? Move to Spain for two years, apparently. Without a single friend in Europe, without understanding a single word of Spanish, without having any clue as to what lies ahead. Not that there was no second-guessing ... far from it. But in the 21 days that I've been here, already experienced many things. Some that've surprised, some that haven't. 
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I've been trying to get out as much as possible. See as many new things, meet as many new people as I can. And Barcelona's great for that. Locals have no qualms about partying well past midnight on a Tuesday. This is the period of street festivals - each neighbourhood has one. This particular one was in Sants. They set up a mini carnival, but what was most amazing to see was the long line of tables for the neighbourhood dinner.
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These people are really, really, REALLY serious about their papier-mâché.
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And what I'm beginning to enjoy the most about this city is the unexpected little touches of art in every random corner. Feeling exhausted after 8 hours of extensive Spanish classes (6 days a week for the last 2 weeks), but suddenly feeling brighter seeing this cheerful paper flower piece on a street corner.
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And of course, seeing Gaudi everywhere you turn. But with all the parties and get-togethers, the drinks and the dinners, I'm feeling fatigued. Reminds me that I'm a textbook introvert. And how fantastic is it that the always inspirational Alfonso Cevola would just write about it (just substitute Italy for Spain). I like being social and meeting people, but I find it incredibly draining. I need alone time, some peace and quiet to recharge. And so last night, at yet another party, I threw in the towel. Nothing personal, nothing at all really - the lounge was becoming claustrophobic and I just needed some time to myself.
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So I slipped out and went back to Slow Barcelona for a quiet cocktail. My happy place this is fast becoming. Great atmosphere, fantastic bartenders, wonderful cocktails. And so I stayed for a while, chatted with Gabriel who made my last two drinks, and recharged.
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The gin tonic del dia was exceptional, that wonderful transition of flavours that I've never experienced in any other cocktail. Tanqueray No. 10, Aperol, pomelo juice, and Schweppes Premium Heritage. Impeccable balance, beautiful aromas, those lovely citrus notes. Happiness.
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Gabriel made me a gimlet that blew my mind - no shaking, clear lime cordial, subtle and wonderfully viscous.
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And I ended the night with what else but a martini. Love this place. How come no one sits at the bar anymore? Taking a seat and quietly watching exceptional cocktail making is an indescribable pleasure.
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Having gotten home at a (relatively) reasonable hour, I woke up this morning wanting some brunch and a solid American-style latte. Found it.
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And found the Chinese grocery store everyone's been talking about. A good day of grocery shopping. And a little touch of home. Maybe I am warming up to this place. Maybe I just need to remember that to be happy, I still have to remain true to myself, to who I am. I is what I is, right. I know I'm an MBA student now and it's all about networking (that fucking word again), but if I have to compromise who I am as a person, this isn't the place for me. I should at least have that freedom, right? Right?!

Some other places this introvert wants to visit in the next few days, including this city's best wine shops and finding those Zalto stems I been eyeing for years ...
DF

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