Thursday, September 10, 2009

Prepping for Barcelona, Spain

September 26 draws near, and I have begun preparing for my departure. I have most of my work taken care of, and have instructions written for co-workers to make sure things get done in my absence. I also have a great packing list prepared, thanks to Catherine who found some cute packing list stationary when she was cleaning out her desk.

As far as preparing for Barcelona itself, I spent a good few hours perusing Tourist Guide: Barcelona, which has everything from restaurant recommendations to safety guides. Barcelona is a big city, which is not something I am totally used to. Although I've been to Europe before, and am at least a little more travel weary than others, I wanted to make sure there weren't special things to watch out for. After reading their safety precautions, I am not too worried. I plan to avoid most of the "touristy" places anyways, and on my spare time I intend to be traveling with fellow classmates instead of by myself. As long as I dress appropriately and am aware of the people around me, I should avoid most of the pitfalls most tourists find themselves in.

My primary purpose in going to Barcelona is to receive my Trinity TESOL certification, but obviously, to also experience Spanish culture. This includes eating some yummy stuff! Thanks to the website mentioned above, I have the names and addresses of some really good tapas places. I can even mark them out on a map and plan out my metro trips before hand, which is a plus. Anyone who knows me knows I can get lost, but if I pay attention and do my research I do pretty well on my own. The site includes some great tips on what to do at a traditional tapas restaurant, as well as what not to do.

As far as packing goes, it looks like the average temperature for September and October is between 65 and 72 degrees (F). It sounds like I will be going at the end of the warm humid season (which is good- I am not used to humidity), and before it starts getting too cool. I'll be sure to pack my umbrella as it can get rainy in October as well. I suppose I should also get used to Celcius and Metric, which is good because I've always preferred Metric anyways. It is so much simpler, it's just a matter of being able to visualize the units in my head!

Along with my preparations, I'm also trying to practice my Spanish as much as I can, since I've been out of school and haven't been hearing it daily like I was last fall. These "Review" efforts include changing my facebook to Spanish and reading some Spanish news online every day. I would love to stay in Spain, I think, and this month will be great for me to see how well I can really adjust to living there. My main concern as far as after I get my certification is whether I'll actually be able to get a legal job in Spain, since I will run into some issues not being an EU citizen. I will do my best, though, and let the opportunities fall where they may. I am glad the company helps me with career advice, however, and I am sure they have contacts around the globe to help me find somewhere. I will keep you updated on how the packing goes.

Let me know if there are some travel "must-haves" you've learned about from any of your travels. Muchas gracias!

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