Now, as I find myself still acting like an alien in many situations, I am realizing I never quite shed who I am. Instead, an adult costume now covers that inner dork. Being an adult means getting better at concealing my nerdiness, loving with my guard up, trusting from a distance, with a few slip-ups along the way ("Sorry miss, I think you dropped some loser.."). I haven't changed. I've just become a better actor.
Last summer, we went to Barcelona for ten days. We stayed at a beautiful modern hotel close to the city centre, which had a state-of-the art gym that I visited strictly one time, and a rooftop pool, which was perfect because the heat in Barcelona makes your brain froth out of your ears. Enjoy that visual and happy new year.
We did a lot of sight-seeing: the Gothic Quarter, some galleries, some markets, the beach, a labyrinth in a park (nerve-wracking if you can't find your way out) and some restaurants, including one so tiny that it only fit about fifteen people standing, and made tapas on demand, using really unique combinations like caviar, artichoke, chestnuts, and brie. The result looked like this:
Quimet & Quimet is definitely a must-try in Barcelona but be prepared to queue for a while to get in!
We also saw a Flamenco show which left me speechless and empowered, so if you happen to love loud abrasive sounds and the thought of revenge, I would highly recommend you go to one - yes, even in the tourist areas. We saw a few Gaudi-designed buildings, some surreal architecture, and The Sagrada Familia, proudly featured in a 3D virtual experience 'ride' we later 'experienced', which was actually a history lesson about Spain, which really pissed me off.
Here it is, in real life:
|Our hotel had a beautiful lobby with lots of books about murder and animals doing weird things.|
On our last day, I found myself alone by the pool, tanning, when a family arrived and quietly unfolded their towels on loungers nearby. A boy of about eight years old sheepishly pulled off his t-shirt and immediately looked around at the empty loungers surrounding us. I was wearing my sunglasses and it seemed to reassure him that I wasn't there. He got up and looked around again, then put on his diving goggles and very delicately slipped into the water. He was little, but much bigger than most boys his age would be, and his frequent nervous glances around the pool, though it was empty, seemed to indicate that he was aware of this.
"I may sit on the lounger for five minutes but I also want to keep swimming," he said to his parents with a Scottish accent. Neither of them looked up but his father grunted something with annoyance.
I watched the boy and wondered if his face, too, had once met a schoolyard fence. Had he, too, written valentine's day cards To Mother? He wore a mask to dive for treasure in an empty pool - had he, also, been happily trapped in a fantasy world dooming him to a childhood of freakishness but one ultimately so much more brilliant than the bleakness of public school pain?
He swam from one end to the other, then stood up and cupped his little boy breasts, ones most little boys his age wouldn't have. He swam again, then stood up, his belly bobbing with the water, and began singing to himself. It was a slow song, one most little boys his age wouldn't sing. He waddled over to the glass at the edge of the wall, softly patting and caressing the waves he left behind, and looked out at the sky. "I was wondering where the planes go," he said, turning to look at me through foggy rubber goggles, "But now I see them, lowering, by the horizon".
His eyes cut through my costume, until he was speaking to me. Not me, bleached hair, bronzed legs, but little me, the one I suffocate each day under the layers of my years. He watched me, instead seeing his own reflection. I wondered what our eyes, fixed on each other, were to others: a boy standing alone in shallow water, an adult woman crying through sunglasses, under a Barcelona sun.