Everything you don’t want me to write about part deux
Below is the what I was going to submit to that writing contest, before I read the directions (see earlier post ‘Everything you don’t want me to write about’). It’s also an ‘excerpt’ from an essay I have yet to complete.
Everywhere you go there you are and other cliched epiphanies
After choosing Barcelona on a complete whim with no background in Spanish or Catalan, no concept of the cultural, historical or political environment, I moved into a dark, oddly adorned apartment with a 75 year old Spanish woman who spoke no English. My journey winds through alleys on dark cobblestones streets, up high-ceilinged cathedrals, and through cozy smoky cafes, only to wind up exactly where I began; an American in Catalunya.
This essay will describe my existential experience with the malleability (or lack thereof) in one’s identity. And the real lesson I learned, that the location doesn’t change oneself- it is oneself that (can) change in one’s location. However this did not come easily for me. It only happened by actively pushing my own personal limits; befriending strangers with my primitive Spanish, talking walks with no destination, and trusting the city to provide the raw materials as I shaped my own adventure and consequentially my own narrative.
In the end, this resulted in the on-going process of becoming a more complex version of myself. Not a new woman- but the same Me- just with new experiences. The abroad experience is marketed as a pre-packaged all-inclusive ‘life experience cruise’ of some kind, and this experience for me happened to be in Barcelona, which provides for frilly descriptive prose describing striking colors, scents from la boqueria, and panoramic views from rooftop. But this experience can happen anywhere, at anytime for anyone who challenges themselves because ultimately; wherever you go, there you are.