I remember the first time I wanted to go to Barcelona, Spain. I was seventeen, and I saw IES Abroad’s Barcelona study abroad program on Google. It was love at first sight. I remember picturing myself in the city, taking tours of cathedrals and museums, and maybe even meeting Mr. Right. Of course, I’ve grown and developed as a person, student, and woman since then, but the reality is that this dream is my life. I’m spending my days in class, my afternoons working (or I will be next week), and my evenings with my roommate, Erika, and our host mom and host sister, Fina and Caterina.
For starters, getting to Barcelona required much more patience and trust in the Lord than I was previously prepared for. I was supposed to leave Sunday, January 8th at 11:30am from Nashville’s International Airport, but this ended up being cancelled and rescheduled for Tuesday, January 10th for the same time…or so I thought. Mind you, I was supposed to arrive in Barcelona on Monday, January 9th for my program, but I was able to explain my situation to IES and wait it out. Fast-forward to Tuesday: I’m ready to go, with my large suitcase, my little suitcase, and my backpack; my mom, Scarlett, and Claire all come to drop me off, and it’s the hardest goodbye of my life. My mom and I both hugged and cried for a long time, and then I was by myself for the next 48 hours. In that moment, I questioned myself and this decision so strongly. Why am I doing this? Is this just one big mistake?
Once I was in the gate for my first plane ride of three, I was able to listen to “No Longer Slaves” by Bethel Music, and I realized that, because I am a child of God, I don’t have to be a slave to fear. God is with me through every step, through every big decision, and has opened all the doors for me to go to Barcelona. With this renewed confidence, I went from airport to airport, across the pond, from Nashville to Boston to Dublin, and was able to stay awake and patient through a horrible 10-hour layover that wasn’t in the plan originally (thanks, Aer Lingus!) to finally make it to Barcelona by 9pm on Wednesday night. Through all that craziness, I can say that God is faithful, and that I’m thankful to have made it here safely, furthermore to a warm and welcoming environment. Right off the bat, I already knew I would love my host family and roommate; this affirmation was just more proof that I’m meant to be here, in this moment, with these people.
After filling my desperate need for food, a shower and some sleep, I woke the next morning to go to internship orientation. I actually chose IES Liberal Arts and Business because of the internship component. I got to visit Make-A-Wish Barcelona this morning, and will be starting my internship there tomorrow. Again, something that lines up with what I want to do in my career, and the perfect fit for my personality! At this point, I’ve gotten to visit La Boquería, a food market close to the IES office, ObamaBar, a bar that is in fact related at least a little bit to Barack Obama, and then have been focusing on starting classes, both at IES and at UPF, the local university. Lastly, I’ve been blessed with a homestay full of vegetarians, in an apartment that is a five-minute walk from a vegan grocery store. I have been abundantly blessed, and I’m looking forward to what God has in store for this semester in Barcelona.