28 and feelin' great! I see why people always make that statement into a hashtag when they turn this age because I indeed feel great! And after being an unemployed, emotional wreck at the end of 27, I needed to brush this year off and never look back. #27andnotinheaven was the hashtag for that age. Thank God for bigger and better things eh?
Upon arriving to Spain, I made a bucket list of things I wanted to do while here; one of them being, to ride a Vespa. It has always been a dream of mine: wind in my hair, and flowing with the traffic like a native. I don’t know why, but that imagery makes me feel untouchable and free. Even though no bit of wind flowed through any bit of hair--since I had to wear a bulky helmet, and also given the fact that I’ve rocked a fresh cut for the past five years--the experience went as planned.
I must admit I was nervous because I had never driven or rode on the back of a Vespa before, and I was going to be the driver while my sister rode on the back. Nervously laughing, I ignored my knotted stomach, hopped on and…could not start the dang thing! After feeling like this might be a bad omen we managed to get it working and then vroom vroom off we went!
“OMG, this is really happening! My dream is coming true!” I said, yelling over the sound of the wind, while my sister is frantically clutching onto my 34B's for dear life looking like a ride or die chick that regretted being a ride or die chick. Ha!
“Ouch! unhand me, woman!”
However, in reality, I drove at 10-mph like an old lady excessively obeying the speed limit while fellow motorists honked their horns in frustration trying to pass.
After driving around the city my sister and I went to dinner at this great Cuban restaurant named Colonial on Calle de Huertas. It was a bit...unusual, in that there was an illustration of a pickaninny on the cover of their menu, front door, and waitress' aprons. What, the hell, did I just step into? Now granted, the staff there were black Cubans, so I’m interested in finding out the perspective on race from people of color in this country based on this experience...but that’s another post for another time. While eating our dinner, Steph surprised me with a spontaneous trip to...
All I can say is: bless her little heart; because I really wanted to go to Barcelona but didn’t think I would have the money since last-minute prices were so high. So, at 6:30 a.m. the next day we boarded a plane and landed there in an hour-and-a-half.
We both stepped off the plane exhausted but eager for the adventure ahead since we only had 24-hours to actually be in Barcelona. After checking into our Air BnB, we joined a bicycle tour named Fat Tire Tours that started in the city’s town hall, Placa Sant Jaume, and lasted for four hours showcasing various tourist and historical attractions, such as:
1) Sagrada Familia - Antoni Gaudi’s renowned, but unfinished church started in 1881. It is intricately designed and inspired by the traditions of Gothic and Byzantine cathedrals. His intention was to express Christian belief through the architecture and the beauty of the building and communicate the message of the Evangelists
2) La Rambla - a popular tree-lined pedestrian mall popular among tourist
3) Arc de Triomf - a classical archway built as the main entrance to the Universal Exhibition hosted by the city in 1888.
4) La Cathedral - a beautiful Gothic Building dedicated to the martyred Santa Eulàlia, patron saint of Barcelona. She was tortured to death in the late Roman period and her body lies buried under the high altar. Her feast day is always celebrated on the 12th of February
5) Placa del Rei - a square in the Barri Gotic of Barcelona, Catalonia, Spain
6) Parc de la Ciutadella - a park on the northeastern edge of Ciutat Vella, Barcelona, Catalonia. For decades following its creation in the mid-19th century, this park was the city's only green space. (**BEAUTIFUL)
Our tour’s last stop was at the beach, Platja de Sant Sebastià, before heading back to the town hall where we had wine, gambas, and pollo for dinner.
Sidenote: My Spanish is slowing improving, but still comes out only when it wants to. Case in point: Recently, I told a woman at a restaurant, “I have a man” rather than saying, "I have hunger."
I have hunger- Tengo hambre.
I have a man - Tengo un hombre.
You see where the confusion lies?!
Anyway...to put an end to the trip we decided to return to the beach before having to leave that night. The beach was absolutely relaxing; it was topless, which I actually did not mind, and was tempted to join the club, but since I had just eaten and my belly looked five months pregnant, feeling a bit insecure, I backed out and kept my top and shirt on…maybe next time.
To top everything off, the next story was the peak of my birthday extravaganza. While sunbathing, we were approached by a middle-aged Asian lady insisting on giving each of us back rubs. I found it odd that people were giving massages out in the open like that, but do you honey! I won’t knock your hustle. Plus it was only 10 Euros for a full body massage. I wasn't really wasn't in the mood to have a massage, but Steph was.
And as soon as my sister said yes, Miss Masseuse took off her shirt, jumped on my sister's back and proceeded to put in work. For a split-second, I thought she was attacking her! But upon realizing that she wasn’t, I couldn’t help laughing because I had never before seen someone actually climb on someone else's back when giving a massage, let alone, get so comfortable as to take their shirt off. My sister thought our dad would find this funny so she FaceTimed him, and Miss Masseuse didn’t hesitate to join the conversation.
Masseuse: Hola Padre!
..Como te llamas?
..Oh, Hola! Que Tal?
*Pic taken before masseuse decided it was to hot to keep her shirt on
I must say that this was the highlight of the trip. I’m amazed at the number of people we interacted with and got along with so quickly; and honestly, I think it’s encouraging me to engage a bit more with people. I wouldn’t call myself an introvert, but I wouldn’t call myself an extrovert either…let’s say I’m an outgoing introvert. Oxymoron, I know, but it’s the best way to describe me. I love people, but I love my alone time as well.
Anyway, having this birthday experience abroad has shown me that people are not that much different from one another. We all eat, hustle, breathe, make goals, travel when able, etc. Even our experiences can be the same. This birthday was by far one of the best, and I hope to be abroad for future birthdays learning about other cultures and exploring more of this earth. There is nothing like the unexpected encounters from adventure!
Here’s to 28!