Staci in Barcelona: Vacationing from vacation
    Staci will be in Barcelona, Spain, until June 2010.

    Tossa del Mar is a beach town about an hour and a half bus ride from Barcelona. It was absolutely beautiful. The added benefit of lying on the beach all day for three days straight (besides the tan) was that I got to do a lot of thinking. Why am I here? What do I want to do with Barcelona? With my life, in general?

    I realized that studying abroad in Barcelona really does feel like a vacation. It was a running joke throughout the Tossa del Mar trip. We realized that we were taking a beach vacation in a touristy small town away from a beachy, touristy city. Everyone felt like we were taking a vacation from our vacation. (After we got back, everyone was so exhausted that we needed a vacation from our vacation from vacation.)

    The best find was our hotel. The room was a hundred and twenty euro for two nights for a room with six beds in it — cramped, but not unbearable. For ten euro a person, we got a full-fledged budget resort filled with kids running around and its own mini-golf course (and oversized chess board). If you ever find yourself in Tossa del Mar, the Hotel San Eloy is something to look for, even if it is a bit far from the beach.

    Photos by the author.

    Despite the fact that it was touristy, Tossa del Mar was incredibly beautiful. The beach that we napped on all day is right next to a huge fortress — a real medieval city — that’s now full of delicious restaurants to eat at. Five of us had the epic, three-hour-long tapas dinner where we drank three pitchers of sangria de cava and didn’t ask for the bill until 1 a.m. It was such beautiful weather outside, and the food was so delicious (and reasonably priced!) that it was hard to leave.

    However, studying abroad for a year, rather than just four months like everyone else, means that it feels much less like a vacation to me. This is going to be my life, and even though I desperately, terribly want to be back at Northwestern this quarter, I can’t. Studying abroad, doing linguistics research — as fun as it all sounds, I can’t back out now. This year is an investment in my future, not a vacation. I’m just going to have to buckle down, albeit in a very beautiful place.

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