This is a copy of the first two emails I sent home from my round the world trip I up and went on when I was 25. Uhhhhh…I’m from Texas and we don’t normally do that sort of thing, so I was pretty scared shitless. I went to Cancun when I was 15, so you know, I was pretty prepared for anything that might come up in Spain. Luckily, a good friend of my parents lives in Barcelona (my first stop) and was a HUGE, big fluffy cushion for me to land on. Except she didn’t have room for me to stay at her place and made me stay with an American hating French woman. Ol’e!

¡Hola! i made it to barcelona, in my hostel


>have to go, out of time
March 2004

I´ve tried several times to post a blog, but I can´t seem to figure it out. This will have to do for now, I´m not sure if I´m repeating things you might have heard already, but here goes. If you don´t care about these emails, write me back and I will remove you from my list.

I had a ten hour flight from Houston to Frankfurt, pretty uneventful-I was able to sleep in two seats and adjusted my body clock to Barcelona time.

I made my connection without a hitch and with seconds to spare. The two hour flight to Barcelona was very crowded with Germans and babies. It was a turbulent flight through puffy cumulous clouds that rocked our world plane and made the babies cry and one of them puke.

When I landed in Barcelona I went to the wrong baggage claim terminal and calmly panicked as I imagined some stranger picking up my backpack as it went around and around all by itself on the carousel. I managed to get back into the right terminal without a ticket (much more lax than in the States) and retrieved my pack.

I managed to find a bus to the center of the city (Placa Catalonya) and then took a cab to my hostel. The hostel was nice and clean and full of screamy Italian teenagers and way too skinny smoking French girls wearing all white.

I had a second story bunk with my own locker, settled in, tried to call Melonie (family friend) and laid down for a nap.

I finally got a hold of Melonie who informed me that my apartment deal had fallen through, but that she had a friend with an extra room I could rent. Anne Celine (her friend) wanted to meet me, so we arranged to meet at La Jaica, a bar near the sea. Mel gave me directions and I set out. In the completely wrong direction. For an hour and a half I was lost and it started to rain. I gave up, got in a cab and was there in 10 minutes.

I met Mel, Anne Celine, Mel´s baby daddy and her two beautiful babies. We drank beer and caught up and ate fried squid.

Mel left me with Anne Celine (actress/professor/American-hater) to check out the apartment. We stopped at two of her favorite bars on the way, we shared beers and absinthe. We had broken, one-sided conversations for an hour or so and then we headed to her apartment.

The apartment is in an old building, the door flanked by ficus trees. We shared a Spanish tallboy and talked about men. I played her Khattie´s mix tape, which she loved and we decided I should spend the night there.

I keep getting asked if I´m hungry, I say yes, they say good and then they bring out a saucer of olives. For dinner. For three people.

I slept until late morning in her spare room. She calls it her boyfriend´s room eventhough they share the same bed. “I send him there when I can´t look at him any more. It´s better than couch.”

Anne Celine left me a sweet note in the morning welcoming me to her house and directing me to cookies in the fridge. She has a tiny apartment with a tiny balcony and an outdoor laundry room. It´s a neat place and I´m sure I´ll be comfortable there. I just hope she doesn´t get tired of looking at her boyfriend.

Yesterday, I spent the day getting my bearings and staring at the sea. I babysat Mel´s two babies and it was the most fun I´ve had since I got here. Lucia, the precocious and fiercly independant three year old played in her teepee on there roof top terrace and sang me songs in Catalon. Agatha the round one-year-old bounced in her johnny-jump up. Lucia got more and more comfortable with me and insisted that she come to my house, I told her it was too far and she said we could fly there. She showed me photos of her grandparents in America and I relented and said she could visit me anytime. She is brilliant.

Mel came home and cooked me roast with potatoes, onions and carrots. It was delicious.

I walked home through Las Ramblas and was hijaked by a gay guy from Amsterdam. “Let´s sit here and pick out two Spanish boys.” I played along for a while and then decided to go home.

I´m getting used to it all, the jet lag is wearing off, I´m a little more comfortable. I still haven´t decided if I like this whole traveling thing, but I will be in the best shape of my life when I get home. If nothing else, this is the most elaborate weight loss plan I´ve ever embarked on. Olives anyone?

Love, Laurel


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