Archive for April, 2007

Time to change the blog…

I was a bit naive when I first created this blog. Since the main purpose of the blog was to chronicle our year in Barcelona and keep in touch with friends and family, I named it Our Great European Adventure. Not very creative, I know, but then, who said I was good with titles. The idea was that the blog would exist only as long as we were in Europe, I didn’t really think it would continue after we got back to Canada. But as any person who blogs knows, blogs are a bit organic and grow and change with time. I became more involved, started reading other blogs, met a lot of amazing people in the blogosphere, reconnected with a lot of my compatriots, and now I can’t think of not having a blog. I also didn’t want to change the address since that is a bit annoying…

So, since as of wednesday we’ll no longer be in Europe, Our Great European Adventure has been renamed building bridges. Living in Canada had already opened my eyes to the world and made me realize how small it actually is but living in Barcelona really brought that to an entirely new level. We leave Barcelona after one year having made very good friends from all over the world and with many plans to visit them and to have them come and visit us in Canada. We introduced people to Canadian and Brazilian customs and all that made me see that there isn’t anything as gratifying as building bridges between peoples and cultures. So this blog will now continue as a place where I will talk a bit about the world around me as well as a place to introduce our friends abroad to life in Toronto, the meeting place of the world.

Welcome to building bridges.

April 28, 2007 at 8:22 pm 13 comments

More goodbyes…

Today was my last day at the archives… After stopping at the post office to mail yet another box to Canada and then at the bank to close my account, I finally got to the archives at about 10 AM. I worked until about 1:30 pm when I just sort of hung out with Quino, Virginia, Paco, Felix, David, Jessica, all the wonderful people I’ve met in the year I’ve spent here. Some are archivists, others are security personnel.

I remember the first day I got to the archives. I felt overwhelmed. I didn’t know the procedure and I wasn’t 100% sure what I wanted to order. After one year, I’ve become more or less like a fellow employee. I’ll miss the random chats I used to have with all the wonderful people I’ve met there… The long chats about Catalan history and culture with Quino, about the neighbourhoods of Barcelona with Virginia, politics with Felix, and of course, about football in general and Barça in particular with the security guards (with whom I bonded during the world cup).

Hasta pronto amigos!!

Quino, Virigina & I:

Quino, Virginia, and I

In the reading room:

Felix making me chocolate flowers:


After having lunch with Naomi at Wushu’s (our last meal there for the next while, sniff), I went out to meet a fellow blogger here in Barcelona. Fernanda is Brazilian, married with a Spaniard and lives here in Barcelona. She’s trying to conciliate a tough MA in Comparative Literature with family life and raising a child. So far she’s been VERY successful and I’m certain she’ll continue to be so. Her little girl is adorable – only 4 years’ old and already able to take a picture of us:

© a cometarista

We had a great time meeting for the first time in person after several exchanges through the web, visiting each other’s blogs. As a parting gift, she bought me a book. Fernanda, MUITO obrigada, viu? E parabéns pela filhota…

April 28, 2007 at 12:22 am 4 comments


Argh! it seems like the more we pack, the more there is to be packed! When we moved from our apartment on Rosselló to Jacquie and Sebastian’s house we sent three boxes to Canada. We thought we could fit everything else in our suitcases but guess what? We sent two boxes this morning and have two more boxes to send tomorrow and I’m considering getting one last box to put the remaining photocopies and books I have. Oh well, one gotta do what one gotta do…

Only 5 more days!!!! eeeeeeeek!!!!!!

April 26, 2007 at 8:46 pm 4 comments

Kinda scary, actually

I first created this blog, about 13 months ago, mainly to keep in touch with family and friends, and to post pictures and stories of our year in Barcelona. I had a choice or password-protecting the blog but decided not to. There would always be a friend or family member who lost the passport and couldn’t get in and I would have to administer the blog more closely to make sure everybody I know had the access code. Since I didn’t have anything to hide, I decided to leave it open. For the most part everything has worked fine. WordPress does a fine job in filtering spam and I’ve got to meet some amazing people in the blogosphere. Since the blog doesn’t attract that many people – a maximum of 213 per day so far – I never thought it would attract the attention of the media. Well, now I have to think again. Remember this post? Well, these guys read it too:

Radio canada banner

Radio Canada Text

Wow… freaky really… five people have visited the blog from that news report page. If you are one of them, welcome to this very random, idiosyncratic blog!

April 23, 2007 at 11:30 pm 10 comments

Saying goodbye to amazing friends

Our year in Barcelona was truly amazing. We traveled around, visited many places I have studied, I collected thousands of documents for my thesis, my cooking has greatly improved, my Spanish improved dramatically and I now understand Catalan well. Barcelona is an incredible city, so creative and alive that kept us buzzed with ideas all the time. Yet, the most important thing we got out of our year here was the number of incredible friends we have made. We feel we have made friendships that will last our lifetime… It was really a life-changing experience for us. The people I have met here really broadened my horizons, made me think in new ways, gave me so much that I’ll never be able to repay them.

Today we had a lunch party with about 15 of our closest friends here. They hailed from all parts.

From Catalunya: Pau & Mireia, Eli & her boyfriend; Mexico: Jesús, Citlali; Uruguay: Andres (who taught me to make mate! more on that later…); Germany: Sebastian, Sylvie; India: Jacquie; Canada: Joy; Australia: Zephyr; Chile: Francisca; Andalusia (Spain): Carmen; Brasil: Carmem

I was very proud of all the food we made. For starters Sebastian made a cured Salmon filet, and I prepared some fresh veggies with dip. Lunch consisted of Chicken Marbella (a recipe I got from a professor in Canada),  Basmati rice,  Gratin de Chou-Fleur, Fennel salad with red peppers & green onions, Spinach salad with pinenuts and honey-balsamic dressing.  Desserts were completely Catalan: Flam de Mató, Mel i Mató (both from Granja Viader, the oldest dairy house in Barcelona and home of the best mató in town), Musik (dried nuts), all served with heaps of dessert wines (Muscatel in a porrón, icewine, orange wine…). Pau has made Alan an honorary Catalan citizen for his expertise with the porrón and will be sending him a Catalan ID card soon 😉

In usual fashion, we sat down to eat at around 3 pm and the first ones left at 8:45 pm while the rest trickled our around 11:30 pm.  We had an amazing time with everyone and will hold each and everyone of them in our hearts when we leave…

[note: tomorrow I’ll post pictures here] 

Chicos, espero veros todos en Canada un dia!!! Volveremos a Barcelona pronto!!

April 22, 2007 at 12:21 am 5 comments

What a kid…

The talent was undeniable even at the youth league:

April 20, 2007 at 12:51 pm 1 comment

A Great Day

Tuesday, April 17, 2007.

What a day. In the morning I worked on some photos that I had set aside and around noon I went over to Alexandra’s archives so we could go for lunch. Alex wanted to go to a place with a terrace that was across from Parc de le Ciutadella. We had a great lunch outside. The park trees have their new growth of green and it was really spring like (at a temperature of 24 + it was more like summer). After we ate, Alex went back to work and I went off to the park to lay around in the grass. I found a great place in the shade of a palm tree so I pulled out my ipod, set up my knapsack as a pillow and lay down on the grass. Lot’s of people all around me doing the same thing, just relaxing.

I don’t know how long I lay there but a group of swedish girls sat down close by to sunbathe. One of them, Erika, started chatting, really friendly and bubbly (almost too bubbly). She was here in Barcelona for a month. It turns out she comes here every year for a month and has been doing so for the past six years. She tells me that she has made friends from all over the world and has kept in touch with most of them. We hung about for most of the afternoon and when she left I went to a new spot by the big fountain. I looked out over the scene in front of me and couldn’t beleive it. This was more like dreamland than reality.

I think the thing that really clinched it all was when this guy cycles in and stops by one of the palm trees. He was carrying all kinds of things, 2 guitars, a drum and a big bag full of other stuff. He parks his bike and begins to unpack. Next thing I know, he’s pacing off the distance between the palm trees. I was really curious so I watched what he was up to. Turns out he was stringing up a strap between the two trees. A bunch of his friends arrive and they all settle in. They just radiated a joie de vie that made me slightly envious. It was really amazing. Anyhow, the strap was for walking on. Some were tightrope walking, others sitting around dinking matté and others making music. I loved it and thought about all the young people over in Canada who should make it a point of coming to Barcelona. It’s a paradise or maybe it’s mine. who knows.

Anyhow, for the past few weeks I have been playing around with a game on internet called Second Life. It’s like a chat room but you have animated characters that represent you and there is a virtual world to explore. It’s quite the place with buildings and roads and averything else a person can think of. I usually go to this specific spot and just watch the interaction of the animated characters. All kinds of outfits and animations that I could never describe in words. My point is that watching people in the park was so similar to watching the fantasies in Second Life that I immediatly fell in love with Barcelona all over again. It’s not the place for everyone but for me, it is amazing. Some compare it to Paris in the beginning of the last century.

I’ll miss this place.

April 19, 2007 at 11:12 am Leave a comment

25th Anniversary of the Charter

On April, 17th 1982 Canada repatriated its Constitution and issued a Charter of Rights and Freedoms. The Charter guarantees the right to vote, the right to life, liberty and security, and the right to be free from discrimination. It also enshrines many important democratic freedoms, including freedom of conscience, expression and association, and freedom of the press.

As many have said in the celebrations marking the anniversary of the charter, it is difficult to imagine Canada today without the Charter of Rights ad Freedoms. It has been used by many Canadians to fight injustice and lead to many social changes such as equal rights to same-sex couples and the end of Abortion law.

Before acquiring Canadian citizenship I had to learn about the rights and freedoms enshrined on the Charter. I particularly liked learning that among my responsibilities as a Canadians are the need to help others in my community, and the obligation of fighting injustice and discrimination. I was given a copy of the Charter with my Canadian citizen certificate during my citizenship ceremony and I used to have it hanging in my carrell at the library. It speaks of the core Canadian values of inclusiveness, equality, and justice, values that I have learned to cherish as my own.

It’s a shame Prime Minister Stephen Harper didn’t join on the celebrations today. I really wish we could have another election soon to get rid of him… The man really unnerves me!

Click here to read the Canadian Charter of Rights and Freedom in many different languages…

April 17, 2007 at 11:46 pm 4 comments

Photo recap of our year in Barcelona

Here’s a little photo tour of our year in Barcelona. I still have to add a few pictures – there’s nothing from Tarragona for example, where the photo on this blog’s banner was taken, or of the many friends who came to visit. I’ll add those later on. Click on the picture and a slideshow will open.

Year in Barcelona slideshow

Hmmm, none of the comments I’ve added to the pictures show on the slideshow. If you want more context you can check the picture here.

April 14, 2007 at 4:06 pm 3 comments

Going back to Canada…

Sorry for the lack of posts recently, but we are in the midst of organizing our stuff to move back to Toronto. We arrived with two carry-on sets and a large knapsack and it’s amazing how much stuff we accumulated in just one year!! We’ve shipped 3 boxes to Canada and bought three more and had to buy a large suitcase.

Here’s some beer commercials that talks a little bit about what it means to be Canadian:

Quebec version:

Wikipedia explanation of the Quebec version for those of you who miss the uniquely Quebec references.

For the I am Canadian rant, go here.

Full text of the Canadian version.

April 11, 2007 at 8:31 pm 1 comment

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